30 December 2016

Detailed review: Corbyn (2016)

Blogger and broadcaster Richard Seymour's 2016 book, Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics, is a much-needed realist assessment of hopes and dreads associated with Jeremy Corbyn's efforts to transform the UK's Labour Party to oppose the neoliberal state. The core thesis of Seymour's book is that Corbyn has emerged as Leader of the Opposition in a regime where he risks being "encircled" and even "chewed up" ideologically by the British governing elite whether he achieves state power or not.

Much of Seymour's book is a repudiation of Tony Blair and exposes the decay of British democracy, while celebrating how such conditions led to the return of a socialist in Labour's leader. As stated in the book, "Corbyn intelligently exploited an opening which has come about from the decay of the old parties". Phrased differently, "as the state becomes less and less democratic" as it pushes business interests over the interests of the people, "alienation and volatility of the electorate is likely to increase". Meanwhile, Labour suffers disproportionately from this decay as the workers they seek to represent and champion are simply ignoring them. Seymour notes, "the more working class a constituency, the higher its rate of unemployment, the lower its turnout."

Tony Blair and New Labour are often portrayed as Labour success stories simply for putting the party back in power after a history of failure, but Seymour dismisses them as "flimsy". New Labour was so ideologically to the right as to be "inessential" to the labour movement and the left, he writes.

Seymour writes "the ideas with which Corbyn won are ones that have largely been ignored, suppressed, or regarded with amused condescension since the Blairites took control". Tony Blair's New Labour was devoted to stop democratic socialism, to abort any attempt to give the workers power over their managers, the analysis goes. It is no surprise, it follows, that a concerned Tony Blair trying to dissuade Labour members from selecting Corbyn as leader was seen as the "epitome of the problem" and his pleas for centrism fell on deaf ears.

Describing how Labour's membership were radicalised, Seymour writes of the "crisis of legitimacy" in British parliamentary democracy. "Millions simply gave up" on Labour under Blair and his successor Gordon Brown because the party had become "symbiotically dependent" on banks, business, media, and the rightist wings of state. The lack of confidence members developed in the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) is now best demonstrated in the result of the failed 2016 leadership challenge, when members voted to keep Corbyn despite the overwhelming rejection of his leadership by the PLP. The hostility shown in the so-called Labour coup, if we are to accept Seymour's analysis, brings the legitimacy of much of the PLP into question. Nevertheless, the "underdeveloped" and unconfident youths and students who rally behind Corbyn seem like no match for the "immense, lordly dominion" of the PLP, making the PLP largely invulnerable, no matter what talk about the deselection of anti-Corbyn MPs may exist.

Of course, the real view held by revolting Labour MPs was that the party was being steered to the "hard left" at the cost of its electability. This is a view also evident throughout the national news media in Britain. Since taking office as leader in 2015, Corbyn has been regarded as a saboteur of the party by critics, with "constant harking back to the 1980s" when hard-line socialists had been perceived to create a fatal split leading to the formation of the centrist breakaway Social Democratic Party (SDP). Seymour points out, in defiance of this view, extremist fringes of the Labour right connected with Blair are the ones who actually stated their desire for Labour to lose if Corbyn stays in charge. As Seymour phrases it, they think "it would be better to crash Labour than to let it win under a left-wing leadership". In similar pettiness and hypocrisy, anti-Corbyn MPs complain of Corbyn's supporters calling for their expulsion, and demand that the offending members are themselves expelled.

Corbyn's youthful supporters operate in a much friendlier environment than in the 1980s, Seymour indicates, thanks to their effective use of social media as influence shifts away from the tabloids. Despite vulgar attempts on the part of some journalists and politicians to revive the Cold War in the press, there is no longer any concern about fifth columnists in Britain. Nevertheless, Seymour cautions, "it would be a mistake for Corbyn's supporters to be too impressed by their own sudden feeling of vitality."

Despite how wrong Corbyn's opponents are to accuse him of sabotaging and dividing Labour, Seymour accepts that Corbyn's democratic socialism is in fact somewhat alien to Labour's history. In most ways, Corbyn is not in fact taking Labour back to its origins but is a radical attempting to transform the party into a socialist organisation, as opposed to its past role as the "rearguard of reaction". In a somewhat pessimistic account of the future, the author believes the party will eventually not change but return to its more centrist roots. New Labour arrivals who think they are joining a radical left movement could eventually find their space being "closed" if new setbacks and internal party struggles accumulate on Corbyn's record. Even in such an event, Seymour believes, the British left will have undoubtedly benefited from Corbyn's tenure and been able to regroup using the transitory space they had enjoyed in the party.

In his assessment of the negative historical trajectory of the Labour Party for socialists, Seymour also points out how Blairite reforms shifted the party to depending on "passive supporters paying a small fee" rather than being based on union funding and the interests of the labour movement. The loss of union funding and organising power described here arguably undermined the Labour Party's very name. The complicity of the Blairites in anti-union legislation and the "degeneration of the union link", however, has driven unions that normally preferred "moderate leadership" into backing Corbyn's openly socialist leadership. It should also be added that in addition to those officially backing Corbyn, crowds even in unions not officially backing Corbyn don't hold back their enthusiasm for his leadership.

In some respects, Seymour encourages Corbyn to go more radical to reach out to poorer sections of society and former disillusioned Labour supporters. Corbyn's rhetorical approach of pointing the finger at "the Tories", in keeping with Labour's parliamentary lexicon, may be "disabling" for his mission to champion Britain's poorest and most marginalised people. He could instead appeal to growing class polarisation, much the way Bernie Sanders had used the terms "Billionaire class", "one percent", and other language of the Occupy movement to inspire the lowest earners to take action. It can be added to this analysis that such unflinching anti-establishment language could even catch some of the energy that led to the Brexit vote, fed as it was by increased popular contempt for the wealthiest stakeholders in UK politics.

