Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

October 9, 2020

Fascism, Trumpism, and the left

Filed under: Counterpunch,Fascism,Trump — louisproyect @ 2:32 pm

COUNTERPUNCH, OCTOBER 9, 2020

Ever since the 1964 election, liberals and many radicals have referred to the Republican presidential candidate as a fascist threat. When Goldwater accepted the Republican nomination, Democratic California Gov. Pat Brown said, “The stench of fascism is in the air.” Those worries continued through the Nixon years, abated somewhat under Bush ’41, then waxed again under Bush ’43. Today, they loom larger than ever, with Donald Trump’s outside chance of being re-elected in November.

Invoking the 1932 election in Germany, some leftists urge a vote for Joe Biden to keep Trump from consolidating the fascist regime he began constructing in 2016. While not mentioning the word fascism, a letter  signed by Noam Chomsky, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West and 52 other notable leftists insists that we vote for Biden, especially in swing states. Chomsky probably spoke for the entire group when he told The Intercept:

“Failure to vote for Biden in this election in a swing state amounts to voting for Trump. Takes one vote away from the opposition, same as adding one vote to Trump. So, if you decide you want to vote for the destruction of organized human life on Earth. . . then do it openly. . . . But that’s the meaning of ‘Never Biden’”.

Even before Trump’s 2016 victory, Chomsky fixated on the threat fascism posed. When Chris Hedges interviewed him in 2010, he compared the U.S.A. to Weimar Germany: “It is very similar to late Weimar Germany. The parallels are striking. There was also tremendous disillusionment with the parliamentary system. The most striking fact about Weimar was not that the Nazis managed to destroy the Social Democrats and the Communists but that the traditional parties, the Conservative and Liberal parties, were hated and disappeared. It left a vacuum which the Nazis very cleverly and intelligently managed to take over.”

Continue reading

September 28, 2020

Donald Trump, Project 1619, Howard Zinn, and critical race theory

Filed under: Project 1619,Trump — louisproyect @ 7:55 pm

On September 17th, Donald Trump weighed in on Project 1619, Howard Zinn, and critical race theory in a speech surely written for him since this moron never read the articles in Sunday NY Times Magazine section which launched Project 1619, “A People’s History of the United States”, or any critical race theory article. I even admit to being unfamiliar with critical race theory, so it is even more obvious that so is he. I doubt that the only written material he is familiar with appears on the back of a box of Cap’n Crunch cereal.

One wonders if he has been reading the critics of Project 1619, et al. After all, don’t his words sound like they could have written by Sean Wilentz?

Our Constitution was the product of centuries of tradition, wisdom, and experience. No political document has done more to advance the human condition or propel the engine of progress.

Yeah, you can quibble about Blacks being 3/5ths of a human being but nobody’s perfect.

Wilentz doesn’t believe that defending slavery was a factor in the American Revolution. The Constitution identified the goals of that revolution with Enlightenment values, not crass commercial goals such as forcing African slaves to pick cotton. In a September 16, 2015 NYT op-ed, he wrote:

The Constitutional Convention not only deliberately excluded the word “slavery,” but it also quashed the proslavery effort to make slavery a national institution, and so prevented enshrining the racism that justified slavery.

While I am sure that Wilentz would turn down an invitation to eat cheeseburgers with Trump at the White House, I am just as sure that he is closer to Trump on these matters than those rabble-rousers at the NY Times.

Trump is appalled that children are being given the wrong impression of our country by reading Howard Zinn: “Our children are instructed from propaganda tracts, like those of Howard Zinn, that try to make students ashamed of their own history.”

Once again, Wilentz would be closer to Trump than people like me who valued Zinn’s history. After Zinn died, Wilentz summed up his career:

He saw history primarily as a means to motivate people to political action that he found admirable. That’s what he said he did. It’s fine as a form of agitation — agitprop — but it’s not particularly good history.

