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Nederlog

Monday, August 21, 2017

Crisis: Imperialism, Alt Right, Truth, Racism, The Sixties



Sections                                                                     crisis index
Introduction

1. Summary
2. Crisis Files
    A. Selections from August 21, 2017 

Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Monday, August 21, 2017.

1. Summary

This is a crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:

I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) and about the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I probably will continue with it, but on the moment I have several problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible [1] and with my health.

As I explained, the crisis files will have a different format from July 1, 2017: I will now list the items I selected as I did before (title + link) but I add one selection from the selected item to give my readers a bit of a taste of the item linked.

So the new format is as follows:

      Link to an item with its orginal title, followed by
      One selection (usually) from that item (indented)
      Possibly followed by a brief comment by me (not indented).

This is illustrated below, in selections A.


2. Crisis Files

These are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:

A. Selections from August 21, 2017

The items 1 - 5 are today's selections from the 35 sites that I look at every morning. The indented text under each link is quoted from the link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:

This is by Philip Roddis on the Off-Guardian (which is not The Guardian, but better) and originally on Steel City Scribblings. This starts as follows:

The most important book I’ve read in years is John Smith’s Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century: Globalization, Super-Exploitation and Capitalism’s Final Crisis.

This is followed by a long quotation from the book, that I skip, and under that quotation thr article continues as follows:

That first chapter goes on to consider two other products, iPhones and coffee. These too are produced in the global south for consumption in the north. Although very different products, Smith’s teasing out of the socioeconomic relations they embed shows their commonality. All are created under conditions of a super-exploitation which mainstream economics is at pains to conceal or obscure by a ‘value chain’ orthodoxy that would have us believe an iPhone made in China for $80 retails in the west for $800 not through exploitation but because the activities of shipping, advertising and packaging add $720 of value.

I did not read Smith's book that is liked a lot by Philip Roddis, but I agree that the above bit is fairly characteristic for what imperialism these days often is, in daily practic    e: super-exploitation of the very many poor in "the third world".

There is considerably more in the article, that is recommended.


2. The Noxious Combination of Racism, the Alt Right and the Upper Class

This is by Sarah Anderson on AlterNet and originally on Inequality.org. This starts as follows:

When President Donald Trump let loose at his Tuesday press conference, equating anti-racism protesters with neo-Nazis, it was a big hit with the men who’d taken part in the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.

But Trump wasn’t just playing to the kind of racist crowd that marches around carrying Tiki torches and waving swastika flags in the streets. He was also sending a signal to those in the executive suites.

Racism has always permeated this country up and down the income scale. And in our era of extreme concentration of economic and political power, emboldening just a few men at the top can be tremendously dangerous.

Take, for example, three of the country’s highest-flying financiers: Robert Mercer, Peter Thiel, and Daniel Loeb.

And indeed the rest of the article briefly sketches the power these extremely rich men have at present simply because they have billions, and thanks to the fact that their kind of very rich have been breaking down the laws that protected the many non-rich from the few rich (deregulation) for some forty years now.

This is a recommended article.


3.  Truth and Lives vs. Career and Fame

This article is by Ray McGovern (<-Wikipedia) on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:

Fifty years ago, I could have tried to stop the Vietnam War, but lacked the courage. On Aug. 20, 1967, we at CIA received a cable from Saigon containing documentary proof that the U.S. commander, Gen. William Westmoreland, and his deputy, Gen. Creighton Abrams, were lying about their “success” in fighting the Vietnamese Communists. I live with regret that I did not blow the whistle on that when I could have.

(I wrote about this two years ago: “The Lasting Pain from Vietnam Silence,” republished below.)

Why raise this now? Because President Donald Trump has surrounded himself with starry-eyed generals (or generals with their eyes focused on their careers). And he seems to have little inkling that they got their multiple stars under a system where the Army motto “Duty, Honor, Country” can now be considered as “quaint” and “obsolete” as the Bush-Cheney administration deemed the Geneva Conventions.

All too often, the number of ribbons and merit badges festooned on the breasts of U.S. generals these days (think of the be-medaled Gen. David Petraeus, for example) is in direct proportion to the lies they have told in saluting smartly and abetting the unrealistic expectations of their political masters (and thus winning yet another star).

In my apologia that follows, the concentration is on the crimes of Westmoreland and the generations of careerist generals who aped him. There is not enough space to describe (or even list) those sycophantic officers here.