Pressuring Corbyn, Seymour points out, are questions of electoral feasibility, the struggle to keep his programme tolerable for his colleagues in the PLP, and the need for policies that are socialist but can be realistically implemented once in office. In any rush to get Labour elected to power, Corbyn's policies would meet with popular opposition on some issues. Popular opinion is prejudiced against state intervention in the economy and the welfare state, particularly when the issue of migrants claiming benefits is raised, Seymour points out. To go beyond what Seymour wrote, it can also be supposed that anti-refugee sentiment exists among much of the poor, so Corbyn's compassionate stance on refugees could prove disabling among capricious anti-establishment voters.

Corbyn's policies that resonate with voters, to his credit, are more numerous than those that might put them off. Corbyn has supported popular cries against military aggression, unethical arms deals, nuclear weapons, spending cuts, privatisation of vital services, and bailouts for banks. He is also likely to gain approval with promises to tax the rich and make homes and rents affordable to young people. Seymour sums up Corbyn's intentions with the view that "British banks and British tanks do not appear to be doing most British people any favours". Seymour points out that Corbyn's ideas make him an effective Leader of the Opposition, pushing back against inhumane government disability benefit cuts and against the British-made bombs that kill and disable as many people in the Saudi regime's war on Yemen.

A harder task for the Corbyn camp is convincing us that an economic alternative to neoliberal orthodoxy really exists. Seymour points out that a return to an "entrepreneurial state", termed as such in Mariana Mazzucato's 2013 book, The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths, is seen as the solution by John McDonnell MP, Labour's Shadow Chancellor. If applied in power, Corbyn's ideas could be unprecedented in "reversing neoliberalism" as the state may use increased direct intervention to boost Britain's technology industries and create growth that way. However, all it would take is for the Tories to incite fear against this project as too economically risky, and the public might be deterred from supporting Corbyn. As noted earlier, British voters suffer a prejudice against increased state intervention in the economy, although they are also paradoxically opposed to privatisation of vital services.

The book could be said to eschew the case for Corbyn's kind personality as something British politics desperately needed, instead looking at the whole affair as an attempted socialist revival coming as a backlash against the inhumane policies inherent in New Labour and neoliberalism. It is possible that the book underestimates Corbyn's personality, implicit in his calls for "kinder politics" and his unimpeachable behaviour and principles in contrast with many of his colleagues.

Seymour does present the view that "the problem for the establishment is not necessarily Corbyn's agenda" but "the type of politician that he is". In a similar assessment of his chances, Corbyn's sole advantage may simply be his kind demeanour and personality. Current polling, local election results and a perceived failure to prevent the Brexit vote could be unreliable in assessing his chances, since these do not assess support for the man but rather for the divided and retreating party he inherited. If Corbyn leads a government, it will be because an alienated and volatile voting public suddenly favoured his personality where they would not have favoured his party.

In the event that a Corbyn government becomes a reality, Seymour believes it would open a new front against him as the neoliberal state itself pushed back against his socialist ideas and "rapidly encircled" his ability to rule effectively. The military leadership has even indicated its hostility to any possible Corbyn government, although it might not be a sentiment found in the rank and file.

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1 October 2016

'Oil companies should pay for damage done by fracking'

The Blog

Considering the "firm link" between hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and earthquakes established by scientists, the oil companies responsible ought to pay for the damage.

Garrison Center director Thomas Knapp made this argument in a recent Medium post also found at the Garrison Center website.

Knapp asks "What’s the difference between a drunk driver who totals your car with his reckless, intoxicated driving, and an oil company that damages your house’s foundation with its reckless, earthquake-inducing fracking?" He writes that journalists have unfortunately "prostituted themselves out to the fracking industry, attempting to justify that kind of privilege and favoritism in the name of cheap energy and economic growth".

Hydraulic fracturing, a method of shale oil extraction, is subsidized by some governments as a type of alternative to conventional petroleum and natural gas. As well as causing earthquakes, scientists believe fracking is responsible for poisoning ground water and increasing cancer.

Fracking stands in contrast with cleaner renewable energy such as solar and future "bright green" energy industries that may arise with emerging technologies.

Link: Crony Capitalism and Political Privilege: Earthshaking. Literally.

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30 September 2016

US regime guilty of racist mass murder in the streets: sources

The Blog

Media sources and activists report the US regime is maintaining a racist system of police-order, as black people resist ongoing murder and brutality.

The US regime, which incarcerates a larger percentage of its people than any other state and authorizes security forces to shoot suspects on sight, continues to imprison disproportionate numbers of black people.

Although the regime of President Barack Obama claims to be against the system of racism in the US, as do candidates in the ongoing presidential election campaigns, US rulers still see black people as a threat to police-order and refuse to dismantle the racist police-state machine guilty of mass murder.

Reports shared to the "Informant Grid" automated newsletter compiled on 24 September displayed not just the prevalence of white-on-black racism in the United States but the regime's direct complicity in racist policies of mass murder directed against black minority communities.

A United Nations working group, meanwhile, called on the US regime to pay reparations to black people for its constant "racial terrorism" as admitted at The Washington Post on 27 September.

In one report, US congressman Robert Pittenger inverts reality by accusing Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters of hating white people. In other reports, the impunity enjoyed by armed whites and members of the regime's police forces when murdering black people is also shown. In addition, regime spokespeople have consistently lied that their victims were carrying firearms, despite all evidence pointing to the murder of unarmed black suspects.

Mainstream media continue to downplay the racist aggression of the US state against its own communities and promote reconciliation rather than redress of the murders committed by police. In many cases, the cynical use of black police officers and fake activists against their own community is portrayed by government and corporate media as proof the regime is not racist.

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28 September 2016

Corbyn still leads 'largest political party in western Europe'

The Blog

In a call to members of the Labour Party following his landslide victory over leadership challenger Owen Smith, Jeremy Corbyn called for unity in Britain's ever-larger Opposition party.

