More signs point to Mark Zuckerberg possibly running for president in 2020 1

It could be that Trump has started a trend where the political class, corporate class, and celebrity class are increasingly blended into each other. Also, a Zuckerberg presidential candidacy would be significant in that he represents social and economic forces outside the traditional WASP plutocracy to a much greater degree than Trump in that he is both a minority (Jewish) and part of the rising class of the “newly rich” (i.e. those from outside the traditional elite who have acquired enormous amounts of wealth in newer, high-tech industries.)My suspicion is that Trump’s upset victory in 2016 largely represents “WASP America’s last stand” and that the trend begun by Obama of political leaders increasingly being drawn from the ranks of those outside the traditional elite (e.g. ethnic minorities or the newly rich from outside the traditional plutocracy) will continue in the future.

By Shawn M. Carter

CNBC

There’s increasing speculation that Mark Zuckerberg, the self-made billionaire chairman, co-founder and chief executive officer of Facebook, may one day run for office. And though it’s unclear that he will make a bid for to be the next U.S. President in 2020, he could certainly afford it.

The clues

According to Politico, some of the signs that he does plan to run are there.

Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have hired Joel Benenson, a Democratic pollster, adviser to former President Barack Obama and chief strategist of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, as a consultant for their joint philanthropic project, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

The pair also hired David Plouffe, campaign manager for Obama’s 2008 presidential run; Amy Dudley, former communications adviser for Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.; and Ken Mehlman, who directed President George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign.

Zuckerberg is on a yearlong “listening tour,” where he is traveling to all 50 states and meeting with leaders and constituents in each — and, to document the trip, he has hired Charles Ommanney, a photographer for both the Bush and Obama presidential campaigns.

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The Establishment Center is the Real Enemy 2

Some interesting comments from Lorenzo Komboa Ervin posted below.

I would agree with much of his analysis, except to say that Trump is not a fascist. He’s more like the Republicans we had back in the 70s like Nixon and Nelson Rockefeller (which is bad enough). It’s possible to criticize the establishment without exaggerating. All of the things that are being criticized in this statement have been generated by the neoconservative/neoliberal Center, and not by “fascists.” Radicals need to forget about these loopy fringe groups and start focusing on attacking the state/corporate/imperialist Center. The most dangerous thing about the far right at present is that some of them commit individual violent crimes (which makes them no different than tons of other violent criminals in US society). Other than that, the neo-Nazis and other similar tendencies are irrelevant pariahs. And the Antifa are Maoist and Trotskyist infiltrated gangsters that are just as worthless as commie terrorist groups from the past like the Weathermen.


From Lorenzo Komboa Ervin

My point of differentiation with Antifa, the ARA, and many Anarchists is that I have always considered the state and monopoly capitalist corporations as the greatest threat of fascism, not fascist street forces. A pro-fascist coalition now runs the state itself with the Trump administration, which screams out for new strategy and tactics.

The other thing is that Antifa do not unite with the history of Black anti-fascism and unite with communities of color. I have had this criticism for many years, and I think for Antifa to go to the next stage, it must build a mass movement, not just serve as a vanguard paramilitary force alone.

We have seen the war on drugs and rise of mass imprisonment of Blacks/POC, 30 + years of mass murders of Blacks/POC by paramilitary police, austerity attacks against the poor, the rise of corporate power and consolidation with the state, and so on, all of which opened the door for Trump’s corporate fascist regime.

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No, It’s Not the Troops Fault 1

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It is politically inappropriate and strategically counter productive to merely denounce rank and file members of the military as hired goons for the state. One of the most important political occurrences that happened in US history was the success of the anti-Vietnam War movement, and the consequent delegitimization of imperialist wars and military conscription. This success has reduced the US state, the most powerful state in history, to having to fight imperialist wars with armies of indentured servants, mercenaries, and proxy forces. The indentured servants that comprise the state’s official armed forces are largely generated by the economic draft which results from the ongoing impoverishment of poor and working class communities. That’s the reason why the US armed forces are both disproportionately minorities and disproportionately from white working class strongholds like the Rust Belt. The bottom line is that we need our vets for the revolution.

US has regressed to developing nation status, MIT economist warns Reply

By Chloe Farand

Independent

american-feeding.jpg

Peter Temin says 80 per cent of the population is burdened with debt and anxious about job security.

America is regressing to have the economic and political structure of a developing nation, an MIT economist has warned.

