A Decalogue: The Ten Theses of American Empire-Building: A Dialogue

Global Research, November 10, 2018

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First published by Global Research on August 11, 2018

Introduction

Few, if any, believe what they hear and read from leaders and media publicists. Most people choose to ignore the cacophony of voices, vices and virtues.

This paper provides a set of theses which purports to lay-out the basis for a dialogue between and among those who choose to abstain from elections with the intent to engage them in political struggle.

Thesis 1

US empire builders of all colors and persuasion practice donkey tactics; waving the carrot and wielding the whip to move the target government on the chosen path.

In the same way, Washington offers dubious concessions and threatens reprisals, in order to move them into the imperial orbit.

Washington applied the tactic successfully in several recent encounters. In 2003 the US offered Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi a peaceful accommodation in exchange for disarmament, abandonment of nationalist allies in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. In 2011, the US with its European allies applied the whip – bombed Libya, financed and armed retrograde tribal and terrorist forces, destroyed the infrastructure, murdered Gaddafi and uprooted millions of Africans and Libyans. . . who fled to Europe. Washington recruited mercenaries for their subsequent war against Syria in order to destroy the nationalist Bashar Assad regime.

Washington succeeded in destroying an adversary but did not establish a puppet regime in the midst of perpetual conflict.

The empire’s carrot weakened its adversary, but the stick failed to recolonize Libya ..Moreover its European allies are obligated to pay the multi-billion Euro cost of absorbing millions of uprooteded immigrants and the ensuing domestic political turmoil.

Thesis 2

Empire builders’ proposal to reconfigure the economy in order to regain imperial supremacy provokes domestic and overseas enemies. President Trump launched a global trade war, replaced political accommodation with economic sanctions against Russia and a domestic protectionist agenda and sharply reduced corporate taxes. He provoked a two-front conflict. Overseas, he provoked opposition from European allies and China, while facing perpetual harassment from domestic free market globalists and Russo-phobic political elites and ideologues.

Two front conflicts are rarely successful. Most successful imperialist conquer adversaries in turn – first one and then the other.

Thesis 3

Leftists frequently reverse course: they are radicals out of office and reactionaries in government, eventually falling between both chairs. We witness the phenomenal collapse of the German Social Democratic Party, the Greek Socialist Party (PASOK), (and its new version Syriza) and the Workers Party in Brazil. Each attracted mass support, won elections, formed alliances with bankers and the business elite – and in the face of their first crises, are abandoned by the populace and the elite.

Shrewd but discredited elites frequently recognize the opportunism of the Left, and in time of distress, have no problem in temporarily putting up with Left rhetoric and reforms as long as their economic interests are not jeopardized. The elite know that the Left signal left and turn right.

Thesis 4

Elections, even ones won by progressives or leftists, frequently become springboards for imperial backed coups. Over the past decade newly elected presidents, who are not aligned with Washington, face congressional and/or judicial impeachment on spurious charges. The elections provide a veneer of legitimacy which a straight-out military-coup lacks.

In Brazil, Paraguay and Venezuela, ‘legislatures’ under US tutelage attempted to ouster popular President. They succeeded in the former and failed in the latter.

When electoral machinery fails, the judicial system intervenes to impose restraints on progressives, based on tortuous and convoluted interpretation of the law. Opposition leftists in Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador have been hounded by ruling party elites.

Thesis 5

Even crazy leaders speak truth to power. There is no question that President Trump suffers a serious mental disorder, with midnight outbursts and nuclear threats against, any and all, ranging from philanthropic world class sports figures (LeBron James) to NATO respecting EU allies.

Yet in his lunacy, President Trump has denounced and exposed the repeated deceits and ongoing fabrications of the mass media. Never before has a President so forcefully identified the lies of the leading print and TV outlets. The NY Times, Washington Post, the Financial Times, NBC, CNN, ABC and CBS have been thoroughly discredited in the eyes of the larger public. They have lost legitimacy and trust. Where progressives have failed, a war monger, billionaire has accomplished, speaking a truth to serve many injustices.

Thesis 6

When a bark turns into a bite, Trump proves the homely truth that fear invites aggression. Trump has implemented or threatened severe sanctions against the EU, China, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, North Korea and any country that fails to submit to his dictates. At first, it was bombast and bluster which secured concessions.

Concessions were interpreted as weakness and invited greater threats. Disunity of opponents encouraged imperial tacticians to divide and conquer. But by attacking all adversaries simultaneously he undermines that tactic. Threats everywhere limits choices to dangerous options at home and abroad.

Thesis 7

The master meddlers, of all times, into the politics of sovereign states are the Anglo-American empire builders. But what is most revealing is the current ploy of accusing the victims of the crimes that are committed against them.

After the overthrow of the Soviet regime, the US and its European acolytes ‘meddled’ on a world-historic scale, pillaging over two trillion dollars of Soviet wealth and reducing Russian living standards by two thirds and life expectancy to under sixty years – below the level of Bangladesh.

With Russia’s revival under President Putin, Washington financed a large army of self-styled ‘non-governmental organizations’ (NGO) to organize electoral campaigns, recruited moguls in the mass media and directed ethnic uprisings. The Russians are retail meddlers compared to the wholesale multi-billion-dollar US operators.

Moreover, the Israeli’s have perfected meddling on a grand scale – they intervene successfully in Congress, the White House and the Pentagon. They set the Middle East agenda, budget and priorities, and secure the biggest military handouts on a per-capita basis in US history!

Apparently, some meddlers meddle by invitation and are paid to do it.

Thesis 8

Corruption is endemic in the US where it has legal status and where tens of millions of dollars change hands and buy Congress people, Presidents and judges.

In the US the buyers and brokers are called ‘lobbyists’ – everywhere else they are called fraudsters. Corruption (lobbying) grease the wheels of billion dollars military spending, technological subsidies, tax evading corporations and every facet of government – out in the open, all the time and place of the US regime.

Corruption as lobbying never evokes the least criticism from the mass media.

On the other hand, where corruption takes place under the table in Iran, China and Russia, the media denounce the political elite – even where in China over 2 million officials, high and the low are arrested and jailed.

When corruption is punished in China, the US media claim it is merely a ‘political purge’ even if it directly reduces elite conspicuous consumption.

In other words, imperial corruption defends democratic value; anti-corruption is a hallmark of authoritarian dictatorships.

Thesis 9

Bread and circuses are integral parts of empire building – especially in promoting urban street mobs to overthrow independent and elected governments.

Imperial financed mobs – provided the cover for CIA backed coups in Iran (1954), Ukraine (2014), Brazil (1964), Venezuela (2003, 2014 and 2017), Argentina (1956), Nicaragua (2018), Syria (2011) and Libya (2011) among other places and other times.

