REPORT) — On Thursday, China’s State Council Information Office released a human rights report on the U.S., noting that while that country continues to act as “the judge of human rights” it continues to ignore its own “terrible problems.”
The report, called “Human Rights Record of the United States in 2016,” cites both international and U.S. academic and NGO sources focussed on that country’s domestic and international human rights record.
“Wielding ‘the baton of human rights,’ (the U.S.) pointed fingers and cast blame on the human rights situation in many countries while paying no attention to its own terrible human rights problems,” the report declared.
“With the gunshots lingering in people’s ears behind the Statue of Liberty, worsening racial discrimination and the election farce dominated by money politics, the self-proclaimed human rights defender has exposed its human rights ‘myth’ with its own deeds,” it added.
In a collection of essays edited by Scott Crow, who is somewhat well-known in left-wing “anarchist” circles, one “J. Clark” weighs in against yours truly. How awful that some people might prefer a way of life other than the one J. Clark has chosen for them.
The withering away of the antiwar movement during the Obama era, and the failure of the Left to oppose the Trump administration’s efforts to strengthen the position of the Atlanticist-Zionist-Wahhabi axis (or to even take notice) indicates that US imperialism will have to be defeated externally rather than internally. This will be achieved by a combination of ongoing military defeats by fourth generation warfare forces, and the rise of counter power on a geopolitical level. On the former point, the US is now 0-5 in the 4GW conflicts that have been fought over the last quarter century (Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria). Meanwhile, the “triangular resistance” of the BRICS, Shia-led Resistance Block, and the Global South is rising to create a multipolar rather than unipolar world. The US has largely retreated from Latin America, and will gradually do the same in Asia and Africa in the future.
By Tom O’Connor
China and Russia may be devising a plan to attack U.S. forces in the event of an imminent war breaking out on the neighboring Korean Peninsula, according to two former military officials.
Lieutenant General Wang Hongguang, the former deputy commander of the western Nanjing Military Region, warned “the war on the Korean Peninsula might break out anytime between now and March next year”; his comments came during a conference hosted Saturday by ruling Communist Party newspaper The Global Times. The following day, the nationalist outlet expanded on the retired general’s remarks with insight from Chinese military expert, commentator and author Song Zhongping, who said China could potentially engage U.S. forces if they posed a threat.
This a a great cartoon in the sense that is parodies the reflexive sentiments of “conservatives” in the vein of FOX News fans and “dittoheads,” who echo Ayn Rand’s claim that “big business is the most persecuted minority,” or Cool Hand Luke’s quip that, “Them poor ole bosses need all the help they can get.” But it also regrettably falls prey to the “progressive” sentiment that the king is some mythical figure that will save the peasants from the aristocrats.
That nearly all political factions, from far left to far right, buy into the false dichotomy of “big business vs. big government” indicates how appallingly ignorant most people are of basic principles of political economy. Thinkers such as Pierre Joseph Proudhon and Joseph De Jacque had these questions figured out in the early to mid nineteenth century, and these same ideas have been expounded upon again and again by subsequent thinkers as diverse as Henry George, William Appleman Williams, C. Wright Mills, James Burnham, Murray Rothbard, William Domhoff, and Christopher Lasch. Yet modern leftists and rightists are still wanting to fight the “kings vs. aristocrats” battle. And people think the neo-Confederates or religious right are retrograde!
When will people, including most so-called “radicals,” realize that the political class is the modern equivalent of the king, and his ministers and knights, while the plutocrats are the new aristocrats with the mass corporations being the new manorial systems, with the media and the educational system serving the modern equivalent of the Church?
By Jamie Bartlett
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.
Which is all rather odd, since they’re not really that old. Until the mid-19th century, most of the world was a sprawl of empires, unclaimed land, city-states and principalities, which travellers crossed without checks or passports. As industrialisation made societies more complex, large centralised bureaucracies grew up to manage them. Those governments best able to unify their regions, store records, and coordinate action (especially war) grew more powerful vis-à-vis their neighbours. Revolutions – especially in the United States (1776) and France (1789) – helped to create the idea of a commonly defined ‘national interest’, while improved communications unified language, culture and identity. Imperialistic expansion spread the nation-state model worldwide, and by the middle of the 20th century it was the only game in town. There are now 193 nation-states ruling the world.