Peter Temin says the world’s’ largest economy has roads and bridges that look more like those in Thailand and Venezuela than those in parts of Europe.

In his new book, “The Vanishing Middle Class”, reviewed by the Institute for New Economic Thinking, Mr Temin says the fracture of US society is leading the middle class to disappear.

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Millennials Are Way Poorer Than Boomers Ever Were Reply

The Baby Boomers were the product of the largest and most prosperous middle class in world history which has subsequently been destroyed by the convergence of dozens of factors.

By Lauren Messman

VICE

A depressing new analysis found that young Americans today are making 20 percent less than baby boomers were at the same age.

Despite being the largest and best-educated generation in the country, millennials are far worse off financially than baby boomers were, spelling out a troubling financial future for young people throughout their lifetime, according to a depressing new analysis from the advocacy group Young Invincibles.

After looking at 2013 Federal Reserve data for 25- to 34-year-olds and comparing it with the same age group back in 1989, the analysis found that millennials today are making a median income of around $40,000—a whopping 20 percent drop from what baby boomers were earning when they were just starting out. Baby boomers also had twice the number of assets that millennials have now.

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Municipalist syndicalism: organizing the new working class Reply

By Alexander Kolokotronis

ROAR Mag

A municipalist revolution is impossible without the support and cooperation of labor unions. In some cases, labor unions might themselves take the lead in promulgating a municipalist shift. To effectively pursue this path, the left must grapple with the diverse composition and structure of the working class — joining calls for union democracy with nascent municipalist movements. Experiments in participatory democracy can then be tried and tested at the intra-union level, nourishing possibilities for subsequent municipal-wide implementation.

Developments in the United States and Spain are showing that municipalist participatory platforms can win. Examples include the mayoral election of Chokwe Lumumba Jr. in Jackson, Mississippi on a three-pronged platform of building peoples’ assemblies, a solidarity economy and a network of progressive political candidates. A number of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) candidates are running on platforms of expanding participatory democracy and the workers’ cooperative sector. Municipalist movements are proliferating as a means of resisting Donald Trump and a rising far-right.

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Return of the city-state Reply

Political battles of the future will be between the forces of global capital and city-states where non-state actors manage to gain hegemony.

By Jamie Bartlett

Aeon.Com

If you’d been born 1,500 years ago in southern Europe, you’d have been convinced that the Roman empire would last forever. It had, after all, been around for 1,000 years. And yet, following a period of economic and military decline, it fell apart. By 476 CE it was gone. To the people living under the mighty empire, these events must have been unthinkable. Just as they must have been for those living through the collapse of the Pharaoh’s rule or Christendom or the Ancien Régime.

We are just as deluded that our model of living in ‘countries’ is inevitable and eternal. Yes, there are dictatorships and democracies, but the whole world is made up of nation-states. This means a blend of ‘nation’ (people with common attributes and characteristics) and ‘state’ (an organised political system with sovereignty over a defined space, with borders agreed by other nation-states). Try to imagine a world without countries – you can’t. Our sense of who we are, our loyalties, our rights and obligations, are bound up in them.

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Keith Preston: Wahhabi elements from Saudi Arabia supported 9/11 attacks 2

Press TV. Listen here.

Although the official US narrative on the September 11, 2001 attacks does not give away the real perpetrators behind the operation, it can be safely assumed that “Wahhabi” elements from Saudi Arabia provided direct support to them, says an analyst in Virginia.

Keith Preston, director of the attackthesystem.com, made the remarks while discussing new evidence in a lawsuit that holds Saudi Arabia responsible for the attacks that killed more than 3,000 people 16 years ago.

The lawsuit alleges that the Saudi embassy in Washington paid for two Saudi nationals, living undercover in the US as students, to fly from the city of Phoenix to Washington “in a dry run for the 9/11 attacks” two years before their occurrence, the New York Post reported on Saturday.

 

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“A Conference of the ‘National Anarchists'”: A Reply to Wayne Price 6

Veteran anarcho-communist writer Wayne Price has offered a critique of my summary of the 2017 conference of the National-Anarchist Movement in Madrid on the Anarkismo site. Read my original article here, and Price’s reply here. My response to price is below.

By Keith Preston

This is the response to Wayne Price’s critique of the N-AM conference that I posted on Anarkismo.

Given that I am both the author of the original article that Wayne Price critiques, and one of the presenters at the conference in Madrid, I should offer a response to Price’s criticisms.