Corbyn's victory entrenches thousands of supporters as full members of the Labour Party and marks the failure of a coup. Campaigns by anti-Corbyn MPs and Tony Blair to twist the party back towards right-wing politics and US-sponsored puppet foreign policies have been grounded.

Despite his triumph, Corbyn maintained his politeness and conciliatory tone. When addressing members in an email circulated throughout the party, Corbyn wrote "Always remember that in our party, we have much more in common than that which divides us."

The UK's Labour has grown into "the largest political party in western Europe", Corbyn pointed out, stating a firm belief this enormous new movement can win the next general election. Most of his victory message focused on preventing possible divisions and splits within the party.

Some media reports alleged a mass resignation of Blairite members opposed to Jeremy Corbyn. Supporters of Corbyn, meanwhile, can be expected to sign up to the party in even greater numbers and play an even more active part in the politics ahead.

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27 September 2016

This tweet sums up the Mont Order

The Blog

Did you know you can follow everything being said at the Mont Order society, by subscribing now to one email alert?

Originally created for members only, the alert also helps keep track of everything being said about the Mont Order on the internet - everything ranging from new Google content to tweets about the Order.

Here's a fantastic link:


In the above tweet, you see the way the Mont Order works in the current day. The Mont Order, while having an interesting origin story based on rumors of extreme age and wisdom, is primarily an internet-based group of bloggers, volunteers and part-time political campaigners.

The Order still hasn't lost track of its mission. "The Mont Order is a society of small publishers, activists and authors dedicated to sharing information and other products to help accelerate human destiny and happiness", it writes.

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24 September 2016

Time to Deprogram From the Cult of National Unity (commentary)

Kevin Carson at C4SS

People don’t like seeing their gods blasphemed, and the backlash against Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem has revealed the completely religious nature of American patriotism.

Tomi Lahren, whose views on racial matters are about what you’d expect from a “conservative commentator” on Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, has been on a nonstop outrage jag ever since Kaepernick’s stance made the news. As the protest movement of variously sitting, kneeling and raising fists during the national anthem has spread, Kate Upton has joined Lahren’s social media campaign to make football games a safe space for hyper-sensitive patriots. The complaints, predictably, reached fever pitch on 9/11. Upton responded to the decision of several Dolphins to kneel during the anthem by chiding: “You should be proud to be an American. Especially on 9/11 when we should support each other.” The most egregious comments though, which get right to the heart of the national unity cult, came from Lahren: “We aren’t white & black, we are red, white & blue.” “[W[e are Americans and we stand together.”

Howard Zinn ably deconstructed this idea that our common identity as Americans is somehow more important than race or class differences:

“[Our present leaders] bombard us with phrases like ‘national interest,’ ‘national security,’ and ‘national defense’ as if all of these concepts applied equally to all of us, colored or white, rich or poor, as if General Motors and Halliburton have the same interests as the rest of us, as if George Bush has the same interest as the young man or woman he sends to war.

Link: Time to Deprogram From the Cult of National Unity

“Surely, in the history of lies told to the population, this is the biggest lie. In the history of secrets, withheld from the American people, this is the biggest secret: that there are classes with different interests in this country. To ignore that — not to know that the history of our country is a history of slaveowner against slave, landlord against tenant, corporation against worker, rich against poor — is to render us helpless before all the lesser lies told to us by people in power.”

The cult of national unity is an old one, and it exists for a reason. It dovetails with, and reinforces, a number of other patriotic American myths. Among them is the myth of “American Exceptionalism” — i.e., that America is the uniquely “indispensible nation” in promoting “peace and freedom” around the world, and is entitled to maintain military forces larger than the rest of the world combined, and unilaterally define as a “threat” or “aggressor” any country that defies American dictates, because of this beneficent role.

Another myth associated with the cult of national unity is the American Dream. We see this in the belief by the majority of Americans that they are “middle class.” The myth encourages Americans to believe that wealth is just a matter of hard work and ingenuity, and to identify with the “53%” of “taxpayers” and “makers vs. takers” against class warriors like Occupy, in the belief that someday they too may hit it big.

Link: Support this author on Patreon

It also commonly appears in conjunction with the cult of The Troops as guarantors of “our freedoms,” as illustrated by Upton’s Instagram comments on 9/11. The anthem, she said, “represents honoring the many brave men and women who sacrifice and have sacrificed their lives each and every single day to protect our freedom.”

All this despite the hard realities that America’s wars have been overwhelmingly fought to secure capitalist access to the land, natural resources and markets of the world, and the rich get the great majority of their wealth by extracting rents from the rest of us with the help of the state.

America is “exceptional” among the developed Western nations in that it is the world’s biggest settler state, created by European colonists supplanting and exterminating the indigenous population on a continental scale, and in the role that slavery played in building our economy. It is exceptional, probably not unrelated to the previous fact, in the size of its prison system and the way its culture glorifies police and soldiers. It is “exceptional” only to the extent to which its people have been successfully inculcated with myths of a “Shining City on a Hill” and a “Classless Society.” These myths obscure the criminal reality of America’s role in the world; America’s reality is hidden behind the official idealistic facade.

Thanks to this whole complex of quasi-official ideologies, America has attained the unique status of global enforcer of class rule. It is equally unique in concealing the very existence of class conflict from a significant part of its domestic population.

Fortunately, as evidenced by the rise of Occupy and Black Lives Matter, and the protest movement inspired by Kaepernick himself, the spell of this patriotic cult is wearing off. Power, ultimately, depends on consent. And consent depends on deception and ignorance. Once people begin to see through its legitimizing ideologies, the system of power is doomed.

Kevin Carson

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23 September 2016

Criminal US govt should "pardon" themselves, not Snowden

The Blog

Whistleblower Edward Snowden deserves a medal, not a pardon, Garrison Director Thomas Knapp wrote on 16 September.