Masses for empire draw paid and voluntary street fighters who speak for democracy and serve the elite. The “mass cover” is especially effective in recruiting leftists who look to the street for opinion and ignore the suites which call the shots.

Thesis 10

The empire is like a three-legged stool it promotes genocide, to secure magnicide and to rule by homicide. Invasions kills millions, capture and kill rulers and then rule by homicide – police assassinating dissenting citizens.

The cases are readily available: Iraq and Libya come to mind. The US and its allies invaded, bombed and killed over a million Iraqis, captured and assassinated its leaders and installed a police state.

A similar pattern occurred in Libya: the US and EU bombed, killed and uprooted several million people, assassinated Ghadaffy and fomented a lawless terrorist war of clans, tribes and western puppets.

“Western values” reveal the inhumanity of empires built to murder “a la carte” – stripping the victim nations of their defenders, leaders and citizens.

Conclusion

The ten theses define the nature of 21st century imperialism – its continuities and novelties.

The mass media systematically write and speak lies to power: their message is to disarm their adversaries and to arouse their patrons to continue to plunder the world.

*

Prof. James Petras is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

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Being in Midterm Election

November 05, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

Ahead of the American Midterm Election I reprint a short segment from Being in Time – a Post Political Manifesto. It seems to me as if most political commentators are yet to grasp the post-political transition: the growing divide that extends far beyond politics, ideology, ethnicity and class.

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“America is divided into two camps: the Americans and the Identitarians. The Americans are those who see themselves primarily as American patriots. They are driven by rootedness and heritage. For them, the promise to make ‘America great again’ confirms that utopia is nostalgia and that the progressive and liberal offerings are nothing short of an ongoing disaster. The Identitarians, on the other hand, are those who subscribe to liberal and progressive politics. They see themselves primarily as LGBTQ, Latino, Black, Jewish, feminist and so on. Their bond with the American national or patriotic ethos is secondary and often even non-existent.

But the Identitarian agenda backfired. It was only a question of time before the so-called ‘Whites’, ‘rednecks’ ‘deplorables’ and ‘reactionaries’ grasped that their backs were against the wall and they too, started to act and think as an Identitarian political sector. For these folks, the American flag became their symbolic identifier as well as unifier.

Those of us who have critically examined the evolution of New Left, progressive, liberal and Identitarian politics were unsurprised by Donald Trump’s success. Indeed, the defeat of the Remain camp in the UK Brexit poll had previously exposed a similar fatigue amongst British working people. But what is the nature of this fatigue?

Our urban financial quarters are now saturated with glass skyscrapers metaphorically designed to convey transparency as well as fragility. But when you stand close to these glass towers you realize that the wall in front of you is no window but a mirror. And when you attempt to peep in, all you see is yourself standing outside. Being in Time is an attempt to grasp that sense, that ‘post-political’ condition of being left outside.” (Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto pg 7)

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Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto,

Amazon.co.uk , Amazon.com and  here (gilad.co.uk).

Future of Western Democracy Being Played Out in Brazil

October 09, 2018

Future of Western Democracy Being Played Out in Brazil

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with Consortium News by special agreement with the author)

Stripped to its essence, the Brazilian presidential elections represent a direct clash between democracy and an early 21st Century neofascism, indeed between civilization and barbarism, writes Pepe Escobar.

Nothing less than the future of politics across the West – and across the Global South – is being played out in Brazil.

Stripped to its essence, the Brazilian presidential elections represent a direct clash between democracy and an early 21st Century, neofascism, indeed between civilization and barbarism.

Geopolitical and global economic reverberations will be immense. The Brazilian dilemma illuminates all the contradictions surrounding the Right populist offensive across the West, juxtaposed to the inexorable collapse of the Left. The stakes could not be higher.

Jair Bolsonaro, an outright supporter of Brazilian military dictatorships of last century, who has been normalized as the “extreme-right candidate,” won the first round of the presidential elections on Sunday with more than 49 million votes. That was 46 percent of the total, just shy of a majority needed for an outright win. This in itself is a jaw-dropping development.

His opponent, Fernando Haddad of the Workers’ Party (PT), got only 31 million votes, or 29 percent of the total. He will now face Bolsonaro in a runoff on October 28. A Sisyphean task awaits Haddad: just to reach parity with Bolsonaro, he needs every single vote from those who supported the third and fourth-placed candidates, plus a substantial share of the almost 20 percent of votes considered null and void.

Meanwhile, no less than 69 percent of Brazilians, according to the latest polls, profess their support for democracy. That means 31 percent do not.

No Tropical Trump

Dystopia Central does not even begin to qualify it. Progressive Brazilians are terrified of facing a mutant “Brazil” (the movie) cum Mad Max wasteland ravaged by evangelical fanatics, rapacious neoliberal casino capitalists and a rabid military bent on recreating a Dictatorship 2.0.

Bolsonaro: Danger for Brazil.

Bolsonaro, a former paratrooper, is being depicted by Western mainstream media essentially as the Tropical Trump. The facts are way more complex.

Bolsonaro, a mediocre member of Congress for 27 years with no highlights on his C.V., indiscriminately demonizes blacks, the LGBT community, the Left as a whole, the environment “scam” and most of all, the poor. He’s avowedly pro-torture. He markets himself as a Messiah – a fatalistic avatar coming to “save” Brazil from all those “sins” above.

The Goddess of the Market, predictably, embraces him. “Investors” – those semi-divine entities – deem him good for “the market”, with his last-minute offensive in the polls mirroring a rally in the Brazilian real and the Sao Paulo stock exchange.

Bolsonaro may be your classic extreme-right “savior” in the Nazi mould. He may embody Right populism to the core. But he’s definitely not a “sovereignist” – the motto of choice in political debate across the West. His “sovereign” Brazil would be run more like a retro-military dictatorship totally subordinated to Washington’s whims.

Bolsonaro’s ticket is compounded by a barely literate, retired general as his running mate, a man who is ashamed of his mixed race background and is frankly pro-eugenics. General Antonio Hamilton Mourão has even revived the idea of a military coup.

Manipulating the ticket, we find massive economic interests, tied to mineral wealth, agro-business and most of all the Brazilian Bible Belt. It is complete with death squads against Native Brazilians, landless peasants and African-American communities. It is a haven for the weapons industry. Call it the apotheosis of tropical neo-pentecostal, Christian-Zionism.

Praise the Lord

Brazil has 42 million evangelicals – and over 200 representatives in both branches of Parliament. Don’t mess with their jihad. They know how to exercise massive appeal among the beggars at the neoliberal banquet. The Lula Left simply didn’t know how to seduce them.

So even with echoes of Mike Pence, Bolsonaro is the Brazilian Trump only to a certain extent: his communication skills – talking tough, simplistically, is language understandable to a seven-year old. Educated Italians compare him to Matteo Salvini, the Lega leader, now Minister of Interior. But that’s also not exactly the case.

