Bulletin N° 779
Subject : OF CORPORATISM & HUMAN BONDAGE : struggling together within the structures of late capitalist relationships.
30 December 2017
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
I wish to thank our Anglophone readers, again this year, for their participation in receiving this weekly bulletin of selected essays, articles, and videos by journalists, artists, and public intellectuals who reflect on the important issues of our times. Our virtual community of interest at CEIMSA is a cultural phenomenon of uncertain proportions – how much of this material is actually read, and to what degree it is understood remains necessarily an unknown. I know, however, that I have enjoyed the idea of sharing this cultural material with you on a regular basis for more than sixteen years, since 2001, and I am fully aware of the “uncertainty principle” such a project involves.
Fear, guilt, debt, money, power, and fame – this is the usual variety of motivations that psychologists attribute to human behavior. One motivating factor for action is often ignored in these sophisticated circles, i.e. simply the repulsion of living in a venal environment where inequality and injustice are accepted as normal, if not admirable, features of society. The species consciousness of a bankrupt race explains little and offers even less by way of strategies for revolutionary change. In these bulletins we have emphasized social class interests, and the conflicts these interests produce. We have repeatedly rejected “possessive individualism” as a nefarious ideology of human alienation, and our emphasis on individual responsibility likewise precludes corporatism and the false security of “identity politics”.
Our weekly readings have stretched over decades, and sometimes over centuries, and what we have found is richly varied. The ruling classes have no interest in enriching the public culturally. In fact, public ignorance and superstition are assets for the class of capitalists who must issue directives and enforce them in order to profit from the social structure that they govern. The common coin in such a society is FEAR.
When we look into the past - both recent and distant - and learn from the experience of our elders, we can discover wisdom in people like the British author Somerset Maugham, whose 1915 novel, “Of Human Bondage” was made into a film in 1934 by American novelist Lester Cohen . . .
“Of Human Bondage”
or like David Harvey, discussing . . .
The End of Capitalism
or like Edward S. Herman, on capitalist control of the media . . .
(don’t) R.I.P. : “Fight like Hell”
or like Noam Chomsky, on . . .
Neoliberalism & the Global Order (Full Talk - Original Upload)
(at Yale University on February 25, 1997)
or like Howard Zinn, on . . .
On Studying History
(at San Diego State University in 1991)
or like the poetry of Omar Khayyam (1048-1131) . . .
In the 24 items below we look at contemporary reports on the human condition under late capitalism to seek signs of hope that might appear in the ashes of despair. The fierce ‘capital accumulation by dispossession’ is increasingly displacing traditional ‘capital accumulation by labor exploitation’ and we live in an era of growing inequalities with all the burdens that robbery inflicts. Human experience tells us that the degradation around us is approaching a lethal level and will generate further genocides if we don’t resist at every opportunity.
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
"Sorry Chump. You Didn't Have It In Writing"
by Eric Margolis
At a time when the United States is convulsed by anti-Russian hysteria and demonization of Vladimir Putin, a trove of recently declassified Cold War documents reveals the astounding extent of the lies, duplicity and double-dealing engaged in by the western powers with the collapsing Soviet Union in 1990.
I was covering Moscow in those days and met some of the key players in this sordid drama. Ever since, I’ve been writing that the Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Foreign Minister, Eduard Shevardnadze, were shamelessly lied to and deceived by the United States, Britain, and their appendage, NATO.
All the western powers promised Gorbachev and Shevardnadze that NATO would not expand eastward by ‘one inch’ if Moscow would pull the Red Army out of East Germany and allow it to peacefully reunify with West Germany. This was a titanic concession by Gorbachev: it led to a failed coup against him in 1991 by Communist hardliners.
The Gangster Nature of the State
2-hour audio recorded on November 22, 1993
by Michael Parenti
Parenti argues that the state perpetuates the most unspeakable crimes against its own people, the gangster nature of the state cloaked by a facade of political representation
The “Reason” of the most powerful.