Meanwhile, Presidents Bush and Obama should face trial, alongside the top "operational ringleaders" in one of the greatest crimes against the American people - the warrantless surveillance program used by the National Security Agency (NSA) to protect the regime.

Edward Snowden "performed a public service of inestimable value by exposing the crimes, the criminals, and the techniques of the largest espionage ring in human history", Knapp wrote. Of the American regime's leaders, he wrote:
If these characters weren’t (with good reason) convinced of their own immunity to justice, they’d be shutting down their unprecedented warrantless search operations and finding ways to preemptively pardon each other ahead of something like a new Nuremburg Tribunal,  instead of continuing to denigrate and persecute the man who exposed their vile deeds.
Knapp recommended Snowden should be selected for a Medal of Honor, Presidential Medal of Freedom, or a Congressional Gold Medal.

Link: @Snowden: Give That Man a Medal, Not a “Pardon”

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21 September 2016

Owen Smith inflames Labour Party divisions: socialist paper

The Blog

A socialist paper has warned against the disaster that would follow if alternative leader Owen Smith were to defy all odds and defeat Jeremy Corbyn's popular leadership of the UK's Labour Party.

Socialist tabloid The Morning Star tackled Smith's threatening statements that much of the Labour Party membership should be expelled for their participation in grassroots activist organizations like Momentum.

Smith controversially described Momentum members as parasites using Labour as a "host", a remark slammed by The Morning Star in its Monday 19 editorial. Tony Blair admirer Owen Smith "could refrain from threatening the mass expulsion of members of Momentum or insulting the thousands of loyal Labour Party members who comprise its membership as “parasites.”" the daily stated.

The paper predicted Smith "might create a superficially less divided party" if he were to win, but fail to address "the millions who have made it abundantly clear that they are sick of the status quo." Smith threatens to reduce Corbyn's Labour to an "out-of-touch Establishment party with no answers" that will fail to attract any new voters.

Link: Smith Is No Unity-Builder

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20 September 2016

"Liberals" side with neocons against Russia?

The Blog

Writing at the C4SS website, Kevin Carson recently criticized pro-US imperialist sentiments of journalists alleging ties between presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin

After explaining that he is not backing Donald Trump (he actually encourages voters to pick Clinton) or Putin in any way, Carson makes an argument as follows.

Self-proclaimed liberals in the US suffer from unfounded "assumptions" shared with vicious conservative ideologues when it comes to the US's place in the world. Their belief seems to be that whenever the US uses violence, it is instantly justified, and whenever someone uses violence against US interests, they are committing some form of aggression.

Whatever Russian President Vladimir Putin may have done, Carson believes, the US regime was already committing unique acts of aggression against the world and deserves a greater portion of our criticism.

In fact, Putin's foreign policy actions (not to comment on his domestic politics, which are indeed right-wing and authoritarian as Carson describes) are simply adequate measures against US aggression:
As for Putin’s aggression, it takes a unique set of blinders to call his 2008 altercation with Georgia, or his recent intervention in eastern Ukraine and occupation of the Crimea as aggression, while portraying as purely “defensive” the eastward expansion of NATO and the installation of a right-populist (and arguably neo-Nazi) regime in the Ukraine that is every bit as authoritarian as Putin’s.
The aggressive behavior of Western journalists towards Russia and other apparent enemies of the West is especially criticized by Carson, who alludes to Noam Chomsky's analysis of media control.

Carson wrote, "cable news, the wire services and major newspapers of record are every bit as slavishly subservient to the foreign policies of the American state as are the official media organs of any totalitarian regime".

When reporting on international relations, most journalists work backwards from the assumption that their country's foreign policy is correct, no matter how conflicted or catastrophic it has been. This is especially evident in current Western coverage of the Syrian Civil War. Despite the West's lack of access to any effective contacts in Syria, it insists the government of Bashar al-Assad is responsible for all the violence and denies its own role in killing thousands of people.

Link: Putin-Trump Outrage Reveals Shared Imperialist Mindset

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16 September 2016

Google is tricking Americans to love Hillary Clinton

The Blog

Google, whose executives pushed rabid neocon warmongering in their 2013 book The New Digital Age, are trying to manipulate voters to support Hillary Clinton.

This should come as no surprise, as Google always shared Clinton's penchant for chauvinist wars, assassinations and US military dominance. By fixing popular search results to an extremely narrow set portraying Hillary Clinton in a positive light, Google tries to obscure how most internet users actually see the presidential candidate.

A detailed analysis by pyschologist Robert Epstein reveals how Google manipulates users into believing Clinton's opponents (such as Bernie Sanders) have a negative public image by displaying negative search results, whereas only positive search results are shown for Clinton. Meanwhile, companies Bing and Yahoo lacked the political initiative to hide Clinton's sordid reputation, so they instead showed what people really think - with exhaustive lists of negative search suggestions for Clinton.

"Hillary Clinton is a liar", Bing and Yahoo (and no doubt Google too) users apparently search. Google instead writes up "Hillary Clinton is awesome" as an alternative search suggestion for users to consider, while hiding anything else.

Link: Epstein's analysis

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15 September 2016

Popular: development suffers under US hegemony

Harry Bentham

Aggressive mass surveillance and the continued sanctions on Iran originate with the same ideological goal: relentless control over all things technological.

Many progressives find fault with the modernity of technology. In their view, all technological progress only favors the state and the corporate elite, and constantly disempowers ordinary people [1]. Such a perspective is based on prejudices, heralding pessimism that could only disempower and censor us even more. This essay offers a very different interpretation of the relationship between hegemonic and statist interests and the spread of new information technologies.

The global spies and punishers are the ones who have betrayed everything modernity stands for. They have turned their backs on the technological progress that marks us apart from the other apes. They are the Luddites. In their desire to monitor, restrict and control everything for themselves, they are retarding the potential of our technology to truly improve life and freedom for all. And, like the Luddites, they are doing this to keep their jobs.

