Alt Left: We Humans Have Always Been Terrorists from the Very Start

Of course Wars on Terrorism are retarded wars packaged for idiots and dunces. So why do people keep falling for it? Why is the other side always made up of terrorists? Why is your side never made up of terrorists? The word terrorism belongs in a trash can. It literally has no meaning anymore.

This idiot word terrorism is new to us. Before we had other dumb words, not that any come off the top of my head at the moment.

Any non-state guerrilla actor who has taken up arms against you is automatically a terrorist. All armed groups that the US doesn’t like are terrorists. A few countries have been put on the supporters of terrorism list for no conceivable reason at all, as they don’t support any actual terrorists. They might support a few non-state armed groups, but so what? People actually believe that all armed non-state actors are terrorists?

And now even countries are “terrorists.” The IRGC, which is a branch of the Iranian military, has been listed as a terrorist organization by this idiot administration. IRGC is the Iranian government itself, so apparently the Iranian government itself is a terrorist organization!

The groups we don’t like all get called terrorists and the ones we don’t like don’t get the designation and often get guns instead. Everything surrounding this crap word is nothing but political bullshit.

First let’s think up a sane definition for this bullshit word that ought to be put in the grave. How about terrorism is any targeting and killing of unarmed civilians of the opposing group for any reason, ethnic, religious, racial, or due to the fact that they are giving support to the opposing side.

You don’t get to deliberately kill the civilians of the other side. We did a Hell of a lot of it in World War 2 and it was a very bad thing. The Axis was obviously terrorist from Day One. The British engaged in a lot of terrorism. And the Soviets committed a lot of terrorism in their drive to Berlin from the East.

Furthermore, going back in time, apparently most if not all groups of humans were actually terrorists! The US practiced terrorism in most of its wars, certainly in WW2, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and Panama. We also practiced terrorism in the 2003 Gulf War and in the 2001 Afghanistan War.

And almost all governments are far worse then the US. We at least pretend to follow the rules. No one else even bothers. The Ukrainian rebellion of the early 30’s was put down by terrorism. The anti-Soviet guerrillas after the war were defeated by abject terrorism. In the Russian Civil War, both sides were horribly terroristic.

Thinking back to the armed conflicts of recent years, one side of the other has been practicing terrorism, and most of the states fighting armed groups have used terrorism to fight them.

The horrible conflicts in Europe from 1910-1925 were almost all terrorist. Most attempts by colonists to put down anti-colonial rebellions were heavily terroristic. On the other hand the independence fighters often committed a lot of terrorism themselves.

I don’t know much about how war was fought in Europe in the 1800’s and before, but it sounds like an awful lot of it was pretty terroristic. Most Roman conquests appear to have been seriously terroristic.

The Philippines insurgency was pure terrorism on the part of the US. Going back to the Indian Wars it seems clear that in at least some of the Indian Wars, we practiced terrorism against the Indians. The rest of the time we simply allowed non-Indian settlers to commit terrorism against. And the Indians were terrorists from Day One, as the Founders noted in their documents. Sherman’s March to the Sea was clearly sheer terrorism. Going back to the 1700’s and before it seems that a lot of wars were pretty terroristic. Maybe not all of them. China has been having horrible terrorist wars for centuries. Most settler-colonist invasions and occupations were accompanied by quite a bit of terrorism on the part of the settler-colonists.
That’s a fact by the way.

I do not know a lot about wars among primitive peoples but what we do know is not hopeful. For instance if you look at the list on uncontacted people in the world in Wikipedia, you will see that they are almost all in Brazil. A number of groups have vanished with a note saying “genocided in Year X”. These groups often had 50-100 people. They were genocided by some other Amazonian Indians in some tribal war.

But look at the word. Genocided. The tribe that won the tribal war went in and murdered every single one of the opposing tribe, including presumably children, old people and other noncombatants. This leads me to believe that primitive wars were typically viciously terroristic if not outright genocidal. And it also leads me to believe that we humans are basically not only a terrorist species but we are also a genocidal species.

Furthermore, captured rebels are very frequently tortured by state armies.

Nowadays almost all states treat guerrillas as terrorists and try them in civil or military courts under terrorism statutes, mostly because they do not want to abide by the rules of war and treat them as POW’s. That’s if they don’t just out and out execute them. For instance, Syria may have executed 40-50,000 Syrian rebels at military prisons around Syria. And I say that as a supported of Assad.