Wilentz doesn’t seem to understand that his brand of history is also designed to motivate people to political action, namely lining up behind people like Bill Clinton or Joe Biden, two men who were as capable as Trump of demagogic attacks on Black people.

As for critical race theory, Trump regards it as poisoning the minds of children:

Students in our universities are inundated with critical race theory. This is a Marxist doctrine holding that America is a wicked and racist nation, that even young children are complicit in oppression, and that our entire society must be radically transformed. Critical race theory is being forced into our children’s schools, it’s being imposed into workplace trainings, and it’s being deployed to rip apart friends, neighbors, and families.

Guilty of this insidious is none other than the Smithsonian Institute. You’d think he was talking about the Smolny Institute, the way he goes on. It issued a document alleging that concepts such as hard work, rational thinking, the nuclear family, and belief in God were not values that unite all Americans, but were instead aspects of “whiteness.” All I can say is that if hard work, rational thinking, the nuclear family and belief in God were values identified with whiteness, then Trump is not white. Orange, maybe.

The more worthwhile avenue of investigation is critical race theory itself. Wikipedia identifies its main themes, including the following:

  • White privilege: Belief in the notion of a myriad of social advantages, benefits, and courtesies that come with being a member of the dominant race (i.e. white people). A clerk not following you around in a store or not having people cross the street at night to avoid you, are two examples of white privilege.
  • Microaggression: Belief in the notion that sudden, stunning, or dispiriting transactions have the power to mar the everyday of oppressed individuals. These include small acts of racism consciously or unconsciously perpetrated, whereby an analogy could be that of water dripping on a rock wearing away at it slowly.

So, is critical race theory supposed to be some arcane, pedantic theoretical offspring of postmodernism? I don’t know. To me it sounds like the stuff of daily reports in the media and hundreds, if not thousands, of YouTube videos of Black people getting screwed.

At the end of his speech, Trump introduced Professor Wilfred McClay, who will be part of a National Endowment for the Humanities-funded project to support “the development of a pro-American curriculum that celebrates the truth about our nation’s great history”.

McClay tried to write a rebuttal to Howard Zinn in a book titled “Land of Hope” that conforms to Donald Trump’s motherhood, apple pie and American flag version of American history. It was reviewed in Dissent by Michael Kazin, who trashed Zinn and might be expected to lean in McClay’s direction, even stating: “Wilfred McClay, a rare conservative historian whose prior work is respected across the political trenches, thinks he can explain what made America wonderful without echoing the nonsense Newt and his ilk hawk to the faithful.” But, he’s even too much for Kazin:

No serious historian could get away with giving the same silent treatment to the long struggle for black freedom, the pivot on which the Civil War and other critical events in the nation’s past have turned. But McClay overlooks the vital role abolitionists played in building opposition in the North to the “Slave Power” of Dixie. And he barely acknowledges the fact that a number of prominent abolitionists were black people who had once been held in bondage themselves. He refers to Harriet Tubman twice briefly—once in the middle of a sentence—Frederick Douglass gets three quick name-checks (one of which is incorrect), and Sojourner Truth is absent altogether.

McClay’s treatment of the post-emancipation black movement is even more careless. W. E. B. Du Bois gets a single mention—not as one of the most influential activists and thinkers in twentieth-century America but as someone who briefly endorsed eugenics. Meanwhile, in the pages of Land of Hope, Ida B. Wells, Marcus Garvey, and A. Philip Randolph never existed. McClay does grace Martin Luther King Jr. with a whole paragraph about his life plus a long quote from his iconic speech at the massive civil rights march in the summer of 1963. But then you really cannot ignore someone with a national holiday to his name and a memorial a few blocks from the Mall.

Trump is determined to wipe out all traces of anti-racist scholarship in the Ivies, as well as any other college or high school willing to use Project 1619, Zinn or critical race theory to educate young people about this country’s horrific past. Unfortunately for him, the tides of history are moving against him. People are determined to find out the truth about American history even if he is using executive power to try to censor it. As someone who grew up in the fifties getting spoon-fed McClay’s version, nothing made me happier than to read Howard Zinn when facing the draft. In a period of deep social crisis, you need the truth not an alt-right Hallmark card.

