Unipolar Spin: Why Imperial Leftists Vilify Russia’s Social Democracy

Unipolar spin game: Why imperial Leftists vilify Russia's social democracy  -- Puppet Masters -- Sott.net

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Joaquin Flores

September 14, 2020

A lie told a thousand times becomes the truth. In reading countless articles from the Atlantic Council press outlets (NYT, WaPo, VICE News, et al), we take for granted that modern Russia is a right-wing regime controlled by an authoritarian personality bent on total domination. As a result, the debate then gets framed on why or whether its right for leftists to attack it as such, since this is used to further justify collective punishment (sanctions) against a whole people.

What escapes us is why creating propaganda that will result in collective punishment is in any way the business of self-declared leftists in the first place. Historically, it hadn’t been, which raises big questions about who is really controlling the narrative and providing career paths and publishing opportunities for those who posture on the radical, even ‘anarchist’ left. We all know what happened to the self-imploded reputation of the Trotskyist Christopher Hitchens, that war-criminal scoundrel who offered some kind of left-cover for the crown’s imperial pretensions in Iraq. Millions died in part as a direct product of his work. Those who didn’t attend his funeral will tell you why.

Adding insult to injury is the fact that Russia is a social democracy, a fact erased from the collective understanding as a result of the insidious psychological operation being carried out on western audiences and Russians alike.

The End of Globalization: Unipolar Panic at the Rise of Multipolarity

The broader geopolitical problem for unipolar trans-Atlanticism is that much of the rest of the world has nearly caught up to the U.S. The unipolar moment is over, and multipolarity has arrived. This is a growing success and a great achievement for the people of Asia, Latin America, the Middle-East, and Sub-Saharan Africa. All wars and coups the U.S. has engaged in since the end of WWII were aimed at suppressing this multipolar eventuality. And yet multipolarity, as explained through the Atlantic Council and its imperial leftist scribes, is deceitfully presented as a neo-fascist threat to the people of the world, and one promoted uniquely by Russia. This would come as a surprise to the BRICS countries, and all those in their peripheries. It would defy the logic of Mercosur and the Sucre that these were established by sovereign state in Latin America at great cost, through the decades of surviving Washington Consensus dictatorships and the rule of U.S. Steel and the United Fruit Company, only to hand it to Moscow for now particular reason.

And yet this stands at the heart of vilifying Russia’s social democracy.

That multipolarity is a ‘Russian project’ is truly the most incoherent and chauvinistic geopolitical conspiracy theories in modern times, reminiscent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Narcissist Gaslighting

The rampant xenophobia that is allowed in the toxic Atlanticist press will no doubt be the subject of debate when those individuals soon lose their careers and livelihoods, because being a talentless hack makes one highly expendable. And this border-line racism and national chauvinism against a whole people and their representative government is increasingly being aired in broad daylight.

No, the waters won’t part, up will not become down, and the elites promoting a soft-power war on Russia won’t be overthrown. But their replaceable media-minions, who become too much of a liability with all the bad PR, will certainly be disappeared and erased.

We can set aside that Russophobic hate scribbling performed concertedly appears like a Operation Mockingbird psy-op, and yes, we can even ignore that over forty years ago the Church Commission revealed that the legacy newspapers have the international sections and editorials of their publications reviewed, approved, and even directly written by CIA agents and assets.

We can leave even alone that these are seemingly managed through a network of seemingly independent news and opinion outlets which nevertheless parrot each other’s talking points on the righteousness of NATO expansionism, the evils of Russia and Putin, and are organized under an Atlantic Council mandate.

What a perfect match, one no doubt made in heaven – to posture as some holier than thou concerned citizen of abuses around the world while in fact doing little more than feeding a crypto-nationalist media ecosystem bent on weapons sales and big ticket contracts for the U.S. military industrial complex. With enough self-delusion or narcissistic supply, they can even imagine that this is not what’s going on. One would imagine that it’s Russia, not the U.S. with 800 bases around the world. This is truly sick gaslighting, and all the well-paid flying monkeys are deployed with the named aim of doing just that.

Follow the Money – Promote Russophobia, Win Prizes

The Atlantic Council related publications which continue these Operation Mockingbird-like methods, have employed a number of ethically compromised imperial left-wing radicals to do the dirty work of gaslighting the American public on the political and socio-economic nature of countries being targeted by the U.S.