The individual presenters at the conference are capable of speaking for themselves, which Sean has already done, so I won’t take it upon myself to offer a defense of anyone’s specific views. Instead, I will point out that there were a range of perspectives presented at the conference by people of divergent backgrounds, and the same was true of conference attendees as well. For example, there were people present who expressed both positive and negative views of anarcho-primitivism, and I met at least one self-identified anarcho-capitalist among the attendees and another with pro-Israel sympathies.

Wayne says, “The article is written by one Keith Preston, who has claimed to be trying to pull together left and right libertarianism, anarchist-communism and national-anarchism.” This is correct. Those who are interested in the contents of my own presentation can watch a video of the whole thing here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1Q94OT2JSA&feature=share

Wayne says, “The Nazis denounced capitalism and big business (especially their “left wing” which stupidly believed this rhetoric, until Hitler got into power and had “left Nazis” killed).” This would seem to be a selective criticism. Could not the same thing be said of the the followers of Lenin, Caballero, Mao, Kim, Castro, Ho, Pol Pot, and, indeed, virtually every leading Marxist revolutionary of the past century?

Wayne says, “So these pseudo-anarchists denounce the state, the international capitalist ruling class, imperialism, and the dangerous misuse of technology by capitalism. Preston summarizes, “much of what was said was highly relevant to the ideas of the libertarian-left and the libertarian-right alike, as well as those affiliated with anti-globalization, environmental, anti-imperialist, indigenous, anti-state, and anti-corporate movements generally.”How does this make anyone a “pseudo-anarchist”?

Wayne says, “The NA propose replacing the centralized state and mass society by more-or-less autonomous communities. The communities will form themselves on whatever basis they want, but (surprise!) the NA suggest forming them on the basis of “ethnicity.” The idea is that N-A communities can be based on any foundations their members wish, from animal liberation and veganism to Star Trek fandom, with the recognition that ethnicity (along with culture, geography, language, religion, family, socioeconomic status, and occupation) is among the predominant factors in human social organization, as any freshman-level social science student should be able to recognize.

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Keith Preston: US wants Ukraine in NATO to encircle Russia Reply

Press TV. Listen here.

he United States is planning to include Ukraine in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), suggests an American analyst, arguing that the move would separate Moscow and Kiev forever and serve Washington’s ultimate goal of “encircling” Russia.

“The relationship between the US and Russia is bound to be strained because the two nations have entirely different geopolitical interests,” Keith Preston, director of the attackthesystem.com, told Press TV.

“The ambition of the United States, when it comes to Russia, is to encircle Russia and isolate it militarily and politically in the sense of extending the NATO alliance straight up to Russia’s borders so all of the Easter European and Baltic States would be included” in the military pact, he argued.

Russia, on the other hand, is seeking to salvage relations with Ukraine to protect its own geopolitical interests.

“So, essentially, Ukraine as a nation is caught right in the middle in this geopolitical rivalry between the United States and the NATO alliance on the one hand and Russia on the other,” the analyst continued.

Ukraine has applied to join the alliance.

Conflict erupted in eastern Ukraine after people in the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea voted for unification with Russia in March 2014.

The West brands the unification as annexation of the territory by Russia. The US and its allies in Europe also accuse Russia of having a major hand in the crisis in eastern Ukraine, an allegation denied by Moscow.

During a news conference on Tuesday, Russian president Vladimir Putin warned Washington against supplying arms to Kiev, arguing that the decision would fuel the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Putin said arming Ukraine will possibly prompt pro-Russia forces to expand their campaign, stressing that the move would not change the situation and would only add to the number of casualties.

The crisis has left over 10,000 people dead and more than a million others displaced, according to the United Nations.

Preston said Washington was also seeking to curb Moscow’s influence in the Middle East through a similar policy.

Maybe Abolishing America’s Police Forces Isn’t as Crazy as It Sounds Reply

The Underground Reporter

Are police necessary? Although this existential question often produces a knee-jerk ‘of course they are, who would protect us?’ a growing call for the abolition of police — and working examples to back it up — deserves more than scornful dismissal, particularly amid epidemic-level violence by agents of the state.

Police are under no obligation to protect the public they putatively serve — a series of state and Supreme Court decisions stretching back more than three decades indisputably establish this fact — so the lingering question, ‘who will protect us?’ is of no consequence to the case for dismantling every police department in the nation.

On the contrary, police kill, maim, intimidate, harass, and generally brutalize the citizenry with alarming frequency — and rarely face consequences beyond a paid vacation farcically termed ‘administrative leave’ for doing so.