Bolsonaro is a symptom of a much larger disease. He has only reached this level, a head-to-head in the second round against Lula’s candidate Haddad, because of a sophisticated, rolling, multi-stage, judicial/congressional/business/media Hybrid War unleashed on Brazil.

Way more complex than any color revolution, Hybrid War in Brazil featured a law-fare coup under cover of the Car Wash anti-corruption investigation. That led to the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff and Lula being thrown in jail on corruption charges with no hard evidence or smoking gun.

In every poll Lula would win these elections hand down. The coup plotters managed to imprison him and prevent him from running. Lula’s right to run was highlighted by everyone from Pope Francis to the UN’s Human Rights Council, as well as Noam Chomsky. Yet in a delightful historical twist, the coup plotters’ scenario blew up in their faces as the front-runner to lead the country is not one of them, but a neofascist.

“One of them” would ideally be a faceless bureaucrat affiliated with the former social democrats, the PSDB, turned hardcore neoliberals addicted to posing as Center Left when they are the “acceptable” face of the neoliberal Right. Call them Brazilian Tony Blairs. Specific Brazilian contradictions, plus the advance of Right populism across the West, led to their downfall.

Even Wall Street and the City of London (which endorsed Hybrid War on Brazil after it was unleashed by NSA spying of oil giant Petrobras) have started entertaining second thoughts on supporting Bolsonaro for president of a BRICS nation, which is a leader of the Global South, and until a few years ago, was on its way to becoming the fifth largest economy in the world.

It all hangs on the “vote transfer” mechanism from Lula to Haddad and the creation of a serious, multi-party Progressive Democratic Front on the second round to defeat the rising neofascism. They have less than three weeks to pull it off.

The Bannon Effect

Bannon: Danger for Europe.

It’s no secret that Steve Bannon is advising the Bolsonaro campaign in Brazil. One of Bolsonaro’s sons, Eduardo, met with Bannon in New York two months ago after which the Bolsonaro camp decided to profit from Bannon’s supposed “peerless” social engineering insights.

Bolsonaro’s son tweeted at the time, “We’re certainly in touch to join forces, especially against Cultural Marxism.” That was followed by an army of bots disgorging an avalanche of fake news up to Election Day.

A specter haunts Europe. Its name is Steve Bannon. The specter has moved on to the tropics.

In Europe, Bannon is now poised to intervene like an angel of doom in a Tintoretto painting heralding the creation of a EU-wide Right Populist coalition.

Bannon is notoriously praised to high heavens by Italian Interior Minister Salvini; Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban; Dutch nationalist Geert Wilders; and scourge of the Paris establishment, Marine Le Pen.

Last month, Bannon set up The Movement; at first sight just a political start-up in Brussels with a very small staff. But talk about Boundless Ambition: their aim is no less than turning the European parliamentary elections in May 2019 upside down.

The European parliament in Strasbourg – a bastion of bureaucratic inefficiency – is not exactly a household name across the EU. The parliament is barred from proposing legislation. Laws and budgets can only be blocked via a majority vote.

Bannon aims at capturing at least one-third of the seats in Strasbourg. He’s bound to apply tested American-style methods such as intensive polling, data analysis, and intensive social media campaigns – much the same as in Bolsonaro’s case. But there’s no guarantee it will work, of course.

The foundation stone of The Movement was arguably laid in two key meetings in early September set up by Bannon and his right-hand man, Mischael Modrikamen, chairman of the quite small Belgian Parti Populaire (PP). The first meeting was in Rome with Salvini and the second in Belgrade with Orban.

Modrikamen defines the concept as a “club” which will “collect funds from donors, in America and Europe, to make sure ‘populist’ ideas can be heard by the citizens of Europe who perceive more and more that Europe is not a democracy anymore.”

Modrikamen insists, “We are all sovereignists.” The Movement will hammer four themes that seem to form a consensus among disparate, EU-wide political parties: against “uncontrolled immigration”; against “Islamism”; favoring “security” across the EU; and supporting “a Europe of sovereign nations, proud of their identity.”

The Movement should really pick up speed after next month’s midterms in the U.S. In theory, it could congregate different parties from the same nation under its umbrella. That could be a very tall order, even taller than the fact key political actors already have divergent agendas.

Wilders wants to blow up the EU. Salvini and Orban want a weak EU but they don’t want to get rid of its institutions. Le Pen wants a EU reform followed by a “Frexit” referendum.

The only themes that unite this mixed Right Populism bag are nationalism, a fuzzy anti-establishment drive and a – quite popular – disgust with the EU’s overwhelming bureaucratic machine.

Here we find some common ground with Bolsonaro, who poses as a nationalist and as against the Brazilian political system – even though he’s been in Parliament for ages.

There’s no rational explanation for Bolsonaro’s last-minute surge among two sections of the Brazilian electorate that deeply despise him: women and the Northeast region, which has always been discriminated against by the wealthier South and Southeast.

Much like Cambridge Analytica in the 2016 U.S. election, Bolsonaro’s campaign targeted undecided voters in Northeastern states, as well as women voters, with a barrage of fake news demonizing Haddad and the Workers’ Party. It worked like a charm.

The Italian Job

I’ve just been to northern Italy checking out how popular Salvini really is. Salvini defines the May 2019 European Parliament elections as “the last chance for Europe.” Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero sees them as the first “real election for the future of Europe.” Bannon also sees the future of Europe being played in Italy.

It’s quite something to seize the conflicting energy in the air in Milan, where Salvini’s Lega is quite popular while at the same time Milan is a globalized city crammed with ultra-progressive pockets.

At a political debate about a book published by the Bruno Leoni Institute regarding exiting the euro, Roberto Maroni, a former governor of the powerful Lombardia region, remarked: “Italexit is outside of the formal agenda of the government, of the Lega and of the center-right.” Maroni should know, after all he was one of the Lega’s founders.

He hinted however that major changes are on the horizon. “To form a group in the European parliament, the numbers are important. This is the moment to show up with a unique symbol among parties of many nations.”

It’s not only Bannon and The Movement’s Modrikamen. Salvini, Le Pen and Orban are convinced they can win the 2019 elections – with the EU transformed into a “Union of European Nations.” This would include not just a couple of big cities where all the action is, with the rest reduced to fly over status. Right Populism argues that France, Italy, Spain, and Greece are no longer nations – only mere provinces.

Macron: Perfect “progressive” wolf to be released among the sheep.

Right Populism derives immense satisfaction that its main enemy is the self-described “Jupiter” Macron – mocked across France by some as the “Little Sun King.” President Emmanuel Macron must be terrified that Salvini is emerging as the “leading light” of European nationalists.

This is what Europe seems to be coming to: a trashy, Salvini vs. Macron cage match.

