Todd Lewis and Nexus discuss issues that pertain to dissident intellectuals with a decentralized bent.
Todd Lewis and Nexus discuss issues that pertain to dissident intellectuals with a decentralized bent.
Anarchists do not necessarily need to “take sides” in geopolitical rivalries between states. I also consider the standard left-wing categories of “progressive” and “reactionary” to be based on a false dichotomy that is rooted in Manichean dualism. But all things considered, Iran and its “axis of resistance” are far more “progressive” that their Zionist/Wahhabi rivals. Israel merely a colonialist outpost organized on the principle of ethnic cleansing. The Saudi-led Gulf States are medieval fiefdoms. Iran is a semi-democratic country with seats in parliament for women and religious minorities like Christians and Zoroastrians, and a thriving minority Jewish community. The other forces in the axis of resistance include secular Syria, multi-confessional Hezbollah, democratic Lebanon, the Palestinian resistance, Iraq’s Shiite/leftist coalition, anti-Salafist militias in Iraq and Syria, and Yemen’s Houthi rebels fighting against Saudi and UAE genocide.
By David Brennan
I generally don’t agree with Tucker Carlson’s Sinophobia. Yes, China is probably as close to being an actual “fascist” regime of any country in the world today in the sense of being a one-party state, with a cult of personality built around the leader, a state-directed system of “crony capitalism,” and a statist-collectivist ethos that appeals to national chauvinism and ancient cultural traditions as the self-legitimating ideology of the ruling class. (I would consider the DPRK to be more Stalinist than fascist, and Saudi Arabia to merely be a classic medieval regime).
But China is only a backwater province in global capitalism. China’s massive population is the only thing that makes China significant as an economic player. Only about 12% of China’s territory is arable land, and China’s relationship to the US is merely to provide cheap loans to the US government and cheap labor to US corporations. Historically, China has gone through periods of expansion and contraction, and its present period of expansion will eventually implode.
Yes, China is also involved in significant economic expansion throughout the Global South, but China’s xenophobia will prevent China from being successful imperialists. A successful long-standing imperialist empire must necessarily maintain a certain degree of cosmopolitanism (like Rome, Britain, or America). Yes, I am in favor of an anarchist/anti-imperialist revolution in China, but North America (“the belly of the beast”) still where the action is when it comes to anti-imperialist struggle.
Zionist Uber-ally Trump uses the current crisis to escalate Iranophobia.
By Helene Cooper, Eric Schmitt, Lara Jakes and Thomas Gibbons-Neff
New York Times
WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Wednesday that he has told the Navy to “shoot down and destroy” any Iranian fast boats that harass American naval ships, in what would be a sharp escalation of the risky maneuvers performed by the two adversaries in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea.
The president’s abrupt statement, which he announced on Twitter, came on the morning that Iran successfully launched a military satellite and a week after the Pentagon accused Iran of sending 11 fast boats to conduct “dangerous and harassing approaches” to six American warships in the Persian Gulf.
What would be the implications of Zeihan’s geopolitical analysis for global anti-imperialist struggle? As American unipolar hegemony recedes and the number of failed and/or weakened states proliferates, how can self-determinationists use these circumstances to our advantage?
Zeihan’s analysis of domestic US politics is also consistent with my own, i.e. the view that the US now has what amounts to three political parties: centrist neoliberals (moderate Democrats and moderate Republicans), faux populist-nationalists (right-wing Republicans whose only reliable constituencies are the conservative evangelicals and/or WASP nativists) and faux leftists (liberal Democrats whose main constituents are environmentalists, gays, African-Americans, single women, and the cultural left, i.e. the coalition envisioned by Fred Dutton way back in 1972).
Is the right-wing of the ruling class using the current situation to pick a fight with China? China has very limited naval power and poses no conventional military threat to the US.
By Hannah Beech
New York Times
American warships have sailed into disputed waters in the South China Sea, according to military analysts, heightening a standoff in the waterway and sharpening the rivalry between the United States and China, even as much of the world is in lockdown because of the coronavirus.