And that is what it is - and I note that Ray McGovern "was a CIA analyst for 27 years (1963 to 1990), routinely presenting the morning intelligence briefings at the White House" and that he also "is a founding member of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity." (Both quotes are from the Wikipedia article on McGovern.)

This is an interesting article that is not very friendly to the many who collaborated with power to further their own interests and careers, for the above quotation is followed by the following:
There are, sadly, far fewer senior officers who were exceptions, who put the true interests of the country ahead of their own careers. The list of general officers with integrity – the extreme exceptions to the rule – is even shorter.
I am afraid that McGovern, who knows this much better than I do or than most do, is quite correct in his estimates.

The article ends as follows (after which there is a reprint of an article by McGovern from 2015):
(...) let me appeal to the consciences of those within the system who are privy to the kind of consequential deceit that has become endemic to the U.S. government. It is time to blow the whistle – now.

Take it from one who lives with regret from choosing not to step forward when it might have made a difference. Take it from Pentagon Papers truth-teller Daniel Ellsberg who often expresses regret that he did not speak out sooner.

Take it from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a passage ironically cited often by President Obama: “We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now … there is such a thing as being too late.”

This is a recommended article.  

4. How (Not) to Challenge Racist Violence

This article is by Aviva Chomsky (<-Wikipedia) on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:

As white nationalism and the so-called “alt-Right” have gained prominence in the Trump era, a bipartisan reaction has coalesced to challenge these ideologies.  But much of this bipartisan coalition focuses on individual, extreme, and hate-filled mobilizations and rhetoric, rather than the deeper, politer, and apparently more politically acceptable violence that imbues United States foreign and domestic policy in the 21st century.

And this is explained a bit further on in the article:

Over the years I have come to see more and more of what Adolph Reed calls “posing as politics.” Rather than organizing for change, individuals seek to enact a statement about their own righteousness.  They may boycott certain products, refuse to eat certain foods, or they may show up to marches or rallies whose only purpose is to demonstrate the moral superiority of the participants.  White people may loudly claim that they recognize their privilege or declare themselves allies of people of color or other marginalized groups.  People may declare their communities “no place for hate.”  Or they may show up at counter-marches to “stand up” to white nationalists or neo-Nazis.  All of these types of “activism” emphasize self-improvement or self-expression rather than seeking concrete change in society or policy.  They are deeply, and deliberately, apolitical in the sense that they do not seek to address issues of power, resources, decisionmaking, or how to bring about change.
(..)
While adept in the terminology of power, diversity, inclusion, marginalization, injustice, and equity, they studiously avoid topics like colonialism, capitalism, exploitation, liberation, revolution, invasion, or other actual analyses of domestic or global affairs.

Yes indeed.

There are several possible explanations for the fact that those who pose as "the left" these days are not at all like the vastly more traditional (and real) leftists among whom I was born [2].

Computers and the styles of quasi-communication these engender are part of that explanation, but - it seems to me, also using my own memory - I think the main reason is the rise of postmodernism, that I saw blossom in the 1980ies and 1990ies in the postmodernistic "University" of Amsterdam.

The thrust for postmodernism abated some, compared with the 1980ies and 1990ies, but one reason for this seems to be that it - "Everybody knows there is no truth", in other words - has won great popularity among the mostly ignorant and stupid billions that now "communicate" (mostly anonymously, often offensively) on the internet. [3]

And while this probably was not the end of Aviva Chosmky's article, which is recommended, my own conclusion from the forces of postmodernism, "fake news", bullshit, and the enormous amounts of propaganda and lies in the mainstream media,
is that "
“activism” [that] emphasize self-improvement or self-expression rather than seeking concrete change in society or policy" is much more like self-adornment, self- aggrandizement and self-promotion than it is like - real - leftist politics.

I simply do not believe in the honesty of postmodernists, and besides I think the vast majority of those I have spoken to (quite a lot since the 1980ies) are obscurantistic and ignorant fools. And indeed, if you are pretending that you oppose racism while you "studiously avoid topics like colonialism, capitalism, exploitation, liberation, revolution, invasion, or other actual analyses of domestic or global affairs", either you must be quite stupid or you must be trying to deceive others.


5. The Sixties - The Years That Shaped a Generation (TV) [2005]

This is not an article but a movie; it is not quite recent, but was published in 2005; and it is about The Sixties, that meanwhile happened some 50 years ago, but this is a film I found quite interesting.