Even the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are for the most part POW’s. If they’re not, then charge them with terrorism and try them in civilian courts.

The Bush Administration didn’t want to do that because they thought that civilian courts would let the jihadists go free. Bush also wanted to torture those in Guantanamo, probably to get more information out of them in order to prevent future attacks.

Hence a completely fake bullshit category called “illegal combatants” was created in order to accomplish this goal. I spoke to one of the country’s top experts on this, and he laughed and told me that there is no such thing as an illegal combatant under international law, and it was just some fake category the Bush people made up.

Alt Left: Labour Isn’t Working: A Radical Program for the Party to Reacquaint Itself with Victory

A most interesting text out of the UK but a group calling itself Alt Left. Though I don’t agree with them on everything, in a broad sense what they are arguing for is more or less within the broad scope of what I had in mind when I founded the Alt Left. This group calls itself Alt Left Publishing.

I had to cringe at some of the more rightwing things this group wants Labour to do, but the fact is that Labour needs to win elections, and if they have to be a bit more conservative to do that, well so be it. As long as we are not electing Blairites, Labour will always be much better than the Conservatives, and UKIP doesn’t look very good either (sort of neoliberal Trump Republicans-lite).

As usual with the Democratic Party here, the Left is shooting itself in the foot with massive overreach by being wildly SJW in ways that the majority of people do not support, and by being fantatically anti-immigration when 70% of the British public want a slow-down on immigration.

Labour is getting massacred on this issue, as many working class folks are anti-immigrant and feel that immigrants are taking their jobs and in addition, these people feel that they are losing a sense of their country.

Working class Labour voters are left on economics while being rather socially conservative, and that’s the Alt Left right there. What’s the point of alienating working class voters, screaming racist at them, shoving hundreds of thousands of unwanted immigrants down their throat, and bombarding them with SJW extremism that most of them reject as too radical?

As the piece points out all this is doing is making more and more of these socially conservative working class Labour voters defect to UKIP, mostly over the immigration issue.

Labour is also alienating people by being openly unpatriotic. I’m not a patriotard myself, but I do want the best for my country, so I suppose I love my country more than a corporate types who deliberately harm our country. I certainly don’t want to do my country any harm! I may disagree with domestic and especially foreign policy, but I’m not so angry about it that I want to screw the country over. I mean I have to live here too you know.

At any rate, the people around Corbyn are openly unpatriotic and do not pay proper deference to national symbols and institutions. Most British people are patriots, particularly socially conservative working class folks.

While I love Hezbollah myself and even have a soft spot for Irish Republicans, most British people despise both Hezbollah and in particular the IRA. The latter is heavily due to anti-Catholic sentiment in mostly Protestant UK, a tendency that goes back to at least the 19th Century to “anti-papist” and “anti-Romist” sentiment at that time. At any rate it does no good when Corbyn lauds these groups. All it does is create more UKIP voters.

What’s the point? Politics is after all the art of the possible.

While I love Jeremy Corbyn of course, most British people dislike him, and Labour has been shedding votes since he took over. It doesn’t matter whether I love Corbyn or not. What matters is that most British people hate him. And a leader hated by most of the population should definitely go in favor of someone more popular.

There are other good suggestions here about being tough on crime and the causes of crime. This is an issue near and dear to socially conservative working class voters, and Labour, like the Democratic Party, suffers from a soft on crime problem. That’s not necessary and anyway, crime hurts the working class.

This is a very long document, 12,000 words and 25 pages. I edited it quite heavily. The Alt Left Publishing website can be reached by clicking on the title below.

Happy reading!

Labour Isn’t Working: A Radical Program for the Party to Reacquaint Itself with Victory

Labour Isn’t Working in many ways lays the foundations for the Alt-Left. It establishes fundamental principles like the importance of group identity, the need to restrain the free market, and rejection of radical social justice.

It’s my view that whether your interest in politics is keen or fair-weather, you’ll be intrigued by the book, though I do recommend it particularly strongly to Labour party members and to those interested in the Alt Left and what it stands for.

The transcript can be read in full below, or alternatively downloaded for free here.

If you’d like to purchase the text in E-book format you can do so here.

T. James

Cover JPEG

Preface

The modern Labour party is out of touch with the working class whom it exists to represent, and many of whom turn increasingly to the Tories and UKIP for answers. Labour has been too scared to address immigration, too complacent to address jobs and too divided to address Europe.

