from May 1, 2018
This is a
Nederlog of Tuesday,
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last five years:
I have been
writing about the crisis since September
1, 2008 (in Dutch, but
since 2010 in English) and about
the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and
by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I will
continue with it.
moment and since more than two years
problems with the company that is
supposed to take care that my site is visible 
and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and
I shall continue.
2. Crisis Files
These are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
A. Selections from May 1, 2018
1. Happy Birthday, Karl Marx. You Were Right!
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:
2. On North
Korea Nuclear Deal: Will the U.S. Drop Sanctions & Economic
3. 'Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World'
Fascism: Mainstream Politicians Switching Sides Under
Trump’s Regime of Barbarism
5. Fascists Compete To Own America
Birthday, Karl Marx. You Were Right!
article is by Jason Baker on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
On May 5, 1818, in
the southern German town of Trier, in the picturesque wine-growing
region of the Moselle Valley, Karl Marx was born.
I say, which I do because
my parents were intelligent and courageous Marxists for 45
because I know Marx
(and Engels and Lenin) quite well; and
because the above bit, like the rest of this article, makes very
little sense to me.
As we reach the bicentennial
of Marx’s birth, what lessons might we draw from his dangerous and
delirious philosophical legacy? What precisely is Marx’s lasting
Today the legacy would appear
to be alive and well. Since the turn of the millennium countless books
have appeared, from scholarly works to popular biographies, broadly
endorsing Marx’s reading of capitalism and its enduring relevance to
our neoliberal age.
Then again, I ceased to be a Marxist 48 years
ago (when I was 20), basically because - while I still was a
radical and an anti-capitalist, both of which I still am - I
had come to disagree on intellectual grounds with Marx's historical
materialism, with his dialectical materialism, and with his economy.
(See the last link for more.)
In case you are interested in my ideas, this
long letter from 1976 (!!) gives rather clear and comprehensive
reasons why I thought so (and mostly still think so, although a
few of my arguments have changed some in the intervening 45 years).
In contrast with me, Jason Barker very probably misses my
radical family background, and seems to be considerably younger
than my 68 years. He also is "an associate professor of philosophy",
which once was to be my next careerstep, but then I am ill for forty
years now with ME/CFS, that was
only this year (!!!) admitted to be "a serious and chronic disease", and
also I studied at a quasi-Marxist university
that - quite illegally - denied
the right to take my - excellent -
M.A. in philosophy because I had offended my - extremely
incompetent, only in money and status interested - "teachers" of
philosophy, who had taught me exactly nothing.
Finally, I selected this article because I am quite aware that Marx has been born
200 years ago, and wanted to write some about him and Marxism
and Soviet socialism, and this was the first article that made
point that Marx has
been born 200 years ago, but I am sorry: it is a bad
I will review it. But I do hope for something better than the
article to commemorate Marx. Here is the first bit:
(..) Marx’s basic
thesis — that capitalism is driven by a deeply divisive class struggle
in which the ruling-class minority appropriates the surplus labor of
the working-class majority as profit — is correct. Even liberal
economists such as Nouriel Roubini agree that Marx’s conviction that
capitalism has an inbuilt tendency to destroy itself remains as
prescient as ever. But this is where the unanimity abruptly ends.
No, it is simply false that "Marx's
basic thesis (...) is correct". In fact, I think most
non-Marxists (which are in vast
majority in the West) agree
with me that (i) the concept of class struggle either
is mistaken or is not well stated; that (ii) the idea that "the ruling-class minority appropriates the
surplus labor of the working-class majority" is mistaken and not well stated; and
while it is true that Marx thought that "capitalism has an inbuilt tendency to destroy
itself" many others
(anarchists, socialists) thought something similar (and many
non-socialists and non-anarchists would agree that capitalism
is, for various reasons, a temporary and not an eternal feature
of human societies).
Then there is this:
First, let’s be
clear: Marx arrives at no magic formula for exiting the enormous social
and economic contradictions that global capitalism entails (according
to Oxfam, 82 percent of the global wealth generated in 2017 went to the
world’s richest 1 percent). What Marx did achieve, however, through his
self-styled materialist thought, were the critical weapons for
undermining capitalism’s ideological claim to be the only game in town.
Well... what is a "magic formula"? Why believe Marx ever believed in
any "magic formula"? (I think he did not, and certainly not consciously.)
