A Very Worthy Tweet Concerning the Tomahawking of #Syria

(Stephen Gowans kindly gave me permission to repost his entire essay, but given that it’s longish, I did my best to synopsize some passages without sacrificing much of the full flavor.  The portions that were most interesting, thus critical, to me were those concerning his class analysis of neo-colonialism.)

‘Cruise Missile Attacks: A New Step in Washington’s Long Class War on Syria’, April 8, 2017 by Stephen Gowans

“Washington has added a new dimension to its long war on Syria: direct military intervention.

Since the mid 1950s, the United States has tried to purge Damascus of an Arab nationalist leadership which has zealously guarded Syria’s freedom from US domination and follows an Arab socialist development path which is at odds with the global free enterprise project advanced by Washington on behalf of its Wall Street patron.

Until now, Washington has refrained from directly attacking Syrian forces, though it has intervened manu militari in Syria to hold the Islamic State in check so that the militant group remains strong enough to weaken Syrian forces but not so strong that it captures the Syrian state.

This limited Islamic State-directed US intervention in Syria has involved both airstrikes and an estimated 1,000 boots on the ground. However, the principal modus operandi of Washington’s long war on Syria has been war waged through proxies, both Israel, which annexed Syria’s Golan Heights and has carried out innumerable small-scale attacks since, and Islamist guerrillas, who, from the 1960s, have waged a jihad against what they view as Syria’s heretical government.

The United States contemplated direct military intervention in Syria in 2003, as a follow-up to its invasion of neighbouring Iraq, but found that its resources were strained by efforts to pacify Afghanistan and Iraq and that other means of regime change would have to be pursued.

In place of a muscular boots on the ground strategy, Washington imposed an economic blockade in 2003, which, by 2012, had caused Syria’s economy to buckle, according to the New York Times.

By the spring of 2012, sanctions-induced financial haemorrhaging had “forced Syrian officials to stop providing education, health care and other essential services in some parts of the country.”  

By 2016, “US and EU economic sanctions on Syria” were “causing huge suffering among ordinary Syrians and preventing the delivery of humanitarian aid, according to a leaked UN internal report.” The report revealed that aid agencies were unable to obtain drugs and equipment for hospitals because sanctions prevented foreign firms from conducting commerce with Syria.

Veteran foreign correspondent Patrick Cockburn wrote that “the US and EU sanctions” resembled the Iraqi sanctions regime, and were “an economic siege on Syria”—a siege it might be recalled that led to the deaths of more than 500,000 Iraqi children, according to the UN, a death toll greater than that produced by all the weapons of mass destruction in history.  Cockburn surmised that the Syrian siege was killing numberless people through illness and malnutrition.  

On top of its merciless campaign of economic warfare, Washington enlisted the Arab nationalists’ longstanding foe, the Muslim Brotherhood, to provoke a civil revolt in Syria. The revolt, inaugurated by Islamist-instigated riots in Daraa in mid-March 2011, soon mushroomed into an all-out campaign of guerrilla warfare, fueled by Saudi, Qatari, Turkish, Jordanian and US money. U.S. and Western intelligence services trained thousands of guerrillas in Jordan and Qatar.

In 2012, the US Defense Intelligence Agency reported that the insurgency was Islamist, led by the Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Islamic State’s forerunner, and that Western powers and the kings, emirs and sultans who preside tyrannically over Gulf oil states, were the backers. According to the intelligence agency, Turkey’s Reccep Tayyip Erdogan, a man infatuated with dreams of becoming a neo-Ottoman sultan, and himself an Islamist, was also a major backer.

But until Washington ordered cruise missiles to rain down on Shayrat Airfield near Homs on April 6, the United States had relied on proxies and siege to bring about regime change in a country which Moshe Ma’oz had termed “a focus of Arab nationalistic struggle against an American regional presence and interests.”

He continues with the blatantly partisan sources claiming Syrian forces gassed civilians, names the DeeCee-entangled White Helmets and the silly Syrian Human Rights organization (funded by the UK, iirc), says the OPCW won’t weigh in until an investigation is completed, but that the neo-colonialists and MSM ‘journalists’ used it as a pretext to level the illegal attack.

He notes that it’s all academic in any event, as no body exists that holds the US war machine to account, in any event.

“Expecting the United States to yield to international law is naïve and therefore any discussion of whether this or that act of the United States violates international law is a discussion of no consequence.”

Listing a few reasons that allow the White House to act with impunity, Gowan names the normalized psychological-blinders effect of ‘no body bags’ on ordinary citizens, nationalistic jingoism, and the constant demonization of ‘our enemies’ by Washington as well as their helpful scribes and pundit class.  He mentions as a recent example Saddam’s WMDs, and posits that Washington conflates the release of biological and chemical weapons by Arab nationalist governments with nuclear arms, true weapons of mass destruction.