September 7, 2020

My boat sank in Lake Travis

Filed under: humor,Trump — louisproyect @ 9:25 pm

August 12, 2020

How leftist conspiracy-mongers ended up on the same side of the barricade as the alt-right

Filed under: Black Lives Matter,conspiracism,COVID-19,Donald Trump,Fascism,Trump — louisproyect @ 6:29 pm

Why would anybody in their right mind think that a color revolution conspiracy was targeting him?

That is what totalitarianism is, this desire to establish complete control over everything and everyone, every thought, emotion, and human interaction. The character of its ideology changes (i.e., Nazism, Stalinism, Maoism, etc.), but this desire for complete control over people, over society, and ultimately life itself, is the essence of totalitarianism … and what has taken over the minds of the New Normals.

–CJ Hopkins

This is not the benign, Bernie Sanders, work-within-the-system-type socialism. This is Bolshevism, there’s a big difference. The smoldering downtown corridor and the ruined lives of thousands of merchants attests to that difference. What we’re seeing is the resolute actions of a thoroughly-committed group of violent extremists who want to obliterate the system and impose their own vision of socialism.

–Mike Whitney


These are excerpts from articles that appeared on The Unz Review website, named after its owner Ron Unz. I can’t provide the links since it has been banned on Facebook for promoting white supremacy, we can assume. You will find the articles by concatenating unz and com. Once there, you can do a search on both of the authors above and the articles will show up. Hopkins’s “new normals” is a reference to the people protesting against the cops, whose side he takes. As for Whitney, he is against rioting even though most of the protests against George Floyd have been peaceful. This smear, of course, is straight out of Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson.

It is important to understand that Ron Unz’s website is one of the most prominent neo-Nazi websites with a ranking of 15,537 on Alexa. That’s six times as much traffic as Stormfront, which ranks 96,704 as a long-time promoter of holocaust denial, racism and nativism. It’s also almost three times the traffic of CounterPunch, where both Hopkins and Whitney’s articles appeared before it cleaned house.

The question before us is why someone who once wrote for CounterPunch, like I do, would want to be associated with Ron Unz. When I challenged Hopkins for crossposting to Unz’s website while he was writing for CounterPunch, he defended himself by saying that Unz used to be a major contributor to CounterPunch, as well as writing for it occasionally. Of course, if you look up his articles for CP, you’ll see that they’re nothing like the white supremacist propaganda he writes today. Like Hopkins, Whitney had been crossposting to both CP and Unz all along but I never asked him why. Anyhow, the important thing to understand is that both of them have drifted to the far right once their connections to CP were severed. Today, nothing they write has the slightest tinge of leftism and more recently it is unvarnished defense of Donald Trump against BLM protests.

Other former writers for CounterPunch have also been moving in this direction. Max Parry only wrote 3 articles for CP but has flooded various leftwing websites for ages now promoting a conspiracist worldview. On off-Guardian, a COVID-19 denialist and 9/11 truther outlet, Parry has an article that makes an amalgam of Assadism and anti-BLM propaganda. Titled “The Battle of Seattle was Fought by the Pro-war ‘Left’ in Northern Syria”, the article sounds like it could have been written by someone on Tucker Carlson’s staff:

What began as protests against police brutality were not only derailed into efforts to set-up communes in major cities but a nationwide debate on statues, after the wave of demonstrations and rioting across the country led to the Taliban-style destruction of historical monuments perceived as glorifying racism.

Taliban-style, really? As if tearing down a Confederate General’s statue has something in common with the Taliban’s horrendous destruction of Buddha statues.

