Economic Rent and Exploitation: Michael Hudson, Shepheard Walwyn

June 18, 2022

Michael Hudson, Shepheard Walwyn recording May 23, 2022
Part one:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDo7HykYN9k

Part two here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-xWgLertkg

Jonathan Brown
Michael, welcome to the podcast.

Michael Hudson
It’s good to be here. I’m looking forward to it.

Jonathan Brown
Michael, I think you have one the most extraordinary upbringings and journeys into economics. And I just wanted to give our listeners just some sense of how you got from being the godson of Leon Trotsky all the way to what I consider to be probably the most important economist in the world today.

Michael Hudson 00:23
There’s no direct causality there that could have been anticipated. I never studied economics in college, because I went to school at the University of Chicago. We know that there were some students at the university who were at that business school. They were such strange people that we never even thought of going near them, because there was something otherworldly about them, something abstract.

My degree was in German language and history of culture, because the head of the History of Culture Department was Matthijs Jolles, a German professor and translator of von Clausewitz, On War. And in at the time, my intention was to become a musician. And I had to learn German in order to read the works of Heinrich Schenker. In music theory, my teachers were German. And for the History of Culture, most of the books that I was reading were, were all in German. And the German professors were also heads of the Comparative Literature Department and other departments. That meant that I could take all the courses cafeteria style at the university that I wanted.

I had to go to work when I graduated. I went to work for a while for direct mail advertising for the American Technical Society, a publisher a block away from the university, and then went to work for Free Press that was headed by Jerry Kaplan, a Trotskyist follower of Max Shachtman. And he wanted to send me to New York to help set up Free Press there.

Soon after I came to New York, Trotsky’s widow died. And Max Shachtman was the executor of her estate. He thought I should go into publishing by myself. And I had already had the copyrights for George Lukacs, the Hungarian Marxist and I thought tried to get funding for a publishing company with Trotsky’s works and other works. I’ve been writing a history of music and art theory. And needless to say, I didn’t get any funding because nobody was at all interested in publishing the works of Trotsky. I even tried to get Dwight Eisenhower the write the introduction to his military papers, wouldn’t work.

I was urged to meet Terence McCarthy, the father of a girlfriend of one of my schoolmates, Gavin MacFadyen. He was the first English-language translator of the first history of economic thought that was written: Karl Marx’s Theories of Surplus Value (Mehrwert), reviewing the value theory of classical economics. Terence said that he would help guide me in economic thinking if I’d get a PhD in economics and go to work on Wall Street to see how the world works. But I had to read all of the bibliography in Marx’s Theories of Surplus Value. So I had to begin buying the books, and ended up working as a sideline with one of the reprinters, Augustus Kelly, who was reprinting many of the classical economists. He was a socialist. There were other dealers in New York: Samuel Ambaras, Sydney Millman. I began buying all of the 19th-century classical economic books that I could, sinse that was the only way that I could get copies.

I took graduate classes in the evening while working at a bank for three years, the Savings Banks Trust Company. It was a commercial bank, but was acting as a central bank for the savings banks that in America finance mortgages. All their savings are reinvested in mortgages. So for three years my job was to track the real estate market, the mortgage market, interest rates, the funding of mortgages, the growth of assets by the savings banks, all growing at compound interest. All the growth in savings in the New York savings banks in the early 1960s was simply the accrual of dividends. So you’d have a step function at dividend time every quarter, going up exponentially. There was hardly any new savings inflow. It’s as if you’ve just left a given amount of savings in 1945, and let the amount rise exponentially. All this increase in savings was recycled into the real estate market.

The New York banks wanted to extend their market so they couldn’t just keep bidding up New York housing prices. They won the right to lend out of state, especially the Florida. So my job was basically seeing that real estate prices were whatever a bank would lend. At that time, banks would not lend you a mortgage if the debt service exceeded 25% of your income. And you had to put up usually 30% of the purchase price as a down payment, but possibly 10%. So housing was affordable. You could buy a really nice house for you know, $20 or $30,000. Now, it costs $400,000 to buy just a one room apartment in a condominium.

I bought a house for $1 down – it was $45,000 total. I took out a mortgage from Chase for half the price, and the other half was a purchase-money mortgage. So it was easy. Anybody coul get a house in New York at that time. Housing was readily affordable.

After I finished my PhD courses, I changed jobs. My real interest at the time was international finance and the balance of payments. So I went to work at Chase Manhattan as their balance of payments economist. This was at a time when the balance of payments and even balance-sheet analysis was not taught in schools. It was very specialised. I realised that what I was taught, especially in monetary theory, had nothing at all to do with what I was learning in practice.

In monetary theory, for instance, that was the era of Milton Friedman in the 60s and 70s. He thought that when you create more money, it increases consumer prices. Well, I thought that obviously was not how things worked. When banks create money, they don’t lend for people for spending. About 80% of bank loans in America, as in England, are mortgage loans. They lend against property already in place. They also lend for corporate mergers and acquisitions, and by the 1980s for corporate takeovers.

The effect of this lending is to increase asset prices, not consumer prices. You could say that money creation actually lowers consumer prices, because 80% is to increase housing prices. Banks seek to increase their loan market by lending more and more against every kind of real estate, whether it’s residential or commercial property. They keep increasing the proportion of debt to overall real estate price. So by 2008 you could buy property with no money down at all, and take 100% mortgage, sometimes even 102 or 103% so that you would have enough money to pay the closing fees. The government did not limit the amount of money that a bank could lend against income. The proportion of income devoted to mortgage service that was federally guaranteed increased to 43%. Well, that’s a lot more than 25%. That’s 18% of personal income more in 2008 than in the 1960s – simply to pay mortgage interest in order to get a house. So I realised that this was deflationary. The more money you have to spend on mortgage interest to buy a house as land and real estate is financialized, the less you have left to spend on goods and services. This was one of the big problems that was slowing the economy down.

Well, it was obvious to me that rent was being paid out as interest. Rent is for paying interest. If I talked with various developers about buying buildings, they said, “Well, we try to buy our buildings without any money at all. The banks will lend us the money to buy a building, and they calculate how much is your rental income going to be? That rental income will carry how much of a bank loan at a given interest charge, and lend the money to buy it.” That is how real estate rent was financialized.

Democratization of real estate on credit means turns rental income into interest, not taxes
This meant that the role that had been played in the 19th century by landlords is now played by banks. In the 19th century, the problem was absentee landlords, the heirs of the warlords who conquered England or other European countries in the Middle Ages. You had hereditary rent. Well, now our rent has been democratised. But it’s been democratised on credit, because obviously, the only way that a wage earner can afford to buy is is on credit. For an investor you can buy whole buildings on credit.

Finance has transformed real estate into a financial vehicle. So that that’s what rent is for paying interest means. There’s a symbiotic sector, Finance, Insurance and Real Estate – the FIRE sector. It’s the key to today’s financialised economy. Most real estate tax in America is at the local level, because after the income tax was introduced, commercial real estate was made tax exempt by the pretence that buildings depreciate in value, as if they don’t in fact rise in price. The pretence is that they wear out, even though landlords normally pay about 10% of the rental income for repairs and upgrades to keep the building from wearing out.

Today in New York, and I’m sure in London too, the older a building is, the better it’s built. Real-estate developers have crapified building codes so that the newer the building, the more shoddily it’s built. They call shoddy buildings “luxury” real estate, meaning is built with really not very thick walls. I think the junkiest building in New York is Trump Tower, which is sort of the model of shadiness which they call luxury. It’s very high-priced.

The academic economics curriculum finds unproductive credit to embarrassing to acknowledge
While I saw the importance of finance and real estate, none of that was discussed in the university’s economics courses at all. The pretense is that money is created by banks lending to investors who build factories and employ labour to produce more. All credit is assumed to be productive, and taken on to finance productive investment in the form of tangible capital formation. Well, that that was the hope in the 19th century, and actually was the reality in Germany and in Central Europe, where you had banking becoming industrialised. But after World War I, you had a snap back to the Anglo-Dutch-American kind of banking, which was really just the Merchant banking. It was bank lending against assets already in place.

Classical economics as a reform program to free economies from economic rent and rentier income

I realised that the statistics that I worked on showed the opposite of what I was taught. I had to go through the motions of the PhD orals. and avoided conflict by writing my dissertation on the history of economic thought, because anything that I would have written about the modern economy would have driven the professors nutty. Needless to say, none of the academic professors I had ever actually worked in the real world. It was all very theoretical. So that basically how I came to realise that the 19th century fight for 100 years – we can call it the long 19th century, from the French Revolution, up to World War I, and from the French Physiocrats, to Adam Smith, Ricardo and Malthus, John Stuart Mill, Marx, Simon Patton and Thorstein Veblen – was the value and price theory of classical economics to quantify economic rent as unearned income.

The purpose of value and price theory was to define the excess of market price over actual cost value. The difference was economic rent. The essence of classical economics was a reform campaign – that of industrial capitalism. It was a radical campaign, because the basic cost-cutting dynamic of industrial capitalism was radical. It realised that in order to make Britain, France or Germany, or any country competitive with others, you had to get rid of the landlord class and its demands for economic rent. You also had to get rid of monopolies and their economic rent. You had to get rid of all payments of income that were not necessary for production to take place. The aim was to bring prices in line with the actual cost value of production, to free economies from this rake-off to unproductive investment, unproductive labour and economic rent – land rent, monopoly rent and financial interest charges. Those were the three basic categories of rent on which classical political economy focused.

To translate classical rent theory into practice, you needed a political reform, You had to get rid of the landlord class’s political power to block reform. It wasn’t enough simply to say that economic rent was not a necessary cost of production, not part of real value. The landlord class would simply say, “Well, what are you going to do about it?”

The proponents of industrial capitalism saw that the constitution of England, France and America required giving governments the power to pass laws to free economies from economic rent. in order to do that, they needed democratic reform of the political system. In England they needed to empower the House of Commons over the House of Lords. That effort led to a constitutional crisis in 1909 and 1910, when the House of Commons, Parliament, passed a land tax. That was rejected, as I’m sure you know, by the House of Lords. The crisis was resolved by saying the Lords could never again reject a Revenue Act passed by the House of Commons. That political reform was part and parcel with classi9cal economic theory defining rent as an unnecessary cost of production.

But where did this leave the interests of labor – the majority of the population? As a broad social reform, classical economics began to falter by 1848. You had revolutions in almost every European country. These revolutions were not fully democratic in the sense of they weren’t really for wage labour, which was the bulk of society. They were bourgeois revolutions, including land reform. They were all for getting rid of the landed aristocracy and the special privileges that the aristocracy held. But they were not very interested in helping consumers, and labour’s working conditions, shortening the workweek, shortening the workday and promoting safety. There was nothing really about public health, or public social infrastructure spending. So things began to falter by 1848.

But they still made progress through the balance of the 19th century. By the time World War I broke out in 1914, it looked like the world was moving towards socialism. Almost everybody in the 19th century, across the political spectrum, whatever you were advocating was called socialism.

Socialism and strong government as the program of post-rentier industrial capitalism
At the broadest level, socialism meant collecting economic rent and getting rid of the landlords and the aristocracy, either by taxing away rent or nationalizing land and natural monopolies, in hope that that by itself would create a viable industrial economy. you had libertarian socialism, Marxist socialism, anarchist socialism, industrial socialism and Christian socialism. Almost every reformer wanted that as a label. The question is, what kind of socialism were are you going to have?

That was what the aftermath of World War I was fought about. The fight was largely shaped by the Russian Revolution, which unfortunately went tragically wrong under Stalin and gave socialism and communism a bad name. But it still had a good name in England after World War II. And also in America in the 1930s, as a result of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal that saved capitalism by investing in public infrastructure.

I can give you an example of where pro-capitalist theory was in the 1890s. In the United States. The industrial interests in America faced a problem once the Civil War ended in 1865. They wanted to create an industrial society – ideally, a fair society with rising living standards. How do you do that without training people to administer such an economy? You need to train people in a university. You have to teach them how economies worked. But the main universities in America were religious colleges, founded to train the clergy. Yale, Harvard, Princeton and most taught British free-trade theory, which trivialized economic theory.

So the business interests and the government saw the need to teach reality-based economics. They saw that there was little hope in trying to reform the existing universities. Their economics departments – called moral philosophy – were unreformable. So it was necessary to create new universities. All through America, each state was given a land grant to enable it to create a new university and teach reality economics. They also would teach economic history and how the world actually works. Most of all, they would teach protectionist trade theory and how to create a society and economy that is more efficient than other economies?

Well, the first business school in America was the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Its first economics professor was Simon Patton, a protectionist. And he explained that if you’re going to make industrial products at prices that outcompete those of England, you need public infrastructure spending. You need as much of the cost of living as possible to not to be paid by the employers to factor into the price of their products, but to be paid by the government.

Patten cited public roads and canals to lower the cost of doing business. He also noted that every time you build a road or railroad, you’re going to raise the land value along these routes – and lower land prices for areas replaced by the now-more-accessible producers. You can simply self-finance the cost of these by taxing the rent.

You also need public education, and that should be free so that you don’t have like today, to earn enough money to pay an enormous student debt – and receive a high salary to afford to pay that. If the government would provide free education, you wouldn’t have to pay workers enough to pay this student debt, so they wouldn’t need such high wages simply to break even.
Today 18% of America’s national income is from medical insurance. If you have a public health system and socialized medicine, as England had after World War II and as Bernie Sanders advocates today, then you wouldn’t have to pay workers a high enough salary to afford this enormous medical expense. England realised this already in the 1870s and ‘80s, when Benjamin Disraeli campaigned as a conservative for health.

So the movement towards public infrastructure towards government spending was led by the industrialists. It was they themselves who wanted strong government. The common denominator of politics from Adam Smith through all of the 19th century was to free economies from the unnecessary economic rent, to free them from unearned income, from the free lunch. To do that, you have to have a government strong enough to take on the vested interests – first the landlord class in the House of Lords, and then the financial class behind it.

Jonathan Brown 26:00
Well, just to clarify that, Michael, I think what you’re, what you’re saying is, I know in some of your writing you talk about the view of government or the public sector was it was a fourth means of production. So you got land, labour, capital and the public sector.

Michael Hudson 26:16
That was the term that Simon Patten used. Government infrastructure is a fourth means of production. But what makes it different from profits and wages is that if you’re a wage earner, you want to make as high a wage as possible. If you’re a capitalist, you want to make as high a profit as possible. But the job of public investment is not to make an income, not to do what was done under Thatcher and Tony Blair, not to treat public utilities, education and health as profit making opportunities. Instead, Patten said, you should measure their productivity by how much they lower the cost of doing business and the cost of living for the economy at large.

Jonathan Brown 27:03
And what that allows a country to do, so if you’re good at it, is to get together and ask how to educate our people, lower the cost of transportation so we’ve got we’ve got a mobile workforce, all those things. We can then start to compete against other nations who are ahead of us, who may have more expensive means of production, and we can maintain that advantage. We’re not stuck in a lower level of the economy where we’re basically working for someone else. We’re able to develop ourselves as a nation. And I guess the benefit of us doing it collectively is that we can minimise the cost, then use a natural monopoly power in government hands to provide efficient services across the board. Is that right?

Michael Hudson 27:46
Yes, but they went further. Protectionists in America said the way to minimise costs – and it may seem an oxymoron to you – the way you minimise costs is to have high-wage labour. You raise the wages of labour, or more specifically, you want to raise the living standards, because highly paid labour, highly educated labour, well fed labour, well rested labour is more productive than pauper labour. So they said explicitly, America’s going to be a high wage economy. We’re not like Europe. Our higher wages are going to provide high enough living standards to provide high labour productivity. And our higher labour productivity, shorter working day, better working conditions, healthy working conditions, public health, well educated labor will undersell that of countries that don’t have an active public sector.

Jonathan Brown 28:45
and Henry Ford being the poster boy for that approach, of doubling his employees’ salaries and so on.

Michael Hudson 28:53
Yes.

Jonathan Brown 28:54
Amazing.

<h4>The fight against classical economics and its concept of rent as unearned income</h4>
Michael Hudson 28:55
Needless to say, the fight for the kind of democracy that will free economies from economic rent was not easy. By the late 1880s, and especially the 1890s, you had the rentiers fighting back. In America the fight was led by John Bates Clark. There was a movement, which today is called neoliberalism, to deny the entire thrust of classical economics. Clarke said that there is no such thing is unearned income. That meant that economic rent does not exist. Whatever a businessman makes, he is said to earn. Whatever a landlord makes, he earns – so there was no unearned income.

This came to a head around 1890 the Journal of Ethics. Clark wrote the first essay, and it was refuted by Simon Patton. There was a fight against the concept of economic rent by academic economics, especially in New York City at Columbia University, where Clark ended up, This is really the dividing line: You recognise that much of the economy is unearned income and you want to get rid of it. To do that, you have to pass laws that will tax away the unearned income, or better yet, you put land and other natural resources and natural monopolies in the public domain where the public sector directly sets prices. That was what Teddy Roosevelt did with his trust busting.

Jonathan Brown 31:13
Michael, I just want to say reading your work is something of a revelation. I’ve got a degree in economics for what it’s worth. And I would say the only valuable thing that I found from a getting a degree in economics is that I know, resolutely when an economist is talking bullshit. How do you know that? It’s when his lips move.

Michael Hudson 31:32
If it’s an economist, they’re talking bullshit – let me make it easy, right!

Jonathan Brown 31:36
And then the thing is, that reading your work, for example, going back to Thorstein Veblen, his work, which only made it into the mainstream when I was getting a degree in the 90s, was conspicuous consumption. It had nothing to do with absentee landlords or, and the profound importance of that, and then I’m looking in J is for Junk Economics, and you talk about the free lunch, and how Milton Friedman said that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

When you look at your work, you prove that actually there is, and that he’s having it! And you say, “Most business ventures seek such free lunches not entailing actual work or real production costs, and to deter public regulation or higher taxation of rent-seeking recipients of free lunches. They have embraced Milton Friedman’s claim that there’s no such thing as a free lunch”.

And you talk about: “Even more aggressively rent extractors accused governments of taxing their income to subsidise freeloaders, pinning the label of free lunches on public welfare recipients, job programs, beneficiaries of higher minimum wage, when the actual antidote to free lunches is to make governments strong enough to tax economic rent, and keep the potential rent extracting opportunities and natural monopolies in the public domain.”

Michael Hudson 32:51
Veblen was indeed was the last great classical economist. He coined the term neoclassical economics. I think that’s an unfortunate term. When I went to school in my 20s, I thought neoclassical meant ‘Oh, it’s a new version of classical economics’. It’s not that at all. What Veblen meant was there used to be the old classical economics of Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and Marx, all about economic rent and exploitation. “Neo” means there’s a new body of completely different, post-classical economics aiming to make classical economics obsolete. That is the new mainstream economics of today, trying to make itself “classical.” So Veblen he should have used the terms post-classical or anti-classical economics.

Jonathan Brown 33:44
Or even pseudo classical?

Michael Hudson 33:49
It’s antithetical, because the root of classical value and price theory was to isolate and define economic rents statistically. To deny economic rent is to deny the whole point of classical value and price theory. That is where economics became untracked.

Unfortunately, it became untracked largely by Henry George, who rejected classical economics and very quickly followed J.B. Clark and accepted his mushy value and price theory. Removing all elements the cost of production from value theory, analysing prices simply in terms of consumer demand and what people want, and not analysing what determines land and other asset prices, loses focus.

George became very popular as a journalist. He wrote wonderful journalism to expose the railroads in California as landlords, and he wrote a wonderful book on the Irish land question. But when he tried to talk about the whole economy, he didn’t want any competition. He said, in effect, “Economics begins and ends with me. Forget everything, Adam Smith and classical economics.” He’s sort of an early Margaret Thatcher. There’s no such thing as society or the economy. Only “tax the landlords.”

Jonathan Brown 35:35
What are you doing? You’re destroying my view of Henry George! He’s an early Margaret Thatcher? How, how could that possibly be?

Michael Hudson 35:47
Well, in two ways. The first way is that in the 19th century, in order to tax the land rent, you had to take on the most powerful vested interests of all: the real estate interests and the financial interests. But Henry George was a libertarian. He was for small government. He broke with the socialists, because he warned that socialism had a potential for authoritarianism. Well, we know that he was right in that warning, because we saw what happened in Stalinist Russia. But obviously, what you want is a government that is strong and democratic, and with enough authority to tax and regulate the vested interests. (That term is Veblen’s, by the way.) That was the ideal in America, but it needed a strong enough government so that Teddy Roosevelt could come in and be able to bust the trusts.

The government was strong enough in 1913-14 to impose an American income tax that fell just on 1% of the population, almost entirely on economic rent, on land rent, mineral rent on monopoly rent of the big corporations. If you’re a libertarian, your government is too small to take on these vested interests. And you’ll never win. You’ll end up like the Social Democrats or like today’s Labour Party under Mr. Starmer, not able to be very efficient. So that was George’s first problem.

The second problem was when he said that all you have to do is tax the land and everything else will take care of itself. Well, as you know, he was nominated as a celebrity candidate by the socialist and labour groups in New York City in 1876 to run for mayor. They gave him their programme – safe housing, workers housing, safe working conditions, food laws that protect people from poison, like you don’t want to use chromium for cake frosting to make it yellow.
Well, George threw out the whole labour programme and said that there’s only one thing that mattered: If you tax the land rent, the cakes will take care of themselves, worker safety conditions will take care of themselves. You don’t need socialism; just tax land rent.

Well, the word “panacea” came into popular use in the English language at that time, because George didn’t see the economy as a whole. That was a tragedy. He was great as a journalist describing rent and the machinations of the railroads. But once he tried to talk about the economy, without really describing how it worked as a system, saying there really isn’t any economic system, it’s just about land rent. That separated him from the other reformers.

By the 1890s you had many of reformers in America, who had been inspired by George’s journalism in the 70s and early 80s, including attacks on the oil monopoly and the Rockefellers. They asked what happened to George? Well, he became a sectarian. He formed his own party and said, we’re only going to talk about land rent. This diverted attention away from how the overall economy works. And if you don’t understand how the economy is all about providing a free lunch in one way or another, not only to landlords but to the financial sector primarily, then you’re really not going to address the interests of most of the population.

So his sectarian party shrank. Still, in the first decade of the 20th century you had followers of Henry George and socialists going around the country debating each other. They had great debates, they spelled out the whole problem. I wanted to reprint all these debates somewhere, what both the socialists and the Georgists said: “One thing we can agree on is that society is going to get go either your way or our way. We’re talking about how is the future of the political system and the economic relations and taxes that follow from this system. How are they going to evolve?”

The socialists focused on labour’s working conditions, because these were getting worse and worse. In America the fight for labour unionisation got quite violent, and corrupt. The abuse of consumers, the growth of monopolies, all these were growing problems. The socialists focused on these problems – and decided to leave the discussion of rent to followers of George. I think that was very unfortunate, because George had pried the discussion of economic rent away from the classical value theory and its political dimension, which was socialist.

I find little interest in today’s socialist movement or the socialist movement 50 years ago about land rent. They are more concerned about international issues, about war, about almost everything except land rent. And today I find the greatest interest in rent theory as a guide to a tax system in the context of an overall economic system to be in China. So that’s really where the debate over how to keep the price of housing down by keeping the financial sector from trying to capitalise the land rent into a bank loan.

That’s a big fight in China today. It should have been also in Russia. Fred Harrison, in the early 1990s, brought a group of people including me over to Russia. We made two trips to the Duma and did everything we could to explain that Russia could have a great advantage to rebuild its industry into a productive economy. The first thing that it should have done was to keep housing prices down. It could have given everybody their houses, free and clear, without any debt. Of course, some places would be more valuable than others, but Russia would have had the lowest-priced economy in the world. In America, the rent can take up to 43% of a home buyer’s income.

Well, there was pushback from the Russians. They had no rent in a socialist economy. Ted Gwartney, an American real estate appraiser, walked down the streets of St. Petersburg with the local mayor, I think on a fall or winter days. He pointed out that one side of the street was very sunny. The other street was in the shade. That’s how the sun is in the northern latitudes in the winter. Most people were walking on the sunny side of the street. That means that if you’re going to have a store, whether it’s a bakery, a food store or a restaurant, the store on the sunny side of the street is going to be able to attract more customers. Their site has more economic rent than the dark side of the street. Same thing with buildings near a subway. They will be worth more than sites far away from transportation.

The mayor said understood the point, and asked how to actually make a land value tax so to collect this rent? Ted explained that St. Petersburg’s layout was much like that of Boston, where a land map was easy to make. It showed that there was a peak centre of values near the subway, with rents tapering off further away. He suggested to apply Boston as a scale model to St. Petersburg. Just plug in a few prices, and you have a land-valuation map.