“Demonizing targets—often by accusing them of having, using, or intending to use either falsely classified or genuine weapons of mass destruction—creates, from the vantage point of the public, a moral obligation for the United States to act. The Leftists who have an insatiable appetite for moral lapidation and florid language about “murderous regimes,” brutal dictators,” and “moral disgrace,” in connection with the leaders of former colonies which the United States is endeavouring to re-colonize, contribute to the mobilization of consent for war and to an international class struggle from above.

Left collaborators see only the completely powerless as occupying morally tenable ground. Any state which pursues emancipatory goals is denounced as brutal, murderous, or a moral disgrace and arguments are mounted that the state’s emancipatory goals are a sham. Only people without formal power, by this way of thinking, engage in class struggle against oppression and exploitation, while those who exercise formal authority are viewed as agents of oppression by definition.

This view is too simple.”

[WD here; I’d like to provide a few such examples]:

One of their reTweets:

@ramahkudaimi Apr 6 “PSA: the Syrian people demanded the fall of the regime back in march 2011. that is where your analysis starts.”

and h/tip jason, (the Bern offers a two-fer; Assad as dictator, and make Putin an offer he can’t refuse.):

But onward to his class analysis of the long war on Syria.

“The Italian philosopher Domenic Losurdo argues for a tripartite model of class struggle linked to the division of labour on (1) an international level, (2) a national level and (3) within the household.

Class struggle on an international level corresponds to the exploitation of the people of one nation by another nation; for example, by the relegation of one country by another to a subordinate role in the international division of labour.

Class struggle on a national level corresponds to the exploitation of labour by the owners of capital within a country, while class struggle within the household pertains to the exploitation of female domestic labour by males.

Class struggle so conceived can be coterminous as when, for example, the people in one country are exploited en masse as a source of labour by the owners of capital of a second.

Washington’s long—and now expanded—war on Syria, is a class struggle on an international level. It is a class struggle in which the United States, as champion of the profit-making interests of corporate America and the class of billionaires who lead it, seeks to permanently relegate Syrians to a subordinate role in the international division of labour, one in which they will be limited to low wage jobs in extractive and basic manufacturing industries, if not subsistence farming.

Washington aspires to sweep away the Arab socialist impediments to the free enterprise, free trade, and free market capitalist nirvana it seeks to establish on a global scale, where US corporations have space to dominate the commanding heights of every country’s economy, and local labour is relegated to low-wage roles, and permanent penury.

Former chief economist of the World Bank Joseph Stiglitz put it this way:

Colonialism left a mixed legacy in the developing world—but one clear result was the view among people there that they had been cruelly exploited…the political independence that came to scores of colonies after World War II did not put an end to economic colonialism. In some regions…the exploitation—the extraction of natural resources and the rape of the environment all in return for a pittance—was obvious. Elsewhere it was more subtle. In many parts of the world, global institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank came to be seen as instruments of post-colonial control. These institutions pushed market fundamentalism…a notion idealized by Americans as ‘free and unfettered market.’ … Free-market ideology turned out to be an excuse for new forms of exploitation.

 The class struggle fought by Arab nationalists in Syria continues, despite the concerted efforts of Washington, its neo-colonial allies, its Arab satraps, apartheid Israel, and Leftist collaborators, to crush it. Concurrently, the Islamic Republic of Iran is conducting its own class struggle against Western efforts of re-colonization, though on a grander scale, with the larger Islamic world as the object of liberation.

The struggle between Iran and the United States is a class struggle on a colossal scale, with Washington seeking to open Iran while keeping the remainder of the Muslim world open to continued exploitation by US financial, industrial, commercial and petrochemical concerns, and Tehran leading a project to build “resistance” economies that prioritize the uplift of the people who live and work in the Muslim world over shareholders of US corporations. This struggle is intertwined with the class struggle at which Syria is the center.

Washington’s expanded war on Syria is, then, an expanded class war from above against an emancipatory struggle from below. Washington’s war-making relies on multiple weapons, from siege, to proxy war, to direct military intervention, and no less to information warfare aimed at demonizing Syria’s Arab nationalists.

‘the moral high ground’


48 responses to “A Very Worthy Tweet Concerning the Tomahawking of #Syria

  1. Well, it looks like the fascists have now fully succeeded in co-opting the nominal “left” who, imho have lost the right to call themselves the left.

    Tulsi Gabbard released a treat strongly condemning this madness in Syria, and for that she is being excoriated, with Howard Dean and Neera Tandem leading the pack.

    Bernie is dead to me at this point. You’re right, Wendy, nothing but a sheepdog.

    I am disgusted beyond words.

    My admiration for Tulsi grows each day. She should be our first woman president. A Gabbard-Kucinich ticket in 2020 is my dream. If we live that long. But even if they would somehow manage to make it through the mind-bogglingly corrupt electoral process, good luck in getting past the deep state.

    The only thing that bothers me about her is her alleged ties to the Modi government in India. I don’t know how much truth there is to that.

