Exposing Stalin’s Plan to Conquer Europe: How the Soviet Union ‘Lost’ the Second World War 1

Review by Daniel W. Michaels.
For several years now, a former Soviet military intelligence officer named Vladimir Rezun has provoked heated discussion in Russia for his startling view that Hitler attacked Soviet Russia in June 1941 just as Stalin was preparing to overwhelm Germany and western Europe as part of a well-planned operation to “liberate” all of Europe by bringing it under Communist rule.

Writing under the pen name of Viktor Suvorov, Rezun has developed this thesis in three books. Icebreaker (which has been published in an English-language edition) and Dni M (“M Day”) were reviewed in the Nov.–Dec. 1997 Journal of Historical Review. The third book, reviewed here, is a 470-page work, “The Last Republic: Why the Soviet Union Lost the Second World War,” published in Russian in Moscow in 1996.

Suvorov presents a mass of evidence to show that when Hitler launched his “Operation Barbarossa” attack against Soviet Russia on June 22, 1941, German forces were able to inflict enormous losses against the Soviets precisely because the Red troops were much better prepared for war — but for an aggressive war that was scheduled for early July — not the defensive war forced on them by Hitler’s preemptive strike.

In Icebreaker, Suvorov details the deployment of Soviet forces in June 1941, describing just how Stalin amassed vast numbers of troops and stores of weapons along the European frontier, not to defend the Soviet homeland but in preparation for a westward attack and decisive battles on enemy territory.

Thus, when German forces struck, the bulk of Red ground and air forces were concentrated along the Soviet western borders facing contiguous European countries, especially the German Reich and Romania, in final readiness for an assault on Europe.

In his second book on the origins of the war, “M Day” (for “Mobilization Day”), Suvorov details how, between late 1939 and the summer of 1941, Stalin methodically and systematically built up the best armed, most powerful military force in the world — actually the world’s first superpower — for his planned conquest of Europe. Suvorov explains how Stalin’s drastic conversion of the country’s economy for war actually made war inevitable.

A Global Soviet Union

In “The Last Republic,” Suvorov adds to the evidence presented in his two earlier books to strengthen his argument that Stalin was preparing for an aggressive war, in particular emphasizing the ideological motivation for the Soviet leader’s actions. The title refers to the unlucky country that would be incorporated as the “final republic” into the globe-encompassing “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics,” thereby completing the world proletarian revolution.

As Suvorov explains, this plan was entirely consistent with Marxist-Leninist doctrine, as well as with Lenin’s policies in the earlier years of the Soviet regime. The Russian historian argues convincingly that it was not Leon Trotsky (Bronstein), but rather Stalin, his less flamboyant rival, who was really the faithful disciple of Lenin in promoting world Communist revolution. Trotsky insisted on his doctrine of “permanent revolution,” whereby the young Soviet state would help foment home-grown workers’ uprisings and revolution in the capitalist countries.

Stalin instead wanted the Soviet regime to take advantage of occasional “armistices” in the global struggle to consolidate Red military strength for the right moment when larger and better armed Soviet forces would strike into central and western Europe, adding new Soviet republics as this overwhelming force rolled across the continent. After the successful consolidation and Sovietization of all of Europe, the expanded USSR would be poised to impose Soviet power over the entire globe.

As Suvorov shows, Stalin realized quite well that, given a free choice, the people of the advanced Western countries would never voluntarily choose Communism. It would therefore have to be imposed by force. His bold plan, Stalin further decided, could be realized only through a world war.

Valeriano Orobón Fernández: Towards the Barricades Reply

Valeriano Orobón Fernández: Towards the Barricades by Salvador Cano Carrillo

Valeriano Orobón Fernández was a Spanish anarcho-syndicalist activist, speaker and author. In Spain, and in exile in France and Germany, he laboured to prepare the CNT (National Confederation of Labour) for the revolutionary battles to come.

“The revolution Orobón looked forward to was not one that could be carried out by any one trade union organisation or political party… No, the revolution he had in mind was more expansive. In Spain he saw it as being headed by the two great trade union associations the UGT and the CNT and being supported by well-meaning intellectuals. A social revolution that would sweep away bourgeois institutions and their system of exploitation of the working class. And he threw himself into this task with all of the tremendous potential that he could muster.”

While advocating this workers’ alliance, he fought to keep the CNT free of Communist control. He was also the author of the anarcho-syndicalist anthem A las barricadas! (To the Barricades!) and died of Tuberculosis just weeks before the Spanish Revolution erupted on the 19 July 1936.

