America is a country that both loves and hates its conspiracy theories. On the one hand, our popular culture is lousy with them, from cinema to the president’s goddamn Twitter account. On the other hand, we host an academic elite which not only views such cultural trends with disdain, but seems to see our history, their history, the “official story”, as some kind of irrefutable biblical fact. Few people make the connection between these parallel trends, the likelihood that the overly presumptuous and at times downright jingoistic orthodoxy of our ivory tower elites is precisely what drives pedestrian America to search for alternatives to their “truth”. That old adage, consider the source. The reality is that history in and of itself is not black and white science. At its most accurate it is a collection of narratives, different perspectives from the ground floor that could easily be described as conspiracy theories. What appears to be a conspiracy theory from Arlington or Manhattan, looks a lot more like bad memories from Hiroshima or Tuskegee. Any true revisionist historian must become a collector of conspiracy theories, viewing all available narratives with a healthy grain of salt.
Some sad news from AnarchistNews.Org. Apparently, anarchist publisher Aragorn Bang has passed away. Aragorn was a long time anarchist from the Bay Area, and the force behind the Little Black Cart publishing venture. R.I.P.
At 10:26pm on Thursday February 13 Aragorn! walked on. After a debilitating stroke he baffled his doctors by dying and self resuscitating twice, then finally passed peacefully in his sleep.
A memorial will be held at a date to be determined. Watch here for more information. If you have photos we would like them. You can send them to email@example.com
Once again, dearest motherfuckers, I feel obligated to reprise my roll as ‘that bitch.’ Do I really have to be the queer bummer who smashes the Buttigieg delusion? Are all the other faggot anarchists busy? Oh well, fuck it. Hand me my hammer and I’ll do what I do best, which seems to be pissing off other queer people by interrupting their increasingly statist pride parades with the stone cold inconvenience of reality. I’m really sorry darlings, but its time for some tough love. This hurts me more than it hurts you but hopefully it hurts Mayor Pete the most. Because a vote for Mayor Pete may be a vote for the first gay president, but it’s also a vote for assimilation. So, here we go.
Around the country, queer kids are getting emails and Facebook pokes from their grandparents, congratulating us collectively for producing a viable presidential candidate. We must be so proud. Maybe you are but I’m not. I wouldn’t even want a legit queer occupying that glorified porta shitter called the Oval Office, much less one who appears to have been raised by neoliberal wolves. Pete Buttigieg may be gay but he is not one of us. Pete is more vanilla than most heterosexuals. He’s the kind of queer you bring home to mom instead of your black-bear boyfriend to make your rejection of her suburban values more palatable. He’s the kind of queer who tops just so he doesn’t ruin the good linens. He’s the kind of queer who nags his boyfriend into a church marriage and a couple of adopted Guatemalans just so he has something to brag about to his soccer-mom bitch sister in the annual Christmas letter. He’s the kind of queer who has one trans friend just so he can tell his Lincoln Republican friends that he has one trans friend. He’s the kind of queer who really isn’t that queer at all. He prefers LGBTQ. He’s the new queer; domesticated, neat, house broken, a novel wonder of modern western civilization. “But he’s a sign of progressive inclusion, so what are you bitching about?”
This was quite a captivating performance. Regardless of whether you support Brexit or decry it, it’s hard not to identify with the mobilizing passions Nigel Farage appeals to.
While it remains an open question whether the UK is better off with the EU or without it, there is much to be said for political self-determination. As the principle of subsidiarity holds, many of the world’s political problems are best solved on the smallest and the most local level of government.
That makes a lot of sense in light of how mayors of towns and governors of provinces know more about their communities than presidents of republics or let alone international governing bodies like the EU. It’s also worth noting that that the local politicians are more attached to their communities and have more of an incentive to do what serves the public rather than their cronies.
On that note, I will also say that I support independent Catalonia, even if I am glad that Franco won the Spanish civil war. George Orwell’s “homage to Catalonia” is often misunderstood to be a one-sided denunciation of fascism. Yet, in the opening chapter, he wrote: “I am not writing a propaganda book, the Republican militia suffered from serious problems”.
Orwell earned his immortal fame critiquing the pathological structure of totalitarian regimes, especially those that emerge in the far-left, with a particular emphasis on Stalinism. While “1984” can be seen as a general critique of totalitarianism, “the Animal Farm” was an attack on Stalinism, where the Old Major represented Karl Marx and Napoleon represented Stalin.
In a similar vein, Orwell went on to show that while the Catalonian forces were home to many well-intentioned, albeit misguided idealists, they were often co-opted by the totalitarian left. Stalin famously supported the Republican forces and his motives certainly were not altruistic or humanitarian. Stalin was a barbarian who probably would have started World War III, had he not died under questionable circumstances in the hands of Kruschev.