We can see from the evidence that the motley crew of imperial leftist Russophobes are those who aspire to be blue-check mark people on twitter and have regular opportunities at Atlantic Council approved publications. They want to be fast-tracked to full tenure in the increasingly partisan humanities and social sciences departments of various colleges and universities, and do the book writing and speaking tour gig. This is a relatively easy formula: virtue signal on domestic wedge issues like gender and race while ignoring class issues that would otherwise cause discomfort for their financiers, simultaneously doubling down on Atlantic Council approved Russophobia using those wedge issues – meanwhile ignoring or obfuscating the larger socioeconomic and geopolitical questions that provide more context and clarity.

After this storm has passed, it will be the subject of many books written by numerous historians, how and why it came to be that in the climate of virtue signaling political correctness, the only approved form of national chauvinism and borderline-racist conspiracy theories was Russophobic in nature. Those who engaged in it, while being creatures of their time and place, will be condemned and marginalized for the xenophobes that they were.

Their method, which is as dangerous to the left as it is misinformative to the public at large, is to use radical left criticisms of countries the U.S. is targeting for regime change and sanctions, even though there are effectively no countries (including most obviously the plutocratic U.S.) that meet their anarchoid standard. But by arbitrarily using an anarchist yard stick to measure the political correctness of some other country, they can issue these leftoid fatwas and make it so appear that Russia is uniquely problematic.

And the personal motivations of egomania aside, we only need to follow the money. And for our purposes today, just a fraction of it. Between George Soros’ Open Societies Foundation and the National Endowment for Democracy’s lucrative grantsThe MacArthur Foundation, there are hundreds of millions of dollars being thrown at this soft-power endeavor.

Outside of philanthropy are the huge sums paid to ‘journalists’ and ‘authors’ directly by the billionaire blogs themselves, no doubt doing their part for Operation Mockingbird. You can bet your bottom dollar that the life of a collective-punishment-advocating ‘leftist’ in the employ of empire is neither a difficult nor impoverished one. They may appear homely, bookish, even shabby in their social media presentation, but that is part of the illusion, the veneer. Within the demented aesthetic-sphere of Anglophone left-radicalism, projecting depressiveness is akin to projecting virtue – an odd carryover from Puritanism. But in truth, they are neither hungry nor intellectual. They are well paid actors, and those who believe them have been duped.

Russia is the target of an ongoing campaign to vilify its leadership, with no shortage of tropes and dog whistling that this is an inherent feature of Russian culture itself. Like black-face, comedic ethnic impersonations are all but banned in the public sphere, unless it is of a Russian. The trope is so pervasive that even those trying to speak in the name of decreasing tensions, often frame their commentary in the name of peace by accepting that premise; that Russianness is inherently corrupt, misogynistic, authoritarian, and aggressive.

It is this very premise which must be challenged. The funny thing is, this task isn’t too difficult.

The Elastic Overton Window

By which rubric, by which method, do we compare the reality of targeted country like Russia to what is possible or even desirable?

Anarchist theory is ‘fantastic’ because anything one compares it to will necessarily fall short. It is reminiscent of Trotskyist criticisms of nominally socialist states, or Salafist criticisms of countries already within the Ummah. These societies, by definition, have to fall short because the self-declared ‘revolutionary’ nature of these belief systems must characterize anything short of their unattainable ideal as being a critical failure.

When it comes to assessing the reality of Russia’s cultural and sociopolitical system, the Overton Window of social acceptability is magically moved to the radical end of the anarchist left when Russia is the subject, for the forced result that we find Russia to be double-plus ungood, despite that those penning these pieces come from a country (the U.S.) far to the right on the socioeconomic matters which effect real working people.

The U.S. is Far to the right of Russia? Yes, we’ll explain

The fact that ski mask wearing anarchists are not free to run naked whilst flinging frozen chickens through kindergartens or Easter church services, is presented as evidence that Russia is an authoritarian state. The fact that Russia is a country, with a culture and history it finds worthy of being taught in schools, and with borders, and a standing army (!!) are taken as proof positive that Russia fulfills most of Umberto Eco’s ’14 Signs of Fascism’. And yet until last Tuesday, these were just understood of part of the fabric that makes a UN member-state … a UN member-state.