Cano Carrillo, Salvador (1900-1991) was a Spanish anarchist whose activities date back to 1919. He was a rationalist schoolteacher based in N. Africa and Valencia and wrote a lot for the libertarian press as a correspondent for CNT and Solidaridad Obera, and as staff writer for Fragua Social.

Includes lyrics to Valeriano Orobón Fernández’s A las barricadas!

Valeriano Orobón Fernández: Towards the Barricades by Salvador Cano Carrillo

ISBN 9781873605394

KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 66, April 2011 has just been posted on the site. http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/8kpsq9

Facerias: Urban Guerrilla Warfare (1939-1957) by Antonio Téllez Solà Reply

Anarchist urban guerrilla and member of the Iberian Federation of Libertarian Youth (FIJL) since 1936, José Lluis Facerías fought on the Aragón front during the Spanish Civil War, where he was taken prisoner and held until 1945. Following his release he rejoined the clandestine anarcho-syndicalist trade union, the CNT, and dedicated himself to the armed struggle against the Francoist dictatorship. From March 1946 until his death in a police ambush in 1957, Facerias was the driving force behind the anarchist defence groups operating in Barcelona. To get this book out are hoping for sponsorship of £2,300 ($3,750/2,630 Euro) towards the publication costs. So far (April 19 2011) we have $40.00 (£24.00/28.00 Euro) in the bank… not much, but it’s better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick… http://www.christiebooks.com/ChristieBooksWP/?p=3611

Should Businesses Have the Right to Discriminate Against Homosexuals? 4

This is an immensely important article by Dr. Sean Gabb of the Libertarian Alliance. He provides a nuanced discussion of the conflict between vulgar libertarians who defend any existing set of nominally private economic arrangements as “free enterprise” and left-libertarians who end up taking positions not particularly different from those of social democrats. My own position on discrimination law is this: Small businesses, companies that are for the most part genuinely private, and private associations of a non-commercial nature should be allowed to discriminate for whatever reason they wish. However, government agencies, publicly owned enterprises and mass corporations that are clear net beneficiaries of statism should not be able to engage in discrimination of a clearly invidious nature.
My own view is that, while the arguments put forward by Roderick Long and Kevin Carson, among others, cannot be dismissed out of hand, we should be very cautious in applying these arguments. Where state welfare is concerned, I, for one, will accept their arguments. We have a ruling class that has pretty well monopolised the means of production. Welfare is a drug – paid for by those outside the ruling class and with incomes worth taxing – to and to anaesthetise those at the bottom to what they have lost. There are libertarians who can sit looking though a plate glass window in the Kings Road and announce very grandly that there are always jobs available for those willing to work. Really, though, the choice for many is state welfare or taking a job on minimum wage that works out to a net gain, after tax and job expenses, of £10 or £20 a week. It may be in someone’s long term interest to take the job. On the other hand, the long term can be a long time in coming. At the same time, it is difficult to go off welfare and then, if the job folds, go straight back on at the old level of benefit. It may be a rational decision to avoid the risk. It is not an unreasonable decision. I say then that we should private first and cut welfare afterwards.

Oh, and when I talk of “privatisation,” I do not mean the Thatcherite switch from a less to a more efficient mode of rent seeking. I mean a radical attack on the sources of corporate privilege. Welfare is bad for all manner of reasons. It is a heavy burden on the middle classes. It pauperises the lower classes. The only real beneficiaries are a ruling class that has bought the quiescence of those who might otherwise turn into a screaming mob. But it really is one of those secondary controls to mitigate the working of primary controls.

The Necessary Coincidence of Principle and Pragmatism

This being said, I do not accept the wider applications of the arguments. Just because someone is regulated does not make him a net beneficiary of state privilege. Just because he is regulated does not mean that he has consented to the regulation. Just because he is regulated does not make further regulation legitimate.

The John Snow public house has a licence to sell alcohol. This may make it a net beneficiary – though it may not. Certainly, however, its licence does not give it a monopoly privilege. There is no shortage of other pubs in Soho. Because no one who wants to drink is obliged to drink there, the pub should not be prevented from discriminating. The John Snow public house does not operate in a free market. But it does operate in a market sufficiently free for the usual libertarian defence to apply. If the licensing laws were so strict that it was the only public house within a ten mile radius, the case would be different. But there is competition.

In the same way, I should not be subject to regulation in my teaching methods – subject, of course, to whatever my employers and customers might demand. In the same way, I think the example of the pharmacist is wrongly argued. There are very few places – at least in England – where there is no choice of pharmacists. We should argue against all occupational licensing, but also be prepared to defend the right of the licensed to run their businesses as they please.