    The fake left is now calling for her to be ‘primaried.’

    I feel like I must do something. Even if it’s just marching with a picket sign by myself.

    OMG, Vltchek is so right, so right, so heartbreakingly, tragically right.

    • pretty full-tilt cooptation of the ‘putative’ left by now, and somehow i think it goes beyond ‘virtue signaling’.. there seem to be a few essays about the fact today at the usual places. yeah, ya might wanna stick a pin in that ticket for now, mebbe any ticket for now. i know a couple of the tankies on twitter offered a bit of contrarian reminders about her, but darned if i paid enough attention to remember. she does look pretty darned good on twitter, but then…it’ twitter, lol.

      what would your sign say (which issue?), and have you checked to see if any actions/protests are planned for your area of florida?

      • Good question, Wendy. There were protests in Jacksonville this past weekend, sponsored by ANSWER, but as usual, I missed it. Six people were arrested, some for inviting a riot, some for battery on a law enforcement officer. There’s an article about it on Zerohedge. None in my town apparently, which is why I may have to go it alone. Jacksonville is a very right-wing, military redneck town with very repressive police. Scary place. It’s not too far from me.

        What would my sign say? Certainly not what the ANSWER people’s signs say – “US out, Russia out, Assad out.” I guess they are cool with ISIS taking over.

        Maybe “End the Bush/Clinton/Obama/Trump wars of aggression against the Syrian people?”

        Too long. “Let Assad and Russia defeat ISIS? US, stop supporting terrorism? Secular Syria Now?”

        I’m open to suggestions.

        • lol, yeah, maybe not that. but id been re-rerading vltchek’s essay (instead of getting busy on the tax forms, lol) that seemed to have prompted your story on your personal love life before i commented on it a bit later. i’d reckoned i’d have time that i need to take, as you were out Fighting Dragons. ;-)

          at any rate, i’d gotten on his twit machine and found this. any shorter version usable? ;-)

          guess “goddam, amerika” wouldn’t go over so big, now would it?

          and community organizer promptly threw him under the bus and stomped on his dear head..

          • I love Reverend Wright and wrote a letter to the editor of my local paper supporting him…..My boss at the time was afraid we’d get bomb threats lol…But then others chimed in supporting him, so I may have done some miniscule amount . of good All previous wereofthe “two minutes hate” variety.

            • good on you! yes, at times small acts matter…a lot, esp. to break the ice for further support. our erstwhile local paper stopped printing my letters over a decade ago. ;-) pearls before swine, i reckon.

              and i did try my best to answer your love life issues on the open menu. oh, i’ll go fetch it, but big al at c99% clipped some of gabby’s press releases, wove them together into a ‘meh’ cloth. yes, i had it on a word document.

  2. F00LED, AGAIN ! :
    Papa Bush: ‘the finest criminal ever’

    the Billary Clintons

    Pappy bush and Obomba

    Drumf SCHEISS

    • my apologies, bruce. funny and all, but for the yuuuge sizes. i was trying to link to the first two, but somehow i’d lost the url for the bill and hill fusion, and haven’t been able to find a copy. if ya still have it, please give it to me, and i”ll fix it. still not ever sure why you seem to believe that so much of this started with pappy bush, i’ll admit. and i confess i hate having photos of trump here. but now i’ve lost your scheissZ designation.

  3. a somnambulant FB friend still blindly circling the Kaabah stone of the donkey party (“DNC Akbar!!!”) posted some cheering BS wherein Obomber got to pontificate to a best in show media poodle about why his admin did not “invade” Syria.

    so how many bombs constitute an “invasion”? how many boots on the ground? how much $$? I asked. the silence in the empty space b/n the temples of his brain pan is…well, not exactly frightening…but where does it end?

    • shoot, j; you should have come in as “DNC Akbar!!!”; you’re brilliant. well, wasn’t one big reason ‘he didn’t invade syria’ due to the fact that the UK parliament had said “nyet!”? was he attempting to be a hero to his audience? or explaining how measured and proportional he was? or defending himself?

      stir in to your questions: how much funding and arms sales to nations who were supporting the fake civil war, including now bahrain, our partners in peace mega-arms-sales? we’ll never know, of course, how many ‘special ops’ (and mercenaries, cia, his military sent to syria for fun and pleasure, will we? actually, it is kinda frightening.

      calls on the guardian about the epic number of (blacks in the photos) in libya being sold into slavery. do i feel another r2p coming on? bomb for peace! it works, honest! (and lotsa riches left there to divvy up.)

    • you are assuming that I could stomach listening to BO talk about what he coulda woulda shoulda didn’ta. “President Clinton, what is your biggest regret about your two terms in office?” “I regret I didn’t invade Rwanda.”

      “cudgel not thy dull brain. for your ass will not mend his pace w/beating.”

      “every Roman is an ass.” and vice versa. feral donks can be very mean & cruel.