The America, an amphibious assault ship, and the Bunker Hill, a guided missile cruiser, entered contested waters off Malaysia. At the same time, a Chinese government ship in the area has for days been tailing a Malaysian state oil company ship carrying out exploratory drilling. Chinese and Australian warships have also powered into nearby waters, according to the defense experts.
Despite working to control a pandemic that spread from China earlier this year, Beijing has not reduced its activities in the South China Sea, a strategic waterway through which one-third of global shipping flows. Instead, the Chinese government’s yearslong pattern of assertiveness has only intensified, military analysts said.
This includes a pretty good discussion of domestic politics as well as international relations. I’d like to see Peter Zeihan debate Alexander Dugin on the future of geopolitics.
Is Fat Boy/Rocket Man on his way out?
Bannon spinning the Sinophobia line. It’s interesting how the right-wing of the ruling class is now using a backwater province in the global capitalist empire, whose primary function is to provide cheap labor and cheap loans to Western corporations and governments, as a whipping boy.
Peter Zeihan is a private intelligence analyst who literally makes his living offering hard-nosed, realistic advice to the capitalist class. In his lectures, Zeihan explains why the American Empire is going down, why the Russophobia of the DNC/MSNBC crowd and the Sinophobia of the Republican/FOX crowd is misplaced, why Iran is the real bulwark against the chaos created by the Zionist/Wahhabi axis in the Middle East, why Turkey’s neo-Ottoman expansion is the real worry in Central Asia, why the prospect of Saudi acquisition of nuclear weapons is the real danger, why the world is undergoing a transformation comparable to the Age of Exploration, and why the future post-American Empire multipolar order will be led by Argentina in Latin America, France in Western Europe, Turkey in Central Asia, Iran in the Middle East, and Japan in East Asia.
It’s interesting how an advisor to Systemists and an anti-Systemist like myself came to basically the same conclusions independently of each other.
Peter Zeihan is a geopolitical strategist, which is a fancy way of saying he helps people understand how the world works. Peter combines an expert understanding of demography, economics, energy, politics, technology, and security to help clients best prepare for an uncertain future. Over the course of his career, Peter has worked for the US State Department in Australia, the DC think tank community, and helped develop the analytical models for Stratfor, one of the world’s premier private intelligence companies. Peter founded his own firm — Zeihan on Geopolitics — in 2012 in order to provide a select group of clients with direct, custom analytical products. Today those clients represent a vast array of sectors including energy majors, financial institutions, business associations, agricultural interests, universities and the U.S. military. With a keen eye toward what will drive tomorrow’s headlines, his irreverent approach transforms topics that are normally dense and heavy into accessible, relevant takeaways for audiences of all types. Peter is a critically-acclaimed author whose first two books — The Accidental Superpower and The Absent Superpower — have been recommended by Mitt Romney, Fareed Zakaria and Ian Bremmer. His forthcoming third title, Disunited Nations: The Scramble for Power in an Ungoverned World will be available late-2019.
By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
It’s such a played out cliché that it’s downright corny, but if you were born sometime before the mid-Nineties, you really do remember exactly where you were on 9/11. It was an event too cataclysmic to not happen on a normal day because everything before that surreal shit-show seemed almost Norman Rockwell normal by comparison. I was a 13 year old 7th grader at Saint John’s the Evangelist Catholic School. Hardly a simple time for a painfully closeted obsessive compulsive misfit, but a time before the heavy issues war, liberty and empire ran my life. I was too busy writing down Korn lyrics, washing my hands fifty times a day, and struggling to ignore the nagging suspicion that my feelings for Caitlyn Feelow were anything but heterosexual.
Peter Zeihan is one of the very best, if not the best, geopolitical analysts I have encountered in years. I disagree with his politics a great deal (he’s very pro-imperialist and regrets that recent US presidents have not been imperialist enough-WTF?) but as an analyst he’s fantastic. The most important aspect of his outlook is his recognition that neither Russia nor China has the capacity to replace the US as a dominant world power.