The United States is indeed a focal point for most of the technological breakthroughs in the world, but the fruits of all these breakthroughs remain inadequately shared with the rest of humanity. By failing thus, we in the West fail to inspire or educate, and so fail to fulfill any supposed role as the leaders of modernity.

What exists in the United States and other Western countries is not an environment for true technological progress. It is environment for profits and hoarding. As the celebrated physicist Michio Kaku has pointed out, there is a “brain drain” by which the US is supported by foreign scientists and takes credit for their accomplishments [2]. At the same time, the US allies threaten countries with sanctions and airstrikes if they appear to be progressing beyond the rigid bounds of technology delineated by the US and its cruel apologists, as it is with Iran.

What has been stated above may seem like a hard case to present, as it is not comparable with many other statements being made in the present politics. However, it finds good theoretical support between the lines of a similar economic theory. The particular theory explaining the imperative behind such a drive for monopoly and restrictions on the circulation of decisive technologies is the theory of the “capitalist world-economy”, as articulated by US social scientist Immanuel Wallerstein in his lectures and essays [3]. This theory portrayed the world as divided between the struggling countries of the global periphery and the self-appointed club of the rich core (who also happen to be the Bilderberg powers and OECD signatories) [4].

The core countries, which are primarily led from Washington, maintain their dominance by having a higher level of monopoly within the global production process [5]. They control decisive new areas like the genetic engineering and microcomputer industries, as well as emerging technologies [6]. It is from their centers, such as Silicon Valley, that the most valued industrial technologies begin to contribute to the global production processes.

The division of the world into low-tech and high-tech producers is the axial division of labor, long necessitated by the nature of a profit-driven world divided in terms of national borders and by the restriction of countries to having a specific economic base determined by their history (agrarian or industrial?) By reducing other countries to a state of dependency, the industrialized core is able to wield a more powerful military and obtain more political rights on the global stage [7]. This injustice, in turn, allows them to legitimize further oppression on the grounds that they are the most advanced and that the others need them more than they need the others. It is inevitably this injustice that gives the rich countries the ability to impose sanctions on others whom they disagree with.

As the core countries possess the more powerful position in the production process, it follows that they may at times deliberately thwart development, degrading technology and with it health and life in the rest of the world. There have been events that confirm the validity of this thesis. From US hostility to Japan’s rapid technological advancement to present US hostility to Iranian scientific progress, the rich and powerful remain as equipped and poised as ever to “set them back a decade or two or three”, as US Republican congressman Duncan Hunter ranted [8]. A comparable sentiment was found in the infamous words of Curtis LeMay concerning North Vietnam, and the threats of mass murder issued by Zionist Israel against the hapless Gaza Strip.

The core countries’ unilateral spying on the world only reinforces this thesis. What they are doing, in that case, is amassing capabilities and hiding them. They are subverting technology, arresting its natural destiny to empower the common man. They sought to hide these capabilities, to preserve them without challenge and so maintain the status quo. This, they knew, would maximize their power and profits.

Rather than allowing civilization to adjust and progress by knowing about and overcoming the brute technological arsenal of the state, the monopolistic powers are in love with secrecy for exactly the same reasons that the corporations are in love with intellectual property. The more barriers they set up to prevent others knowing what they have, the less the likelihood that anyone will be able to see the pathways to overthrow their unjust preponderance of power and wealth.

Julian Assange’s consideration of the perpetual use of security fears to attack internet freedom is particularly informative in this regard. Speeches on terrorism, narcissistic caressing of the US regime as the world’s only responsible custodian, and assumptions that some among humanity are just too irresponsible to hold certain capabilities, are always used [9].There is no fault in the analysis that the same arguments used to attack internet freedom are being recycled to attack Iranian scientific progress. These phobic arguments, which reject any notion of the human family, are deeply paranoid at best and racially aggravated and at worst.

Statist and hegemonic restrictions on technology’s potential in the name of security are nothing but Luddite policies swimming against the technium’s tide of freedom described in the works of Kevin Kelly [10]. Such restrictions presuppose that allowing the inevitable freedom of access to knowledge and the human right to develop independently will culminate in a security threat. What the defenders of the paranoia and monopoly fail to mention is that their actions interfere in creativity. Attempting to hoard all capabilities and strike others who attempt to develop is a blatant attack on technology itself – an affront to the natural force of the technium.

We can learn two very important conclusions from what has been exposed by the state’s massive betrayal of modernity and attempt to circumvent it. First, the view that the NSA’s sinister mass surveillance is a manifestation of out-of-control technological progress is opposite to the truth. It is the NSA and the statists themselves who fear today’s technological explosion and its liberating potential. The NSA’s violation is an attempt to retard the liberating effects of technology in the world today. They have tried to stab modernity in the back. As such, the opponents of the spies need not use Luddite arguments. They should instead be exposing the paranoid state and its supporters as Luddites – sluggish and archaic authorities opposing the freedoms that modernity stands for.

Second, we must more eagerly prepare for the near future when monopoly, state power and the appropriation of knowledge by companies are made impossible by the very acceleration and democratization of technology itself. A top theory of this awakening wasauthored by Yannick Rumpala, who speaks of a radical change in the capitalist mode of production as a consequence of new manufacturing technologies [11]. Although Rumpala’s paper itself is mainly discussing the implications of additive manufacturing (3D printing), the inclusion of K. Eric Drexler’s atomically precise manufacturing (APM) revolution [12] and J. Craig Venter’s synthetic biology revolution [13] makes the experiment of a networked economy with no factories, no corporations and no state increasingly possible.

Our other possible world may only be decades away, making our prescience of the political ramifications now truly important. It may have the potential to radicalize and transform everything about our economic and political existence, violating the former paradigm entirely and replacing it with something no-one can accurately predict.