Very big companies like Tesco may be an exception to this rule. On the other hand, we are talking about corporatism, not state socialism. In the Soviet Empire, entrepreneurship did exist, but was confined to the margins of a system where production and pricing decisions were made and enforced at gunpoint. In England and America, most large companies are state-privileged trading bodies. But they also survive and flourish in part because they make the right entrepreneurial decisions. If Tesco is allowed to externalise many of its costs, it is also a success because it gives us what we want. If it makes mistakes – as, for example, in its American venture – it has to bear the costs of failure. It is part of a state-privileged cartel, but is also in fierce competition with the other supermarket chains.

I agree that the scales are systematically tipped in favour of big business. But I do not agree that this justifies the kind of regulation that is often accepted by the left libertarians. Actually existing markets do produce obvious dynamic efficiencies that would only be reduced by further regulation. Moreover, these further regulations only raise up oppressive bureaucracies that result in a less libertarian outcome than simply putting up with the facts of privilege.

Barack Hussein Hoover? Reply

Article by Pat Buchanan.
Is the world headed for a debt crisis to dwarf the one that befell us in 2008, when Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson stood aside and let Lehman Brothers crash?

No one knows for certain. As Yogi Berra said, “it’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

But the probability of a financial crisis increased this week after President Obama’s trashing of Rep. Paul Ryan’s deficit reduction plan as dragging us all back to the Dickensian days of “Oliver Twist.”

For the savagery of Obama’s attack persuaded Standard & Poor’s to begin to move to downgrade U.S. sovereign debt from the triple-A rating it has held since Pearl Harbor.

The British newspaper The Guardian wrote of the dramatic news:

“With the political infighting between the Republicans and Democrats on the deficit now so bitter that there was a risk of the US government being shut down earlier this month, S&P said it had taken the decision to change its outlook because ‘the path to addressing these issues is not clear to us.'”

“We believe there is a significant risk,” said S&P credit analyst Nikola Swann, “that congressional negotiations could result in no agreement on a medium-term fiscal strategy until after the 2012 congressional and presidential elections.”

Obama adviser Austan Goolsbee challenged the S&P rating and rationale behind it. “They are saying their political judgment is that over the next two years, they didn’t see a political agreement. … I don’t think that the S&P’s political judgment is right.”

But the S&P’s projection of gridlock got support this week when two polls showed that the nation is much closer to Obama’s resistance to Ryan’s plan than it is to Ryan.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll found 78 percent of Americans oppose cutting spending on Medicare to reduce the deficit, and 69 percent oppose cutting Medicaid. Obama’s plan to raise taxes on couples earning $250,000 a year or more wins the support of 72 percent of voters.

A McClatchy-Marist poll found 2 in 3 Americans favoring raising taxes on those earning more than $250,000 but 4 in 5 voters opposing cutting Medicare or Medicaid.

Obama’s position is in sync with three-fourths of the nation.

Why would he retreat from this unassailable high ground to seek a compromise with a hugely unpopular Republican proposal? Why not pound the Ryan Republicans remorselessly as defenders of the rich and slashers of the social safety net if America agrees with you?

Obama may have found an issue to save his presidency.

Incarceration Nation Reply

Article by Linn Washington, Jr.
The U.S. imprisons more people per capita than any country on earth, accounting for 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, despite having just five percent of the world’s population.

America currently holds over two million in prisons with double that number under supervision of parole and probation, according to federal government figures.

Mass incarceration consumes over $50-billion annually across America – money far better spent on creating jobs and improving education.

Under federal law persons with drug convictions like Garner are permanently barred from receiving financial aid for education, food stamps, welfare and publicly funded housing.

But only drug convictions trigger these exclusions under federal law. Violent bank robbers, white-collar criminals like Wall Street scam artists who steal billions, and even murderers who’ve done their time do not face the post-release deprivations slapped on those with drug convictions on their records, including those imprisoned for simple possession, and not major drug sales.

“Academics see this topic of mass incarceration as numbers, but for millions it is their daily lives,” said Princeton conference panelist Dr. Khalilah Brown-Dean of Yale University.

Exclusions mandated by federal laws compound the legal deprivations of rights found in the laws of most states, such as barring ex-felons from jobs and even stripping ex-felons of their right to vote.

“Mass incarceration raises questions of protecting and preserving democracy,” Dr. Brown-Dean said, citing the estimated five-million-plus Americans barred from voting by such felony disenfranchisement laws.