Rather than fight and solve violent crimes, police act as little more than heavily militarized code-enforcers, or as David Graeber of the London School of Economics aptly terms, “bureaucrats with weapons” — protecting us from broken tail lights, missing front license plates, and imperfect lane changes more often than from robbery, homicide, and rape.

Give police the equipment and weapons of war under the premise of fighting terrorism, when terrorism is all but nonexistent, and predictably, they will go to war. As Abraham Maslow posited in 1966 in a concept known as the law of the instrument, “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”

We, the citizenry, are not nails to be forcibly and violently coerced into submission over the tiniest of nonviolent and inconsequential infractions — but, whether or not we’re inclined to admit as much, that summarizes our current situation in the eyes of an overbearing state and its criminalization of, in essence, daily life.

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How Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump have restarted the war on drugs Reply

Trump goes predictably full Nixon/Reagan on drug policy. Expect a backlash in the future given the racial implications of drug policy and the racially controversial nature of the Trump presidency.. The next Democratic President will likely be the furthest left the US has ever had. Just like Bill Clinton seems rather conservative by today’s standards, the next Democratic President will likely make Obama seem comparatively right-wing.

By Lois Beckett

The Guardian

Shauna Barry-Scott remembers the moment she felt the American fever for mass incarceration break. It was an August morning in 2013, and she was in a federal prison in the mountains of West Virginia. She remembers crowding into the TV room with the other women in their khaki uniforms. Everyone who could get out of their work shifts was there, waiting. Good news was on the way, advocates had told them. Watch for it.

Some of her fellow inmates were cynical: it seemed like millions of rumors of reform had swept through the federal prison system to only then dissolve. Barry-Scott did not blame them, but she was more hopeful.

At age 41, she had been sentenced to 20 years in prison for possession with the intent to distribute 4.5 ounces of crack cocaine. “Think of a 12oz can of Coke, cut that in a third,” she explains. “And that’s what I got 20 years for.” The sentence made no sense to her. Barry-Scott’s son had been murdered in 1998, and the men charged with shooting him to death had to serve less time than she did – six and seven years each, she says.

But the amount of drugs in her possession had triggered a mandatory minimum sentence, part of a now-infamous law passed in 1986 to impose punitive sentences for certain offenses amid a rising panic over drug abuse. In 1980, some 25,000 people were incarcerated in federal prisons. By 2013 after four decades of America’s war on drugs, there were 219,000. Yet this population was just a small fraction of the estimated 2.3 million Americans locked up not only in federal prisons, but also in state facilities and local jails.

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America’s Changing Religious Identity Reply

An interesting and massive new study on religion and culture. Obviously, the Left has no reason to fear a Christian theocratic takeover of America.

By Daniel Cox and Robert P. Jones

By Public Religion Research Institute

The American religious landscape is undergoing a dramatic transformation. White Christians, once the dominant religious group in the U.S., now account for fewer than half of all adults living in the country. Today, fewer than half of all states are majority white Christian. As recently as 2007, 39 states had majority white Christian populations. These are two of the major findings from this report, which is based on findings from PRRI’s 2016 American Values Atlas, the single largest survey of American religious and denominational identity ever conducted. This landmark report is based on a sample of more than 101,000 Americans from all 50 states and includes detailed information about their religious affiliation, denominational ties, political affiliation, and other important demographic attributes.

Among the major findings:

  1. White Christians now account for fewer than half of the public. Today, only 43% of Americans identify as white and Christian, and only 30% as white and Protestant. In 1976, roughly eight in ten (81%) Americans identified as white and identified with a Christian denomination, and a majority (55%) were white Protestants.
  2. White evangelical Protestants are in decline—along with white mainline Protestants and white Catholics. White evangelical Protestants were once thought to be bucking a longer trend, but over the past decade their numbers have dropped substantially. Fewer than one in five (17%) Americans are white evangelical Protestant, but they accounted for nearly one-quarter (23%) in 2006. Over the same period, white Catholics dropped five percentage points from 16% to 11%, as have white mainline Protestants, from 18% to 13%.
  3. Non-Christian religious groups are growing, but they still represent less than one in ten Americans combined. Jewish Americans constitute 2% of the public while Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus each constitute only 1% of the public. All other non-Christian religions constitute an additional 1%.
  4. America’s youngest religious groups are all non-Christian. Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists are all far younger than white Christian groups. At least one-third of Muslims (42%), Hindus (36%), and Buddhists (35%) are under the age of 30. Roughly one-third (34%) of religiously unaffiliated Americans are also under 30. In contrast, white Christian groups are aging. Slightly more than one in ten white Catholics (11%), white evangelical Protestants (11%), and white mainline Protestants (14%) are under 30. Approximately six in ten white evangelical Protestants (62%), white Catholics (62%), and white mainline Protestants (59%) are at least 50 years old.
  5. The Catholic Church is experiencing an ethnic transformation. Twenty-five years ago, nearly nine in ten (87%) Catholics were white, non-Hispanic, compared to 55% today. Fewer than four in ten (36%) Catholics under the age of 30 are white, non-Hispanic; 52% are Hispanic.
  6. Atheists and agnostics account for a minority of all religiously unaffiliated. Most are secular. Atheists and agnostics account for only about one-quarter (27%) of all religiously unaffiliated Americans. Nearly six in ten (58%) religiously unaffiliated Americans identify as secular, someone who is not religious; 16% of religiously unaffiliated Americans nonetheless report that they identify as a “religious person.”

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Yes, the Alt-Left Exists and It’s Terrifying Reply

It’s good to see someone from a left-wing background criticizing this stuff, as opposed to making excuses for left-wing totalitarians as overly zealous do-gooders (which was the same apology that leftists typically made for Communism during its heyday). We should remember that a mere 30 years ago 1/3 of the world’s nations were ruled by “red fascist” regimes, and that there is a long history of left-wing terrorism that matches that of the far right.

By Keri Smith

Foundation for Economic Education

hen writing this piece, a quote kept rattling around in the back of my head. It was the title of the opening chapter of “The Feminine Mystique,” Betty Friedan’s seminal 1963 feminist manifesto: The Problem That Has No Name. Apologies in advance, for appropriating and altering three of the quotes I find most meaningful from that chapter, for my own purposes here:

The problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the minds of American liberals…

Even so, most liberals still did not know that this problem was real. But those who had faced it honestly knew that all the media dismissals, the academic justifications, the intellectualized double speak and the manufactured outrage were somehow drowning the problem in unreality…

How can any person see the whole truth within the bounds of one’s own life? How can she believe that voice inside herself, when it denies the conventional, accepted truths by which she has been living? And yet the liberals I have talked to, who are finally listening to that inner voice, seem in some incredible way to be groping through to a truth that has defied the media.”

The Alt-Left Is Real

There is an effort underfoot, in the media and in academia, to declare the Alt-Left a myth, to sweep it back under the rug, to reduce it, in effect, back to being a sickness not spoken of, a problem that has no name. I have had well-meaning friends tell me I should not use the term Alt-Left (or any of its synonyms: Regressive Left, CTRL-Left, SJWism) because they are ‘pejoratives’ used only by the right to attack the left.

In my experience, this is not true. Like canaries in the coal mine, liberals who do not (or no longer) subscribe to the Alt-Left ideology have been sounding the alarm about this creeping plague of repressive groupthink for quite a while now. I believe this attempt to dissuade our use of the term Alt-Left is purposeful (even if not consciously recognized by individuals who are doing it) — for how can we discuss something we cannot refer to by name?

When asked to define Alt-Left, I would describe it as a leftist but illiberal authoritarian ideology rooted in postmodernism and neo-Marxism that supports censorship, condones violence in response to speech, is obsessed with identity politics (much like the Alt-Right), and functions like a secular religion that gives its believers a sense of moral self-worth.

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Battlefield America Is the New Normal: We’re Not in Mayberry Anymore Reply

Once again, John Whitehead shows himself to be one of the most important commentators out there.

By John W. Whithead

The Rutherford Institute

If we’re training cops as soldiers, giving them equipment like soldiers, dressing them up as soldiers, when are they going to pick up the mentality of soldiers? If you look at the police department, their creed is to protect and to serve. A soldier’s mission is to engage his enemy in close combat and kill him. Do we want police officers to have that mentality? Of course not.”— Arthur Rizer, former police officer and member of the military

America, you’ve been fooled again.

While the nation has been distracted by a media maelstrom dominated by news of white supremacists, Powerball jackpots, Hurricane Harvey, and a Mayweather v. McGregor fight, the American Police State has been carving its own path of devastation and destruction through what’s left of the Constitution.

We got sucker punched.

First, Congress overwhelmingly passed—and President Trump approved—a law allowing warrantless searches of private property for the purpose of “making inspections, investigations, examinations, and testing.”

