Bulletin N° 781
Subject : “If you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem!”
15 January 2018
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Another Casualty in This War of Attrition?*
I was surprised to hear Norman Finkelstein say toward the end of this fourth interview on TRNN by Aaron Maté that : “I'm not a religious person but I certainly go by the adage, ‘God helps those who help themselves’. You can't liberate Palestine from the outside, nor should you be able to. I mean at some level of course, if they're facing a genocide then of course liberate from the outside. But as a general rule you neither can nor should you. People have to free themselves because that's the only way that they will stay free.”
. . . “from the outside”, Norman?
While I did expect him to reflect the idea that Palestinian freedom cannot be achieved from change attempted by only 'transitive causes', that is to say meaningful changes must stem from 'immanent causes'; I was taken aback to hear him repeat the idea that US citizens live 'external' to the Palestinians in Gaza, and therefore US intervention would constitute an ineffective 'mechanical cause'. North America is very much in this world and the world is in Americans (whether they know it or not). America's impact on people is world-wide and reflexive; US citizens are as fully implicated in the brutal Israeli-Palestinian relationship of domination/subjugation as they are in ritual murders by police officers at home. This is part of what it means to be American, today. We’re not speaking of a billiard ball striking another ball on a billiard table, with some mechanical outside force moving from ‘cause’ to ‘effect’, Norman; but rather the qualities which are immanent within every person, including Americans – like the physiology of our senses and the vital organs that constitute our body - these are sources of feelings (including empathy), memory, reason, and will . . . the very essence of our existence. There is no 'final cause', no goal or purpose - this is a fiction.
[See "Spinoza for dummies" @ https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=spinoza&&view=detail&mid=DE162FC718DD0C31286ADE162FC718DD0C31286A&FORM=VRDGAR ]
The 'indwelling cause' is inseparable from its effect, which is, in this case, the suffering of Palestinians living in Gaza and their relationship to the world. There's no need to advocate another Warsaw Ghetto uprising. We've seen the results of this. What are the 'immanent causes' at play here, and how can we leverage this sentient reality, in solidarity with the oppressed, to improve our own lives and the lives of so many others (beyond national borders and parochial identities)?
This understanding was expressed by the Black Panthers early in the1960s, with the popular slogan: “If you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem!”
*(Taken from my response to Norman Finkelstein @ http://therealnews.com/t2/story:20896:After-Israel-Decimated-Gaza%2C-Human-Rights-Defenders-Failed-It-%2844%29 )
For more on tactics and strategies relevant to class struggles, see CEIMSA discussions of the works of Anthony Wilden @ Bulletin N° 288 & Bulletin N° 493 as well as Wilden’s essay, “The Strategic Envelope,” reprinted in Chapter 5 of the CEIMSA anthology, War, Resistance, and Counter-Resistance in Modern Times (CSP, 2010)
In the 16 items below we look at the fatal moral corruption that late capitalism has ushered in, as despair and decadence - the hallmark of capitalist decline that was immortalized by George Grosz at the time of the Nazi seizure of power in Germany - once again spreads across our landscape. The scrounging, writhing, painfully pleading predator becomes outraged at the slightest sign of resistance. You must lick the hand that robs you, on pain of death!
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
Empire Files: Abby Martin Meets Ahead Tamimi
Abby outlines the Tamimi family's tragic tale and unending bravery in the fight for justice and equality in Palestine and how the story of their village of Nabi Saleh is emblematic of the Palestinian struggle as a whole
Bibi’s Son (Or Three Men in a Car)
It is all about a conversation between three young man in a car, some two years ago.
One of the young men was Ya’ir, the eldest of the two sons of the Prime Minister.
Ya’ir is named after the leader of the “Stern Gang”, whose real name was Abraham Stern. The original Ya’ir split from the Irgun underground in 1940, when Britain stood alone against Nazi Germany. While the Irgun stopped its actions against the British government for the time being, Stern demanded the very opposite: exploit the moment in order to get the British out of Palestine. He was shot by the British police.
The modern Ya’ir and his two friends were on a drunken tour of Tel Aviv strip-tease joints, an appellation which often seems to be a polite way of describing a brothel.
The US ‘Betrayed’ Russia, but It Is Not
‘News That’s Fit to Print’
by Stephen F. Cohen
New evidence that Washington broke its promise not to expand NATO “one inch eastward”—a fateful decision with ongoing ramifications—has not been reported by The New York Times or other agenda-setting media outlets.