But the nation-state with its borders, centralised governments, common people and sovereign authority is increasingly out of step with the world. And as Karl Marx observed, if you change the dominant mode of production that underpins a society, the social and political structure will change too.
A critique of anarcho-capitalism/right-libertarianism from a left-anarchist/libertarian socialist perspective.
By Will Moyer
I considered myself a libertarian for at least 10 years. The first time I heard the term was in 2000, watching Harry Browne in the third-party presidential debates. I knew next to nothing of libertarian philosophy, but the little I did understand, I identified with. My high school held a mock presidential election and I hung up “vote for Harry Browne” posters and encouraged my friends to write him in on their ballots. It was the first and last time I would participate in any kind of political campaign.
When I turned 18, I registered to vote with the Libertarian Party, despite my parents’ warning that I would lose the chance to influence primary elections. I was also aligning myself with a third party, and everyone knows third parties don’t win elections.
I never voted for a Libertarian presidential candidate. In fact, I don’t think I ever voted for any presidential candidate. There is a chance I sent in an absentee ballot from college voting for George W. Bush, but I can’t remember if I ever actually mailed the thing. Either way, I missed out on the great American ritual of walking into a booth, scribbling on a piece of paper and throwing it in a glorified trash bin.
I moved further and further toward what I considered true libertarianism, eschewing the capital “L” and politics in general. I read Rand and Rothbard and Mises, scoured countless articles and listened to hundreds of podcasts. I understood libertarian philosophy. I remember the moment when I realized anarchism was the only legitimate conclusion. It was like Bertrand Russell’s “Great God in Boots!” moment. Only mine was committed by a nobody… and also not wrong.
An interesting study on global trends among the world religions, and where trends will lead in the 21st century.
By Raziye Akkoc
Islam is the world’s fastest growing religion but despite the increasing numbers, Christians will still outnumber Muslims in 2050, a new report has found.
Religion, despite its decline in the West as the map above shows, is proliferating across the world – by 2050, Muslims will make up 10 per cent of Europe‘s population. By 2100, Muslims will outnumber Christians globally, Pew believe.
“By the year 2100, about 1 per cent more of the world’s population would be Muslim (35 per cent) than Christian (34 per cent),” the authors wrote.
According to the Pew Research Centre, the religiously unaffiliated – referring to atheists, agnostics and other people who do not identify with a religion – are declining as a share of the population.
Prominent atheist scholar Richard Carrier discusses the recent dust up in the atheist milieu between left and right over Sargon’s appearance at an atheist conference. What a mess. Carrier, whose own politics appear to be a kind of pragmatic center-leftism has also had some interesting debates with both left-wing anarchists and an-caps.
By Richard Carrier
My last article on the growing irrationality of the atheist left and right covered a lot. But some things it addressed only too briefly, and need a little more attention. Not least being, everyone ignoring its message.
Not long after I wrote that article, the atheist left and anti-left did the same stupid shit all over again, abusing and damning two popular and important atheist leaders for no valid reason whatever, ironically for doing exactly the opposite things. Seth Andrews voiced pretty much the same sanity I did, that attending the same conference with an anti-feminist is not endorsing or agreeing with their anti-feminism, and then (initially) agreed to speak at the Mythicist Milwaukee conference to lend another feminist, social-justice voice to balance any perceived imbalance there may have been, and to make sure the views of that side of the ideological divide get a clear hearing. For which he was vilified and condemned and unfriended by prominent atheist leftists. Aron Ra did what I also had already written was an entirely acceptable thing to do, and bowed out of the conference in protest of the few anti-feminists empaneled at it. For which he was vilified and condemned and unfriended by prominent atheist anti-leftists.
