Bulletin N° 834
Subject : ENDS & MEANS; STRATEGIES & TACTICS – REPLACING THE CAPITALIST POLITICAL ECONOMY WITH SOMEHTING BETTER.
12 February 2019
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Karl Marx once opined that the conditions for social change occur independent of human will. In the last analysis, we are obliged to make the most with what we have.
“Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in time-honored disguise and borrowed language.”
― Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte
As the ruling class weakens, all questions of formal legitimacy are set aside, and popular will becomes more emboldened.
“The last capitalist we hang shall be the one who sold us the rope.”
Today, we are forced to admit that capitalist hegemony is a tough nut to crack. The owners of capital - adding insult to injury - might very well take us all down with them. There is the difference between a slave revolt and a revolution: the first is reactive, the refusal to live voluntarily under certain conditions; the second is proactive, the intention to realize a vision, to create a egalitarian society without relationships of domination-and-submission.
The capitalist crisis has pushed us beyond identity politics. We are now faced with the threat of ecological catastrophe and thermo-nuclear annihilation of life on earth. A concerted struggle against capitalist-class interests appears increasingly to be the only hope for survival.
The 14 + items below offer readers the opportunity of peruse critical essays and articles which should be evaluated and discussed in public to enhance our political culture and enable us to envision social changes that would be to the benefit of all. Such an effort would require a rejection of the suffocating forces of propaganda that dominate the key institutions that continue to govern our thinking. Sensitivity group formations, beyond more of the same “identity politics,” might signal an important way out of this conundrum.
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
Significant Research Reports on the Capitalist Financial Industry.
by Eustace Mullins
[Plus Eustace Mullins – “Monopoly Men” @ 1/5= https://youtu.be/yjwm8SKnFjQ ; 2/5= https://youtu.be/nTwLFLHZ-Cc ; 3/5= https://youtu.be/YyebtfbYS5E ; 4/5= https://youtu.be/LBDiRMf34pw ; 5/5= https://youtu.be/OqbfFeQt9bA .]
by G. Edward Griffin
[Plus The Creature From Jekyll Island – video with G. Edward Griffin @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lu_VqX6J93k&feature=youtu.be, published on January 28, 2010.]
by Stephen Goodson
[Plus Fredrick Töben’s Review of Stephen Goodson’s book @ http://www.toben.biz/2014/10/a-history-of-central-banking-and-the-enslavement-of-mankind/ ]
[Plus Mathew Johnson’s book review @ https://www.sott.net/article/291745-Book-review-A-History-of-Central-Banking-and-the-Enslavement-of-Mankind ]
Deutsche Bank Crash- Germany Will Set Stage For Global Financial Collapse Feb 2019
with Richard Wolff
(audio, 35 min.)
Goodbye to the Dollar
by Chris Hedges
The inept and corrupt presidency of Donald Trump has unwittingly triggered the fatal blow to the American empire—the abandonment of the dollar as the world’s principal reserve currency. Nations around the globe, especially in Europe, have lost confidence in the United States to act rationally, much less lead, in issues of international finance, trade, diplomacy and war. These nations are quietly dismantling the seven-decade-old alliance with the United States and building alternative systems of bilateral trade. This reconfiguring of the world’s financial system will be fatal to the American empire, as the historian Alfred McCoy and the economist Michael Hudson have long pointed out. It will trigger an economic death spiral, including high inflation, which will necessitate a massive military contraction overseas and plunge the United States into a prolonged depression. Trump, rather than make America great again, has turned out, unwittingly, to be the empire’s most aggressive gravedigger.
WARNING TO MILLIONS OF AMERICANS! The Great American Purge Coming in February
audio, 30 min.
with Richard Wolff
"2019 The American Collapse and Bankruptcy Begins"
audio, 60 min.
audio, 37 min.
audio, 31 min.
with Paul Craig Roberts
Chris Hedges interviews Noam Chomsky:
Edward Snowden Explains
Who Really Rules The United States of America
with Howskii deMaverick
don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things ... I do not
want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not
something I am willing to support or live under” | ''I'm willing to sacrifice
[my former life] because I can't in good conscience allow the U.S. government
to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the
world with this massive surveillance machine they're secretly building,"
Edward Snowden (June 21, 1983 age 34) is a former National Security Agency
subcontractor who made headlines in 2013 when he leaked top secret information
about NSA surveillance activities | Born in North Carolina in 1983, Edward Snowden
later worked for the National Security Agency through subcontractor Booz Allen
in the organization's Oahu office. During his time there, Snowden collected
top-secret documents regarding NSA domestic surveillance practices that he
found disturbing. After Snowden fled to Hong Kong, China and met with
journalists from The Guardian and filmmaker Laura Poitras,
newspapers began printing the documents that he had leaked, many of them
detailing the monitoring of American citizens. The U.S. has charged Snowden with
violations of the Espionage Act while many groups call him a hero. Snowden has
found asylum in Russia and continues to speak about his work. Citzenfour, a documentary by Poitras
about his story, won an Oscar in 2015. He is also the subject of Snowden, a
2016 biopic directed by Oliver Stone and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Edward
Snowden was born in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, on June 21, 1983. His
mother works for the federal court in Baltimore (the family moved to Maryland
during Snowden's youth) as chief deputy clerk for administration and
information technology. Snowden's father, a former Coast Guard officer, later
relocated to Pennsylvania and remarried. Snowden eventually landed a job as a
security guard at the University of Maryland's Center for Advanced Study of
Language. The institution had ties to the National Security Agency, and, by
2006, Snowden had taken an information-technology job at the Central
Intelligence Agency. In 2009, after being suspected of trying to break into
classified files, he left to work for private contractors, among them Dell and
Booz Allen Hamilton, a tech consulting firm. While at Dell, he worked as a
subcontractor in an NSA office in Japan before being transferred to an office
in Hawaii. After a short time, he moved from Dell to Booz Allen, another NSA
subcontractor, and remained with the company for only three months During his years of IT work, Snowden had noticed the far
reach of the NSA's everyday surveillance. While working for Booz Allen, Snowden
began copying top-secret NSA documents, building a dossier on practices that he
found invasive and disturbing. The documents contained vast information on the
NSA's domestic surveillance practices. After he had compiled a large store of
documents, Snowden told his NSA supervisor that he needed a leave of absence
for medical reasons, stating he had been diagnosed with epilepsy. On May 20,
2013, Snowden took a flight to Hong Kong, China, where he remained as he
orchestrated a clandestine meeting with journalists from the U.K. publication
The Guardian as well as filmmaker Laura Poitras. On
June 5, The Guardian released secret documents obtained from Snowden. In these
documents, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court implemented an order
that required Verizon to release information to the NSA on an "ongoing,
daily basis" culled from its American customers' phone activities. The
following day, The Guardian and The Washington Post
released Snowden's leaked information on PRISM, an NSA program that allows
real-time information collection electronically. A flood of information
followed, and both domestic and international debate ensued. "I'm willing
to sacrifice [my former life] because I can't in good conscience allow the U.S.
government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people
around the world with this massive surveillance machine they're secretly
building," Snowden said in interviews given from his Hong Kong hotel room.
