Is Russia Leading the Resistance to the Globalists? Reply

By Peter Kreko

Open Democracy

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In an earlier post this year, Marley Morris and myself were writing about the importance of conspiracy theories in populist discourses and ideologies based on the French, Hungarian and Slovakian cases. This post will focus instead on the extremist threat of conspiracy theories.

Conspiracy theories are present in practically every violent intergroup conflict.  And these theories are not just following violent events – they are driving them. The Russian official ideology and Kremlin-close media has been spreading conspiracy theories for years to justify the regime’s anti-western stance and give justification for the nationalist, expansionist goals of the Kremlin. The Middle East has always been and is a fertile ground for conspiracy theories – even the most ludicrous ones such as that Israel is distributing libido-increasing chewing gum in the Strip.  At the heart of the ideology of the Islamic State we come across a theory that a part of the Muslim clergy is secretly conspiring with the West, plotting for the Crusaders to invade the Muslim World – and IS’s ‘defensive jihad’ is the only tool to prevent this epidemic of Westernization.

Conspiracy theories are extremely helpful for leaders provoking violent conflicts. They simplify the world, victimise the ingroup, diabolise the enemy, and give justification for violence against the outgroups, calling for “apocalyptic aggression”: “if we don’t defend ourselves today, they will destroy us tomorrow”.

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Can Left and Right Unite Against the New World Order? Reply

By Jan Willem van Prooijen

London School of Economics

Whenever threatening, high profile events take place, conspiracy theories offering alternative explanations to the official narrative tend to emerge. One does not need to look far on social media to find sweeping statements about recent events, such as ‘Israel’s national intelligence agency Mossad committed the Charlie Hebdo attacks’, ‘Islamic State beheadings were staged by Hollywood producers’, or ‘the economic crisis in the EU was deliberately caused by the International Monetary Fund’.

Far-fetched as these conspiracy theories might be, it would be a mistake to portray conspiracy theorists as simply mentally ill: indeed some conspiracy theories – including theories that the CIA was behind the John F. Kennedy assassination, or that 9-11 was an inside job – are endorsed by a surprisingly large number of citizens. Moreover, conspiracy beliefs can have harmful consequences: people who believe that climate change is a hoax will be less motivated to reduce their carbon footprints; while people who believe that the pharmaceutical industry tries to harm instead of help the public through vaccines are less likely to get their child vaccinated. There is therefore good reason for the social sciences to conduct serious research on the psychology behind belief in conspiracy theories.

The link between political ideologies and conspiracy theories

Conspiracy theories often assume that politicians, or governmental institutions, are playing a role in a scheme or plot designed to harm or deceive the public. It therefore stands to reason that political ideology matters for the conspiracy theories that people consider to be plausible. As might be expected, the political left tends to be suspicious of the political right, and the political right tends to be suspicious of the political left. But the best predictor of belief in a given conspiracy theory is belief in another conspiracy theory: put simply, people often exhibit a ‘conspiratorial mindset’ that seems to transcend traditional left-right distinctions.

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It’s Time to Give “Conspiracy Theorists” a Seat at the Political Table Reply

By Tony Sobrado

Huffington Post

As any Philosopher of Science will tell you formal theories serve as explanations to observed phenomena, an association between the explanandum – the object of phenomena to be explained; and the explanans – the framework, concept or theory to be used as an the reference point for explanation. Pioneers in philosophy of Science such as Hempel coined this logic inference to the best explanation.

Employing a Meta theory that explains a form of social reality and existence has long been the goal of Philosophers who propagate abstract thinking and rules of logic to define and set the boundaries of ontology and epistemology. In Political Philosophy one often has the espousing of an Ideology: A set of ideas that best serve to explain political and social phenomena and thus attempting a correlation between the theory used in explanation with that of the “goings on” observed. For long periods in history Philosophers and Social Scientists have debated whether Liberalism, Marxism, Anarchism, Structuralism or Methodological Individualism best serve as theoretical explanations of social reality.

In this same instance we find Ideologists today who advocate Conspiracy Theory. Like so many others in the realm of theoretical and philosophical explanation they too employ ideal frameworks that account for observed phenomena. Regardless of the aspects that encompass specific conspiracy theories, whether they are single point conspiracy theories like 911 or Meta conspiracy theories of the New World Order, they all occupy the spectrum of political ideology. This is because they advocate an explanation for observed phenomena. As where Marxism does it through the lens of capitalism and its dialectic with the human essence, Liberalism through inalienable individual property rights, conspiracy theorists do it through the lens of an esoteric operating cabal – for instance a horde of business and political agents responsible for 911 and its cover up.