When Sanity Fails – The Mindset of the “Ideological Drone”
by The Saker
My recent analysis of the potential consequences of a US attack on the DPRK has elicited a wide range of reactions.
There is one type of reaction which I find particularly interesting and most important
and I would like to focus on it today: the ones which entirely dismissed my whole argument.
The following is a selection of some of the most telling reactions of this kind:
Ibrahim Abu Thuraya
(1991 – 2017)
Ibrahim Abu Thuraya is a 26 year old young man who lives in a very crowded refugee camp in Gaza. Dealing with everyday life can be harsh, the lack of electricity, or petrol or food. All of this makes life difficult for Ibrahim, who is tasked with the responsibility of providing for the 11 member family, two of whom are attemtping to go to college. The whole family depends on Ibrahim to survive, you see, Ibrahim's father is not well and disabled. Albiet this would be a difficult enough task for any of us here in Ireland, but for Ibrahim it is even more difficult because he lives in Gaza. Ibrahim was once a proud Gazan fisherman. Everyday he took to the sea in his small boat and fished the waters near his home. Being a fisherman is never easy, and can at times be dangerous, even in Ireland we know this to be so. Yet in Gaza fishermen face another danger that we dont have here in Ireland. Gazan fishermen must face the israeli navy on a daily basis as israel continues to tighten the seige by restricting the fishing areas and enforcing these illegal self made restrictions by firing at the small fishing boats as they cast their nets in hope of receiving a days worth of food. Sometimes setting the small boats on fire and sinking them, sometimes killing the fishermen on board. Ibrahim has been injured four times by Israeli attacks since the age of 12. But his life changed forever in 2008 when Israel attacked Gaza, 1400 people were slaughtered in 22 days, many more were left severely wounded and injured. It was during this time that Ibrahim was struck by an israeli artillary shell. He lost both his legs and one of his eyes. Today Ibrahim is no longer a proud Gazan fisherman. Today Ibrahim is forced to try his best to make ends meet for himself and his family by washing cars in Gaza. Everyday he takes to the streets in his old wheelchair in search of cars to wash. But, Ibrahim has a Dream...............
deaths are largely ignored by US media. We want people to learn about these
human beings. Ibrahim Abu Thuraya was killed December
15th, 2017; attached is a 2-minute video about him:
(All Palestinians and Israelis who have died due to actions committed by the other side are listed at iakn.us/2i9VONR)
« Nous sommes tou-te-s Ibrahim Abu Thuraya »
Ruth Bader Ginsburg: at 84, where does she get her PEP
(Progressive Except Palestine)?
Team Trump Adds Insult to Injury for the Palestinians
Trump Claims Credit For The Russian/Syrian Defeat Of ISIS
Trump’s National Security Speech
by Paul Craig Roberts
What do we make of Trump’s national security speech? First of all, it is the military/security complex’s speech, and it is inconsistent with Trump’s intention of normalizing relations with Russia. The military/security complex, using Trump’s position as President, has defined Russia and China as “revisionist powers,” Washington’s rivals who seek to put their own national interests ahead of Washington’s unilateralism. Russia and China are “revisionist powers” because their assertion of their national interests limits Washington’s hegemony. In other words, Washington does not accept the validity of other countries’ interests if those interests are contrary to Washington’s interests. So, how does Trump expect to work with Russia and China when he reads a speech that Russia and China seek to “shape a world antithetical to our interests and values.”
Noam Chomsky - Best Speech In 2017
Decline of the American empire with Alfred McCoy
Allan Nairn: United States Tries—But Fails—to Stop Hondurans from Protesting Election Fraud
We Are Sleepwalking Toward War With
by Zack Beauchamp
The reality of war with North Korea is almost too terrifying to imagine.
Experts say the North’s artillery could kill tens of thousands of civilians in Seoul, South Korea’s densely populated capital, within the first hours of a conflict. A protracted fight would lead to destruction on the Korean Peninsula on a scale unheard of since the Korean War in the 1950s, with millions of deaths on both sides.