Finding the Answer to a
Riddle Shrouded in a Mystery
The art of the non-deal might be the only way out of
the stand-off between the US and North Korea
by Pepe Escobar
High-level inter-Korean talks at the border village of Panmunjeom not only represent a vital step in Winter Olympics’ diplomacy
but also offer a tantalizing chance of a breakthrough in stalled six-party discussions.
Wormwood and a Shocking Secret of War: How Errol Morris Vindicated My Father, Wilfred Burchett
Another Step Toward Armageddon
by Paul Craig Roberts
Starting Them Young: Is Facebook Hooking Children on Social Media?
Over the past few months, social media companies have come under increasing scrutiny from media critics, watchdog groups, and US congressional committees. Much of the criticism has focused upon how Facebook and Twitter facilitated the propagation of inflammatory messages created by Russian agents during the 2016 US presidential elections, ostensibly to polarize American voters. Self-serve advertising, “filter bubbles,” and other aspects of social media have made mass targeted manipulation easy and efficient.
'Get Him Out of Here!': Watch Maxine Waters' Epic Trump Takedown After His Racist 'Sh*thole' Remarks
The congresswoman delivered perhaps her most furious denunciation yet.
by Chris Sosa
Why no one from Norway wants to move
“Hello, I Must Be Going”: Is Michael Wolff’s Book Fake-Populist Trump’s Exit Strategy?
Authoritarian propagandists’ most ridiculous conceit (and most telling barometer of their criminal madness) is that if you tell a “big lie” often enough and long enough it becomes the truth.
No it doesn’t: It remains a lie. And makes the teller appear evermore insane.
So it is with Donald Trump and the Republicans’ “big lie” that Trump was and is some sort of conservative “populist” leading a “movement” and pursuing policies that advantage America’s working men and women who earn wages, as opposed pursuing traditional GOP policies favoring the wealthy, employers and those whose earnings come from investments. See Trump’s famous “closing argument” video here, the first draft version of which is captured here.
Sent: Friday, 12 January, 2018
Subject: [MCM] About Trump's mouth
As if Trump's calling Haiti a "shithole" is far worse than Obama's turning Libya into one.
For more News From Underground, visit http://markcrispinmiller.com
World War I: Crime and Punishment
In 1887, Frederick Engels made a chilling prediction of the war that would come in 1914:
The only war left for Prussia-Germany to wage will be a world war, a world war, moreover of an extent of violence
hitherto unimagined. Eight to ten million soldiers will be at each other’s throats and in the process they will strip Europe
barer than a swarm of locusts. The depredations of the Thirty Years’ War compressed into three to four years and extended
over the entire continent; famine, disease, the universal lapse into barbarism.
This prediction was not the result of second sight. It was a conclusion derived from the premise that “war is the daughter
of capitalism,” first proposed by Engels with Marx in The Manifesto of the Communist Party of 1848. “The bourgeoisie
is always in a struggle . . . against the bourgeoisie of all foreign states,” they wrote, and this struggle is so bitter as to lead
inevitably to an “industrial war of annihilation among nations.”
Sent: Friday, 12 January, 2018 :13:02 AM
Subject: Rock the Boat
TESTIMON BY CONGRESSMAN ALAN GRYSON
ON THE LIFE & DEATH OF AARON SWARTZ
« ROCK THE BOAT »
I knew Aaron Swartz. Aaron was an internet leader and free-speech advocate who helped organize the worldwide movement to keep the internet free from censorship and corporate control. Now more than ever, we should listen to his story and what he fought for. Aaron committed suicide at the young age of 26 after downloading JSTOR articles without JSTOR's permission. He was unfairly facing many years in prison. As we approach the five-year anniversary of his death, I hope you read my remarks at his memorial service, and learn a bit more about the man who “rocked the boat.” Here is what I said:
CONGRESSMAN GRAYSON: Aaron worked in my office as an intern. He had a quality that I found unnerving. He could come up with better things for him to do than I could come up with for him to do. Time and time again, I would give him something to do, and he’d say, “Is it okay if I also work on this other thing?” And “this other thing” turned out to be much more important than anything that I could come up with.
I learned to live with that. I learned to live with that shortcoming, which I took to be a shortcoming of my own, not one of his.
The other unnerving quality that I found in him was the fact that when he would conjure these assignments, they actually came to fruition — an unusual phenomenon here on Capitol Hill. He’d give himself something to do, I would recognize that it was very worthwhile, I let him do it, and it got done! He was a remarkable human being.