Arguably the Salvini vs. Macron fight in Europe might be replicated as Bolsonaro vs. Haddad in Brazil. Some sharp Brazilian minds are convinced Haddad is the Brazilian Macron.

In my view he is not. His has a background in philosophy and he’s a former, competent mayor of Sao Paulo, one of the most complex megalopolises on the planet. Macron is a Rothschild mergers and acquisitions banker. Unlike Macron, who was engineered by the French establishment as the perfect “progressive” wolf to be released among the sheep, Haddad embodies what’s left of really progressive Left.

On top of that – unlike virtually the whole Brazilian political spectrum – Haddad is not corrupt. He’d have to offer the requisite pound of flesh to the usual suspects if he wins of course. But he’s not out to be their puppet.

Compare Bolsonaro’s Trumpism, apparent in his last-minute message before Election Day: “Make Brazil Great Again,” with Trump’s Trumpism.

Bolsonaro’s tools are unmitigated praise of the Motherland; the Armed Forces; and the flag.

But Bolsonaro is not interested in defending Brazilian industry, jobs and culture. On the contrary. A graphic example is what happened in a Brazilian restaurant in Deerfield Beach, Florida, a year ago: Bolsonaro saluted the American flag and chanted “USA! USA!”

That’s undiluted MAGA – without a “B”.

Jason Stanley, professor of philosophy at Yale and author of How Fascism Works, takes us further. Stanley stresses how “the idea in fascism is to destroy economic politics… The corporatists side with politicians who use fascist tactics because they are trying to divert people’s attention from the real forces that cause the genuine anxiety they feel.”

Bolsonaro has mastered these diversionist tactics. And he excels in demonizing so-called Cultural Marxism. Bolsonaro fits Stanley’s description as applied to the U.S.:

“Liberalism and Cultural Marxism destroyed our supremacy and destroyed this wonderful past where we ruled and our cultural traditions were the ones that dominated. And then it militarizes the feeling of nostalgia. All the anxiety and loss that people feel in their lives, say from the loss of their healthcare, the loss of their pensions, the loss of their stability, then gets rerouted into a sense that the real enemy is liberalism, which led to the loss of this mythic past.”

In the Brazilian case, the enemy is not liberalism but the Workers’ Party, derided by Bolsonaro as “a bunch of communists.” Celebrating his astonishing first round victory, he said Brazil was on the edge of a corrupt, communist “abyss” and could either choose a path of “prosperity, freedom, family” or “the path of Venezuela”.

The Car Wash investigation enshrined the myth that the Workers’ Party and the whole Left is corrupt (but not the Right). Bolsonaro overextended the myth:  every minority and social class is a target – in his mind they are “communists” and “terrorists.”

Goebbels comes to mind – via his crucial text The Radicalization of Socialism, where he emphasized the necessity of portraying the center-left as Marxists and socialists because, as Stanley notes, “the middle class sees in Marxism not so much the subverter of national will, but mainly the thief of its property.”

That’s at the center of Bolsonaro’s strategy of demonizing the Workers Party – and the Left in general. The strategy of course is drenched in fake news – once again mirroring what Stanley writes about U.S. history: “The whole concept of empire is based on fake news. All of colonization is based on fake news.”

Right Against Left Populism?

Haddad: Three weeks to head off Bolsonaro

As I wrote in a previous column, the Left in the West is like a deer caught in the headlights when it comes to fighting Right populism.

Sharp minds from Slavoj Zizek to Chantal Mouffe are trying to conceptualize an alternative – without being able to coin the definitive neologism. Left populism? Popularism? Ideally, that should be “democratic socialism” – but no one, in a post-ideology, post-truth environment, would dare utter the dreaded word.

The ascent of Right populism is a direct consequence of the emergence of a profound crisis of political representation all over the West; the politics of identity erected as a new mantra; and the overwhelming power of social media, which allows – in Umberto Eco’s peerless definition – the ascent of “the idiot of the village to the condition of Oracle.”

As we saw earlier, the central motto of Right populism in Europe is anti-immigration – a barely disguised variation of hate towards The Other. In Brazil the main theme, emphasized by Bolsonaro, is urban insecurity. He could be the Brazilian Rodrigo Duterte – or Duterte Harry: “Make my day, punk.”

He portrays himself as the Righteous Defender against a corrupt elite (even though he’s part of the elite); and his hatred of all things politically correct, feminism, homosexuality, multiculturalism – are all unpardonable offenses to his “family values.”

Brazilian historian says the only way to oppose him is to “translate” to each sector of Brazilian society how Bolsonaro’s positions affect them: on “widespread weaponizing, discrimination, jobs, (and) taxes.” And it has to be done in less than three weeks.

Arguably the best book explaining the failure of the Left everywhere to deal with this toxic situation is Jean-Claude Michea’s Le Loup dans la Bergerie – The Wolf Among the Sheep – published in France a few days ago.

Michea shows concisely how the deep contradictions of liberalism since the 18th century – political, economic and cultural – led it to TURN AGAINST ITSELF and be cut off from the initial spirit of tolerance (Adam Smith, David Hume, Montesquieu). That’s why we are deep inside post-democratic capitalism.

Euphemistically called “the international community” by Western mainstream media, the elites, who have been confronted since 2008 with “the growing difficulties faced by the process of globalized accumulation of capital,” now seem ready to do anything to keep its privileges.

Michea is right that the most dangerous enemy of civilization – and even Life on Earth – is the blind dynamics of endless accumulation of capital. We know where this neoliberal Brave New World is taking us.

The only counterpunch is an autonomous, popular movement “that would not be submitted to the ideological and cultural hegemony of ‘progressive’ movements that for over three decades defend only the cultural interests of the new middle classes around the world,” Michae says.

For now, such a movement rests in the realm of Utopia. What’s left is to try to remedy a coming dystopia – such as backing a real Progressive Democratic Front to block a Bolsonaro Brazil.

One of the highlights of my Italian sojourn was a meeting with Rolf Petri, Professor of Contemporary History at the Ca Foscari University in Venice, and author of the absolutely essential A Short History of Western Ideology: A Critical Account.

Ranging from religion, race and colonialism, to the Enlightenment project of “civilization”, Petri weaves a devastating tapestry of how “the imagined geography of a ‘continent’ that was not even a continent offered a platform for the affirmation of European superiority and the civilizing mission of Europe.”

During a long dinner in a small Venetian trattoria away from the galloping selfie hordes, Petri observed how Salvini – a middle-class small entrepreneur – craftily found out how to channel a deep unconscious longing for a mythical harmonious Europe that won’t be coming back, much as petty bourgeois Bolsonaro evokes a mythical return to the “Brazilian miracle” during the 1964-1985 military dictatorship.