Russia could have been a low-cost economy. It could have kept the oil and gas, Yukos, GazProm, nickel and platinum resources all in the public domain to finance investment in re-industrialization, to become independent of the West. But as we all know, Ted and the people that Fred Harrison bought were completely overwhelmed by the billions of dollars that U.S. diplomats spent on promoting kleptocracy and shock therapy in Russia. Its officials and insiders worked for themselves, not Russia.

And it wasn’t only Russia that missed opportunities. I brought Ted Gwartney and his mathematical model-maker to Latvia, where I was Economic Research Director of the Riga Graduate School of Law. I was asked by the leading political party of Latvia, the Centre Party – basically the party of Russian speakers, with 1/3 of the population and votes – to draw up a model for how Latvia could restructure its post-Soviet economy and industry. Ted met with the tax authorities and housing authorities and explained how to use land rent as the tax base. They were amazed and said, “This is great. We can hire a separate appraiser for every single building. This will create a lot of employment”. No he said. He had been the appraiser for Greenwich, Connecticut, the state’s wealthiest city. He said, “We can do a whole city in about one week.” They couldn’t believe this in Latvia.

Around the time of his visit there was a meeting in Boston of the Eastern Economics Association. It was largely created by John Kenneth Galbraith to go off the economic mainstream. I think the Schalkenbach Foundation had a session on political critics of Henry George, so there were a lot of Georgists. Other people who came to the Eastern Economic Association meeting were socialists, including Alan Freeman who was the assistant to Ken Livingston, the Mayor of London.

When everybody was having lunch after the economic meetings, I brought Alan over to sit down with Ted Gwartney. Ted explained what he did, and Alan said, “Oh, I’ve never heard of this! I’ve got to come and meet you some more.’ So he came to New York and we went up to visit Ted in Connecticut. He explained how to make a land value map. Alan said, “You should win the Nobel Prize for this! This is amazing! There’s nothing like this in England.”

Ted explained that there are about 20,000 appraisers in America that do what he did. There are abundant statistics. Every city has a map of land and building appraisals: here’s the value of the building, here’s the value of the land. So smoothing out a land value map is pretty easy to do. Alan could hardly believe it.

Well, I went back to London shortly and met with Alan. It turned out that political pressures in England, especially from the Labour Party, led London to hire Weatheralls, a real estate company, do appraisals. So we never got to do our version of a real estate appraisal of London to calculate land rent.

But this is what all of the theories of the Physiocrats, Adam Smith, Ricardo, John Stuart Mill, Marx, Veblen, Alfred Marshall, all of them were focusing on. Yet this idea is so alien that from London to St. Petersburg, they don’t have any idea of how the simple concept can be done. The economics profession is in denial. It’s followed the idea that there’s no such thing as unearned income, everybody gets what they make.

The National Income and Product Accounts treat rent as a product, not a subtrahend
A byproduct of this value-free doctrine is how countries calculate their national income and product accounts. And if you look at the GDP accounts for the United States (and I’ve published a number of articles on my website and in major economic journals), rent is counted as part of GDP.

This is easiest to see in real estate and finance. The Bureau of Labor Statistics sends its employees around to ask homeowners what the rental income of their home would be if they had to rent it. If you were a landlord and rented yourself how much rent would that be? This appears in the NIPA statistics as “homeowners imputed rent.” That’s 8% of GDP. But it is not really income, because it is not actually paid. Nobody gets it. But value-free designers of GDP want to describe all of the income that landlords make as contributing to GDP. They say that landlords provide a productive service, they provide housing to people who need it, and they provide commercial properties to businesses that need it. Well, that’s not exactly how John Stuart Mill put it. He said that rent is what landlords make ‘in their sleep’. So how can you rationalize how productive landlords are?

Another element of American GDP is financial services. I called up the Commerce Department where they make the NIPA statistics and asked what happens when credit card companies increase their interest charges. And where do penalty charges for late payments appear? Credit card companies in America make billions of dollars in interest a year and even more billions in fees, late fees and penalties. Most of the income that credit card companies make are actually on these fees and penalties. So where does that appear in that GDP? I was told, in “financial services.’ So the “service” of calculating how far the debtors must pay for falling behind in their payments. They typical charge 29%. That’s all counted as a contribution to GDP. But in reality it is a subtrahend, leaving less to spend on real “product.”

This raises the question of just what income and product actually mean. Well, this brings us back to what classical economics is all about. The “product” should be measured by what its actual necessary cost of production is. But there’s a lot of income over and above this necessary cost of production. Namely, economic rent, that’s unearned income. But the income and product accounts don’t say how much is “earned” and how much is “unearned” land rent, monopoly rent, natural resource rent, interest and financial charges.

A classical economic accounting format would show how much of the prices for what our society produces is actually necessary, and how much is a subtrahend. Classical economists treat the land rent that you pay, interest charges and monopoly prices as a rake-off. So not all of your income is income equals “product,” because only a portion of that income represents a real product.

In America, the head of Goldman Sachs a few years ago said Goldman Sachs partners – a financial management firm – make more money than almost anyone else in America, because they’re the most productive. If you make a lot of money, by definition, you make it by being productive. That’s the false identity.

Jonathan Brown 55:25
That’s really the John Bates Clark idea that if you make the money, you’ve earned it. And it’s not just because you control the gate. You’re the gatekeeper, to stop people and make them pay the toll. You’re the troll under the bridge, taking people’s money as they cross, which is essentially what financial economics is about.

Michael Hudson 55:48
Right. I have spoken with a number of political advisors, many of whom were followers of Henry George. They’ve described to me how political all of this definition of the economy is. A number of friends of mine have been trying to show how much of what the United Nations calculates as income and product is actually economic rent. Steve Keen, Dirk Bezemer and Jacob Assa are in this group. There are a number of others who do it. We publish in places like the Review of Keynesian Economics, Journal of Economic Issues and other not-mainstream journals. A lot of this was taught where I was a professor for decades, at the University of Missouri in Kansas City.

Our graduates had problems getting jobs, because in order to get an appointment at a university, you have to publish articles in prestige journals. The University of Chicago, the Milton Friedman boys, the Chicago Boys control the editorial boards of all these prestige magazines, just like they control the Nobel Economics Prize Committee. The prize basically is given to Chicago Boys every year for not explaining how the economy works.

A precondition for what you call an economist, especially a Nobel Prize winning economist, is not to understand how the economy works. Because if you understand that, you’re going to threaten the vested interests that are getting the free lunch. You have to say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, everybody earns whatever they can get. Robbers and criminals like that idea. “Yeah, we stole it fair and square!”

Crime pays, and rent seeking also pays.

You can get much more money quicker by extractive means – by rent extraction – than you can by investing in plant and equipment and developing products and marketing them and making a profit over time, and spending on research and development. That’s why in today’s United States, 92% of corporate revenue, called earnings, (although not all of it is earned – that’s a euphemism) is spent on stock buybacks and dividend payouts, not on new capital investment.

So the way that the economy works today is no longer industrial capitalism; it is finance capitalism. Instead of Industrial Engineering, making society produce more with all of the environmental protection cost included, you have financial engineering, making wealth by increasing stock-market prices. Wealth is not achieved by earning it. You don’t save up your earnings and get wealthy. I think half of Americans are unable to raise $400 In an emergency. They have no savings at all.

For most people it’s very hard to save up money, especially if they have student debt, credit-card debt, medical debt and mortgage debt. After paying this, there’s really no income left to be saved. So you have the 1% of society, the rentier portion that had to pay income tax back in 1914, getting huge amounts of income and the rest of the society getting less and less. The result is economic polarisation. The dynamics of society are financial and basically rely on rent seeking that has been financialized.

I’ll give you another example of the GDP. One of the problems that makes GDP statistics meaningless is depreciation, the idea that buildings depreciate. When Ronald Reagan came in, the real estate interests and their banks basically took over the government. Henry George and the Libertarians oppose central planning by elected democratic governments, and that leaves central planning to Wall Street’s financial interests. Every economy is planned, and if you don’t have a government strong enough to do the planning, then the planning is done by the financial sector and the real estate sector, and they were given free rein under Ronald Reagan.

Under Reagan’s 1981 tax “reform” you could pretend that if you buy a big commercial building, you can write off 1/7 of the entire costs every single year as tax deductible income. At the end of seven years, you change your ownership from one name to another name, and you start all over again. The same building can be re depreciated again and again and again.

Donald Trump wrote in his autobiography, he loves depreciation, because he said thanks to the pretence of depreciation, his buildings are all going up in value, but he gets to pretend they’re falling, and deduct all of that fictitious over-depreciation from his taxable income. It’s actually economic rent. But if you look at the national income statistics, you can’t find economic rent in them at all. I was able to piece it together by adding up what goes into economic rent: Real estate taxes are part of economic rent, and also interest payments, because interest is paid out of economic rent. But fictitious depreciation tax loopholes also should be there.

But nowhere in the national income statistics is a report of how much income real estate owners actually claim as depreciation. They haven’t done that because if they showed this, people would think, ‘Wait a minute, this is a giveaway. This is utterly unrealistic.” So they only put in a figure for how much they [think] buildings are actually depreciating over a period of decades. So you have a fictitious national income accounting format that makes it impossible to calculate what land rent is – and that was the major focus of classical economics.

How are you going to get a statistical system that actually reflects this? Well, one associate of mine, Jacob Assa, has written a few books on this criticising economic rent. He worked in the United Nations here in New York until quite recently. But as I said, our graduates can’t publish in the University of Chicago economic journals whose party line is that ‘there’s no such thing as economic rent’, just like there’s no such thing as society is beyond “the market.”

I wanted to publish statistics on this and in 1994 the Henry George School in New York asked me to calculate what rent was and the land value. I found out that the value of land, the market price of land in the United States was twice what the government reported.

The government pretends that real estate prices rise mainly because buildings keep growing in value, even though they’re supposed to depreciate. They pretend that buildings grow in value by taking the original cost of the building, and multiplying it by the Construction Price Index. Whatever is left is reported as land value. Well, in 1994 the Federal Reserve reported that the land value of all of the commercially owned real estate in the United States was negative $4 billion. This is crazy.

The statistics are drawn up by a methodology that the real estate interests lobbied for. When I calculated this, the Georgists in America got furious. They said that I was showing that land value and rents were much higher than they thought. They worried that this might lead people to want to tax real estate. Lowell Harriss of Schalkenbach explained that Georgists today represent mainly real estate developers, and that their major audience was local mayors, whose biggest campaign funders are the real estate interest.

These Georgists called themselves “two raters,” wanting to keep overall real estate taxes unchanged (“revenue-neutral”) but shift the tax from commercial landlords onto homeowners by taxing land, not buildings – e.g., electric utilities, office buildings and other capital-intensive structures.

By representing the developers, Georgists proposed to save society by having the developers build up those slums, build up those vacant lots. Like George, they said that there was no need to worry about ecology or any problem except cutting property taxes for large real estate owners. You don’t need to worry about workers conditions or anything else. Let’s just give an economic incentive (i.e., a tax cut) to help contractors build up those vacant lots.

I was told if I published a new explanation of my statistics showing that most rent was paid out as interest, I could never have any relations with Schalkenbach and the Henry George school again. So I published them in a Harper’s Magazine cover story and have lived happily ever after.

Jonathan Brown 1:06:13
And was that “The New Road to Serfdom”?

Michael Hudson 1:06:22
Yes. I chose that title because the purpose of industrial capitalism was to free economies from the legacy of feudalism. And the legacy of feudalism was the landlord-warrior class collecting hereditary rent and the predatory banks that were not making loans for industry. None of the industrialists got their money to invest in banks. The inventors of the steam engine couldn’t get loans except by mortgaging their houses. Banks don’t lend money to create capital, only for the right to foreclose on it.

Jonathan Brown 1:07:02
This is all included in your in your latest book that just came out, The Destiny of Civilization: Finance Capitalism, Industrial capitalism, or Socialism, which I gather was a series of lectures to a Chinese University. Is that correct?

Michael Hudson 1:07:16
Yes. There were 160,000 viewers for the first lecture, and there’s a huge interest in this in China, because they realise that higher housing prices make them poorer and more highly indebted, not richer. What is pushing up housing prices in China is the amount of credit that banks will lend against the property.

A land tax would keep housing prices down, because the rent could not be available, to be capitalized into a bank loan. As China gets more productive and more prosperous, people obviously are going to be able to afford housing, which is how most people define their status. If a site gets more valuable because of public investment in transportation, or schools or parks nearby, that’s going to make it more valuable. But if you tax this rental income, then you’re going to keep the housing price down.

I think Fred Harrison and Don Riley wrote a book Taken for a Ride where they show that the money that London spent on extending the Jubilee Line increased real estate prices by twice as much as the line cost. London could have simply collected the land’s increase in rental value that this public investment created and made it self-financing.

Instead it was a giveaway.

They ended up taxing labour and business, and the effect was to increase Britain’s cost of living and hence the cost of production, which is why Britain is de-industrialising. It’s been de-industrialising because despite the attempts through 1909 and 1911, to free itself from landlordism, the bankers have taken the place of the landlords. They are the class today that the landlords were in the 19th century. So we’re back on the revival of what really was feudalism – a rake-off by a hereditary privileged class.

America’s monetary imperialism coming to an end with de-dollarization
Jonathan Brown 1:09:47

I’m wondering where we go next. I want to get into the conversations that you started with the 1972 first edition of Super Imperialism. I know we had a third edition fairly recently, with your prescience of the predictions in analyzing the situation for America, and how the balance of payments deficit was a result of U.S. expenditure by the military. Getting into the current manifestation of the de-dollarization challenge that seems to be accelerating through the Ukraine and Russia crisis, I wonder what background we need to give the listeners just to tell them about how that system works.

Michael Hudson 1:10:39
One of the things that most people don’t understand is money, largely because of the academic discussion confusing matters. Until 1971, countries running a balance of payments deficit would have to settle it either in gold or by selling off their industry to investors in the payments-surplus countries. Well, beginning with the war in Korea in 1950-1951, the U.S. balance of payments moved into deficit. The entire U.S. balance of payments deficit from the Korean War to the 1970s was a result of its foreign military spending.

By the time the Vietnam war was ending, the Americans had to sell its gold every month. Vietnam had been a French colony, so the banks there were French. As America spent more dollars in Southeast Asia, these dollars were sent from local French bank branches to their head offices in Paris. The Paris bank would turn over these dollars to the central bank for francs, and the central bank, under General de Gaulle, would cash in these dollars for gold.

Germany was doing the same thing, using its export proceeds that were paid in dollars to buy gold. So America’s gold stock was steadily going down, until finally it had to withdraw from the London Gold pool and stop making the dollar gold convertible. Back in 1950 when the Korean War began, the American Treasury had 75% of the world’s monetary gold. It had used this monetary power to control diplomacy in other countries. The basis of America’s political power was its gold stock.

Once they left the gold-exchange standard there was hand wringing. How was the United States going to dominate the world if it didn’t have gold anymore, if the military spending abroad had made it run out of gold? My Super Imperialism pointed out that henceforth when foreign central banks got more dollars, what were they going to use them for? Well, there’s only one thing that central banks at that time did: That was to buy government securities. So the central banks of France, Germany and other payment-surplus countries had little option except to buy U.S. Treasury bills and bonds. Some of these were special non-marketable bonds that they couldn’t sell, but they were stores of value.

So the money that America was spending abroad was simply recycled to the United States. It didn’t mean that America had to devalue the dollar through running a balance-of-payments deficit, like today’s Global South countries do, or do as England had to do with its’ stop-go policies, always raising interest rates to borrow when its deficits threatened to force the pound sterling to depreciate.

Jonathan Brown 1:13:57
Michael, this insight was that was that when you were working at Chase Manhattan, and you were advising the State Department on what to do with the fact that they were having these balance of payments problem, because of military spending?

Michael Hudson 1:14:07
My job at Chase was to analyse basically the balance of payments of Third World countries and then of the oil industry. I had to develop an accounting format to find how much does the oil industry actually makes in the rest of the world. I had to calculate natural-resource rent, and how large it was. I did that from 1964 till October 1967. Then I had to quit to finish my dissertation to get the PhD. And then I developed the system of balance-of-payments analysis that actually was the way it had been calculated before GDP analysis.

I went to work for Arthur Andersen and spent a year calculating the whole U.S. balance of payments. That’s where I found that it was all military in character, and I began to write in popular magazines like Ramparts, warning that America’s foreign wars were forcing it to run out of gold. That was the price that America was paying for its military spending abroad.

I realised as soon as it went off gold in 1971 that America now had a cost-free means of military spending. Suppose you were to go to the grocery store and just pay in IOUs. You could just keep spending If you could convince the owner, the grocer to use the IOU to pay the farmers and the dairy people for their products. What if everybody else used these IOUs as money? You would continue to get your groceries for free.

That’s how the United States economy works under the dollar standard, at least until the present. This is what led China, Russia, Iran and other countries to say that they don’t want to keep giving America a free ride. These dollarized IOUs are being used to surround them of military bases, to overthrow them and to threaten to bomb them if we don’t do what American diplomats tell them to do.

That led already a few years ago to pressure to de-dollarize the world economy and make it multipolar, not simply an extension of the U.S. military, U.S. investors, mining and oil companies. The post-dollar aim was for other countries to keep their economic surplus among themselves to promote their own economic growth, instead of imposing IMF dictated austerity programmes to impose austerity so that they can pay foreign dollarized bondholders.

Just about everybody thought that it would take many years for China, Russia, Iran, India, Indonesia and other countries to get their act together and create an alternative. But this year the Biden administration itself destroyed America’s free ride for the dollar. First the United States grabbed Venezuela’s foreign exchange, then Biden grabbed all of the foreign exchange of Afghanistan, just confiscated it. And then a month ago he confiscated $300 billion of Russia’s foreign exchange reserves. He said, in effect, that we are the leading democracy in the world, and global democracy means that America’s military gets to appoint foreign presidents.

And so we don’t like the person you’ve voted in as president for Venezuela. We’re going to hire this little nitwit that we bought out, Juan Guaido, and appoint him president. To force you to accept this, we’re going to take away all of your gold reserves held in the Bank of England, and we’re going to give it to Mr. Guaido as our nominee for the bastion of democracy, to do what a democratic regime is supposed to do: hiring terrorist groups to kill all land reformers and labour leaders, to finance a neo-Nazi takeover like we did in Chile under Pinochet, and just like we’ve done in democratic Ukraine with our funding of neo-Nazis to fight against the Russians there.

This confiscation of foreign reserves and foreign money held in U.S. banks shocked the rest of the world. Nobody had believed that countries would actually grab other countries’ financial savings. If you go back to the wars in the 19th century, the Crimean War and others, countries would continue to pay their foreign debts.

All this was ended by President Biden rejecting the international rule of law. He said that “We have a ‘rules-based’ order, in which we can make up the rules. Number one, we are exempt from the rules. Only you have to follow them. Number two, the rules or whatever we say.” China, Russia and India would have taken years by themselves to denominate their trade in their own currencies. Biden’s money grab has impelled them to create a new economic order independently of the United States and Europe, whose euro and sterling are satellite currencies of the United States.

Jonathan Brown 1:19:54
So Michael, this is a crazy situation that we’ve got. Even If you have deposits in a bank, the deposits don’t really belong to you, but they used to be respected.

Michael Hudson 1:20:07
Well they belong to you, but they can be stolen.

Jonathan Brown 1:20:09
Yeah, but then they don’t belong to me, do they? They’re kind of mine, but not. Likewise, if I annoy the wrong person, I could have my car impounded, because I’ve just annoyed the local politician, which is essentially what’s happened to a Russian oligarch. Now, whether or not the oligarch deserved that $500 million yacht, obviously, they didn’t, but it was technically theirs. So what Americans are doing is showing that if you piss them off, they will take all your resources, which has happened in other countries, right? We’ve stolen it.

The British did that, right? We appropriated resources and stole resources from other nations. If you want the best example of that, you can just go into the very beautiful British Museum and see all the artefacts that we’ve appropriated, one of which was a Rosetta Stone, which I know you write about.

So we’ve got this situation now that the Americans have declared the most profound economic war on Russia, threatening China that we can do the same. China’s got trillions of U.S. dollars. And one of the things that I don’t quite understand, looking at your philosophy and Super Imperialism, was in demonstrating that the Americans can have a free lunch by getting people to buy U.S. Treasury bonds. How is it that the U.S. dollar has gone up against all currencies pretty much other than the rouble since declaring war in Ukraine?

Michael Hudson 1:21:43
Europe has committed economic suicide, United States offered its leaders a lot of money in their offshore accounts, and made sure that their kids got free education in the United States. But in return, they would have to represent the United States, not Germany, France or other countries. The Americans have been meddling in European politics for years. European politicians do not represent their own countries. They represent the American State Department and American diplomacy. And they were told to lock their countries into the U.S. economy.
For instance, European businesses had a hope that Americans really hated. The Europeans hoped that after 1991, now that communism was over, they could invest in Russia to make money. They could sell exports to Russia and make mutual gains from each other. But the Americans wanted to make all the money off Russia for themselves, mainly by using the kleptocrats they backed to sell the natural resources that they grabbed to U.S. investors. The Harvard Boys wanted to make sure that rent-yielding natural resources were given the kleptocrats – who could only make their money in hard currency by selling shares abroad in the assets they grabbed, keeping their payments in England or the United States.

So they’ve asked Europe not to buy Russian gas, but to spend seven times as much buying American liquefied natural gas, and spend $5 billion to build the ports to accept this gas – while going without gas for about three or four years…let their pipes freeze… stop making fertiliser… Don’t feed your land, we’ll take it on the chin for America. Your standard of living is going to have to drop by 20%, but it’s all for American democracy. And the European heads said that’s fine.

America said that you Europeans are bothering them by trying to stop global warming. That’s a direct attack on a major arm of U.S. diplomacy, the oil industry. American companies control almost all the world’s oil trade. It’s the highest rent-yielding sector in the world. And it’s income-tax free. It’s politically powerful, and as long as America can control the oil trade, it can talk to Latin American countries or African countries and say if they elect a leader that U.S. officials don’t like, it can impose sanctions and stop exporting oil to them to freeze them out. They won’t get fertilizer, so the U.S. can starve you out. It can put a sanction on their food trade. 

Agriculture is Americans biggest trade surplus.

Jonathan Brown 1:25:14
That’s what they’re doing with the conflict in Ukraine to Russia, and also China as well. Are there other major sources of grain, wheat and rice?

Michael Hudson 1:25:26
Yes. But President Biden has blamed Putin for creating a world food shortage and threatening to cause a famine, because Ukraine can’t export its grain. Ukraine, at American direction, has put mines all over the Black Sea. So the Black Sea’s ports have mines around them. If a ship hits them, it’ll blow a hole in the hull and will sink.
As a result, if you’re a shipping company and want to transport grain, you have to get insurance, because if you don’t have insurance, then you’re in danger of going bust if your ship goes under. But no insurance company will insure it until the Ukrainians remove the mines that they put. You need minesweepers for that. Needless to say, Russia doesn’t want American minesweepers in, because they may very well attack as there’s a war on.

So you have the United States blocking Ukrainian grain exports, which was a huge export. You’ve had the American dollar area, the NATO countries, refusing to import food from Russia, which is the world’s largest agricultural exporter. This is creating a crisis for Global South countries, for Latin America and Africa.

Meanwhile, global warming is causing droughts that are reducing the harvest. The Green Party in Germany has a pro-war policy that is making global warming rise faster. By supporting military warfare against Russia, and U.S. military adventurism in general, they are becoming major lobbyists for the air polluters. The largest air polluter is the American military. The Green Party in Germany advocates fighting Russia more, providing it with more arms, and thus supporting the military that is now the largest new contributor to global warming. In effect, this means that Europe is willing to say, ‘Okay, we are willing to have the sea levels rise another 10 feet, as long as we can help America dominate Russia’.

Europe even is letting America keep the Trump tariffs on its exports, in place, so it can’t export more for America. It looks like Europe will have to de-industrialize, maybe we’ll go back to the 19th century and become a country of farmers. That basically is the situation that its subservience is imposing.

Jonathan Brown 1:28:49
I’d like to come back to the just what China and Russia can do, given their reserves. They understand they’ve got… they’ve got lots of reserves of gold, and also large grain stores, China having the most as I understand it, but can you help me understand why all these nations around the world have U.S. dollar reserves in some form or other, most of it in bonds? Why is the dollar still increasing at this moment in time?

Michael Hudson 1:29:28
Because the Euro was going down. The Japanese Yen is going down. The Yen is the worst performing currency, because they’ve held their interest rates very low. Their aim is for banks to make money by borrowing low at low rates and lending to foreign countries at a higher rate. Europe is also keeping its interest rates low. The American Federal Reserve is raising the interest rate, and that is money from low interest rate countries. Capital from Europe and Japan is flowing to America.

