Good News All Around

I’ve been otherwise engaged the past few weeks and so have been neglecting my posting, in spite of the fact that lots of good things have been going on.

Across the Atlantic, the German elections and the extremely strong showing of the Alternative für Deutschland shows us the the wave of European national-populism continues to rise.

Meanwhile, here at home the victory of insurgent GOP senatorial candidate Judge Roy Moore over establishment favorite Luther Strange, in spite of Strange’s backing by Donald Trump himself, shows the essential strength of the populist revolt independent of the president.  If there it is anything that will keep Trump remotely honest, it will be developments like this.

Finally, the growing NFL protests, due to their inescapable presence at the heart of America’s favorite pastime, will certainly help prevent the deplorables from slipping back into business-as-usual passivity, especially in light of the demobilizing effect of Trump’s betrayals.

Over the decades since we fled into the suburbs we lived in a state of denial, drugged by the the mass entertainment complex, the comforts of hyper-consumption and the general peace and tranquility of whiteopian life, while the demographic and political balance shifted against us.  It is only the the increasingly aggressive actions of our enemies over the past decade or so that have led us to begin to accept the reality of our situation and the need for our own resistance.

Just as the spate of riots and Black Lives Matter-inspired protests between Fergusson and the 2016 elections undoubtedly played an enormous role in mobilizing the Trump base and arguably made difference between victory and defeat (indeed, I think that the Trump candidacy itself might not have happened at all without middle America’s response to the growing arc of protest which can be traced back to Trayvon Martin) the disrespect and fundamental hostility toward the traditional American nation and its history shown by the players and the craven and cynical connivance in this on the part of the owners can only be a salutary goad to our movement’s base.

 

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From James Petras – “Who Rules America?”

There’s a challenging new article from long-time left scholar James PetrasWho Rules America? The Power Elite in the Time of Trump available on his website as well as The Unz Review, analyzing the unraveling of the Trump presidency.

After an interesting analysis of the various contending blocks within the elite and the defeat of the Economic Nationalist wing represented by Steve Bannon, Petras concludes:

Trump had already lost on all accounts. The ‘final solution’ to the problem of the election of Donald Trump is moving foreword step-by-step – his impeachment and possible arrest by any and all means.

What the rise and destruction of economic nationalism in the ‘person’ of Donald Trump tells us is that the American political system cannot tolerate any capitalist reforms that might threaten the imperial globalist power elite. [Emphasis in the original]

He goes on to indict the left:

Writers and activists used to think that only democratically elected socialist regimes would be the target of systematic coup d’état. Today the political boundaries are far more restrictive. To call for ‘economic nationalism’, completely within the capitalist system, and seek reciprocal trade agreements is to invite savage political attacks, trumped up conspiracies and internal military take-overs ending in ‘regime change’.

The global-militarist elite purge of economic nationalists and anti-militarists was supported by the entire US left with a few notable exceptions. For the first time in history the left became an organizational weapon of the pro-war, pro-Wall Street, pro-Zionist Right in the campaign to oust President Trump.[emphasis added] Local movements and leaders, notwithstanding, trade union functionaries, civil rights and immigration politicians, liberals and social democrats have joined in the fight for restoring the worst of all worlds: the Clinton-Bush-Obama/Clinton policy of permanent multiple wars, escalating confrontations with Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela and Trump’s deregulation of the US economy and massive tax-cuts for big business.

He closes with a very faint optimism:

We have gone a long-way backwards: from elections to purges and from peace agreements to police state investigations. Today’s economic nationalists are labeled ‘fascists’; and displaced workers are ‘the deplorables’!

Americans have a lot to learn and unlearn. Our strategic advantage may reside in the fact that political life in the United States cannot get worse – we really have touched bottom and (barring a nuclear war) we can only look up.

A Last Post on the Antifa (For Now)

I’m getting a little tired of the whole antifa vs alt-right thing at the moment and am in the mood to move on, however, in fairness, I wanted to acknowledge that since my last post there has been a considerable increase in the commentary from the left critical of antifa violence. A certain discomfort with the violence and intimidation on the part of a sector of the left has been growing over the past few months. In the wake of Charlottesville and the recent antifa behavior in Berkeley – which was so outrageous that even the usual mainstream media outlets were unable to sustain the “clash of extremists” meme (although a number initially tried), let alone the even more preferable (to them) claim of “neo-nazi violence” – dissenting voices on the left have become more widespread.

While most the objections still focus on the arguing that antifa violence is strategically ineffective, alienating potential supporters and allowing the detestable deplorables to assume the role of victims, etc(1), a few actually condemned the acts in themselves(2).   Even before the Berkeley events Noam Chomsky had called antifa behavior “often wrong in principle” and after the events he was joined by others, including Chris Hedges, who argued in How ‘Antifa’ Mirrors the ‘Alt-Right’ that the black bloc and the alt-right share “the same lust for violence….”

Carl Boggs, long-time left scholar and activist, went even further, arguing against the left’s propensity to attempt to silence offending voices in a Counterpunch article The Strange (and Tortured) Legacy of “Free Speech”

“The irony is that while the [Free Speech Movement] and its heirs did everything possible to expand the realm of free speech, new social forces – extreme identity groups, Antifa – want to restrict or deny freedoms.”

Continue reading

Once Again in Berkeley

Today’s rampage in Berkeley by antifa thugs is one more opportunity for the left to disavow the practice of brutal physical assault on any opponent they can get their hands on, but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting.

Almost none of even those few on the left who publicly dissent from antifa tactics can actually bring themselves to just say that it’s simply wrong to beat people up because you disagree with them.

