Bulletin N° 722
Subject : THE LESSER-EVIL PARADOX.
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
To discover the degree to which our lives are derived –including our personal behavior and our most intimate ideas and preferences-- from influences beyond our control is sometimes enervating. After all, if we are not whom we think we are, who exactly are we? The dialectical materialism of Karl Marx (1818–1883) and his followers (who were keen on differentiating the social object, “mankind-in-itself” from the historical agent, “mankind-for-itself”) offered an alternative philosophy to the positivism of Auguste Comte (1798–1857). In past CEIMSA Bulletins, we have discussed the deductive role played by Humanist ideology in social science research and carried this discussion to the more recent writings of N. Katherine Hayles and Anthony Wilden, (see, for example, CEIMSA Bulletin N° 462); while for a critical analysis of the theory of historical materialism as well as the method, dialectical materialism, we have recommended the recent writings of Bertell Ollman (see CEIMSA Bulletin N° 344).
Meanwhile, the ruling class continues to promote the fetish of algorithms to mystify the historical process and to reify our lives, by use of metaphysics, with categories inscribed in already-written manuscripts. (The word algorithm derives from the name of the mathematician, Mohammed ibn-Musa al-Khwarizmi, who was part of the royal court in Baghdad and who lived from about 780 to 850.) For some critical descriptions of this branch of mathematics, we offer CEIMSA readers several brief reviews of this increasingly popular and decidedly counter-revolutionary thought process that has morphed into a full-blown intellectual movement in the context of everyday authoritarian micromanagement --at work, in the market place, at school, and at home we are progressing step by step toward unknown consequences of these police actions, while the social science theory of historical materialism (which postulates that material conditions influence ideas more than ideas influence material conditions) and the social science method of dialectical materialism (which uses space/time at different levels of abstraction in order to extend generalizations about social context thereby identifying specific forces of change, and the constraints imposed on these social forces, and the likely development of new unexpected formations as an outcome, carrying within them new contradictions and new potentials for further change.
Below are discussions of the counter-revolutionary method of algorithm, as it attempts to serve the social order through orchestrated change from above, to deter social revolution by way of massive maneuvers of oscillation :
What's an algorithm?
How algorithms shape our world
Algorithms Are Taking Over The World
THE BLACK BOX SOCIETY The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information
by FRANK PASQUALE
The 17 items below offer CEIMSA readers a look at the material reality which inevitably impinges upon our ideas requiring our very thought processes to adapt.
Professor emeritus of American Studies
Director of Research
University of Paris-Nanterre
Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements
The University of California-San Diego
From: "Matt D., UFPJ"
Sent: Saturday, 26 November, 2016
Subject: Teargassed for Thanksgiving. What I Saw at Standing Rock.
This week, I and many other peaceful water protectors were attacked at the Oceti Sakowin Camp in Standing Rock, ND.
I am calling on you to sign our urgent petition to President Barack Obama, Chief of Staff to the President Denis McDonough, and Assistant Secretary of Army Corp of Engineers Jo-Ellen Darcy to stop the pipeline and to end the historic violence against Native Peoples.
I can tell you first hand that on the week of Thanksgiving 2016 the US Government is still brutalizing Native Americans on their own land. On Sunday evening, I quickly went from preparing dinner to defending the front line from a militarized police assault.
Native elders prayed near the barricade as nonviolent demonstrators faced DAPL's militarized police, Morton County Sheriff Office, and their weapons. The prayers were meant for both sides.
The police's violent attack on our camp carried on until the next morning and in the midst of it I and hundreds of others were tear gassed and shot at with rubber bullets as we fled the thick, suffocating clouds of smoke. A camp-mate of mine was shot by one of the bullets and had his arm broken. One woman I know was sent to the ER because one of the police's concussion grenades exploded near her face, causing burns. The police hosed us with liquids for hours in the freezing cold. Our warm clothes froze stiff. You could see icicles forming on the razor wires as they aimed their guns at us. I'm still haunted by the fact that one young woman whom I'd seen at the camp nearly every day and have spoken to a couple times may have to have her arm amputated from a police concussion grenade that was aimed at her.
That night, our camp was converted into an fully functioning emergency response center with every necessary health and support service you could imagine being provided by hundreds, if not thousands of volunteers. Nobody rested.