Currency values are primarily set by relative interest rates and capital flows. They’re not set by the cost of production for imports and exports. They are not caused by trade, unless there’s a radical breakdown of trade. All these zigzags that you see are short-term capital movements. America tells other countries to keep their interest rates low, so that money will flow from their banks and financial to the United States to buy American securities that yield higher returns. As long as the Euro is a satellite currency to the dollar, it’s going to continue to go down. So the both the euro and the British Sterling are now moving towards $1 per pound and $1 per euro.

Jonathan Brown 1:28:49
That’s a short-term measure. The long-term measure is that countries have to start selling the bonds that they’ve got in U.S. currency. So long term, it has to come down. Is that right?

Michael Hudson 1:29:28
Yes. They’re going to hold each other’s currencies. Especially now that Russia is denominating its exports, in roubles instead of dollars. The American banks have lost the trade financing of the world oil trade, certainly Russian oil and agricultural trade. Instead of holding dollars, countries will hold rouble reserves to stabilise their currencies via the rouble, China is holding rouble reserves, and Russia is holding Chinese yuan reserves.

The balance will be held more in gold and some kind of assets without a liability attached to them. I think the logical direction in which this is moving is that the non-dollar countries will create their own version of the International Monetary Fund, their own World Bank, their own trade organization. So there will be one set of trade and financial and development organisations and military organisations in the U.S. and Europe, in NATO, that is, in the white countries, and another set of relations and the non-white countries that are actually developing while America and Europe shrink.

Jonathan Brown 1:33:06
So what’s your idea of how much gold China actually holds, because there’s the published numbers [which] are really extraordinarily small aren’t they for an economy that’s so big.

Michael Hudson 1:33:18
I don’t know. Governments can hold gold not only through their own treasury, but through some subordinate agency. I no longer go into the financial statistics like I used to, because it takes a whole year to do a balance sheet that is comprehensive. All I know is that they saw how America simply grabbed Russia’s dollar holdings, and they don’t want the same thing done to them. President Biden has said China is America’s number one long-term enemy, and he wants to destroy the Russian economy first and then attack China after prying them apart.

Obviously, China is reading the newspapers and wants to avoid that fate.

Jonathan Brown 1:34:16
The other thing that I find utterly remarkable, for example, is that Biden in his speech said that he wants to get rid of Putin. I think if it was a U.S. Defence Secretary or Secretary of State saying that he wants to arm Taiwan……. If I ran China and I said I want to arm Mexico, or if anyone in South America wants any weapons then my doors open to you, I would expect the Americans to be very upset with that because I’m breaching the Monroe Doctrine. Can you help me understand, having been in the corridors of power, whether Chase Manhattan or the contacts you’ve got, how can …. how can politicians be so delusional to think they can say stuff like that without having a negative consequence?

Michael Hudson 1:35:18
Well you know who’s really upset by that? The Taiwanese! They say, Oh, they want to make Taiwan into another Ukraine, to fight to the last Taiwanese, just like the Ukrainians have been used. They see two choices before them. If they do arm and get weapons that can hit China, then China is likely to bomb them. On the other hand, I’ve met Taiwanese officials for 40 years, and many have said that their long-term hope is to be reintegrated. They want to be investors in China, but they want to merger under terms where they can be sort of like Hong Kong, able to have a merger that will make them prosperous too.

So Taiwan’s choice is between following the Americans and becoming the Ukraine of the Pacific, or joining with China. Given the fact that China is growing and America is shrinking, what are they going to choose? Well, I would imagine that you will see a strong, peaceful integrationist movement with China. But China remembers that Chiang Kai Shek massacred the communists in 1927.

Jonathan Brown 1:36:47
So what are we looking at then, who is in charge, President Biden or other people?

Michael Hudson 1:36:56
President Biden is a front man. They’re all the front men for the faceless people in the State Department, the neocons who are controlling things. Biden has always been right-wing, just a corrupt party politician. He does what he’s paid to do. He’s unimaginative. He’s brought in some real Russia haters – people who have a visceral hatred of Russia because of their family background under the tsars or under Stalin. Blinken said that his family was Jewish and lost under the tsars, and maybe under Stalin. He wants to kill Russians because he’s so angry at what they did to his ancestors. That is the neocon mentality in a nutshell. It’s a crazy mentality.

The Federal Reserve and the Treasury officials say they were not consulted in the political moves that Biden and Blinken and the neocons are making. There is the kind of single-minded tunnel vision at work. They really are Russia haters and China haters. There is a lot of racism you’re seeing in New York, where it’s very dangerous for Asian women to take a subway. Almost every week, the lead news item is yet another Asian woman attacked or pushed in front of a subway. There’s a there’s a new race hatred in America. And they are treating Russians as the Ukrainians do, as if Slavic speaking people are a separate race.

Jonathan Brown 1:38:49
Extraordinary. So Super Imperialism came out, as I understand it, and was used by the State Department to figure out how to continue running their economics …

Michael Hudson 1:39:04
At first U.S. officials thought that going off gold was going to be a disaster. Herman Khan told me, “You’ve shown that we’ve run rings around the British Empire.” He hired me for the Hudson Institute, which is a national security institute, and brought me to the State Department for meetings and to Army War colleges and Air Force war colleges to talk about it. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the main people who wanted to learn how imperialism works were the imperialists themselves. I had thought that the anti-imperialists were going to be my main audience, but the imperialists really needed to know what was new.

Jonathan Brown 1:39:50
They took your book, Super Imperialism and they read it as a love letter, right.

Michael Hudson 1:39:56
Not a love letter. They saw it as a “how to do it” book. I was a technician.

Jonathan Brown 1:40:04
Right. And working for Herman Kahn, he’s a powerful guy that people don’t talk about so much anymore, but he was, he was extraordinarily influential at the time, right?

Michael Hudson 1:40:14
Yes, he had a great sense of humour. He was a great speaker. He was absolutely brilliant. He wrote a book on thermonuclear war, saying that even if there were to be a war, somebody would be left to survive. That made him one of the models for Dr. Strangelove in the movies. I would sit and hear Herman talk about military strategy, and was awed by how he thought it all through. He was a brilliant military tactician. He would bring me and sit down with generals, and they would explain things. I don’t have a good military sense, or any military training at all. He wrote that, personally, he wanted to be right under the first hydrogen bomb. He didn’t want to live in the post-nuclear world. But there would be some survivors somewhere. That made him notorious. He was so reviled for even having brought up discussion of the topic that needed to be discussed, that he wanted to have ideas that people liked. And that was the corporate environment study. That was what I was pretty much in charge of. I was the economist, he was the military. We had the same salary there.

We would go around the world disagreeing with each other. It would be like a show. He’d talk about the world being a cup half full. I talked about the cup being half-empty, as he put it. I talked about the debt overhead, and how debt was growing and would ultimately stifle the economy. He talked about how productivity would be sufficient to pay debt, although productivity doesn’t necessarily give you the money to pay the debt. Productivity does not grows exponentially, but tapers off. As debt grows, any rate of interest is a doubling time. And it doubles quicker than the economy can double.

Jonathan Brown 1:42:24
And this is really coming back to one of your initial questions from Terrence McCarthy, which was to focus on productivity, wasn’t it?

Michael Hudson 1:42:33
Yes. And the idea was focusing on productivity, you realise that it all comes down to labour ultimately. How do you make labour more productive? How do you make industry more productive? You get rid of what is unproductive – and the unproductive overhead is rent. So how much corporate spending is just plain overhead? How much is unnecessary for corporate industry to take place? That line of questioning brings you back into the classical economics.
Marx is really the last great classical economist who pushed it all to its logical end. His contribution was to explain that just as the landlord exploits by taking rent, the industrial capitalist exploits labour by charging more for the products of labour than it costs to hire labour to produce.

However, unlike the rentier, unlike the landlord, the capitalist uses this economic surplus value to expand production, to build yet more factories, to employ yet more labour. This is an expanding society, whereas the rent paid to landlords is a kind of exploitation that is pure overhead and shrinks industrial capitalism. That’s why Marx said that the political aim of industrial capitalism was to free society from the landlords, predatory bankers and monopolists. That’s why the Communist Manifesto‘s program begins with collecting rent for the public sector. You can tax the land as a transition to socialising it. That was the Communist Manifesto’s classical economics.

Jonathan Brown 1:44:26
You have these views, and yet you were still a valued member of the team at the Hudson Institute.

Michael Hudson 1:44:33
Yes, because I was explaining how the world worked. Herman and I disagreed so much, we were genuine friends. I liked him, and we couldn’t believe that the other would actually believe something so different. But we said okay, if the arguments that we’re having is the “big argument,” it’s going to determine where the economy is going. Either he’s right or I’m right.
This is like the debates between Henry George’s followers and the socialists in the early 1900s. It was going to be one world or another.

What is the key to analysing the economy? Is it to focus on rent and finance, or on technological potential? My point is that technological potential can be smothered by so much overhead paid to the rentier class via the FIRE sector – finance, insurance and real estate – that there’s no money left to invest, no income left for wage earners to spend on buying the goods and services that they produce.

Jonathan Brown 1:45:48
And yet the technology sector in my opinion is actually the new monopolist. Instead of having a competition, in that sense they’re the new landowners. So Google is a spectrum landowner. If I want to host these videos, then I’ve got to negotiate or accept the terms of the landowner YouTube. I’m posting them there, but I won’t be making any money on it. Because I’m one of the serfs on YouTube.

Michael Hudson 1:46:16
This is the problem that China is dealing with in its own way. What do you do when Jack Ma and other IT specialists end up as billionaires? Well, China did not have an anti-monopoly group. It let 100 flowers bloom and let billionaires develop, but would then have them transfer their money to the government in one way or another. They haven’t done this in the way that Western economies do, by an anti-monopoly tax, but by a political consensus way.

In countries like Russia, I’m trying to get them to formalise this into formally calculating the magnitude of economic trends. You want innovation to take place, you want people to make the fortune, but at a certain point they can’t somehow make so big a fortune that it ends up crashing the economy.

Jonathan Brown 1:47:37
But looking at your writing from the Byzantine times and the ancient Near East, is the importance of the leader of that particular economy or society to make sure that no one got so rich that they could overthrow the leader? Which is really what you’ve got with someone like Zuckerberg, the power that he was able to wield in the election, whether you agree with him or not, was extraordinary. And likewise, if you look at the fight that’s currently going on with Elon Musk and Twitter, is to recognise that actually we want, we want our people to own these resources that we pretend are private, but actually have tremendous social power.

Michael Hudson 1:48:24
Yes, they financialized politics in America, by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. Anyone can contribute as much as they want, if you’re a corporation. The rentier interests give to pro-rentier politicians to act as their puppets. The money goes for advertising airtime on television and the media to overwhelm all the people who normally would want to minimise the rentier class. So essentially, you’ve financialized politics in America much more than has occurred in Europe. But in Europe, it’s the right wingers who basically control the press, commercial television and media. So if the media are controlled by the right wing with their own agenda, they frame the economic issues from the vantage point of the rentier class instead of from the vantage point of how an economy actually develops and grows wealthier in a fair manner.

Jonathan Brown 1:49:48
I know we need to need to wrap up. Just thinking about the scenarios for Russia and China currently. Everybody who is part of the original white economies of Europe, realises that if they don’t side with America, they get overthrown. But also right now they have a short-term challenge that the Americans are going to let them starve because they’re stopping wheat exports coming through the European ports. But then you’ve also got Russia with resources, you’ve got China with grain resources.

So there is a potential that when people start to starve, and you look at the challenges in Sri Lanka, with politicians being murdered and people running out of food, there’s a chance for China to step in and say, we can send you grain exports. And by lucky coincidence, because of the all the lock downs that China’s got right now, a lot of the world’s boats and ships are currently waiting outside ports in China.

Michael Hudson 1:50:54
[Missing part here] Computer chips are part of the problem. And that’s probably going to make them friendlier with Taiwan. Taiwan has the computer chips.

Jonathan Brown 1:51:03
And by your assessment, because Taiwan do not want to be another Ukraine, American actions are likely to accelerate the reintegration.

Michael Hudson 1:51:12
There’s a bell shaped curve, I haven’t met with the Taiwanese in quite a few years so I don’t know, up to date what the dynamic is. But just by logic, you can see the international environment in which they’re operating. You wonder how they are going to calculate the plusses and minuses of the U.S. versus China? What economy do they want to attach themselves to so that they can get richer fastest?

Jonathan Brown 1:51:46
And also stay safe and not get involved in unnecessary wars. When you look at the tragedy in Ukraine, all these people dying when you’ve got such a strong opponent in Russia, how can you go to war with them for any period of time?

Michael Hudson 1:52:07
Well, that’s what the world is divided into. The U.S. and European society is built on war. It’s the only foreign policy they have, because they don’t have an economic power anymore. They’ve de-industrialised and the rest of the world that is trying to industrialise and trying to feed itself. China, Russia, India, the Global South are the anti-war part of the world. So the world is dividing into two parts: a rentier part supporting finance capitalism [that] is trying to impose it on other countries, to financialize China and Russia to make them put a Margaret Thatcher or Boris Yeltsin in charge of China. While they try to put their own candidates in charge, a la General Pinochet, the rest of the world is trying to defend itself against this terrorism.

So the Western world that calls itself democracy is the terrorist military world. The nations that it calls authoritarian are any authority strong enough to control and tax the financial interests – that is, any government strong enough to regulate finance and real estate. Such an economy is by definition authoritarian as opposed to a democracy, where Wall Street and the financial centres are the democratically elected central planners. So what’s at issue is who’s going to plan society: the financial sector, or the people as in China and other countries.

Jonathan Brown 1:53:41
I think that says it. From a Western lens it’s a different type of democracy.

Michael Hudson 1:53:48
Yes. But democracy really means an economy run to benefit the great bulk of the population, who happen to be wage earners? Or is it going to be for the 1%? Is the economy run for on behalf of the 99% and the 1%? Well, the 99% need a strong government to run it in their own interests and cope with the counter-revolutionary policies, the neo-feudal rentier policies of the 1%.

Jonathan Brown 1:54:22
Okay, so knowing China, then your take on its zero-COVID policy that the authorities are implementing in some parts of the country?

Michael Hudson 1:54:32
The more I read about long COVID here, the worse it seems. I’m 83 years old, so my wife and I have not gone to a restaurant since 2020. We haven’t even gone to our friends’ houses for dinner. We’re isolating ourselves. China has isolated itself at great cost, but it saved the population not only from having COVID itself, but from having long COVID. There are now a million Americans with long COVID. They also say that long COVID lowers your, your IQ by 10%.

It’s almost as dangerous is inheriting a trust fund when it comes to impairing your IQ. It’s debilitating.

My webmaster in Australia and his family have COVID. So I’m very sympathetic with what China’s doing, even though it means that I can’t go there, because I’d have to be isolated in a hotel room for two weeks just to give a few days’ meeting – and then be isolated again when I come back. So China is making a huge effort not to sicken its population with COVID. And now of course, since the Russians have began to publish all their findings of the US bio-warfare labs in Ukraine that were designed to spread a COVID like diseases by migrating birds and bats and manmade aircraft over Russia.

Now, they’ve reopened the question ‘was COVID a US bio-warfare from the very beginning’? And the Chinese are looking at it and saying ‘was it engineered’? If the Americans are trying to engineer COVID to affect mainly Slavic population and their DNA signatures, could they have been doing the same thing against Asians? So all of this is suddenly opened up. The World Health Organisation has refused to divulge any of the USA biowarfare efforts, and the U.S. has stonewalled all efforts to find out about the bio-warfare. This is isolating America and Europe.

If American Europe is left with its current foreign policy, biowarfare and atomic bombs, NATO will be shunned by the civilised world. As Rosa Luxemburg said a century ago, the choice is between socialism or barbarism. NATO, Europe and America represent the new barbarism. The alternative is socialism. That is how the world seemed to be developing in Europe and America until World War I untracked everything. The rest of the world now has a chance to get back on track. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the West.

Jonathan Brown 1:57:47
Michael, as always, you always get more into your stuff than I expected. Are there any things that you’d like to say to our listeners, before we finish up,

Michael Hudson 1:57:56
I’ve probably said too much. And I hope you can edit out anything that’s embarrassing.

Jonathan Brown 1:58:01
I may get thrown off YouTube for publishing some of your comments. So you may have to go back and review a few of them. But as always, Michael, thanks so much your time what we’ll do is we’ll send a link to everybody for the website and also for the new book, as well which I think and those series of lectures when I was researching for this conversation were the single best economic lectures I’ve ever listened to – truly extraordinary levels of insight and real economics rather than theoretical or textbook stuff. So as always from ShepherdWalwyn, thanks so much for your time and for your contribution.

Michael Hudson 1:58:41
Well, if you transcribe it all in will be worth it. \

Jonathan Brown 1:58:45
That’s, that’s our promise 100%. So thanks very much.

Michael Hudson 2:00:05
Thanks a lot.

Pro-Ukrainian, but Anti-Nazi

June 17, 2022

Source

By Batiushka

I have noticed that there are a few reviewers of the Special Operation in the Ukraine who seem to support it only because they are racist, anti-Ukrainian. Let it be made clear that this is not the case of the overwhelming majority of its supporters. And it is certainly not the case of the vast majority of the Russian forces involved in the Operation. For example, if you watch videos of captured or active Ukrainian troops, they virtually all express themselves only in Russian. True, the former Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, did make some ambiguous remarks about certain Ukrainians, but he was not referring to all Ukrainians, as we explain below.

The fact is that Russians and Ukrainians are ethnically one, they are brothers and sisters, all East Slavs and also virtually all Orthodox Christians by culture. This is particularly why Russian forces are doing their utmost not to harm civilians or damage civilian infrastructure. That is why when Kiev troops are killed in action, Russians refer to them not as ‘Ukrainians’, but as ‘nationalists’, who are those to whom Dmitry Medvedev was referring in his remarks that the nationalists are ‘bastards and scum’. The Ukrainians are not the enemy, the enemy is the puppet regime in Kiev, its NATO string-pullers and its brainwashed nationalist/Nazi supporters.

President Putin explained from the very outset and very clearly that the US-created puppet regime in Kiev, with its Nazi/NATO/Zionist backers, is an Anti-Russia. It does not represent the mass of the Ukrainian people, so many of whom have close family in Russia, or now live in Russia, or are married to Russians, or who only speak Russian and not Ukrainian, or who are Russian by culture. The Kiev regime represents only the corrupted elite who choose its politicians and the brainwashed who supported them. We, on the other hand, are pro-Ukrainian, precisely because we are anti-Nazi/anti-NATO/anti-Zionist. We are pro-Ukrainian, life-affirming, not life-denying. We affirm Ukrainian families, not the Nazi-imposed LGBT. Similarly, we are pro-American, but anti-American elite. We want the American people and soul to be liberated from their brainwashing elite.

In the same way Russian soldiers in the First World War were not anti-German, but anti-Kaiser, and in the Second World War were not anti-German, but anti-Nazi. Accounts from the First War tell how Russian soldiers who had wounded advancing German troops in self-defence would crawl out of their trenches at risk to their own lives to pick the wounded up and carry them back for medical care. Many eyewitnesses from the Second War used to tell us how captured German soldiers were given crusts of bread by Russians, who themselves were virtually starving. On the Western side we can something similar portrayed in the well-known novel by Erich Maria Remarque, ‘Im Westen Nichts Neues’, ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’, or in poems by the English soldier Siegfried Sassoon.

We are very far from the racist mocking of other races by, for example, white US soldiers, who called their enemies ‘savages’, ‘redskins’ (the very word ‘redskin’ denotes the essential superficiality of the Nazi obsession with skin colour as a defining trait), ‘niggers’, ‘chinks’, ‘dagos’, ‘nips’, ‘gooks’ or mocked them as subhuman (a translation of the Nazi ‘Untermensch’), or monkeys. Who can forget how only a few years ago the American Secretary of Defense, Rumsfeld, called the French ‘cheese-eating surrender monkeys’, had French champagne poured into the New York sewers and launched a ‘Cancel France’ campaign. All this merely displays the utter ignorance and primitive arrogance of the users of such words.

‘Cancel everyone who does not agree with us’, or in the words of the remarkably limited Bush Junior: ‘You are either are with us or against us’. It reminds us that some of the first WASPS to arrive in North America were people who were so intolerant that they could no longer live in England side by side with others who had different views. So they chose to emigrate. Later they proved their intolerance by engaging in witch-hunts and burning innocent women to death. And most of them took part in the genocide of the native people whose land they had stolen and used black slaves. And this intolerance is what their descendants are still displaying today on their Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. ‘We cancel and exclude you and your account because you refuse to agree with us and our ‘superior’ (= Nazi) ‘intelligence’ (= stupidity).

The problem has never been one of Ukrainians. The problem has always been that of the spiritual disease of Nazism. And that is what it is – a spiritual disease. Once the soul of the Ukraine has been liberated from this disease, in other words, once it has been denazified, a New Ukraine will be born. It may well take the form of a Protectorate centred around Kiev and speak a mixture of Ukrainian with Russian and Surzhyk (Ukrainian Russian). It will have secure borders and its people will be patriotic Ukrainians, not in some racist way that denigrates others, but in a positive way that respects others. Once freed of parasitic oligarchs and corruption, the naturally rich New Ukraine could have a brilliant future and take a positive part in the Concert of the Nations.

Once it has been understood that there is no problem with the Ukraine or Ukrainians, but only with Nazism, there may take place other Special Operations in other parts of the world. China may soon launch an Operation in Taiwan to free the ethnic Chinese there from the Nazism of its US-appointed elite. As for Russia, it has not yet finished the job in the Ukraine, where the task is constantly being extended because the Nazi West keeps sending long-range missiles and artillery to Kiev. As long as these weapons are in use, firing on Donetsk or anywhere else in liberated territory, the war will be extended and continue. Russia may physically have to liberate the whole country, mobilising more forces beyond the small expeditionary force it originally sent.

And then if Western aggression continues, it may have to launch other operations in Moldova and the Baltics in order to liberate those peoples too from NATO Nazism, from their corrupt US-appointed elites and EU exploitation. It may have to rebuild them, so that their peoples, economic refugees from corruption living now in Western Europe, can gratefully come home. Beyond that, as regards Western Europe in general, it too will surely one day find itself liberated one way or another from transatlantic tyranny and threats, safe under the Russian security and nuclear umbrella. Someone must defend Western Europe from the threats which for the moment are still coming from outside Afro-Eurasia, which is 86% of the world. Only Russia can do that. Russian troops once liberated Berlin and Paris. Will it have to happen again and maybe this time be extended to include Rome, Madrid and London?

The Special Operation has never been only about the Ukraine. It has always been a proxy conflict on the territory claimed by the Kiev regime. In reality, it is an Operation to defeat Global Nazism – euphemistically called ‘Globalism’. This means defeating Nazism militarily, by destroying the Western-created Kiev regime forces and all the extra NATO weapons foolishly sent to the Ukraine; territorially, by liberating lands and peoples from the Nazi yoke; economically, by creating an alliance of friends among the huge populations of the new G8, of Russia, China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Iran, Turkey, Mexico, approaching 50% of the world’s population. This is called to replace the old, tired, narrow, US-manipulated G7, which represents scarcely 10% of the world’s population. And even the new G8 may yet be doubled to become a G16 to include other vital large countries, like Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Egypt, Vietnam and DR Congo. This would include 60% of the world’s population.

The great task before us is to rebalance the world to take account of its real peoples. As an example of the need to rebalance, over a century ago the Russian Prime Minister Count Piotr Stolypin, speaking of Tsar Nicholas’ ‘Great Asian Programme’ and its partial sabotage by the Western Powers through their Japanese puppet, said the following: ‘Our eagle is a legacy of New Rome…a two-headed eagle. Of course, our eagle is strong and powerful, but if you cut off one of our eagle’s heads, the one facing east, you will not turn him into a one-headed eagle facing west: It will only make him bleed to death’. However, NATO/Nazism has been doing precisely the opposite, trying to remake Russia in its own provincial image and so bleed it to death by cutting off one of its heads.

This is not going to happen, whatever the illusions that were fostered within the West during the treacherous Yeltsin regime in the distant and disastrous 1990s. We have moved on a generation, we are now well into the 21st century. Russia is now a restored Eurasian Superpower, its double-headed eagle looking East and West, and the Eurasian Heartland, with 70% of the world’s population and so many living ancient civilisations, is the present and the future of the whole world. Russia’s task is to bring the Non-Russian part of Europe, in the Western part of the European Peninsula, back into the Eurasian orbit, liberating that Western Peninsula from its colonial vassal status to the USA, denazifying and demilitarising it too.