Every sentient being knows that the U.S. has been plunged into extreme inequality “supervised” by a ruthless plutocracy. U.S. workers will continue to be royally screwed as are French workers under “liberal” Macron. So would Brazilian workers under Bolsonaro. To borrow then from Yeats, what rough beast, in this darkest hour, slouches towards freedom to be born?

Pepe Escobar, a veteran Brazilian journalist, is the correspondent-at-large for Hong Kong-based Asia Times. His latest book is 2030. Follow him on Facebook.

If you enjoyed this original article please consider making a donation to Consortium News so we can bring you more stories like this one.

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Stop confusing Kurdistans! Syria’s leftists must turn home to Assad

February 22, 2018

by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

Stop confusing Kurdistans! Syria’s leftists must turn home to Assad

As Assad-backed troops enter Afrin to fight Turkish invaders, the Syrian conflict has entered its decisive crossroads:

Will Northern Syria cooperate with Damascus, or not? This is the key to Syrian peace and territorial unity.

It’s also the question which will make or break claims that a Northern Syrian enclave which refuses to help expel uninvited Americans can somehow be a “leftist project”.

(I say it is a leftist project…IF they return to full cooperation with the Syrian government. I will detail my analysis of the political structure of “Rojava” in an upcoming article – this article only deals with immediate political concerns.)

No question can be answered, however, until I clarify some key facts about Northern Syria. Indeed, reporting about Northern Syria in the West is rife with the most fundamental errors, and the most egregiously false claims.

Firstly, the Kurds in Syria have only ever asked for autonomy, not independence.

People assume all Kurds are like Iraqi Kurds – separatists – but the Kurds in Syria want to stay within the Syrian state. This disavowal of independence is an undisputed, long-standing (if underreported) fact. Indeed, the arrival of pro-government forces in Afrin was met with celebrations – the “Arab Socialist Baath Party” is a nationalist one, it seems to have been forgotten. The fact that such celebrations could possibly raise some eyebrows only shows how terrible the West’s mainstream reporting is in Syria.

The second most important point is this: “Rojava”, “Syrian Kurdistan”, “Northern Syria” or the “Democratic Federation of Northern Syria” – whatever it is called – is among the most interesting (and newest) leftist projects in the world today.

For that reason alone, nobody is reporting on it honestly.

After all, the Western mainstream media has no governmental or private mandate to support the 99%…much less in a Muslim country…still less in an anti-Zionist country like Syria!

Rojava’s governmental culture is based around ethnic equality, collective unity, local emancipation and undoubtedly socialist-and-not-capitalist inspired democratic & economic ideals. Therefore…the capitalist-imperialist West totally ignores all of that and solely focuses on identity politics: thus, it’s always reported as just “the Kurds”.

That leads to the third important issue: foolishly lumping all the Kurds across Southwest Asia together, thereby assuming that there are no regional differences: For Western media it is as if Kurds walk around all day in a special “Kurdish daze”, so enamored with being Kurdish that the countries and local neighborhoods where they live have absolutely no effect on them or their worldview. Their “Kurdishness” is all-consuming, it seems! The theory underpinning this is identity politics: if you are Kurdish, then you must all think alike.

So it makes no difference if you grew up/lived in Saddam’s Iraq, modern Iran, Baathist Syria, or Istanbul: You are a Kurd and – as a Kurd – you can only possibly see things via the lens of your Kurdishness. But only the West proffers this absurd, one-dimensional view of the Kurds – not the Middle Easterners who live alongside them.

A fourth problem – an even larger one for those in Syria – is that the Kurds in Syria are not even “Kurds”!

What I mean is: Kurds are around ½ of the population of Northern Syria, but only compose around 1/3rd in some of the biggest areas of Rojava, such as Membij. There are Assyrians and Chaldeans – they are Christian. There are Sunni Arabs. There are Turkmen, who are not allied to Turkey and are Syrian patriots despite their name. There are Circassians, Armenians, Yazidis, Chechens and others. Hard as it is for non-Muslims to believe: All these people like each other, live & work together, intermarry and have done so for more than a millennia. You cannot even say that all the fighters in this area are Kurds, either, because the Syrian Democratic Forces forces – who helped rout ISIL – are majority non-Kurd.

But they are all Syrian – and they want it to stay that way.

This IS the case…even though Kurds in Iraq aimed for independence…and despite the Western anti-Assad propaganda.

Clearly, a major overhaul on the idea of “Kurd” is needed for many….

The Kurdish ‘Bad Century’ is relative to where they live

Anyone can have a bad century and finish as winners…look at the Chicago Cubs.

So in Northern Syria the “Kurds” are not even Kurdish nearly half the time, LOL, but let’s be like the West and look at the “Kurds” across their 4 main nations.

If we accept that “Kurdishness” is not all-consuming , we can see how the experiences of “Kurds” in Iraq (which also compose Assyrians, Chaldeans, Turkmen, etc.) – who lived under Saddam Hussein’s wars, were massacred by the anti-Iranian MKO homicidal cult, lived in a country forced to endure material shortages caused by US sanctions from 1990-2003, and who are enduring US invasion and occupation – are fundamentally different than the experiences of “Kurds” in Syria…where these things did not happen.

The experience of “Kurds” in Syria – which is bordered by the menacing, illegitimate state of Israel, which had a different political conception & practice of Baathism than Iraq (which provoked more enmity than cooperation between the two since 1966), which was invaded not by a “coalition of the willing” but radical terrorists, which is on the cusp of benefitting from the extraordinary national unity which can only be created by victoriously defeating foreign invaders – are fundamentally different than the experiences of “Kurds” in Iraq.

“Kurdishness” in Turkey is an vastly larger issue than Syria, because there are vastly more of them than in anywhere else.

“Kurdishness” in Iran is totally different than in any of the four primary Kurdish countries: they are more accepted there than any other country.

This is a result of the acceptance promoted by Iran’s modern, popular revolution of 1979 (by definition, you can’t have a “modern, popular revolution” based on racism/ethnic superiority). Indeed, Iran’s definitive cultural “female Iran-Iraq war experience” was the best-selling, award-winning story told by a Kurdish immigrant from Iraq to Iran – in the book“Da”, which means “mother” (not in Farsi). Such a thing could never happen in Turkey, obviously, nor Arab nationalist Syria and Iraq. This modern acceptance is why Iran is the only nation of the four where there is no chance of fomenting a Kurdish uprising in Iran: being Iranian and Kurdish is not any sort of contradiction – they are incorporated in the national self-conception about as much as any numeric minority can reasonably be, as the success of “Da” illustrates. And for this reason – which is called (Iranian Islamic socialist) “modern democracy” – there is no chance of any sort of a “Kurdish uprising” in Iran. Even amid this ongoing historical era of Kurdish militancy across the entire region, the PJAK Party (Iranian Kurdish separatists) gave up armed operations in Iran in 2011: it’s useless – Iran is different, and on the Kurdish question as well. Israel could spend a zillion usuriously-gained dollars on such a project and it would get nowhere…which is why they spend their time in the southeast (in Baluchestan with Jundallah).