For now, the scope of the law is geographically limited to property near the Washington DC Metro system, but mark my words, this is just a way of testing the waters. Under the pretext of ensuring public safety by “inspecting” property in the vicinity of anything that could be remotely classified as impacting public safety, the government could gain access to almost any private property in the country.

Then President Trump, aided and abetted by his trusty Department of Justice henchman Jeff Sessions and to the delight of the nation’s powerful police unions, rolled back restrictions on the government’s military recycling program.

What this means is that police agencies, only minimally deterred by the Obama administration’s cosmetic ban on certain types of military gear, can now go hog-wild.

We’re talking Blackhawk helicopters, machine guns, grenade launchers, battering rams, explosives, chemical sprays, body armor, night vision, rappelling gear, armored vehicles, and tanks.

Clearly, we’re not in Mayberry anymore.

Or if this is Mayberry, it’s Mayberry in The Twilight Zone.

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“They have no allegiance to liberal democracy”: an expert on antifa explains the group Reply

Because they are revolutionary Marxist totalitarians. I am likewise opposed to liberal democracy, but for polar opposite reasons than Marxists, Nazis, or Islamists. Liberal democracy was an important historic achievement, but only in a limited way. The overthrow of the traditional ancient regime model of society by the modern bourgeois republics was a necessary stage in political evolution just as the replacement of emperor-worship in ancient societies with the “divine right of kings” ethos of the monotheist religions was a step forward in its own time. However, the effect of liberal democracy was to establish the oligarchical dictatorship of state-capitalism with the creation of electoral coronation systems as the means of conveying legitimacy upon the state. Serious anarchist thought involves an effort to retain the achievements of liberal democracy (e.g. freedom of opinion and minimal limitations on the power of the state) while ultimately working to abolish the state altogether. Marxism, Nazism, and Islamism have all been retrograde movements that sought to abolish the achievements of modern liberalism while restoring the “cult of the leader” and/ or theocratic concepts of past models of the state.

By Sean Illing

Vox

When Donald Trump used the phrase “alt-left” to describe the anti-neo-Nazi protesters in Charlottesville last week, most people had no idea what he meant. I’m actually not sure he knew what he meant.

“What about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the ‘alt-right’? Do they have any assemblage of guilt?” Trump said during a rambling press conference.

If the alt-left exists, it’s probably best represented by “antifa” (short for “anti-fascist”) — a loose network of left-wing activists who physically resist people they consider fascists. These are often the scruffy, bandana-clad people who show up at alt-right rallies or speaking events in order to shut them down before they happen, and they openly embrace violence as a justifiable means to that end.

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Here’s the best thing the media can do when reporting on ‘antifa’ Reply

The naivete of this writer is extraordinary. There really is such as thing as “left fascism,” and a mere 30 years ago it ruled 1/3 of the world’s nations, sometimes in alliance with right-wing fascists (e.g. the relationship between Franco’s Spain and Castro’s Cuba, Communist support for Peronism, or support for Maoism by 1970s Italian neo-fascist terrorist groups). During the rise of the totalitarian movements of the 20th century, far left as well as far right groups had violent paramilitaries and street thugs that were used to intimidate or eliminate their opponents. The Stalin-allied KPD in Germany was as large as the NSDAP, and had their own equivalent of the SA in the Red Front.

Some antifa types may fancy themselves as “anarchists,” but their ranks are already heavily infiltrated with Marxists, Leninists, Maoists, and Trotskyists, and anytime anarchists have been aligned with Communists it has always been the Communists who got the upper hand, from the First International to the Russian Revolution to the Spanish Civil War to Paris ’68 to the Students for a Democratic Society. One of the largest antifa groups is the one in Portland, which is Maoist. Yvette Felarco’s group in the Bay Area is a front for a Trotskyist organization. I’m told the group here in Richmond is Maoist. The New York City antifa appear to be heavily Communist as well. Yes, the antifa are the left’s version of the neo-Nazis.

By Margaret Sullivan

The Washington Post

For many Americans, the first they heard of antifa was last month when a white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville burst into the news.

Since then, though, it’s everywhere.

Trevor Noah did a comic riff on it last week, calling one wing of the group the “vegan ISIS.” Sean Hannity’s substitute, Jonathan Gilliam, lumped in Heather Heyer, the woman killed in Charlottesville, with anti-fascists. And The Washington Post’s editorial board suggested the group call itself “profa” because its tactics work against its cause.