      • love it, DNC Akbar!!!! i did find a bit o’ parry for you as i answered jaango down yonder, though. i’d thought your FB empty brain pan friend mightta said, is all.

        the fractured quotes are estimable, lol, and made me laugh out loud.

  4. between the two, they hit a lot of sources, including in Chossudovsky’s St. Chomsky was earnestly manufacturing consent. he my have missed amy goodman doing the same thing as well.

  5. telesur had had a bit about this the other day, but now: NBC!! will anderson coooooper be next??

    a slip of the tongue or a freudian slip? can’t resist: ‘Ginsburg refers to Graham as one of ‘the women of the Senate’ (somewhere on ‘the hill’)

  6. President Trump has a self-imposed “red line” just as President Obama had. To wit, the Three Cohorts in Syria are Assad, ISIS and Al Queda and therefore, “democratizing Syria with America’s exceptionalism” will not happen. End of story!


    • i’m not sure in what sense you’re using ‘the three cohorts in syria’, jaango. as his stated enemies to vanquish? (and I i the sole-approved acronym now, lol.) i’d say there is plenty of overlap among IS al qaeda, and the ‘vetted arab insurrectionists’. you must see something else, yes? or am i simply misunderstanding you again?

      but in the ‘endless war’ theory, one has to ask how far the neo-cons in T’s administration are willing to go to prolong losing the IS battle in syria in order to win the Imperial Wars of choice…anywhere they feel like. that’s the tagline for the ‘where does a 900lb. gorilla sit’, of course. ;-)

      herr Hair’s administration doesn’t seem to have *any* coherent foreign policy, much less in syria itself. it gets to be quite a chore figuring out whose statements to…take to the bank, imo.

      this i’d grabbed for jason in answer to what other reasons did Obomba have for not invading/bombing syria, but for others as well. seems as though robert kagan was at the wapo fomenting for war against russia and iran as well. but i’ll just clip this:

      “Kagan, who cut his teeth in the Reagan administration running a State Department propaganda shop on Central America, has never been particularly interested in nuance or truth, so he wouldn’t care that Obama pulled back from attacking Syria in summer 2013, in part, because his intelligence advisers told him they lacked proof that Assad was responsible for a mysterious sarin attack. (Since then, the evidence has indicated that the attack was likely a provocation by Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate with help from Turkish intelligence.)”

      from Robert Parry’s ‘Neocons Have Trump on His Knees’, April 10, 2017

  7. Putin knows all about the Conspiracy” too just as Trump knew about “wiretapp.”

    Today, the following:

    —Putin told a news conference the Kremlin has “information” that provocateurs are planning to plant chemical substances in suburban Damascus and blame it on Syrian authorities.


  8. They’re ALL PNACi (CIA) Company ‘men’; whose duping delight is infuriating (not to mention, fatal for their victims at home and abroad); e.g., (from teh $tart) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vu8CCJTJCQk

  9. wouldn’t it be lovely if we hadn’t collectively bought into zero-sum thinking? and that cooperation, not competition was The Rule? collaborative efforts even make superior music. night, all.

    • you’ll never monetize breast-feeding at this rate. not w/that attitude. can mothers charge rent for time in the uterus? how about, oh golden words, back rent? and consumers-in-utero will need consumer advocates, lawyers, etc. esp. if mothers (yes, it’s all their fault) are negligent. while the gov’t will get no penalties for, say, flint, a woman smoking while preggers should be fully actionizable. lawyer up gametes! let me give you my biz card…and those suburban soccer games ain’t cheap. charge ’em for their Ritalin! think of the interest accrued when the child turns 18. think of the credit default swaps & derivatives, the loan “management” programs to help one restructure one’s mother’s milk debt. and w/the die off of human…my god, how much is viable seed & maleness worth? should I be running to the bank???? cash in on the spawn? get your sperm here, piping hot sperm, 3 for a thousand, get ’em while they’re motile.

      maybe the 2020 fukushima Olympics can be humanity’s funeral games?

      • goddam, i love the dickens outta yer sick mind, DNC Akbar!!!! and i say ‘sick’ in a good way, yanno? but doncha think the market could bear more than 3 for a thousand? and hell’s bells, you’re thinkin’ of the old days! all our gran’chirren have to pay to be in city sports leagues now, and the bills ain’t chump change, neither.

        hard to choose, but ‘back rent’ almost made me choke w/ guffaws. you’re a peach. can’t say i dinnae love the video, either, but i had to go back to make sure the very lively and numerous sperm had the faces of the lab dude.

        ‘2020 fukushima olympics’ took ya all the way to High Art, though.

        • thanks. we might be looking at the end of the traditional monogamous lifestyle. for the men. say a ratio of 10 women per man…an astonishingly good idea.

          can’t even make a movie/etc satirizing the horror w/o one of the horror-makers thinking it’s not satire, but a blueprint.

          later. can’t roflmao at the RL forever.