Right on schedule, CNN is fueling Russophobia, just like FOX has been fueling Sinophobia. As I have said many times, Russia and China are merely backwater but occasionally rebellious provinces in the global capitalist empire. They are no more significant to the world order than major US states like California, Texas, and New York, and less significant than major US client states like Israel, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.
President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin appear to have had more sustained contact with each other in the past two weeks than at any time since 2016, as the Kremlin tries to use the coronavirus pandemic and close personal ties between the two leaders to normalize long-strained relations with Washington.
As I have said before, China and Russia merely represent the leading factions within the global capitalist-financier empire (see Antony Sutton from the right or Hardt and Negri from the left). Their role within the empire is that of rebellious provinces in relation to the dominant American-Atlanticist-Zionist-Wahhabi axis that extends from Eastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean to the Pacific Rim. They assume the same positions on an international level that individual US states assume on the domestic level. Just as California has latched on to the Democrats and Texas has latched on to the Republicans, China has also attached itself to the Democrats, while Russia has placed its bet on the Republicans.
The Russiahate and Chinahate (and Iranhate and Syriahate) that even many supposed political dissidents in the West, and particularly the US, get into is misplaced. The other supposed “major powers” are merely provincial authorities while the “rogue states” are merely glorified international street gangs.
It’s true that US unipolar hegemony is starting to recede but, as Peter Zeihan has pointed out, the emerging multipolar world will be dominated by France, Turkey, Argentina, and Japan, not Russia or China.
Maybe that’s why Hillary Clinton and Samantha Power hired some Salafi mercenaries to stick a shank up his ass. Maybe he knew too much.
Theoretically, both Russia and China (the Eastern wings of the International Five Families) are societies that meet most of the characteristics of what Westerners think of as “fascism.” Both exhibit chauvinistic nationalism, authoritarian statism, “crony capitalism,” wide class divisions, patriarchy, racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia. Neither one is particularly eco-friendly nor is either one especially enamored of Pride Marches.
The neoliberals who own the Democratic Party (Soros, Inc.) love China because they love access to cheap prison and/or serf labor. The New Class urbanites love cheap Chinese electronic consumer products. And the “Left” loves China because they are non-Caucasians and theoretically practice socialism or communism (actually, they are something closer to Confucians or Legalists within the context of Chinese traditions).
The right-wing plutocrats who own the Republican Party (Adelson, Inc.) hate China because China’s state-owned industries are competitors to their own industries. The post-bourgeois proletarian constituents of the Republicans hate the Chinese because they regard Western capitalist access to Chinese labor as a threat to their class interests. And the nationalist Republicans hate the Chinese as seemingly exotic aliens.
The neoliberals hate Russia because Russia is a nationalistic regime that functions as the primary military and political obstacle to the neoliberals’ dream of a unipolar world order run by the American Empire under the cover of transnational institutions like the United Nations. The New Class urbanites and the “Left” hate the Russians because they are a conservative, traditional, Caucasian, Christian society that resists Western liberalism. And it is precisely for this reason that many on the far-right are increasingly enamored with Russia.
Of course, the neocons (like Bill Kristol) and their allies (like John Bolton) combine all of these hatreds into one in their fervor to wage war on the entire world at the same time (as even Trump acknowledged).
The main difference between conventional far-left anti-imperialism of the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist variety and anarchist anti-imperialism is that the former is merely about self-determination for states and national-entities (something it ironically shares with 19th-century liberal-nationalism) while the latter is about groups and individuals. Anarchist anti-imperialism really has to start with native peoples’ rights because in virtually every country everywhere in the world it is native people who are most under the boot the state, whether the state in question is left-wing or right-wing.