Let us not fall for the view that mass surveillance is a case of our technology breaking bad. It is a clear manifestation of the doomed state’s paranoia in the face of the common man’s technology. What we have seen from the surveillance state, massive monopolistic corporations and the neoconservative ideologues defending the two is a pure Luddite manifestation of the phobia of technology. As George W. Bush once admitted, the “gravest danger” to US hegemony is “at the crossroads of radicalism and technology”[14]. In addition to this, neoconservative thinkers such as Francis Fukuyama have stood strongly against the movement encouraging the most radical vision of humanity’s liberation through technology: transhumanism [15].

Information wants to be free. The unrestrained democratization of knowledge and technology is the world’s inheritance, the freedom of humanity to achieve its noblest aspirations.

[1] J. Hughes, Citizen Cyborg: How Democratic Societies must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future (Westview Press, 2004) p. 130-131
[2] M. Kaku, “The Secret Weapon of American Science”, Big Think,http://bigthink.com/videos/the-secret-weapon-of-american-science, retrieved 15 March 2014
[3] I. M. Wallerstein, “Modernization: Requiescat in Pace”, p. 106-111 in The Essential Wallerstein (The New York Press, New York, 2000), p. 111.
[4] Id. “Class Formation in the Capitalist World-Economy”, p. 315-323 in The Essential Wallerstein (The New York Press, New York, 2000), p. 316.
[5] I. M. Wallerstein, World-Systems Analysis: An introduction (Duke University Press, Durham, 2004) p. 17-18.
[6] Ibid. p. 28-31
[7] Ibid. p. 11-17
[8] B. Armbruster, “Congressman Says U.S. Should Use Nuclear Weapons If It Attacks Iran”, Think Progress, http://thinkprogress.org/security/2013/12/04/3018431/duncan-hunter-iran-nukes/#, retrieved 15 March 2014
[9] J. Assange et al. Cypherpunks (OR Books, 2012) p. 72
[10] K. Kelly, What Technology Wants (Viking Penguin, 2010) p. 269-270
[11] Y. Rumpala, “Additive manufacturing as global redesigning of politics”, h+ Magazine,http://hplusmagazine.com/2013/10/07/additive-manufacturing-as-global-redesigning-of-politics/, retrieved 15 March 2014
[12] K. E. Drexler, Radical Abundance (PublicAffairs, 2013) p. 286-287
[13] J. C. Venter, Life at the Speed of Light (Viking Adult, 2013) p. 178
[14] The New York Times, “Text of Bush’s Speech at West Point”,http://www.nytimes.com/2002/06/01/international/02PTEX-WEB.html?pagewanted=2, retrieved 28 June 2013
[15] F. Fukuyama “Transhumanism”, Foreign Policy,http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2004/09/01/transhumanism, retrieved 30 June 2013

Read more Harry Bentham political philosophy with Catalyst: A Techno-Liberation Thesis (2013)

Harry Bentham

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14 September 2016

Meg Arnold on free speech and safe spaces

Meg Arnold

“Liberty not only means that the individual has both the opportunity and the burden of choice; it also means that he must bear the consequences of his actions and will receive praise or blame for them.” 
F. A. Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty, Responsibility and Freedom

What does it mean for speech to be free? I’m less interested in the legal specifications surrounding this question and more eager to discuss what this means for us in our daily interactions. As an anarchist, I don’t see a legitimate role for governments to play in limiting or privileging certain types of speech. However, that does not mean that individuals cannot or should not be held responsible for the things they say by others in their chosen communities. Since we’ve removed as an option the use of force to suppress speech, what avenues might remain available for praxis?

If speech is to exist in a kind of “marketplace of ideas,” then “praise” or “blame” can act as a profit and loss system for “good” and “bad” speech. It remains the domain of individuals to decide for themselves what constitutes good and bad, as well as how to react to different ideas. Some people are comfortable combating ideas with their own speech with the hope of, at least, persuading or emboldening others to do the same. For others (usually those who have experienced trauma related to particular ideas such as misogyny, rape culture, homo- and transphobia, etc.) the response is often to retreat from spaces where these ideas are shared uncritically and build alternative spaces with others who feel similarly. Some would call these “safe spaces,” but bell hooks has another idea; removed from fear of re-traumatization and retaliation, people create spaces in which they are “safe to struggle.” It is a gross mischaracterization of safe spaces to say that there aren’t any levels of disagreement among those involved. Rather, open and respectful disagreement is possible because there is a foundation of mutual trust established through the intentions set for the space.

Neither of these approaches to speech with which we disagree is objectively better or worse than the other, and it would be difficult to determine their relative effectiveness without considering the validity of individual preferences. The problem of safe spaces is not about censorship or exclusion but about property rights and free association. If people want to limit access to a space based on any criteria, this should not be a problem so long as they are doing so on their own property. This includes the ability for people with racist, misogynist, and other bigoted views to freely associate. By all means, be open about your prejudices so that I and others know who to avoid and condemn.

College campuses make the issue of safe spaces and other forms of free association difficult because of their often mixed status as public or public-private entities. Therefore, to focus on the encroachment of safe spaces on protected speech is a form of “hacking at the branches” rather than “striking the root” of the problem which is a lack of defined property rights on college campuses. Even the University of Chicago, which sent incoming students a letter regarding safe spaces and trigger warnings, recognizes the value to students of being able to access these spaces on campus. UChicago decided only that classes themselves are not acceptable locales to set safe space intentions because classrooms have different and conflicting sets of intentions associated with them. They have also left the decision to use trigger warnings or not up to individual professors and students, which respects the local knowledge professors have of their subject matter and students have of their traumas and life experiences.

Libertarians and other free speech advocates have primarily focused on the freedom of speech from government, college administrators, and a vocal minority of anti-speech activists. However, a thick, cultural approach is needed to also hold individuals responsible for the content of what they freely espouse. According to Hayek, a free society demands both freedom and responsibility. If we don’t hold people accountable for the things they say, then we are, at best, coddling them and, at worst, allowing the perpetuation of those ideas that we find personally abhorrent. Instead of mocking those who advocate for the use of trigger warnings and safe spaces and giving platforms to those who espouse bigotry in the name of free speech, why not take a look at the content of what each is saying or is too afraid to say?