Every other country on earth has a school curriculum, has laws on public decency, and teaches the country’s narrative in its school system. When every other country is looked at, we are encouraged to see ‘normal’, and we apply a non-anarchist yard stick to measure it up. When it’s Russia, everything is problematized using every epithet from the critical school glossary. It is interesting, but upon close examination not strange, that these writers are able to get away with it. They do after all have the full support of the world’s last unipolar empire behind them.

The job of these writers is to misinform the left, and to turn the politics of class struggle into the politics of xenophobic national rivalry – a quintessential aspect of classical fascism. That they use apparently politically correct talking points couched within the framework of human rights, and terms borrowed from the vocabulary of the new-left is beside the point.

We must look instead at the perennial meta-political essence of that endeavor and not the particular forms it takes based upon the political or linguistic fashions of the day. The fact that we are better informed to understand fascism through the lens of a meta-political essence, points to a very big theoretical problems in the work of both Umberto Eco and Roger Griffin, as their entire composite heuristic explanatory paradigm is challenged in so doing.

It probably escapes people after that barrage of disinformation and national chauvinism parading as left-wing critique, that Russia is a social-democratic society.

It is Russia, not the United States that has universal healthcare and university education, vast public housing and useful programs for the disadvantaged, a multi-party parliamentary democracyearly retirement (60 m, 55 f), nearly two years leave with pay for new mothers. Russia, like any other social democracy also strong workplace protections against discrimination, a vigorous labor movement (35% union density in a formal workforce of 70 million), and codified rights for ethnic, linguistic and religious groups, and a no-holds barred private/citizen media complex that regularly attacks the country’s leaders and exposes the inevitable corruption that comes with large-scale societies and market systems.

Putin Serves the Russian Oligarchy Poorly – A Question of Democracy

While less-than-honest critics would say that Russia’s social democracy is merely a ‘carry-over’ from Russia’s former Soviet system, it begs the question: why nearly thirty years later, twenty-some of which being under Putin’s ‘right-wing oligarchy’, are these still soundly in place?

We are pressed with a difficult dilemma in the Russophobic narrative: Either Putin is the tyrannical tool of a rapacious oligarchy that has nevertheless failed to destroy Russia’s social democracy in 20 years, or Putin uses his vast powers to maintain its progressive social system against the right-wing oligarchy. In either event, the Swiss cheese that is the imperial left’s Russophobic narrative is evidently pungent.

Putin has been elected – and continues to win elections – for the past two decades. Isn’t this indicative of some large problem in the narrative? This is a question we have to turn on its head: why, in the U.S., have we taken for granted that our elected leaders should expectedly let us down and fail in their mandate with such prejudice that we want to throw them out every four or eight years? Why, in the west, has democracy been defined as dissatisfaction built upon betrayal?

How would a democratic society respond to a government that has, on the balance, solved and continued to solve the problems arising from the collapse of its former authoritarian self? Would they respond by throwing that government out, or by re-electing it?

This is not to view Russia through rose-tinted glasses, or to ignore the problems that it has: largely similar problems that face the world in the context of global capitalism. Russia has problems in wealth inequality, as well as too high an incarceration rate – though still one that pales in comparison to the U.S. by nearly half. But our view is offered knowing that such criticisms are so vast in their abundance, and so mandatory in every western publication, that not fixating on these here in no way obstructs audiences from accessing them elsewhere. What we bring is some balance and perspective.

What characterizes Russia’s social democracy are things which the left-most wing of the Democrat Party in the U.S., led by figures like Bernie Sanders, would consider absolute victories to achieve. And yet nevertheless we are confronted with a media barrage that blindsides us with misinformation to the extent that this basic truth is lost upon us. Fortunately, that tide is turning and will turn all the faster as we understand the reality of modern Russia through a sober and honest lens.

Covid Candide: Isn’t this the best of all possible worlds… and pandemic responses?

Covid Candide: Isn’t this the best of all possible worlds… and pandemic responses?

August 08, 2020

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

Eight months into the modern, digitised world’s first-ever global pandemic the results are in: Every government has failed miserably.