For eight long years Western countries, dominated by the Nazi ideology of the ‘The West is Best’, together with US-backed separatists in Kiev, have been terrorising and murdering thousands of Ukrainians in the war in the Donbass. They have taunted the largest nation in the world, the Russian bear. For 23 years before that, they humiliated the Russian bear. Did they really think they could continue doing this to the restored bicontinental Superpower, with its profound cultural tradition and vast natural resources, without which Europe cannot live? It is so very sad to see how irresponsible Western leaders grasp so little of the consequences of their actions. Have they never heard the word ‘boomerang’?

At great cost Russia’s highly-professional, world-class-equipped and brilliantly-trained armies already liberated and saved Europe from forms of Nazism twice in the past, in 1814 and in 1945. This is the third time that the West has poked the bear. As soon as possible, you Western politicians had better stop sending lethal NATO arms to Nazis in the Ukraine, sue for peace and grant all that the Russian Federation and the Non-Nazi population of the Ukraine wishes. We are pro-Ukrainian, but we are anti-Nazi. You have been warned.

Sayyed Nasrallah: Were Hezbollah Ruling Lebanon, US Embassy in Beirut Would Never Intervene in Domestic Issues

March 8, 2022

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah stressed on Tuesday that trusting the promises of the US administration is matter of foolishness, urging the Lebanese officials to emancipate themselves from the US hegemony.

Addressing Hezbollah Wounded Fighter Day ceremony, Sayyed Nasrallah indicated that the US pressures on the Lebanese officials are preventing them from approving an agreement with a Russian oil firm.

Sayyed Nasrallah narrated that a Russian oil firm offered to build a refinery and provide the crude oil without costing the Lebanese government to pay fresh dollars, adding that the firm accepts the Lebanese national pound to be paid in return.

“The firm offered to refine 160,000 barrels of oil, or 200,000 barrels, through the large refinery. This would cover the Lebanese it needs. Lebanon would export oil derivatives, and the company sells the state in Lebanese pounds.”

His eminence clarified that such an agreement would enable Lebanon to cope with its power crisis and gasoline shortage, adding that the US embassy in Beirut has prevented the Lebanese officials from concluding the deal in order to avoid witnessing quarrels and brawls at gas stations.

Were Hezbollah ruling Lebanon, this agreement would have been concluded one year and a half ago, Sayyed Nasrallah confirmed.

In this regard, Sayyed Nasrallah urged Lebanese president and council of ministers to approve the agreement with the Russian firm, saying, “If you want to please USA, you must know that their demands are limitless.”

If you start submitting to the US dictates, you will not be able to stop, Sayyed Naasrallah addressed the Lebanese officials.

Sayyed Nasrallah called on the Lebanese officials to keep committed to freedom, independence, national interest and patriotism, adding that Lebanon has never benefited from the US false promises.

Sayyed Nasrallah noted that the US State Department has not yet provided Egypt and Jordan with any official waiver in order to allow the gas and power transaction to Lebanon to occur, adding that US ambassador to Lebanon power pledge was a mere false promise.

Sayyed Nasrallah called on the Lebanese officials to show the Americans that Lebanon can have several economic choices, in order to push them to make concessions or give alternatives, adding that Hezbollah accepts that oil firms invest in Lebanon oil sector if they manage to end  the crisis.

Tell the Americans that the Lebanese are not their slaves in order to preserve the national sovereignty, Sayyed Nasrallah addressed the Lebanese officials.

Providing another evidence that Hezbollah does not control the state in Lebanon, Sayyed Nasrallah highlighted the Lebanese official condemnation of Russian operation in Ukraine.

Sayyed Nasrallah pointed out that Lebanon should have refrained from voting for the UN denunciation of the Russian operation in Ukraine, adding that the Lebanese Foreign Ministry statement which denounced the Russian operation was drafted by the US embassy in Beirut.

Sayyed Nasrallah wondered how the neutrality proponents in Lebanon refrained from rejecting the Lebanese Foreign Ministry statement which involves Lebanon in a dispute with a great country, Russia.

Sayyed Nasrallah noted that all the neutrality calls on Lebanon were aimed at averting assuming the responsibilities towards the Palestinian cause, Syria, and Yemen in order to please the US administration.

“Hezbollah rejects neutrality, but why have neutrality proponents abandoned their principle in the case of the Ukrainian war?” Sayyed Nasrallah asked.

Hezbollah Secretary General underscored the US administration’s betrayal of the Ukrainian President, adding that Volodymyr Zelensky’s disappointment  about the West’s unkept promises of support in face of Russia is reflected in his readiness to compromise.

Sayyed Nasrallah indicated that trusting United States of America is matter of foolishness, stupidity, and ignorance, highlighting the moral fall of the West as reflected by the racial discrimination among the refugees in Ukraine.

Sayyed Nasrallah noted that US officials accuse Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine and disregard the American massacres in numerous countries, highlighting also the European crimes in Africa, the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the Saudi aggression on Yemen.

Sayyed Nasrallah added that the International community laments days-long siege on Ukrainian cities and disregards the Israeli blockade on Gaza as well as the Saudi blockade on Yemen.

Sayyed Nasrallah also noted that the international community resorted to silence about the US-fabricated suicide bombers’ crime of attacking a mosque in Pakistan last week.

His eminence also recalled how the US warplanes raided weddings in Afghanistan and claimed that the targets are military camps, highlighting the double-standards policy admitted by Washington.

In this regard, Sayyed Nasrallah highlighted the moral fall of the West reflected by the racial discrimination among the refugees in Ukraine.

Hezbollah Secretary General had first congratulated the faithful Muslims on the inception of Rajab Month, during which believers are supposed to prepare themselves spiritually to welcome the Holy Month of Ramadan, and the birthday of Imam Hussein (P), Al-Abbas bin Ali (P), Imam Ali bin Hussein (P).

Sayyed Nasrallah started his speech with a focus on the occasion of the Wounded Fighter Day,which falls on the birthday of Al-Abbas, the brother of third Shia Imam Hussein Bin Ali (P), highly appreciating their sacrifices for the sake of the nation.

We congregate here to express our pride of your sacrifices, struggle, steadfastness and patience, Sayyed Nasrallah said, highlighting the contribution of the wounded Resistance fighters to the victories and their repercussion on the whole national security and stability.

Sayyed Nasrallah underscored gratitude to the wounded Resistance fighters in the epoch of ungratefulness, hinting at those who forget the sacrifices of the wounded for the sake of the whole nation.

Sayyed Nasrallah also said that Imam Abbas, the role-model of the wounded Resistance fighters, was the patron who did not avert his responsibilities despite his injuries, adding that Imam Jaafar Al-Sadek (P) underscored Al-Abbas concentration on insight and firm faith.

In this regard, Sayyed Nasrallah highlighted the importance of insight which enables the person to know more about the conditions of his country and the whole region.

The ceremony was started with a recital of a number of Holy Coranic verses before one of the wounded Resistance fighters reiterated allegiance to Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

How Propaganda Shapes the Past, Present and Future

3 March 2022)

Lawrence Davidson is professor of history emeritus at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010.

An Analysis by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—George Orwell’s Insight

There is a famous quote from George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, that goes, “those who control the present control the past and those who control the past control the future.” This process is achieved by substituting propaganda for reality. In so doing, thinking is bound to present culturally acceptable storylines that support official views of the past and are designed to carry on into the future.

At the present moment in the United States, this is exemplified by popular responses to two crises. The first involves a majority of U.S. states that are seeking to use political power to control how their past is officially taught and interpreted. This is being done with the hope of forging a unified view among future citizenry—one that returns to perceptions of U.S history, race and gender characteristic of a time before the civil rights movement of the late 1950s and 1960s. This mindset accepts segregation and discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation and the like as reflections of acceptable traditional values.

The second crisis involves the revival of Cold War perceptions to shape the present and future U.S. public views concerning Russia and Ukraine. Here, the proffered story is of a bipolar world—one side, led by the United States, is allegedly a “free world” and the other side, led by Russia, is a hostile, dictatorial and expansionist world. These perceptions are characteristic of the time prior to 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union. It would seem this past point of view, like the domestic mindset mentioned above, never went away but only retreated. In this way, past manipulated mindsets reemerge into the present when circumstances are right, and threaten to ideologically skew the future.

Let’s examine these two crises beginning with the efforts of the American states.

Part II—On the Domestic Scene

A revealing Portside article of 14 February 2022 describes how 36 American states either have or are seeking to pass laws that censor the teaching of both local and national history so as to tell a traditional, Eurocentric story. This effort seeks to deny the demonstrable facts about the role racism has played in shaping social and economic development since the nation’s inception. Against this trend, 17 U.S. states have moved to officially expand their history and social studies curriculum to make it more racially and class inclusive.

We should state clearly that the teaching of such a culturally approved official history has always been pursued in the United States, and is indeed not just an American tactic. It is a ubiquitous practice in much of the world. As public education evolved in the American colonies during the 19th century, it had specific goals: (1) to make the young as literate and skilled as necessary for an evolving capitalist economy and (2) to teach political loyalty. If in this effort there was any reference to or concern for “the truth,” it was allegedly to be represented by the daily repetition of the Lord’s Prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.

In the case of the United States, this two-pronged purpose for public schools came to be safeguarded by indoctrinated citizens themselves sitting on state and local boards of education. It is they who began the censorship of school textbooks and libraries, minimizing uncomfortable and “divisive” topics such as slavery, lynching, systematic discrimination against non-white peoples, the genocidal attack on native peoples, and the history of labor struggles and unionization. The success of this censored teaching is the reason the history of non-white Americans is so often left out of the curriculum.

It has only been in the last fifty or so years, beginning with the civil rights movement, that this treatment of U.S. history has been challenged. If the 17 U.S. states expanding their curriculum to make it more racially and class inclusive are an expression of that challenge, the 36 states seeking to increase censorship are part of the reactionary response to progressive actions ranging from Affirmative Action to Black Lives Matter. Most recently there is the exaggerated response to Critical Race Theory—a largely academic investigation of the role of institutionalized white racism in American history. It should be noted that these efforts at censorship now go hand in hand with “the wave of voter suppression laws promoted by the same rightwing political forces.”

As of now, the national organizations that represent U.S. teachers, the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), both shaped by the past few decades of progressive change, stand against the conservative, reactionary effort to turn the clock back. As AFT President Randi Weingarten put it, the organization stands against the “culture warriors” who “are bullying teachers and trying to stop us from teaching students accurate history.” However, reactionary state legislatures and fanatical parents have the ability to intimidate more than just teachers. They can scare and manipulate school administrators who hire and fire teachers. If the legislators of those 36 states noted above hold their positions through multiple elections and stay their reactionary course, they can repopulate public schools with teachers of their own persuasion.

In other words, assuming the present politicians can keep their elected positions, rightwing propaganda will be used to control present education long enough to shape how the past is taught and interpreted. This will impact the future in a sort of circular process that will go on until the thought police are removed from positions of authority.

Part III—The Foreign Policy Scene

The same process of resurrecting a traditional mindset is now taking place in the area of foreign policy. Here the traditional worldview is represented by Cold War tropes resurrecting Russia as Europe’s perennial bad guy. In this case it is not rightwing reactionaries who are the driving force. Rather it is the centrist Democrats, heirs of Cold War thinking, who interpret present-day events in Eastern Europe in terms of an ideologically colored pre-1989 past.

The current trouble centers on Ukraine and its ambition to join North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO). If Ukraine had done so, Russia’s southwestern border would have been in the hands of a hostile Western alliance. The Russians initially approached this dilemma in a peaceful manner. Moscow approached the West and demanded a security treaty that would have halted the eastward expansion of NATO and ended any speculation about Ukraine joining that alliance. However, the U.S. and NATO refused to consider such a treaty and thus considerably narrowed Russian options.

Russia’s bid for a security treaty had solid historical reasons behind it. I laid these reasons out in my analysis Russia Reacts to NATO and History (20 January 2022). These historical facts had long ago been deleted from the Western Cold War storyline that depicted the Soviet Union as ideologically driven to imperial expansion. This traditional interpretation of Russian motives, only partially papered over since 1989, has now been resurrected. For instance, President Biden has accused President Putin of wanting to “re-establish the Soviet Union.” A more realistic interpretation of the present would suggest that by refusing to negotiate a limit on NATO expansion eastward and declaring that NATO would remain open to the possibility of Ukrainian membership, Western leaders forced Russia to take action against Ukraine.

In other words, the past in the form of years of post-World War II anti-Soviet propaganda now shapes present perceptions and has assured a violent future for Ukraine. These same propaganda has been censored to hide the hypocritical nature of the U.S. position on the present crisis.

Consider the following facts so often censored out of popular perceptions: MSNBC host Medhi Hasan noted in an on the air monologue, “the United States would have ‘more credibility’ to condemn the recent actions of Russia in Ukraine if it wasn’t currently supporting illegal occupations by its allies around the world—and if it didn’t have its own long record of carrying out brazenly unlawful invasions of sovereign countries.” He recognized this hypocrisy on the part of the U.S. while still being critical of the Russian treatment of Ukraine.

In contrast, consider the following attempt to resurrect an idealized yet official perception of the past. The New York Times opinion columnist Bret Stephens has complained that the Ukraine crisis shows us that “at some point in the last 30 years, the concept of the ‘free world’ fell out of favor. … The free world is the larger idea that the world’s democracies are bound by shared and foundational commitments to human freedom and dignity; that those commitments transcend politics and national boundaries; and that no free people can be indifferent to the fate of any other free people, because the enemy of any one democracy is ultimately the enemy to all the others.” Though Mr. Stephens no doubt believes this, it is a hollow idealization of a world that never was.

The inability of Americans—even those who profess expertise—to consider U.S. hypocrisy while welcoming Bret Stephens fantasy is a measure of popular loyalty to a traditional storyline about the past. This story precludes the possibility that today’s Russian Republic might have the same security needs as any other country. Indeed, Russia is actually acting much as the United States would have acted during the Cuban Missile crisis if the Russians had not reversed course and removed their missiles. I think we can safely say that if the U.S. and NATO had reversed course and given Russia the reasonable security guarantees it sought, things would have turned out differently for the Ukrainians.

Part IV—Conclusion

We all live in multilayered states of perception shaped by culture and open to interpretative manipulation in areas, among others, of history and politics. That means that culture can be the seedbed for much propaganda. In some cultural milieus traditional ideas about race and gender have become official guides to history despite the harm done by generations of discrimination. In some cultural milieus traditional Cold War ideas make Russia an object of fear and enmity undeserving of secure boundaries.

This being the case, it should come as no surprise that there are millions of white people mostly, though not exclusively, in the American South and Midwest who are quite willing to throw the idea of egalitarian democracy out the window. It should also come as no surprise that the American people never hear about the many thousands of Ukrainians who were critical of their country’s alleged “sovereign right” to join NATO.

It is interesting that, within the American milieu, it is the presence or absence of competitive ideas that make these two cases different. In the case of the U.S. domestic scene, the power of white racists is localized and confronted by a larger cultural bubble that is critical of their efforts to censor history. In the case of U.S. foreign policy there are very few who are critical of the traditional Cold War propaganda. Thus, there is no larger context to support perceptions that might accept Russia’s security needs. Thus, debate rages on one front but is largely absent on the other.

Black History Month: Black oppression in the United States

February 9, 2022 

Source: Al Mayadeen

By Mohammad Al-Jaber

The United States, though claiming to have advanced in terms of civil rights and racial discrimination, is still stuck in the same pattern of racism and hatred, only having changed on paper.

The United States: did it really advance in terms of black liberation and empowerment?

The United States has been home to black people since the late 16th century when they were brought in aboard slave ships, so it was not too kind of a home. They were shipped in as part of the transatlantic slave trade, which took them from their homes, from their families, and they were not treated with the slightest bit of humanity or compassion.

An oppressed people, they struggled for their liberation for centuries, working to abolish the slavery imposed by their white oppressors, who put them in the worst conditions one could think of, not liveable in the slightest.

Black people not only lost the only home they had known, as they were transferred into toys in the hands of their oppressors, who unethically used them in unpaid labor, ranging from domestic slavery to slavery within the plantation systems, mainly the notorious cotton fields.

Many brutal punishments were on the table for the most minor of inconveniences, sometimes without one at all – just as a display of authority and even for pleasure and entertainment. All of this was legal under the constitution of the self-proclaimed land of the free.

Black people fought tooth and nail for their emancipation until the civil rights movement succeeded in achieving its conquest and even thereafter. Racism is still widespread, and discrimination may be better than it was 500 years ago, but that is in no way a standard.

You can’t compare modern times to ones where black people were auctioned off, bid on as they fought to the death, whipped, raped, and had their families broken up for the sole purpose of revenue. Injustice was more rampant back then, but it still is now – through different means nonetheless, but not in an acceptable manner.

Life under slavery may not have lasted forever, but it must have felt like it did for all of its victims. Came the emancipation proclamation in 1863 after so many efforts from abolitionists who put everything on the line to ensure the freedom of their enslaved brethren, such as Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and Leonard Grimes.

One burden was off; slavery, but another was still there, and it was heavily harming the black community within the United States, segregation. Racism was still conspicuous, and it was a tool used to propagate the white supremacist narrative used by the ruling race to violate the rights of those who were seen as a “lesser race”, allowing for their treatment as second-class citizens within their own country.

Segregation was used to propagate many hate crimes and massacres, ones backed by politicians and officials against local black communities and individuals. From lynching to full-on massacres, the US government and people made life unbearable for the black population.

White massacres against black civilians

New York City Draft Massacre

On July 13, 1863, white rioters stormed Manhattan to protest against draft laws in light of the civil war, but they ended up setting fire to a colored orphanage, killing black civilians they found on the street by various, violent means, and the victims amounted to nearly 120.

Memphis Massacre

Between May 1-3, 1866, white civilians and police officers stormed Memphis, Tennessee, and burned down homes, churches, and schools in the city, eventually killing 46 black civilians and injuring many more.

Opelousas Massacre

On September 28, 1868, a KKK-inspired group, Knights of the White Camelia, massacred hundreds of black Americans in Opelousas, Louisiana, over the promotion of equality in voter registration and education. The exact victim count is unknown, but it crossed the 200 threshold.

Clinton Massacre

On September 4, 1875, a white mob killed nearly 50 black civilians in Clinton, Mississippi, who had gathered for a rally hosted for their election candidates. The violence was carried out indiscriminately and claimed the lives of many children.

Thibodaux Massacre

On November 23, 1887, the Louisiana Militia, with help from white citizens, shot and killed peaceful, unarmed black sugar workers who were striking to demand their labor rights. The victim toll was between 30-60 unarmed black workers.

Tulsa Race Massacre

Between May 31-June 1, 1921, one of the biggest domestic massacres in US history took place in the prospering Greenwood District, a historic black community that became the victim of blind white hatred. The district was undergoing its “golden age” and its citizens were living way better than they would have lived anywhere else in the US under the segregation laws that were in place at the time.

The district was stormed by white mobs some of whose members were armed by city officials, and they wreaked havoc in a place renowned for the opportunities it provided for black people. The death toll surpassed 200 black residents and 800 total injuries as attackers burned and destroyed more than 370 square meters of the neighborhood.

‘Separate but equal’

Following all the massacres and hate crimes committed against black people after their emancipation, segregation was still a heavy burden to bear, and overcoming it was a goal for the civil rights movement.

Black people were not allowed to share the same restaurants and cafes as white people. They were allowed education but could not attend the same schools and universities as their white counterparts, they could not go to the same workplaces, and if they did, they would have their own separate offices. They lived in separate neighborhoods, sat in separate places on public transport, and even had separate bathrooms.

All of this was under the auspices of the US constitution, as it sponsored these acts via the “separate but equal” doctrine that argued racial segregation was not in violation of the 14th Amendment, which guaranteed “legal protection” for all peoples and races, though that was absent from reality in more ways that one.

The constructs of separation and segregation were so striking in the United States the entire American society was built upon it until the civil rights movement was finally able to achieve its goals after a decades-long struggle.

Civil rights movement

Key civil rights movement leaders paid a heavy price, i.e. with their blood, to propagate their cause of social equality. Starting in the first half of the ’60s, the civil rights movement aimed to topple the status quo that allowed for the violation of their rights in various spheres.

Black Americans were able to vote under the law, but there were many obstacles put in place by racists who did not believe they should have had that right, which the south took to their hands through implementing disenfranchisement, prohibiting black people from registering to vote, and voting, meaning another one of their rights that were supposedly sponsored by the US constitution was being infringed.

The “Jim Crow laws” were the chief contributor to the infringement of the voting rights of black Americans. The laws were implemented in the late 19th century, and they sponsored the disenfranchisement and removal of political and economic gains made by black people during the Reconstruction period that succeeded the American Civil War. Many states outside the South adopted these laws though they were on the opposite side of the Civil War, but perhaps racism unites the United States.

The “Jim Crow laws” made inequality rampant on many levels; not only in terms of voting. As was said above, they sponsored the disenfranchisement of economic gains made by black people during the Reconstruction period, setting the black community far behind their white counterparts, making progress that much more difficult for them, and widening a pre-existing wealth gap.

Long story short, the civil rights movement, sparked by prominent figures and groups like Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., the Little Rock Nine, and the Black Panthers, ended up succeeding and achieving its goal of overcoming segregation, with then-President Lyndon Johnson passing the Rights Act and abolishing segregation after many protests, riots, and deaths.

The path to equality was paved by the blood of black activists who fought until the last breath to ensure the true freedom of their people who had to bear the brunt of racism for centuries. The Civil Rights Movement took the lives of many of its activists and initiators, many of whom were killed by the government.

Among those murdered over their activism included:

George Lee

One of the first black people registered to vote in Humphreys, Tennessee, and a prominent voice in urging others to join him. He was offered protection by white officials in exchange for ending his voter registration efforts, but he rejected their advances, eventually leading to his murder over his activism.

Malcolm X

Malcolm X was, arguably, the most prominent black American figure and activist within the United States and one of the most prominent during the civil rights movement. His cause included black empowerment and the overcoming of segregation, not to mention equality.

He was very vocal with his teaching of black empowerment, and he made his way into leadership by becoming the leader of the Nation of Islam, preaching the message of Islam within the black community, and advocating the rising of the black community among political ranks.

He called for charging the United States with human rights violations against black people in the United States at the United Nations, prompting anger from within Washington, and within a year, at 39 years of age, he was assassinated on a podium as he was preparing to give a speech, and many speculate that the FBI or the CIA were behind his assassination due to his external links and his domestic efforts.

Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King is most probably the most famous black liberation leader within the United States, joining the Civil Rights Movement early on and becoming one of its leaders until his assassination.

He advocated and advanced civil rights for all people of color in the US, using peaceful means such as nonviolent protests and civil disobedience that carried the banner of voting rights, desegregation, labor rights, and socioeconomic equality. He also oversaw the Montogomery bus boycott sparked by his fellow activist Rosa Parks.

King was allegedly assassinated by an escaped fugitive, James Earl Ray, or so the FBI found, though MLK, throughout his years as a black rights advocate, was constantly harassed by the FBI and was even called “the most notorious liar in the country” by its director. He was killed a day after his final speech, “I’ve been to the mountaintops”, while on his motel room balcony.

Fred Hampton

Fred Hampton was a black rights activist and leader of the Black Panther Party, the most prominent black advocacy political party that contributed to the housing and aid of black people in various spheres, such as healthcare and education, all over the United States, voicing support for socialism, black nationalism, and armed self-defense against police brutality.

His and his party’s contributions to the black rights movement and the American black community were unprecedented, prompting concerns from within the United States government and its agencies.

Hampton, a Marxist-Leninist, worked for social change, staunchly opposed fascism and racism alike, spreading awareness within the black community to prompt activity against systemic racism and police brutality. His activism made him an enemy of the FBI, which saw him as a radical threat and used many tools to undermine his activities, such as disinformation campaigns and espionage.

He was later assassinated as part of the FBI’s COINTERLPRO operation aimed at undermining domestic political organizations, which oversaw a raid on his apartment in Chicago, Ilinois, that saw heavily armed officers raiding his home at dawn. He had been asleep at the time of his killing, with a police officer killing him in his bed with two gunshots to the head.

He was only 21-years-young at the time of his death, but his legacy went on to redefine the black struggle for decades to come.

No longer separate, but not so equal

The black US population, though emancipated and granted civil rights and equality, is still suffering from chronic discrimination in its home country, having contrasting ratios with their white counterparts in the various socioeconomic aspects of life.

Labour and wages

Black workers comprise nearly 13% of the US workforce but disproportionally make 9.6% of total US wages, with the median annual wage for black workers being 30% lower than that of their white counterparts, which heavily affects the black community and weighs down their ability to make wealth and leads to wider racial wealth gaps comparable to those pre the civil rights act.

The wage gap leads black people, due to making less and high-cost housing, to live in poorer neighborhoods, sometimes “the projects”, which are infested by crime and drugs due to the terrible social and economic conditions plaguing these communities.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, throughout the past two years, the unemployment rate of black men over 20 is more than double that of white men. Unemployment rates between black (7.72%) and white (4.51%) women over 20 are less severe but still vast.

