When we talk about “what happened” regarding the 2016 elections, we should always start with the clear point that in the bourgeois political extravaganza, no one is willing to take responsibility. And, obviously, the masters of not taking responsibility are the Clintons.
In the video, Colbert and Clinton spend the first two minutes on general fluff and wound-licking. Following that, Clinton says the point of her book is to figure out what happened, “so that it doesn’t happen again”. Of course, she receives raucous applause for this line. After all, she is on Colbert’s show.
What is “it” exactly? Bourgeois elections? The Democrats losing elections? I suppose she means the government of the Russian Federation “interfering” in the elections, but we’ll cover that a bit later.
She says at around the 3:40 mark, that she’s being as candid as she could be about “the mistakes [she] made, … but also, … everything from sexism and misogyny to voter suppression to the unusual behavior of the former director of the FBI and the Russians, and the Russians and you have been sounding the alarm about this, because I believe so strongly that they think they succeeded in messing with our democracy…”
We can unpack this more as the interview goes on, but you’ll notice how quickly she pivots from talking about her own actions to blaming everyone else. Throughout the rest of the interview, she fails to mention anything else about what she could have done to change the outcome of the election.
That’s not to say the other things aren’t important, but rather that in her perspective, she is not responsible for her own loss. Well, what the fuck? For someone who apparently extolls the virtues of the Amerikkkan political process, why is she complaining about it so much? I don’t remember any (literally, not one) of the other losers in my lifetime doing anything remotely like this.
Back to the video…
Around 4:30, she says that the “Russians” definitely were “influencing voters and, therefore, influencing opinion…”
Let’s assume, for a moment, this is true. What does that mean? The government of the Russian Federation supposedly bought ads on Facebook and published news articles that were particularly aimed at Clinton and her campaign, placing her in a bad light.
What’s the issue here?
Last time I checked, that’s perfectly legal and acceptable. In fact, that’s what you do in an election! You attempt to influence voters and opinion in order to help you achieve your personal desirable outcome.
Now, dear reader, you might protest that the problem is that Russia is a foreign government. However, I don’t hear anyone complaining about how Clinton received money and blessings from Saudi Arabia and Israel (along with countless other states).
So what’s the deal? Russia bought Facebook ads? And by doing so, influenced the election?
Good for them. They played the game and beat out other countries. It seems like if we accept the narrative that Clinton and Colbert are pushing, the whole process was merely a power-play between different countries. And in that power-play, Russia beat Saudi Arabia.
Around 5:07, she claims that she’s “a bit of a Paula Revere.”
Can’t you hear it now? The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!
This is fear-mongering and highfalutin bullshit at its finest.
So now we get to hear Clinton’s breakdown of Vladimir Putin’s strategy. Fasten your seatbelt, dear reader, because you’re about to get thrown through a whirlwind of garbage.
At 5:12, she begins:
“You know, you’ve gotta understand what Putin’s strategy is. He really doesn’t like democracy. He thinks its an inconvenient, messy process. And he doesn’t like us. And he wants to destabilize our country, sow doubt about our democracy. I mean, these latest revelations where you had Russians pretending to be Americans. You had fake Americans with fake news and fake stories and fake demonstrations. That wasn’t just because he’s bored and has nothing to do. He wants to undermine how we see each other, how we respect each other, how we support our institutions and our society. So, I think they believed they had a good outing in 2016 and I think they will be back in 2018 and 2020 unless we stop them.”
This analysis received applause. And it really shouldn’t have.
The hypocrisy here is so blatant and so shameless, I’m surprised it got past people at all.
Putin doesn’t like democracy? Putin is trying to sow doubt about “our democracy”?
What the hell is she talking about?
Who is the person who just wrote a book and is appearing on television to say that the most recent elections were illegitimate? Not Putin!
Who is the one saying that we had people faking citizenship and lying about facts in order to help their side? Not Putin!
Who likes democracy? Not Putin and certainly not Hillary Clinton!
At 6:30, Clinton speculates as to why Putin wouldn’t like her. She concludes that it’s because she questioned the legitimacy of the elections in Russia in 2011. She goes on to say that Putin is still upset about the dismantling of the Soviet Union and that he wants to “undermine the European-American alliance.”
I think there are probably a few other pretty good reasons for Putin to cheer for anyone opposing Clinton. It’s true, she did question the legitimacy of the elections in 2011 – as did everyone else, because it was obviously rigged.
So, that’s probably not the primary reason.
Who ran on the platform of shooting down Russian planes flying over Syria?
Who was Secretary of State and oversaw the total destruction of Libya?
Who threatened to give more money to the Ukrainian government and started peddling revisionist narratives of the events of 2013-2014?