Despite the vast differences between socialist-inspired nations and capitalist nations every single government in 2020 has forfeited the chance at the possibility of maybe perhaps having something like a little bit of a rightly-guided mandate of heaven.

Our 2019 taxes must be refunded everywhere. What a waste voting has been, to say nothing of those few countries which have sustained modern revolutions.

Those in the know are hunkering down and bunkering up because the pandemic is proving that “government” (social organisation and collective unity) is an outdated concept in our modern, digitised, disease-ridden world.

Thus, the way you certainly are – wherever you are – being egged into hating your local, rather-poorly paid bureaucrat is something of a major propaganda coup for government-slashing neoliberalism, is it not?

Neoliberalism, per its tenets, cannot congratulate any government for anything other than self-immolation, so how can Western corporate media – owned by a handful of neoliberals – publicly congratulate any government for their handling of this unprecedented corona crisis? They cannot, so neoliberals are publicly shining in glorious vindication that all government is bad, unless and inept, period: the pandemic has decisively proven There Is No Alternative to neoliberalism.

Who knew a virus had enough innate intelligence to contain a political ideology, and despite not even being a life form with a cellular structure? This only proves that God – in His wisdom – is an American neoliberal.

Preposterous, faith-based radicalism, of course….

But firstly: Call me contrarian if you must, but don’t call this “Leibnizian optimism”: I think every nation has done spectacularly well in dealing with Covid, regardless of their guiding ideology.

The West got what they hysterically demanded, yet government is still a Satanic beast?

I think countries like China, Iran, Cuba and Vietnam had a fantastic response to Covid. People died, but not anywhere as many as we initially feared. Tons of radical measures were taken designed to protect the public good, armies of volunteers answered the call, hardships were attempted to be standardised, their peoples showed huge amounts of bravery, self-sacrifice and patience.

However, I see nearly all of these same virtues in the peoples of Western nations as well – don’t you?

Sweden succeeded without a Great Lockdown because their people – who also compose their government – acted so correctly and courageously. The idea that the exact same self-sacrificing virtues aren’t evident all over the place in the US as well is contradicted by countless individual testimonies. The first article I wrote on corona was a backhanded compliment to the West, after all: Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? The West FINALLY issued some “People’s QE” – that was a huge improvement over the West’s previous decade of fiscal policies, certainly.

Indeed, the global pandemic response was the best of all possible worlds, worldwide: incredible concern for public health, a rollback to rabidly right-wing economic policies, and not anywhere close to the number of deaths we all had wild-eyed fears about.

Some systems had more limitations than others – be they cultural, political, financial or whatever – but every government tried to limit the pandemic amid these differing limitations. And they did it democratically, in the broadest sense of that term: Which government truly defied the will of their own majority? I can’t think of any.

The West got exactly what they wanted according to all the polls back then – a Great Lockdown – amid total hysteria, and in total disregard for the political and socio-economic laws which govern their societies and… they are still not happy with their government?!

Clearly, those in their media are shaping public perceptions in order to foment unrest and dissatisfaction instead of urging clarity and stoic realism – this article praising governments should not be such an outlier, but it certainly is.

To be clear, the problem was not necessarily the Great Lockdown but what will come after such a drastic move in certain countries. The West has capitalist-imperialist ideologies which ensure that a Great Lockdowning cannot be coped with – in the US the Republican Party, which is refusing to extend unemployment insurance, is currently insisting this be proven emphatically.

I insisted from the start that when a natural disaster hits – you have no choice but to dance with the girl that brung ya. Mid-crisis is not at all the time to reinvent the wheel, but the time to trust the defences you have been building (or in the case of neoliberalism: not building). The West, of course, has very poor political defences thanks to four decades of anti-government neoliberalism and an even longer history of deranged frontier libertarianism. All the West can do is throw their tons of money at the problem – too bad that can’t buy a modern political infrastructure, culture, perspective, etc.

Building that modern, post-1917 political infrastructure is what the West now has to do, or collapse. Thus, covid is going to drag the West kicking and screaming into political modernity.

Voltaire never lived in the digitised world, much less a truly democratic one

I wouldn’t take down his statue but I would reject the bitter and individualistic (and thus very French) outlook he presented in Candide, where optimism is only for fools. For Voltaire the mantra of the character Pangloss – that “this is the best of all possible worlds”, despite his encountering one misfortune after another – is something to be derided: Pangloss is an idiot for not giving in to black resentfulness.