This practically sets up black communities for a life that they are criticized and incarcerated for.

Incarceration ratios

The way life for black people is set up is reflected in terms of imprisoned population by ethnicity, the US does not try to hide its prejudice with 1,096 black prisoners incarcerated per 100,000 prisoners while the white population only has 214 white prisoners incarcerated per 100,000 prisoners.

Black minors are just as heavily affected by systemic racism, only making up 15% of American minors; US minors comprise 35% of all juvenile arrests all over the country.

The justice system completes the circle by disproportionally imprisoning black people. How?

Sentencing disparities

We’ve already established that more black people are incarcerated than whites, but the judicial system is the one that put them behind bars, to begin with.

Black people mostly face a harsher sentence for the same crimes as white people, as black male offenders receive sentences 19.1% longer than similarly situated white counterparts. Non-sponsored departures also contribute to these disparities, as judges get to sentence prisoners at their own discretion, bringing color to a system not meant to see it.

Black males are 21.2% less likely to receive non-government-sponsored departures and variances than white males, and upon receiving one, their sentences are 16.8% longer than those of white males.

Before reaching the justice system, prisoners naturally go through the police force, but many don’t make it through, as police brutality claims countless lives, most of which, ratio-wise, are black.

Colored police brutality

Black people are nearly three times more likely to be killed at the hands of the police than white people in the United States.

Making up 12.8% of the population, black people, through data collected between 2013-2022, suffered 61 killings per one million people in the United States, and this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Data on nonfatal police brutality is lacking, but it surely constitutes a reflection and an augmentation of fatal police brutality, with the police force using force against suspects without any trial before a court of law, showing the extent of police brutality in the US to which no solution has been found.

Representation?

Black representation in private and public positions is definitely better than it used to be a hundred years ago, which is quite easy to calculate since there was none.

Today, those who claim to advocate black equity argue that representation is in a good state in America; however, representation is not necessarily serving the black population.

Current US Vice President Kamala Harris, upon serving as deputy district attorney and district attorney in Oakland, California, was behind mass incarceration of black people despite her ethnicity.

Former US President Barack Obama, though the first-ever black president in the history of the country, failed black people by not pursuing any efforts or policies to close the racial wealth gap, and under his administration, the racial unemployment rate gap had not improved since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The black people holding political positions are mere token individuals handpicked to serve the government’s goals of imperialism, not achieve the goals of black liberation movements and abolish the racist status quo.

Looking back at the past and comparing it to the present, one sees that the United States is basically just the same, except in the constitution. Though the situation may be better, hatred is rampant. Otherwise, protests would not have roamed the US with global support to demand racial equality and the protection of black lives.

Just a few days ago, in a scene similar to Fred Hampton’s killing, police broke into a young black man’s home at dawn and murdered him while he was on his sofa, where he was supposed to be safe, and this is a reflection of the past, showing that despite all self-proclaimed progress in the United States, the American population is still on square one, not having moved at all.

Censoring Texas History

December 13, 2021 

 

Lawrence Davidson is professor of history emeritus at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010.

by Lawrence Davidson 

Part I —Real History: The Cotton Gin

In late 18th-century America, the working assumption about slave labor in the cotton fields was that it was becoming too expensive. Here is the scenario: In the American South most slaves were used in cotton production. Yet, the use of slave labor was negatively impacting cotton’s profitability. The most labor-intensive aspect of the cotton process at this time, after planting and harvesting, was the extraction of cotton seeds from the raw cotton ball. If you ever get hold of a raw cotton ball, you can easily see why this would be so. The seeds are tightly entwined in a thick mass of cotton fibers. To increase production meant acquiring more slaves to perform this task of extraction. By the 1790s, the cost of additional slaves exceeded the expected profit from added production. Under these conditions U.S. cotton production was stagnant and losing markets to foreign production (such as in India). There was certainly little incentive to expand American cotton production into new regions. 

Then in 1793, Eli Whitney (1765–1825) invented the modern cotton gin or cotton engine. It automated the seed extraction process. Whitney’s was not the first cotton gin. Small, hand-cranked models had been in use in India since the 16th century and were introduced into the American south around the mid-18th century. However, their use was restricted to long-staple cotton and their production capacity was low. Whitney’s invention, on the other hand, simultaneously lowered a major cost of production of both long- and short- staple raw cotton, while increasing the volume yield. At this point American cotton production became more competitive and the incentive for expansion grew. Cotton producers looked westward for new land—such as the Mexican province of Texas.  

Part II—Real History: Moving into Texas

The infiltration of north American citizens and their slaves into Texas was always controversial with the Mexicans, but it went on for several decades before the Mexican authorities noted the growing numbers and became concerned. There were several reasons for this alarm, but the important ones had to do with racism.

First, the Mexicans had a long history of less than diplomatic relations with the Unite States, whose representatives were always trying to purchase adjacent Mexican territory while interfering in Mexican domestic affairs. All too often Americans had displayed a racially tinged sense of superiority and disregard for Mexican law and customs. This attitude would be enshrined for all Central and South America in the application of the Monroe Doctrine of 1823.

Second was the issue of slavery. Slavery was not a favored labor system in Mexico, probably because the Catholic Church began to turn against the institution on the 18th-century. In 1823, Mexico made the sale and purchase of slaves illegal. In 1827, the Mexican government forbade the importation of slaves into the country. Then, in 1829, slavery was officially abolished. Throughout this period slaves of American immigrants in Texas were periodically rebelling and running away in order to, among other things, join the Mexican army. Inevitably, all of this ratcheted up the tensions between the Mexican authorities and the American settlers who defied Mexican law.

A small American slaveholders’ rebellion occurred in 1831. This was triggered by the refusal of Mexican authorities to return runaway slaves. In other words, it was a protest against the Mexican insistence on enforcing their own laws. A larger and more seminal rebellion began in 1835. The thirteen-day siege of the Alamo (February 23 to March 6, 1836) was part of this latter conflict. The 1835 uprising led to the declaration of Texas independence in 1836. Immediately thereafter, slavery was officially made legal.

Then in 1836, perhaps to affirm white supremacy, Texas authorities under the leadership of Mirabeau Lamar began what he called an “exterminating war” against local Indian peoples. Raul Ramos, a historian at the University of Houston, finds Lamar’s description accurate—he confirms that this effort amounted to “a state-sanctioned program of genocide.”  

Part III — Slavery Inspires Texas Independence but Not Texas History

There may have been multiple reasons why U.S. immigrants chose to move into Mexican Texas, but there was only one reason—the desire to own slaves—for which these immigrants rose up in armed rebellion in 1835-1836 and subsequently declared independence. No white resident of Texas at that time would have denied this fact. Thus, it is noteworthy that today, in the early 21st century, the state’s most conservative and indeed reactionary citizens, seek to censor this history almost out of existence. To quote a New York Times (NYT) article of 26 November 2021, “political leaders in Texas are trying to … restrict how teachers discuss the role of slavery in the Texas revolution and target hundreds of books for potential removal from schools.” One should note that similar efforts are being made in close to a dozen other states, and they are all under the control of Republican legislatures.

These efforts are linked to Donald Trump’s 1776 Commission Report released in January 2021. Essentially, the report promoted the notion that “the primary duties of schools” are twofold: (1) teach students “practical wisdom—the basic skills needed to function in society, such as reading, writing, and mathematics,” or in other words, education should prepare the student for the job market; and (2) the passing on of “transcendent knowledge,” that is, “educators must convey a sense of enlightened patriotism that equips each generation with a knowledge of America’s founding principles, a deep reverence for their liberties, and a profound love of their country,” or in other words, shape the nation’s history so that it promotes national loyalty.

Actually, these two ends are among the original goals of public education, and not just in the United States. However, over time the second one has been tempered by historical writing that compares “transcendent knowledge” with facts based on evidence. For instance, if you want to teach about Jefferson’s 1776 statement that “all men are created equal,” shouldn’t you also teach that this ideal was not real in any practiced way when Jefferson penned the words, and that since that time a major struggle within U.S. society has been waged to overcome the racial and economic roadblocks to that goal? For commission members the answer is that the sentiment is more important than the facts. For these folks, and also those they have inspired in Texas and elsewhere, if you concentrate on the facts to the point where you call the sentiment into question, you become one of the “petty tyrants in every sphere who demand that we speak only of America’s sins while denying her greatness.” It never seems to occur to these people that “transcendent knowledge” cannot be a basis for “greatness” unless it is put into practice.

Nonetheless, in defense of its mythology, Texas has produced its simpleminded Trump-style personalities and soundbites. For instance, there are the pronouncements of Brandon Burkhart, the gun-toting president of the “This is Freedom Texas Force.” Burkhart lauds the message that Texas was founded with the ideal of freedom front and center. And anyone who wants “to bring up that it was about slavery, or say that the Alamo defenders were racist, or anything like that, they need to take their rear ends over the state border and get the hell out of Texas.”

Part IV—The Myth of the Alamo

At the center of the Texas effort to censor the facts of its own past is what the Washington Post calls “the myth of the Alamo”—the myth that this small mission/church building in San Antonio, which receives roughly 1.5 million visitors a year, is the “cradle of Texas liberty.” It was here, in 1836, that about 180 Americans, including Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett, faced a much larger force of Mexican soldiers as part of a defiant struggle for Texas independence. Nowhere in the official state version of this tale is the causal role of slavery mentioned. This “creation myth” has been maintained for over one hundred years by, among other means, a protection racket run by the Texas state government. According to the three authors of a recent book, Forget the Alamo, “the state government … made clear to the University of Texas faculty and to the faculty of other state-funded universities that it only wants one type of Texas history taught … and that if you get outside those boundaries, you’re going to hear about it from the Legislature.”

Part V—Conclusion: Who Runs the Thought Collective

All groups, from the smallest, like a family or a club, to the largest, such as a multi-regional religion or a nation-state, seek to create a unifying  “thought collective.” By a thought collective I mean a way of thinking and seeing that expresses and adheres to the established beliefs and aims of the collective. The results are always approximate but the group elite, assisted by cultural pressures, is always making an effort to shape the thought and perceptions of members/citizens.

At a national level one can understand the importance of public history to this process. Where there are ongoing disagreements about what should be the content and direction of the thought collective, such history and its interpretation will always be a political battleground. Ideally such disagreements should be settled through debate and respect for facts. However, average citizens are not wholly rational and logical nor are they particularly good judges of historical truth.

This leaves a lot of room for the use of propaganda, plain old lying, and the machinations of authoritarian personalities in the struggle to direct the thought collective’s themes and messages. The present members and leaders of the Republican Party fit this description well.

Authoritarians, and those that enthusiastically follow them, are not interested in fact checking, reason and logic. They are most comfortable with simpleminded storylines that provide soundbite answers to questions. Their goal is for the favored storyline to monopolize the thinking of the collective. And the truth? Well, the truth is what that storyline says it is.

We see this process playing itself out in Texas over the story of its independence. The favored storyline of the authoritarian Republicans is an exclusive one of pure-hearted men seeking freedom. This story has no room or tolerance for evidentiary truths, such as the role of slavery, that complicate the fairy tale script. Take note: this is how would-be dictators deal with the mind.

Kyle Rittenhouse: The White-Only American Dream (Part II)

Nov 26, 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

By Mohammad Al-Jaber

Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal opened the door for much of the American right to champion their anti-BLM and pro-gun narrative; Exploiting a tragedy for their interests does not seem too surprising.

The police force is a system that shares racism with the judiciary in the United States, making it an accomplice

From a protest calling for racial equality in the United States to a blood bath that saw a white teen claiming the lives of protestors. That is how the protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin on August 25, 2020, unfolded, and over a year later, the killer was acquitted of his crimes.

After reflecting on how the justice system was an accomplice to the acquittal of the white teenager and racial discrimination in the United States in Part I, it will be revealed how the police contribute to the same issue, in addition to shedding light on Rittenhouse’s trial and its aftermath.

Police force

The police force is a system that shares racism with the judiciary in the United States. In fact, it is what delivers the alleged offenders to the wolves of the US courts, who then do with them as they wish. 

There is so much evidence to support this “claim” that amounts to a fact, such as the fact that Black people are 27% more likely to be killed by the police, 35% more likely to be unarmed, and 36%  less likely to be threatening someone when killed.

Solid facts prove that the police have been notorious for their treatment of minorities, especially black people.

Looking back to 2020, protests erupted across the states after a policeman brutally knelt on the neck of a black man for 8 minutes 46 seconds, killing him on the scene as he was pleading for his life. Said protests resulted in an awareness campaign on racism in the US, which put many forgotten cases in the spotlight and called for more accountability in future ones.

Not in any particular order, we will be shining the light on several cases of police brutality against black people across the United States.

Case 1: Tamir Rice

Tamir Rice was only a 12-year-old boy at the time of his murder at the hands of white police officer Timothy Loehmann under the pretext of the young kid possessing a firearm.

Someone had called the police in Cleveland, Ohio, about a male carrying a gun in the area, which the caller said was fake, and reiterated his statement later in the call, also informing the police that the suspect was “probably a juvenile.”

Tamir Rice was killed while carrying a replica gun, a toy in essence, while Kyle Rittenhouse walked by police vehicles after shooting several people without getting shot as someone was yelling at the police about the crime he had just committed.

“Rittenhouse had his hands up while walking toward and past police vehicles.”

Well so did case 2:

Adam Toledo

Adam was a 13-year-old Latino boy who was shot and killed by the Chicago police for possession of a weapon – which was later retrieved from the scene for it to appear that it was an empty 9mm handgun – while complying with the police officer’s orders.

Toledo had his hands in the air when the police officer shot him, body-cam footage showed.

So why was Kyle Rittenhouse, a white teenager brandishing an AR-15 which the police knew was loaded due to information acquired from a pedestrian, treated so differently than Adam Toledo, a Latino child, who was no older than 13 and complied with the officer’s orders but got shot nonetheless?

Maybe Kyle’s complexion stopped him from looking suspicious holding his AR despite someone shouting that he had just shot several people.

Perhaps the next case will reveal the shocking reality of police racial prejudice.

Case 3: Elijah McClain

Elijah McClain was a 23-year-old autistic Black man who was killed at the hands of the police and paramedics after three white officers stopped him on the grounds that he “looked suspicious.” Elijah had been wearing an open ski mask to protect himself from chronic chills caused by his anemia. He was also wearing headphones, which prevented him from hearing calls from the police officers. McClain objectively did nothing wrong, which he voiced to the police officers as they were wrestling him to the ground ahead of putting him in a chokehold. 

McClain was pleading and telling the police officers he could not breathe while urging them to respect his boundaries as he was introverted.

McClain went unconscious, prompting the police officers to release him from the chokehold. Afterward, a medic injected McClain with 500mg of ketamine to sedate him because he was struggling after regaining consciousness.

Due to the drugs administered into his system, alongside the stressful situation he was in, Elijah went into cardiac arrest. Three days after arriving at the hospital, he was declared brain dead, and then removed from life support three days thereafter.

All the aforementioned “cases” are not simply “arguments” to support a claim: They are human beings who lost their lives to an unfair system without their killers receiving the proper justice.

Tamir Rice’s killer, Timothy Loehmann, was sacked from his job without any charges. Adam Toledo’s killer, Eric Stillman, was also just sacked without charges. Elijah McClain’s killers, Nathan Woodyard, Jason Rosenblatt, and Randy Roedema, have been indicted, but nothing much is anticipated since we are talking about the US justice system, especially since we’re talking about the same system that did not take any action against the cop murderers of Breonna Taylor, who was fatally shot in the safety of her own home, and acquitted the killer of teenage black honor student Antwon Rose II.

And we must not forget that over the past 15 years, only 44 officers (out of the 121 who faced murder or manslaughter charges) have been convicted, and often for lesser offenses, just like Breonna Taylor’s case.

The trial, again

Now, back to the trial.

Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted on all charges, but let’s look at those trying him, and who practically declared it open season against protestors through their acquittal.

The jury

The jury was picked in one day, and it comprised 20 members – 11 women and nine men, nothing out of the ordinary. It nearly aced the male-to-female ratio of the US population. However, one aspect of this jury could explain many things: out of the 20 members, only one member was from an ethnic minority, the rest were all white. 

The jury was overwhelmingly white and was trying a white teenager who killed citizens protesting for black lives. One wonders how Kyle was acquitted with all this adversity he was facing in the trial.

The judge

Judge Bruce Schroeder, also white – surprisingly – left much more to be desired. From ruling that the victims of Kyle’s criminality should not be called “victims,” but rather “rioters,” “looters,” and “arsonists,” to allowing the defendant to pick the names of the jurors through a raffle, Schroeder raised many concerns about the direction in which the trial was headed before it even started.

Judge Schroeder exhibited several signs of unprofessionalism. He played a game of “Jeopardy!” with the potential jurors and made a speech with racial undertones as to why he had defendants blindly pick the names of the jurors.

One of the charges legal experts thought would most likely get Rittenhouse some time in prison for – possession of a dangerous weapon – was dismissed by Schroeder after the defense found a “legal loophole,” which only prevented minors from owning short-barrelled rifles. That law is adopted in Wisconsin, and Kyle’s rifle was an AR-15, a long-barrelled rifle.

The courtroom under Schroeder was unbelievably chaotic, with an unusual amount of shouting, putting his professionalism up for question.

And lastly, during the cross-examination, the judge’s phone rang to the ringtone of “God Bless the USA.” The song is a patriotic song popular among conservatives in the US and was used many times as Donald Trump’s entrance theme during his rallies, which also reflected the judge’s most probable political stance towards the cause for which Huber and Rosenbaum died – BLM. 

Kyle Rittenhouse

The murderous teenager did not shy away from putting his complexion and white tears to use, as they must have garnered the judge and the jury’s sympathy, especially that his skin color matched theirs.

Kyle played the victim card shortly after getting on the stand, on which he shed crocodile tears and claimed Rosenbaum had “ambushed” him, arguing self-defense. 

The judge gave Rittenhouse a 10-minute break to compose himself. But were his victims given a break before he shot them? 

Kyle’s testimony saw him reiterating what he said during the aforementioned interview before the attack. He also argued self-defense when it came to his murder of two men and the wounding of a third. “I did nothing wrong,” he boldly claimed.

There isn’t much to address in Kyle’s testimony, for in the court, he was not the one at fault as much as the defense team, the jurors, and the judge, and looking at recordings of the testimony, one could easily predict the defense had coached Rittenhouse on what to say.

All in all, the trial was very disappointing, especially with how the judge was too stern against the prosecution while being too lenient in favor of the defense and, well, the end result, Kyle’s acquittal.

Celebrating crime

By acquitting Rittenhouse, the US justice system committed a crime against his victims, allowing them to be perceived as terrorists for trying to stop him from putting somebody in harm’s way while designating him a “hero” for “protecting property.”

This goes to show that the justice system in question sees defending property as a valid cause for murder while perceiving protesting against systemic racism and police brutality as a crime.

Rittenhouse went on to become an icon for the far-right in the United States, those of them who oppose Black Lives Matter and the protests that went on calling for racial equality. Those who want to have guns in their holsters all the time in case “the government tries to oppress them” do not want others to protest because of the same reason: government-sponsored oppression. 

Kyle garnered support from the radical right in America and its leaders, such as Marjorie Taylor Greene. Greene went as far as pushing for rewarding Kyle a gold Congressional Gold Medal for “protecting the community of Kenosha, Wisconsin, during a Black Lives Matter (BLM) riot on August 25, 2020.” Not only that, but GOP congressmen have offered Rittenhouse an internship following this fiasco, seeing him as some sort of validation for their conservative cause.

Those congressmen include Rep. Madison Cawthorn, Rep. Lauren Boebert, and Rep. Matt Gaetz.

The American right went out on protests to support Kyle Rittenhouse, surprisingly not solely because of his race but because to them, his acquittal was a tool they could use to champion “gun rights” in a country where gun-related killings constitute 73% of all homicides.

Finally, when Donald Trump, a man notorious for his racism and obstruction of justice, not only congratulates you but hosts you in his resort in Florida in celebration, you’re probably in the wrong.

Kyle Rittenhouse: The White-Only American Dream (Part I)

Nov 23, 2021

Source: Al Mayadee 

By Mohammad Al-Jaber

When you are able to walk scot-free after killing civilians protesting against inequality and racial discrimination, you know you’re in the white man’s country, America.

Kyle Rittenhouse was absolved from spilling the blood of civilians protesting for racial equality, which reflects an issue in the US justice system

The United States justice system proved not only to be absolutely incompetent but also incredibly biased toward white people after the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. This trial saw a criminal walking scot-free after murdering two men and wounding another.

The crime unfolded during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, against systemic racism in the police.

Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, two white males, lost their lives, and the US justice system did not bat an eye. Perhaps that had to do with the two defending a black cause: racially-fueled police brutality.

From an “innocent” teenager to a murderer

We must go back to the origin of the incident to accurately understand the situation, so here is how it unfolded:

Jacob Blake

On August 23, 2020, a police officer shot a black man, Jacob Blake, in Kenosha, the same city that became a place for Rittenhouse to live out his homicidal teenager GTA dreams under US auspices.

Blake was brutally shot seven times before his children by white police officer Rusten Sheskey, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down and damaging his stomach, kidney, and liver. Blake also had to undergo surgery to remove his colon and most of his small intestines after Sheskey showed no hesitation to shoot him in the back and side.

Blake had been trying to break up a fight between two women when the police were called on him, and he had been trying to get into his vehicle when Sheskey shot him, adversely altering the course of his life without accountability.

This act of police brutality sparked national and international outrage; another white cop committed an act of violence against another black civilian following unrest over the summer of 2020 in light of the BLM protests, which took place after the murder of George Floyd.

The aftermath

People all over the US took to the streets after Blake’s shooting to protest against police brutality in acts that were described as “riots,” but is it so wrong to “riot” against a system in which racism is deeply rooted?

One protest, in particular, was in the limelight over 17-year-old teenager-turned-criminal slaughtering civilians who had been protesting for a pivotal cause: coexistence.

The protest in question here is the one that took place in Kenosha, which saw brutal suppression of protests resulted in clashes between civilians, the police, and militias who, under the pretext of “protecting lives and property,” used violence against civilians. Some reports even suggest that the police deputized militia vigilantes during the aforementioned protests.

“Self-defense”

The situation took a devastating turn (that the judiciary apparently did not perceive as so more than a year later) when a bunch of armed men showed up at the protest alleging “protection.”

The men who came to the protest – some of which were from different states and cities, such as Kyle Rittenhouse – did so with malicious intent. What else would prompt you to bring an AR to another city, or even state, other than murderous intent?

Upon seeing Kyle armed with an AR – which he said in an interview ahead of committing the crime was for “his job,” which was “protecting this business” and “defending the property” – protestors went after him intending to disarm the teen perceived as dangerous.

A video of the encounter showed a group of protestors running after an armed Rittenhouse. Upon catching up, they managed to get him on the ground. During the brawl, the assailant shot those who were attempting to disarm him due to the threat he posed.

Kyle aimed his rifle at one of those who had been pursuing him, Joseph Rosenbaum, who was unarmed, fatally shooting him four times. Rosenbaum fell to the ground almost instantly.

One person was not enough for Rittenhouse, for he then shot Anthony Huber, who had a skateboard in hand, once in the chest, taking life shortly thereafter. For those who argue it was self-defense, it’s like apples to oranges. A skateboard, logically, is no match to a firearm.

The trial

Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial, such as many things affiliated with the United States, was said to be nothing short of disgraceful. A criminal facing charges of reckless endangerment of safety, intentional homicide, attempted homicide, and use of a dangerous weapon, walked from a trial that would have had anyone, had they not been white, sentenced to life in prison, multiple life sentences.

One cannot make such a bold statement without providing evidence for their claims, so let’s go on a tangent about how discriminatory the justice system and its accomplice, the police force, are.

Racial injustice in the US

Altogether, the United States is notorious for having the highest prisoner rate, with 639 prisoners per 100,000 people, and having the largest prisoner population, which is incredibly lucrative for the US prison-industrial complex.

Not only that, but Uncle Sam’s land has vast disparities in terms of imprisoned population by ethnicity. As of 2019, the United States had an earth-shattering 1,096 black prisoners per 100,000 black people and 525 Hispanic prisoners per 100,000 Hispanic people while unfairly having 214 of its fair whites imprisoned per 100,000 white people. Black minors are not exempted from discrimination. Only compromising 15% of minors in the US, black children made up 35% of all juvenile arrests in the leader of the Free World. These numbers reflect the deep-rooted racism in the US justice system, which is infamous for its sentencing disparities when it comes to ethnicity and race – not to mention class. 