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News Digest July 3, 2015 Reply

Bernie Sanders: Populist or Opportunist? by Stephen Lendman

U.S. Police Killings Headed for 1100 This Year, Blacks Twice as Likely to Die The Guardian

Julian Assange Seeks Asylum in France Russia Today

How a Brutal Strain of American Aristocrats Have Come to Run America by Sara Robinson

Is It Finally Time to Let the South Secede? by Joshua Holland

Jim Webb Announces Candidacy for 2016 by Michael Walsh

Pentagon’s New Strategy Calls for Continued U.S. World Domination Russia Today

Sentencing Reform: A Triple Dose of Freedom Families Against Mandatory Minimums

Fort Sumter Nixes All Confederate Flags by Barbara Boland

Palestinian Youths Face Arrest Without Warning Al Jazeera

Is Sex Trafficking A Real Crisis? by Nick Hankoff

Bernie, Hillary, and the Liberal Realignment Daily Kos

Text from Imprisoned Revolutionary Struggle Member Nikos Maziotis About the Crisis in Greece Insurrection News

“The Solution I Propose is Massive Civil Disobedience” by Conor Friedersdorf

White Professor Calls All White People to Mass Suicide Over Slavery by Laura Meyers

Noam Chomsky: Austerity is Just Class War by Amy Goodman

Drugs Laws and the Mass Incarceration of Women by Asha Bandele

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White Privilege and Other Hot Air 1

It’s time for anarchists to drop all this “privilege theory” nonsense. Our struggle is against the global power elite, not any race,religion, gender, nationality, etc, etc, etc.

By Keith Preston

Libertarian Alliance

Libertarians of whatever stripe tend to focus primarily on political theory, law, economics, ethics, and philosophy. When it comes to cultural issues, they tend to just fall back on the de facto leftist position or the de facto conservative position, depending on their personal predilections. I don’t think that’s an adequate approach. Instead, I think we need a theoretical framework that recognizes the inevitability and legitimacy of a wide assortment of cultures that really do diverge from each other in terms of core values. Thinkers like Alain De Benoist and Alexander Dugin have addressed this issue at length, and libertarians could learn a lot from them.

I think libertarians (of whatever kind) can do better than to rely on theories developed by Communists like “white skin privilege,” and which found their way into the Western Left via Maoist groups like the Weather Underground.

The problem with this kind of thinking is that it shifts the focus away from the Power Elite as the target of enmity, and merely becomes a matter of promoting demographic conflict, e.g. blacks against whites, men against women, gays against straights, atheists against religious believers, natives against immigrants, trees against bulldozers, meat eaters against vegetarians, poor Appalachian whites against Jewish bankers, etc.

The theory behind all that is to ostensibly build “solidarity of the oppressed” in order to avoid allowing the ruling class to play different groups off against one another in a “divide and conquer” type of thing. But it doesn’t work that way in practice. In fact, it has precisely the opposite effect where the ruling class will pose as the friend of supposed oppressed minorities whom they use as middle men between the elite and the demographic and cultural majority they wish to subjugate in order to deflect attention from themselves (see the Belgian colonialists tactics in Rwanda where they favored the minority Tutsis over the majority Hutus as an example of how this works-and didn’t that turn out well?). Also, the cultural left has to a large degree become the cultural majority in the US, and now it is cultural traditionalists who are becoming the minority outgroup.

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News Digest July 2, 2015 Reply

Many Applies for Marriage License to Have Two Wives by Jon Street

German Ethics Council Calls for Incest Between Siblings to be Legalized Zurmat.Com

For Anarchist, Details of Life as an FBI Target by Colin Moynihan and Scott Shane

This Professor Was Fired for Saying “Fuck No” in Class by Michelle Goldburg

An Interview with Noam Chomsky on the Spanish Revolution by Jorell A. Melendez Badillo

ISIS Threatens Hamas-But Could Move Israel and Closer to Fight Common Enemy Russia Today

New Book from Rothbardian Author Keir Martland Reply

Libertarian Alliance

Liberty from a Beginner: Selected Essays

By Keir Martland

Foreword by Sean Gabb

“[these essays] break out of the dead end that British libertarianism – and much American – has found itself in since about 1980.” – Dr. Sean Gabb (Libertarian Alliance)

“Keir Martland provides a perspective COVERthat synthesizes Rothbardian libertarianism with cultural traditionalism to offer insights that are as penetrating as they are rare.” – Keith Preston (Attack the System)

Libertarianism is in a dead end. All too often, libertarians focus on cuts in the top rate of income tax, deregulation of the banking sector, and welfare reform. These policies are all well and good, but if a real libertarian government comes to power in the United Kingdom, they would not be on the top of the agenda. We have lost touch with reality. We have lost our way.