In the Western world, the Marxist-Leninist line of support for self-determination of the Eastern world and the Global South is the correct position to take. The “West,” in its present form, is really just the American Empire, with US “allies” in Europe, the Pacific Rim, and the Middle East really being just addition states, territories, colonies, or protectorates, in addition to the formal 50 states and 14 territories (Puerto Rico, Guam, etc.). The priority for anti-imperialists in the West should be to oppose US aggression against other societies, whether in the form of the neoliberals’ saber-rattling against Russia and Syria or the neocons’ (the right-wing of neoliberalism with an uber-Zionist bent) saber-rattling against China and Iran.
But we also need to oppose imperialism everywhere, even when practiced by ostensibly anti-imperialist regimes. For example, in the 1980s, I used to have arguments with pro-Sandinista leftists who defended the Ortega (who has ironically reinvented himself as a conservative Catholic in more recent times) regime on anti-imperialist groups. I would point out that Sandinista aggression against indigenous communities was just as bad as those of right-wing regimes in Latin America (as Russell Means documented at the time).
By Bill Weinberg
Upside Down World
“I would say that the strength of Bolivia is not the state but the people. And the people have been strong and stubborn enough to be what they are, and to put their own desires as the terms and conditions of what is going to be the change. And that is what saves this process of Evo.” – Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui
Bolivian historian and social theorist Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui is author of the classic work Oppressed But Not Defeated: Peasant Struggles Among the Aymara and Quechua in Bolivia, and has recently emerged as one of the country’s foremost critics of President Evo Morales from an indigenous perspective. Indian Country Today Media Network spoke with her in New York City, where she recently served as guest chair of Latin American studies at New York University’s King Juan Carlos Center. The complete text of the interview appears for the first time on World War 4 Report.
What are you doing here in New York City?
I have been invited as chair of Latin American studies by the King Juan Carlos Center, which is sort of funny, it sounds like a horrible place for me. But Spain should give us back a little bit of what they took! And my salary is like a millionth part of what they owe us.
And what are you doing now in Bolivia?
I used to teach at the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, which is the biggest public university in Bolivia. And I was very much involved in university politics, because I was trying to fight corruption in the university. In 2005, I had a 15-day-long hunger strike, and we managed to kick the dean out. But he left a lot of corruptos were still there, and I was forced to retire.
Since then, I have been doing community things, trying to network and create micro-politics… Since I wrote my study on anarchism, I discovered the importance of community to politics, as opposed to the individualist liberal conception…
Paul Gottfried provides a pretty good overview of US political history at the beginning of this. I don’t entirely agree with Halsey English’s paleonconnish/paleolibertarianish interpretation of US political history, but he’s correct with his observation that the traditional US republic is largely moving toward integration as province into a UN/EU-like global system.
One of the ruling class’s greatest achievements has been its ability to completely co-opt the “cultural revolution” that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s (by giving the American civil religion a new multicultural gloss) while not only preserving but strengthening capitalist class rule, strengthening the state, and expanding the empire.
Mark Levin is actually partially correct in that the US is now an English-speaking version of a Latin American banana republic.
The Hoover Institution, a think-tank that promotes the interests of the right-wing of the ruling class, takes a shot at China (the leading economic power in the Eastern division of global capitalism). The right-wing of the ruling class hates China as a threat to their economic interests and nationalism. The left-wing of the ruling class hates Russia (the leading military power in the Eastern division of global capitalism) as a threat to their globalism based on a hybrid of neoliberalism and cultural leftism.
First, a tragedy. Then a farce.
By Gareth Porter
The American Conservative
The U.S. military has been forced by the coronavirus pandemic to make some serious changes in their operations. But the Pentagon, and especially the Navy, have also displayed a revealing resistance to moves to stand down that were clearly needed to protect troops from the raging virus from the start.
The Army and Marine Corps have shifted from in-person to virtual recruitment meetings. But the Pentagon has reversed an initial Army decision to postpone further training and exercises for at least 30 days, and it has decided to continue sending new recruits from all the services to basic training camps, where they would no doubt be unable to sustain social distancing.
On Thursday, the captain of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, on which the virus was reportedly spreading, was relieved of command. He was blamed by his superiors for the leak of a letter he wrote warning the Navy that failure to act rapidly threatened the health of his 5,000 sailors.