Daniel in the Lion’s Den

What are we to do when “democracy” is the signifier and “imperialism” is the signified?

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In Nicaragua the past few months was plagued by protests. The “Nicaraguan people” were protesting for “democratic reforms” and “the United States” was “deeply concerned about… the violence perpetuated by security forces against demonstrators.” Daniel “I-used-to-be-super-cool” Ortega, the president of Nicaragua, was facing an onslaught of slanderous attacks at the bidding of the Amerikkkan state. But the attacks continue.

Hell, even Noam “My-politics-are-unreliable” Chomsky jumped on board. This is the man who stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the Sandinistas against imperialism not that long ago.

The Huffington Post warns us that “we may be witnessing the rise of fascism in Nicaragua.

Remember when there really was fascism in Nicaragua? For decades, the country was ruled by the Somoza family dictatorship as a U.$. client state. Following the revolution in 1979, the Sandinistas came to power and returned Nicaragua to the people.

Like all good Marxist-Leninist governments, the Sandinistas completely reformed the country – increasing literacy, access to healthcare, women’s rights, nationalizing industries, and improving housing, education, and working conditions for everyone.

After Ronald “I’m-a-huge-fucking-piece-of-shit” Reagan was elected president by the Amerikkkan people, his regime set out on funding paramilitaries to destroy Nicaragua. The Contras, U.$.-backed terrorists, stalked throughout the country and sowed chaos, murdering men, women, and children with unbelievable savagery.

Ortega lost the rigged elections of 1990 and the Sandinista revolution was dismantled. This is what happens when you hold elections in a country that the U.$. wants to control, but that’s neither here nor there.

Violeta “I’m-an-anti-feminist-asshole” Chamorro became the head of state and instituted Amerikkkan shock therapy, which Wikipedia summarizes thus:

The Chamorro years initiated a period of significant economic and social decline for Nicaragua. From 1990 to 2001, the country fell from 60th to 116th in the world in terms of human development, and has become the poorest of America after Haiti, according to United Nations Development Programme.

But, of course, she was the first elected female head of state in Latin America, so liberals should just love her, right?

In 2006, Ortega ran again and narrowly won to join our comrades in the Pink Tide: Chavez, Correa, Lula, Morales, Zelaya, Mujica, Kirchner, and the list goes on and on…

Of course, by this time, Ortega had made his peace with capitalism (unfortunately). Since 2006, Ortega has simply mimicked much of Chavez’s 21st Century Socialism – food programs, labor programs, social security.

Is it really a coincidence that the protests in Nicaragua in 2018 are so similar to the protests in Venezuela in 2017?

“Student Protests” & (Amerikkkan-backed) “democracy” being “repressed” by “an authoritarian leader” – it’s the same old script.

Interestingly, these new rounds of protests started in April, when the government planned to cut social security and pensions.

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#letsoverthrowsomeshit

You mean the social security and pensions that they created?

That’s exactly what I mean.

And installing some pro-Amerikkkan leader will help them get better social security and pensions!?

Obviously not, dear reader.

But this is all a game, of course.

Some people, such as Jeffrey “Super-wonderful-academic” Gould, are insisting that those of us on the left need to recognize that “Daniel Ortega of today is not the Daniel Ortega of the Sandinista Revolution“, as published in the liberal-left pages of Jacobin.

Gould’s argument is directed at “a segment of the international left whose hatred of US imperialism has affected their capacity for critical thought.”

“Critical thought” here apparently means openly criticizing Ortega’s government and siding with an opposition that, according to Gould, “includes rightists, social democrats, and anarchists, and undoubtedly receives some support from some very dark corners of the hemisphere.”

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It takes so much “critical thought” to be a liberal apologist for imperialism.

Admittedly, anti-imperialists do have a hatred of U.$. imperialism, although it seems to me that the lack of critical thought here is on the part of these pseudo-leftists who are eager to write damning texts about leftist governments in Euro-Amerikkkan journals and blogs primarily written for people in imperialist countries (shout-out to this blog!).

Here’s some critical thought: if we accept that there is an Amerikkkan hand here (which Gould admits), then we ought to side with Ortega against imperialism. Not because Ortega does everything perfectly or because Nicaragua is some utopia, but because imperialism is the primary contradiction. Imperialism is not the solution.

If there is “regime change” in Nicaragua, the situation won’t get better – it will get much, much worse!

Just as it did, by the way, in 1990.

This is the reason that real leftists need to take a step back and analyze the situation before they go around huffing and puffing about “the increasingly authoritarian tendencies of the Ortega administration”.

The international left needs to engage in some real critical thinking, because otherwise this strain of Amerikkkan liberalism is going to continue to establish barricades (like the protestors) to choke out small, poor, leftist countries and replace them with Western-backed regimes.