One of the people he left behind was his girlfriend Lindsay Mills. The pair had
been living together in Hawaii, and she reportedly had no idea that he was
about to disclose classified information to the public.
Blackwater Mercenary Prince Has a New $1 Trillion Chnese Bosslackwater
by Blake Schmidt
Erik Prince, the former Navy Seal who founded Blackwater, hardly seems like the type who dwells on corporate niceties. He was, after all, America’s foremost mercenary executive.
But there he was in Beijing, bearing an unlikely gift for a man who might open China to a freelancer known for his band of private contractors. It was a copy of his Blackwater memoir, “Civilian Warriors.’’
With that 2013 introduction to Chang Zhenming, chairman of China’s powerful CITIC investment conglomerate, Prince gained entry to a lucrative new market -- and, now, new controversy.
Prince, brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, has made no secret about his ambitions in China. But since he became chairman of Frontier Services Group in Hong Kong five years ago, CITIC, his mainland benefactor, has slowly cemented its grip on the firm. Prince stepped down as FSG Chairman in December to make way for a new boss from the conglomerate, which has amassed a bigger stake than Prince’s 9 percent.
Climate Change in 2019: What Have We Learned From 2018?
Activists from around the world walk on the streets of Katowice during the March for Climate on December 8, 2018, in Katowice, Poland.
by Bruce Melton
Exxon Knew about Climate Change almost 40 years ago
by Shannon Hall
A new investigation shows the oil company understood the science before it became a public issue and spent millions to promote misinformation
Big oil and the environmentThe truth about big oil and climate change
Even as concerns about global warming grow, energy firms are planning to increase fossil-fuel production. None more than ExxonMobil
February 8, 2019
Watch the 16th Julian Assange Vigil
Unity4J presented the 16th online vigil for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Friday. You can watch the replay here. Guests: Mike Gravel, Arthur Chesterfield-Evans, Brian Becker, Teodrose Fikre and more.
Among the topics discussed were the Geneva city parliament voting to ask the Swiss government to grant asylum to Assange, a 2008 WikiLeaks release that is relevant again because of Venezuela and Ambassador Tony Kevin’s plan to free Assange from the Ecuador embassy in London.
Acclaimed musician Roger Waters calls on people to demonstrate in Australia to defend Julian Assange
From: Mark Crispin Miller
Sent: Sunday, 3 February, 2019
Subject: [MCM] "Our free press" continues to black out the Matamoros auto strike, although it's spread to many other industries. Why is that?
Just as with the Yellow Vests, whose protests are reported by "our free press" only now and then;
and just as with the massive post-election protests in Honduras, which started in December of 2017
and raged throughout last year, until their violent suppression by the state—a story that "our free
press" never mentioned, even though that crackdown fed "the caravan" that did get quite a lot of
sentimental coverage here.
Thus "our free press" consistently blacks out stories of mass solidarity, while daily, hourly, highlighting
(and sometimes fabricating) stories of division, always told divisively: of women/blacks/ Hispanics/
Asian-Americans/Native Americans/trans-gender folk or (non-white) immigrants attacked, or treated
as invisible, or somehow grossly disrespected by (it always seems to come down to) bad white men
(like Trump), or bad white people (e.g., "Hollywood").
It's very easy to imagine (as we are encouraged to imagine) that the purpose of this endless
"social justice" melodrama is, somehow, to make A Better World for all of us—but that is
definitely not the case, since "our free press," while highlighting the grievances of disparate
"victim" groups, is also as ferociously pro-war, and anti-anti-war, as it was back in 1917,
when it was demonizing Germany as fiercely, loudly and dishonestly as it now demonizes
"Putin" and/or Russia, and Maduro, and as it targeted Assad and Kim Jong-Un not long ago,
and, earlier, Qaddafi.
And even as "our free press" seems to side with "the oppressed," primarily in certain privileged
sectors of American society—in corporate offices, in Hollywood, in academia, in stand-up
comedy—it never takes our side against the powers that are oppressing all of us. Whether it's
the mega-banks (and their enablers in the SEC and Federal Reserve), or Big Pharma (and its
partners in the CDC), or the wireless juggernaut (and its partners in the FCC), or the "criminal
justice" system, with its network of for-profit prisons, or—especially—the CIA/FBI/NSA: a/k/a
the "national security" establishment, and its affiliated SWAT teams nationwide, or any of the
other state-and-corporate combinations forged to keep us in subjection overall, "our free press"
either blacks out that oppression, or ridicules the few who dare speak out against it.
There is much more to say about the "social justice" fakery of "our free press"—about its
blind eye to the suffering of the Palestinians, about its hostile lack of interest in the scandal
of elite child trafficking (a lack of interest rather hard to square with its #MeToo obsession),
or about its over half-a-century of whopping lies about the murders of JFK, Malcolm X, Martin
Luther King and Bobby Kennedy (even as it ritually "reveres" all four of them).
While I'll say more about those oddities (if oddities they are) in weeks to come, the crucial
point today is that the aim of "our free press" is not to serve democracy, but to prevent it at
all costs, because it is essentially a weapon of imperial division.
From Joe Surkiewicz:
The Matamoros strike is spreading. Still no MSM coverage.
Matamoros strike grows as Mexican ruling class warns of national strike wave
By Eric London and
2 February 2019
The strike of tens of thousands of Matamoros workers spread beyond the maquiladoras this week to new industries as workers in water purification, milk production, and Coca-Cola bottling walked out of their Matamoros workplaces Thursday and Friday.
Several additional auto parts maquiladoras also joined the strike at the end of the week, including at Spellman, Toyoda Gosei Rubber and Tapex. Although over a dozen plants have returned to work after the companies granted the 20 percent wage increase and $1,700 bonus, more than 25 remain on strike, costing the mostly US-based companies a whopping $37 million per day.
At the same time, a strike of 30,000 teachers in the state of Michoacan neared the end of its third week with thousands of teachers blocking train tracks linking industrial hubs with the critical Pacific ports at Lázaro Cárdenas in Michoacan and Manzanillo in Colima. Last Monday, thousands of teachers in Oaxaca joined the strike.