Well, that’s one view – a mighty cynical one. For those of us lucky to still be alive and fully healthy in August 2020 – that seems like a rather ungrateful perspective, no?

Voltaire’s final moral of “tend your own garden” sounds like Taoist individualism from a guy who was supposed to admire Confucianism, which is active, social and judgemental. We are all stuck at home tending our garden and, guess what: a monkish existence is a lonely, self-centered, unsatisfying and even unproductive life – it is unsurprising that the extremely social and active religion of Islam forbids monasticism and demands charitable social works.

I don’t know what people expected from our modern digitised world in our first-ever response to a pandemic, but judging from the criticism of civil servants it’s clear that many people were expecting way too much. No state worker could make unfat all the Americans who have perished prematurely; no state worker had a fountain of youth for the over-80s who compose the bulk of Sweden’s dearly departed. The Western “Karen’s” babyish “war on dying” was always setting up governments to fail and for faith in political institutions – any institution – to be incorrectly lessened.

Those who read the paper regularly know that the world was not paradise back in December 2019. When we consider how badly things were supposed to get back in spring, pondering the possibility that this is the best of all possible worlds is truly worth more than a moment’s reflection.

And then you can explain to me how this pandemic could have possibly been better handled with less government? This is the impossible task of the deranged American libertarian, the European technocrat, and the neoliberal aristocrat/comprador around the world.

If there is one thing I know for certain it’s this: Covid has definitively proved that big government is our ONLY defense against an often-cruel natural world.

Duh…. Countries who have endured an actual war – not a pandemic war – already knew this.

The US and Eurozone governments have done well in spite of the limitations presented by their elitist and reckless neoliberalism, but the “anti-all government crowd” will eventually be forced to admit that – when compared with socialist-style governments, with their central planning and authority to lead in a crisis – their neoliberal ideals have failed everyone, will continue to fail everyone, and are expressly designed to fail everyone and leave people at the mercy of that often-cruel natural world.

Honest critics of neoliberal capitalism saw all that long ago.

Covid will ultimately be seen as the killer of neoliberalism, not its vindicator.

That’s why it’s not surprising to see so many anti-socialist commentators trying to declare the opposite: they are the ones saying 2+2=5, not any “Big Brother” central government. Again, this pro-government article shouldn’t be so rare – this went pretty well for the first modern, digitised global pandemic. But what do we do now?

Answer: no way we go back to anti-government neoliberalism. This exact light is being switched on in minds around the world.

So, for socialists: it came at a very heavy cost, but this is the best of all possible worlds!

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Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis.

Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020

A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020 – March 25, 2020

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? – March 26, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30, 2020

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020

(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020

Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020

Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020

‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? – April 12, 2020

No buybacks allowed or dared? Then wave goodbye to Western stock market gains – April 13, 2020

Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020

No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all – April 16, 2020

Same 2008 QE playbook, but the Eurozone will kick off Western chaos not the US – April 18, 2020

We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state? – April 20, 2020

Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer – April 22, 2020

Iran’s ‘resistance economy’: the post-corona wish of the West’s silent majority (1/2) – April 23, 2020

The same 12-year itch: Will banks loan down QE money this time? – April 26, 2020

The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2) – April 27, 2020

What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’? – April 28, 2020

ZeroHedge, a response to Mr. Littlejohn & the future of dollar dominance – April 30, 2020

Given Western history, is it the ‘Great Segregation’ and not the ‘Great Lockdown’? – May 2, 2020

The Western 1% colluded to start WWI – is the Great Lockdown also a conspiracy? – May 4, 2020

May 17: The date the Great Lockdown must end or Everything Bubble 2 pops – May 6, 2020

Reading Piketty: Does corona delay the Greens’ fake-leftist, sure-to-fail victory? – May 8, 2020

Picturing the media campaign needed to get the US back to work – May 11, 2020

Scarce jobs + revenue desperation = sure Western stagflation post-corona – May 13, 2020

France’s nurses march – are they now deplorable Michiganders to fake-leftists? – May 15, 2020

Why haven’t we called it ‘QE 5’ yet? And why we must call it ‘QE 2.1’ instead – May 16, 2020