Had the Republicans gotten their way in the Spanish civil war, Spain would have been much more like Greece than the civilized, prospering democratic society it is today. It is a little known fact that despite the excesses of Franco’s far-right regime, he presided over the “Spanish miracle” which was a series of reforms in economic liberalization that produced tremendous growth. Toward the end of his reign, the Franco regime even made a number of concessions to tolerate limited pluralism in Spain, which is partly why the Francoist Spain was allowed to join NATO.
These acts of compromise are unthinkable on the far-left: there has never been an economic miracle of this proportion in the former USSR nations or any ex-communist country for that matter. China may be the lone exception, but they will never be a free country.
Freedom is always easier to pry away from the jaws of right-wing extremists than it is from the communists, which is why Chile is now a proper democracy, despite the atrocities committed by the Pinochet regime. Portugal was also afflicted by the far-right regime of Antonio Salazar, but it is now a thriving democracy. With the exception of the Baltic states, this is a result that virtually none of the ex-communist regimes will ever achieve.
The Francoists have made their point and yes, I get it: Real Madrid is the symbol of unified Spain, while Barcelona is the symbol of the insurgency. Yet, enough is enough: there is no threat of a communist outbreak anymore, this is not the coronavirus. If it is clear that the Catalans wish to secede from Spain, Madrid has no business holding them back.
I recently stumbled upon this debate between Patrick Smith, a vulgar libertarian, and Mike Shipley, a comrade and libertarian who does great activist work. Smith, unsurprisingly, says some very dumb things that require rebuttal. This is not to say, of course, that Mike did an inadequate job explaining things. I just want to strike back myself, because doing so means asserting my individuality.
A main point that Smith makes early on, and the point which “anarcho-capitalists” seem fundamentally wired to repeat, regardless of how ridiculous it is, is the following one: Workplace hierarchy doesn’t exist in capitalism because the worker-capitalist interactions are voluntary. A worker who doesn’t like his conditions can quit anytime, and a boss who doesn’t like their workers can lay them off and replace them at any time. Both groups agree to the conditions and can secede from the agreement at any time. So, why is this view horribly misguided, and why does it confuse a free market with a market based on statist interference?
The Contingency of Voluntaryism
Smith’s point about the worker-boss agreement being voluntary on the part of the boss is understandable enough. After all, the labor market is incredibly vast, and there are probably many people who could fill a position if an enterprise’s manager decided to lay off a worker. But what about the worker? If we’re talking about a worker who doesn’t own capital and has no means to acquire it, yet needs capital to live and produce, then his options are really two. He can find a job and boss at all costs, or he can starve. Starvation is not a legitimate choice, and so he is effectively left with one option. It is true that he may have some decision-making power when looking for a boss to prostrate himself before (though many workers don’t even have that), and yet the choice to not subordinate himself to a boss is one he doesn’t have. Dispossessed workers have no choice in their subordination, and yet bosses have a variety of choices. They can fill an empty position with any number of people. Or they can fill the position themselves. Or they can force one of their current employees to do additional work. Or they can find a way to eliminate the need for such a position, etc. They are at no disadvantage due to the surplus of labor that resides within existing capitalism. Smith tries to make the case that the labor market is competitive, and that employers must compete harshly among one another for the workers. He equates this as being on par with labor competing for access to capital. His brain is evidently broken. The amount of laborers who need work is FAR greater, in current society, than the number of employers seeking workers. For workers, finding a job is a complicated and dehumanizing process, one that could take months and where success is never guaranteed. For employers, finding a worker is as simple as putting up a sign or an online ad. Oh how tough they have it!
Urgh! Ma, do I have to write about impeachment again? Cant I just take the trash down to the curb instead? Yeah, that’s right, dearest motherfuckers, its another goddamn impeachment piece, because apparently the thing about purgatory is that it’s never fucking over. Just when you think you’re about get paroled to the sweet hereafter, John Bolton writes a fucking book and you get another century added to your sentence. By the time it’s through, you’re begging for hell, anything to cut the fucking boredom. Hell is supposed to come this Wednesday but if the anticlimax of the Muller Report didn’t end this circus, something nauseating tells me the Senate’s partisan acquittal won’t either. I usually enjoy writing. It gives me some sense of control over the downright hellish purgatory of day to day life in the prolapsed colon of a herniated empire. Its hard work but it’s usually pretty rewarding. This impeachment shit, though, its like fucking math homework. It doesn’t matter how necessary it is, it still feels fucking pointless.
The House on Thursday approved two measures aimed at clawing back President Donald Trump’s war powers, a direct result of recent aggression between Iran and the United States that culminated earlier this month in missile attacks on Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops.
The votes, which passed with four Republican defections on one measure and 11 on the other, mark a victory for anti-war lawmakers who have long sought to rein in the executive’s ability to use military force without congressional authorization. The White House opposed the measures and their support within the GOP was closely watched as a litmus test for loyalty among Republican members to the president in an election year.