The working class is dead. Long gone are the days of the Welsh miners’ choir and the workplace union meetings. The flat cap is worn now by avant-garde members of the rural middle class, men too old to shake a habit, and metropolitan hipsters.

Blackface isn’t the inevitable consequence of a day spent hewing coal from the center of the earth, but is now a racial faux pas. Where once a hard day’s work involved forging world-class steel, for many it’s now manning a call center in order to best resolve Mrs Smith’s broadband issues.

The modern economy necessitates that even the bricklayer has his own local advertising, Facebook page, and website. He doesn’t consider himself part of a homogeneous working class, but instead an entrepreneur, and rightly so.

The production and harvesting of real resources has been shamelessly outsourced to third-world countries. We allow the rest of the world to grow our food, forge our steel, and sew our shirts, and in doing so, we not only deprive our own people of work, but we impose it on others without the benefit of health and safety, a minimum wage, regulations, or any semblance of automation.

Britain’s economy is overly reliant on the financial sector, leaving us vulnerable to the next U.S.-born crash. Where people once took pride in their work as builders, now they are resigned to employment in this coffee chain or that.

Nationalism now rises in tandem with uncontrolled migration leading to names like Le Pen, Wilders, and Farage taking the establishment by storm. What appeared to be a consistently declining level of global violence has begun to reverse itself in recent years, as the wildfire of extremism continues to ravage the Middle East, prompting the worst migrant crisis yet seen in human history.

Humanity is on the precipice of upheaval, there are new questions, and few answers. Left-wing parties across the West are struggling to rally support, caught between the relentless march of globalization and the toll it takes on workers the world over.

The British Labour party is no exception to this trend, and its inability to mount a competent opposition to the government is enabling a period of unchecked Conservative rule. Exerting scrutiny on the executive is essential to ensure that its policies reflect national needs and not self-serving ends. Thus it is in the interests of both Conservative and Labour supporters that the Labour party resurface as a government in waiting and not persist as a party of protest.

In the wake of the 2015 shock general election defeat, long-time backbencher and maverick Jeremy Corbyn, assumed power in the Labour party. Propelled by an anti-establishment appeal and left-wing policies thought to have been consigned to history, he easily defeated his three opponents.

His unprecedented victory prompted a surge in party membership, from some 200,000 to over 500,000, making it notable for being the largest left-wing party in Europe. It appeared that the man to reverse Labour’s fortune had made himself known.

Yet at the time of writing, far from arresting the party’s decline, the Corbyn administration has only exacerbated it. Polling shows Labour now trail the Conservatives by as much as 18%. The 23rd of February 2017 marked a historic by-election defeat for Labour, not just because they had held the seat of Copeland since 1935, but also because it was lost to the governing party.

Owing to resignations, the shadow cabinet is more of a skeleton crew, much of it manned by newly elected and inexperienced MPs.  The vast membership, which was seen as the formation of a campaigning vanguard, has since been shown to be in large part idle, indicative of a niche opinion in the country, and a thorn in the side of the parliamentary party.

That’s not to say that Jeremy Corbyn killed the Labour party. He merely sits atop its coffin. The party has been in a state of managed decline since de-industrialization stripped it of a clear reason to exist. The program detailed herein will therefore not lay blame exclusively at Corbyn’s door, though it will do so where appropriate, but instead will lay blame where deserved, and offer remedies where needed.

It’s not enough to insist that the electorate are deficient or suffering from a false consciousness when they reject you time after time. Nor is it good enough to abandon the values upon which the party was founded in order to pursue public opinion at the expense of all else.

Instead the party must align its core principles with the will of the people, conceding ground on either side where necessary. It’s essential that in order to recover, the party enter a period of reflection, and in doing so it must produce a meaningful answer to the question so many are asking: “Just what is the Labour party for?”.

If it’s to defend the NHS, then that’s an insufficient reason for the electorate to eject a sitting government. No doubt the creation of the NHS was Labour’s finest hour, but to relentlessly invoke its name at every public rally like a war cry is to cement in the mind of the public the idea of Labour as a one-trick pony.

If it’s to be a nicer version of the Tories, this too is inadequate. Aside from the fact that the Liberal Democrats already occupy that ground, the public at large will always opt for competency over compassion.

It’s vital that should Labour ever seek to win again, it must first rediscover its identity. It should reforge its raison d’être from an anti-Tory think tank to a government in waiting, able to steady the nation through what promises to be a turbulent future. Drawing from various tendencies within the party, significant research, personal experience, and observable reality, what follows is a detailed roadmap for Labour’s return to government.