Part of the reason is that I have myself  been interested in The Sixties (as they are called: 1960-1969) for two or three main reasons:

I was born in 1950, and I can recall The Sixties very well, and indeed was involved in several events of those days (in Paris, France, in May and June of 1968; in Amsterdam, Holland, during a 1969 student occupation, and quite a lot more, such as very many demonstrations that I took part in The Sixties); The Sixties were a quite peculiar and interesting decade that differed considerably from foregoing and following decades; and also because 1967 is this year 50 years ago, and it was - like 1968 and 1969 - a politically and morally quite interesting year.

Therefore I have returned to The Sixties several times now in Nederlog, and I probably will do so again.

The present dotted item is a quite interesting film that dates back to 2005 and that tells the story of the decade in some detail and with many excerpts from videos/films that date back to The Sixties (several of which were new to me) and also with quite a few interviewed persons who lived through it in the USA.

I have seen several other movies about The Sixties that also more or less told the story of the decade as does the present one, but this one accords rather well with my own - extensive - memories of the decade, and also with my own attempts to make sense of the decade.

In brief, if you are interested in The Sixties, the above linked film is a quite good introduction to that rather unique decade, that also fairly well explains how the decade differed from previous and later decades.

Viewing it will take nearly two hours, but I think these are well spent, and this is a recommended movie.

------------
Notes

[1] I have now been saying since the end of 2015 that xs4all.nl is systematically ruining my site by NOT updating it within a few seconds, as it did between 1996 and 2015, but by updating it between two to seven days later, that is, if I am lucky.

They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie. They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.

And they just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my ideas. They have behaved now for 1 1/2 years as if they are the eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).

The only two reasons I remain with xs4all is that my site has been there since 1996, and I have no reasons whatsoever to suppose that any other Dutch provider is any better (!!).

[2] For both of my parents were communists for 45 years; both of my parents were in the resistance against the Nazis in WW II; my grandfather was a communist who was murdered in a German concentration camp; and my father survived more than three years and nine months as a "political terrorist" in such camps.

Also, I have been now
called for forty years "a dirty fascist" and for 29 years "a terrorist, a terrorist, a terrorist", both because I was - publicly, also - not a Marxist, not an irrationalist; not a liar; not a conformist; and because I was for real science, and had created a student party with the same ideals (that were supported by around 1 in 20 students in the 1980ies) in the "University" of Amsterdam in the 1980ies and 1990ies.

And I never received - even - any excuses, from neither the City of Amsterdam for keeping me out of sleep for 3 years, nor from the University of Amsterdam for doing the same eight years earlier (and I was and am ill since 1.1.1979, which made this much worse).

I take it that - really, although few have the honesty of saying so - that I must be a subhuman according to the mayors of Amsterdam and the leaders of the "University" of Amsterdam, all of whom were from the - narko-nazist - Dutch "Social Democrats" (whom I call "narko-nazis" because since I was gassed by their illegal drugsdealers in 1988, some 300 billion dollars worth of illegal drugs have been spread through Europe from Holland, mostly thanks to these narko-nazis, whom I trust to have pocketed a part of it themselves).

[3] I have been more or less following the talents and the effusions from the billions of the utterly untalented that now nearly all have access to the internet, who all can "write" their deepest thoughts there, since 2010 or so, and I want here and now to make three points about these (literally) billions:

One. The great majority is utterly untalented and quite ignorant - but since they are nearly all anonymous none of them can be personally shamed. In fact, I hardly ever know: the age, the gender, the education, the real name, the intelligence, or the - relevant and irrelevant - knowledge that the vast majority of the people who write these days on the internet have, while in fact I do not see any reason why I should read anything by somebody as totally anonymous as that. Besides, these billions of utterly anonymous folks (who are the vast majority on the internet)
mostly seem to communicate either by Tweets (max 140 characters) or by one or two - usually either very vague or very offensive - statements on comments sections, or else by pressing their "like" button on Facebook etc.

Two. Since half of the men who are alive now have an IQ that is maximally 100, and since the great majority of these bright minds now have access to the internet, the actual standards of communication on the internet are far worse than ever:

Each and every indvidual with some sort of worthwile idea and some capacity to write  (and these are fairly rare individuals) can be (and regularly is nowadays) opposed by hundreds of anonymous trolls.

Three. I am very pessimistic about civilization and culture if these are to be furthered by - literally - billions of the anonymous least civilized and the least cultured. Also, this is a completely unknown development: Billions of anonymous ignorants who can and do utter about anyone or anything, without any restraints whatsoever, and nearly all without any relevant knowledge, but nearly all completely anonymously (except for the secret services, that seem to know nearly everything about anyone).

There is considerably more that I could say, but I leave it at this.
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