Many of those felony disenfranchisement laws date from measures enacted in the late 1800s which were devised specifically to bar blacks from voting, as a way to preserve America’s apartheid.

During the 2000 presidential election Republican officials in Florida fraudulently manipulated that state’s anti-felon voting law to bar tens of thousands of blacks from voting. For example, many people with common names like John Smith who shared their name with a felon were also barred from voting, despite having clear records.

Yet George W. Bush won by Florida – the state where his brother Jeb served as Governor – by 537 votes. That victory in the state where George W.’s brother Jeb served as governor sent him to the White House.

Policies creating barriers to things like education and employment make it “increasingly difficult” for persons recently released from prison to “remain crime-free” according to a report released earlier this year by the Smart on Crime Coalition.

More than 60 percent of the two-million-plus people in American prisons are racial and ethnic minorities.

Lust Murder Reply

Article by David Rosen.
Unfortunately, over the last decade or so, America has witnessed a steady increase in lust murder often targeting female prostitutes. Since 2003, six Rocky Mount, NC, women were found murdered and their bodies dumped along rural roads outside the city. The victims had been strangled and left nearly naked; all were black with reported histories of drug abuse and suspected prostitution. So far two men, one white, the other black, have been arrested in relation to these killings.

During the 2006-2007 period, the bodies of four prostitutes were discovered in and around Grand Rapids, MI. On Thanksgiving 2006, Starkinya Vance’s body was found in southwest side of the city after been seen getting into a car a few hours before her body was found. In March 2007, Shakara Carter’s body was found about 400 yards away from where Vance was discovered. Both women were strangled. On September 5, 2007, the city’s fire department found the body of Linda Gardner, 45, burning in a fire in a vacant lot. Cocaine was found in her system but, because Gardner was so extensively burned, no cause of death could be determined.

In 2008, Jacob Etheridge murdered two prostitutes, Rosanna Cruz and Teresa Tingey, in Ogden, UT. He was subsequently tried and sentenced to two concurrent 20 years-to-life in prison terms for the murders.

Earlier this year, 50-year-old Walter Ellis pleaded guilty in Milwaukee, WI, to the killing of six prostitutes. Ellis, who had a long police record, was known as the “North Side Strangler” and committed the murders over a 21 year period, from 1986 to 2007; two women were killed 1986, three in 1995, one in 1997 and one in 2007. Ellis is African-American and his victims were black women ranging in age from 19 to 41 years.

In should not be forgotten that some of the celebrity serial murders have never been solved. The most famous is probably the Zodiac Killer who murdered five people in Northern California from December 1968 to October 1969.

Between 2001 and 2009, eleven reputed sex workers were murdered in Albuquerque, NM, in what is known as the “West Mesa Bone Collector” case; one of the victims was pregnant and the fetus died bringing the number of murders to twelve. The victims were young Hispanic women, ranging from 15 to 32 years, and many were mothers. The murders took place in the city’s War Zone, a neighborhood where prostitutes and drug dealers ply their trade. One victim, Cinnamon Elks, told friends shortly before her August 2004 disappearance “a dirty cop was chopping off the heads of prostitutes and burying them on the West Mesa.”

* * *

The serial killings of female prostitutes on Long Island and in Memphis are ongoing police investigations. Sadly, these women may well join the increasing number of female sex workers found dead in Atlantic City, Albuquerque and other parts of the U.S., victims killed by perpetrators never arrested, prosecuted and punished.

There appears to be no federal or NGO data on the annual murder rate of prostitutes in the U.S., nor serial murders targeting prostitutes. A cursory review of the nation’s popular press reveals that, since 2000, there has been an apparent increase in such murders taking place throughout the country. Scanning this literature, one can only ask: Are prostitutes the proverbial canaries in the coal mine?

Libya in the Face of Humanitarian Imperialism 1

Gregorie Lalieu interviews Jean Bricmont.
Can you remind us of what humanitarian imperialism consists of ?

Jean Bricmont: It is an ideology which aims to justify military interference against sovereign countries in the name of democracy and Human Rights. The motive is always the same : a population is the victim of a dictator, so we must act. Then all the usual references are trotted out : the Second World War, the war with Spain, and so on. The aim being to sell the argument that an armed intervention is necessary. This is what happened in Kosovo, Iraq or Afghanistan.

And now comes Libya’ s turn.