Judiciary

The crème de la crème of racism in the United States isn’t about the fact that there are more people of color incarcerated than whites, but the fact that black people are prone to face a harsher sentence for the same crime as a white person. On average, black offenders received sentences 19.1% longer than similarly situated white male offenders. 

Non-government sponsored departures and variances largely contribute to the schism in sentencing, for they allow judges to make sentences at their own discretion. That, in turn, brings color to a system that is not supposed to see color and therefore lays waste to judicial neutrality. 

To add insult to injury, black males are 21.2% less likely than white males to receive non-government sponsored departures and variances, and when they did receive one, their sentences were 16.8% longer than white males who received one. 

An aspect that proves the absence of equity in the judiciary system is that 28 states do not have a single black justice, 40 states do not have a single Latino justice, 44 states do not have a single Asian justice, and 47 states do not have a single Native American justice.

The US justice system seems to be running into many walls trying to distance itself from seeming racist, but figures suggest otherwise. The same goes with the police, which will be reflected upon, alongside key aspects of Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial, in an upcoming article.

“Israel” – Beyond Apartheid

September 30, 2021

See the source image

Source: Al Mayadeen

Fra Hughes

Many observers and organizations make parallels between the apartheid segregated Society of South Africa, the Jim Crow racial segregation laws of North America, and “Israel”.

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Apartheid (/əˈpɑːrt(h)aɪt/, especially South African English: /əˈpɑːrt(h)eɪt/, Afrikaans: [aˈpartɦɛit]; transl. “separateness”, lit. “aparthood”) was a system of institutionalized racial segregation that existed in South Africa and South-West Africa (now Namibia) from 1948 until the early 1990s.

20 years on from the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance, in conjunction with the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People, held in Durban South Africa, where are we now?

The use of the law, in this case, an unjust and immoral law in South Africa by the minority white Dutch Afrikaans and the minority white British colonial invaders, was designed to keep white Europeans, in the ascendancy in South Africa.

Thirteen percent of the population who were white-ruled sixty-eight percent of the population who were black with an Asian community representing the remaining nineteen percent.

First, they ruled through a brutal military occupation, using the gun.

Then they ruled through a brutal racist government using repression and separation laws.

It was the use of apartheid laws that legalized and enforced a system of ‘separateness’. A system of dual apartness which left the races unable to socialize, congregate or work together as brothers and sisters, equal and indivisible under the constitution.

In South Africa, they legalized colonial white supremism through parliamentary statute, police enforcement, and judicial sentencing.

The first apartheid law passed in 1949 was the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act. This was followed by the Immorality Act of 1950 which made it illegal for many South Africans to marry or have sexual relations across racial lines.

The Pass laws were designed to force black people to live in designated areas, corralled as it were, like animals in a pen, thereby making them available as cheap labor for white farmers.

It was the coming to power of the African National Party in 1948 who created the apartheid laws and system of governing South African society, that reinforced the racial discrimination already self-evident in the country. A series of Land Acts gave more than 80% of the land to whites and banned Black crop sharers from working the land.

A series of discriminatory, racially biased laws, saw the permanent separation of the races, alongside a parallel system of separate transport systems, public lavatories, and housing districts.

In effect, the National Party which won the 1948 parliamentary elections on the slogan of Apartheid meaning ‘separateness’ created a privileged white minority class that used the indigenous black South Africans as a labor pool to work on the farms, clean their homes, as a subjugated underclass, kept in perpetual poverty, in appalling substandard housing units in shantytowns with poor education, poor health, and poor social provision.

Like all colonialists, they strove to keep the people apart by fomenting sectarian tensions between the regional ethnic groups in order to prevent a unified opposition to their racist endeavor. They encouraged black-on-black violence in the townships and in the countryside.

A land of milk and honey for the white supremacist colonial invaders beside a land of despair, oppression, and governmental indifference for the natives.

Apartheid lasted for 50 years in South Africa and only officially ended when the ANC, African National Conference which had historically opposed the apartheid system and fought a legitimate war against the unjust white only parliamentary system, finally came to power in 1993, when the majority of citizens were given the right to vote and they elected Nelson Mandela as the first Black President of the Republic of South Africa,

It can be claimed that not much has changed for the indigenous peoples of South Africa, While it is true they have a majority black representative government, the whites still own the land. White farmers still get rich while employing cheap black labor.

The captains of industry are still white although a new elite cadre of black politicians and civil servants may now live in gated (separate) communities, much of the pain of being poor, disenfranchised, and black has changed very little for so many.

A new black capitalist class also rides high above the black dispossessed workers and those who go to bed hungry.

Many observers and organizations make parallels between the apartheid segregated Society of South Africa, the Jim Crow racial segregation laws of North America, and “Israel”. The use of Israeli-only roads and Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank are prime examples of Israeli separation laws.

The discrimination against black African Americans is again reflective of the white European racism that underpins white American society. It is mirrored in the majority of the white legislator, judiciary, police, and army aficionados in power in American civil society and in the corporate, business, and banking sectors.

White Americans control the levers of power and influence, in the media as well as on Capitol Hill.

The continued destruction of black Afro American society through the widespread use of drugs, criminal gangs, poverty, underinvestment, governmental neglect, police brutality, judicial repression, are continued proof if it were needed, that a white European colonial mindset underpins discrimination and racial prejudice in societies where white Europeans want to maintain an internal hegemonic position of superiority which is then reflected in their foreign policies of exploitation and subjugation, in order to maintain white economic privilege in the countries of the EU, North America, Canada, and Australia.

All the countries I have mentioned above are guilty of genocide, racial intolerance, oppression, military adventurism, and ethnic cleansing.

Is “Israel” any different?

“Israel” is a white European colonial settler state.

It has followed all the steps taken by previous white European settler-colonial states such as South Africa, North America, Canada, and Australia,

It has colonized, subjugated, ethnically cleansed, and marginalized the indigenous populations of the country they have militarily conquered and supplanted.

“Israel” has its Nations state Law which many international observers see as a template for a Jewish only Israeli state that separates non-Jews and others from playing an active role in the state.

“Israel” now has usurped 85% of historic Palestine.

To me, apartheid is an abhorrent manifestation of a supremacist ideology that seeks to separate one from the other, to create disharmony, bitterness, hatred, and a divided dysfunctional broken society based on racial or religious purity.

“Israel” fulfills all these roles but it does so much more.

An apartheid state might use the law to discriminate. It may use the law to repress and isolate those it seeks to subdue but it doesn’t bomb kindergartens, schools, hospitals, and bakeries, does it?

It may have separate roads and separate housing areas but it doesn’t shoot countless children in the legs for throwing stones or bringing water to the kids resisting an illegal occupation, creating crippled boys, does it?

It does not shoot paramedics and leave the wounded to bleed out on the street to die, does it?

It does not murder physicists in another jurisdiction, indiscriminately bomb bridges and civil infrastructure in neighboring countries, does it?

It does not count the calorific intake of those it is legally responsible for, to break their will to resist, to withhold food, medicine, vaccines, fuel in order to impoverish and emasculate an entire population of 1.8 million people, does it?

It does not bomb neighboring countries that are not at war with it, deny building permits to the indigenous population while simultaneously dismantling their homes in a land you are illegally occupying, and forcing homes owners to destroy their properties. To detain citizens under Administrative detention, internment without trial. To murder, maim, imprison, torture, and kill at will with impunity, is this Apartheid? I think not. Yet these are the everyday actions of a rogue unaccountable state immune to international law and international sanctions, actively supported protected, and facilitated by the other white European ethnic colonies that Israel aspires to be.

“Israel” is Beyond Apartheid.

We must find a new way to describe “Israel” based on its everyday practices of Ethnic cleansing, murder, colonization, dispossession, and expansion.

We must call “Israel”, not an Apartheid State which it is, but an Ethno cleansing pariah genocidal rogue state, because that it was, it does? That is what it is. That is what we must call it.The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

What is the Future of the US Army as Racism In Its Ranks Increase?

September 28, 2021

What is the Future of the US Army as Racism In Its Ranks Increase?

By Charles Abi Nader

A recent study by the Pentagon showed a decrease in the rate of Americans enlisting in the armed forces – only 2% of all Americas in the past two years. The study further revealed that the percentage of US troops of color or coming from minorities is remarkably declining, as the interest of black people in joining declined from 20% in 2019 to 11% the next year, to reach 8% in the fall of 2020. The study attributed the results to the rise of racism and the use of violence by security forces against the protesters, in addition to the murder of George Floyd – an African-American – which had repercussions on the entire American society.

First and foremost, the US Air Force acknowledged the reluctance of troops in joining its ranks, especially among minorities. There is concern regarding the decrease of a younger generation of troops in enlisting not only in the Air Force but also at other military arms. This, in addition to the risk of the long-term retention in the posts of others in the armed forces, especially those “in the ranks of the black males, Hispanics, and women, too”.

In fact, such a study conducted by the Pentagon can’t be considered as normal or be taken for granted since as per US laws and regulations, the results of any study on an important and sensitive sector, such as the army should be published. But the repercussions of this study suppose that the results should be somehow confidential, for this topic has considerable effects on the cohesiveness of the US army, and thus on the society and the state in general.

The cohesiveness of the US army – as the case of armies in most countries – reflects the cohesiveness and situation of the state as a whole. Even more, the US army might be the first internationally within this equation, since it is assigned big missions, most of which are overseas [with more than 800 military sea, land, and air bases outside the country]. Such missions are spread and located all over the world and sometimes relocated, for the so-called purpose of protecting US interests and allies as well as maintaining American national security. Therefore, to face such a big problem in the US army [the increase of racism, for example] has tremendous effects on both, the American national security and on the status of the US in the world.

What does it mean when racism increases in any army? How does it affect the efficacy of this army, and thus its capability of carrying out its missions and properly playing its role?

Talking about racism in a certain army means that there is an outcast, unwelcomed category or group in this army, with which the other group cannot get along. It also means that trust is lacking between the two groups or among the members of each group. With this in mind, how would it be possible to appropriately lead such a military unit in order to accomplish a common mission? How would this leadership be achieved, as it requires a concerted effort and focus of all its elements to attain the bottom-line effectiveness needed to successfully fulfill the goal?

Of course, with the spread of racism that implies a superior view, disgust and mutual hatred, it is normal to have trust issues between the officers and the employees, on all the ordinal levels, if they are of different colors or ethnicities or cultural and religious beliefs, and the like of the racism-inciting points. Accordingly, where there is racism, there will be an abnormality in the cohesiveness of any military unit, especially when this unit is assigned an extraordinary or dangerous mission. This being said, distrust among its members will grow, along with the possibility of treachery and evasion of responsibility, in addition to allocating the risk to a certain party by the operational and administrative heads.

That’s in general. As for the US army, with its transcontinental nature and sensitive missions that are usually assaults and invasions [we have previously shed light on this situation in most of the wars involving the US, where its troops are fiercely confronted by the troops of the targeted or assaulted countries and by resistance movements, as in Vietnam and Lebanon, and recently in Iraq and Afghanistan], the casualties have significantly surpassed the reasonable or the average extent due to the shaken trust between the members and officers, especially when carrying out overseas operations and missions.

Consequently, we can say that a great deal of the US army’s overseas failures can be attributed to this abnormal, unhealthy phenomenon. Apparently, it has always existed historically in this army, but it wasn’t exposed to the extent it’s been recently, in the aftermath of the murder of the African-American George Floyd and its disastrous repercussions on the US society. The danger of this phenomenon entails the close bond between the US community and army, as the latter is considered the first worldwide with respect to capabilities, and the second after the Chinese army with respect to personnel [more than one million members and officers]. The reciprocal influences between this army and the community are huge and tremendous, which will certainly have a direct effect on the coherence of the state and the system.

The fight to whitewash US history: ‘A drop of poison is all you need’

At least 15 states are trying to ban schools from teaching critical race theory and the 1619 Project. The reactionary movement stretches back to the 1920s and the KKK

By VT Editors –May 25, 2021

Guardian: In 25 May 2020, a man died after a “medical incident during police interaction” in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The man was suspected of forgery and “believed to be in his 40s”. He “physically resisted officers” and, after being handcuffed, “appeared to be suffering medical distress”. He was taken to the hospital “where he died a short time later”.

It is not difficult to imagine a version of reality where this, the first police account of George Floyd’s brutal death beneath the knee of an implacable police officer, remained the official narrative of what took place in Minneapolis one year ago. That version of reality unfolds every day. Police lies are accepted and endorsed by the press; press accounts are accepted and believed by the public.

That something else happened – that it is now possible for a news organization to say without caveat or qualification that Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd – required herculean effort and extraordinary bravery on the part of millions of people.

The laborious project of establishing truth in the face of official lies is one that Americans embraced during the racial reckoning of the summer of 2020, whether it was individuals speaking out about their experiences of racism at work, or institutions acknowledging their own complicity in racial injustice. For a time, it seemed that America was finally ready to tell a more honest, nuanced story of itself, one that acknowledged the blood at the root.

But alongside this reassessment, another American tradition re-emerged: a reactionary movement bent on reasserting a whitewashed American myth.  Read more…

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/25/critical-race-theory-us-history-1619-project

ABOUT VT EDITORS

VT EditorsVeterans Today

VT Editors is a General Posting account managed by Jim W. Dean and Gordon Duff. All content herein is owned and copyrighted by Jim W. Dean and Gordon Duff

editors@veteranstoday.com

Cops May Get 30 Years: Feds Charge 2 Corrupt NJ Cops With Beating Yemeni Teen, Falsifying Arrest Report

Source

By Gordon Duff, Senior Editor -April 27, 2021

VT: Our sources tell us that this investigation has found not just this incident but dozens of others and widespread corruption at every level of the Patterson New Jersey Police, tying them directly to drug cartels and human traffickers along with Blue Lives Matter extremists.  Watch the video that will take down an entire corrupt police department, one of thousands in the US:

Daily Beast: Two police officers in Paterson, New Jersey have been charged with civil rights and obstruction of justice offenses for allegedly beating a 19-year-old Yemeni man last year, then falsifying a police report about it.

Kevin Patino, 29, and Kendry Tineo-Restituyo, 28, approached Osamah Alsaidi shortly after midnight last December as he was walking to his car to drive to work.

According to the DOJ, the officers grabbed him and started punching him, including when he was lying on the ground. The pair then filed a police report falsely claiming Alsaidi had approached them “acting belligerent” and punched Patino, justifying the arrest. As The Daily Beast reported in February, Alsaidi was charged until CCTV emerged showing a completely different story. The cops face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Tuesday the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office would take over the Paterson P.D.’s internal affairs function. At least 10 Paterson cops have been charged with misconduct in recent years.

BIOGRAPHY

Gordon Duff, Senior EditorSenior Editor , VT

Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War. He is a disabled veteran and has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades. Gordon is an accredited diplomat and is generally accepted as one of the top global intelligence specialists. He manages the world’s largest private intelligence organization and regularly consults with governments challenged by security issues.

Duff has traveled extensively, is published around the world and is a regular guest on TV and radio in more than “several” countries. He is also a trained chef, wine enthusiast, avid motorcyclist and gunsmith specializing in historical weapons and restoration. Business experience and interests are in energy and defense technology.

Gordon’s Archives – 2008-2014gpduf@aol.com

The U.S. system could very well collapse if reforms are not instituted immediately

By Abayomi Azikiwe

The U.S. has been experiencing various social developments in recent years. There were several factors which have led to the existing social crisis in the U.S. The failure of the capitalist system to provide adequate jobs, incomes and amenities to tens of millions of people while the ruling class is becoming wealthier,

inherently weakened national institutions. When the pandemic hit during 2020, the economic impact was catastrophic. Then rather than adequately addressing the problems, the Trump administration sought to ignore the increasing impoverishment and uncertainty, which fuelled anger and righteous discontent. 

The mass demonstrations and rebellions across the country beginning in May 2020, further exposed the contradictions between the foreign policy rhetoric of the U.S. as being a leader in international human rights, where in reality the police and vigilante killings of African American and Latin American peoples suggest just the opposite. It was amazing to witness the United Nations Human Rights Council holding hearings on racist violence in the U.S. This event was held at the aegis of the African Union (AU) utilizing a resolution submitted by Malcolm X (El Hajj Malik Shabazz) and adopted during his intervention at the July 1964 second summit of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the predecessor of the AU. It will be important for progressive elements within the international community to continue their condemnation of U.S. foreign policy related to race relations and Washington’s dealing with developing countries, particularly those holding anti-imperialist sentiments.

I think the established political structure in the U.S. is not able to cope up with these challenges and solve the social problems. The system needs a complete overhaul. The profit motive in economics cannot be maintained if the aim of the government is to seek stability. The longer the capitalist and imperialist system is in operation the world will know no peace.

The U.S. system could very well collapse if reforms are not instituted immediately. Even with substantial reforms, there are structural weaknesses and contradictions which will not go away if a new system is not brought into existence. However, even if the American system is in decline, it could continue to function for many years to come causing havoc domestically and internationally. For example, ancient Rome took several centuries to be completely stripped of its power. Even with the collapse becoming inevitable, it did not prevent the invasion of the Horn of Africa during the late 19th century and North Africa in the early 20th century. Fascism arose out of the desire of Mussolini to rebuild Rome as an imperialist state. It would take the defeat of Fascism in the 1940s to eliminate its strength as an imperialist power. A similar historical trajectory could occur in relationship to the U.S. if the people domestically and internationally are capable of eliminating imperialism as a continuing threat to humanity.

 *Abayomi Azikiwe is the editor of the Pan-African News Wire. Azikiwe is a graduate of Wayne State University in Detroit. He has worked for several decades in solidarity with various liberation movements and progressive governments in Africa, the Caribbean and other geo-political regions. 

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Leaked: Smith College memo demands workers admit White privilege

Leaked: Smith College memo demands workers admit White privilege
Ramin Mazaheri  (@RaminMazaheri2) is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

March 02, 2021

by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

As a daily reporter, columnist and author it seems I have developed a reputation for unparalleled bravery in exposing truths which the 1% want to keep hidden.

That is the only reason I can think of to explain why an anonymous whistleblower chose me to release this shocking internal memo from embattled Smith College.

The memo demands that their White workers, “admit to White privilege, and work on my so-called implicit bias as a condition of my continued employment”, to nick a phrase from a recently resigned employee of the school, Jodi Shaw.

A thorough recap of the Smith College saga (and the above quote) can be found by reading this article from The New York Times, “Inside a Battle Over Race, Class and Power at Smith College”. To summarise: In 2018 an 18-year old Black female student at Smith College (which is part of the nation’s elite “Seven Sisters” historical women’s colleges) wrongly accused several White service workers of racism, “misgendering” and other threatening behaviors. The workers were later found innocent of all accusations, but they still lost their community standing, personal safety, privacy and socioeconomic well-being, and all without apology or compensation.

The case has remained in the American spotlight mainly because it serves as an example of fake-leftism run amok. In order to distinguish the real from the fake, I agreed to publish this leaked form which White Smith College employees must now sign in order to avoid another embarrassing incident.

—RM

From: Smith College Board of Trustees

To: White Smith College employees

Re: Work Sets You Free (sign or be fired)

We at Smith College are committed to providing these United States of America – excepting the states which swung for Donald Trump in either 2016 or 2020 – with the highest quality of education possible in order to create a more perfect and enlightened union.

This is why our annual tuition is set at $78,000 per year – in order to deny any sort of deplorable infiltration by the non-elite – be they financial, sexual, ethnic or ideological non-elite – into the upper echelon of American society.

Therefore I, the undersigned and guilty White defendant/employee, hereby agree with, consent to, and admit the following in order to continue my employment with Smith College:

By being White I benefit from “White privilege”.

Repeat and internalise the following:

“Whether I am a tenured professor who cannot be fired or a longtime janitor, as a White person we Whites are all the same. This is true in ideas, speech and – of course – looks.”

“I confirm that Whiteness is our only important socioeconomic characteristic. By being White we have undoubtedly reaped enormous financial and social benefits from being White.”

“Even if we are signing this pact from our single-wide trailer home while our neighbour is having yet another meth-induced psychotic episode, our Whiteness has always guaranteed prosperity and social success.”

“By being White I cannot possibly have an intelligent analysis of racial and social relations in the United States and/or beyond. I hereby swear to stop reading books as it will just confuse me further, due to my Whiteness.”

The White workers in the service sector who were falsely accused in this case by must additionally admit: “My experience being falsely accused, dismissed from work, socially harassed and/or unfairly shunned has no bearing on anything at all, nor should it, because these problems happened to a White person.”

By being White I have an implicit bias.

Among White people an implicit bias is universal. It includes but is not limited to: White supremacism, Nazism, the supremacy of Whites, race-based totalitarianism, White supremacy and the Confederacy.

Smith College is in Massachusetts, but any service sector worker whose ancestors died for the North in the Civil War must still admit their bias in favor the defeated Confederate States of America who killed their ancestor.

Being non-White means never having to say you are sorry.

The 18-year old Black student who accused our uppity hired help was not at all just another overdramatic, socially brutal and self-centered 18-year old for the following reason: she was Black.

Also: because she was a “she”. Smith College trustees fully support #MeToo’s “Believe all women” motto, yet we even more strongly support, “Believe all rich liberal arts college students”.

In fact, Smith College – a hallowed, 145-year American institution – has always had the same motto: “The customer is always right.” Thus we commend The New York Times for accurately reporting that we have lived up to that very demanding slogan: “We used to joke, don’t let a rich student report you, because if you do, you’re gone,” said Mark Patenaude, a janitor.” We proudly note that Smith College gives as many as six scholarships to non-rich students over every three-year period.

Smith College will immediately implement the following, as relayed by The New York Times: “…the creation of dormitories — as demanded by (the accusing student) and her A.C.L.U. lawyer — set aside for Black students and other students of color.” Smith College employees must ignore complaints from Smith College students who find a cross burning in front of their dorm room in order to expedite this “re-segregation” plan.

Being White means you are an obstacle to any and every “social justice mission”.

We hold such a truth to be self-evident in enlightened 21st century America, where – with the recent restoration of Joe Biden – a true leftism now reigns supreme. It is one which must be ruthlessly implemented in all non-American nations.

This is why we denounce The New York Times’ introduction of pernicious class warfare – which is not at all acceptable in “leftism with American characteristics” – and so very, very early in their article: By relaying the following intellectual concept proposed in the 61st paragraph of a 66-paragraph article (and from someone from the untouchable janitor class, no less!), all Smith College employees are now banned from talking to The New York Times.

“He (Patenaude) recalled going through one training session after another in race and intersectionality at Smith. He said it left workers cynical. (Editor’s note: such classes were not for teaching faculty but only for workers.) “I don’t know if I believe in white privilege,” he said. “I believe in money privilege.”

This worker will soon be fired for suggesting that economic class is even close to being as important as race, gender, sexuality, religion, ableness, handedness, hair color, height, weight, eye color, favourite sports team or shoe size in modern American society.

And to prove there is no “money privilege” at Smith College: White Smith College service sector workers who additionally pay the $78,000 yearly tuition are hereby exonerated from signing this agreement.

Your signature here _______________________________

Biden Says That America Is Back, But That Might Be A Bad Thing

By Andrew Korybko

Source

Biden Says That America Is Back, But That Might Be A Bad Thing

The world shouldn’t celebrate President Biden’s declaration that “America is back” but should tremble in fear. He doesn’t mean that it’s returning to the international community as an equal member, but that it’s doubling down on its bad habits.

US President Joe Biden thundered that “America is back” while addressing the Munich Security Conference last week via video, but his understanding of what this means might be a bad thing for the rest of the world. There were high hopes that he’d pragmatically re-engage with the international community in order to right his predecessor’s many foreign policy wrongs, but it seems from the rest of the words that he shared during his speech that he has other motivations in mind. The problem is that President Biden revealed how ideological his envisioned foreign policy is, which will inevitably contribute to further international instability in the future.

According to the American leader, the world is presently at an inflection point between democracy and what he described as “autocracy”. He said that his country’s “galvanizing mission” must therefore be to “demonstrate that democracies can still deliver for our people in this changed world” since he’s convinced that “it’s the single best way to revitalize the promise of our future.” In and of itself, that wouldn’t be an issue so long as the US focused solely on improving the state of its democracy at home, but regrettably, he wants to impose its interpretation of this governing system onto the rest of the world in a paradoxically undemocratic way.

Democracy is supposed to be about respecting differences, yet President Biden proclaimed that America will “speak out to defend [its values] around the world”, which differ from other countries’. Every state should have the right to practice their own form of democracy at home in line with their national traditions and culture without coming under pressure from abroad for this choice. Just like every person in a democracy should be able to do whatever they’d like as long as it’s peaceful, responsible, and doesn’t infringe on others’ rights, so too should every member of the international community be able to do this as well.