Noticieros Televisa wrote Thursday that the teachers’ blockades “impact not only national industries but also their principle trading partners in Asia. In Guanajuato, the auto industry already reports an impact to supply lines.”
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) attacked the teachers in a press conference Monday, ordering them to get back to work and absurdly calling them right-wing: “This has nothing to with left-wing politics,” he said. “This radicalism has everything to do with conservatism.”
The Mexican ruling class is terrified of the growing strike movement.
In an article titled “The end of labor stability,” Mexico’s main business paper, El Financiero, warned on Thursday that “not in decades has Mexico been presented with 44 strikes in only one blow.” In comparison to recent weeks, the six-year presidential terms of Vicente, Felipe Calderón and Enrique Peña Nieto saw only 49, 40 and 23 strikes respectively.
“As easy as one two three, the labor stability which we have maintained for decades, with hundreds of thousands of successful contract negotiations, is broken. And it won’t stop there,” El Financiero wrote, warning that the future will bring “polarization” and “a growth of the contradictions between capital and labor. It is the end of labor peace.”
An Associated Press report published Friday exposes AMLO’s anti-working class role in seeking to break strikes and suppress wages. According to business representatives cited in the AP article, AMLO and leaders of his Movement for National Regeneration (Morena) “actively discouraged the Matamoros union from seeking the pay increase.”
It wasn’t the union which demanded the wage increase, but the workers themselves who organized independently and against the explicit threats of the union. Now, the ruling class is leaning desperately on the trade unions and their backers to block the development of a nationwide strike movement.
Milenio newspaper warned that “there is a fear of a contagion in the border region, where millions hope for an increase to their incomes.” The paper quotes an anonymous business leader who said, “This is without precedent. We are all involved in what here will mark what will be the future of manufacturing in this country.”
The industry website Manufactura.mx reported that a corporate representative said industry workers were “contaminated” by the demands for a 20 percent wage increase and that companies anticipate the strikes will spread. The business representative said, “We have an excellent relationship with the union” and hoped the union would help the company avoid a strike.
According to Noticieros Televisa, in “the maquiladora industry in Baja California [where the largest maquiladora city, Tijuana, is located] there is a fear that workers will launch a strike for wage increases.” Noticieros Televisa reports that maquiladoras are “maintaining dialogue with the unions of the industry with the goal of avoiding a labor stoppage.”
Workers are both excited by the growth of the strike and concerned that the companies plan to betray whatever agreement they reach.
One Matamoros striker said, “We all have to go out together. The union is afraid that we are uniting. The majority of us are already out. The problem is that the union hasn’t helped us and hasn’t represented us. Now we have to go out and organize guards. We are not asking for gifts, only what we deserve.” The worker said a union official told her “you are nobodies for being out here.”
A striking Kearfott worker told the WSWS, “I’m glad for the new strikers. This is for all workers across the border that have that clause in their contracts” requiring wages increase in parity with the minimum wage. “The same companies put it there and now they have to pay. We are the most exploited and least rewarded class. I think that it’s time for them to give back to us what they have taken.”
A worker at Autoliv explained to the WSWS that after the company agreed to workers’ demands, “as soon as we went back to work, they began to fire people.”
A worker at Tyco, which also agreed to the wage increase and bonus, also told the WSWS there is a growing mood to strike again to protect their coworkers from retribution:
“At Autoliv, they are firing a bunch of people without severance or bonus. The manager fires workers and mocks them, telling them that they are not going to pay their bonus or severance. They are being sent to the conciliation and arbitration board and are told that they’ll have to wait half a year or a year to resolve things. Obviously this board is on the side of Autoliv.
“I think that the majority that are now working, many who didn’t even participate in the wildcat strikes, should all strike again to support their fired co-workers. They are already getting their bonus and raise. We are a new generation that didn’t know how to strike. We have won respect whether people like it or not. Maybe it’s not all the respect we need, but this is our first strike and if things don’t get better, our second strike will be more organized.”
Though the US business press is beginning to report on the impact of the strikes in Mexico from an economic standpoint, the websites of the International Socialist Organization (ISO) and Socialist Alternative as well as the Democratic Socialists of America’s (DSA) Jacobin magazine have all ignored the strike entirely. None of these anti-working class, anti-socialist organizations has published a single article on the rebellion of Mexican maquiladora workers.
What Labor Activists Can Learn From the Seattle General Strike
Seattle shipyard workers in 1919 as they walk off the job.
Who Owns the Media?
Massive corporations dominate the U.S. media landscape. Through a history of mergers and acquisitions, these companies have concentrated their control over what we see, hear and read.
“I Oppose Interventionism, But-” But Nothing. Stop Being A Pro Bono CIA Propagandist.
by Caitlin Johnstone
Blood for Oil in Venezuela?
Abby Martin on Twitter: "How many western news outlets showed the massive marches in Venezuela protesting the US-backed coup today? #HandsOffVenezuela https://t.co/YBQpqbdEfl" / Twitter
Venezuela Gets 'Ukrained'
by Finian Cunningham
national security advisor John Bolton tweeted cynically this week that he
“wishes” Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to
take “retirement on a nice beach somewhere far away”.
What is astounding though is that despite the Venezuelan manoeuvre being so blatantly obvious, the Western so-called news media have the audacity to give the orchestrated development a veneer of credibility. The abject servility of supposed Western journalism is pathetic.
Who Care About Democracy Don’t Plot Coups Abroad
by Peter Certo
Saker Interview with Michael Hudson on Venezuela
by The Saker and Michael Hudson
There is a great deal of controversy about the true shape of the Venezuelan economy and whether Hugo Chavez’ and Nicholas Maduro’s reform and policies were crucial for the people of Venezuela or whether they were completely misguided and precipitated the current crises. Anybody and everybody seems to have very strong held views about this. But I don’t simply because I lack the expertise to have any such opinions. So I decided to ask one of the most respected independent economists out there, Michael Hudson, for whom I have immense respect and whose analyses (including those he co-authored with Paul Craig Roberts) seem to be the most credible and honest ones you can find. In fact, Paul Craig Roberts considers Hudson the “best economist in the world“!
Venezuela Is An Opportunity For Russia And China To Change The World
by Paul Craig Roberts
Nothing better illustrates Washington’s opposition to democracy and self-determination than the blatantly public coup Washington has organized against the properly elected president of Venezuela.
Washington has been trying to overthrow the Venezuelan government for years. Washington wants the state owned oil company to be privatized so that it can fall into the hands of US oil companies. That would ensure Washington’s control over Venezuela. Transferring the wealth out of the country would prevent any economic development from inside the country. Every aspect of the economy would end up in the hands of US corporations. The exploitation would be ruthless and brutal.