Kurt Nimmo, who had dozens of articles published on CP but none later than 2004, now writes mostly for Global Research, a conspiracist cesspool with a lot in common with off-Guardian. Recently, he wrote something titled “Black Lives Matter (BLM) and the Neoliberal Color Revolution in America” that was a riff on William Engdahl’s “America’s Own Color Revolution” and that also appeared on Global Research. Engdahl was a former member of Larouche’s organization who retains pretty much the same politics he once had. Implicit in writing about a “color revolution” in the USA is the idea that Donald Trump is some kind of post-Soviet nationalist like Milosevic or Shevardnadze. This is a preposterous idea as if “neoliberalism” and the Trump White House were on a collision course. One might understand Engdahl taking this position since Larouche PAC virtually worships Donald Trump.

Conspiracism pollutes much of “radical” journalism on the net. If you see it as concentric circles getting more and more nutty and reactionary as you move toward the hub, Grayzone and Consortium News would be further away from the center, even if they overlap to some extent with Global Research. For Max Blumenthal, everything is simple. Just read what Nicholas Kristof writes and take the opposite tack. If Kristof condemns the Chinese government for putting Uighurs into concentration camps, your task is to write that concentration camps do not exist.

Close to the innermost circle, you get off-Guardian, Global Research and Zero Hedge that share the Trump administration’s hatred for the BLM protests and laissez-faire attitude toward the pandemic. You’ll see article after article about how BLM is violent and why COVID-19 is not that big a deal. You’ll find plenty of anti-corporate rhetoric about how George Soros is funding the BLM and why Bill Gates wants to exploit the pandemic for personal gain, but you’ll also find Hitler railing against big business in “Mein Kampf”.

When I used to read Mike Whitney in CounterPunch, I never had any strong objections except to his support for the “axis of resistance”. As for Hopkins, there wasn’t much to pay attention to since he wrote the same article over and over, which boiled down to his defense of “populism”. Whether it was from the left or right, it didn’t matter since the only real enemy was the “deep state” that was so intent on bringing down Trump. Like Aaron Maté, Hopkins got a lot of mileage exposing “Russiagate” even though it was mixed with Putin worship.

This move toward the right has been gestating ever since Trump became president. You can see signs of it everywhere, with Max Blumenthal’s appearances on the Tucker Carlson show and Stephen F. Cohen’s many guest spots on the John Batchelor show on WABC radio, which is a carriage trade version of Rush Limbaugh. Carlson and Batchelor were determined to clear Trump of all charges of interference in the American elections, which in and of itself is not wrong. It is wrong, however, to amalgamate that with support for the eastern Ukraine secessionists as Cohen did ever since Euromaidan broke out.

No matter how malevolent these tendencies were in the past, they have become even more pronounced this year as the pandemic and the George Floyd protests divided America sharply along ideological lines. Hopkins and Whitney have decided to make common cause with the most reactionary circles, which Ron Unz champions on a daily basis to a large internet following.

On DissidentVoice, a conspiracist website not quite as bad as off-Guardian, you can read Hopkins’s take on the pandemic. He sounds exactly like a guest on the Tucker Carlson show: “Also, ‘we have no immunity against it,’ which is why we all have to remain ‘locked down’ like unruly inmates in a penitentiary until a vaccine can be concocted and forced onto every living person on earth.” Like his business about “Stalinism” controlling our lives above, the emphasis is on personal liberty—the same excuse people give for shopping maskless and punching, or even shooting, an employee who tells them to wear one or leave.

Whitney operates from the same premise: “The Covid-19 Scamdemic is an even more vile component of the 3-pronged offensive. The ‘fairly mild’ infection (that kills between 1 in every 200 to 1 in every 1,000) has been greatly exaggerated by the media to scare the public, undermine normal relations, prevent physical intimacies, and inflict maximum damage of the fragile psyches of millions of people worldwide.”