A good example of this is to be found in the “democratic” socialist magazine In These Times‘ (hardly the voice of the black bloc) debate Should We Deny Fascists a Platform? Even the most moderate of the 3 interlocutors, Nathan Robinson, can still only manage in his contribution We’ll Beat the Fascists With Ideas, Not Fists an argument based on expedience:

The appeal of shutting down right-wingers is easy to see; after all, nobody should want to see these speakers’ poisonous doctrines spread. But in the short term it’s counterproductive, and in the long term it’s suicidal.

It hardly needs repeating that to significant sections of the left the definition of a “fascist” is extraordinarily broad, exceeded only by that of a “racist”.  And so, as I have argued elsewhere (for example, here and here) for the vast majority of the left, free speech for the deplorable 1/2 of the country that voted for Trump is something to be allowed only when and if it suits our various radical and now even our not-so radical would-be Big Brothers.

As the Dust Settles

Just to follow up on my post re the post-Charlottesville purge, the blog Alternative Right has undisappeared and can now be found in a WordPress re-incarnation.  While I’m not always a big fan of the site, I’m naturally gratified to see that this first serious round of (so far mainly unofficial) repression has been fairly ineffective in actually silencing dissident voices.  In fact, one might argue that its value as a wake up call has outweighed any real damage done.

(And, yes, I know that on principle I should even hope for the return of the Daily Stormer, but I just can’t bring myself to do so.  I only wish that it had died a more natural death, if such a thing could happen to such an unnatural phenomenon.)

Disavowal Won’t Save You

Antifascists argue that… physical violence against white supremacists is both ethically justifiable and strategically effective. – Mark BrayWho are the antifa? in the Washington Post.  Mr. Bray is a visiting historian at Dartmouth College and author of Antifa The Anti-Fascist Handbook.

Brooke: But not just that, right? Antifa is fundamentally against the right of fascists to speak and be heard.

Mark: That’s entirely correct. So, in your open you mentioned the popular slogan that liberals have adopted from Voltaire that, “I may disagree with what you have to say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Anti-fascists fundamentally disagree with that premise.  – Interview at Abolition Journal with Mark Bray

Now that the ruling class has given its antifa attack dogs free range, that movement’s theoreticians have suddenly become almost respectable.  Soft ball interviews, access to the mainstream media, and fawning coverage have provided a platform for the likes of Mr. Bray far beyond what they previously enjoyed.

A good example of this coverage is a recent review of Bray’s book in The New Yorker. While not completely uncritical, the reviewer fails to question a number of the author’s most dubious assertions and we are asked to accept on face value his assurances:

As for the slippery-slopists, afraid that antifa will begin with Fascists and eventually attack anybody who opposes them, Bray maintains that the historical record does not support this fear…

Actually, of course, the antifa’s definition of fascism (and white supremacism) is so broad that pretty much anyone to the right of Hillary Clinton and certainly any Trump voter almost certainly falls into that category and so is fair game for physical assault, economic ruin and social ostracism.

This should be obvious to anyone who has not been living under a rock for the past few years, but if you have been, Porter at The Kakistocracy provides the best summary of this I’ve seen so far, in a recent post We’re Going to Need a Bigger Moat.

And, just in case you’ve forgotten, it’s worth considering this very partial summary of violent attacks on the Trump campaign in Continue reading

Which Side Are You On?

We live in interesting times, as the fallout from the Charlottesville events reminds us yet again.

The physical conflict between elements of the right and left is hardly new, nor is the determination of the a significant section of the left to silence dissenting voices by any means necessary.

What is new and noteworthy, however, is the way in which they have been now been wholeheartedly joined in this by the ruling class itself.

And so we have an early vision of what an authoritarian order may look like in the 21st Century West.  Dissenters are silenced not primarily by direct state repression but by private actors – street level thugs engaging in physical intimidation which is then covered up by the elite media blaming the victims for being “violent.”  Fake “outrages” are manufactured and then the corporate media almost as one blares a false narrative, mobilizing the population for ritual mass denunciation of the evil-doers.

Dissidents are not only effectively silenced by being deprived of any access to the public sphere – now mainly controlled by a handful of huge tech corporations – but are also whenever possible deprived of their jobs and even prevented from carrying out such mundane activities as booking a room, a car or a flight.

The response of the left to all of this has been instructive.  A handful have criticized the more “ultra-left” elements, either for strategic errors (see, for example, The Unrepentant Marxist) or out of some slightly guilty sense of discomfort with the outright thuggery indulged in by certain of the antifa.

What has gone almost entirely uncriticized, by the left at least, has been the role of the corporations.  One would expect that a movement claiming to oppose and resist the capitalist system would at least be given pause to consider the ease with which the ruling class has shown that it can and will move against its enemies without the least accountability.  One would think that a truly subversive and revolutionary movement would, merely for the sake of self-preservation, oppose such actions, even when they are aimed at the right.

In fact, however, this is just another reminder of the two things we need to keep in mind about the left:

  • It is a fundamentally loyal opposition, a part of the system. It is unconcerned about the repression directed against the right because its members instinctively recognize, even though they may not admit it to themselves, that they will never be a fundamental threat to the system and are therefore safe from such treatment.
  • It hates and fears the people far more deeply than it opposes the ruling class.

 

P.S. In my recent reading around the net on this topic I came across an interesting web site – aptly named Sisyphean News. Committed to “Exposing Antifa and Working Against the Mainstream Media… the overall goal of Sisyphean news is to create a new platform where freedom of speech will always be protected.” While I believe that the author and I probably see many things differently, I wish him the best in this endeavor. I’d encourage you to drop by and read some of his posts, such as his latest Leftists Rally to Shut Down Freedom of Speech in Boston.