          • dunno how you’re defining ‘monogamous lifestyle’, but hasn’t it long been noted that males were kinda hard-wired to ‘spread their seed’ out and about? sorry, but even beyond the rites of marriage or the equivalent? or are you even pinging ‘serial monogamy’?

            divorce stats in amerika are cautionary tales, especially after one divorce. i hardly know anyone who hasn’t been divorced at least once. but ever since the turkey baster had kinda been re-purposed, the t-shirt noting that ‘a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle’ was birthed. ha; mr. wd has one i found at the local thrift shop…and wears it now and again.

            but here it is, april 12, and it’s our 44th anniversary. of course i was a child bride, yanno…

            yeah, i gotta actually open the 1040 Big Book pulp instructions. pulp is so hard to read, i keep goin’ to the irs website to get a glimmer of what they’re trying to get me to do on some form, chart, or line or somethin’.

            • sorry. riffing off of Dr. Strangelove. suddenly the rooskie ambassador sees the plus side to using the doomsday device.
              paying taxes is for assholes!!!!! only an ancap antifa poseur would dignify the irs w/a response.

              • ha. as i was entering my recent comment, i’d almost said: ‘yeah, i’m too old and moldy to go to jail over non-payment of taxes’. fuck, it they choose to audit me, will they believe that they’d have to come here? or send (tada): the dreaded sheriff to arrest me? nah…

            • For what it’s worth my take on the evolutionary biology, though I think a lot of it is bunk, is not that males are motivated to be non-monogamous to ‘spread our seed” but that we are so shallow as to have to fight off the desire for relations with a physically beautiful woman because we have this huge apparatus we have to elevate our blood pressure enough to engorge so we need a more dramatic stimulus to accomplish arousal than women do….Hence the unfortunate truth that the most important male sex organs are our eyes…..And I hate this. For the record, I have never cheated on anyone I’ve been in a committed relationship with, though I have been tempted. And I hate the fact that I’ve been tempted even though I didn’t act on it. To the point of self-loathing and a belief that woman are superior to men biologically, emotionally and spiritually. Take that, whiny MRAs and creepy PUs!

              • lol; an estimable take, although there are those who say than men’s brains are in their penises. ;-)

                and thanks for the anniversary wishes; hella lotta years, eh? shore makes me feel old. oh! wait! i am!

      • holy hell, DNC akbar!!!!. you weren’t just woofin’! i’d sincerely thought you were.

        “With the onset of Olympic venues in Fukushima, maybe that will open the way for the 2024 Olympics in Chernobyl. But, on second thought that will not work. Chernobyl’s Exclusion Zone is 1,000 square miles (off limits for hundreds, maybe thousands, of years) because of an explosion in one nuclear power plant that is now under control whereas Fukushima has three nuclear meltdowns that remain, to this day and into the unforeseeable future, radically out of control and extremely hazardous.

        Mystifying and Confusing?

        Yes, it’s mystifying and confusing, but the games go on.”

        no, ya couldn’t make this stuff up. ‘insanity’ doesn’t even come close. ‘criminal insanity’?

  10. let’s see what we got this mornin’; it’s been hard to trace much on the g-7 kangaroo court days, but wsws, bless their hearts: ‘Despite G7 endorsement of Syria airstrike, US-Europe divisions grow’

    yeah, no further sanctions on syria or roosia…for now. plenty of sarin war porn desperate ‘Shocked! trumpeting, but tensions abound, not quite cage-fighting, german FM reminds folks more sanctions could lead to war, don’t back putin into a corner, talk w/ moscow and tehran, etc. but this is kewl as all giddy-up:

    “The Italian government made its opposition to the US-led confrontation with Russia crystal clear, sending President Sergio Mattarella to Moscow to discuss Russia-European Union (EU) ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev during the G7 summit. The Italian president said the Russian-Italian friendship is “solid” and “remained strong.”

    Remarkably, Mattarella stood by Putin at a joint press conference in which the Russian president identified the Khan Sheikhoun attack as a provocation, comparing it to the lies on weapons of mass destruction the Bush administration used to launch the illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq. Putin also warned that US-backed militias in Syria might launch another gas attack soon.”

    damascus false flag, as jaango’d had it above. why not? high stakes in the abased Imperium; hello, cia!

    and yes, c seeker. some of the tankies had called hindu tulsi an islamophobe, dunno about that history per se, but she did take hindu thug modi on a tour of silicon valley during his most recent (very successful) 2015 US charm offensive, saying all the ‘we can use tech to be of service to both our nations’ or something. meanwhile, i’d read that wealth inequality levels are worse than under british colonial rule (ah: here it is). hard to watch modi neo-colonize india, but then, compradors are only too ubiquitous, aren’t they? just wait for the new stats past 2014 now that his cashless economy has kicked in.

    but those devastated farmers just need smart phones in their fields!