This blatant denialism goes hand in hand with their hatred of BLM protests, which they see as a “deep state” conspiracy funded by corporate America with the willing support of the Democratic Party. Hopkins writes, “The part where the mayors of major cities stood down and otherwise hamstrung their cops, and let the ‘peaceful protesters’ run amok, was particularly audacious, in my opinion.” Whitney is beside himself with anger over BLM protests, which at the time he wrote an article (July 20), had become overwhelmingly peaceful. He told Unz’s fascist readers “These aren’t protests, this is political warfare the likes of which we haven’t seen since the 1960s.” Most people on the left have fond memories of the 60s, either from direct experience like me or from reading memoirs by people like Daniel Ellsberg. I guess that Whitney identifies more with the Silent Majority of the time. Who knows? This landscape company owner might have belonged to it at the time.

Let me conclude with a few words about the Socialist Workers Party, a group I belonged to from 1967 to 1978. At one time, it was the flagship party of Trotsky’s Fourth International with about 2,000 members at its height. Now, it is a tiny cult around Jack Barnes who has managed to expel or drive people to resign to the point that it consists of maybe 90 people as old as me. Their main political activity consists of going door-to-door like the Jehovah’s Witnesses use to, peddling the party newspaper The Militant.

Like the aforementioned people writing for The Unz Review, Barnes became a convert to the Trump cause in 2016. With only minor criticisms of the white supremacist, The Militant concentrates its fire (such as it is) on the Democratic Party and on activists opposed to Trump. Like Hopkins and Whitney, they minimize the pandemic and hate how “mobs” topple monuments to Confederate generals.

In one of the more bizarre offerings, the newspaper defends the “right to worship” in Nevada:

In a serious attack on the constitutional right of freedom to worship, the U.S. Supreme Court voted July 24 to refuse to suspend a public health order imposed by Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak limiting attendance at church services. It was part of a series of edicts issued under the guise of stopping the spread of coronavirus.

This goes hand in hand with the SWP’s refusal to wear masks when it goes peddling its tracts and newspapers from door to door. You can never see a mask on a party member. Given their age, you’d think they’d be more careful. But at this stage of the game, anybody who has been a member for forty years or so, as is generally the case, you lost the capacity to think independently long ago.

March 29, 2020

More from JL Cauvin / JL Trump

Filed under: humor,Trump — louisproyect @ 12:06 am

(I love this guy.)

 

March 27, 2020

Exponential Threat

Filed under: coronavirus,Trump — louisproyect @ 12:17 am

March 25, 2020

Donald Trump vs. God on Easter

Filed under: humor,Trump — louisproyect @ 6:05 pm

More videos from J-L Cauvin are here

September 26, 2019

Trump-Zelensky phone conversation re-enacted

Filed under: Biden,Trump — louisproyect @ 1:26 pm

March 25, 2019

Russiagate and the left

Filed under: Russiagate,Trump — louisproyect @ 6:56 pm

Dialectically related

Those hoping to see Russiagate finally disappearing from MSNBC and CNN will be disappointed. The talking heads (David Corn, Jeffrey Toobin, et al) will pivot now to discussing obstruction of justice. If the real purpose of these nominally liberal cable channels was to torpedo the Trump administration, they’d begin to cover the Midwestern floods that have devastated the farm belt. Most of the farmers are Republicans who voted for Trump but need to be educated about the relationship between the flooding and climate change. Although Trump has approved flood relief for Iowa and Nebraska, it will certainly not prove adequate for the farmers’ needs. They should also be reminded that in January, Trump was considering the possibility of robbing the disaster relief piggy-bank to pay for his filthy wall.

But why would these networks want to lose money by becoming a real news outlet when there’s money to be made focusing on Donald Trump? Only three months ago, the head of CNN said that the station would lose money if it didn’t revolve around Trump. In a Vanity Fair article, Jeff Zucker admitted as much:

“People say all the time, ‘Oh, I don’t want to talk about Trump. I’ve had too much Trump,’ ” he told me. “And yet at the end of the day, all they want to do is talk about Trump. We’ve seen that, anytime you break away from the Trump story and cover other events in this era, the audience goes away. So we know that, right now, Donald Trump dominates.”