The United $tates is clearly involved in the attempt here to destabilize Nicaragua, everyone can see that.

Despite Ortega’s willingness to play ball, it isn’t enough (it’s never enough). There are good reasons for leftists to be dissatisfied with Ortega, but the answer is never to side with Amerikkkan fascists dressed up as democrats.

The Nicaraguan people know this and that’s why they came out in huge numbers in the middle of July to celebrate the anniversary of the revolution. What was aptly called a “coup attempt” was soundly defeated, the protests were quelled, and things have already returned to normalcy.

The Nicaraguan people won’t let Daniel be thrown in the lion’s den. We shouldn’t either.

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Disarm White Men!

nxlbr

The Naxalites in India know what’s up.

Following one of the hundreds of mass shootings that happen in the United $nakes all the time, Amerikkkans finally had the thought, “Hey, what if we talk about this?”

These debates have reverberated among leftists and pseudo-leftists caught in the uncomfortable position of having to reconcile their seemingly contradictory beliefs that the proletariat needs to be organized and armed, but mass shootings are bad.

These narratives, however, are missing the key point – straight, white men are killing all of us.

Whether they’re cops or white supremacists, the criminals and murderers are almost always straight, white men.

And, of course, we could point to exceptions here and there in the first world – gang violence, the recent shooting at the Youtube headquarters by a woman of color, etc.

Here, however, the exception proves the rule.

It was straight, white men who criminally invaded Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. It is straight, white men who control the institutions of power that criminally enforce hegemonic liberal capitalism across the world. And, in the first world, it is straight, white men who commit the vast majority of violent crimes.

After all, who owns most of the guns in the first world? White men.

The clear solution is that straight, white men need to be disarmed!

Leftists and Pseudo-Leftists alike are missing the point when they talk about the proletariat.

There is no white proletariat.

There will never be an armed socialist insurrection consisting predominantly of white people. In fact, even to identify as white is to identify as the oppressor. Oppressor culture/White culture (and Crusade Culture) will never lead to socialism or communism. It will only lead to fascism.

J. Sakai wrote about this most powerfully in “The Mythology of the White Proletariat” (that links to a pdf of the entire book).

Could we possibly imagine white rednecks in Amerikkka ditching their racism and picking up arms to establish a dictatorship of the proletariat?

The answer is no.

White people in the first world aren’t in the business of establishing communism. White people in the first world are in the business of establishing business.

Pseudo-Leftists anticipate the Euro-Amerikkkan “proletariat” in the first world is going to rise up with arms. Instead, these white men are using their guns to shoot up schools, churches, mosques, synagogues, shopping malls, and homes.

They target women, oppressed nations, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, and Jews. And even other white men.

We have learned one thing from history.

Straight, white men are killing all of us.

If these were potential comrades, then they would be joining us already. They wouldn’t be shooting immigrants and people of color. Socialist and communist parties in the first world would be enormous forces to be reckoned with. Obviously, this is not the case.

Therefore, we must bring about a world where white people are disarmed en masse.

If Leftists want to support an armed proletariat for future revolution, then they need to support the complete disarming of the enemy: straight, white men.

The proletariat lives on – in places like India (where the Naxalites are fighting a guerilla war), in places like the Philippines (where Jose Maria Sison and the New People’s Army are fighting for freedom), and in places like Turkey (where the Maoist Communist Party maintains two armed wings fighting against the government).

Of course the proletariat must be armed. There is no question about that.

The question that these Pseudo-Leftists need to ask themselves is: where is the proletariat? Is it white people in Klanada or the United $tates?

Obviously not.

I Wish Trump Was a Russian Puppet

The Huffington Post, known for its great journalism (sarcasm), has been publishing total bullshit lately (not sarcasm) on Russia.

Let’s break this down though, because it’s mostly been just two journalists: Nick Robins-Early and David Wood.

They don’t know what the hell they’re talking about, but they’re certainly determined to make sure that everyone hears their ignorant opinions.

Nick Robins-Early wrote this piece, where he said that the photo is banned, which isn’t true, but rather the photo with the homophobic comment is banned. In this situation, I actually support the Russian government.

I’d like the Russian government to do more to ban homophobic language on the internet. I don’t think it does enough.

Then there’s this:

Which asks the important (sarcasm) question, why does Russia support the government of Syria? It fails to ask the important question, why doesn’t everybody? Why the fuck is Trump bombing Shayrat Airbase and groups fighting alongside the Syrian government?

 

Robins-Early also wrote this.