About 20 years ago, I began to formulate ideas for the development of what I now call a “third wave” anarchist movement, with the “first wave” being the era of classical anarchism from the 19th and early 20th century, and the “second wave” being the forms of anarchism that have their roots in the New Left from the 1960s. The intention was that this “third wave” would embrace and honor the two previous waves, but would differ from earlier forms of anarchism in that it would lack the Marxist-influenced class determinism of much of the first wave, and it would also lack the emphasis on cultural politics found among the second wave. Instead, the third wave would be specifically oriented towards attacking the emerging global capitalist “Empire” critiqued by thinkers such as Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, and its various component parts.
With tens of millions of websites being hacked every year, it’s important that entrepreneurs in all areas of business remain vigilant against attack. However, those working in the computer science industry (such as software programmers and IT consultants) may work with particularly sensitive data, which in the wrong hands could be catastrophic for their business.
It was recently announced that computer scientists have successfully created a tool designed to detect when a website is being hacked. Given the rate of data breaches and cyber attacks in our digital culture, these findings could prove invaluable to companies all over the world. But in the realms of computer science, while hacking is still so rife, what actually happens after a data breach?
The Golden Hour
According to Computer Weekly, the first hour after a data breach is the most important to get right. Subsequent investigation into the breach will depend on a company’s actions during this time, which is why it’s so important to have an emergency procedure in place. Much like in medical traumas, you have the best chance of saving your data if you act instantly, so make sure you are trained and prepared for such an event.
As a general rule, I lean more to the Left than to the Right. As many people know, the use of “Left” and “Right” in a political context originates from the seating arrangements in the French National Assembly in the late 18th century. The supporters of the king, aristocratic, and Catholic theocracy sat on the right side of the chamber, and the republicans sat on the left side.
If I were transported back in time as a member of the 18th century French National Assembly, I would definitely be sitting on the left side of the chamber. And that would probably be true at most points in time since then.
I generally think most historic achievements of the Left have made for improved societies, and improvements in the “human condition.” Do I wish we still had absolute monarchies, hereditary aristocratic titles, or theocracies in the Western world? No. Do I regret that codified recognition of the rights of citizens have been established in modern states? No. Do I regard the abolition of slavery and serfdom as progress? Of course. In the historic labor battles of the 19th and early 20th century would I have sided with labor against capital? Certainly. Do I think that universal suffrage was a necessary innovation? Yes, while mass democracy is under criticized, universal suffrage is a necessary constraint on elite power. Do I think that the abolition of old-fashioned racial segregation was a good thing? Of course. Do I think that the gender roles of the 1950s were preferable to those of today? No. Do I consider it to be progress that homosexuals are no longer regarded as enemies of the state? Certainly.
This is a pretty good discussion of Trump’s performance thus far. Now that it’s apparent that Trump will more or less govern as a normal, moderate Republican, it appears the neocons have lessened their hostility to him, as the recent headlines and articles at Neocon Review attests.
Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert) joins Dave to discuss his newest book “Win Bigly” about how Donald Trump used the power of persuasion to win the election, Trumps negotiating strategies and tactics, the trend of ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome,’ the crumbling mainstream media, the Trump/Russia controversy, his predictions for future candidates and the future of Trump, and more.
An interesting conference on startup societies is coming up next month at Georgetown University. Get the details here. Startup societies may be a way to develop the infrastructure that is needed for a broader pan-secessionist action against central governments and the global corporatocracy. Anarchist and other radical organizations develop into intentional communities, which then develop into startup societies, which then develop into regional secession movements, with infrastructure, political organizations, media, militias, etc. of their own.
Startup Societies Foundation does not endorse any ideology or ideal society. We believe that there must be a multiplicity of options to test, from private cities and SEZs to collectivized communes. Their success depends on empirical evidence. In order to apply the scientific method to societies, we must have a large sample size
What is a startup society? Here are some examples.
The “dictatorship of the lumpenproletariat.” Refreshing. No doubt many of today’s “anarchists” are champions of gun control because what could be more anarchist than favoring the police and the army having a monopoly of weapons. I once heard an anarcho-leftoid say “gun control is an anti-racist issue,” presumably on the assumption that people of color are not competent to exercise the right to bear arms (which is more or less the white supremacist position as well).