According to a 2017 Forbes article, “total primetime viewership was up 50% from last year across CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, and viewership in the lucrative 25-54 demographic was up 55%.”)

Politics probably doesn’t matter very much to the liberal networks when it comes to ratings. A little over a month ago, CNN hired Sarah Isgur Flores, who was Jeff Sessions spokeswoman, as a “political editor.” Before taking CNN’s offer, she interviewed at MSNBC for the same kind of gig. Like the networks, Flores is a mercenary. When she made an appearance on Chris Hayes MSNBC show on May 16, 2016, she told him: “Donald Trump has again and again shown himself to be an authoritarian, a tyrant and a bully who’s corrupt and doesn’t deserve to be in the White House.” Seven months later she took a job with the tyrant.

You get the same thing at Fox News. They just hired Donna Brazile, the erstwhile interim chairwoman of the Democratic Party, as an on-air commentator. She’ll obviously play the same kind of role that Alan Colmes played on Sean Hannity.

Why would any leftist want to make an appearance on Fox News? Brazile and Colmes were obviously in it for the money but there are people like Stephen F. Cohen and Max Blumenthal who go on the Tucker Carlson show out of an ideological calling (like Mueller’s refusal to charge Trump with conspiracy, I cannot say for sure that Blumenthal is actually on the take from Putin.) Like Jimmy Dore, Glenn Greenwald, and Aaron Maté, they make useful points about the bankruptcy of the Clinton campaign being responsible for her loss but the overarching interest is in siding with Russian foreign policy goals. Every one of these jerks have spent the last 8 years pimping for Assad and Putin on the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine.

I do believe that the Kremlin is messing around in American politics but the impact on elections is probably negligible. If Hillary Clinton had not been acting so underhandedly against Bernie Sanders and had taken even a few baby steps further to the left, she probably would have won the electoral college votes as well as the popular vote. The real damage, as far as I am concerned, is the ability of a foreign power to drive a wedge between its own interests and that of the American people as a whole. The best example of how it is done is obvious. The Israel lobby spends millions buying votes for its ongoing apartheid policies.

The Putin lobby has a different dynamic. It exploits the understandably progressive attitudes of the American people against war in order to make sure that opposition to its war crimes in Syria and its Great Russian domination of Ukraine is drowned out by louder voices. I am sure that Tulsi Gabbard never got a penny from Russia but she is as devoted to its cause as someone would be if on its payroll. As it happens, she is just as devoted to the Israeli state. In 2015, she was a keynote speaker at Christians United for Israel conference. This is an organization led by John Hagee, who is on record as believing that Adolf Hitler hastened God’s plan by forcing Jews back to Israel.

You might say that Stephen F. Cohen, Max Blumenthal, Jimmy Dore, Glenn Greenwald, and Aaron Maté are dialectically related to Rachel Maddow, David Corn, and Debby Wasserman-Schultz. Once the latter group pivots to blathering on about obstruction of justice rather than collusion with Russia, the first group will make money writing articles or appearing on RT.com and Tucker Carlson debunking their claims. It’s a business, when you get right down to it.

What should the left be doing about this con game? If the networks don’t pay attention to the plight of farmers or the continuing assault on working people epitomized by the shutdown of the Lordstown GM plant, then it should be the job of the left to take these issues to the people. If the DSA was truly committed to winning Red State voters to its “democratic socialist” cause, it would send brigades out to Nebraska and Iowa with literature on climate change and the flooding.

The Lordstown plant is in the Mahoning Valley region of Ohio that traditionally votes Democratic but decided to back Trump after he made his demagogic appeal about making sure such plants stay open. John Russo, the former co-director of the Center for Working-Class Studies at Youngstown State University, was told by union officials that about 40 percent of UAW members at Lordstown voted for Trump.