Chapter I – The New Working Class

Labour once had a core demographic on which they could rely: the working class – a monolithic block who worked almost entirely in heavy industry. Commonly united in tight-knit communities centered on a factory or pit, they were class conscious and proudly so.

To inherit one’s father’s job was not just an expectation but a de facto right. The membership of the Labour party and consequently its leadership still holds to these antiquated views of what it means to be a worker. So long as they fail to recognize the nature and needs of modern workers, they will fail to produce policies that appeal to them.

This isn’t a failure exclusive to the left of the party. After all, Blair did once assert that, “We’re all middle class now”, a view still manifest among those of his ilk who exist in substantial number within the parliamentary party.

It’s not so much that this view denies the existence of the poverty-stricken or the manual worker but that it sidelines them. It relies on those people to vote for Labour consistently and is unconcerned when they stay at home, since most such people live within Labour safe seats won on a minimal turnout.

This leads us to a divergence in approach: one that caters to a romanticized and now largely deceased working class and the other which overlooks it entirely. To portray the party as these two schools of thought and nothing but would be disingenuous, but they do have the most to say on the subject. The so-called ‘soft left’ offers little thought on the matter, and the Kendallites have been too preoccupied with plots in recent times to set out any clear views at all.

In order to identify those whom Labour must bring into the fold, we must first establish those who vote for it currently:

Old Labourites. Blue-collar chaps for whom the memories of Thatcherism are still all too vivid. Formerly miners and manufacturers, many now live in the deprived post-industrial communities of Wales, the Midlands, the North, and Scotland. Increasingly, their inherent social conservatism and skepticism regarding immigration has led them to vote Conservative and UKIP in increasing numbers.

Londoners. Labour enjoys ever-growing support within London, a crowd often misidentified as being part of the ‘metropolitan elite’. While much of this demographic could be characterized by the sort of person who hangs a picture of Marx in their parents’ Kensington 4-bed, such people are a minority. Labour’s London support base can be differentiated by its social liberalism, particularly in its concern for LGBT rights, feminism, and police practices.

Public sector workers. Over 56.5% are unionized and the Tories have been slashing their wages for 7 years. They vote Labour consistently, although they do so in worryingly declining numbers. Guarantee a wage rise above inflation and increased expenditure on our public services, and these voters are locked down.

Ethnic minorities. This demographic can be more or less divided between those of African and Asian descent. The black British demographic is concentrated predominantly in London and Birmingham, the product of a generation who were invited to the UK to rebuild in the wake of the Second World War.

Now living in overwhelmingly deprived communities, over 70% vote Labour. Similarly, Asians of both Islamic and Sikh denominations vote by a substantial margin in favor of Labour[i],  despite having (in common with the Black British community) a deep social conservatism and entrepreneurial spirit that would perhaps more naturally put them in the Conservative camp.

As these groups continue to move out into the suburbs and expand their businesses, it’s likely their transition from being staunch Labourites to reliably Conservative will only accelerate.

Entryists. Often hailing from Trotskyist outfits, their influence is at a peak within the Labour party since the days of militant expulsions. Such people are self-professed associates of groups such as the Alliance for Workers Liberty and the Socialist Workers Party. Though not great in number, it seems Tom Watson had it right when he suggested there are some “old hands twisting young wrists”.

This coalition cannot win elections; it lost in 2010, 2015, and it will do so again in 2020, if not before. Where previously Labour had a clear platform that spoke directly to workers the country over, they have so far failed to adapt to the new nature of work in the 21st century.

Talk of workers’ rights to the 4.6 million self-employed[ii] means precisely nothing. When Jeremy Corbyn gives speeches about Keir Hardy, he might as well be reading from Istanbul’s phonebook for all the relevance it has to the voters he’s attempting to reach.

This sort of rhetoric would suggest that Labour now stands on a platform of reviving heavy industry when in fact no such plans exist. It’s evident that such populist polices are not incompatible with electoral success in modern times.

We can look to Donald Trump’s rise to power as evidence of this. A campaign punctuated with the cry – “We’re gonna put the miners back to work!” – roars which carried the rust belt states and Trump himself to an electoral college victory.