Clinton has a very proactive record of military aggression against sovereign countries and trying to corner Russia into very tight positions. As the regional power, the Russian government has seen these maneuvers (rightfully) as threatening and has opposed them.
Obviously, Dumbass Trump has been little better, but we can all rest assured that, through incompetence, Trump has been unable to get as much done as Clinton would have.
And that’s a good thing for Russia (and everyone else, btw)!
Starting around 7:35, Clinton starts telling a story about a time she met with Putin “in his dacha” in order to demonstrate that Putin is a terrible misogynist.
It, of course, doesn’t take a genius to realize that Putin is a patriarchal piece of shit. His whole image is that of ultra-masculinity. However, we should ask ourselves the question: what’s the function of this story?
It’s to make sure that everyone is on Clinton’s side against Putin (and, of course, we must hate Russia, because we hate Putin).
Why doesn’t Clinton focus on other avowed misogynists?
Like King Salman or Bibi Netanyahu?
Or how about Bill Clinton?
I’d like to end this with a story, just so we have the entire context here.
There was a significant event in 1996 that ought to be retold – the second election ever in the Russian Federation. Boris Yeltsin was running for re-election under very bad circumstances. He had been wildly popular in the beginning and watched that popularity dwindle as he did things like literally bomb the parliament building in central Moscow in 1993. At the same time, the economy was failing and the Russians were bombing Grozny to hell in the separatist republic of Chechnya.
So things weren’t going very well.
At the same time, a lot of people were looking back on the Soviet Union and realizing that they had lost a lot – public finances going to social security, healthcare, and education. Worker’s protections were also important. In Russia today, people refer to the 90s as “the wild 90s” and almost no one I’ve ever talked to has had anything positive to say about that time.
At this point, Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the newly-formed Communist Party of the Russian Federation (replacing the Communist Party of the Soviet Union) looked like a superstar, promising to fix the economy and put Russia back on track as it moved into the 21st century.
Bill Clinton, president of the U.$. at the time, was not about to let a communist win the Russian elections.
In the run-up to the election, the U.$. and the IMF funneled money to the Russian government. Yeltsin was also given logistical help from the Clinton administration. Pretty much everyone agrees, in the end, Zyuganov would have won the election, but the government committed wouldn’t allow free and fair elections.
Essentially, the Clinton administration made important moves (up to and including direct election fraud) in order to ensure that Yeltsin won the 1996 elections.
Following this move, the Russian economy continued to spiral, the Russian government continued the War in Chechnya (and admitted defeat just a month after the election).
So, allow me to pose the question to you, dear reader: who in truth has a track record of interfering in foreign elections? Is Russia really the bogey-man that Clinton and her minions are trying to paint it as? Or is it the case that the Russian government simply refuses to be a vassal of the U.$.?
I once heard a description of the recent history of Afghanistan begin, “Under the communists, women appeared on television uncovered. Under the Mujahideen, women appeared on television covered. Under the Taliban, there were no televisions.”
The dominant narratives regarding Afghanistan in the West possess the unfortunate characteristic of neglecting basic facts. Instead, the timeline goes a little something like this:
1. I don’t know anything about Afghanistan before I need to.
2. The evil Soviet Union invaded.
3. The heroic United States supported the freedom fighters.
4. Something, something, something.
6. The heroic United States kicked out those bad Taliban and gave Afghanistan democracy.
This timeline might even be giving too much credit to people (including the numbskull in the white house) who feel qualified to talk about Afghanistan, despite knowing next to nothing about one of the countries that has defined so much of last century (directly and indirectly).
That should terrify you. It should also give us a moment to think about the Liberation of Afghanistan and what that ought to mean.
At different points in history, one might point to an Afghanistan that has been called “liberated”. In 1919, Afghanistan wins its independence from the British Empire. Many have called this “liberation”. As the Kingdom of Afghanistan, the country is pushed through slow waves of modernization and conservative push-back. In 1978, the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan takes power and pushes through real modernization efforts. Many have called this “liberation”. Under quick succession, Nur Muhammad Taraki, Hafizullah Amin, and Babrak Karmal try to push through sweeping land reforms, women’s rights, and social programs. This is, of course, met with terrible resistance from the “traditional” power structures and clan networks throughout the country.
It was during this period, by admission of Zbigniew Brzezinski, that Amerikkka begins funding the Mujahideen, who fight against the socialists on behalf of these misogynistic, feudal power structures.
After the Mujahideen receive support from the U$, the Soviet Union decides to send troops on December 24th, 1979 to intervene in the budding civil war. Many have called this “liberation”. Following the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, the country is pulverized by becoming a flashpoint of the Cold War.