These are the kinds of people who will become our Yellow Vests once they learn they have been sold out by both capitalist parties. The left has to find a way to reach them and get out of its Brooklyn hipster cocoon once and for all.

December 2, 2018

Did Julian Assange help Trump get elected? Does it matter?

Filed under: Red-Brown alliance,Trump,Wikileaks — louisproyect @ 9:23 pm

While it is likely that the Guardian article about Paul Manafort meeting with Julian Assange will turn out to be bogus, there is still the question of Assange’s role in the ongoing geopolitical squabble between American imperialism and its adversaries in Russia, China and elsewhere.

The main bone of contention is whether Wikileaks served as a conduit for emails purloined from campaign manager John Podesta’s account in March 2016. One of the emails contained excerpts from the speeches Clinton gave at Goldman-Sachs that betrayed her disconnect from most voters. She jokes, for example, at a Goldman Sachs conference in June 2013 about bankers being “the smartest people.” Trump demagogically pointed to her speeches as proof that Goldman “owned her”.

There is little question as to the role of Russian hackers in breaking into Podesta’s email account. Known as Fancy Bear, the group sent Podesta an email urging him to click a link that would protect his emails, when it had the opposite effect. The tendency of most of the left would be to regard this interference with a shrug of the shoulders, considering the widespread use of cybernetic espionage by the USA—especially in Iran. As Jesus said, “Those without sin, cast the first stone”.

Zeynep Tukfeci is a NY Times op-ed columnist specializing in computer security, social media abuses, etc. Now you’d expect anybody working for the Times to express outrage at Russian interference and Wikileaks serving as an accessory after the fact. Keep in mind, however, that Tukfeci was once “one of us”, serving as a co-moderator of the Marxism list that spawned Marxmail when she was a dissertation student. In a November 4, 2016 column, she wrote:

The victims here are not just Mr. Podesta and the people in his contacts list who are embarrassed or compromised. The victim of leaks of private communication is the ability of dissidents to function in a democracy.

Demanding transparency from the powerful is not a right to see every single private email anyone in a position of power ever sent or received. WikiLeaks, for example, gleefully tweeted to its millions of followers that a Clinton Foundation employee had attempted suicide; news outlets repeated the report.

Wanton destruction of the personal privacy of any person who has ever come near a political organization is a vicious but effective means to smother dissent. This method is so common in Russia and the former Soviet states that it has a name: “kompromat,” releasing compromising material against political opponents. Emails of dissidents are hacked, their houses bugged, the activities in their bedrooms videotaped, and the material made public to embarrass and intimidate people whose politics displeases the powerful. Kompromat does not have to go after every single dissident to work: If you know that getting near politics means that your personal privacy may be destroyed, you will understandably stay away.

Another figure I regard as “one of us” also changed her mind about Assange in the aftermath of his role in helping to tip the scales in favor of Donald Trump. Laurie Poitras, who made a documentary about Edward Snowden in collaboration with Glenn Greenwald, made one on Julian Assange in 2017 titled “Risk”. It reflects her disenchantment with Assange over his take on the sex assault cases, which he described as a “tawdry, radical feminist” plot instigated by a woman who launched a lesbian nightclub. And, also like Tukfeci, Poitras questions the timing of the Wikileaks release.

In my review of “Risk”, I wrote “Unlike Poitras, I have no problems with the Russians hacking Democratic Party emails and using Wikileaks as a cutout. If American politicians don’t want to be embarrassed by things they say privately, they’d better think about what they were saying in the first place.” I no longer would write such a thing. It is best to draw a line against the sort of intervention the Russians mounted, as well as Wikileaks role in amplifying its impact.