Citations to this article:
Arnold, Meg, “Responsibility and freedom: A defense of safe spaces”, Augusta Free Press, Sept. 7, 2016

Meg Arnold - Center for a Stateless Society

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13 September 2016

Will "Irreversible" US foreign policy start nuclear war?

The Blog

Writing at The Lazy Dystopian, writer Aral Bereux believes Russian President Vladimir Putin seeks to warn the West - in particular their common people - that US policy is not making the world safer. Instead, everyone is living at greater risk.

Putin asserted that the US disrupted the balance of power by withdrawing from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty 1972. Originally, such agreements had prohibited nuclear states from deploying weapon systems to curtail each other's offensive abilities. Desperate for dominance, the US discarded the agreement, seeking to neutralize Russian and Chinese weaponry.

In particular, Bereux focused on the way Putin described US actions to gain total dominance over their adversaries and nullify other states' defenses as "irreversible", part of a massive miscalculation that will push states to the brink of nuclear war to protect themselves. According to the analysis, "Putin is warning amply, that we are moving towards war, yet it is not in the Mainstream news. Russia is warning the West: Stop the offensive attacks, stop the build-up in Romania and Poland…we have no choice but to protect our people."

Western press sources are trying to dupe people into believing Russia is the country disrupting and endangering people's lives, rather than the US, Bereux writes.
While the media are busily condemning Russia for the DNC hacks (by no means proven with no evidence presented) that may cost Clinton an election, they lead the masses towards another act of “Russian aggression,” side-stepping the real issues.
Writing "the world is terribly unstable at this moment", Bereux asks us to heed the Russian leadership's concerns. As Putin has stressed, only a handful of Russian bases exist on foreign soil, compared to the hundreds of US military bases occupying the world and waging constant warfare in the name of American "national security".

The American regime wants to scare people with stories of Russian and Chinese "aggression" against fishes in the South China Sea and the Black Sea, but US troops are killing people every day in illegal wars and assassinations.

Even domestically, the American regime is a greater human rights abuser, detaining and killing more of its own people than Russia and China.

Analysis: Putin’s Chilling Warnings to the United States that Mainstream Prefer You Not to Know

The clubof.info Blog

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9 September 2016

Brain-damaged Hillary Clinton "forgets" the law

The Blog

Either for reasons of brain damage or because she is a liar, Hillary Clinton's memory is too poor for her to remember any rules on guarding sensitive government information.

Garrison Center director Thomas L. Knapp wrote about Clinton's "comedienne" excuse about why she couldn't protect secret data entrusted to her as Secretary of State.

During her time in the job, Clinton "ignored the briefings she received on handling and safeguarding of classified information, choosing to illegally use a private server for transmission and storage of that information instead of following the rules".

Knapp called Clinton's "I forgot" reaction the "Steve Martin defense", in reference to a 1979 standup album. Concluding on Clinton's excuses, Knapp asked readers if they are "a strong advertisement for Hillary Clinton’s credibility and qualifications as a candidate for president of the United States".

Clinton's poor health and possible brain disorder were earlier cited by Knapp as reasons she may have drop out of the presidential race or resign from office if elected.

Garrison Center site: Hillary Clinton, Servergate, and the Steve Martin Defense

The clubof.info Blog

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8 September 2016

Libertarian right almost criticizes crony capitalism

The Blog

To demonstrate the libertarian right's failure to ever acknowledge wrongdoing by big pharma and their cronies in the US state, Kevin Carson criticized a recent Reason article.

The libertarian right-wing Reason article, while focusing blame on government regulations rather than the greedy corporations lobbying for regulations, discussed the scandal of Mylan N. V.'s high pricing of EpiPens - a type of medical auto-injector.

The high pricing happened because, as Carson explains, "FDA regulations are specifically tailored to Mylan’s product specifications so as to give it a de facto monopoly on the EpiPen". No one can compete, allowing Mylan to change any price it wants.

Authored by Nick Gillespie, the Reason article had stated, "Mylan isn’t taking advantage of customers. It is simply working a political system to its own advantages."

Kevin Carson countered, ") Mylan is taking advantage of customers by charging an enormous monopoly markup on EpiPens; 2) Mylan lobbies the government to create a rigged monopoly market so it can take advantage of its customers in this way."

Carson sees a persistent denial on the part of libertarian right ideologues to acknowledge how most successes of corporate capitalism depend on the "rigged monopoly" described above. He also draws attention to the way many right libertarians often criticize the market as not being "free" enough, yet cite the same US corporations who stifle competition as examples of success in the free market.

Full analysis: Say the Words, Nick. SAY THE WORDS!!

The clubof.info Blog

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6 September 2016

US must 'surrender its sovereignty to the world'

The Blog

The US talks of its responsibility to "lead the world" but has failed to let the world vote in its elections.

Writing for Dissident Voice and the Mont Order society website, L'Ordre criticized the US for its keenness to rule over foreigners without asking their permission by conducting a vote.

The US calls its global dominance "democracy" but denies foreigners the right to take part in its political process. Americans will have to first "surrender" their sovereignty to the rest of the world if they want to justify ruling the world, the post argues.

Slamming US hypocrisy and "cavalier" behavior regarding democracy, sovereignty and national security, the L'Ordre article demanded:
On the basis of the arguments given here, a call goes out for the United States to allow foreigners, especially those impoverished people living in US-occupied countries like Afghanistan, to register to vote as US citizens in the US election. The next President should not just be chosen by Americans, but by the billions of people whose lives it tries to govern without a democratic mandate.
The article reflects the intended position of the Mont Order to criticize the US and other western democracies for their role in starting wars and suppressing the political rights and destinies of others. It also singles out the US for being more dangerous than the small dictators and warlords it endlessly accuses of abusing human rights.