In fact, Marx is not very specific about socialism and communism, and
also not on how these would emerge from capitalism, but he was rather
specific that "the working class" had to organize itself
politically, and that it would do so in the best way when they
joined communist (or partially communist) associations Marx belonged to
or supported. And this in turn led to the rise of socialist,
social-democratic and communist parties in the last quarter of the 19th
century and the first quarter of the 20th century.
Also, while I am willing to agree that Marx forged quite a
few "critical weapons", there were very many leftist (and also
non-leftist) critics who did the same, without being Marxists or
Here is the last bit I quote from this article:
The idea of the
classless and stateless society would come to define both Marx’s and
Engels’s idea of communism, and of course the subsequent and troubled
history of the Communist “states” (ironically enough!) that
materialized during the 20th century. There is still a great deal to be
learned from their disasters, but their philosophical relevance remains
doubtful, to say the least.
No. A "classless
and stateless society" was also the end of most anarchists and
most (radical) socialists, and was not specifically Marxist. Next,
while I think it is a mistake to blame Marx or Engels for
"Soviet socialism", I think "Soviet socialism" was a very
serious mistake, for it was not
socialist in any sense I -
and very many others - would agree to. It was pretended to be
socialist by its leaders, but in fact was a dictatorship.
Finally, I would also say that if one's teachings do lead to
socialist and communist parties, (and Marx's writing did lead
and inspired at least one revolution (in Russia) that failed,
failure is "relevant" to understanding Marx.
But basically this is just a vague and misleading article.
North Korea Nuclear Deal: Will the U.S. Drop Sanctions & Economic
article is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now! It starts
with the following introduction:
North Korean leader
Kim Jong-un has pledged to abandon his nuclear weapons if the United
States agrees to formally end the Korean War and promises not to invade
his country. The announcement came after a historic meeting Friday
between Kim and South Korean leader Moon Jae-in in the truce village of
Panmunjom. Then, on Sunday, North Korea’s state media said Kim had
vowed to immediately suspend nuclear and missile tests, and would
dismantle its Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site. We discuss the potentially
historic developments with Tim Shorrock, correspondent for The Nation
and the Korea Center for Investigative Journalism in Seoul.
I say, for I think these
are rather important and rather big changes. Here is
more by Tim
SHORROCK: (..) It was an
amazing sight to see Kim Jong-un step over that border and shake hands
with Moon Jae-in. This is, of course—you know, he’s the highest
level—he’s the only leader from North Korea to ever step into South
Korea. And that was a symbolic step, him coming to the South.
And their declaration, the
Panmunjom Declaration, that was just mentioned, it’s quite an amazing
document, and I really urge our listeners to download it and read it
very carefully, because, you know, they come out very clearly for a,
you know, complete peace process. They talk about the complete
denuclearization. They’re committed to denuclearization. They talk
about reconnecting the blood relations of the people, determining the
destiny of the Korean nation on their own accord. They set out very
important steps for reconciliation, such as setting up a joint liaison
office, reconnecting railroads and roads that have been cut off in the
past, and moving towards, you know, a peace regime that involves the
United States and China and settles the Korean War once and for all.
And it’s really quite a document. And I think the South Korean people,
you know, were very impressed with what Kim Jong-un said and what other
members of the North Korean delegation said. And the whole atmosphere
of it was very conducive. And I note, you know, that Moon Jae-in, the
president, his popularity is up to 85 percent now, precisely because of
I say, once again, for
I did not know most of this and it is important
for the Koreans, and indirectly for the rest of the world, because that
risks being blown up ny atomic weapons over Korea).
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
I think this is mostly
correct as well (although I hope the non-American world takes
Koreas - which both risk being blown up by atomic weapons - a bit more
seriously than the Americans).
SHORROCK: It’s just
amazing to me to see the Washington consensus. I mean, people here in
Washington, in the press and in the pundit class, they make fun of
North Korea for being this totalitarian state where everyone thinks the
same and has to do what the leader says. Well, the lockstep groupthink
here in Washington is very similar. It’s just they all say the same
thing. You can read the same analysis that you just heard from
Brookings, that you just saw in The New York Times, you can
see that, you know, in Post, in all these hot takes that
appear in the Post, The Atlantic, The New
Yorker. Everybody thinks the same way in this pundit class here in
Nobody takes Korea, South
Korea, seriously, nobody takes North Korea seriously, that South Korea
and North Korea mapped out a procedure, a plan, to denuclearize and to
decompress and to move toward a peace regime and decrease the tensions.
And this is a strongly recommended article.