In the latest developments in the Mueller investigation, there are bread crumbs connecting various Trump operatives to their counterparts in England who might have had foreknowledge of the Podesta hack. On November 28th, the Guardian identified an American living in England named Ted Malloch as a key figure closely connected to Nigel Farage, who might be described as the English Donald Trump. Wikipedia provides some detail:

Malloch has appeared several times as a guest in productions of the conspiracy site InfoWars. In the video “Davos Group Insider Exposes The Globalist Luciferian Agenda”, he says:

The EU is part of, of course, the globalist Empire, the New World Order. I think many of its origins are in fact quite evil …

It’s basically a German takeover of Europe making Europe into its own puppet state with its crony capitalism and its fake currency of the Euro. … Luciferianism is a belief system that venerates the essential characteristics that are affixed to Lucifer. That tradition has been informed by Gnosticism by Satanism and it usually refers to Lucifer not as the devil per se but as some kind of liberator, some kind of guardian, some kind of guiding spirit, in fact is the true God as opposed to Jehovah. … of course we know who Lucifer is and he’s seen as one of the morning stars, as a symbol of enlightenment, as a kind of independence, and of true human progress, turning away from God and turning to Lucifer in order to enlighten yourself.

What kind of world are we living in politically when there is one degree of separation between anti-imperialist Julian Assange and someone like this? Whenever I read this sort of crap from a Malloch or a David Icke, I am reminded of what Leon Trotsky said about the rise of fascism in Germany:

Fascism has opened up the depths of society for politics. Today, not only in peasant homes but also in city skyscrapers, there lives alongside of the twentieth century the tenth or the thirteenth. A hundred million people use electricity and still believe in the magic power of signs and exorcisms. The Pope of Rome broadcasts over the radio about the miraculous transformation of water into wine. Movie stars go to mediums. Aviators who pilot miraculous mechanisms created by man’s genius wear amulets on their sweaters. What inexhaustible reserves they possess of darkness, ignorance, and savagery! Despair has raised them to their feet fascism has given them a banner. Everything that should have been eliminated from the national organism in the form of cultural excrement in the course of the normal development of society has now come gushing out from the throat; capitalist society is puking up the undigested barbarism. Such is the physiology of National Socialism.

Finally, we come to Randy Credico, the erstwhile NYC comedian who used to do benefits for Central American solidarity causes in the 1980s and who was a brilliant impressionist and a canny political commentator—at least back then.

Now, like Assange, his purpose in life is to function as just another cheap conspiracy theorist on NYC’s terminally ill Pacifica station. On November 14th, NBC News reported on the communications between Roger Stone and his “pal”:

Six days before WikiLeaks began releasing Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails, Roger Stone had a text message conversation with a friend about WikiLeaks, according to copies of phone records obtained exclusively by NBC News.

“Big news Wednesday,” the Stone pal, radio host Randy Credico, wrote on Oct. 1, 2016, according to the text messages provided by Stone. “Now pretend u don’t know me.”

“U died 5 years ago,” Stone replied.

“Great,” Credico wrote back. “Hillary’s campaign will die this week.”

What has happened in the past 30 years to turn Credico into someone capable of being “pals” with Roger Stone, a man who is on record calling a CNN host a “fat negro”? His tweets also referred to others as a “disgusting lesbian dwarf,” “horse-faced liberal bitch,” “mandingo,” and “house negro.” He has also relied on the fascist Proud Boys to defend his appearances.

Here’s the explanation. People like Assange, Credico, and Max Blumenthal never developed a class perspective. While it is easy to understand why the USA is regarded as the world’s most evil and most dangerous imperialist power, this is not a sufficient guide to developing a radical analysis on Syria, Ukraine or any other place that does not fit neatly into a cookie cutter version of world politics. Part of the problem is the sorry growth of theories based on “globalization”, which in the demimonde of Global Research, Infowars, UNZ Review, 21st Century Wire and most programming on WBAI gets reduced to “globalism”, George Soros, becoming “pals” with Roger Stone and all the rest. These are parts of the Augean Stables that a reborn revolutionary left will have to clean at some point if for no other reason than to sharpen the class lines that people like Credico have blunted.

 

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