Full analysis: Let Foreigners Vote in the US Election

The clubof.info Blog

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5 September 2016

US ignores human rights abuses in occupied Kashmir

The Blog

The United States sacrifices its alleged concern for human rights so it can be allied with India, writes the head of a pro-Kashmiri pressure group.

Although propagating its hollow talk of democracy, freedom and human rights, the Obama administration has constantly refused to acknowledge any type of struggle for these values in Kashmir.

Secretary General of World Kashmir Awareness Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai wrote, as printed in Voice of East magazine on 2 September 2016, of the cynical and limited approach taken by Western media towards Kashmir:
The  massive pain and indignities that Kashmiris suffer are only significant when they reach a pitch that the mainstream press starts noticing, as the New York Times did recently,  and realize[d] it can capitalize on viewing audience because of the violence and mayhem.
Ignorance towards the violence, injustice, and suppression of popular sovereignty in Kashmir is an indictment of both the United States and the United Nations, who refuse to condemn India, Fai believes.

Full analysis: Why President Obama Ignores Human Rights in Kashmir

The clubof.info Blog

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3 September 2016

Saudis accompany their ISIS allies in Yemen

The Blog

The Wahhabi regime of Saudi Arabia is overtly aiding its ISIS allies in Yemen, an analyst has argued.

However, due to the tribalism and brutality of the primitive Takfiris (extremists who excommunicate other Muslims) supported by the al-Saud monarchy, they cannot prevent their own proxies attacking each other.

A recent terrorist attack in the port city of Aden was the manifestation of "gang" tensions between the forces employed by Riyadh to fight off the Ansar Allah (Houthi) movement in Yemen that currently controls the capital city of Sana'a and enjoys majority support from the people. This was the assessment of analyst Marwa Osman, when asked about why the Saudi-backed groups appear to fall prey to ISIS while Saudi Arabia itself stands accused of backing ISIS.

The al-Saud regime's support of ISIS is "not only possible but the only fact on the ground", the analyst stated in a televised interview. Not only has Saudi Arabia refused to target ISIS and other groups in Yemen, but the only explanation for the funding and weapons they receive can be direct aid from Riyadh, she argued.

Fort Russ: KSA's ISIS kill 60 in Yemen [+Video]

Saudi Arabia's terrorist acts are additionally monitored by US and British consultants who do nothing to raise any alarms, Osman states in her interview. Due to controversy, the video of the interview is locked down as "unlisted" by the RT network but the link was obtained by Fort Russ and The clubof.info Blog.

Saudi Arabia claims its actions are justified by Iran allegedly being involved in supporting Yemeni rebels to undermine Saudi national security, although there is no evidence of this.

The Blog

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2 September 2016

US humiliated as Russia takes over its base

The Blog

Authorities in the United States are in fits of anger over Russia's use of a former US-controlled airfield to bomb US interests in Syria.

Such was the analysis given at The Iran Project on 30 August, addressing the Russian Aerospace Forces' use of the Hamadan airbase in Iran.

Hamadan, the website states, was originally used by the United States to position aircraft to attack the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Iran's consistent opposition to the US has therefore "again humiliated America 37 years after the Islamic Revolution" the analysis went on.

Original analysis: The party of Russian fighters just started in Iran

In addition, Turkey's relations with the United States have been imperiled by a recent failed coup attempt (backed by US generals, according to anti-NATO critics and Turkish media) and increased US support for Kurdish rebels opposed to Ankara. This led to Ankara inviting Russia to use the NATO airbase at Incirlik.

If Russia accepts Turkey's invitation to base aircraft at Incirlik, Turkey will shift further into alliance with Russia, China and Iran's SCO and isolate the US-led NATO countries, pressuring them to withdraw forces (including nuclear missiles) from Turkey.

The clubof.info Blog

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31 August 2016

Clinton beats Snowden as national security threat

The Blog

US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is ahead of ex-NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden as a threat to national security in a WikiLeaks poll.

Posting to Twitter, WikiLeaks asked followers to pick the biggest threat to a national security from four big names "accused of communicating classified information".

Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange released information exposing the US regime's atrocities and spying on its own population. Hillary Clinton recklessly mishandled secret information entrusted to her as Secretary of State by using a non-government email address through which messages could easily be hacked and disclosed.

Nevertheless, Clinton remains a hysterical holier-than-thou opponent of WikiLeaks, Snowden and others who want the US public to know the truth about their evil regime.

While pro-regime pundits accuse Snowden, Manning and Assange of being traitors and even advocate assassination, they offer endless praise to Hillary Clinton.

The demagogic Clinton and her supporters accuse all her critics, including the Green Party's Jill Stein, of being agents of Russian President Putin seeking to undermine America's "democracy" by telling the truth about it. Clinton's critics in turn accuse her of murdering her own campaign staff if they dare come forward as whistle-blowers against her corruption.

The clubof.info Blog

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30 August 2016

Mont Order course created by L'Ordre

The Blog

A free course to allow a small set of new followers to potentially learn more about the Mont Order society can be completed at OpenLearning.

Created by Mont Order friend L'Ordre of Dissident Voice, the course lets anyone to enroll and complete its challenges.

Mont Order - OpenLearning

The Mont Order is an ungoverned society of alternative media sites and writers opposed to US neoconservative agendas, mainstream media and fraudulent democracy. It emerged on the internet and is supportive of new technologies and new communication as means of social liberation.

Center for a Stateless Society writers such as Thomas Knapp and Kevin Carson are also listed as members of the Mont Order society.

According to a conspiracy theory, the Mont Order already existed thousands of years ago, but the small online group seems to ignore these claims.

The clubof.info Blog

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High-ranking psychopaths are pushing for a nuclear war with Russia, seemingly intentionally

If the US leaders wanted to wage a thermonuclear war that would destroy America and the world, we would not be here to talk about it. Presid...

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