There is a difference here because a United Nations Security Council resolution makes it possible. But this resolution was passed against the principles of the Charter of the United Nations themselves. Indeed, I see no external threat in the Libyan conflict. Although the notion of the “responsibility to protect” populations had been evoked, many short cuts were taken. Besides, there is no proof that Gaddafi massacres his people just for the sole purpose of slaughtering them. It is a bit more complicated than that : it is an armed insurrection, and I know not of any government that would not repress an insurrection of this kind. Of course, there are collateral damage and civilian casualties. But if the United States knows a way to avoid such damage, then it should go and tell the Israelis about it, and apply it themselves in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is also no doubt that coalition bombings arecausing cause civilian casualties.

From a strictly legal point of view, I think the U.N.S.C. resolution is questionable. It is, in fact, the result of years of lobbying for the recognition of the right to interfere, which proves here to be legitimized.

And yet, many – even among the parties of the left – deemed it necessary to intervene in Libya in order to stop the massacre. Do you think it is an error of judgment ?

Yes, I do, and for several reasons. First of all, this campaign ushers in the reign of the arbitrary. Indeed, the Libyan conflict is not exceptional. There are many other conflicts anywhere in the world whether it may be in Gaza, in Bahrain, or in the Congo, which happened some years ago. As for the latter, it occurred within a context of foreign aggression on the part of Rwanda and Burundi. The enforcement of the international law would have saved millions of lives but it was not done. Why not ?

Besides, if we apply the underlying principles of interference behind the aggression against Libya, it means that anyone can intervene anywhere they want to. Imagine that the Russians intervene in Bahrain or the Chinese in Yemen : the world would be a general and ongoing war. Therefore one major feature of the right to interfere is the infringement of standard international law. And if we had to change international law to new laws justifying the right to interfere, it would result in a war of all against all. This is an argument to which the advocates of the right to interfere never give an answer.

Donald Trump's Eminent Domain Empire 3

Article by Michelle Malkin.
Don’t be fooled by The Donald. Take it from one who knows: I’m a South Jersey gal who was raised on the outskirts of Atlantic City in the looming shadow of Trump’s towers. All through my childhood, casino developers and government bureaucrats joined hands, raised taxes and made dazzling promises of urban renewal. Then we wised up to the eminent-domain thievery championed by our hometown faux free-marketeers.

America, it’s time you wised up to Donald Trump’s property redistribution racket, too.

Trump has been wooing conservative activists for months and flirting with a GOP presidential run—first at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington and most recently at a tea party event in South Florida. He touts his business experience, “high aptitude” and “bragadocious” deal-making abilities. But he’s no more a standard-bearer of conservative values, limited government and constitutional principles than the cast of “Jersey Shore.

“Don’t be fooled by The Donald.”

Too many mega-developers like Trump have achieved success by using and abusing the government’s ability to commandeer private property for purported “public use.” Invoking the Fifth Amendment takings clause, real estate moguls, parking garage builders, mall developers and sports palace architects have colluded with elected officials to pull off legalized theft in the name of reducing “blight.” Under eminent domain, the definition of “public purpose” has been stretched like Silly Putty to cover everything from roads and bridges to high-end retail stores, baseball stadiums and casinos.

Gary Johnson: Libertarian Imperialist? Reply

Article by Justin Raimondo.
At a time when the Obama administration has, in effect, announced a new foreign policy doctrine which avers that we have a “responsibility to protect” the victims of alleged “genocide” all over the world, Johnson’s devotion to the libertarian principle of non-intervention in the affairs of other nations is really questionable. Especially now that the Libyan adventure is well underway, and we find ourselves sliding down that slippery slope into full-scale support for the Libyan rebels, Johnson’s position is rather too close to the Obama Doctrine.

And it has to be asked: is saving the world, or even a small portion of it, really “what we’re all about”? Maybe over at the Weekly Standard, where Johnson gave this interview, it is, but not in the libertarian precincts where he hopes to garner support.

Yes, Johnson is against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: and yes, he wants to bring the troops home from Europe and other places where they have no business being, but he is clearly tailoring his campaign to suit the softcore sensibilities of the Beltway crowd. For example, he’s supposedly against foreign aid – except, perhaps, when it comes to Israel. It’s not clear if, like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), he would end that particular boondoggle, but in this interview he was clear that maintaining our military alliance with Israel is “key” – although key to what, he did not say.

Furthermore, he went on to say that our military alliances is general are also “key” in fighting the “war on terrorism” that he believes we must continue to wage, albeit not in Afghanistan and Iraq. The vagueness of all this is disconcerting, especially when one senses the echo of Obama-ism in this “libertarian” version of multilateralism.