Instead of a Blog
The gun restrictions in urban areas don’t affect the urbanite middle classes all that much. Most of these people don’t own guns, and may be afraid of them. They have never dealt with serious physical conflict in maybe their entire lives.
The people who are affected are the disaffected and policed underclass. The black or mexican ‘gang banger’ is the leading edge of a community that has so little investment in the state’s ‘defense’, the political class and the economic system that they’re resorting to outright black markets in broad daylight, and flaunting their paramilitary status (mostly fantasies) in their popular music. Unfortunately, most of these guys are carrying a handgun at the most. A few own larger weapons, but they’re harder to conceal or carry in a car. In a more permissive legal system these ‘thugs’ and territorial mafias would be able to openly carry large and small arms without need to provide permit or reason. This, obviously, is not acceptable to the Congressional-Police-Prison Union Complex. One can not have organized, funded resistance on the home front!
Something similar is true of the punk crowd. Rowdy, drunken, drugged, detached from the incentives of propaganda warfare, they can cluster together. Their disregard for the law and the politeness of civil society is well known, and often genuine. Yet punks, whether they’re brawling with each other or the man, are usually armed with a baseball bat – if anything. I am almost certain that at least some of these guys would have uzis, if it wasn’t for the criminalization of firearms and their carry in urban areas. Again, it’s not the sheltered middle class that these laws are targeting, it’s the people who are able and willing to subvert the elites and their lemmings in the middle class.
Lumpenproles have the most to lose from gun control. The urban garrison state is just the beginning.
Instead of a Blog
If you don’t like what we tell you to believe in we’ll kill ya.
– Misquotation of G. W. Bush
After 9/11 a lot of ‘terrorism’ think-tankery poured out of academia and media, most of which was totally garbage. Atheologians and Objectivists wrote fanatical tracts about the need to nuke Mecca to convince those crazy savages that their God couldn’t protect them from science. Christian Zionists were no less enthusiastic to point out the barbaric and violent history of Islam.
There is some truth to this, but the overall historical arc of terrorism suggests that it is an actual effective means of achieving certain military and political objectives. It’s not always effective, but due to its low cost and disproportionate potential reactions it can trigger it can result in an increased flow of personnel and resources to the ‘terrorist’ organization and similar networks. Even if terrorism fails to achieve its utopian goals – to create a caliphate, to abolish the Russian government – it can still serve the immediate interests of terrorist organizers, suppliers and the ‘enemies’ of terrorism who profit from fighting (and typically inspiring more) terrorism.
Read the original Italian version of this post here.
It’s good to see there are still some serious thinkers on the Left.
By di Roberto Vivaldelli
The paranoia of recent times imposed by liberal public opinion is marking the political debate, from the United States to the Old Continent, including Italy.
By Ed Pilkington
Los Angeles, California, 5 December
“You got a choice to make, man. You could go straight on to heaven. Or you could turn right, into that.”
We are in Los Angeles, in the heart of one of America’s wealthiest cities, and General Dogon, dressed in black, is our tour guide. Alongside him strolls another tall man, grey-haired and sprucely decked out in jeans and suit jacket. Professor Philip Alston is an Australian academic with a formal title: UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.
General Dogon, himself a veteran of these Skid Row streets, strides along, stepping over a dead rat without comment and skirting round a body wrapped in a worn orange blanket lying on the sidewalk.
The two men carry on for block after block after block of tatty tents and improvised tarpaulin shelters. Men and women are gathered outside the structures, squatting or sleeping, some in groups, most alone like extras in a low-budget dystopian movie.
We come to an intersection, which is when General Dogon stops and presents his guest with the choice. He points straight ahead to the end of the street, where the glistening skyscrapers of downtown LA rise up in a promise of divine riches.
Then he turns to the right, revealing the “black power” tattoo on his neck, and leads our gaze back into Skid Row bang in the center of LA’s downtown. That way lies 50 blocks of concentrated human humiliation. A nightmare in plain view, in the city of dreams.