While such an agenda should never constitute the headline of a Labour campaign, there is room for it to form a fractional element of a wider economic plan. With the benefits of automation and clean coal, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t create new jobs in coal, steel and manufacturing: industries whose revival would be predicated on a new regime of tariffs and public infrastructure spending.

Though Labour are often happy to ingratiate themselves with the attendees of events like the Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival and the Durham Miners’ Gala, they have nothing substantial to offer on the issue of heavy industry yet are content to bask in the romanticism of it.

While the decline of the British steel industry predates recent governments, it now faces a crisis that threatens to end its very existence. The proximate cause of this crisis is China dumping its own steel at below cost price on the world market. This is comparable to a supermarket opening next to a corner shop and offering loaves of bread for 10p.

Inevitably, the former will put the latter out of business, and then, when it’s free of competition, it is able to raise its prices with impunity. Similarly, if we surrender ourselves to a reliance on Chinese steel, we’ll face higher prices in the long run. Failing to protect them would deliver a coup de grâce to the last bastions of our national manufacturing industries, prompting the decline of communities and our capacity for self-sufficiency.

It’s for these reasons Labour would do well to adopt policies to the effect of the following:

  • Introduce tariffs on Chinese steel to such a point that it becomes unaffordable in the UK.
  • Lobby other European nations to form a steel block, not dissimilar from the Common Agricultural Policy, which will allow for free trade in steel amongst nations with comparable wage levels and health and safety standards.
  • Legislate that all public works must use British steel with appropriate caveats (e.g. certain types of steel are not produced in the UK).
  • Cut the disproportionately large foreign aid budget from 0.7% and put some of that money into retraining post-steel communities and investing in new technology for existing plants

As the supply of steel drops, the free market will necessitate investment leading to the construction of new steel plants, not only in the UK but across Europe. It’s an excellent example of triangulating socialism with capitalism and reaping the rewards of the free market in the 21st century.

Now, I don’t suggest that such policies should be the focal point of a Labour manifesto by any means, on the contrary, they should be towards the bottom of the list, but they most certainly should be on that list.

Such a policy, though necessary, is not an election winner, and speaks only to a specific group of people. It should be brought about in tandem with policies that resonate with the 4.6 million self-employed individuals who are in dire need of strong representation.

These people are more inclined to identify as entrepreneurs than as part of the working class. Mechanics and carpenters are now business people not proles. They don’t care about the history of struggle, or talk of how the EU is essential because it ‘protects workers’ rights’ which is nonsense in its own right, but they do want to have constant work with good pay and little else.

Indeed, until pressure from the Tory-supporting press prompted a u-turn, the Chancellor meant to levy upon self-employed people an even higher tax rate. In the wake of such a clear display of contempt towards the self-employed by the Conservatives, no better opportunity exists for Labour to launch an appeal to white van men the country over.

So, what problems do self-employed people face, and what policy platforms can appeal to them?

By definition they don’t have an employer from whom they can claim sick, maternity, or paternity pay, their work can be inconsistent, and they must continually reinvest their earnings to facilitate the survival of their trade or business.

Such policies should include:

  • Cutting taxes for the self-employed, allowing them to free up income they can use to cover the cost of sick pay and other work-related benefits (alternatively, introduce self-employment working tax credits where feasible).
  • Lowering VAT so that consumer spending increases, thus pushing up demand for new wardrobes, landscaped gardens, vehicle modifications, and so on.
  • Forcing the banks that we taxpayers bailed out to provide loans where feasible to self-employed individuals at a special low interest rate for the purpose of buying tools, refurbishing workshops, or taking on trainees.
  • Sending apprentices to work with the self-employed rather than with huge multinational chains, where they exist as little more than wage slaves.

Again, such policies won’t provoke a landslide electoral victory, but they are essential to attract to the Labour cause the sort of voters who are not only needed to win an election but whose interests lie in the Labour camp; the clue is in the name, after all.

But policy isn’t enough. We can’t expect people who work two jobs and maintain other responsibilities besides to read complex manifestos and pay attention to policy documents – to do so would be an unreasonable burden. Instead we need to talk in a language that ordinary people understand. That is to say: we should speak like normal people.

In 1917 the Bolsheviks condensed a complex economic program into three simple words: ‘PEACE, LAND, BREAD’. It was a message that was understood by every echelon of Russian society without exception. This is no means to advocate Bolshevism, but it serves to demonstrate that exactly 100 years ago, without the benefit of social media, YouTube, spin doctors, and hashtags, it was possible to create easily digestible slogans that summarize a policy platform.