And, to repeat, because this is so important: The people of Northern Syria have never, ever said they want anything but autonomy within Syria. This proves that Syrian “Kurds” are not Iraqi “Kurds”, where Barzani and their bid for independence have been neutralised…much to the dismay of the US & Israel.

An often ignored (or not known) point is that Iraqi “Kurds” had been wooed (or led astray) by the US for two decades via preferential economic, political, cultural and immigration policies. The US paid for a lot of goodwill over many years. In Syria – LOL, not at all. So, Syrian “Kurds” have not come into contact with the American ideology anywhere as much…and their ideology is necessarily different (despite the overpowering Kurdish daze they walk around in, LOL!)

Only by ignoring these realities can one assume the “Kurds” of both regions share the same political outlook in February 2018.

So, I hope we are bit less konfused on who the “Kurds” really are.

Now, because of the leftist nature of northern Syria, we must de-konfuse our notions of their political ideology.

But I’m going to postpone that to part two – let’s talk immediate politics.

A very interesting leftist political project…but not if they ally with the US

It was with great alarm that greeted the recent US declaration that they will keep 2,000 troops in Northern Syria – that news turned off many to the possibility that northern Syria could possibly be leftist.

And rightly so, but Washington’s plans are simply their desire – there has been no official political deal: Rojavan leaders insist their cooperation with the US is strictly military to fight ISIL. Indeed, they have grown up in Syria, which has been attacked by Israel…but now they are going to be allies?

Certainly, the downfall of Barzani in Iraq is a blow to US/Israeli imperialism – so…of course they are refocusing to Northern Syria. But that doesn’t mean they will get what they want!

Certainly, Northern Syria cannot allow a military base inside its borders. There can be no “Syrian Guantanamo” to permanently menace a newly-liberated Syria, like in Cuba.

Let’s keep a couple war realities in mind: It’s not as if Northern Syrians could have stopped the US from planting soldiers and using an airstrip – there has been a huge war, after all, with a well-heeled army called ISIL to stop.

Let’s also remember that the Northern Syrians work with everybody to fight ISIL in Northern Syria: Russia, the US, Damascus, Iran, Hezbollah – everyone but Turkey. (Obviously, the US both fights terrorism and supports it.)

Rojavans…it may be now or never to fight for Syrian unity

The invasion by Turkey means Northern Syrians have now reached the point of no return: to work with Turkey (and thus the US) is to betray the Syrian people which Rojavans have always claimed to want to be.

Therefore, Syria is on the verge of peace and total victory…or major civil war: It will be decided by inter-Syrian diplomacy. Negotiations have been ongoing between the two areas for years, of course, and they are no doubt in overdrive right now.

The fundamental problem is this:

Damascus has always rejected the idea of a federated state and autonomy for Northern Syria. Northern Syria has held their ground militarily, and Damascus has been too occupied with ISIL to demand cooperation…but it’s February 2018, and here we are.

So what will Damascus do, and what will Rojava do?

I am not a Syrian, and thus my opinion should be worth very little – the future of Syria is only for Syrians to decide – but to me it looks like this:

Rojavans may view siding with Damascus as a risk regarding the re-installation of some Arab Nationalist policies they dislike (Rojava has 3 official languages for a reason, for example)…but siding with the Americans is a guarantee of leftist betrayal, a guarantee of a failure and a guarantee of regional bloodshed for decades.

Maybe Rojava can expel ISIL on their own, but they cannot expel the US and Turkey without Damascus…and they must be expelled. How can these troops stay if Damascus and Rojavans cooperate? They cannot, whatever the Pentagon wants.

Therefore, at some point – a point quite soon – Rojavans will need to openly embrace Damascus, in the name of Syrian unity and in the realization of issues larger than their own interests and sacrifices.

On the other side, there is nothing stopping Damascus from making concessions to win over Rojava…and yet, one easily sees the government’s hesitance: Making major changes to Syria’s political structure seems to require the democratic approval of the entire nation via vote. The granting of wholesale structural changes for one-third of the country during wartime appears to lack democratic legitimacy.

Rojava is where most of Syria’s oil is located. Certainly, those funds cannot be made the complete “autonomous” property of Rojavans. One easily sees how “granting autonomy” is a major question that goes beyond just the decades-long elevation of Arab culture over the culture of Turkmen, Chaldeans, Kurds, etc.….

Of course, it should not be surprising that Assad’s view of Rojava never gets an airing…but given Rojava’s leftist bonafides, nobody ever talks about them at all either. “Keep ‘em konfused with just ‘Kurds’” is the media line….

To sum up my view of the immediate political situation: Unity requires faith – Northern Syrians need to trust their fellow citizens that their success has earned them good faith credit in Syria’s common future.

And, finally, what choice does Rojava have? Turkey will never accept them (this is the pretext for their invasion), nor Damascus, nor Iraq. The only ones who will are the US and Israel…and that is leftist?!?!

No…this is why I predict a reconciliation. The failure of Syrian-Syrian diplomacy at this juncture is…civil war.

And who wants that in Syria?

In an upcoming second article I will examine what is the “leftist ideology” of Rojava, and how these ideas might interact with Arab Socialist Baathism in a unified, free, victorious state of Syria.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV 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. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

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Gilad Atzmon and Islam

January 14, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

Introduction GA: In the following book review Jay Knott suggests that  Being in Time scores a very high mark on many fronts, however, the text fails to attack Muslims and Islam. In the last two decades I have been accused of many things but this is the first time I am criticised  for ‘not being an Islamophobe.’ I have met Knott before and I think that regardless of the peculiar premise of this text,  it deserves attention. 

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Gilad Atzmon And Islam

Book Review by Jay Knott

A review of Being In Time – a post-political manifesto, Gilad Atzmon, Skyscraper Publications, 2017

“There is just one point where I have encountered a difficulty” – Russell to Frege, 1902.

I introduced a talk by Gilad Atzmon, and organised a reading group to discuss his first book, “The Wandering Who?”, about Jewish identity politics. We had many criticisms of it.

The new book is much broader, and better. I have only one major criticism. This article is about that criticism, but though as a result it’s mostly negative, I actually think this book is a major contribution to understanding the times we live in. It explains Donald Trump, Brexit, the left, identity politics, political correctness, and especially, US support for Jewish supremacy in the Middle East. It is undogmatic, finding inputs from a wide range of sources. Atzmon even manages to get something useful out of the book “The Bell Curve” while rejecting its central premise, IQ. I mostly agreed with much of “Being in Time”.