Libertarians need to re-examine many of their stances and ask whether they are the right thing for 21st century Britain. Much of the time, this is not the case. For example, the policy of open borders is not only unpopular, but is also theoretically flawed as well as at the root of many of Britain’s current social problems.
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News Digest July 1, 2015 Reply

Marriage Equality: Don’t Let the Perfect Become the Enemy of the Good by Cory Massimo

Inequality, the State, and the Left by Chris Dillow

Can You Be a Waitress and a Feminist? by Brittany Bronson

Private Prisons to Sue States Unless They Get More Inmates Free Labor Countercurrents News

The Libertarian Case Against Gay Marriage by Justin Raimondo

Spain Puts Gag on Freedom of Expression as Spain Approves Security Law by Ashifa Kassam

Federal Judge: “My Drug War Sentences Were Unfair and Disproportionate” by Conor Friedersdorf

Why Government Should Get Out of the Marriage Business by Edward Morrisey

Civil Rights Icon’s Tough Message to Black Community on Confederate Flag by Jason Howerton

Activists Planning to Burn American Flags in Brooklyn Today by Mike Pearl

Ruling Against Three Strikes Sentencing Law Opens Door to Reform by Nicole D. Porter

Affordable Housing Crisis Grows Across the Country as Apartment Rents Skyrocket by Steven Rosenfeld

Orwell, Huxley, and the Scourge of the Surveillance State by Henry A. Giroux

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Frankenstein: The Ideal GOP Candidate Reply

It’s fitting that a monster should be the candidate of the Part of War and Plutocracy

“Brooks acknowledged that the field is using rhetoric “that’s not very libertarian, that’s a lot more aggressive on foreign policy than we’ve seen in a long time.”

“Kristol issued a cautionary note: Billionaires, he said, “can be a problem.” When candidates spend too much time with wealthy donors, “as a result, they have a slightly weird view about what people care about and where the voters really are.” He cited the fact that candidates often discuss cutting capital-gains taxes, while voters are more likely to be interested in lowering payroll taxes, as one example.”

Fail.

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News Digest June 30, 2105 Reply

SWAT Raids Wrong Home, Breaks Windows, Then Issues Citation for Broken Windows Free Thought Project

Rand Paul Becomes the First Major Party Presidential Candidate to Court Pot Donors Rare.Us

Hillary Clinton is a Gift to the Global Elite by W. James Antle III

How Campus Feminism Infantilizes Women by Matt Welch and Jim Epstein

The Neuroscience of Six Drugs in a Nutshell by Dylan Goldstein

40th Anniversary of Pine Ridge Shootout 1

By Ed Krayewski

Reason

Today is the 40th anniversary of the June 26, 1975, shootout at Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota between two FBI agents who drove in with unmarked cars and several members of the American Indian Movement (AIM), a Native American rights group operating out of the reservation at the time. Both FBI agents were wounded by gunfire before appearing to be shot execution-style, and a member of AIM, Joseph Stuntz, was also fatally shot. The FBI never investigated his killing but reports he was “apparently shot by a law enforcement officer at the scene” during the shootout.

Despite having a population of just 12,000, there were more murders in Pine Ridge in the two years before the shootout than in the rest of the state of South Dakota combined. Three years ago, the FBI resolved to reinvestigate 45 homicides contemporary tribal leaders say remain unresolved. In the 1970s, many of the unsolved murders were attributed to the “Guardians of the Oglala Nation” (GOON) squad, a vigilante-like group organized by the tribal chair, Dick Wilson. AIM and others blamed Wilson, a “progressive” (as opposed to the “traditionalists” of the AIM), for the campaign against “traditional people,” and accused him of widespread corruption, not uncommon in tribal governments at the time.