From 1979 on, there has essentially been endless civil war up until today.
In 1996, the Pakistan-backed Taliban (remember Benazir Bhutto) gains power and uses that power to destroy huge swaths of the country. Many have called this “liberation”. The remaining parts are destroyed by the U$-backed Northern Alliance. Many have called this “liberation”. And, most spectacularly, the full-fledged Amerikkkan imperialist occupation begins in 2001. Indeed, many have called this “liberation”.
At every major point in Afghan history, we’ve heard many say that “this (finally, this!) is the Liberation of Afghanistan.” However, pretty much every time, the deception became apparent almost immediately. To paraphrase Zizek in one of his essays after 9/11, one of the most grotesque and tragic states of existence is that of the family in Afghanistan who, when a plane passes overhead, does not know if it will drop bombs or containers of food and supplies in some faux humanitarian gesture.
The few bright moments in Afghanistan over the past century were always quickly dimmed by bullets and bombs. Afghanistan has been thrown into chaos and tragedy unequivocally due to the Amerikkkan Empire – anyone who doesn’t admit this is either lying or stupid. As Malalai Joya said in her interview above with Democracy Now!: “Imperialism and Fundamentalism have joined hands.”
The Liberation of Afghanistan, if it is ever to be a reality (rather than merely a name without that reality), will never come about as long as Amerikkka is involved. The Liberation of Afghanistan will come from the Afghan people alone, not from imperial machinations designed for the benefit of oil and gas pipelines and regional instability.
Imperialist occupation is never the solution to any problem.
When the incoherent fascist in Washington spews his bile, we should keep in mind that when he says, “The Amerikkkan people are weary of war without victory” – he means that he intends to continue this occupation by any means necessary.
We should fight exclusively for the Liberation of Afghanistan and against Dumbass Trump’s infinite stupidity.
Negative: 99% WTF?
Occupy Wall Street was most successful in creating the new language of the left-liberal scene: “We are the 99%“. This was their message to the Wall Street bankers: “You are the 1%” and, therefore, the opposition. Of course, not the enemy, because that’s too strong a term.
The only drawback to this language is that it’s incorrect in two ways.
First of all, 99% of the people involved in Occupy Wall Street were not/are not really part of the 99%, because they’re all comparatively well-off compared to most of the world. Let’s be serious, a white 23 year-old with $10,000 of debt from their Ivy League University is not in the same position as anyone in the Third World.
Second of all, the enemy (I’m not afraid of the term) is a lot more than the 1%. The bourgeoisie, petite-bourgeoisie, and other reactionary classes make up significantly more than the 1% on Wall Street. Those who own the means of production make up a more sizeable group than that and those who benefit from the super-exploitation of the Third World make up the entire First World.
We’re talking about imperialism.
Occupy’s sloppy analysis isn’t helpful.
The big problem here is that analysis and language here have a feedback loop – the language is flawed and the more this language is used, the less the analysis reflects reality.
Positive: Reinvigorated some aspects of protest culture
One nice thing that OWS was that it put protests back into the mainstream in a way. Whereas before 2011, there certainly wasn’t a prevalence of protests coming from the Left in the dominant culture, today there seems to be far more of a willingness to protest. I’d be willing to concede that this probably had to do with the prevalence of OWS in the news/popular culture.
Positive: Set the stage for Black Lives Matter
I hesitate to draw this line, because it gives Occupy too much credit in my opinion, and it makes it seem (once again) that black people need white people for inspiration and support (which is obviously not the case), but a lot of people have connected these two protest movements. Objectively, OWS did take place before BLM (in other words, before a white pig murdered an unarmed black teenager in Missouri), so OWS was in the news before BLM was.
Occupy is not some pan-leftist movement, but rather a washed-up intellectually-vacuous garbage. Case and point: this bullshit.
Positive: Opened up the ideological space
Of course, anything posted on Occupy.com in 2017 isn’t getting very wide readership, so we can rest assured that this “Letter to the American Left” won’t be poisoning much dialogue.
OWS had no specific goals, demands, tactics, strategies, analysis, worldview, standards, or ideas about pretty much anything. This led to the conclusion that putting up tents and using unclear language would be a successful (whatever that means) strategy to realizing their goals (whatever those were).
Actually, the major mistake that OWS made was that they said everything, rather than nothing. Different factions articulated different aims and different paths. By saying everything, they effectively said nothing. And, all the while, in this menagerie of ideas, the Occupiers were so frustrated that their “pure” message was being ignored.
Positive: The Left can learn
This broad populist left-liberal space is a minefield.
Left-liberalism is a dead-end.
Capitalism is a losing game.
The lesson here is clear: analyze and radicalize.