Venezuelans understand this, which is why Washington, despite wrecking the Venezuelan economy and offering enormous bribes to the Venezuelan military, has not yet been able to turn the people and the troops against Maduro.
Moon of Alabama’s explanation of Washington’s attack on Venezuela gives you a truer picture that differs completely from the lies voiced by the American and European politicians and presstitute media, a collection of whores who are devoid of all integrity and all morality and lie for their living.
I am not as confident as Moon of Alabama that Venezuela’s effort dating back to Chavez to be a sovereign country independent of Washington’s control can survive. Washington is determined to teach all of Latin America that it is pointless to dream of self-determination. Washington simply will not permit it.
Geo-Political Realignments Over Venezuela
Italy vetoes EU recognition of Guaido as Venezuela’s interim leader - M5S source
IF AMERICANS KNEW
It is the goal of If Americans Knew to provide full and accurate information on this critical issue, and on our power – and duty – to bring a resolution.
How the Murders of Journalists in the Middle East
Are Brushed Aside
by Robert Fisk
It’s encouraging to hear that Agnes Callamard, the UN’s execution expert, is at last in Istanbul to lead the “independent international inquiry” into the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. Better late than never, perhaps, but the old UN donkey clip-clops upon the world stage according to the politics and courage of the panjandrums beside the East River in New York.
Thus Callamard arrived all of four months after Khashoggi was butchered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. And she is now politely asking the Saudis themselves – “respectfully”, she tells us – to give her access to the murder scene “at some stage”.
As we all know, Khashoggi wrote the truth about Saudi Arabia, was lured to his country’s consulate in Istanbul, got strangled, chopped up and secretly buried. And if we’re going to come down hard on those who kill members of our journalistic profession – alas, we’ll have to put aside for the moment all those Turkish journos banged up in their own country – Callamard has made a start. As opposed to all those like the boss of the Morgan Stanley investment bank, James Gorman, and the president of Switzerland, Ueli Maurer, who are keen to get back to business with Saudi Arabia.
Israel lobby fakes campus anti-Semitism say US journalists
Details of how pro-Israeli lobby groups have fabricated accusations of anti-Semitism on US college campuses in order to incite official crackdowns against Palestine solidarity activism were revealed earlier in the week during a political talk show hosted by prominent American journalist Chris Hedges. The author and a visiting Princeton university lecturer discussed the Israeli lobby with co-founder of the Electronic Intifada, Ali Abunimah and journalist Max Blumenthal, on his talk show “On Contact”.
Discussing the Al Jazeera documentary on the workings of the Israeli lobby, the journalists described what they said was a “false crises” created by a network of pro-Israeli lobby groups working with Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Israeli embassies “to lay a factual basis to make federal civil rights complaints or lawsuits that can then be used to force university administrations to muzzle students and teachers.”
A number of cases were cited to highlight the Israeli embassies’ efforts to aggressively target American pro-Palestinian student activists including the infamous case of Julia Reifkind. The Israeli embassy officer spied on student supporters of Palestinian rights while engaging in deception by suggesting that pro-Palestinian student activists were behind an anti-Semitic incident on campus.
From: "ana hona" <email@example.com>
Sent: Sunday, 10 February, 2019
Subject: They kill our children. Stop with us, anything we need
The policy of the Israeli occupation forces now is killing children, killing innocents, killing nurses, doctors and journalists
So as not to reach the truth to the world that is ruthless and knows nothing about the truth
We are crying here for the child Hassan Shalabi who was killed by the Israeli occupation forces in cold blood
We need to deliver the truth and need to help the injured
We try everything we can to do something for good, not evil
All of us have been crying since yesterday for this child
I can not translate the video of the child and his family
If you hear him you will cry a lot. Gaza is crying over him because of the bloody way in which this child was killed
Help us communicate the truth and deliver treatment and medical services to all wounded
Donate through this link
Gaza buries teens as Israel arrests suspect in settler killing
Thousands of Palestinians attended the funerals of teenagers Hasan Shalabi and Hamza Shteiwi in the Gaza Strip.
From: Richard Greeman
Sent: Sunday, 10 February, 2019
Subject: France: Yellow Vests and Red Unions Strike Together
As Macron Prepares New Repressive Measures
Yellow Vests and Red Unions Strike Together
by Richard Greeman
On Tues, Feb. 5, as the Macron government pushed harsh repressive laws against demonstrators through the National Assembly, the Yellow Vests joined with France’s unions for the first time in a day-long, nation-wide “General Strike.”
At the very moment when in Paris the lower house was voting to implement Macron’s proposed laws designed to suppress public demonstrations (a legal right protected in both the French Constitution and the U.N. Human Rights Declaration) tens of thousands of their constituents were out in the streets all over the country demonstrating and striking against Macron’s authoritarian, neo-liberal government. The demonstrators’ demands ranged from better salaries and retirement benefits, restoration of public services, equitable tax codes, an end to police brutality, and banning the use of “flash-balls” on demonstrators, to Macron’s resignation and the instauration of participatory democracy.
Deaf to the angry people’s legitimate grievances, unwilling to deal with them, Macron has given himself no other choice than to legislate new repressive legal restrictions to suppress their continued free expression. This resort to open repression can only serve to discredit the government’s handling of a crisis largely of his own making, treating a spontaneous social movement among the 99% as if it were a terrorist or fascist conspiracy. The unpopular President’s repressive tactics will inevitably backfire on him. The French are extremely jealous of their liberties, and Macron’s monarchical arrogance can only remind them of how their ancestors dealt with Louis XVI.
Moreover, the Yellow Vests, who have been a painful thorn in Macron’s side since last November, were now demonstrating together with the French labor unions, whom he thought he had tamed last Spring. This convergences came in response to a call for a one-day “General Strike” issued by the CGT and Solidaires, who for the first time invited “any Yellow Vests who felt like it” to join. In the event, quite a few did feel like it, despite the CGT’s previous hostility to the Yellow Vests and despite their own fundamental suspicion of all “representative” structures, like established parties and unions (whom the Yellow Vests justifiably fear would attempt to coopt them, speak in their name, and sell them out).
A Day of Action and Convergence
For a “first date” the one-day Strike came off very well, somewhat to the surprise of both parties. And if this tentative Red-Yellow alliance continues to solidify (and there is every indication that it will) France will likely become ungovernable and the ruling classes will be up against the wall. What might happen next rich in possibility, for the French, with their long history of popular revolutions, have been singularly inventive in coming up with new political arrangements. For now, let us look more closely at what may in retrospect be an historic day.