But chapter four, “United Against Unity”, woke me up with a jolt.

But what about Hammed, a metal worker from Birmingham? Hammed identifies as a ‘Muslim’ – can he join a Left demonstration against the War in Syria? It’s a good question and the answer is not immediately obvious because it’s no secret that many of those who subscribe to ‘progressive’ and ‘liberal’ ideologies and especially activists, are rather troubled by religion in general and Islam in particular.

You could have fooled me. In 2003, I attended a large Palestine solidarity demonstration in London. There was a small group of Muslim extremists shouting “Hamas! Hamas! Jews to the gas!”. They were tolerated. Far milder expressions of white identity are violently excluded from left-wing events.

Shortly after criticising political correctness, Atzmon writes

What about Laura? She’s a Muslim convert who often hides her face behind a veil. Does she feel comfortable in ‘progressive’ or liberal gatherings? Not really.

“Feel comfortable”? This is political correctness!

The progressive left on both sides of the Atlantic is more than tolerant of Islam, the most regressive section of Western society.

The American women’s march against Donald Trump selected Muslim misogynist Linda Sarsour as one of its organisers,

and German feminists applauded Islam too.

Atzmon is right to say that a British patriot would not be welcome at an anti-war protest. But he’s completely wrong about the left and Islam.

One of the reasons Muslim men were allowed to get away with raping hundreds of underage girls for decades in Britain is that most of them live under Labour Party-controlled councils. Paralysed by political correctness, sending social workers who noticed that it was primarily “Asians” trafficking the girls, on “diversity” courses, they ignored the problem, or suppressed attempts to expose it, for fear of being called “racist”.

When Labour’s left-wing leader Jeremy Corbyn spoke in the House of Commons about the Grenfell tower disaster, he rightly pointed to Orgreave and Hillsborough as examples of police malfeasance, then he mentioned the Rotherham child-trafficking scandal as another example, again rightly. But he didn’t mention the other major factor: the overwhelming overrepresentation of Muslims among Rotherham’s child traffickers, and the influence of political correctness on allowing them to rape children. Instead, he went out of his way to make a gratuitous remark about Muslims breaking from prayers to help their neighbours in the Grenfell fire:

A more extreme example of the leftist attitude to Islam is the Socialist Workers Party arguing against Islamic terrorism – on the grounds that it wouldn’t work: Socialists Stand With The Oppressed.

Atzmon’s book is pretty good about the connection between identity politics and Zionist power in the West. He’s also right about the overrepresentation of self-identified Jews in the origins of the most sophisticated variants of movements designed to take advantage of Western self-doubt – Franz Boas’s anthropology, Theodor Adorno’s psychology and sociology (the Frankfurt school), Freud, postmodernism and the “anti-racist” anti-science of Stephen Jay Gould. But it’s not only Jewish activists who exploit this loophole. Political correctness also undermines the West’s defence against the influence of Islam.

EXAMPLES

Page 48: “Jewish ethnocentrism and even Jewish racial exclusivity is fully accepted, while other forms of ethnocentrism are bluntly rejected.”

In fact, the left tolerates prejudice from black activists, usually against white people. “African-American Studies” is positive, whereas the study of “Whiteness” is invariably negative. One can easily find dozens of examples by checking out the sites “The College Fix”“Campus Reform”Sargon of Akkad’s videos on Youtube, or reading up on the 2006 Duke University Lacrosse rape case. I suspect that’s the main reason for the left’s support for the socially conservative ideology of Islam – most of its adherents have dark skin.

Page 81: Atzmon claims that the Guardian does not mind offending ‘Islamists’, on the basis of its broadcast of one televised debate between two Zionist Jews.

He’s right about the paper’s hostility to the white workers. When hackette Zoe Williams went to Rotherham to investigate Pakistani taxi drivers raping underage white girls, she dismissed the mostly-white English Defence League as “racist”, instead asking for the opinions of… Pakistani taxi drivers. Atzmon doesn’t realise that this is normal. Muslims usually get gold in the Oppression Olympics. Here are six examples of the Guardian’s Islamophilia:

Zoe Williams: “This brutal blame game pays little heed to justice in Rotherham”

Suzanne Moore: “Poor children are seen as worthless, as Rotherham’s abuse scandal shows”

Jonathan Freedland: “Rotherham inquiry: the ‘PC gone mad’ defence is itself a form of racism”

Nazir Afzal: ‘There is no religious basis for the abuse in Rotherham’

Chi Onwurah – “The grooming of girls in Newcastle is not an issue of race – it’s about misogyny”. In a way, she’s right. It’s not about race, and it is about misogyny. Muslim misogyny. But she doesn’t say that.

The Guardian ran a story “Muslim women ‘blocked from seeking office by male Labour councillors’”. Notice that the religion of the women is mentioned, but not the men. Can you guess why?

Page 125 – ID Politics – the belief that the personal is political unless you are Muslim or white. This reiterates the idea that the left encourages identity politics for all except Muslims and white Europeans. He’s fifty percent right.

Page 129 – Atzmon argues that Islam and Christianity are similar, but Judaism is different, because it’s based on “an obedience regulatory system”, in which “God-loving is not voluntary”. And again on page 197. He argues that Christianity and Islam are universalist, as opposed to the sectarian attitudes of Judaism – “the chosen few”. He’s right about Judaism, and the myth of “Judaeo-Christian”, but he substitutes the equally false “Islamo-Christian”. The only way Islam is universalist is that anyone can join it, and many had no choice. If you haven’t signed up, or especially if you leave it, it’s not a bit universal. Its God is close to the vengeful monster of the Old Testament, not at all like his son, the pacifist who founded Christianity. “Judaeo-Islamic” is a more accurate neologism.

Page 144 – “Real Jewish power is actually the power to silence criticism of Jewish power”. Right. But what is the power to silence the defence of a scientific view of gender differences inside Google? The need to fire a black diversity officer at Apple who said it’s ok to be white? The show-trial of student Lindsay Shepherd, for showing a video clip of a debate on “gender pronouns”? The fact that Nobel Prize-winning biologists can be fired for an opinion, or a joke … and dozens of similar examples, too numerous to mention, and no doubt hundreds which have never attracted the publicity of these cases. Some of them can be found here: “The Left-Wing Campaign Against Liberal Values”. This is political correctness. Jewish power is one of its results.

CONCLUSION

Social Justice has taken over, not just academic humanities departments, but large sections of the media, and, amazingly, the most important corporations in the world, such as Apple and Google. “Cultural Marxism” is not a paranoid right-wing conspiracy theory.

It’s my contention than Zionists use the same mechanisms as SJWs to manipulate Western societies to do things which are opposed to the interests of most of their inhabitants, rich and poor. Like professors of “African-American Studies”, they use false, or meaningless, allegations of racial prejudice to take advantage of our morality. We can kill both of these birds with one stone.