    • I did kinda lose my response to this thread. And woke up today with my right eye swollen shut and my left not much better….. I had to attend a hearing by telephone. After much flushing with eyewash, getting much better…

      Re the Tulsi article…..Yes she’s not perfect, she’s a politician. I agreed with some of the comments though, that a revolution is probably not possible without some electoral alliance with less-than-perfect politicians. What is the alternative besides a losing battle with guns or Gandhian ahimsa when the public is far too fragmented to make that work. Unless I am seriously misreading Tarzie, I think he says basically the same thing about the celebrity left he so beautifully criticizes…..Ally with them when it makes sense strategically or tactically, but be aware that they are compromised. For all her faults, Tulsi stands imho head and shoulders above the rest. So I will support her Stop Arming Terrorists Act, her meeting with Assad and her attempts to expose the hypocrisy of US foreign policy and I will oppose her on Russia and Ukraine, support for Modi, etc. As another commenter to that article said, I doubt whether those are her real opinions, she’s not stupid, but a politician can only go so far or she won’t be reelected. It’s why I have little stomach for electoral politics, but like it or not it’s an unavoidable part of our landscape….

      • oooh, i hope it’s not conjunctivitis, but i’m glad it’s getting better.

        i’m not getting a couple things here i suppose: how do you support gabbard on this or that, but not on others? and how do you reckon that a revolution “probably not possible without some electoral alliance with less-than-perfect politicians”? well, i’m not even clear what i mean about ‘revolution’, but i can’t think of one politician who would be up for anything like it. and again, if it comes, i think it will be a global uprising by working class people and affinity groups.

        but i guess that’s beyond the reach of this conversation, a well. best wishes for thine eyes. a couple titles on the BAR newsletter might suit this; let me go fetch them. ha, the first one mentions ‘jacobin’


        • I can disagree with Tulsi on some issues and support her on others, same as I do with any politician, pundit or commenter. Any other approach, to me, is heading towards personality cult territory…..Seems to me common sense. I can agree with Ron Paul on foreign policy, anti-imperialism and civil liberties while vehemently opposing his free-market fundamentalism. Same with Tulsi.

          As I mentioned before, I really have no idea how an effective revolution can happen, but I’d rather see a kind of gradualism (a rather quick one, given the ticking time bomb of climate change) than a rapid descent into chaos and anarchy, which could easily be subverted and an opening for the Steve Bannon a of the world (or any oligarch with access to muscle for that matter) to seize power. Cultivating an environment of less-than-perfect but far better than the current crop of political leaders as fertile soil in which to grow a better future seems to me the best strategy. (though I freely admit I’m very, very uncertain about this). While I’m an anarchist and a localist in principle, I don’t feel that the human race is sufficiently evolved to make these kind of situations work. The Spanish Civil War of the 1930s strikes me as an apt lesson of the dangers of fascists rushing in to fill the power vacuum when peaceful anarchists lack the means of defending themselves.

          • we’re either talking past one another, or i’m making this too complicated in my misunderstanding. let me see if i’ve got this right. you can support tulsi’s positions on x and y, but not on a and b? do you then mean support her on those positions in your heart? or that you can vote for her (maybe campaign for her?) for president even given ‘that she’s not perfect’? and that electoral politics can bring a gradual revolution rather than an armed one?

            but you’ve mentioned being recently dedicated to forming an anti-war protest in your area, iirc, northern florida? now i’m not sure which article you’d meant earlier, but if it were big al’s, and ending war is your main aim, it’s hard for me to see why you’d support gabbard. a few clips from her pressers, interviews, etc.:

            “We cannot stand by while Russia unilaterally degrades Ukraine’s territorial integrity. We must offer direct military assistance—defensive weapons, military supplies and training—to ensure Ukraine has adequate resources to respond to Russia’s aggressions and defend themselves, etc.” (yes, arm ukraine’s neo-nazis.)

            …a key co-sponsor of the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act last year: “North Korea’s nuclear tests just a week ago, and their continued pursuit of developing more nuclear weapons and miniaturizing those weapons, serve as a reminder of the threat that North Korea poses to our country, which my constituents in Hawaii know all too well.”

            …against the Iran “deal” because she felt it didn’t go far enough and would be too hard to enforce, and says one should put yourself in israel’s shoes, watching as Iran continues to development of a nuclear weapon and what they want to do with that.”

            CFR? oh, my, just scroll all the way down and look at who’s she’s allied with, but an anti-imperialist she’s not. cfr is Imperialist deep state; there are even corporate memberships. ;-)


            i just remembered you’d said this: “As another commenter to that article said, I doubt whether those are her real opinions, she’s not stupid, but a politician can only go so far or she won’t be reelected“, so maybe it was the same essay. but if peeps can believe that and forgive them…arrgh, cynical stuff

            p.s. voting for a D? unbelievable, imo. but then, the sole reason i was glad herr T won was in hopes that the Ds would be shown to be what they are: Wall Street militaristic neoliberals. but you might like a. dimaggio’s ‘An American Uprising: Assessing Opportunities for Progressive Political Change’ at CP. (moving past ideological purity, etc.) not my cuppa at all, but then…i’m an anti-capitalist supporter as the only possible way forward, not just the usual ‘hoped for’ baby steps.