Most notably, of course, President Trump denounced Charlottesville violence “on many sides” — equating the neo-Nazis there with the anti-fascists, who say they aim to fight back against the rise of white supremacy and totalitarianism. (With roots in 1930s Europe, antifa’s adherents believe in direct action, including force if they deem it necessary.)

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Enough with the blue-baiting: The biggest threat on campus has nothing to do with free speech Reply

There are plenty of examples of universities and colleges imposing de facto censorship on leftists as well as rightists. Some cases in point can be found here, here, and here.

I think the problem is more of one where today we have mega-institutions like universities and corporations that are essentially states unto themselves, and yet are considered legally exempt from constitutional restrictions intended to restrain state conduct. Originally, when the Constitution was written, it only applied to the feds and not the states and localities. However, as the power of the feds has expanded and the states and localities have become more like administrative units the Supreme Court has established jurisprudence that has expanded the Bill of Rights to the states and localities as well. Today, we have a situation where corporations are merely the economic arm of the state and universities (along with the media) are the educational/ideological arm and yet these de facto states or state institutions claim exemption from the Constitution. Therefore, we need a new jurisprudence that extends the constitution to the corporations and universities.

By Sophia A. McClennen

Salon

One of the most disturbing and most predictable outcomes of the Charlottesville, Va., attacks earlier this month was that rather than lead to a reasoned and careful conversation about the rise of hate groups in our nation, it led to debates about whether the white supremacist neo-Nazis on display were the victims of discrimination. In Trumpland everything is on its head. Thus we have become desensitized to its dangerous combination of absurdity and malice.

But Charlottesville is not only a story about the mainstreaming of hate and fascism in the Trump era; it’s also a story about how the right has engaged in an all-out war to dismantle our public universities. As we have watched the rising public displays of fascism and bigotry sweep across the nation, it has been easy to overlook the fact that many of these rallies have been purposefully staged on college campuses. The decision to hold these rallies on campuses and to thereby provoke counter-protests also on campuses is a deliberate move by the right: one designed to allow them to further their narrative that college campuses are places that are hostile to free speech.

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The Dark Side of Empathy Reply

I’ve often been accused of lacking “empathy,” “sensitivity,” and all the other usual pieties. To which my response is “Guilty, but Proud.” Here’s why.

By Paul Bloom

The Atlantic

I’m not usually in favor of killing, but I’d make an exception for the leaders of ISIS. I’d feel a certain satisfaction if they were wiped off the face of the Earth. This is a pretty typical attitude, shared even by many of my more liberal friends, even though, intellectually, it’s not something that we’re comfortable with or proud of.Where does this malice come from? Psychologists have standard explanations for murderous feelings towards groups of strangers, but none of them apply here. I don’t think ISIS is a threat to me or my family or my way of life; I’m not driven by disgust and contempt; I don’t dehumanize them; I don’t think of them as vermin or dogs.

Rather, I am motivated by more respectable sentiments, by compassion, love, and empathy. Not for ISIS, of course, but for their victims. I have seen the videos of decapitations and crucifixions and have read accounts of rape, slavery, and torture. If I were less invested in the suffering of their victims, I would be more receptive to a balanced discussion of different options. But because I care, I really just want them to pay.

In The Theory of Moral Sentiments, published in 1759, Adam Smith observes that when we see someone harmed by another, we feed off his desire for vengeance: “We are rejoiced to see him attack his adversary in his turn, and eager and ready to assist him.” Even if he dies, our imagination does the trick: “We enter, as it were, into his body, and in our imaginations, in some measure, animate anew the deformed and mangled carcass of the slain, [and] bring home in this manner his case to our bosoms.”

You can see this process at work in research published last year by the psychologists Anneke Buffone and Michael Poulin. Subjects were told about a competition between two students in another room of the lab. Half of the subjects read an essay in which one of the students described herself as being in distress (“I’ve never been this low on funds and it really scares me”); the others read an essay in which she was mellow (“I’ve never been this low on funds, but it doesn’t really bother me”). The subjects were then told that they were going to help out in a study of pain and performance, wherein they would get to choose how much hot sauce the student’s competitor would have to consume.

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Two (or More) Sides to Every Story 1

A Facebook friend has this to say about North Korea:

HOW IS IT THAT WE DO NOT FIND IT OBSCENE AND REVOLTING that the USA media openly talk about a murderous military invasion of North Korea, for the sole asserted reason that North Korea wants to develop a credible (and obviously needed) nuclear deterrent?