It's almost impossible to believe that within a matter of minutes, our camp went from a peaceful place of laughter and prayer to a battlefield. The police were not there to arrest us that night- I believe only one person was arrested- they were there to hurt us and to wear down the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their growing support, in an attempt to protect DAPL.
I am still hearing individual stories from that late night and still having difficulty coming to terms with what we experienced. I remember thinking to myself, "Is this Iraq or Standing Rock?" I will never forget what I saw there. Through that experience, the purpose of the camp and the struggle there became clearer to me, and for many of us, it has strengthened our resolve.
We are not simply camped out to make a point. We are in it to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline. We are in it to protect our planet and our brothers and sisters who inhabit it. We are in it to defend Native American treaties. We are in it to oppose racist militarism at home and abroad. And we are in it to win.
Thanks to your support, we have been able to turn our calls of solidarity into meaningful action.
Now, please sign our petition to Obama, McDonough, and Darcy to stop the pipeline and to end the historic violence against Native Peoples.
Please, as you enjoy the holidays and the company of your loved ones, do not forget Standing Rock, which in my assessment, is the epicenter of our ongoing battle for peace and justice today.
UFPJ Organizer & Peace Pledge Campaigner
CRIMINAL LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST THE US GOVERNMENT
ON BEHALF OF CHILDREN & THE FUTURE GENERATIONS OF THE WORLD
Matt Damon from Howard Zinn's speech: The Problem is Civil Obedience
Standing Rock Special on American Indian Resistance
Ralph Nader Interviews Noam Chomsky
Jeremy Scahill: Mike Pence Has "Militant Agenda" Against Women, the Poor, Immigrants, LGBTQ People
From: Richard Greeman
Subject: The Struggle: Let’s All Hang Together (or we’ll hang separately!)
The Struggle: Let’s All Hang Together (or we’ll hang separately!)
by Richard Greeman
1. A Foreseeable Surprise
If Donald Trump’s electoral revolution came as a surprise, the profound disgust of the citizenry for the ruling elites has long been no surprise to anyone. The folks in the middle and at the bottom, left high and dry by the post-2008 “recovery” in favor of the top 1%, were totally fed up and ready for a political revolution. That slogan was successfully used in the Democratic primaries by the old Jewish socialist Bernie Sanders, who genuine popularity came near to dethroning Hillary Clinton, the pre-selected candidate of Wall St. and the DNC, considered “inevitable” by the media.
While Hillary was campaigning behind closed doors in luxury hotels to win the financial support of bankers and traders, Bernie was out on the hustings drawing crowds of up to 20,000 enthusiastic supporters, who were hard at work in their constituencies. Yet while the TV cameras followed Trump everywhere, we never got to see those mass meetings of Sanders supporters. And as we later learned from Wikileaks, the DNC and media barons were working together to marginalize Bernie’s candidacy by denigrating it as “futile.”
Nonetheless, Sanders kept rising in the polls, which consistently gave him a majority over Trump or any other Republican candidate in a hypothetical general election. These polls, deliberately ignored at the time by the Democratic leadership, were confirmed by the Nov. 8 election results. Trump won in the very states and even down to the identical rust-belt counties where Sanders carried the primaries. Clearly, what those voters wanted was a political revolution.
Yet the Democratic leadership, operating behind the scenes, obstinately imposed on the party the predictably disastrous candidature of Hillary Clinton. She was and is a shop-worn, visibly unpopular personality (polls), the symbol of the arrogance of the Washington elite, weighed down with the heavy negative baggage the two terms of her husband. The Clintons’ neo-liberal, globalist ‘New Democrat’ policies are considered responsible for the poverty and insecurity into which millions of working families have fallen, black and white together. These former “middle class” working people have not forgotten that their lives were destroyed by deliberate de-industrialization of the middle west, off-shoring of jobs to low-wage countries, financial deregulation, and the elimination of Welfare and aid to dependent children under the Clintons’ presidencies. For these disenchanted Democrats as well as for the enthusiastic Democratic activists of Bernie’s “political revolution,” the imposed (if not rigged) candidacy was an arrogant slap in the face.