‘Take your stinking paws off me, you damned, dirty public servant!’ That’s Orwell? – May 17, 2021

The Great Lockdown: The political apex of US single Moms & Western matriarchy? May 21, 2021

I was wrong on corona – by not pushing for a US Cultural Revolution immediately – May 25, 2021

August 1: when the unemployment runs out and a new era of US labor battles begin – May 28, 2021

Corona proving the loser of the Cold War was both the USSR & the USA – May 30, 2021

Rebellions across the US: Why worry? Just ask Dr. Fauci to tell us what to do – June 2, 2021

Protesting, corona-conscience, a good dole: the US is doing things it can’t & it’s chaos – June 3, 2021

Why do Westerners assume all African-Americans are leftists? – June 5, 2020

The US as Sal’s Pizzeria: When to ‘Do The Right Thing’ is looting – June 6, 2020

The problem with the various ‘Fiat is all the problem!’ (FIATP) crowds – June 9, 2020

Politicisation of Great Lockdown result of ‘TINA’ economic ignorance & censorship – June 14, 2020

Trump’s only hope: buying re-election with populist jobless benefits – June, 16 2020

US national media is useless – so tell me the good local news sources? – July 4, 2020

Hamilton movie: central banker worship & proof the US has no left – July 8, 2020

News flash: Capitalism has no answer for 50 million jobless people – July 11, 2020

Naive Millennials: it’s the man (Trump) & not ‘The Man’ (the US system) – July 18, 2020

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. He is the author of the books I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the NEW Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.

Our Grim Future: Restored Neoliberalism or Hybrid Neofascism?

June 01, 2020

Our Grim Future: Restored Neoliberalism or Hybrid Neofascism?

by Pepe Escobar – crossposted with Strategic Culture Foundation

With the specter of a New Great Depression hovering over most of the planet, realpolitik perspectives for a radical change of the political economy framework we live in are not exactly encouraging.

Western ruling elites will be deploying myriad tactics to perpetuate the passivity of populations barely emerging from de facto house arrest, including a massive disciplinary – in a Foucault sense – drive by states and business/finance circles.

In his latest book, La Desaparicion de los Rituales, Byung-Chul Han shows how total communication, especially in a time of pandemic, now coincides with total vigilance: “Domination impersonates freedom. Big Data generates a domineering knowledge that allows the possibility of intervening in the human psyche, and manipulating it. Considering it this way, the data-ist imperative of transparency is not a continuation of the Enlightenment, but its ending.”

This revamping of Foucault’s Discipline and Punish coincides with reports about the demise of the neoliberal era being vastly overstated. Instead of a simplistic plunge into populist nationalism, what is on the horizon points mostly to a Neoliberalism Restoration – massively spun as a novelty, and incorporating some Keynesian elements: after all, in the post-Lockdown era, to “save” the markets and private initiative the state must not only intervene but also facilitate a possible ecological transition.

The bottom line: we may be facing a mere cosmetic approach, in which the deep structural crisis of zombie capitalism – barely moving under unpopular “reforms” and infinite debt – still is not addressed.

Meanwhile, what is going to happen to assorted fascisms? Eric Hobsbawm showed us in Age of Extremes how the key to the fascist right was always mass mobilization: “Fascists were the revolutionaries of the counter-revolution”.

We may be heading further than mere, crude neofascism. Call it Hybrid Neofascism. Their political stars bow to global market imperatives while switching political competition to the cultural arena.

That’s what true “illiberalism” is all about: the mix between neoliberalism – unrestricted capital mobility, Central Bank diktats – and political authoritarianism. Here’s where we find Trump, Modi and Bolsonaro.

From Anthropocene to Capitalocene

To counterpunch zombie neoliberalism, those believing another world is possible dream of a social-democratic revival; wealth redistribution; or at least neoliberalism with a human face.

That’s where eco-socialism jumps in: a radical rupture with the diktats of the Goddess of the Market, the product of a healthy rebellion against ultra-authoritarian neoliberalism and illiberalism.

In sum, that could be seen as a soft adaptation of Thomas Piketty’s analyses: to break the domination of capital by economic democracy, in the spirit of mid-19th century social democracy.