The North’s nuclear missiles could easily reach Tokyo; most major American cities are also within their range. Imagine a nuclear strike on New York City — hundreds of thousands of Americans dead or irradiated in a catastrophe that would dwarf 9/11 by multiple orders of magnitude — and you start to understand what’s at risk here.
But here’s the genuinely scary thing. Numerous conversations with US policymakers, former US government officials, and experts all point to one disturbing conclusion: Far from being unthinkable, a war with North Korea is becoming more likely by the day.
US War on ISIS Is the Biggest Lie Since the 2003 Iraq Invasion:
by Darius Shahtahmasebi
On November 13, 2017, the BBC dropped a bombshell report that exposed how the U.S. cut a secret deal with “hundreds” of ISIS fighters and their families to leave the Syrian city of Raqqa under the “gaze of the U.S. and British-led coalition and Kurdish-led forces who control the city.” The convoys reportedly included some of ISIS’ “most notorious” members, as well as its foreign fighters and tonnes of weapons and ammunition.
Almost a month later, Reuters reported that a high-level defector from Kurdish-led forces in Syria had revealed that the number of ISIS fighters given safe passage by the U.S.-led coalition was actually in the thousands, not hundreds. This account was seconded by a security official in Turkey despite the fact that Turkey and the Kurdish militia do not typically see eye to eye).
“Agreement was reached for the terrorists to leave, about 4,000 people, them and their families,” the defector said, as quoted by Reuters, adding that all but about 500 were fighters.
The defector also noted that the fighters were headed toward Deir ez-Zor, Syria’s most oil-rich region. The U.S. had been eager to bomb Deir ez-Zor for some time prior to the deal, and allowing ISIS safe passage to get there would merely give them the pretext to do so. In June of this year, regional outlet Al-Masdar released a video that appeared to show convoys of ISIS fighters leaving Raqqa, as well, though the media paid very little attention to this.
All of this begs the question: If the U.S. allowed 4,000 ISIS fighters to leave Raqqa, who on earth were they bombing during their brutal siege? Donald Trump’s illegal air campaign killed well over 1,800 civilians and brought the city to ruin — to the point that Russia accused the U.S. of wiping Raqqa “off the face of the earth.” The U.S. government knew ISIS was leaving the city safely but kept on bombing it into devastation, anyway.
US Plans Slash and Burn of Middle East to “Minimize” Iranian Influence
by Tony Cartalucci
The US is attempting to sell to the public the next phase of its continued occupation and military operations across the Middle East. Predicated on claims of “rebuilding” Iraq and “fighting terrorists” in Syria, it is in actuality a plan to perpetuate for as long as possible the upheaval currently consuming the region in hopes of overextending and exhausting Iran – and by extension – Russia.
Iranian Roadblock to Western Hegemony
The United States in its pursuit of global hegemony has placed particular focus on encircling, containing, undermining, and if possible, overthrowing the socioeconomic and political order of Iran as a means to secure for itself primacy over the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the British followed by the Americans have pursued a multi-generational policy of divide and conquer across MENA.
The United States of Inequality
by Andre Damon
Last week, as Congress rushed to pass a tax bill that will transfer trillions of dollars to the financial oligarchy, two separate teams of experts published damning reports documenting the growth of social inequality in the United States.
On Thursday, a group of leading inequality researchers, including Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, published its 2018 World Inequality Report, which shows that the United States is far more unequal than the advanced economies of Western Europe, as well as much of the rest of the world.
2017 in Review: Allan Nairn on Trump’s “Rightist Revolution”
& the Social Movements Pushing Back
Congress in Search of a Bordello
by James Petras
accordance with the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 (CAA) the Office
of Compliance (OC) compiled and published shocking statistics listing (1) the
number of settlements paid to its employees and interns after allegations of
abuse by legislators; (2) the total amount of dollars paid by US Treasury to
the victims of Congressional workplace abuse.
The US taxpayers were made to pay millions of dollars in financial settlements for hundreds of incidents of Congressperson abuse,
including gross sexual harassment, against interns, staff and office employees, of both sexes.