The Strike began at exactly midnight when a rowdy crowd of 200-300 demonstrators near Paris blocked the giant Rungis produce market (which replaced Les Halles, the legendary “Belly of Paris), cutting off food to the capital with trucks lining up outside. You can see the Yellow Vests among the Red flags of the CGT in this video from Le Parisien. They even set up a barricade. In the early hours there were also blockages at the airport of Nantes and at the University there, at a key toll-gate near Toulouse, while in Grenoble transport was perturbed all morning.
All told there were demonstrations in at least 160 different localities, all different in size and conduct, mostly improvised by people on the spot at the last minute. There were big ones in the Channel ports Le Harvre, Rouen and Caen. In Strassbourg about 1500, in Lyon 5000 including 500 Yellow vests. In Marseille the Yellow Vest march converged with the CGT at the Stock Exchange, a shift of targets for the Yellow Vests from government to finance capital.
In Paris, instead of the usual union march through the popular quarters from the Bastille to Nation, the CGT-led strikers invaded the fancy Right Bank territory, violently contested for twelve weeks by the Yellow Vests, marching boldly up the Rue de Rivoli with its luxurious shop-windows (and construction sites with bricks lying around). They then held an impromptu rally at a major intersection, tying up traffic and baffling the police.
Here in Montpellier, as elsewhere in France, the crowd was big, but no bigger than some of the previous Saturday Yellow Vest demos – as was the case all over France. But this Tuesday it was largely a union crowd. On the other hand, after weeks of gassing peaceful protestors, the police presence was extremely discrete, and one Gendarme was filmed explaining to the Yellow Vests protestors that the Gendarmes had “nothing against them,” that his family supported the movement, explaining that they were soldiers and sworn to obey orders (the Gendarmerie is under the military). They Yellow Vests answered that they “had nothing against the Gendarmes either.” See amazing video.
When I arrived at the gathering point, the loudspeakers of the CGT sound-truck were blaring out a long boring speech – complicated stuff concerning the Euro. No possibility of conversation much less convergence. Next up the line came a contingent of CGT people, quite a number of whom were wearing yellow vests with bright red CGT emblems on them. This “dual” identity underscores the naturalness of the convergence of the two movements of working class people who have nearly identical economic goals and all the same enemies. Like the Red-Yellow CGT activists, nearly every Yellow Vest has by now personalized her/his attire, inscribing slogans on them like: “End of Month/End of World: Same Combat,” “Macron Resign!” “Down with Capitalism” and the very popular “Government of the People, By the People and for the People” (The French haven’t a clue they’re quoting Lincoln, an American!)
At the front of the column, after the CGT banner, were the Yellow Vests, perhaps 200 strong behind our banner and singing aloud. I was a little disappointed by the low turnout of Yellow Vests. Also that they didn’t go back and fraternize and mingle with the union folk, as one woman proposed and I attempted, in spite of the loud recorded CGT music. At the end of the march, our Montpellier Yellow Vest had planned to hold an open-mike speakout, but that didn’t come off either. But as comrades kept reminding me, it was an important first step, and we’ll be back. We make our road by walking.
Who Are these Yellow Vests?
Since Nov. 17, 2018, the popular, nation-wide, self-organized Yellow Vests movement has been keeping up the pressure on the neo-liberal Macron regime with daily protests at traffic circles and weekly demonstrations in dozens of cities. It is made up of average, lower middle-class French people, mostly provincials, whose lives have gotten worse under neo-liberal policies. They are mostly “little people” who are struggling to make ends meet and are tired of being ignored and humiliated by France’s elites.
Last November, they began to turn off their TVs, come out of their houses, join together at traffic circles and toll booths, get to know each other, grill sausages and feel empowered, rather than isolated and helpless. They thus humanized these “noplaces” or non-places created by the automobile civilization that had stripped their villages of post-offices, bakeries and cafés forcing them to spend two hours every workday in their cars.
The Yellow vests represent a demographic cross section of France– naturally minus the top 2% or 3%. And, unfortunately, for the moment, minus the 10% (?) of France’s doubly oppressed, discriminated immigrant communities. The Arabs, Berbers, Black Africans and other immigrants who do most of the dirty jobs, who are rarely seen in civil service jobs, and whose youth riots in the Banlieues (Projects) seriously challenged President Sarkozy in 2005. (Partly due to my suggestion, the Montpellier Yellow Vests are starting to reach out to the immigrant communities.)
Coming from many different backgrounds, the Yellow Vests wisely chose to put aside their political differences and party preferences, avoid pointless arguments, and focus on the struggle that unites them, each speaking for her or himself (alternating genders to maintain parity). As the weekly protests continued, the Yellow Vests were slowly refining their goals and tactics and discovering how to organize themselves while retaining their autonomy. After more than two months, on Jan. 25-27, delegates from 75 local Yellow Vest Assemblies came together in the town of Commercy (Lorraine) for their first “Assembly of Assemblies” and wrote a democratic, egalitarian, anti-racist Declaration (discussed below) which soon achieved a consensus around the country. So a functioning federation with common goals is now emerging.
Remarkably, the Yellow Vests’ rebellion has persisted week after week despite a government campaign of brutal police repression – including thousands of injuries (some serious), several deaths, a thousand arrests, and routine tear-gassing of peaceful groups. The Yellow Vests have persisted despite being constantly vilified by the government and media as fascists, violent terrorists, “a hate-filled mob” (Macron) etc. Yet, amazingly, according to the latest polls, 77% of French people at large think their mobilization is “justified” (up from 74% in January.)
Most remarkable of all, they have wrung some actual concessions from Macron, who, after disdainfully declaring he would “never” give in to an unruly mob, was forced to rescind the tax on Diesel fuel that the movement had originally crystalized around, and promised a raise in the minimum wage and a cut in taxes on retirement income (both of which turned out to be shams on close examination).
These practical victories, won by an autonomous group that refuses to anoint leaders or to negotiate, have deeply embarrassed the French labor movement and particularly the “militant” CGT (General Confederation of Labor, historically affiliated with the French Communist Party) which, after months of stop-and-go strikes last Spring, failed to block the implementation of Macron’s neo-liberal “reforms,” which took away many benefits won by French labor during the great struggles of the past.
The defeated strikers returned to work last Sept. with their tails between their legs, simmering mad; and it was out this void of active opposition to Macron’s ongoing neo-liberal offensive that the Yellow Vests spontaneously emerged and spread across the country, with their spectacular direct action tactics. Many union members, more or less disgusted with their leaders, joined the Yellow Vests from the start. The Yellow Vests organized themselves via Facebook pages, socialized in traffic circles and parking lots and grew into an autonomous social movement. They stood up for themselves and for the rest of France’s working poor, unemployed, single mothers, and retired people. They spontaneously organized mass civil disobedience, successfully opposing Macron’s economic program of taking from the poor and giving to the rich (from whose soft white hands the wealth will theoretically “trickle down.”)