Unfortunately, President Biden’s ideologically driven foreign policy denies this right to China, which discredits America’s pro-democratic approach to International Relations. He proposed that “the United States, Europe, and Asia work together to secure the peace and defend our shared values and advance our prosperity across the Pacific” due to what he described as their “long-term strategic competition with China”. He also said that “We have to push back against the Chinese government’s economic abuses and coercion that undercut the foundations of the international economic system. Everyone — everyone — must play by the same rules.”

That statement is extremely hypocritical since it doesn’t align with reality. It’s the US that carries out economic abuses and pursues a policy of coercion against others which confirms it’s unwillingness to play by the same rules as everyone else. This is proven by its trade war against China and reliance on illegal sanctions as a foreign policy tool. China, by contrast, has always complied with international law and the rules of the World Trade Organization. Beijing doesn’t believe that there should be any double standards in this respect. It’s consistently advocated for America to return back to respecting international rules and norms instead of violating them.

President Biden’s messianic belief in America’s mission to impose its national interpretation of democracy onto others seems to have made him think that it’s acceptable to apply double standards towards this end. That’s the only explanation for why he’d so shamelessly lie to the rest of the world by claiming that China carries out a policy of economic abuses and coercion when that’s actually what his own country has a proven track record of doing. This observation strongly implies that the fundamental fallacy of his foreign policy is the mistaken assumption that America’s model of democracy is universal and that this thus makes the country exceptional.

That’s not true, though. America isn’t better than anyone else like the country’s conservatives claim, nor is it “the first among equals” like its liberals seem to believe. It’s simply just another member of the international community, albeit the one which is arguably the most responsible for destabilizing the world because of its dangerous belief in its own messianic mission and exceptionalism. Considering this, the world shouldn’t celebrate President Biden’s declaration that “America is back” but should tremble in fear. He doesn’t mean that it’s returning to the international community as an equal member, but that it’s doubling down on its bad habits.

Biggest threat to global leftism returns to power: US fake-leftism (1/2)

Biggest threat to global leftism returns to power: US fake-leftism (1/2)
Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

January 08, 2021

by Ramin Mazaheri (@RaminMazaheri2) for the Saker Blog

It was an interesting ride, at least, but the Electoral College’s vote for Joe Biden marks the definitive end of the Donald Trump presidency.

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Trump was somebody you could never support in a vacuum, only by comparison; there’s nothing wrong with a united Europe but not this American-penned, neoliberal version, so it’s clear why Britain chose Brexit; France has long been the West’s only hope, so it’s not fair to put the politically advanced, physically courageous, full of solidarité Yellow Vests in with this group, but all three here are certainly related.

I never supported Trump. What I support is the fight against fake-leftism, which is the perhaps the biggest threat to real leftism.

Many Anglophones now have no idea what I am talking about. That’s a problem.

There’s a problem when you Google such a hugely important concept like “fake-leftism” and Ramin Mazaheri has multiple hits on the very first results page: what on earth have Anglophones been talking – or not talking – about?

Fake-leftism is such a huge threat because we all know what the right-wing wants – they are totally clear about it, and that is at least respectable. It must be conceded that while some of their values (like rabid anti-socialism) have no merit at all, some of their other values are respectable and cannot destroyed any more than yang can destroy yin.

So in many vital ways fake-leftism is as big a threat to leftism as rightism because fake-leftists are right-wingers in disguise on some issues and totally deluded about what true leftism is on other issues – they distort, distract and undermine real leftism and thus are actually perpetually engaged in pushing things always to the right.

So spending time fighting fake-leftism is certainly just as vital as opposing right-wing forces. Unfortunately, there are enormous, tedious, ineffective reams of the latter and yet so little of the former that I am seemingly in the position to monetise the term “fake-leftism” with T-shirts and coffee mugs?

Let’s start in the opposite direction: what is fake-rightism?

It’s very interesting to listen to American fascist media. I am not referring to Fox News, nor even Christian conservative radio. The US has genuinely, openly fascist media you can find on the fringe, but I’m not going to give them free publicity by listing them.

As a daily hack journalist it’s my job to listen to everyone and quickly provide copy; and perhaps temperamentally I am simply lucky in that I can listen to people I disagree with without getting angry.

These American fascist media are full of unacceptable racism and hatred but still can provide some very unique takes on Trumpism, as Trumpism is a right-wing ideology which they naturally grasp more about than I do: For example, they actually assert that Trump lost because he betrayed his White Power base – which is to say that Trump lost because he was not racist enough – and the fact that the only group he lost votes from in 2020 as compared to 2016 was White men proves that. Considering how close the vote was, the idea should be considered, at least. However, I have and I find it insufficient and actually just more typically-Western “race and tribe and religious differences are everything” (we are talking about the analyses of racist fascists, after all) and actually mere identity politics (we are talking about the analyses of modern Americans, after all).

But something they said once stuck out for me: The Republican Party is the party paid to lose. That was funny because I was interviewing a Green Party candidate in my recent work in the US for PressTV and he said the same thing about the Democratic Party. We absolutely cannot draw a false equivalence between the far-right and the far-left (though, of course this is exactly what is done all the time in the know-nothing corporate Mainstream Media), but both are totally right.

That is very easy to explain, but nobody wants to explain it. I can explain it quickly, I just can’t get it published in any Mainstream Media, because the MSM does not want to promote clear political understanding as that would threaten the grip of the 1%.

The Republican Party is slightly watered-down Western fascism – which was never discredited by defeat in the US, unlike in Europe due to World War II. Modern Republicans are actually a “fake-fascist” party: they have rejected open racism (the apartheid of Jim Crow). This explains why you can find American fascist media openly rejecting both Republicans and even Trump – many modern Republicans have rejected a key pillar of fascism, after all – openly espousing racism and claims of racial superiority. American fascists also point out that Trump never built the Mexico wall, and that many Republicans encourage making the US less White via immigration – two more pillars of fascism which have gone unbuilt, so it’s no wonder genuine American fascists rejected Trump long before the Electoral College did.

Again, it’s not hard to explain, but who in the MSM takes American fascism seriously? The US MSM only wants to support the 1%, not to be intellectually rigorous, honest and willing to openly discuss American failures. Just look at how Russiagate was foisted on the US public from 2016-19 for proof of the latter.

At the very least I think we can agree that on the left wing (and probably the centre wing) of the Republican Party their racism and xenophobia is hidden – this runs contrary to fascism’s open racism. So to true American fascists people who do this would be labelled as “fake-fascists”.

Despite the clear accuracy of this logic the term of “fake-fascist” is – per a Google search – so unpopular that it also appears open to monetisation. But only a fascist would ever try to monetise everything, of course, and only a fascist would ever even try to denounce somebody’s fascism as “fake” or “insufficient”.

Yes, I promised to write about fake-rightism and gave you fake-fascism. I have a perfectly good answer to which allows me to move on: This is America, where fascism was never discredited and thus fascism is actually rampant (even if often a bit watered-down).

But what is the Democratic Party? It is fake-leftism

About this there is enormous, gigantic misunderstanding. It is so enormous that Google says that little old Ramin Mazaheri is a top exponent of what is the Democratic Party: It is a fake-leftist party.

Again, the far-right and the far-left are not at all, not at all, not at all the same, but political know-nothings, political-nihilists and lazy thinkers all like to claim that they are. So it’s important to briefly clarify why comparing socialists and fascists does not actually compare two extremes:

On the extreme left of the global spectrum of political thought anarchists occupy the furthest pole, with communists to the right of them, and then socialists to the right of them, and then centrists (combining elements of both left and right) to the right of them. Thus, socialism IS leftism and NOT far-leftism on the global spectrum of political thought. This is not up for debate – definitions are clear and accepted, and you are not allowed to make up your own if you want to talk among others without ruining the discussion.

Contrarily, the different national spectrums of political thought are indeed up for debate and are quite, quite mutable – merely look at how “Trumpism” clearly just become at least half of the Republican Party.

But the global political spectrum is almost totally immutable – it requires a stunning revolution in thought to upset it. One must concede that humans have thought about politics for a very long time, and that’s why it’s so hard to change the global political spectrum: what’s more to the left of anarchism, which posits that every person has total liberty and that nobody is in charge of anyone else? What’s to the right of totalitarian fascism, which has been most fully experienced by the victims in places like Apartheid South Africa, slave-owning states and Israel? Iranian Islamic Socialism was a huge, stunning revolution – many don’t know where to really place it on the global political spectrum – but it didn’t move the poles, right? Right.

So we know what things are on the global political spectrum when we see it, and the US Democratic Party is undoubtedly fake-leftist. We can argue about whether it is on the centre or right of the global political spectrum but it is definitely, definitely, DEFINITELY wrong to place it on the global political spectrum’s left.

So wrong it would be laughable if this issue of fake and real leftism were not so hugely vital.

Let’s unwelcome back the US fake-left’s return to power

I have written about this so much that even Google must acknowledge it, but I must admit I took some time off from writing about fake-leftism recently. I don’t think it was out of the boredom caused by repetition, but also because 21st century fake-leftism was deposed by Trump in the US, by Brexit in the UK and by the Yellow Vests in France – it became far more interesting to try and humbly publicly analyse these movements and why they arrived.

But with Biden’s ascension I realise I have to get back on the horse, because fake-leftism is back on the horse – it’s a huge threat to global leftism, after all, and one that goes totally, totally, totally unaddressed.

Part 2 of this article will remind us of just how right-wing the US Democratic Party is. This is perfectly obvious when what Joe Biden and his supporters actually believe are held side-by-side with the basic tenets of actual leftism. Because the West is so rabidly anti-leftist the basic, globally similar tenets of leftism are never openly discussed, and thus people get so very confused about what leftism is that they actually come to believe that Democrats are a “left” party on the global political spectrum. That’s absurd.

One last note, just to expand out this article as much as possible: In 2017 I supported Marine Le Pen for only the two weeks between Round 1 and Round 2 in France’s presidential election because I opposed Emmanuel Macron’s “fake-centrism”. Macron went on to wage incredibly fascistic violence against the Yellow Vests, extended the state of emergency for 2 years, closed down Muslim community centres, gutted longstanding French measures of economic redistribution and protection, and did many other things which would have caused an uproar…if they had been done by Le Pen. Macron was always a fake-centrist – he was also very far on the right, and the failure to call things by their proper names led to even worse long-term social disorder than if the repugnant Le Pen had won.

The repugnant Trump won in America, and so many great leftist-inspired movements absolutely dominated large swaths of Trump’s tenure: Black Lives Matter, #MeToo and a few others were not perfect, but mainly because in the US fake-leftism is so powerfully misleading and problem-inducing.

Let’s put aside Trump – perhaps only until 2024 – and focus on saying hello to the restoration of fake-leftism in the US.

It is very unfortunate to see you.

*************************************************************

Dispatches from the United States after the presidential election

Results are in: Americans lose, duopoly wins, Trumpism not merely a cult (1/2) – November 5, 2020

Results are in: Americans lose, duopoly wins, Trumpism not merely a cult (2/2) – November 6, 2020

4 years of anti-Trumpism shaping MSM vote coverage, but expect long fight – November 7, 2020

US partitioned by 2 presidents: worst-case election scenario realized – November 9, 2020

A 2nd term is his if he really wants it, but how deep is Trump’s ‘Trumpism’? – November 10, 2020

CNN’s Jake Tapper: The overseer keeping all journalists in line (1/2) – November 13, 2020

‘Bidenism’ domestically: no free press, no lawyer, one-party state? (2/2) – November 15, 2020

Where’s Donald? When 40% of voters cry ‘fraud’ you’ve got a big problem – November 17, 2020

The 4-year (neoliberal) radicalisation of US media & Bidenites’ ‘unradical radicalism’ – November 22, 2020

80% of US partisan losers think the last 2 elections were stolen – December 3, 2020

Trump declares civil war for voter integrity in breaking (or broken) USA – December 5, 2020

Mess with Texas via mail-in ballot? States secede from presidential vote – December 8, 2020

Biden won? 2016-2020 showed what the US does to even mild reformers – Dec 18, 2020

Alleged Nashville bomber not Muslim: Western media disappointed – January 2, 2020

This week in the US: The ‘model nation’ for no nation anymore – January 7, 2020

Alleged Nashville bomber not Muslim: Western media disappointed

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this photo from the Twitter page of the Nashville Fire Department, damage is seen on a street after an explosion in Nashville, Tennessee on December 25, 2020.

by Ramin Mazaheri  and crossposted with The Saker

(Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV’s.)

Alleged Nashville bomber not Muslim: Western media disappointed
Ramin Mazaheri (@RaminMazaheri2) is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

The entire world breathed a sigh of relief when it turned out that the alleged Nashville, Tennessee, bomber was not a Muslim – now nobody can get dragooned into supporting yet another war on a Muslim-majority country.

Isn’t it spectacular how after 9/11 the US impressed almost the entire West into never-ending military service? Western piracy in Afghanistan continues today; Iraq was reduced to shambles; France used the ruse to invade Mali, the Central African Republic and to create a roving “anti-terrorist” force across the entire Sahel; Libya is no longer really a nation; Syria stands despite all the money, guns, terrorists and concrete fortifications the West could muster. I am probably missing some others.

It was true that in the years after 9/11 Muslims silently held their breath when they heard about a terrorist attack, but after 20 years and so many bombs, drones and assassinations it’s abundantly clear that Muslims are not the aggressor nor the transgressor: The pointed finger alleging cultural failure was clearly a false accusation.

The question Muslims now often feel confident enough to ask non-Muslims in public is, “What did Islam ever have to do with terrorism, anyway?” The answer is the same as it was on 9/12/01: “Nothing”.

The Nashville bombing occurred on Christmas day – maybe this was an act of “Christian terrorism”?

The sad irony is that many Christians will flinch at such a term because they view “Christianity” and “terrorism” as being total opposites. Do such persons realise that Muslims view joining “Islam” to “terrorism” also creates an oxymoron? Muslims and Christians should permanently unite around this concept: the sadness of feeling totally misunderstood when the word “terrorism” is affixed to either religion. The only barrier to this is the Islamophobic nonsense which pours out of the West’s chattering classes.

Terrorism is always defined as violence which has a political motive. Was the Nashville bombing, allegedly caused by Anthony Warner, terrorism? We don’t know at this point, so it’s wrong to call it terrorism.

Some report that Warner was paranoid about the effects of the new 5G technology – that seems rather more social than political.

There are unproven accusations that Warner was bombing storage facilities used by the voting machine company Dominion, which is being sued for allegations of vote tampering – if proven to be true then it’s possible this was a political act. It’s looking like Joe Biden will prevail in the still-disputed US presidential election, but is Warner the advance scout of a battalion of right-wing, pro-Trump terrorists which the US media warned about so hysterically in 2020? Considering how insistently they promoted anti-Trumpism and the fear of right-wing violence, it’s surprising that US media hasn’t immediately called Warner a “post-Trumpian terrorist”?

Maybe they will get there, but what this unfortunate episode can teach us is that the West rushes to demonise Muslim citizens and the teachings of Islam whenever they think they have an opportunity to do so. If Warner had been a Muslim there would have been an unjournalistic rush to judgment by Western media that Nashville was undoubtedly an act of – ugh – “Islamic terrorism”.

It’s unfortunate that Islam is so easily slandered in the West, but the problem to discuss here is not religious misunderstanding but reactionary political thought: Islam is slandered so easily precisely in order to create false justifications for the West’s endless imperialist wars in the oil-rich, Israel-surrounding Muslim World.

In the Western world talking of “imperialism” is (incredibly, to me) denigrated as anachronistic, eccentric and unrealistic. It’s not even taken seriously – if I was writing about transgender bathrooms I would be taken infinitely more seriously, and that is no exaggeration. And yet, doesn’t using the lens of imperialism explain the very different US media treatment for Anthony Warner as opposed to “Omar” Warner?

After all, who can the US media suggest we invade as a result of Warner’s alleged act? Which culture can be insulted and ordered to change at the point of a spear? How can Americans feel a misguided sense of superiority – which helps deflect from their ever-increasing inequality, poverty and socioeconomic instability – when Warner’s culture is their own?

And thus Warner is getting treated far more sympathetically than any Muslim menace to society, even though Warner is no more human.

I do not begrudge sympathy for Warner: The unpredictable actions of severely mentally ill people often have devastating consequences on people, and this is an unfortunate part of life and must be discussed.

What I do point out is that, for example, in the majority of France’s terror attacks following Charlie Hebdo’s publication of pornographic pictures of Prophet Mohammad the attacker was also just another mentally-ill person, and not some political mastermind and zealot. I covered these attacks year after year and the perpetrators always fell into one of two categories: the largest was mental illness, while the smaller grouping were political (not religious) terrorists who – without fail – expressly said their attacks were retribution for France’s many imperialist attacks on Muslim countries.

The problem in the world today is not religious – as the West and Israel asserts – but political, as the developing world asserts.

But – as the four-year “daily cultural insanity” of the Trump era proves – the US is incapable of discussing political nuance intelligently and without resorting to hyperbolic slander or wild-eyed absurdities. This explains why if Anthony Warner had been a Muslim the violence would have undoubtedly been declared “terrorism”, immediately – I am referring to endemic American political hysteria of the “other”.  

I am not here to complain – as a professional wordsmith often pedantically does – about the misuse of words and the confusion caused by refusing to abide by established definitions. Instead, I am suggesting that non-Muslims in the West should wake up to just how easily they are intellectually manipulated when it comes to any violence which employs something more brutal than a handgun: Had Warner been a Muslim Americans and Westerners would have shouted at to maintain their awful, destructive and immoral two-decade long war posture towards Muslims and Islam.

When there are acts of political terrorism, the West needs to examine the politics behind it and make sure their politics are just. When there are acts of violence, just because a Muslim was the perpetrator doesn’t make it political. However, in the identity politics-obsessed West, it seems one is always defined solely by his or her tribe and is never just another son or daughter of Adam.

“Anthony” or “Omar” shouldn’t make a difference to you but it certainly does, depending on where you live: manipulative Islamophobia may have sent your children off to die in hopeless wars, gutted your individual political rights and caused you to see anyone with a different political view as your lifelong enemy.


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The Power of Confusion

The Power of Confusion

December 30, 2020

By Jimmie Moglia for the Saker Blog

It now seems certain that we have a Jon Bidet for president. For if a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, a Biden, metaphorically speaking, by any other name still smells like a poorly maintained sanitary device, however many euphemisms the imagination may body forth out of the forms of things unknown.

The American election campaign with its arcane modalities, along with the contemporary pandemic narrative, and somehow functional to it, have revealed the progress of an inextricable confusion. Statistics, medicine, health, illness, science, opinion, belief, critique, criticism, freedom, law, crime, punishment, openness, censorship, liberty, compulsion, have lost their original meanings. And the amazed world by such amazing changes, no longer knows which is which.

There are ethical bombings, therapeutic missiles, democratic assassinations and humanitarian imperialism. Even the most perspicacious reasoner may be easily bewildered, while the mythical average citizen, lost in the mental labyrinth of Newspeak, feels as if he had stumbled into the utter darkness of a starless universe.

Still, looking at the whole as impartially as we can, it cannot be denied that confusion is the raw material of power.

The general conception of power describes it as a regime of asymmetric transactions involving a strong dealing with a weaker contractor. Disrespect for the laws means jail, failure to pay bills leads to extinction of service, non-payment for ‘protection’ results in the store being burned, etc. The basis of power is then a concrete threat with the consequent fear of the threatened.

If the relationship of meanings were so straightforward, the nature of power would not require further investigation. However, reality shows that he who doesn’t comply with the laws can incur penalties, but power may and can treat much worse him who tries to comply with them.

That power is based on fear is patently clear, but fear creates assuefaction and can also be rationalized. However, a rational analysis of power does not imply the acceptance that power is rational. On the contrary, nonsense and self-censorship represent a constant of its behavior and communications, leading to the conclusion that power is schizogenic and schizocratic, as a European philosopher has determined.

Examples. Ever since Reagan and Thatcher the operating economic concept has been the oxymoronic concept of expansion with austerity, meaning, in practice, gluttony at the top and hunger at the bottom. For capitalism likes deflation along with the pauperization of the unworthy crowd. But in a regime of constant stagnation who will pay the taxes?

Inter-imperialist and inter-capitalist conflicts may explain some inconsistencies we are witnessing – e.g. demonizing and threatening China while buying all that China can sell. But there is no such conflict when considering economic policies. If Trump really wanted to defend the most national capitalistic entities against transnational ones, what was the point of indiscriminately reducing taxes to all corporations, domestic and transnational?

The Supreme Court refused to examine the charges of massive fraud in the presidential elections, brought forth and demonstrated by the plaintiff. The reasoning, in layman’s terms, is that fraud was none of the Court’s business, even when it involves the actual future of the country – of whose laws, and therefore civilized existence the Supreme Court is the supreme arbiter. One reasonable conclusion is that the majority of the Supreme Court does not feel as powerful or secure as the supremacy implied in its appellation would suggest. In laymen’s terms some of the ‘supremes’ fear for their ass. The confused citizen wonders what is ‘supreme’ about the Supreme Court.

On the other hand power does not live by planning but by power, as if in a kind of blissful irresponsibility. Where power, for maximum effectiveness, includes confusion and nonsense. During my corporate days, I remember passing by rows of cubicles in a large office hall, one cubicle for each individual, veritable monuments to the unknown employee. In some of them the dweller had hanged a poster with the script, “If you cannot dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.”

And in terms of pure domination, nonsense pays off; for nonsense is more seductive than fear. US President Harry Truman is credited with the sentence summing up the principle of psycho-war, “if you cannot convince them, confuse them”. In reality power prefers to confuse rather than convince, since beliefs can change. Both fear-based domination and conviction-based consensus are uncertain and transient, while a confusional state can perpetuate itself indefinitely over time, establishing a sense of permanent loss and fragility and thus a lasting dependence. Covid-19 docet.

Another classical example. Communism in Russia died 30 years ago. And yet the US cabal sees Russia as the same threatening power of yonder years. The proverbial average citizen, more interested in the sexuality of royals and of show-people than in the actual world around him, will depend on the televisual ministry of truth for actual news, the shorter the better, leading to the average citizen’s assured and lasting dependence on lies.

Some psychopaths, though not being in a position of strength, can establish dominant relations over other people; this is achieved through a behavioral pattern where an attitude of giving an exaggerated importance to the other is alternated with an exactly opposite attitude, contempt and ridicule. By so dong the victim is persuaded that he lost the benevolence of the other because of some personal mistake. While fear can be rationalized, this confusional state, instead, leads to an uncritical identification with one’s aggressor.

The development of the Covid emergency demonstrates the principle. Power has alternated an exaggerated attention to the health and lives of citizens with callous disregard for their economic survival. Even the most sordid business connected to the emergency is presented to public opinion with a communications technique already described in literature. Power can be angry at you for harboring suspicion while, at the same time, it makes you feel that what you suspect is certain.

Hence the ordinary citizen today does not know what power wants from him. He strives to literally follow the most absurd rules, at times nonsensical, at times draconian, at times falsely permissive. Yet, the more he strives to comply, the more he is threatened with imminent new dangers (e.g. new strains of the same virus requiring more coercion and (?) new vaccines). In the end the situation dampens the desire for rebellion, while it reinforces, in the most part, the feeling of having something wrong within oneself. For a confusional state, therefore, creates more dependence than fear or consent.

Equally, a confusional state blocks the individual’s mind from perceiving the massive buffoonery of which he is the target. In this sense, and from the point of view of power, buffoons are a godsend – because they don’t understand what they are doing, believe everything which is in the domain of personal interest, know how to lie because their whole life is a dissimulation, and create enough confusion to disorient people and prevent the birth of a coordinated and widened opposition.

The instrumental use of the virus has been contradicted and exposed by many. Who are competent, illustrious people, credible on paper at least as the ensigns of the virus, and have provided mountains of evidence for an operation with horrible or at least questionable ends. Just to quote an example, during the last 30 years, the US government had to indemnify people damaged by vaccines for a total amount of 4.4 billion $. A proportionate indemnity applied for people equally damaged by vaccines in the UK. Yet, as it is widely known, Pfizer is legally exempted from compensating patients damaged by the vaccine.

As for the highly paid, highly visible and highly wrong ‘scientists’ pontificating on sundry viruses, they are living proof that no estimates are more in danger of erroneous calculations then those by which a man computes the force of his own genius.

Regarding the concurrent goals of the pandemic, the operation is not even hidden, so much so that the term ‘The Great Reset” (attributed to the Caliban-looking Karl Schwab, mastermind of the World Economic Forum) has almost become part of the common parlance. Yet, such is the mental and moral armor that confusion, conformism and fear have instilled into most, that the extraordinary conjuncture (virus-great reset) is either overlooked at large or mostly relegated to the limbo of so-called conspiracy theories.