How Central Bankers Rigged the World'
article is by Nomi
Prins on Truthdig. I wrote about her before, lately
(here and here),
and the article is in fact a quotation from her new
How Central Bankers Rigged the World".
Also, I open with the following introductory bit by the Editor of
Truthdig. I do so because Nomi Prins seems to have a somewhat
view as I do of the crisis:
Truthdig columnist and best-selling author Nomi Prins examines how the
2007-2008 financial crisis triggered a massive shift in the global
order in her new book, “Collusion:
How Central Bankers Rigged the World” (...)
I agree - more or less - with
Nomi Prins, although I would reconstruct four moments in the
last 50 years that produced the present mess:
(1) 1972: The exhortations of Lewis
F. Powell Jr. to the rich men to organize themselves
(2) 1979/1980: The elections of Thatcher and Reagan
(3) 2001/2002: The start of the war against Iraq
(4) 2008: The crisis of 2007/8.
I merely list them here (but add that my reason to keep
speaking of the crisis for 10 years is simply that everyone who is
not rich has been growing poorer since 2008, while the few rich
have become very much richer).
Then there is this on the Chinese currency:
On October 1,
2016, the IMF,
historically imbedded in Western monetary protocol, moved to include
China’s currency, the renminbi (RMB), in its special drawing rights
basket of major reserve currencies. IMF leader Christine Lagarde
characterized the decision as a “historical milestone” for the
“international monetary system” and the “ongoing evolution of the
Well... I suppose that one
additional reason is that the USA is much in debt to China. Here is
more - and Zhou is the man who led China's economy for several decades:
On April 22, 2017,
Zhou addressed the annual spring meeting of the IMF and World Bank in
Washington, DC. In his speech, he noted that “China’s economic growth
has stabilized” and its “GDP growth in 2016 reached 6.7 per cent,
contributing 30 per cent of the global growth.” That figure can be
compared to the US GDP growth of 1.6 percent and EU GDP growth of 1.8
He used the platform to
reinforce the threat he saw in asset bubbles and the need for prudent
monetary and, implicitly, bank regulation policy. “Going forward,” Zhou
said, “the Chinese government will continue to maintain the soundness
and consistency of macroeconomic policies. Monetary policy will remain
prudent and neutral, striking a better balance between stabilizing
growth and the task of deleveraging, preventing asset bubbles, and
containing the accumulation of systemic risks.”
I note that, at least as
stated (which is not the same as: practised) this is in
fundamental conflict with the policies the USA has used since the
late 1990ies, at least.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this article:
I think Nomi Prins is
correct (if there is a future), but she knows considerably more than I
do. In any case, this is a recommended article, and I like Nomi Prins.
China was pragmatic. Its
leaders understood Trump’s role for his four years as president, and,
in a way, his isolationist stance drove it to enhance its targeting of
US allies for trade. Thus, China approached former US strategic
partners like Germany and Saudi Arabia and forged more alliances with
Russia. Russian president Vladimir Putin in turn began tending more
toward agreements with Germany and China than with the United States.
The world was becoming China-Russia-Germany-centric and would continue
on that path.
What began as a US
bank-instigated financial crisis at the hands of an enabling Federal
Reserve manifested in a super power realignment further fueled by the
election of “outsider” Donald Trump as US president. Those events
catalyzed a major shift in the prevailing monetary system and
superpower hierarchy, propelling China to a leadership role and Xi to
epochal status. Trump’s isolationist and protectionist policies only
accelerated China’s positioning. It will take decades to realize this
shift completely, but looking back from the future, we will one day see
clearly how those monetary and financial forces irrevocably altered
Fascism: Mainstream Politicians Switching Sides Under Trump’s Regime of
article is by Henry Giroux on Truthdig and originally on CounterPunch.
It starts as follows (and I have deleted the footnotes in my
without irony, has written a book on resisting Fascism.
She has also published an op-ed in the New York Times pushing
the same argument. Albright is alarmed and wants to warn the public to
stop the fascism emerging under the Trump regime before it is too late.
Unfortunately, moralism on the part
of the infamous and notorious is often the enemy of both historical
memory and the truth, in spite of their newly discovered opposition to
tyranny. It is hard to believe that a woman who defended the
killing of 500,00 children as a result of the imposed US sanctions on
Iraq can take up the cause of fighting Fascism while positioning
herself (or being positioned by the mainstream media) as being on the
forefront of resistance to US authoritarianism.