In many decades the most militarily aggressive nations that have nuclear weapons have clearly been the USA and Israel. What country that is in the sights of these two violent nations would not want nuclear weapons as freaking soon as possible? I sure would. This is especially true in light of North Korea’s history (below). Yet we don’t find it obscene that the USA and its media openly talk about murdering the entire nation with a military invasion because it dares to want to have the only military deterrent that could work against USA madness. Insane.

Michael Mac Aodha: “It is some Orwellian “Two Minutes Hate” for us to be freaking out about North Korea. Super brief history: Korea was colonized in 1910 by Japan, liberated by Moscow in August 1945, and went to war with US and the US-backed forces in South Korea in 1951. By 1953 the US Air Force ran out of military targets and started bombing dams to flood rice fields and cause starvation. North Korea has never forgotten, and formally the war has never ended. Until very recently both countries have claimed ALL of Korea. Both countries didn’t join UN until1991. In 1994 NK signed on to the Agreed Framework with US, but Washington dragged its feet while NK upheld their end of the bargain. They gave our government a chance to make peace and we blew it. They know, just like we claim for ourselves, that they have to have nukes to deter and to compel others to have dialog. US opposes banning nukes every year because we don’t want to get rid of our leverage, yet we can’t see that with North Korea, a much weaker and vulnerable country really facing existential threats. We depict them as irrational, hostile boogeymen bent on world domination—an image that more reflects our own government. We are being jingoistic about North Korea. We misunderstand them and are thirsty for blood. US and South Korea just held major military exercises running through plans of overthrowing the North, and Japan’s prime minister is trying to get their constitution rewritten so they can go to war again North Korea. But even USA Today, a conservative newspaper, admits that all they want is (1) guarantees from the US that we want try and overthrow them; (2) to keep their nukes for assurances; (3) lifting of sanctions; (4) removal of US troops from South Korea; and (5) a peace treaty with South Korea. That last one is a significant concession. The North is foregoing their claim to ALL of Korea and is willing to formally recognize them as a sovereign country that they want to have normalized peace relations with. All very reasonable stuff, but look how we’re acting.”

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Ideology as Addiction Reply

There are an awful lot of people nowadays, many of our “anarchists” as much as anyone, who need to take the message of this piece to heart. What we witnessing today is the proliferation of cults committed to one or another fanatical ideology.

Of Two Minds

Solutions abound, but they aren’t one size fits all ideologies.

It isn’t just coincidental that ideology shares so many dynamics with addiction. Though ideology is a faith-belief dynamic rather than a chemical process, both require constant reinforcement/renewal and both demand a painful withdrawal procedure of those who decide to free themselves of the monkey on their back.

The individual addicted to an ideology needs a constant drip of confirmation that the ideological belief is both correct and ethically superior to competing belief systems. The ideology-addict gets a much-needed hit of confirmation by reading, watching or listening to other believers’ justifications and defenses of the ideology.

Ideology fills two basic human needs: certainty and purpose. a constant state of uncertainty places a corrosive burden on the mind, emotions and spirit; the solution is a decision or resolution that resolves the uncertainy.

Humans need purpose to guide their life; aimlessness is debilitating and unnatural.

Addiction provides purpose, as the life of the addict is guided by the need to satisfy the addiction.

Ideology also provides purpose: the believer is called upon to defend and evangelize the ideology as an abstraction, and support its manifestations in the real world.

Addiction is an all-or-nothing state of being. If an individual can abandon the addiction at will and feel no deprivation, it isn’t an addiction; if sporadic half-measures suffice, it isn’t an addiction.

Ideology is also an all-or-nothing state of being. One doesn’t believe in capitalism or socialism, for example, in half-measure or occasionally when the whim strikes; one is convinced of the rightness of one’s ideology as a permanent state of certainty.

There is a sense of belonging and betrayal implicit in ideological beliefs that mirrors addiction. The sex addict, for example, feels only fellow sex addicts can possibly understand the compulsion and satisfaction of that particular monkey on one’s back.

In the state of ideological certainty/ addiction, only fellow believers can possibly grasp the perfection and rightness of the ideology. Thus this certainty is not just a state of being; it is also a state of belonging, hence the similarity of belonging to a cult and addiction.

To cease believing is heresy and an abject betrayal of the brethen/sisterhood. Hell hath no fury like a membership scorned or abandoned.

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