From such a perspective, the parallels between the American elections and the Covid phenomenon are more meaningful than random. Can there actually be a straight connection? As long as the inquirer is not asked to resort to crude generalizations and vulgar simplifications such as a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ he may be allowed to proceed. For history (and indeed life) can be compared to a Byzantine mosaic, composed of an apparently endless number of tiles. A single independent tile could not possibly suggest or enable to imagine the whole. Yet the mosaic would lose its completeness if that tile were missing.

I will therefore collect some ‘tiles’ of the “Great Reset,” which encompasses events intrinsically connected, namely the fraudulent recent presidential elections, the pandemic as a means for crowd and mass control, the practical elimination of the middle class, the fight against Western Christian civilization, the ethnic replacement in Europe and America of the white race via mass third-world in-migration, corresponding to the final stage of the Kalergi plan.

Known to many, I will just repeat here the end goal of the plan, the substitution of the white Western ethnicity with a Negroid race via miscegenation. Images of men on the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs will give the idea of how the “new European” will look, writes Kalergi. And ruling over this new inferior race will be the Jews, the best of whom will have, in the meantime, intermarried with the best and most successful whites, to amend some racial characteristics among the chosen people, produced by millennial intertribal marriages.

The previous paragraph may sound anti-Semitic were it not an actual quote from the book “Praktischer Idealismus” published by Kalergy, the recognized founder of the European Union, whose work was massively supported by Jewish bankers both in Europe and America.

Still, all this could be thought of as a bold hypothesis, were it not confirmed by palpable evidence that only willful mental blindness could ignore or contradict.

Just one example among many, concurrent with the elections and the pandemic, the New York Times, under ownership of the chosen people since 1895, carrier of the ‘official’ political American opinion, and best known newspaper in the world, published an article by Roger Cohen titled, “Trump’s Last Stand for White America.” (Oct 16, 2020) https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/16/opinion/trump-2020.html

Yet, historically, we are approaching the end of a project whose roots sink into what for us is a bare faint remembrance of things past. Still, there is no shortness of evidence. For example, thus writes Emperor Claudius, in 41 AD, “I command the Jews not to agitate for anything beyond that which they have hitherto enjoyed, and not from henceforth, as if they lived in two cities, to send two embassies — a thing which never occurred before now – nor to intrude themselves into games and elections, but to profit by what they possess and to enjoy in a city, not their own, an abundance of all good things, and not to introduce or invite others of their race who make voyages to Alexandria from Syria or Egypt, thus compelling me to conceive the worst suspicions; otherwise I will by all means take vengeance upon them, as fomenting a general plague upon the whole world.”

Claudius made this proclamation, in response to riots between Greeks and Jews in Alexandria. He thought that peace in the city would be restored if the Jews ceased certain negative behaviors. Meaning agitating for heightened and special privileges (“to agitate for anything beyond that which they have hitherto enjoyed”); attempting to circumvent established practices of representative politics (“to send two embassies — a thing which never occurred before now”); attempting to intrude into, and disrupt, the cultural life of the Alexandrians (“to intrude themselves into games and elections”); attempting to manipulate the demographic balance of the city (“to introduce or invite Jews who make voyages to Alexandria from Syria or Egypt”); and finally, abusing and exploiting the advantage of their diaspora condition to cause problems internationally (“fomenting a general plague upon the whole world”).

Next, it may be instructive to compare the pronouncement of Emperor Claudius with the following very recent speech by the good Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi, which some have titled, “God will bury America.” It is a transcription but the original can be found here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkuofEh-5c8&feature=youtu.be

“The Jews run the show in the world. Not because they want to but because that’s what God wants. And it’s written in the Torah that the non-Jew admit that this is the word of God. And if they did not admit what is the proof?

But in the Torah it says that in every nation you, the Jews, will be always the highlight of the place. Even though we are only a small part of the community compared to America, 300 million Americans, 5 million Jews, no comparison. But the Jews are everywhere. All the systems of Trump, Jews. All of the system of the Sleepy Joe, Jews. Obama? Jews. Everyone around them Jews, conservative Jews, “Habat knit (?)” Jews. All somehow, same thing was in Spain, same thing was in many different countries. When a country hosts the Jews, and the Jews live in that country with freedom, God blesses this place thanks to the Jews. As soon as they torture them, or kill them, or throw them out of the country, the end of the empire shortly comes to them one by one.

The Roman empire, when it started with (messing with) the Jews that was the end. After the Jews no more Roman Empire. The Greeks? Same story. Babylonia disappeared. Persia (inaudible) in Iran modern days.

The Iranian Shah was very good to the Jews. Iran was the fourth powerful country in the world, in his time. After Russia, America, I think Germany. Iran, who was selling oil, controlling the market. Iran was an empire several years ago. The Jews ran away when Khamenei came and Iran went back in time 1000 years. The end of Iran came. Germany, they killed the Jews. It used to be a massive empire – they are now one more country, nothing special. Spain, same thing. the Jews were in power, then they did the Spanish Inquisition. Spain and Portugal? There is nothing left from them. Russia… there were many hundreds of thousands of Jews there. Russia was a powerful empire. The Jews left Russia, the USSR collapsed. the Jews in America have assimilated and have nothing to worry. But the Jews that are religious will have to get away within a year or two or five – all have to run away from here. Once we would leave this place Hashem (God) will bury America. That’s what is going to happen. Not because I am some kind of a prophet. I am not giving you any prophecy, I am just describing to you a divine formula. The chosen people when they (the locals) are going to be good and nice to them I (God) will bless you from that place.”

Many have described but relatively few have given logical explanations for the overwhelming power that Zionists hold in the countries they are hosts of. Recently I heard one that, in my view, merits consideration. It goes as follows. Like any other group or people or nation, Jews contain a criminal element. But their criminal element is exceptional and uniquely different from any other criminal entity, because of their historicity as a global travelling group. This always gives the criminal element an advantage as long as they operate in the criminal ground, and that’s why they occupy positions of power and control. As the good rabbi said, “All the systems of Trump, Jews. All of the system of the Sleepy Joe, Jews. Obama? Jews. Everyone around them Jews, conservative Jews, “Habat knit (?)” Jews. All somehow, same thing was in Spain, same thing was in many different countries.”

It’s not because of just skill, it’s because of coercion, bribery, blackmail, corruption and deceit that many of these people end up in positions of power. The host nation is not capable of resisting them once they are brought into the pen, when the wolf has been allowed among the sheep.

Joe Bidet is a ‘Catholic’ sheep who excels at applying his tongue with gusto to the buttocks of his masters. Besides, 30 pieces of silver will buy more than one Judas. In various occasions he has defined himself an ardent Zionist. There is no depth of flattery he did not resort to. As when he told one of the many Zionist organizations in the country that, “The Jews have been major contributors to the success of America.”

In this context, it may be interesting to examine an extract from one of his very recent declarations to an audience of African Americans.

Biden said he wants to appeal to Trump’s 75 million voters but not by “giving them anything.” He repeatedly drew parallels between white Trump supporters and the Ku Klux Klan, and further suggested he was planning to use the bully pulpit to harass white Trump supporters for their “racism” as though they’re KKK members.

He also said he got a call from the Pope to congratulate him on his victory and the Pope told him that “the most important thing you have to do is to deal with racism.”

As a side note, Pope Bergoglio said that migrants are ‘God’, that European must miscegenate because the Madonna was a mulatto. And as a symbolic sign of a more-than-symbolic subservience of the Catholic church to the New World Order, the most recent Nativity Scene in St. Peter’s square was made up of Startrek characters. And in the Nativity Scenes of some Italian churches Joseph and Mary wear anti-Covid masks. It may be more colorful than meaningful but many Catholics openly call Bergoglio the “Antichrist.”

Biden talked about the deluge of biracial couples in commercials as evidence of progress and an indicator of where society is heading“Fifteen years ago could you turn on the television and see few commercials being biracial.”

“You want to know where society’s going?” Biden said“Watch entertainment, watch the profit motive.”

“Why are these commercials, so many of them biracial? The young generation is changing, they’re demanding more, they don’t come with the baggage — maybe 10, 20, 25 percent of them are pure racists, who knows — but the vast majority, the vast majority, are not at all (as) when I was coming up.”

It was interesting to hear Biden talking so forthrightly. Unlike Trump, he’s coming with plans (read, those of his masters). Unfortunately, they are disgusting and, as he said, “This country is doomed” (meaning, unless it opens the border to the third world and whites miscegenate).

Trump did much to promote Zionist objectives, including the recognition of Jerusalem as capital of the Jewish state and of the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory, the assassination of eminent and respected Iranian leaders, the acquiescence in considering ISIS a ‘terrorist’ organization – whereas it is/was but a Saudi setup with strong Israeli participation. Yet it is astonishing that Zion did not find it sufficient – maybe short of a public circumcision, possibly performed by the aforementioned Rabbi Mizrachi.

Given Biden’s plans, the pandemic is a perfect tool of confusion and a tile in the mosaic of the Kalergi plan. As well as a perfect test of how much and how far elites can go in (effectively) emasculating entire populations, preventing or eliminating the risk of upheavals – in the style of the now-all-but-forgotten Gilets Jaunes. For the pandemic has brought the threat – no matter whether real or narrated – to the biological level of pure existence. A state to which attempts are made to reduce us, so as to erase the resistance and the consciousness that were beginning to emerge.

In summary, if multinational, pharmaceutical and banking cartels make up the laws, if America accepts the verdict of falsified elections (which means accepting the death of representation), if Europe and America are driven by lobbies and cartels still seeking all sorts of hegemonies, then we live in a perfect tyranny, because it is a tyranny that successfully hides itself.

Finally, the present is a fleeting moment, the past is no more and our prospect of futurity is dark and doubtful. But we think, therefore we are, and thought is still free from the extant censorship, unthinkable just a few decades ago.

We can take the view that so long as Heaven has condemned us to suffer, patience is a virtue. On the other hand, we can hope and work at creating the anger required to destroy tyranny. For, as Thomas Aquinas said, “The absence of anger is a sign of the absence of reason.”

‘What Binds Us Together’: On What It Means to Support Indigenous Liberation

December 20, 2020

A depiction by the Navajo artist Remy of 16-year-old Fawzi al-Junaidi arrested by Israeli soldiers. (Photo: File)

By Benay Blend

In a recent interview with Michael Arria, Sumaya Awad and Brian Bean discuss their book Palestine: A Socialist Introduction (2020). The collection argues that socialism should be viewed as an important element in the struggle to liberate Palestine.

“What binds us together,” concludes Awad, “is our class politics. The working class together is what will build a new kind of world and a different system. And what that means is standing with the oppressed outside of our borders and with Palestine.”

While class is a clear connection around which to build campaigns, there are other avenues to explore. For example, in “The Liberation of Palestine Represents an Alternative Path for Native Americans,” Nick Estes (Lower Brule Sioux Tribe) describes Palestine as “the moral barometer of Indigenous North America,” thus adding the Indigeneity that Awad touches on to the commonalities that bind activists to the cause of Palestine.

Responding to the controversy that erupted in Santa Fe, New Mexico over a series of pro-Palestinian murals drawn by a local Navajo artist, Elena Ortiz (Ohkay Owingeh) expands on the historical connections between the Indigenous here and in Occupied Palestine.

“The images on that stucco wall,” explains Ortiz, “show the truth of settler colonialism and the effects it has on indigenous people. They were put there to show solidarity with our Palestinian relatives in the face of brutal occupation; to illuminate injustice and shed light on this nation’s complicity in Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people.”

In that vein, she stresses the importance of acknowledging that the founding of the United States was a process that involved displacing and exploiting Indigenous nations that were living on the land prior to European conquest, a process very similar to the establishment, too, of the state of Israel.

Elaborating on the contradictions between Santa Fe’s reputation as a liberal “art center and home to vibrant Native cultures,” Ortiz asks how a Native-installed art exhibit could cause so much controversy. “Because it illuminates a truth that many people do not want to face?” she speculates, or, perhaps, it offends a lot of people?

In reality, those most offended were local Zionists who assumed the role of victim. “Why is Israel singled out as an aggressor when there are many troubled spots in the world?” asked Rabbi Berel Levertov of the Santa Fe Jewish Center-Chabad. “There are many facets to the story and to highlight Israel is just anti-semitic propaganda.”

Preferring a portrayal that depicts “normalization” of relations between the two—a “work of art depicting…Jews and Arabs living in Peace”—Levertov offered up an image very fitting, too, of Santa Fe, a City Different that hides its racism beneath a veneer of faux adobe.

Several months later another controversy arose when Native people and their comrades succeeded in taking down a memorial ostensibly to Union soldiers. As Elena Ortiz explains, those same combatants participated in massacring Native people and removing them from their homelands.

“Under the shadow of that obelisk,” Ortiz asserts, “on Tewa homelands, in a place we call O’gha Po’geh, we still exist,” despite ongoing efforts by some to prove the opposite.

Alan Webber, the liberal mayor of Santa Fe who might seem a likely ally, proposed a belated Cultures, Histories, Art, Reconciliation and Truth committee. Tasked with replacing other controversial monuments with alternate public art, the commission bears resemblance to similar efforts towards “normalizing” Israeli/Palestinian relations.

Indigenous activists know better, specifically that there can be no peace until there is substantive justice. Elena Ortiz, daughter of the late Alphonso Ortiz, an anthropology professor who was my mentor at the University of New Mexico, says that “the city’s mood and dialogue” have exposed much deeper problems.

“Santa Fe, with its pseudo-liberal, left-leaning politics, thinks it’s somehow above” racial tensions that elsewhere have been exposed.

“But when you look at the vitriol that has come out since the obelisk, we’re peeling back this onion and we’re showing the racism that is endemic in Santa Fe. And we’re showing that, hey, Donald Trump doesn’t have anything on Santa Fe and this racism is so systemic.”

A city that bears a liberal façade, but in which racist and anti-Palestinian sentiments have exploded, Santa Fe is a perfect example of the ways in which Indigeneity unites solidarity activists around the cause of liberation, but at the same time exposes that sometimes a wing of the left-liberal camp declines to be on board.

Finally, President-elect Joe Biden’s selection of New Mexico Congressmember Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) as secretary of the interior owes much to Indigenous movements who organized around land back as well as an end to fracking on and around Native land. An historic first, Haaland’s appointment marks a significant turn-around for an agency that for much of the nation’s history played a central role in the dislocation and abuse of all Indigenous tribes.

“That was a very, very important step for the Biden administration,” says Winona LaDuke, executive director of Honor the Earth, rural development economist and Native American activist. “Indian people know how to take care of this land.” ·

According to the Red Nation, Haaland’s nomination is also significant because she hails from a state that ranks fifth in the country for oil and gas production, much of which is on Indigenous land claimed by the federal and state governments. Moreover, the group explains,

“these conditions, and ongoing struggle against them, put NM at the center of the land back movement — in which a first step is returning public lands back to Indigenous people for any kind of sound environmental policy. Because of this context, Haaland’s appointment is significant.”

Because Haaland has taken a position against fracking on public land and has supported Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) legislation, her selection plays out within this context.

“We have yet to see, however, how this will all play out when she becomes secretary of DOI,” concludes the Red Nation statement. “Regardless, movements are pushing in this direction.”

“While there is widespread agreement among Native people that European colonialism and Indigenous genocide is criminal and immoral,” writes Nick Estes, “there are a surprisingly high number of Native politicians, elites, and public figures who don’t extend the same sympathies to Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims.” He continues that the term “anti-Palestinian opportunism” describes “how profitable and career-advancing it is for Indigenous people to align with the Zionist project.”

The future Secretary of the Interior falls into this category. “It’s profound to think about the history of this country’s policies to exterminate Native Americans and the resilience of our ancestors that gave me a place here today,” Haaland said.

Nevertheless, she does not view Palestine in the same light. For example, during her campaign for US Congress, Haaland compared Native Americans getting the right to vote in New Mexico in 1948 to the creation of the state of Israel. Reflecting on this statement, Estes concludes that “Haaland’s opportunism demonstrates that she is anything but an ally to Palestine and more of an opportunist willing to throw Palestinians under the bus when it benefits her political career.”

Recalling a panel in which she participated during the Palestine Writes festival, author and activist Susan Albuhawa explained that “true solidarity has a cost. What is it really worth to the oppressed if it’s easy and cheap and popular? Solidarity matters most when it’s hard, unpopular, and costly.”

Hopefully, in her upcoming appointed position, Haaland will use her platform to point out the ties that bind the Indigenous in this country with their relatives the Palestinians. Both have undergone ethnic cleansing and displacement, parallel experiences that should be called for what it is, crimes against humanity.

Recounting how the Intifada changed the political trajectory of the Palestinian people, Ramzy Baroud explains that “thanks to the Intifada, the Palestinian people have demonstrated their own capacity at challenging Israel without having their own military, challenging the Palestinian leadership by organically generating their own leaders, confronting the Arabs and, in fact, the whole world, regarding their own moral and legal responsibilities towards Palestine and the Palestinian people.”

Perhaps it is this acknowledgment of the need for a grassroots struggle against colonialism that is the tie that binds Indigenous resistance around the world. Commemorating the 2020 election which saw the ouster of Donald Trump, the Red Nation put out the following statement. Regarding what needs to be done, it puts forward the following view on socialism as the tie that binds.

“The battle of ideas against the ideology of greed and individualism, and the need for communal organization are key…Indigenous peoples, peoples of tribal nations, peoples of Maroon communities, peoples of the land have lived before capitalism and against capitalism. They have cultivated relations with each other and the land that do not rely on conquest and surplus but bring abundance and joy and dignity to all. These communal forms should be developed and become schools for freedom. We call these schools for Indigenous socialism. Join us in the struggle to create a better future.”

“To be a socialist you must be a principled champion for Palestine (p. 6),” write Awad and Bean. Their book bears out that certainly, this is true.

– Benay Blend earned her doctorate in American Studies from the University of New Mexico. Her scholarly works include Douglas Vakoch and Sam Mickey, Eds. (2017), “’Neither Homeland Nor Exile are Words’: ‘Situated Knowledge’ in the Works of Palestinian and Native American Writers”. She contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

Why Joe Biden Can’t Unify America

As the Democratic party tumbles into the morass of racial and identity politics, Joe Biden will find it almost impossible to unify his own party, let alone America.

by Scott McConnell

Donald Trump faced an unfairly hostile press and was burdened with innumerable deficits of his own making, but in comparison with Joe Biden he held one clear advantage at the outset of his term: he had beaten fair and square his ideological rivals in his own party. The GOP establishment retained considerable power in the House and Senate—and Trump couldn’t govern without them. But Trump had beaten—no, whipped—Bush and Rubio and Cruz, and they knew it. He could draw large crowds and they couldn’t. His authority over the GOP may have been resented; the “resistance” to him from the Deep State and affluent suburbanites was formidable and eventually brought him down, but no one could deny that his ascension was based on one hard currency of politics, namely, mass voter enthusiasm.

Biden, a likeable enough centrist senator, can boast of no such thing. He prevailed, as Christopher Caldwell cogently reminds us, after an embarrassingly poor start to his campaign, (fourth and fifth-place finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire), salvaged by a critical endorsement from a South Carolina congressman who probably influences more votes than any politician in America, immediately followed by a panicked rush of the party establishment to close ranks against the socialist Bernie Sanders. Though American presidential campaigns last far too long, this critical period seemed to pass in a nanosecond. Congressman James Clyburn’s church ladies (and Biden’s unobjectionable tenure as Barack Obama’s vice president) put him over the top in South Carolina. Next, Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar immediately dropped out (the latter two having beaten Biden, sometimes decisively, in states where voters actually see a great deal of the candidates). Elizabeth Warren stayed in to battle Bernie for the party’s Left vote. Biden swept Super Tuesday just as the coronavirus was shutting down the country. It was almost certainly the most underwhelming route to a nomination in recent American political history. 

The party which nominated Biden is more divided than the one Trump dominated in 2016; the difference is the battle between the factions hasn’t been joined yet. Socialists would make common cause with deep state and corporate world neoliberals in believing, (or pretending to believe—it can be hard to distinguish) that Donald Trump constituted some sort of unique threat to American democracy. But with Trump gone, they share nothing. One can imagine a gifted politician (a Bill Clinton in his prime) able to soothe the divisions and partially placate the losers; it’s unlikely Biden could manage that at any point in his career.

The splits are as stark as those which separated Mayor Richard Daley and other party “regulars” from the McGovernites who beat them in 1972, but also more complicated. There is a liberal—or socialist-curious—Left that is genuinely concerned about the economic inequality which has been growing in the United States for forty years—Elizabeth Warren, and, in a more dogmatic and further left way, Sanders spoke for them. There is the identity politics faction, which shares their radicalism, ignores economic inequities unless they concern blacks or Hispanics, and is interested in a full-scale cultural war against whiteness, which means against much of American culture and history. Both groups endorsed Sanders but it is not clear how much they share with one another. They share virtually nothing with Michael Bloomberg or other Wall Street titans who contributed heavily to the Biden campaign.

One consequence is that in the early rounds of the Biden transition, every choice has been racially fraught. For the past five days, hundreds of Black Lives Matter (BLM) protestors have laid siege to the home of Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, protesting against the possibility he would be given a cabinet post in the Biden administration. They opposed Garcetti, a Biden campaign co-chair and probably California’s most well-known Latino elected official, for rejecting BLM demands to defund the Los Angeles police department. California governor Gavin Newsom’s choice of a candidate to fill out the Senate term of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is debated entirely on the basis of identity politics, with blacks and Latinos and LGBTQ groups each proclaiming that one of their “community” deserves the seat; one hears no arguments made on the basis of the character, intellect, or political talents of their favored candidates. Democratic intra-party politics increasingly resembles a zero-sum game of identity competitions, carried out under the feel-good banners of inclusion and diversity.

And yet if the identity politics movement since the first protests following the death of George Floyd seems more radical, pervasive, and frightening, it was not obvious that its beliefs had penetrated into the consciousness of those who were neither college students, young people not yet tied to work and family, or professional liberal activists. In the most bellwether ideological election held since the great awakening, Californians returned to the ballot box once more to pass judgement on race-based affirmative action, which had been made illegal by 53 to 47 percent referendum vote in 1996. In this summer of racial reckoning, liberals in the legislature had pushed for a revote, believing that the state’s changed racial composition, (fewer whites, more Latinos, more Asians) would allow a reversal of that result and give formal sanction for preferential treatment on the basis of race to be used to increase diversity and overcome legacies of past discrimination.

Race-based affirmative action, along with the conundrums of law enforcement, have been the only consequences of the Civil Rights revolution of the 1960s to remain under any serious political or cultural contestation. But since a Vietnam veteran named Allan Bakke famously sued for admission to a California medical school while clearly establishing that his grades and test scores were higher than minority applicants admitted in his stead, it has been a fraught issue, decided ambiguously by the Supreme Court. In California, voters had opted for state neutrality regarding race; now, in the summer of racial justice, progressives assumed they would reverse course.

The voters’ answer disappointed the state’s entire Democratic establishment (which unanimously supported the rollback) and the corporate donors who gave the rollback side a 20-1 spending advantage. Nonetheless, California’s diverse and strongly Democratic electorate still wanted race neutrality, voting for it by a larger margin (56-44) than they had in 1997. Latinos voters split down the middle, Asians and whites voted against the reinstitution of racial preferences.

Meanwhile, in Democratic strongholds of northern Virginia and New York City, Asian parents were leading campaigns to keep exam-based elite public schools alive: against them were arrayed progressive politicians and bureaucrats and Black Lives Matter activists who sought to eliminate tests which measure math and verbal competence and replace them with measures that would reduce the number of gifted students in elite schools—in the name, naturally, of inclusion and diversity.

These local battles take place largely under the national radar as Biden struggles to name a cabinet that will be “the most inclusive in history”—while at the same time assuring that key foreign policy posts are given to the kind of neoliberal Iraq war supporters he is most familiar and comfortable with. Indeed, the battle of leaks and emails over whether the next secretary of defense will be a woman or a black is debated almost entirely without reference to the Pentagon’s mission and how to best carry it out. Then there is the probable nomination of Neera Tanden, who has spent the past several years denouncing Republicans on Twitter, to run the Office of Management and Budget, a nomination that hardly constitutes an olive branch to Republicans.

There is no way to see how Biden or his party squares these circles, which would confound a more vigorous politician with a more robust electoral mandate. As the Soviet Union was fading, Georgi Arbatov, an intellectual close to the Politburo, famously remarked that Moscow was going to cause great problems for the United States by “depriving it of an enemy.” He may have been right. Trump has fulfilled the same function for the Democratic coalition; now that Dr. Evil is gone, the knives will come out. This is why the safest political prediction is that those who voted for a “return to normalcy” under Biden are in for a rude disappointment indeed.

Scott McConnell is founding editor of the American Conservative and author of Ex-Neocon: Dispatches from the Post-9/11 Ideological Wars.

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