Which is all about poor Navalny (sarcasm) who was sentenced to jail for his bullshit. Navalny is considered to be an oppositionist in Russia, so he receives infinite support from the West. The thing that no one tells you is that Putin is to the left of Navalny, who was fond of describing Georgians as sub-human during the Russian-Georgian War in 2008.

And the Huffington Post saw fit to publish this little number by David Wood that argues that Russia is trying to start a war with the U.S. (and not the other way around)! What reality are these people living in where Russia is the aggressor when the U.S. is bombing an airbase that Russia uses? Can we imagine if the opposite had occurred?

Finally, after Tillerson’s meeting with Lavrov, Putin said that the relationship with the U.S. has deteriorated – is this not significant?

And the Huffington Post was there to report it (or at least steal it from Reuters).

This is insanity.

Meanwhile, this is the same outlet that was practically screaming that Trump was a Russian agent, personally placed (or blackmailed) into the position of president by Putin himself.

The current spat between the U$ media apparatus and the new regime demonstrates the silver lining in the ascendancy of Trump. The rupture between prototypical American institutions opens a space for exploitation. In other words, because Donald Trump is a huge idiot, he won’t be able to totally consolidate his power if he continues to attack corporate media. This means that here, for the first time, we may see the U$ population begin to genuinely question the functioning of the Amerikkkan state.

If this dumbass can be president, then clearly there’s a problem!

This is exactly what I wrote about on the day after Trump was announced the winner of the election. This is the silver lining. This is the benefit of Trump. If we use this as an opportunity to radicalize liberals and to use theory as a weapon, we can utterly transform the empire.

Trump’s open mocking of the apparently “timeless” values and mainstays of the U$ government have created a space in which everything is up for grabs. NATO, the border, and even liberal democracy itself are all under scrutiny by everyone on the political spectrum (finally) and if we take control of the narrative, we can present reality as it is.

Why do we have NATO? Why do we need a border? What is liberal democracy, anyway?

In other ways, it seems to me like Trump might be able to successfully delegitimize the whole system. My job is much easier in arguing that the state is racist, imperialist, and patriarchal with that 70-year-old walking lobotomy in charge of things. Capitalism in its most exploitative and destructive form is running around, unmasked.

Politicians are the best at making me want to punch old people.

If Trump refuses to go along with the general program, there’s also a chance that the media won’t immediately fall into line on all future policies.

In 2002, when Bush wanted to hype up for the invasion of Iraq, every media outlet in the U$ was unbelievably fast at falling in line. The same thing happened with Obama in Libya and Syria after that. When media conglomerates and the government play footsie, there’s no method to challenging the dominant narrative.

Back to Trump.

If Trump was a Russian puppet, we could at least guarantee a few things: there would be a de-escalation of war between the U$ and Russia, which would ease tensions between the U$ and Syria, the U$ and North Korea, the U$ and China…

Listen, I absolutely hate Vladimir Vladimirovich. He’s a terrible reactionary capitalist, but he’s certainly not pulling the strings.

If Trump was a Russian puppet, things would undoubtedly be better. This is particularly obvious when you consider the fact that Putin isn’t a total fucking moron.

Donald Trump can't read this, yet he's afraid of it

“Donald Trump can’t read this, but he’s still scared of it.”

 

Caveat: Any liberal criticism of Trump will dissipate in the event of a terrorist attack. Well, any terrorist attack perpetrated by Muslims. If any terrorist attack by white people occurs, it’ll barely get coverage.

But if any Muslim even hurts a white person (the media doesn’t care about Chican@s and Black people), then the media, along with the other liberals, will immediately goose-step back into line and President Literal-Cartoon-Villain will have all the power in the world.

A Critical Analysis of Occupy Wall Street

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.

Negative: White-washed

Occupy Wall Street

Need I say more?

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.

Negative: Non-ideological

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.

Negative: Undisciplined

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.

Dividing the Left

It’s May Day, which means that it’s the perfect opportunity to discuss the state of the Left. For the past ten years, I’ve often sought to build bridges between disparate groups in order to encourage organization.

Here, however, I want defend dividing the left for the time being.

There are times and places to build united fronts, of course, but at the moment, we need to have the opportunity and space to continue discussing, debating, pinning down ideological points. With sweeping generalizations being made about every event – Syria, Brexit, Trump – it is the time now to swim in polemics.

Now is the time to divide.

I'm voting for the Communist block

In Germany in the 1990s and early 2000s, there were essentially three factions on the Left who were opposed to one another. There were the anti-nationalists, the anti-imperialists, and the anti-Germans.

The anti-nationalists focused, obviously, on nation-states and treated all of them with equal contempt. Anti-nationalists saw all states as equally repulsive, whether the U.S. or Senegal. Since all states are mere constructions in capitalism, then they should all be fought.