The problem with Johnson’s benign view of military alliances is that they are a tripwire for US intervention: after all, what does a military alliance mean if not joint defense – or offense – against a common enemy? Johnson emphasizes our alliance with Israel, and yet what does this alliance mean other than a guarantee that the US will come to Israel’s assistance in case of war — and that is not to say who will start the war.

Clemency for Tyrants Reply

Article by Guy Somerset.
It was more than twenty years between when Pinochet and Mubarak each ceded control of their own accord. Is that a coincidence, or did it take that long for the fear of popular reprisals to fade? Was it worth imprisoning a single man for a few years, however deserving, if the result was to make positive that millions of others in dozens of countries should live indefinitely under similar tyrants who refused to leave for fear of facing Augusto’s fate?

Even now, every two-bit US official takes each opportunity to state that Gaddafi “must be punished.” This is a perfect strategy to ensure he will fight to the finish, if not use his vast stockpile of chemical weapons in the process. What possible incentive does he have to leave his people in peace if there is to be none for himself?

In the modern West it often seems every action taken is in diametric opposition to its stated goals. If it wants despots to depart, then immunity is the answer. This is the only way. High politics is seldom clean, but it must always endeavor to be farsighted. While it may be distasteful and lacking in a greater justice, we must sacrifice our petty vengefulness to rid ourselves of such vermin.

Every hour we delay merely increases the torment and suffering of those we purportedly seek to aid. Every wasted opportunity to demonstrate a begrudging mercy is another dictatorship we have enabled to fight unto the last man.

As in Libya, whose rebels are now in a stalemate on the verge of defeat, the West never seems to realize that the last man down may very well be our own.

Secession Down to the Individual Reply

Article by David D’Amato.
To speak of a society without the state is not to speak of one without law — without rules governing relations between human beings — but is instead to speak of one without enshrined predation. Although doubtless predation would remain in the absence of the state, it would be treated as such, as crime rather than some benevolent service for the common good.

For no institution but the state do we upend our instinctive misgivings about the consequences of arbitrary power. Nowhere else do we suppose that a lone, unaccountable monopolist will render to the consumer anything worth its price, that the vagaries of bare authority will decide in our favor. Instead, we rely on the structural safeguards of open competition to render the kinds of results we consider desirable.

Each individual possesses a fundamental, natural right to secede from the constraints of authority and hierarchy. As presented by the nineteenth century philosopher Herbert Spencer, “As a corollary to the proposition that all institutions must be subordinated to the law of equal freedom, we cannot choose but admit the right of the citizen to adopt a condition of voluntary outlawry.”

Market anarchism teaches that if is advantageous to justice and human freedom that we divide power between the three branches of government and between the federal government and the States, then it is correspondingly advisable to divide power still further. Asking what could be gained from the consolidation of power at any level, market anarchism would submit even the law to the nonviolent struggles of genuine competition.

John Zerzan: Happiness Reply

Article by Anarcho-Primitivist Numero Uno.
Is there a truth of happiness, on whose basis happiness can be judged? Happiness is as encompassing as it is immediate. It has many facets and manifestations. It is elemental, potent; like health, happiness is contagious and breeds hope in others. Happiness has to do with one’s whole reaction to life, and for that reason alone, it is personal as well as mysterious. The philosopher Wittgenstein had a harsh and pessimistic temperament and experienced his share of intense anguish. His seems the portrait of an unhappy man, and yet his biographer Norman Malcolm reports that his last words were, “Tell them I’ve had a wonderful life.”[12] John Keats’ brief life was overshadowed by illness, but he often claimed that things are gorgeous because they die. The sources of happiness lie in various spheres of our lives, but characteristically these are not so separate. Human life has never been lived in isolation, so we seek experiences that are more than just meaningful for ourselves alone. Vivasvan Soni’s insight says a lot: “No part of life can be bracketed as irrelevant to happiness. All of life counts infinitely. There is no greater tragedy than unhappiness, and no greater responsibility for us than happiness.”[13]

In my experience, the cornerstone of happiness is love. Here is the dimension where we find the greatest fulfillment. Frantz Fanon, better known for his work on other subjects, subscribed to a standard of “authentic love––wishing for others what one postulates for oneself.”[14] There are other satisfactions, but do they match the satisfying and enriching quality of love relations? If a child has love and protection, there is the basis for happiness throughout life. If neither is provided, his or her prospects are very limited. If only one of them is to be given, I think that love outranks even protection or security in terms of the odds for happiness.