The immediate response to the rise of the Yellow Vests on the part of the CGT and its leader, the unsmiling, mustachioed Martinez (picked by Central Casting for the “tough-guy” part) was suspicion (‘petty-bourgeois fascists?’) and hostility. Martinez and the other union bureaucrats could not help seeing the Yellow Vests as competitors, and thus as a threat to their own hegemonic status as official representatives of the workers – especially after Macron’s “concessions.”
After shocking reports of police violence unleashed by Macron’s government against the Yellow Vests’ third Saturday demonstration, and in direct response to an appeal for calm from Macron, on Dec. 6, the leaders of the CGT and all the other labor federations except for Solidaires, signed a Déclaration of solidarity – not of solidarity with the injured and arrested demonstrators, but with the Macron government, the alleged representative of the “peaceful republican order!” In return for what many described as a “betrayal,” the labor movement’s clique of professional negotiators accepted Macron’s invitation to “resume the social dialogue” – that is to allow them to sit at the table with him and negotiate more give-backs of workers’ rights.
The union leadership’s pledge of allegiance to the neo-liberal flag did not go down well in the union ranks. And so the very next day, Martinez and the other union leaders spun in the wind like weathercocks, started acting militant, and called for a national labor demonstration (legal) on Fri. Dec 14. The union leaders’ strike demands covered the same basic economic demands as the Yellow Vests. The event was to be a demonstration of power, a public-relations leadership challenge, and it was pointedly planned for Friday, not Saturday – the Yellow Vests’ demonstration day (the only free day for many of them, for example single parents, workers in offices and small businesses who don’t have strike pay or legal rights to strike). The Friday Dec. 14 union demonstrations were hardly imposing compared to Saturday’s Yellow Vest evens, so the ploy fizzled.
Two months later, the CGT’s issued another call for a one-day “General Strike” on Feb. 5 (a Tuesday). It seemed like a replay of the same ploy, but in a gesture toward the more and more obvious need for “convergence,” Martinez opened a crack for Yellow Vests “to join if they wished” (as he said the day before the Strike). However the next day, blowing with a different wind, he changed his tune and actually made some sensible remarks about convergence:
“People have been saying for more than two months that we must talk and find common demands. We have them. There is no reason we shouldn’t march side by side, the ones behind the others. What is important is to have a successful first day of action together, because I find that the bosses have been let off easy [by the Yellow Vests – Ed.] and it is time to bring to account the big bosses of this country.”
Martinez remark about needing to attack the big bosses was both pointed and to the point. The Yellow Vests, given their broad and varied social composition, have naturally focused on the consumer issues they have in common as working folk struggling to make ends meet: high prices, unfair taxes and declining social services, directing their anger at the government, the media and the political elite. Their signs often denounce “capitalism,” but as a group they have no direct relationship with big industry and finance in whose interest Macron rules. Yet clearly, only with the active participation of France’s organized workers can this broad popular movement succeed – for example through an unlimited general strike with occupations of workplaces and public spaces as in 1968.
The Opening of Chapter Two in the Movement?
More encouraging, Martinez’ co-organizer of the Feb. 5 strike, Cécile Gondar-Lalanne, whose union Sud-Solidaires has been supportive of the Yellow Vests from the start, declared: “if today works out, we must look forward doing it again, to constructing a common movement.” To this observer, such a convergence of the Reds with the Yellows, if it develops, might release a revolutionary power greater than anything we have seen in modern history.
The Yellows, composed of a cross-section of the common people in the provinces already have the support of the vast majority of French people. They have held off the government for thirteen weeks and show no sign of relenting. The Reds, meaning the organized workers, have the power to strike and bring a halt to France’s major industries, transportation, energy and all public services, as they did in 1936 and 1968.
United, the Reds and the Yellows have the potential to change the system, and many of the Yellows clearly have system-change on their agenda.
System-change is definitely not on the agenda of Martinez and the other union bureaucrats, whose social status, like that of the members of the National Assembly, depends on their role as the official “representatives” of their constituents within the existing system. Given the pressure from below, Martinez has no choice but to play at “convergence” with the Yellow Vests today, but it is only to outmaneuver them and secure his official status as labor’s representatives. This is precisely what the Yellow Vests feared from the start when they founded their movement on autonomy – perhaps remembering the dismal role played by the CGT in ending the general strike and popular uprising that shook up the De Gaulle regime in 1968 (and whose 50th anniversary was being celebrated all over the media all last year).
So Red-Yellow convergence is taking place in a conflictual context pitting the traditionally hierarchical, vertical discipline of the CGT and other French labor organizations against the innovative, horizontal self-organization of the proudly autonomous Yellow Vests. The presence, observed in Montpellier and on the videos of the Feb. 5 event, of demonstrators with big red CGT badges on their Yellow Vests, is already significant. The fact that these Red-Yellow (Orange?) activists dare to openly display their independence within the tightly organized culture of the CGT is a sign of cracks opening in that bureaucratic structure through which imaginative wildcat initiatives may emerge.
Convergence is also developing from below, through mutual understanding. According to the investigative journalism site Médiapart (whose coverage of this event was superb) “a not very militant” CGT member who has been out with his Yellow Vest on the roundabouts and demonstrated every Saturday remarked that “there are lots of employees who can’t strike, who work in small shops and whose relations with their bosses are too direct. But they understand that the problem is big capital.”
In Paris, a young man up from Lognes with his wife (who had never before demonstrated) and his Yellow Vest group held out a CGT flyer showing a red arm and a yellow arm holding each others hand. He concluded: “Today may be the beginning of Chapter Two of our movement. We must all converge!”.
Two railroad workers on the Paris-East line share his hopes. “The CGT has always been a fighting union, we’re on the side of labor, not capital. Before taking a definite position on the Yellow Vests, we needed to wait to see how this movement was going to clarify its outlook. Now, their discussions and demands are interesting, indeed attractive, rather leftist,” they judged. “This movement has evolved on the ideological plane, the Yellow Vests have become conscious through their struggle. It’s time to converge, to join together.”
Yellow Vests’ Self-Education in Action
Over time, the Yellow Vests’ objectives have indeed deepened, as evidenced by the evolution of the home-made signs at demonstrations, by lists of progressive demands from various local groups, and finally, at the end of Jan. 2018, by a Declaration (reproduced below) voted by a “General Assembly of General Assemblies” attended by Yellow Vests mandated by some 75 different local groups. A second Assembly, bringing together many more groups, is being prepared as the Yellow Vests structure themselves in a loose federation and learn to represent themselves through delegates selected (always one woman and one man) with limited mandates and subject to recall (the system of the Paris Commune of 1871).