It’s quite interesting, in this aspect, to consider Fully Automated Luxury Communism, by Aaron Bastani, a refreshing utopian manifesto where we see that once society is stripped off everything superfluous linked to alienation, it’s still possible for everyone to find all the necessary technical means to live “in luxury” without recourse to infinity growth imposed by Capital.

And that brings us to the direct link between the Anthropocene and what has been conceptualized by French economist Benjamin Coriat as the Capitalocene.

Capitalocene means that our current state of appalling planetary degradation should not be linked to an undefined “humanity” but “to a very defined humanity organized by a predatory economic system.”

The state of the planet under the Anthropocene must be imperatively linked to the hegemonic economic system of the past two centuries: the way we developed our system of production and legitimized indiscriminate predatory practices.

The bottom line: to go beyond it, the economy must be reoriented and rebuilt, part of a “big bang in public and economic policies.”

In the Anthropocene, Promethean humanity must be contained so the rape of Mother Earth can be properly tackled.

Capitalocene for its part describes Capital as the crucial root and conditioner of the current world-system. The result of the struggle against the ravaging effects of Capital will determine the possible future of eco-socialism.

And that refocuses the importance of the commons – way beyond the opposition between private property and public property.

Coriat has shown how Covid-19 laid bare the necessity of the commons and the incapacity of neoliberalism to address it.

But how to build eco-socialism? Should it start as eco-socialism in one country (somewhere in Scandinavia)? How to coordinate it across Europe? How to fight ossified EU structures from the inside?

After all both Restored Neoliberalism and illiberalism already count on powerful states and networks. A good example is Hungary and Poland continuing to function as cogs of the German industrial supply chain.

How to prevent someone like Bill Gates to take control of a UN organization, the WHO, thus forcing it to invest in programs that fit his own personal agenda?

How to change the WTO’s free market rules, according to which buying palm oil and transgenic soya contributes to the de facto deforestation of large tracts of Africa, Asia and South America? This is a state of affairs that allows wealthy nations to actually buy the destruction of ecosystems.

Revolution, not reform

Even if neoliberalism was dead, and it’s not, the world is still encumbered with its corpse – to paraphrase Nietzsche a propos of God.

And even as a triple catastrophe – sanitary, social and climatic – is now unequivocal, the ruling matrix – starring the Masters of the Universe managing the financial casino – won’t stop resisting any drive towards change.

Diversionist tactics supporting an “ecological transition” fool no one.

Financial capitalism is an expert in adapting to – and profiting from – the serial crises it provokes or unleashes.

To update May 1968, what’s needed is L’Imagination au Pouvoir. Yet it’s idle to expect imagination from mere puppets such as Trump, Merkel, Macron or BoJo.

Realpolitik once again points to a post-Lockdown turbo-capitalist framework, where the illiberalism of the 1% – with fascistic elements – and naked turbo-financialization are boosted by reinforced exploitation of an exhausted and now largely unemployed workforce.

Post-Lockdown turbo-capitalism is once again reasserting itself after four decades of Thatcherization, or – to be polite – hardcore neoliberalism. Progressive forces still don’t have the ammunition to revert the logic of extremely high profits for the ruling classes – EU governance included – and for large global corporations as well.

Economist and philosopher Frederic Lordon, a researcher at the French CNRS, cuts to the inevitable chase: the only solution would be a revolutionary insurrection. And he knows exactly how the financial markets-corporate media combo would never allow it. Big Capital is capable of co-opting and sabotaging anything.

So this is our choice: it’s either Neoliberal Restoration or a revolutionary rupture. And nothing in between. It takes someone of Marx’s caliber to build a full-fledged, 21st century eco-socialist ideology, and capable of long-term, sustained mobilization. Aux armes, citoyens.

It’s No Accident Britain And America Are the World’s Biggest Coronavirus Losers

It’s No Accident Britain And America Are the World’s Biggest Coronavirus Losers

By Nesrine Malik – The Guardian

There’s something profound about the irony. The world’s highest coronavirus death tolls belong to two countries whose leaders came to power promising the restoration of greatness and control – the United States and Great Britain. Neither can claim to have been caught by surprise: both nations had the benefit of time, ample scientific warnings, and the cautionary examples of China and Italy.