In fact, I think I dislike
Henry Giroux, and do so mostly because he reminds me far too
much of the academic quasi-socialist or quasi-Marxist
met in the "University" of Amsterdam (although I grant he is
probably more honest than these totally dishonest liars
cheats), and also because I do not
like his very academic writing style (of which I will give an
Then again, I am interested in fascism and neofascism,
and also know a considerable amount about them, and it is this
me review the
But the above quoted start is an example of what I mean:
I also do not like Albright, but I do not see why
someone like her might not oppose (what she thinks is) fascism,
simply because there were many opponents of fascism, who also may
have done horrible things or contributed to them, who at the same time
still lie(d) about various things. But they may be opposed to fascism
although they are themselves bad.
And I think that is Albright's position (apart from the badness). Here
is more about Hilary
known more politically as a former war monger and an unabashed ally of
the financial elite, has also resurrected herself as a crusader in
fighting the creeping fascism that now marks the Trump regime. Speaking
with Ngozi Adichie at the PEN World Voices Festival, Clinton appears to
have completely removed herself from her notorious past as a supporter
of the Iraqi war and the military-industrial-financial complex in order
to sound the alarm “that freedom of speech and expression is under
attack here in our own country” while further calling for numerous
voices to make visible the creeping authoritarianism in
America. This is an odd flight from memory into the sphere of
moral outrage given her own role in supporting domestic and foreign
policies both as a former first lady and as Secretary of State that
refused to punish CIA torturers, lavished funds on the military war
machine, shredded the federal safety net for poor people, and endorsed
neoliberal policies that offered no hope and prosperity “for
neighborhoods devastated by deindustrialization, globalization, and the
disappearance of work.” No irony here. Just the opposite.
Again, I strongly
dislike Hilary Clinton, but I think she may be against (what she
believes) fascism is (and if you say no, check my definition of fascism
under the last link).
Also, for both Albright and Clinton it is true that they are not
leftists (as I would define them), and also that they are not
rightists in the style of Trump (and are opposed to Trump).
Then there is this in the article:
The U.S. and its
Vichy Republican Party has drifted so far to the fascist right that
people such as Albright and Clinton come across as the heroic vanguard
of a political and ethical resistance to fascism. Under such
circumstances, even some outspoken Republicans, again without irony,
such as Flake, Corker and McCain are viewed in the mainstream press as
principled heroes in spite of the fact that they have supported Trump’s
domestic and foreign policies, including his tax reform bill and his
cruel and obscene budget, which not only offers $700 billion to the
military but condemns millions of people to a life of misery and
Well... "Albright and
Clinton come across": To whom? I'd say: in some of the
mainstream media, that themselves are notable liars. Again, "Flake, Corker and McCain are viewed in the
mainstream press as
principled heroes": Yes,
but again "in the
Then there is this:
I am not simply
condemning the hypocrisy of mainstream politicians who are now
criticizing the emerging fascism in the United States. Nor am I
proposing that only selective condemnations should be welcomed. What I
am suggesting is that the seductions of power in high places often work
to impose a silence upon people that allows them to not only benefit
from and become complicit with authoritarian tendencies and
anti-democratic policies and modes of governance, but also once such
people are out of power their own histories of complicity are too often
easily erased, especially in the mainstream media.
Here is my example of
Giroux's style. Consider the last statement, where some matters
of detail are replaced by variables by me,
but no other changes have been made: "What I
am suggesting is that the X often work
to Y that allows them to not only benefit
from and become complicit with Z and P and Q, but also once R their own
histories of complicity are S, especially in T."
Do you think that is clear?
Here is the last bit I quote from this article:
What is often
unrecognized in the celebrated denunciations of fascism by celebrity
politicians is that neoliberalism is the new fascism. And what becomes
invisible in the fog of such celebration is neoliberalism’s legacy and
deadly mix of market fundamentalism, anti-intellectualism, rabid
individualism, white supremacy, toxic masculinity, and all
embracing quest for profits. The new and more racist, violent and
brutalizing form of neoliberalism under Trump, has produced both a
savage politics in the US and a corrupt financial elite that now
controls all the commanding institutions of American society including
In fact, I am
willing to mostly agree with this - except that (i) it
is not true of "neoliberalism" as such, but of some - indeed
dominant - forms of "neoliberalism", and also in part because
is pretty vague on many issues (and not all neoliberals
are fascists or neofascists).
Then again, if Trump is a fascist (which I think he
cannot escape in Giroux's judgement) why not say so?
In brief: I have reviewed this, but I still don't like Giroux.