The Commercy Declaration defines their goals as “dignity,” an “end to inequality,” “free public services,” “higher” salaries, retirements, etc., taxing the super-rich to pay for them and the restructuring of France as a participatory democracy through referendums. At the same time, in response to charges by Macron, the media, and any number of groups on the far Left, The Yellow Vests Declaration declares: “we are neither racist, nor sexist, nor homophobic, we are proud to come together with our differences to build a society of solidarity.” Although this radical Declaration is not a binding program, it expresses a consensus and has been quickly adopted by many Yellow Vest groups, who are looking forward to a larger nationwide Assembly of Assemblies in two months.
The investigative site Médiapart sent two reporters up to Commercy after the Assembly of Assemblies and filmed their conversations with a couple of dozen local Yellow Vests, giving us an intimate view of how this diverse group interacts and makes decisions – a long process of patience, respect, tolerance, and conscious self-education. They explain how each individual brings pieces of the truth from her/his knowledge and experience, from which a consensus is achieved. (Or not achieved, on subjects where they are not ready to decide and sweep under the rug until they are).
The atmosphere is one of trust and comradeship and active listening. Interventions are short and to the point. Viewing the video, I was struck by the contrast between the locals’ discourse and that of the two academic sociologists, both charming and well intentioned, who tended to go on and on and talk over each other, adding very little. The local Yellow Vests, whatever their education levels, have all learned to express themselves in public succinctly, and some have become quite eloquent. Linked by common struggle, pooling their knowledge, they are tapping into “the Wisdom of Crowds” long known to socialists and recently studied by psychologists.
They also have fun and laugh a lot. For example, here in Montpellier, the first report on the Agenda of last Sunday’s General Assembly was on the question of how to curse and insult the “forces or order” (cops). The rapporteur went through a whole list of insults which, like “cocksucker” are offensive to gays, or women, or sex itself. It was both hilarious and instructive. He the proposed a number of really nasty, but politically correct insults, and his report was approved by the group. This Saturday we are going to demonstrate wearing masks, to mock the government’s vicious liberticidal anti-demonstration laws which criminalize covering your face.
Macron’s Throne Is Shaky
As for Macron, his popularity hovering around 22% thanks to his regal pretentions, inflexible neo-liberal orthodoxy, methodical use of violence to suppress the expression of legitimate citizen grievances and criticism, and his contemptuous way of talking down to his angry subjects. This figure is slightly above the 18% of the 2017 Presidential vote he got on the first round, before being elected as the only alternative to “the fascist LePen.” Compare this with approval of the Yellow Vests, which stands at 77%. The French hate nothing worse than being talked down to and taken for jerks, and Macron is his own worst enemy, for example when he declared that the presumably lazy French had “lost the taste for effort” – when more than half of them are breaking their backs just to survive.
Macron’s latest ploy is the “Great Debate,” a public-relations charade designed to counter the Notebooks of Grievances being circulated by the Yellow Vests in imitation of the Cahiers de Doléances of the 1789 Revolution. The “Great Debate” consists of a serious of programmed meetings between Macron or one of his Ministers and the elected Mayors of a region. Hardly democratic considering how many mayors are the tools of local real estate interests and political mafias. Nonetheless, some mayors are actually honest and sincere, and at the very first televised “Debate,” the first mayor to take the floor made a searing critique of Macron and his handling of the crisis. Now questions are filtered in advance. Whom does Macron think he’s fooling?
Curiously, the French public intellectuals and philosophers, who occupy a much larger space in the media than their American counterparts, have mostly turned a cold shoulder to the Yellow Vests. If I’m not mistaken, only two have seriously take up their defense: the popular libertarian philosopher Michel Onfray (author of 100 books) and the historian-anthopologist-essayist Emmanuel Todd. They alone carry on the contrarian tradition of Voltaire, Zola and Sartre into the 21st Century, our epoch in which the mediatized intellectuals, like the media personalities, the media owners, the politicians and the labor leaders have all become integral parts of what the French call “the political class.”
Meanwhile, Macron is traveling outside of France and playing a role in international affairs to deflect from the intractable crisis at home, while the media keep up a business as usual façade, respectfully reporting the Great Debate and reducing the Yellow Vest insurrection to a weekly tally of the number of demonstrators (aren’t they declining yet?), the number of arrests and of cars burnt. I suppose that like frightened little kids, the French elites think that if they hide their eyes all these angry little people will go away, but they won’t. What will Act XIII (or Chapter Two) reveal?
Call from the First Assembly of Assemblies of the Yellow Vests
We, the Yellow Vests of the roundabouts, of the parking lots, of the squares, of the assemblies, rallies and demonstrations, have gathered on January 26 and 27, 2019, as an "Assembly of Assemblies," bringing together a hundred delegations, in response to a call by the Yellow Vests of Commercy.
Since November 17, from the smallest village, from the rural world to the largest city, we have risen up against this deeply violent, unjust and unbearable society. We will no longer let ourselves be pushed around! We are rebelling against the high cost of living, precariousness and poverty. For our loved ones, our families and our children, we want only to live in dignity. It's unacceptable that 26 billionaires own as much as half of humanity. Let's share the wealth and not the poverty! Let's put an end to social inequality! We demand an immediate increase in wages, social minima, allowances and pensions; the unconditional right to housing and health, to education; and free public services for all.
It is for all these rights that we are occupying roundabouts on a daily basis, that we organize actions and demonstrations, that we discuss everywhere. With our yellow vests we retake the floor, we who have never had it.
And how has the government responded? With repression, contempt, denigration. Many dead and thousands wounded, massive use of firearms that mutilate, blind, injure and traumatize. More than 1,000 individuals have been arbitrarily detained and sentenced. And now the new "anti-wrecker" law is applied to stop us from demonstrating. We condemn all such violence against protesters, whether from the police or violent gangs. None of this will stop us! To demonstrate is a fundamental right. End impunity for the police! Amnesty for all the victims of repression!
And what a dirty trick is the so-called great national debate - in fact it's just a government propaganda campaign that manipulates our desire to debate and decide! True democracy, as we practice it in our assemblies, in our roundabouts, is neither on television nor in the fake roundtables organized by Macron.
After having insulted us and treated us as less than nothing, now he points to us as a hateful fascistic and xenophobic mob. But we are quite the opposite: neither racist, nor sexist, nor homophobic, we are proud to come together with our differences to build a society of solidarity.