  11. More compradors neo-neo-colonizing south africa: ‘Capitalism, Racism and the History of South Africa’, Sehlare Makgetlaneng, BAR

    “The African National Congress has failed to nationalize industries, redistribute the land, or tackle other goals of the Freedom Charter. Instead, it deliberately created a Black capitalist class, through the government’s Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) policy. But Black capitalism will not free South Africa from imperialism. “It will help to cement ties between the South African bourgeoisie and the imperialist bourgeoisie.”

    Capitalism since its inception in South Africa has constituted the primary or irreconcilable contradiction with the masses of its exploited people. This work uses the dialectical relationship between race and class to explain the relationship between the benefits and misfortunes of capitalism and racism in the South African political economy.”

    and ‘the acceptable monotones of the librul’ punditry: ‘God Squares Off with the Devil in Syria and Rwanda’, Ann Garrison, BAR, 04/11/2017

    “Religious fundamentalism from NPR’s Scott Simon? ‘Fraid so. This week, after the first direct, acknowledged U.S. attack on Bashar al-Assad’s Syria, Simon voiced his observation that the Devil is in Syria, manifest in the Syrian government, and locked in combat with God, manifest in the US and its Western (white, Christian) allies. He even quoted General Romeo Dallaire..,”

    “I watched some of the wrenching, sickening images from the chemical weapons attack in the Idlib province of Syria this week that killed scores of people, many of them children, with our daughters . . .”

    plus he brings much more class/race intersectional (venn diagramatic? i loathe the term ‘intesectionality’ as much as i do ‘cohort’) analysis and historical narrative.

    my kingdom for a fresh bottle of wite-out! my corner of the dining room table looks like it had been bombed w/ silly string! well, guess the irs can suck it; i’ll enter the numbers in the hills and dales over the wite-out on the side.

    • I forgot to wish you a happy anniversary, Wendy! Would that I had been so lucky. (Mine would have been my 38th this August had I not been such a jerk when I was 19-20).

  12. Happy anniversary Wendy. I cannot do hyperlinks but there is a great flintstones song I’m thinking of.

    • well met, dc! i’d just been telling shoot that arrow that i’ tried to email you and a few others here…only to find that some of the email addresses were wrong, or seldom used ones. mainly to say i was glad someone let you know who dsa (bernie) is/are. i’d thought you may have been a bit vexed when i’d said that his wasn’t the revolution i was looking for. ;-) but as an fyi, if you sign up for emails on a thread, the address you come in on will be where the emails go.

      now to embed a video in the comments, all ya need is the youtube url, and thanks so much for the good wishes. mr. wd was laughing yesterday that i hadn’t let some of you know that it’s fine to simply call me ‘wd’. ooopsie, he got a call a few days ago, and i’d actually told the caller that i had no idea when mr. wd would be home, lol. hope you’re well as anyone can be in the current chaos and insanity.

  13. I feel so silly about my initial reaction to Vltchek center on my personal life. I’m an example of what he rightly condemns. If it hadn’t she’d so much light on questions that have haunted me for so many years, I would have not fallon so spectacularly into this rabbit hole.

    The second article shook me out of the self-absorbing (though I’m not entirely sorry, I felt it did lead me to a necessary reckoning) but I’m at a loss as to what to do. ANSWER’s signs in Jacksonville did not inspire confidence in that particular movement. If they are conflating Assad, Russia and the West they are imo misguided. Do I join them and try to educate them, start my own, write feverish screeds and post them everywhere, try things I have no experience doing? Volunteer to be a legal observer with National Lawyer’s Guild? And I have 200 clients depending on me making it hard to do anything at all?

    I feel like Tarrou and the doctor in “The Plague” when they took a few hours off to go swimming. My professor was furious with them for taking time away from patients but I did not agree. I saw them as merely indulging a human need to have a break from the suffering, to rejuvenate, it probably made them less prone to medical error to have that release…..