Another thing that I found unnerving — but also very endearing — about Aaron was that Aaron wanted to rock the boat. Now, we all hear from a very, very young age, “Don’t rock the boat.” I would venture to say that of the 2000 languages spoken on this planet, probably every single one of them has an idiom in that language for that term: “Don’t rock the boat.” And yet Aaron wanted to rock the boat. Not just for the sake of boat-rocking, but for the sake of improving the lives of ordinary people. And that’s a beautiful, a wonderful quality.
We’re talking about somebody here who helped to create Reddit, an important world-wide service, at the age of nineteen. Honestly, somebody who probably could have spent the rest of his life in bed, ordering pizzas, and left it at that. And yet he didn’t. He continued to strive to do good — good as he saw it. And that’s a rare quality in people. Many of us, we just have to do our best to get through the day. That’s the way it is. Many of us struggle to do just that. Very few of us actually can think big thoughts, and make them happen. But Aaron was one of those rare people.
And he was willing to take the heat for rocking the boat. Now, you know, sometimes when you rock the boat, the boat tries to rock you. That is exactly what he encountered, right up until the end.
And it’s a sad thing, that that’s the price you have to pay. For some of us who rock the boat, we end up losing our property. For some of us who rock the boat, we end up losing our freedom. For some of us who rock the boat, we end up losing our families. And in Aaron’s case, his life.
And yet, he was willing to face the facts, and to let that happen. To keep striving, to keep struggling, to keep trying to shake things up.
Aaron’s life reminded me about a different life that came to the same end. It’s the life of Alan Turing, a brilliant mathematician. He lived in England, and was born one hundred years ago. Alan Turing was the greatest mathematician of the 20th Century. He not only invented the Turing Machine, which is the basis for all modern computing, but Alan Turing also broke the Nazi codes during World War II, and allowed the English and the Americans to defeat the Nazis.
You would think that someone like that would be cherished. Someone like that who, if he had managed to have a full life, might have won one, or two, or even three, Nobel Prizes. But in fact he was vilified, because he was a homosexual, which, at that point in England, in those days, was illegal. And I’m sure that at that point in England, in those days, there were people who said, “Well, the law is the law. And if you disobey the law, then you should go to prison.” Because of that, because his boyfriend turned him in, Alan Turing was convicted of perversity, and sentenced to prison.
Given the choice between spending hard time — years and years of his life — instead of doing the mathematics that he loved, or alternatively, to accept estrogen injections, well, Turing took the estrogen injection choice. And that broke not only his body, but his mind. He found that he could not do the thing he loved the most, mathematics, any longer. So after two years of this, Alan Turing committed suicide.
And who lost, out of that? Well, Alan Turing lost. But so did all of we. We lost as well. All of us who would have benefitted from that first, and second, and the third Nobel Prizes that Alan Turing had in him. And that Aaron Swartz had in him.
We’re the ones who lose.
If we let our prejudices, our desires to restrain those with creativity — if we let that lead us to the point where that creativity is restrained, then going back all the way to the time of Socrates, what we engage in is human sacrifice. We sacrifice their lives, out of the misguided sense that we need to protect ourselves from them, when in fact it’s the opposite.
Our lives have meaning, our lives have greater meaning, from the things that they create. So we’re here today to remember Aaron — and also to try to learn from the experience. To understand that prosecution should not be persecution.
This morning I reached into the closet, randomly took out this tie [showing necktie], and wore it. And I have a sense that sometimes, things are connected in ways that are not exactly obvious. It happens that this tie is a painting of “Starry Night” by Vincent Van Gogh, someone else whose life ended all too soon.
In a Don McLean song about Vincent Van Gogh, it ends this way: “They would not listen. They’re not listening still. Perhaps they never will.”
It’s time to listen.
“And when no hope was left in sight,
On that starry, starry night,
You took your life, as lovers often do.
But I could have told you, Vincent,
This world was never meant for one
As beautiful as you."
-Don McLean, "Starry, Starry Night” (1971).
From The OffGuardian
How anyone who questions the White Helmets narrative became victims of the Guardian propaganda machine
Democrats and the End(s) of Politics
A paradox at the intersection of capitalism and representative democracy is that under capitalism
every person represents their own interests. The King of Versailles (Donald Trump) illustrates this tendency
most straightforwardly amongst modern political leadership. But the paradox is systemic, not personal.
And the question that follows is: which is to be shedded, capitalism or democracy?
America is spiritually bankrupt,
We must fight back together
by Cornel West
The undeniable collapse of integrity, honesty and decency in our public and private life has fueled racial hatred and contempt.