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News Digest June 29, 2015 Reply

Should We Lower the Age of Consent to Protect Teenagers? by Amanda Hess

Congress Hopes to Tackle Criminal Justice Reform This Year Liberty Unyielding

Almost 90 Percent of US Wiretaps Listen for Suspected Drug Deals by Brian Anderson

The ACLU Now Opposes Religious Freedom Because Christians Need It by Robby Soave

Mass Incarceration is Leading to Economic Ruin by Robert Reich

Rand Paul: Privatize Marriage TIME Magazine

The 2016 Results We Can Already Predict Politico Magazine

Bernie Sanders Has Overtaken Hillary Clinton in the Hearts and Minds of Democrats Films for Action

Julian Assange on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Democracy Now

Egyptian Human Rights Defender Completes First Year in Prison by Nada Ramadan

47 Percent of Americans Would Vote for a Socialist by Kali Holloway

Confidence in US Police Lowest in 22 Years Truth Voice

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The Real War Heroes 2

Chapter 1 of the book

RADICAL PEACE: People Refusing War

By William T. Hathaway

“That must be them.” Petra took one hand off the steering wheel and pointed to a group of soldiers about two hundred meters away, standing along our road next to a high chainlink fence topped with barbed wire.

Traffic was light, but Petra said, “I don’t want any other cars around.” She pulled off the road and stopped. “Get everything ready.”

I crawled into the back of the car and opened the rear hatch to give access to the interior and to raise the license plate out of sight. We wore caps and sunglasses to be less recognizable. More…

California State Assembly passes resolution equating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism Reply

The Zionist wing of totalitarian humanism strikes!

By Annie Robbins and Matthew Taylor

Mondoweiss

School’s out, but that didn’t stop California’s state assembly from passing Resolution HR35 buttressing a controversial report commissioned by the University of California that accuses students and faculty of contributing to an environment fostering anti-Semitism on campus.

The report’s recommendations, which seek to limit criticism of Israeli state policies as a form of “hate speech”, have been criticized as an assault on academic freedom and an attempt to limit student and faculty’s first amendment rights to free speech.

There was no debate by lawmakers prior to approval, nor was Israel even mentioned during the introduction of the resolution.

AP:

An Assembly resolution urging California colleges and universities to squelch nascent anti-Semitism also encouraged educators to crack down on demonstrations against Israel, angering advocates for Muslim students.

With no debate, lawmakers on Tuesday approved a resolution that encourages university leaders to combat a wide array of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel actions.

…….

The Assembly’s actions also drew criticism from free speech advocates. Carlos Villarreal, director of the San Francisco chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, called the resolution irresponsible and dangerous because it combines legitimate condemnations of acts of intimidation and hate with specific objections to tactics used to support the Palestinian people.

– See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2012/08/california-state-assembly-passes-resolution-equating-criticism-of-israel-with-hate-speech#sthash.My10E1jZ.dpuf

News Digest June 28, 2015 Reply

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No joke: Iceland’s Pirate Party surges into first place in the polls Reply

By Stephen Wolf

Daily Kos

The Icelandic Pirate Party

Iceland has long been one of the more right-leaning Nordic countries. In contrast to Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, which all have a long tradition of electing Social Democratic governments, Iceland’s parliament has been dominated by right-of-center parties for all but four years since World War II. The only break in that streak came in 2009, when the left won for the first time ever—and elected the world’s first openly gay head of state. The unusual result came about because the global financial meltdown hit Iceland with particular ferocity, but tradition seemingly reasserted itself four years later when the right-leaning Independence and Progressive parties regained power in a landslide.So it comes as a massive shock that the last few months of polling has shown the incumbent coalition hemorrhaging support not to the center-left Social Democrats or to the left-wing Left-Green Movement, but to the nascent Pirate Party, which has surged into the lead in public opinion polls due to dissatisfaction with the mainstream parties.

Indeed, a recent Gallup survey found the Pirate Party with the support of 34 percent of voters while another found them with 35 percent. That puts the Pirates ahead of the Independence and Progressive Parties’ combined support despite those two ruling-coalition partners winning 51 percent together just two years ago. That dramatic shift is illustrated in the bar chart below:

attribution: Daniel Donner

So what the heck is this “Pirate Party,” and why are they suddenly so popular? Head below the fold to learn more about this deeply unusual phenomenon.

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Gay Marriage, Good News and Bad: Some Thoughts on “Marriage Equality” Reply

If during the course of some Twilight Zone moment I had found myself on the Supreme Court this past term here’s how I would have approached the gay marriage issue before the Court:

First, the objections to gay marriage.

1. Gay marriage is against religious teachings. Perhaps, but in a society whose core political charter guarantees free exercise of religion, this is an irrelevant argument.