We are strengthened by the diversity of our discussions. At this very moment hundreds of assemblies are developing and proposing their own demands. These concern real democracy, social and tax justice, working conditions, ecological and climatic justice, and the end of discrimination. Among the claims and strategic proposals that are the most debated, we find: the eradication of poverty in all its forms, the transformation of institutions (citizen's initiative referenda, constituent assembly, abolition of the privileges of elected officials ...), the ecological transition (energy injustice, industrial pollution ...), the equality and the taking into account of all regardless of their nationality (people with disabilities, male/female equality, an end to the neglect of popular neighborhoods, the rural world and the DOM-TOM [overseas territories] ...).
We, the Yellow Vests, invite everyone to join us with their own means and abilities. We call for continuation of the acts of protest (act 12, against police violence at the police stations; acts 13, 14 ...), to continue the occupations of the roundabouts and the economic blockades, to build a massive strike starting on February 5th. We call for committees to be formed at workplaces, at schools and everywhere else so that this strike can be built from the bottom up by the strikers themselves. Let's take things into our own! Do not remain alone - join us!
Let's organize ourselves in a democratic, autonomous and independent way! This assembly of assemblies is an important step that enables us to discuss our demands and our means of action. Let us federate to transform society!
We urge all Yellow Vests to circulate this call. If as a group of Yellow Vests you agree, add your signature and send it to Commercy (firstname.lastname@example.org). Do not hesitate to discuss and formulate proposals for the next "Assemblies of the Assemblies," which we are preparing for right now. Down with Macron - power to the people, for the people and by the people!
 Information from the investigative journalism website subscriber-supported website, Médiapart, at whose studio Macron’s justice department recent attempted to conduct a warantless search, scandalizing civil libertarians. https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/france/050219/gilets-jaunes-et-rouges-cela-peut-etre-le-debut-du-chapitre-deux-de-notre-mouvement
Yellow Vest violence erupts on streets of Paris
for THIRTEENTH weekend in a row
Macron Tactics Against Yellow Vests Have Nothing to Do with Public Safety, Everything to Do with Global Politics
US Bare Bum Brexit? Twitter Bursts as Prof Strips
to Protest UK's EU Divorce
The UK's imminent departure from the European Union next month has accentuated divisions in British society, with remainers coming up with some desperate and, ahem, 'eye-catching' methods to bring attention to their cause.
University of Cambridge professor Dr. Victoria Bateman startled a BBC Radio 4 host when she appeared completely nude to protest Brexit, saying her three-pronged message to Brits was that "Brexit leaves Britain naked."
'I invite Jacob Rees-Mogg to a naked debate about Brexit!'
Cambridge lecturer Dr Victoria Bateman, who campaigns against Brexit while naked, challenges the Brexiteer MP #r4today pic.twitter.com/wTwyEY66NQ
US accuses China of preparing for WWIII: What you’re not being told
A Republican senator has accused China of preparing for World War III. Like most of Washington’s statements concerning China, the lawmaker has completely ignored the US’ role in creating such a scenario in the first place.
Just last week, Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma made the allegation that China’s military was preparing for World War III.
“It’s like you’re preparing for World War III,” he said during a Senate hearing focused on the so-called challenges presented by Russia and China. “You’re talking to our allies over there and you wonder whose side they’re going to be on.”
According to Inhofe, the US has sat back and watched as China has built its military presence in the South China Sea, turning artificial islands into potential launch pads for its military.
The idea that the US has sat back and watched anything, ever, in the history of the world, is somewhat laughable. Even under the Obama administration, the president had an explicit containment strategy which was supposed to enclose and encircle China from all angles. The so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) was also designed for this purpose (yet for some reason Donald Trump, who is overtly anti-Chinese, thought the agreement was a bad idea).
Inhofe also said he was “concerned” that “our message” was “not getting across.”
Get over it: Asia rules
by Pepe Escobar
New book helps explain why the 21st Century will be the Asian Century
The greatest merit of Parag Khanna’s new book, The Future is Asian, is to accessibly tell the story of a historical inevitability – with the extra bonus of an Asian point of view. This is not only a very good public service, it also blows out of the water countless tomes by Western “experts” pontificating about Asia from an air-con cubicle in Washington.
Asia hands from the West tend to be extremely protective of their extra-territoriality. In my case, I moved to Asia in 1994, and Singapore was my first base. In time I found out – along with some of my colleagues at Asia Times – nothing would ever compare to following the ever-developing, larger than life Asian miracle on the spot.
Khanna has always been in the thick of the action. Born in India, he then moved to the UAE, the West, and is now a resident in Singapore. Years ago we spent a jolly good time in New York swapping Asia on-the-road stories; he’s a cool conversationalist. His Connectography is a must read.
Khanna found a very special niche to “sell” Asia to the Western establishment as a strategic adviser – and is very careful not to ruffle feathers. Barack Obama, for instance, is only guilty of “half-heartedness”. When you get praise from Graham Allison, who passes for a Thucydides authority in the US but would have major trouble understanding Italian master Luciano Canfora’s Tucidide: La Menzogna, La Colpa, L’Esilio, you know that Khanna has done his homework.
Of course, there are a few problems. It’s a bit problematic to coin Singapore “the unofficial capital of Asia”. There’s no better place to strategically follow China than Hong Kong. And as a melting pot, Bangkok, now truly cosmopolitan, is way more dynamic, creative and, let’s face it, funkier.
US arms exports over last 6 decades
by Fredrick Töben
the USA on a collapse continuum with Dmitry Orlov
by The Saker
The word ‘catastrophe‘ has several meanings, but in its original meaning in Greek the word means a “sudden downturn” (in Greek katastrophē ‘overturning, sudden turn,’ from kata- ‘down’ + strophē ‘turning’). As for the word “superpower” it also has several possible definitions, but my preferred one is this one “Superpower is a term used to describe a state with a dominant position, which is characterized by its extensive ability to exert influence or project power on a global scale. This is done through the combined-means of economic, military, technological and cultural strength, as well as diplomatic and soft power influence. Traditionally, superpowers are preeminent among the great powers” this one, “an extremely powerful nation, especially one capable of influencing international events and the acts and policies of less powerful nations” or this one “an international governing body able to enforce its will upon the most powerful states“.
Paul Craig Roberts Breaks Down What To Expect in 2019
with Derrick Broze and Micah Jackson
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, former assistant Treasury Secretary during the Reagan Administration, author, and political commentator, discusses what he sees coming in 2019. Topics include: the 9/11 Lawyers Inquiry, the American Matrix, the U.S. Economy, the Yellow Vest Protests, War with China, and Trump's role in all of this.