    • it’s not unusual to be self-referencing in regard to polemical essays, though, seeker. and clearly you needed to express what you found as a relief in his ‘nihilism in the west’ essay. but he’s arguably a bit full of himself on his journey to get others to wake up, rise up, and stop allocating time slots for work, play, activism, i forget what else and stop imperialism by ‘reason or force!’

      only we can judge what value our own journeys to a better world are, i think, and even though andre’s world travels, writings, and photography seems to be by way of a vocation, he at least says that he’s not sure how much good he’s done in waking up people internationally.

      he cites ‘rationality’ a lot, but there’s something that bothers me about that term in a broader context, although i can’t put my finger on it. but blueprints for activism don’t fit all sizes, do they? hell, the last thing i was able to do besides being the dreaded ‘keyboard warrior’ was to Occupy mancos, co w/ mr. wd back in the day. and given the condition my condition is in, that’ll be the last time for me in the public square.

      as to your musings about what you could/might do beyond what you’re doing now, aiding in your clients who depend on you, ‘rationality’ wouldn’t be the cause of posting screeds a la thomas paine or martin luther, but rather an inner force that directed you to do…make all the difference you might. i.e., a compulsion that drove you, an inner voice that wouldn’t shut up until you did, i think. do you have faith that you’ll know when and what ad where? i just read that ‘people in 150 cities around the world protested, demanding donald trump’s tax returns’. christ in a canoe! is that rational, or just a bloody waste of energy? ;-)

      but it might be that you and i should try to take ourselves less seriously; perhaps even mr. vltchek might, as well. when he’d claimed that when he goes to the opera, etc., it’s ‘only to rejuvenate his spirit’, or close. why not simply say: ‘i take breaks from the depressing chaos because i love music, art, and poetry, and i deserve it’? what? we have to be ascetics to be thought pure in our endeavors against western imperialism? no. no. sometimes we just need art.of.all.kinds. imo, of course, but revolutionary art of all sorts can move mountains.

      also, we don’t want to come to the worst of examples of the Purity Police. as commenter Cjd had challenged tarzie recently:

      “Ahhh- the purification self-isolating ghettoization of the self. As the stories and narratives no longer make any sense to the ideologue (as they never can) the honest sincere ideologue goes on a quest for purity- still wrapped up in the fables and rightly disgusted with the compromises of pretty much everyone- he seeks solace in a world of purity in which he is the one shining example, a “no” everyone else must follow. It’s basically the final stop for the sincere honest ideologue before the real heartrending battle with Ego and pride begins- and a true real awakening occurs. This was me about ten years ago. I’d bet this blogger is about to hang it up.”

      • Brilliant and exactly on target with the Vitchek essays.

      • silly me; as it turns out the ‘show us your tax forms’ protests weren’t a waste of energy. many wanted to know if herr hair is putin’s bitch!

        wsws: “While the demonstrations attracted anti-Trump protesters motivated by other issues, particularly opposition to war and Trump’s attacks on immigrants, the platform at the main rallies was dominated by Democrats who devoted their remarks almost entirely to right-wing denunciations of Trump’s alleged Russian connections.

        This was amplified by some of the signs carried by demonstrators, which included openly anti-communist attacks on Trump featuring the hammer and sickle superimposed on his name or face. One sign at the Washington demonstration seemed to demand more bombing of Syria, reading, “1 Airstrike Doesn’t Erase Trump’s Lies and Russia Ties.”

        • Don’t mean to be presumptuous, but I think Tarheel Dem was clearly referring to your analysis of Vltchek, which were brilliant. Me, I was processing the guilt Vltchek always inspired in me, and I’m always on guard against self-centered mess, although I don’t regret applying Vltchek to vindicate my own experience in this instance. I admire Vltchek’s efforts and even his asceticism, but you have a point that he carries “rationality” a bit too far maybe. I assume, being an unabashed communist that he’s also an atheist. I have come to the conclusion that a lack of spirituality and religophobia is a big problem with the left. I read a lot of Alan Watts when I was younger and I think atheism became obsolete as a scientific belief with the discovery of quantum physics and DNA. But that’s another topic. That doesn’t change my constant sense that I’m not doing enough.

          • ah, but you’re assuming he’s not spiritual because he might be an atheist, thus not religious. not so fast, imo. one can be spiritual from the inside without being either religious or believing in god, i fervently believe. ;-) it’s certainly what i read from him, but yes, that’s another discussion. and yes, to me cjd’s challenge to tarzie was quite apt to the discussion. and as i said, only you can act on what you’re compelled to do, i.e.: it’s not necessarily a rational decision.

            dunno about thd’s comment, but i’d reckoned it was for you. and may i say again that tarzie can kiss mah grits? ;-) that was what cjd’s comment tried to tell him. as in: ‘ah, the purity police’, i think. yep, me to, on your next comment. those are the jacobin magazine sort of ‘leftists’.

        • This is why I can’t be on board with these anti-Trump protests, even the anti-war ones, as long as they equate the US, Russia and Assad in their culpability.

          • Isn’t it always the way (at least these days)? Clinton was impeached on charges that were not relevant to the proper workings of government whilst silence ensued when impeachable offenses against the regulation of monopolies and provision of social programs were committed later in his second term. Something always sneaks in to change public discourse so that actual crimes take a back seat to pseudo issues.

            It is like the windowsmashers and snipers ready to infect a legitimate peace-oriented rally and turn it violent. Hard to know how to cope with that.

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