Some have dissented as to the centrality of love. Nietzsche and Sartre seem to have seen love as confining, closing off prerogatives. That bloodless master of cheap irony, E.M. Cioran, provides this little meditation: “I think of that emperor dear to my heart, Tiberius, of his acrimony and his ferocity…. I love him because his neighbor seemed to him inconceivable. I love him because he loved no one.”[15]

What would a history of happiness look like? Once happiness was a central focus of thought in the West. Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, for example, is a major discourse on the subject. Epicurus spent his life facing the question of how to attain happiness, arousing the ire of our modern friend Cioran. The latter referred to Epicurus’ writings as a “compost heap,” citing him as indicative of the false path that occurs “when the problem of happiness supplants that of knowledge.”[16]

Much later, the Cartesian account of emotions as so many sensations enters the picture, and Voltaire (1694-1778) was the last happy writer, according to Roland Barthes. The 18th century saw a deluge of writing about happiness, mainly focused on private well-being. A thorough de-politicizing of what was meant by happiness was taking place, on the eve of mass society. Kant typified this trend, by bonding––even equating––duty-oriented morality with happiness.

The new century exhibited the Romantic emphasis on joy rather than happiness (Blake, Wordsworth, et al.), with joy’s strong connotation of that which is fleeting. Transient indeed was the hymn to a hopeful future expressed in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, in particular its final movement based on Schiller’s “Ode to Joy.” The work has justly been termed the last serious music expressing happiness/joy. As industrial life began to spread, it can be no coincidence that Hegel saw human history as the record of irredeemable misfortune.

Modern wage labor and political social contract theorizing (Rousseau, the U.S. Constitution, etc.) legitimated the pursuit of private happiness. In the public sphere, the question of general happiness was downplayed. Reward became the name of the game. For Hegel, property and personality were almost synonymous; Marx associated happiness with the satisfaction of interests alone.

Sentimentalism was an important facet of the 19th century cultural ethos: the underlying emotional tableau of lost community. A fragmented, anonymous society had all but abandoned the goal of widespread happiness. The early Victorian utilitarianism of John Stuart Mill, less crude than that of its founder Bentham at least, failed to recognize the impoverishment of the age. Mill was the last philosopher of social happiness.

Jean-François Lyotard placed “the withdrawal of the real” at the center of the experience of modernity.[17] We are losing the referents, the real things, felt contact with what is non-simulated. How could happiness not decline in the bargain? It has declined; the technoculture’s ascent is the descent of happiness.[18] Today’s dreary, isolating technological frenzy keeps sinking it further, with various pathological effects. But our quest remains what it was for Spinoza: the search for happiness, with the reality of our bodies in a real, bodily world.

In the 1890s Anton Chekhov visited Sakhalin Island, with its Gilyak hunter-gatherers. He observed that they had not yet come to grips with roads. “Often,” he noted, “you will see them…making their way in single file through the marshes beside the road.”[19] They were always somewhere, and were uninterested in being nowhere, on industrialism’s roadway. They had not yet lost the singularity of the present, which technology exactly takes away. With our dwindling attention spans, foreshortening shallowness of thought, and thirst for diversions, how much are we actually in the world? The disembodied self becomes increasingly disengaged from reality, including emotional reality.

Anxiety has replaced happiness as the hallmark sensation, now that community is absent.[20] We no longer trust our instincts. Maintaining a vast distance from the rhythms of nature and primary experiences of the senses in their intimate concreteness, the leading “thinkers” so often consecrate or uphold this unhappy, disembodied state. Alain Badiou, for example, concurs with Kant that truth and overall health are “independent of animality and the whole world of sense.”[21]

But what is abstract about happiness?

America’s Plantation Prisons 2

Article by Maya Schenwar.
On an expanse of 18,000 acres of farmland, 59 miles northwest of Baton Rouge, long rows of men, mostly African-American, till the fields under the hot Louisiana sun. The men pick cotton, wheat, soybeans and corn. They work for pennies, literally. Armed guards, mostly white, ride up and down the rows on horseback, keeping watch. At the end of a long workweek, a bad disciplinary report from a guard – whether true or false – could mean a weekend toiling in the fields. The farm is called Angola, after the homeland of the slaves who first worked its soil.

This scene is not a glimpse of plantation days long gone by. It’s the present-day reality of thousands of prisoners at the maximum security Louisiana State Penitentiary, otherwise known as Angola. The block of land on which the prison sits is a composite of several slave plantations, bought up in the decades following the Civil War. Acre-wise, it is the largest prison in the United States. Eighty percent of its prisoners are African-American.

“Angola is disturbing every time I go there,” Tory Pegram, who coordinates the International Coalition to Free the Angola 3, told Truthout. “It’s not even really a metaphor for slavery. Slavery is what’s going on.”