The elite Democrats’ electoral strategy was as disastrous and as far from reality as was their choice of candidate. Unbelievable as it may seem, they decided to turn the election by focusing on the narrow demographic of “college-educated Republicans” (who of course voted Republican). The Democrats were apparently so confident they owned the votes of their historical (since FDR and LBJ) base of unionized and other working people and ethnic minorities that Clinton barely campaigned in the devastated areas (which voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012 but not for Clinton in 2016). Nor did she address the suffering of the millions who are upset about growing inequality, economic insecurity, unemployment, overwork (two jobs), low wages, race and gender discrimination, lost savings, underwater mortgages, debts, and bankruptcies. (At least Bill Clinton pretended to “feel our pain”). Instead, Hillary stood for the status quo when everyone was crying out for change.
Thus, in the very first fifteen minutes of the first televised debate, Trump was able to present himself as the champion of the working class. All he needed to do was keep reminding the audience of the Clintons’ responsibility for imposing the disastrous (for workers) 1994 North American Free Trade Association Treaty (NAFTA) and to Trumpet his own opposition to the semi-secret Trans-Pacific Partnership. The TPP, or “NAFTA on steroids,” favors the rights of multinational corporations over the welfare of workers, the environment and human rights. Long supported by globalists Obama and Clinton, it would have reduced U.S. wages to Asian levels and completed the ruin of “working-middle-class” viewers -- and they knew it. So after those fifteen minutes, many turned off their TVs and went bed. They had seen enough, it was already late, and tomorrow is work.
So is it really such a mystery why down-scale voters, deeply discontented with the Establishment and deprived of the option of a Leftist “political revolution” chose the option of a political revolution of the Right?
2. So Who’s To Blame?
There are two ways to react to this disaster. We can either blame the American people or point our finger at the country’s elites, at the political Establishment, the billionaire donors, and their commercial mass media who organized this catastrophe for which the American people will pay the price for a long time. To blame the American public, particularly to stigmatize the white working class, is to fall back into the same elitism that enraged Trump’s voters, whom Clinton famously categorized as “deplorables.” Indeed, the Democratic elite are now blaming their own failure on the very voters they scorned.
Of course Trump barely hides his own racism and misogyny and did not reject the support of David Duke the former KKK leader. But everyone who voted for Trump is not necessarily a bigot. According to the analysis of the N.Y. Times, statistics show that the election was decided by voters who had gone for Obama in 2012. Obviously, they all aren’t racists. Nor were the Brits who voted for Brexit all xenophobes. That electoral bomb also exploded “by surprise” when the Oxbridge elites of the ruling Conservative party, completely cut off from the people, called that referendum to settle an intra-mural contest, like a ball in one of their Public School sports. They thus gave the millions of common folk humiliated by neo-liberal globalization a target for their anger and alienation.
Michael Moore was one of the few to see the parallel. Well before the US election he noted that those portions of the U.S. that have been most ravaged by free trade orgies and globalism are filled with rage and “see [Trump] as a chance to be the human Molotov cocktail that they’d like to throw into the system to blow it up.”
On the other hand, the fact that 53% of white women found it in their hearts to vote for a bully who brags about sexually abusing women is astounding and disturbing. “Elite white feminism gave Us Trump,” writes Liza Featherstone, the editor of a prescient pre-election collection of left-feminist essays False Choices: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Rodham Clinton which examines her track record on welfare, Wall Street, criminal justice, education, and war. “She has advanced laws and policies that have done real harm to the lives of women and children across the country and the globe.3 That certainly accounts for part of the problem.
“Nevertheless,” writes the Marxist-humanist scholar Peter Hudis, “those who place the entire blame on Clinton for Trump’s victory are missing a critical point. Male chauvinism clearly was pivotal in the electoral outcome. That Trump could manage to grow his support even after the evidence of his history of sexual abuse became widely known is a very disturbing sign of the sexism that is endemic to this society.” Alas, aggressive verbal and physical male behavior toward women is already becoming “normalized” since Trump’s election. Turning next to the economy, Hudis continues:
Clinton’s defeat may show that neoliberalism is in crisis, but that does not in any way mean that it points to a weakening of the hegemony of capitalism. In fact, it is now clear how wrong it was for many leftists to focus their politics for the past two decades on attacking “neoliberalism”—without ever getting to explicitly oppose the logic of capital as a whole and articulate an alternative to it…. Capitalism may be turning away from its neoliberal phase as convincingly as it earlier dropped Keynesianism... Trump is part of a worldwide rejection of neoliberalism on the part of reactionary forces, who feel it has failed to live up to its promise. However, today’s collapse of neoliberalism does not represent a step forward, but a reactionary move to atavistic nationalism, racism, and misogyny.