The similarities are striking, the conclusions unavoidable. Here in the UK, we comforted ourselves with the belief that while our own buffoonish rightwing leader had his faults, at least he was no Donald Trump. But in the end, Boris Johnson has managed to stumble over even this lowest of hurdles. The UK government’s response to the crisis has turned out to be nearly as flippant and ill-prepared as the US’s.

Two nations that prided themselves on their extraordinary economic, historical and political status have been brought to their knees. Their fall from grace is the outcome of a damaged political culture and distinct form of Anglo-American capitalism.

Over the past four years, reckless political decisions were justified by subordinating reality to rhetoric. The cost of leaving the EU would be “virtually nil”, with a free trade agreement that would be one of the “easiest in human history”. Imaginary enemies were erected and fake fights confected as both countries pugnaciously went about severing their ties with other nations and international institutions.

Political discourse focused on grand abstract notions of rebirth and restoration, in a way that required few concrete deliverables. All the Tory government needed to do was Get Brexit Done, no matter how slapdash the job. In the US, all Trump needed to do to maintain his supporters’ loyalty was bark about a wall with Mexico every now and then, pass a racist travel ban, and savage various public figures for sport.

This is corrosive stuff – not only to the quality of public debate, but to the caliber of politicians. When the business of government becomes limited to populist set pieces, its ranks are purged of doers and populated instead with cheerleaders. This is how we ended up with the current cast of dazed-in-headlights Tory cabinet members. In the US, the very notion of an “administration” has been worn away. As the New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen puts it, “There is no White House. Not in the sense that journalists have always used that term. It’s just Trump – and people who work in the building.”

By the time Covid-19 hit their shores, the UK and US were lacking not just the politicians but the bureaucracies required to respond effectively. Prior to the crisis, Trump repeatedly attempted to defund the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]. In the UK, the pandemic inconvenienced a Tory cabinet embroiled in a feud with its own civil service. The intellectual and practical infrastructure to deal with facts had been vandalized.

But there is a longer, non-partisan history that rendered both nations incapable of an adequate response to the pandemic. The special relationship is not just one of linguistic and cultural proximity, but an ideological partnership forged in the post-second world war era. Anglo-American capitalism, pursued by both right and center-left parties, rooted in small government and powered by exceptionalism, had dismantled the state. No notice or warning could have refashioned the machinery of government quickly enough to save lives. An economic and political model that hinges on privatization, liberalization and the withdrawal of labor rights created a system prone to regular crises, despite such shocks being framed as one-offs.

The economic and regulatory kinship was strengthened by the transformation of Britain’s quaint and mercantile financial sector into a replica of the US’s aggressive markets. The City caught up with Wall Street.

An interventionist foreign policy – publicly moralistic but privately cynical – gave the model an expansionist edge, which helped both nations project power abroad and defend their own financial and political interests. But the wars led to quagmires, and the rapidly expanding financial sectors to economic near-death experiences. Neither triggered significant rethinking or reflection. After the 2008 financial crisis, when this system came within “48 hours” of the “apocalypse”, two center-left leaders, Barack Obama and Gordon Brown, chose to shore up the infrastructure that had brought their economies to the brink, recapitalizing the banks and revitalizing the markets, opting for more regulation rather than fundamental reform.

Just as the financial crash was treated as the malfunctioning of a particular unsupervised bug in the system rather than as a feature of it, so is the failure to grapple with the pandemic being cast as an unforeseen, exogenous event, rather than a result of an ideology that enables the state to scramble unprecedented resources to save banks but not lives. A nurse will wear a bin liner as PPE in the US for longer than a failing bank can go unfinanced.

Hollow triumphalism about making America great again and Britain taking back control becomes more and more likely in such a system. Trump and the Tories alighted on this formula not entirely out of mendacity or ideology. Without radically challenging Anglo-American capitalism, they have nothing else to offer their voters. And so they must separate economic suffering from politics, and attempt to blame it on immigrants and outsiders. They must blame other countries and international institutions – the EU, WHO, NATO – for the feelings of helplessness experienced by their own citizens. The swagger is a facade. Behind it hides a rotting national landscape.

As the bodies pile up, the failure of the US and the UK will be somehow spun into victory. The triumphalism will intensify; that is certain. The only question now is how many will continue to believe it.

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