The anti-imperialists argued that imperialism is the dominant force in the world, which therefore meant that different states (or non-state actors) occupy different positions in relation to imperialism. Forces that encourage imperialism (mostly stemming from the United States and Europe) should be fought and forces resisting imperialism (whether nominally leftist or not) should receive at least critical support.

The anti-Germans took the position that Germany was the primary entity that ought to be opposed, as Germany was responsible for the most horrific crimes of the 20th century. Anti-Germans were against German reunification, against NATO bombing Serbia, and against EU economic policies, all the while offering uncritical support to Israel, as the Jews had been the primary victims of Germany’s past. After 9/11, Anti-Germans used Marx’s formulation of the economic stages (feudalism, capitalism, socialism, communism) to support the Amerikkkan invasion of of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. Since all of these peoples were lumped into “anti-Semitic feudal Islamists”, then the U.S. was going to force the Middle East into capitalism, which would then open the world up for the next stages – socialism and communism.

As you can probably tell, I’m pretty anti-anti-German.

I’m far more sympathetic to the anti-nationalists and anti-imperialists.

In Germany today, the differences between these groups are disintegrating. One of my friends recently told me that he’s happy about this development, because he thinks it’s more important to build coalitions.

I am not so sure.

It seems to me that these distinctions were never made in the United States leftist scene. Ideologically speaking, it’s more difficult for anarchists and communists to come together than anti-nationalists and anti-imperialists, even if those anarchists and communists aren’t sure why.

The political constellations are different and, in my opinion, much more weakly defined.

As a prime example, the tendency in the United States is the endless question of “uniting the Left”. Personally, I’ve sat through countless brainstorming sessions that reached hair-brained solutions to the “factionalism” and “sectarianism” between leftists.

Differences shouldn’t be articulated and politicized, argue these saviors of leftist in-fighting.

But why not? Through polemics, we have leftist groups engaging one another. Communist parties and organizations vie for correct positions and anarchists clarify their positions as they adopt and adapt their adjectives: Anarcho-Syndicalist-Communist-Primitivists!

However, it’s clear that I’m in the minority. A lot of leftists crave “unity”, because they see that as a way of organizing and thereby succeeding. (Never mind the fact that “success” here means something entirely different to every grouping.)

The main point for them is openness.

This openness is the idea that brings us a magazine like Jacobin.

I should mention here that I often like articles on Jacobin and have cited them numerous times on this blog. However, Jacobin represents this tendency and there are plenty of articles on Jacobin that are absolute nonsense.

In the goal of “unity”, Jacobin, posturing as a broad-leftist, big-tent magazine, is careful not to talk too much about characters that are divisive: Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao go almost totally unmentioned. Even Marx and Engels are barely cited.

The usual cast of characters of leftist debate are mostly left untouched, as this might cause division.

Jacobin articles are particularly philosophically empty.

Rather than offering a structured system of analysis in any way, Jacobin magazine leaves us to dwell in a post-modern, non-polemical space.

We are free to take up contradictory political positions based on feelings. Politics in this world are based on convenience. You can check your brain at the door, as long as you’ve brought your heart along.

stalin churchhill fdr

“I don’t know who to support here!”

The Soviet Union is gone, the PRC is totally capitalist, Castro is dead, we don’t have to defend anything icky!

Although in some ways we can see this ideological vacuity an asset, it seems to me rather often to result in the publishing of some rather absurdly silly arguments.

At the same time, because the differences between positions like anti-nationalism and anti-imperialism were never articulated on the American Left, there is no space for a proper discussion on these points between mainstream leftist tendencies.

But Jacobin still encourages its readers to take hard political positions.

A good example is this article, super critical of Hezbollah for not being “proletarian enough” and this other article that calls for general solidarity with the Rojava, while pointing out criticisms from a left-liberal human rights perspective.

So, we are told, we shouldn’t support Hezbollah, based on a Marxist analysis, and we should critically support Rojava, based on a liberal analysis.

Where does that leave us?

Why one and not the other?

Is the PKK/PYD seriously representative of the Kurdish proletariat? Obviously not.

Jacobin does us no favors here. Due to the lack of ideological clarity, we have a variety of positions on a variety of issues and they can range from left-liberal to Marxist, which, it should be noted, are competing and mutually-exclusive worldviews.

(This hypocritically coming from the Muslim communist.)

Without any ideological rigor and in the constant attempts to “unite the Left”, we’re offered almost nothing. All the “solutions” don’t give use anything concrete.

When we’re divided over polemics, we’re at least negotiating ideological space, when we’re “united”, we’re barely saying anything of substance to each other.

So on this May Day, 100 years after the Russian Revolution, I’d like to say to all my fellow leftists:

Let’s remain divided, at least for now.

Bill Oreilly