Support for Israel is a result of political correctness, the expression of a weakness in white European people and societies. The immigration of millions of Muslims, among them many who don’t accept Western values, is another. Atzmon dismisses concern about Islam altogether. But read “Being and Time”. Apart from its blind spot regarding ‘Islamists’, it’s damn good.

21st Century: ID Politics Vs. The People

Patrick Henningsen with Gilad Atzmon and Jay Dyer

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 Being In Time: A Post Political Manifesto is available now on: Amazon.co.ukAmazon.com and gilad.co.uk.   

http://21stcenturywire.com/

This week we deliver another LIVE broadcast from the UK, as SUNDAY WIRE host Patrick Henningsen is joined by two incredible guests to discuss the disturbing political situation in America. In the first hour we’ll be joined by artist and the brilliant and controversial best-selling author and internationally acclaimed jazz artist, Gilad Atzmonto discuss Charlottesville and the problem of Left vs Right identity politics in the West, as well its roots in Jewish ID politics, and how society might be able overcome the downward spiral it currently finds itself in. In the second hour we’re joined by author and analyst, Jay Dyer, from JaysAnalysis.com to talk about America’s new culture wars and why Leftist activists are now pulling down statues across the country and how this might accelerate to more censorship and ceremonial ‘book burning’ activities. In the final segment, we hear a thought-provoking interview with an American man who managed to turn from hating all Muslims to adopting a more open-minded, civil approach to dialogue – proving that communication is the key to conflict resolution.

ID Politics, Diversity and Biological Determinism?

August 20, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

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Introduction by Gilad Atzmon: The following is a segment taken from my new book Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto. The book offers a crude attack on ID politics.  This mini chapter examines the exclusive nature of the New Left discourse and its detachment from working people and their politics.  It points at the divisive apparatus that drives the Identitarian philosophy. By adhering to such an ideology, New Left  has managed to adopt the most problematic chapter in Hitlerian ideology namely biological determinism.  

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United Against Unity  (Being in Time pg. 46) 

What does it take, in an era dominated by progressive identity politics, to be accepted as a fully qualified member of the ‘New Left’ or to be considered a ‘liberal?’

Jane is a well-off London lawyer who identifies politically ‘as a woman,’ and marches enthusiastically for human rights. Can she join? I think the answer is yes, she can.

George is a medical doctor who also happens to be a black man and identifies as ‘Black middle class.’ Can he subscribe to a progressive email group and contribute to the discussion? I hope and suspect that he can.

And what about Julie? She runs a real estate agency on the posh side of town but she also identifies politically as a ‘gay lesbian,’ can she join the parade? What a question! Of course she can.

Abe is an accountant and very attached to his Jewish heritage. Abe identifies as a ‘secular liberal Jew,’ can he join the anti-war movement? More than likely he can, in fact, he may even, within hours of his joining, find himself in a position of leadership.

But what about Hammed, a metal worker from Birmingham? Hammed identifies as a ‘Muslim’ – can he join  a Left demonstration against the War in Syria? It’s a good question and the answer is not immediately obvious because it’s no secret that many of those who subscribe to ‘progressive’ and ‘liberal’ ideologies and especially activists, are rather troubled by religion in general and Islam in particular.

So, while Hammed identifies with an inclusive, universal and humanist precept, Jane, ‘the woman’, Julie ‘the gay lesbian’ and George ‘the Black’ subscribe to political identities that are largely determined by biology. Furthermore, Abe, as a secular Jew, affiliates himself with an (imaginary) blood- based ethnocentric tribal identity. Clearly, the contemporary so called ‘New Left’ has no problem with marginal and exclusivist political identities that are often biologically oriented.

How has the contemporary ‘liberal’ discourse been sustained by people who subscribe to biologically- determined identity politics, yet often reject those who actually support equality, human rights issues and who are also often from the working class? Could it be that the ‘New Left’ is detached from working class politics and instead focuses on a vague and inconsistent pseudo-empathic discourse primarily engaged in sectarian battles?

Let’s consider some more possible cases:

Uri is an Israeli peace activist and writer who identifies as an Israeli Leftist. Is Uri welcome within the progressive network? The answer is an unreserved yes.

But how about John Smith, an English bus driver from 47

Liverpool who is proud to be English and ‘as a patriotic Englishman’ opposes the war because John truly believes that peace is patriotic. Can he join an anti-war protest and, while he’s at it, carry a Union Jack to demonstrations? Perhaps.

Tony is a ‘Jewish Socialist’ – certainly not religious but an ethnic Jew who identifies ‘as a Jew’ racially and ethnically. And by the way, Tony also operates politically within Jews- only anti-Zionist groups. Tony is hugely welcome at most progressive gatherings. But can the same be said for Franz who identifies as an ‘Aryan socialist?’ I suspect not.

The point is that there is a critical discrepancy in contemporary Left, liberal and progressive movements between professed humanism and the reality on the ground. Jewish ethnocentrism and even Jewish racial exclusivity is fully accepted, while other forms of ethnocentrism are bluntly rejected.*

And, while we’re at it, what about Laura? She’s a Muslim convert who often hides her face behind a veil. Does she feel comfortable in ‘progressive’ or liberal gatherings? Not really. But Laura certainly supports human rights and equality almost as much as she loves Allah. But the Left, supposedly progressive and liberal, shows very little tolerance towards Allah worshippers while worshippers of the Talmud who are willing to oppose Israel are not only tolerated, they are welcomed. Torah Jews, for instance, are often invited to progressive gatherings though, it must be said, they may encounter some resentment, especially from Jewish secular activists (this surely is because progressive Jews don’t like to be ethnically and ‘racially’ associated with ‘reactionary’ people in caftans).

Membership in a progressive club is not a straightforward matter. We are dealing with an operation that is far from being universal, open or inclusive. The discourse is selective, incoherent and unprincipled. The working class is not represented unless they demonstrate adherence to an Identitarian ideology and subscribe to a predetermined tablet of diverse ‘correct politics’, or shall we call it, an inconsistent set of progressive values. If they espouse a commitment to ‘working class’ values, its presence is not detectable.

So what are ‘correct politics?’ Where are they defined and by whom? Is it the same people who set a ‘progressive threshold’ that excludes the Muslim, the nationalist and the so-called ‘White’ (whatever that means), yet embraces biologically-determined sectarian politics and even racial categories?

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 Being In Time: A Post Political Manifesto is available now on: Amazon.co.ukAmazon.com and gilad.co.uk.   

 

*Black ethnocentrism had been accepted within the progressive milieu for some time, however this has changed recently once it was revealed that Black Lives Matter stood for the Palestinians. To read more: http:// http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/08/why-did-black-american- activists-start-caring-about-palestine/496088/

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