We should have no illusions about the impact of Donald Trump’s victory. It is a disaster. The prospect of a unified right-wing government, led by an authoritarian populist, represents a catastrophe for working people. Some may have hoped that Trump’s outlandish campaign threats were not meant to be taken seriously ; but the man means business, and he is not going to waste his crucial first hundred days pussyfooting around, as Obama did. Trump has already chosen Stephen Bannon the alt/right blogger as his chief White House Strategist. He will now have Sen. Jeff Sessions, an outspoken, unrepentant racist, as Attorney General, Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, a notorious Islamophobe, as national security adviser, and hawkish Rep. Mike Pompeo, who wants to tear up the treaty with Iran, as CIA director. Under consideration for Homeland Security is immigrant-hunter Joe Arpaio, recently-ousted Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, now under indictment for his excessive brutality to prisoners. With such enemies in power, the struggle for equality and social justice will be long and hard. No sense counting on Obama and the Democrats, who are keeping a low profile and will play at conciliation — unlike the Republicans who rejected Obama’s legitimacy and blocked him from day one of his administration.
Above all, let us not divide our ranks by scapegoating the members of the famous “white working class” (no more racist than other whites) on whom the Democrat elites (having scorned them) are now blaming this catastrophe. These frustrated rust-belt voters, many of them former Bernie-supporters and Obama voters, having tossed their Molotov cocktail into the White House, are now waiting eagerly to see if President Trump will keep his promise to immediately end outsourcing of jobs.  When their right-wing pro-business billionaire president lets them down, as he inevitably will, we will find them along side us again in the labor and social struggles of the next four years. “As long as power was split between a Democratic Presidency and a Republican Congress, each side could blame the other for the lack of positive accomplishments.” Writes Ken Knabb from Oakland, CA. “But now that the Republicans have got a monopoly, there will be no more excuses.”
United we stand. Divided we fall.
 Contributors include Liza Featherstone, Laura Flanders, Moe Tkacik, Medea Benjamin, Frances Fox Piven and Fred Block, Donna Murch, Kathleen Geier, Yasmin Nair, Megan Erickson, Tressie McMillan Cottom, Catherine Liu, Amber A’Lee Frost, Margaret Corvid, Belén Fernández, Zillah Eisenstein, and others. https://www.versobooks.com/books/2121-false-choices
Shameful and Poisonous
by Stephen Cohen
"We are at the moment in an exceedingly dangerous relationship with Russia"
From: "Mark Crispin Miller
Subject: [MCM] So who hacked all those emails? Agents of the Kremlin? Or teen-agers obsessed with UFOs?
Madsen put this out back in October. Maybe now it will sink in....?
So Who Hacked Clinton? The Truth Could Be
More Shocking Than You Expected
by Wayne Madsen
Presidential Polls Were Off the Mark Because of Voter Suppression
Filmmaker Greg Palast says the states of Michigan, Arizona, North Carolina, and Ohio were stolen in this election
It's not Donald Trump who matters now in the Middle East – it's Putin
It is easy to say that the Arabs are appalled that an Islamophobe has won the White House. But did they think Obama or any of his predecessors – Democrat or Republican – had any special concern for Islam? Of course not
by Robert Fisk
US, British ‘Clean House’ to Delete Syria Terror Links
US President Barack Obama has just given the Pentagon orders to assassinate commanders of the Al Nusra terror network in Syria. American media reports over the weekend say the new urgency arises from US intelligence fears that al Qaeda-affiliated groups are preparing to mount terror attacks against Western targets from strongholds in Syria.
Nationwide Actions Demand Army Corps Block Dakota Access Pipeline
Rallies and sit-ins were held in over 100 cities around the world against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Lauretta Prevost with Mirrors and Hammers Productions,www.mirrorsandhammers.com
Noam Chomsky and Jeffrey Sachs "US Foreign Policy -- Hegemony or Survival?"
Columbia University, November 16, 2004 (Introduction by Jeffrey Sachs).
Noam Chomsky 2016 After the Electoral Extravaganza
Ralph Nader, “This Could Be The Most Serious Event In History"
After the Electoral Extravaganza by Noam Chomsky
Should Clinton Get off Scot-Free?
Glen Ford says Americans shouldn't be reconciled to criminality and corruption, regardless of one's opinion of Trump.
(Note: This interview took place before a Trump aide stated that the administration will not open an investigation into Hillary Clinton.)