This ‘slush and shush’ fund was hidden from the American people. Many abused victims were paid-off and intimidated into silently watching
the elected officials parade themselves as paragons of virtue and champions of their voters.
Divide and Rule, a neo-liberal Tactic.
How the baby boomers — not millennials — screwed America
“The boomers inherited a rich, dynamic country and have gradually bankrupted it."
Maintaining American Supremacy in the Twenty-First Century
by Alfred McCoy
It could be a joke of the “a penguin, a rabbi, and a priest walked into a bar” variety, but this one would start, “five Chinese naval vessels operating in the Bering Sea sailed into U.S. territorial waters, coming within 12 miles of the U.S. coast...” And the punch line would be yours to come up with. Certainly, that “event,” which did indeed occur recently (without notification to U.S. authorities), caused a small news flap here, in part because President Obama was then visiting Alaska. Not since German U-boats prowled off the East Coast of the U.S. during World War II had such a thing happened and though American officials reported that the Chinese had done nothing illegal or that failed to comply with international law, it still had a certain shock effect in a country that’s used to its own navy traveling the world’s waters at will.
ACLU Investigation Reveals Texas Troopers Are Turning Traffic Stops of Immigrants into Deportations
The New Yorker
The Republican Grovelling at the White House Was an Alarm Call for 2018
by John Cassidy
For more, see: Information Clearing House
The “Managerial Revolution » »
Japanese woman 'dies from overwork' after logging 159 hours of overtime in a month
Fate of media worker Miwa Sado, 31, piles pressure on authorities to address large number of deaths linked to labour practices
From: "Team Grayson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Wednesday, 27 December, 2017
Subject: Poverty is fatal.
I created something of a stir, eight years ago, when I reported on the Floor of the House about a Harvard study that showed that 43,000 Americans were dying each year because they had no health insurance.
Last year, I publicized a study by the Brookings Institution that found that rich Americans are living 14 years longer than poor Americans.
And last month, we found out why: a medical study in South Africa found that people with “significant financial stress” were 13 times more likely to have a heart attack.
Not 13 percent more likely. Not even 130 percent more likely. No – 13 TIMES more likely.
“patients were graded with no financial stress if they were coping financially; mild financial stress if they were coping financially but needed added support; moderate financial stress if they had an income but were in financial distress; and significant financial stress if they had no income and at times struggled to meet basic needs.”
Based on that grading system, they found that:
“Both work stress and financial stress were associated with a higher risk of acute myocardial infarction [a heart attack]. The odds of myocardial infarction was 5.6 times higher in patients with moderate or severe work stress compared to those with minimal or no stress. Patients with significant financial stress had a 13-fold higher odds of having a myocardial infarction.”
Good news for South Africans, though: South Africa has national health insurance. The United States, which is ten times as wealthy, does not.
That’s why I support universal healthcare: to make sure that everyone can see a doctor when he or she has a heart attack, and get the care needed to stay alive. Support our campaign for universal healthcare >>
Let’s get this straight. Having no income – being poor – makes you 13 times more likely to have a heart attack. But having no income – being poor – means that you can’t afford health coverage. So in our system, the people who are most likely to need healthcare are the ones who don’t get it.
And the result? The result is that poverty is fatal. Poverty kills.
Chris Hedges, Julie Bindel on the Movement to Legalize Prostitution
In this week's episode of "On Contact," host and Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges sits down with activist Julie Bindel.
The two discuss the international movement to legalize prostitution, which Bindel calls
an "unmitigated disaster" in countries such as the Netherlands.
From: "World Beyond War via
Sent: Wednesday, 27 December, 2017
Subject: How It Could Finally Be Possible to Prosecute War as a Crime
Sent: Friday, 29 December, 2017
Subject: An hour with Chomsky
Dear friends and family,
Well worth an hour to view the interview. Sanity is so rare on TV.
(Many cities have the Democracy Now! program carried on the PBS station.)
Printed transcript and video
p.s. -- Chomsky is a member of my union, IWW