Although the White House released individual policy statements opposing the measures earlier this week, the Trump administration’s position on them was muddied Wednesday by the president himself, who wrote on Twitter that members should “vote their heart” — a potential signal that he anticipated some defections.
Rep. Barbara Lee, a California Democrat who has long worked to repeal the 2002 military force authorization that allowed the United States to invade Iraq, said in an interview that she found the president’s tweet consistent with “not knowing what their policy is.”
On this episode of The Critical Hour, Dr. Wilmer Leon is joined by Keith Preston, author and writer at the blog Attack the System.
“In a closed-door meeting after closing remarks, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told colleagues he doesn’t have the votes to block witnesses” in the Senate impeachment trial of US President Donald Trump, The Washington Post reported Tuesday, citing anonymous source familiar with the remarks. “Just four GOP senators would have to join with Democrats to produce the majority needed to call witnesses — an outcome McConnell has sought to avoid since it could invite new controversy and draw out the divisive proceedings.” Should this be taken seriously or is this more McConnell gamesmanship?
In a new MintPress News article titled “Former Brazilian President Lula da Silva: Obama, Hillary Ordered Me Not to Negotiate with Iran,” Alan MacLeod writes: “In a wide-rangin interview with Brasil Wire editors Daniel Hunt, Brian Mier and Michael Brooks, host of ‘The Michael Brooks Show,’ the man universally known as Lula described how the US government ordered him not to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran.” What’s going on here?
Whitney Webb wrote for MintPress News on Tuesday: “Russia, China and Iran are already being blamed for using tech to undermine the 2020 election. Yet, the very technologies they are allegedly using were created by a web of companies with deep ties to Israeli intelligence. … Over the past several months and with a renewed zeal in just the last few weeks, anonymous intelligence officials, dubious ‘experts’ and establishment media outlets have crafted a narrative about the coming ‘chaos’ of the 2020 election, months before it takes place. Per that narrative, certain state actors will use specific technologies to target the ‘American mind’ in order to undermine the coming presidential election. The narrative holds that those efforts will be so successful that the US will never recover as a democracy.”
Keith Preston — Author and writer at the blog Attack the System.
Alan MacLeod — Academic and journalist. He is a staff writer at MintPress News and a contributor to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), as well as the author of “Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting.”
Daniel Lazare — Journalist and author of three books: “The Frozen Republic,” “The Velvet Coup” and “America’s Undeclared War.”
It’s getting pretty damn near impossible, even for a vengeful anarcho-cynic like myself, to deny that the system clearly despises Bernie Sanders. Both the DNC and their moronic B-team in the so called mainstream media seem to be downright apoplectic over the fact that the grizzled old buzzard is leading the presidential pack in all the ways that count. Not that you’d ever know it by watching the news. Based on the coverage, you would think Bernie was trailing behind the Yang Gang in the polls. Even at the debates, they avoid his perpetually pontificating old ass like the drunk chick at a wedding party, while they softball grounder after grounder to poll-fucked centrist losers like Amy Klobuchar.
CNN’s January surprise, a totally toothless collection of anonymous accusations about a single hypothetical sexist comment made years ago to progressive rival and pathological opportunist, Elizabeth Warren, is just further proof of this prejudice. The sheer absurdity of the idea that Bernie just randomly went all Archie Bunker all over Warren’s ass and everyone, including her, just happens to remember the event just in time for the last debates before the Iowa Caucus, is downright dumbfounding. The only thing more bugfuck nuts in my mind is the fact that any suite-and-tie wearing member of the status quo actually considers this asshole a threat. He’s a fucking poseur and he’s their best hope for taking back the White House. Clintonism has officially become a mental illness. Call it Bernie Derangement Syndrome and call those TERF’s at the DSM.
In case you missed it, I’ve never liked Bernie Sanders. It’s not the pie in the sky welfare spending or the tiresome FDR (founding father of the modern American concentration camp) worship. I could begrudgingly live with all that. But it’s the simple fact that the motherfucker, a self-proclaimed Eugene Debs loving leftist, just isn’t antiwar. It’s the one issue I vote on as an anti-imperialist syndicalist vehemently apposed to any mockery of “democracy” that doesn’t begin and end on the factory floor. Oh sure, Bernie says all the right shit and voted No on a couple bloodbaths, but when push comes to shove, he’ll vote for any atrocity sanctioned by the Democratic Party, whether it’s starving half a million children to death in Iraq under Clinton or sending half of Africa to hell through the black hole of that rapist’s wife’s Libyan no-fly-zone. And this is largely what defines Bernie’s absolute lack of character. In spite of his populist pleasing Independent pedigree, like all social democrats, Bernie is a creature of the party. The party, the party, the party, all else falls beneath the godlike benevolence of the party, including the peasants, fuck, especially the peasants. If the party wants a war, the party gets a war. If the party deems it necessary, they’ll feed the war-shy proletariat to the Freikorps dogs like puppy-chow, and Bernie will loosen the leashes.