Compete To Own America
This article is
by Thom Hartmann on Common Dreams. It starts as follows - and (in case
you are interested that way) deserves comparison with Henry Giroux's previous article:
Given how reactive hard
right snowflakes have gotten in response to a
few truth-based jokes from Michelle Wolf, and that Mick Mulvaney
to running a pay-for-play operation out of his congressional office,
and Trump is daily
breaking the Constitution’s emoluments clause, now might be a
really good time to examine the origins and nature of the whole
right-wing business/government model known as “fascism.”
I agree, although I do not
think that "the origins
and nature of (..) fascism" can be fully clarified in one
article (and in fact there are at least 20
more or less serious definitions of "fascism", which I listed
and treated in On Fascism and Neofascism: Definitions)
But this is a decent
article, and is so in part because of the
way it is argued:
In early 1944, the New
York Times asked Vice President Henry
Wallace to, as Wallace noted, “write a piece answering the following
questions: What is a fascist? How many fascists have we? How dangerous
Vice President Wallace's
answer to those questions was published in The
New York Times on April 9, 1944, at the height of the war
against the Axis powers of Germany and Japan.
“The really dangerous
American fascists,” Wallace wrote, “are not those who are hooked up
directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those.
The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United
States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way.
The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to
poison the channels of public information.”
And continued, “With a
fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the
public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving
the fascist and his group more money or more power.”
In this, Wallace was using
the classic definition of the word “fascist”—the definition Mussolini
had in mind when he claimed to have invented the word. (It was actually
Italian philosopher Giovanni Gentile who wrote the entry in the Encyclopedia
Italiana that said: “Fascism should more appropriately be called
corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”
Mussolini, however, affixed his name to the entry, and claimed credit
As the 1983 American
Heritage Dictionary noted, fascism is: “A system of government
that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through
the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent
Mussolini was quite
straightforward about all this. In a 1923 pamphlet titled “The
Doctrine of Fascism” he wrote, “If classical liberalism spells
individualism, Fascism spells government.” But not a government of, by,
and for We The People — instead, it would be a government of, by, and
the most powerful corporate interests in the nation.
I like the
above, even though I do not believe fascism is well defined in
it. But some valid points are made, and indeed I find it striking (and
did not know) that Gentile's definition of "fascism" - "Fascism should more appropriately be called
corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power" - may be close to my
definition of neofascism.
Then again, as the last
paragraph in the above quotation shows, Mussolini reverted to what I
(which gives the supreme power to the state), rather than neofascism
(which gives the supreme power to the corporations).
Also in passing I
remark that the last but one paragraph of the above quotation is a decent
though brief definition of fascism.
Back to the article.
Here is more on Vice President Wallace:
Vice President Wallace
bluntly laid out in his 1944 Times article his concern about
the same happening here in America:
If we define an
American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power
ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million
fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred
thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their
search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful.
In fact, fascists and
neofascists do put "money
ahead of" most "human beings" but do like to rule themselves (or at least their party),
and like to do so in a very authoritarian fashion.
Then there is this:
Fascists have an agenda
that is primarily economic. As the Free Dictionary notes, fascism/corporatism is “an
attempt to create a 'modern' version of feudalism by merging the
'corporate' interests with those of the state.”
Feudalism, of course, is
one of the most stable of the three historic tyrannies (kingdoms,
theocracies, feudalism) that Thomas Jefferson identified as the ones
that ruled nations prior to the rise of American republican democracy,
and can be roughly defined as “rule by the rich.”
I think that the
definition of the Free Dictionary probably is misleading (as
also is indicated by its use of quoted terms, which means that
the term differs - somehow - in meaning from the unquoted term)
because most socialists (of various kinds, including most
Marxists) seem to believe that history has a direction e.g.
because of the growths in technology and science, which means that -
given that belief - going back to feudalism is not really possible.
But this is merely
an interpretative remark. Here is the last bit that I quote from this fine
“The American fascists are
most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and
fact,” Wallace wrote. “Their newspapers and propaganda carefully
cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front
against fascism. They use every opportunity to impugn democracy.”
In his strongest indictment
of the tide of fascism the Vice President of the United States saw
rising in America, he added:
They claim to be
super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the
Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for
monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward
which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so
that, using the power of the state and the power of the market
simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection. (emphasis added)
Yes, I think Wallace
was mostly quite correct in both points, and this is a strongly
have now been
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.
claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie.
They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.
just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my
ideas. They have behaved now for 2 years
as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I
from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).
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 (!!).