2. Gay marriage goes against tradition. Perhaps, but then so does marriage based on companionate monogamy. Historically, most marriages were arranged by the families of the bride and groom, and polygamy was also widely practiced, at least among wealthy males. Additionally, an appeal to tradition alone often produces embarrassing results. Case in point: “Tradition” was one of the arguments used by slavery apologists in past times.

3. Gay marriage is unnatural. Perhaps, but the same was said at one time about interracial marriage, which was illegal in parts of the United States until 1967. It is doubtful that many Americans really want to go down that road.

4. A same-sex coupling does not produce children. No, it doesn’t. But then neither does a marriage between two sixty-five year old heterosexual partners. Besides, it’s not like the creation and raising of children is the only or even the primary function of marriage in our own culture. People get married for all kinds of reasons: romance, companionship, sex, money, social status, to defy their parents, immigration status, insurance benefits, and many other things.

Ideally, marital relations would not be a matter that involves the state. Instead, different religious and cultural communities would have their own standards concerning what constitutes a legitimate marriage, and the purely economic aspects of marriage would be no different that an ordinary business contract.

However, the fact remains that we do have state-sanctioned marriage, and this status conveys on marital partners a variety of legal benefits. Among these are inheritance rights, property ownership rights, survivor benefits in the event of the death of spouse, critical decision making prerogatives when a spouse is incapacitated, power of attorney, hospital visitation rights, the exemption of marital partners from testifying against one another in court, and a number of other things.

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News Digest June 27, 2015 Reply

Are Leftist, Feminist Kurds About to Deliver the Coup de Grace to ISIL in Syria? by Juan Cole

Topple the Cult of the Presidency by Lucy Steigerwald

It’s Time to Legalize Polygamy by Fredrik DeBoer

Rand Paul Takes a Stand by Justin Raimondo

Keynes, the Great Depression, and the Coming Great Default by Gary North

“I Don’t Get Debate Over the Confederate Flag. We Need to Put the American Flag Down.” by Louis Farrakhan

Becky Belding's photo.

Many Are Shocked by the Size of the Crowds Bernie Sanders is Drawing by Michael Arria

America’s Slave Empire by Chris Hedges

Leaked Report Reveals Many Cops Are Members of Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs Countercurrents News

WASHINGTON – The White House glowed with rainbow pride on Friday after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of nationwide same-sex marriage. Politico.com

Some random posts by anarchists of different kinds on the issue of gay marriage:

Anarchists on Gay Marriage AnarchistAgency.Com

Anarchists vs Gay Marriage Mrdotwill Squatter

An Anarchist View of the Gay Marriage Debate Jeff Shantz/Fifth Estate

No Right to Marry Davi Barker/Daily Anarchist

Against Equality: Queer Critiques of Marriage Political Media Review

Should an Anarchist Support State-Recognized Gay Marriage? Anarchy Without Bombs

Gay Marriage is Regressive Francois Tremblay

Voting for Marriage Equality while Being Critical of Marriage Workers Solidarity Movement

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My Flag is the Black Flag: Some Thoughts on Charleston, Gun Control and the Confederate Flag 1

The recent murder of nine African-Americans in Charleston, South Carolina by a deranged white supremacist has generated something of a backlash against the Confederate flag, long a symbolic target of the Left in America’s ongoing culture wars. Massacres carried out by a mentally disturbed lone gunman are hardly a novelty in the United States. In fact, they’re fairly routine. Sometimes the killers are motivated by racism, sometimes by other things, and sometimes they seem to have no apparent motive at all. Perhaps this should come as no surprise. A nation of 320 million people is statistically likely to include quite a few fruitbats among its populace.

Everything from video games to guns to TV to the Confederate flag gets blamed for these characters. But I think the real issue is family and community breakdown. Do any of these freaks have parents, siblings, neighbors, landlords, co-workers, employers, friends, teachers, etc. who could tell they were obviously severely mentally disturbed and probably dangerous? Both serial killers and public shooter/mass murderer types are uniquely American in terms of volume, frequency, and proportion, and I think it has to do with the hyper mobile, hyper competitive, impersonal, rootless anomie you find in American culture that’s somewhat unique on a world or historical basis. At the same time, America does not presently have the much larger scale inter-communal violence found in some other parts of the world, primarily the “failed states” of Asia and Africa, so maybe the occasional deranged lone gunman is a cheap substitute.

Whenever these events occur, the gun control do-gooders start crawling out of the woodwork and citing their statistics concerning how the murder rates in the European Union and Japan are considerably lower than those of the U.S. which they attribute to the generally stricter gun laws of those nations.

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