Alston turns right.
“Fascists are divided into two categories: the fascists and the anti-fascists.” – Ennio Flaiano,
Recently, I’ve reading Shane Burley’s “Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It.” (An interview with Burley is available here.)Works of this kind are becoming a small cottage industry, although these authors seem to be in the habit of rewriting each other’s books, as they all essentially say the same thing. The general party line among these writers is that fascism is on the rise, reinventing itself in newer and ever more insidious forms, and seeking to embed itself in not only mainstream institutions, but even the radical Left, for the purpose of undermining and destroying All Good Things.
In other words, the “anti-fascists” have formulated what amounts to an inversion of what the anti-Semites believe about the “Jewish conspiracy.” An interesting experiment would be to take a collection of writings by anti-fascists, and edit them in a way that left them unchanged except to remove all mention of the word “fascist” and replace it with “Jew, and then subsequently take a collection of writings by anti-Semites and replace all references to “the Jews” with “the fascists.” Such an exchange of terminology might well make for an almost seamless fit.
For many years, I have been endlessly amused by these people, and I owe them a certain amount of gratitude. Because of the “anti-fascists,” I am currently about ten times more “famous” than I otherwise would be. Some of these folks have relentlessly promoted my work for a good number of years, and I’ve always found it interesting that people who otherwise hate my guts are functioning as my guerrilla marketing team.
By Bradley J. Birzer
The American Conservative
Over the last several years, amidst the swirls of overt corruption, immigrant “hordes,” rising “national security” concerns, police militarization, bloated empire, and the so-called deepening of the “deep state,” conservatives and libertarians of all stripes have pondered the meaning of the modern state. Most recently, Paul Moreno has brilliantly considered the rise of The Bureaucratic Kings, Alex Salter has wisely questioned the relationship of anarchy (the Bohemian, Nockian variety) to conservatism, and, though I have yet to read what the always thoughtful Jason Kuznicki of Cato recommends, there is also James C. Scott’s Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States. Believe me, I am intrigued. Each of these authors and recommenders, of course, owes an immense debt to the pioneering work of Robert Higgs’s magnum opus, Crisis and Leviathan (1987), and Higgs, in turn, had followed in the footsteps of such 20th century greats as Christopher Dawson, Robert Nisbet, Friedrich Hayek, and Joseph Schumpeter.
This is a great discussion between Todd Lewis and Bob Murphy about the viability of non-state/private “national defense” services. I have an old essay about this topic here.
Economist Bob Murphy (Ph.D., NYU) and podcaster Todd Lewis square off in the central debate of anarcho-capitalism: is government truly necessary for national defense, or could the free market provide this service?
This article provides a pretty good overview of why the antiwar movement is so tiny and ineffectual. The antiwar movement of the early 2000s was a cover for an anti-Republican movement, that quickly disappeared when Barack Obama was elected, even if there were no substantive changes in US foreign policy. Here are some of the author’s main points:
“The rallies and protests in the early 2000s attracted significant numbers but they were weighed down by far-left organizations like the World Workers Party, which brought with them myriad other issues beyond war like global warming and poverty. There was also long-held and fairly broad skepticism about the intentions of United For Peace and Justice (UFPJ) and the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, which organized most of the big protests over the last 17 years. This was due to the “big tent” affiliations of some of their steering committee members, which critics say led to a dilution of the message and drove the anti-war movement further from the mainstream. “
What the author is saying that the massive antiwar rallies of the early 2000s were frequently organized by Commie-front groups, for the sake of creating a revolutionary leftist movement under their leadership, and not opposing imperialist aggression per se. The antiwar movement was only a vehicle for advancing revolutionary Marxism-Leninism, and trying to bring other left movements under their umbrella as well. Hence, the emphasis on the “big tent” that you find at leftist antiwar rallies, where antiwar banners and signs will be displayed along with banners about a multitude of other issues, from climate change to transgender rights. This is a standard Marxist-Leninist organizing technique, and one that is very familiar to those of us with decades of experience with the far left.