The Deindustrialization of Detroit Reply

From The Red Phoenix.
Detroit registered the largest population decrease among all United States cities over a 10-year period.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s report released Tuesday, Detroit’s headcount dropped to 718,777 in 2010 from 951,270 in 2000.

The 25 percent reduction in population is the result of the decline of the car manufacturing industry based in the Michigan city. It is the lowest population for Detroit since the 1910 census.

Detroit, which once boasted a population of 1.85 million residents in 1950, was at one time the fourth-largest city in the U.S. Because of the population reduction, Michigan’s total population dropped 0.6 percent to 9.89 million from 9.94 million, which will cause the state another congressional district.

In 1960, Michigan had 19 seats in the U.S. House of Representative. Because of the state’s population decline, the number of seats has been whittled to 14.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing disputed the census data because of the history of undercounting residents in large cities. Bing is questioning the accuracy of the census headcount – which he said failed to verify another 40,000 residents – is because of the impact of the population data on federal and state funding.

Because of the report, remaining Detroit residents are becoming hopeless that the city could ever recover from the economic slump caused by the decline in the automobile industry.

Friendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth 3

Article by Michael Parenti.
Along with the blood drenched landscape of religious conflict there is the experience of inner peace and solace that every religion promises, none more so than Buddhism. Standing in marked contrast to the intolerant savagery of other religions, Buddhism is neither fanatical nor dogmatic–so say its adherents. For many of them Buddhism is less a theology and more a meditative and investigative discipline intended to promote an inner harmony and enlightenment while directing us to a path of right living. Generally, the spiritual focus is not only on oneself but on the welfare of others. One tries to put aside egoistic pursuits and gain a deeper understanding of one’s connection to all people and things. “Socially engaged Buddhism” tries to blend individual liberation with responsible social action in order to build an enlightened society.

A glance at history, however, reveals that not all the many and widely varying forms of Buddhism have been free of doctrinal fanaticism, nor free of the violent and exploitative pursuits so characteristic of other religions. In Sri Lanka there is a legendary and almost sacred recorded history about the triumphant battles waged by Buddhist kings of yore. During the twentieth century, Buddhists clashed violently with each other and with non-Buddhists in Thailand, Burma, Korea, Japan, India, and elsewhere. In Sri Lanka, armed battles between Buddhist Sinhalese and Hindu Tamils have taken many lives on both sides. In 1998 the U.S. State Department listed thirty of the world’s most violent and dangerous extremist groups. Over half of them were religious, specifically Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist.

Michigan: Police Search Cell Phones During Traffic Stops Reply

The Michigan State Police have a high-tech mobile forensics device that can be used to extract information from cell phones belonging to motorists stopped for minor traffic violations. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan last Wednesday demanded that state officials stop stonewalling freedom of information requests for information on the program.

ACLU learned that the police had acquired the cell phone scanning devices and in August 2008 filed an official request for records on the program, including logs of how the devices were used. The state police responded by saying they would provide the information only in return for a payment of $544,680. The ACLU found the charge outrageous.

“Law enforcement officers are known, on occasion, to encourage citizens to cooperate if they have nothing to hide,” ACLU staff attorney Mark P. Fancher wrote. “No less should be expected of law enforcement, and the Michigan State Police should be willing to assuage concerns that these powerful extraction devices are being used illegally by honoring our requests for cooperation and disclosure.”

A US Department of Justice test of the CelleBrite UFED used by Michigan police found the device could grab all of the photos and video off of an iPhone within one-and-a-half minutes. The device works with 3000 different phone models and can even defeat password protections.

“Complete extraction of existing, hidden, and deleted phone data, including call history, text messages, contacts, images, and geotags,” a CelleBrite brochure explains regarding the device’s capabilities. “The Physical Analyzer allows visualization of both existing and deleted locations on Google Earth. In addition, location information from GPS devices and image geotags can be mapped on Google Maps.”

The ACLU is concerned that these powerful capabilities are being quietly used to bypass Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches.

“With certain exceptions that do not apply here, a search cannot occur without a warrant in which a judicial officer determines that there is probable cause to believe that the search will yield evidence of criminal activity,” Fancher wrote. “A device that allows immediate, surreptitious intrusion into private data creates enormous risks that troopers will ignore these requirements to the detriment of the constitutional rights of persons whose cell phones are searched.”

The national ACLU is currently suing the Department of Homeland Security for its policy of warrantless electronic searches of laptops and cell phones belonging to people entering the country who are not suspected of committing any crime.