Yet somehow the modern Labour party is entirely incapable of developing a slogan, sentence, paragraph, or message of any length or format that appeals even remotely to its core vote or to those it needs to incorporate into it.

In 2015 Labour produced “A Better Plan for a Better Future” as its campaign slogan. This inspired precisely nobody and means exactly nothing. Given that unemployment in 2015 was 1.9 million[iii], how about this: “Labour Will Give You a High-paying Job”. Or with a little more finesse “Higher Pay, More Jobs”.

At the end of the day, despite the Twitterati’s various obsessions, jobs are the primary concern of most voters, and they have been and should continue to be at the forefront of any Labour campaign. Moreover, nobody speaks the language of the 60’s union bosses or the Marxist Politburo; talk of ‘comrades’ and ‘struggle’ should be consigned to the dustbin of history unless in the context of a historical discussion.

This chapter has thus far dealt with the need for and the avenue by which the traditional northern post-industrial vote can be shored up, and how best the 4.6 million self-employed can begin to be brought across to Labour in greater numbers, as well as a brief mention of language and communication which will be dealt with in greater depth in a subsequent chapter.

With all that said, there remains one ever-growing and crucial voting block who cannot bring themselves to vote Labour for reasons easily condensed into one word.: Immigration.

Blue-collar blokes are sick of being called racists for daring to criticize immigration. There is nothing left wing or liberal about the free movement of people; to the contrary it’s a right–wing, neoliberal idea that disproportionately favors employers.

The Labour party has no need to become radically nationalist, but by God it should be patriotic. It should fly the Union Flag and St. George’s Cross at every speech and every office, and the same for the Welsh and Scottish flags. But above all, Labour should call for a points-based immigration system that guarantees people the world over get a fair shake at entering the country on the basis of having the skills we need in the economy.

Let’s take India’s best scientists and China’s best students and do so on the understanding that they will commit themselves to the country for a specific amount of time. Let’s not feel obliged to take unskilled workers, of which we already have a surplus, in order to further drive down the wages of construction site laborers, baristas, and private hire drivers.

So, here’s a ‘radical’ suggestion for a slogan “British Jobs for British Workers” the words of one Gordon Brown as recently as 2007. This is the sort of slogan that should be plastered so thickly on the walls that they begin to be structurally integral to the building they occupy. Like communication, immigration will be dealt with in detail in a subsequent chapter, but in relation to appealing to the forgotten working class, it must be a cornerstone.

Over 900,000 people are apprentices[iv], mostly young women – an  ideal demographic for Labour voters. Since an apprentice in their first year is entitled to a below-subsistence wage of £3.40 an hour, and those most likely to enroll in an apprenticeship are poorer to begin with, it’s a total no-brainer: Labour should be promising every apprentice in the country a pay rise.

To those who suggest this would be irresponsible spending, we’ll be enjoying the benefit within two years of not having to send the EU hundreds of millions of pounds a year, of which a fraction could be spent on improving apprentices’ pay.

Here’s another groundbreaking slogan “A Pay Rise for Apprentices”. It’s time the unions with their multi-million bound budgets and 6-figure wage packets stopped resting on their laurels and actively began unionizing young apprentices the nation over. An offer of free membership for a year would be hard to refuse.

Others talk of an ‘anti-boss’ brand of populism, but as well as being counterproductive, since we absolutely want bosses to vote for Labour, time has rendered it irrelevant. We now live in an age where peoples’ bosses are oftentimes a relative or a friend, where this isn’t the case, it’s rare that employees don’t know their manager or supervisor outside of the workplace on a casual basis, at the very least as acquaintances.

Any anti-business or anti-boss talk cannot be part of a modern Labour party’s rhetoric or policy. Where there is room for populism, it’s anti-corporate populism.

Let’s make sure Google, Starbucks, and Facebook pay the taxes they’re duty bound to, given that without a taxpayer-funded education system they would have no employees, without the NHS they would have to provide insurance, without public roads they would have no means of haulage, and without internet and phone-line infrastructure they would have no means to even exist.

From the gains made by appropriating the correct levels of tax owed by such corporations, let’s move these profits into delivering tax cuts for small business owners, incentivize them to take on new employees, and expand their trades. It’s by means such as these that Labour can successfully convert traditional Conservative voters simply by offering them a better deal.

We can also reach the middle classes. For the first time in their history, junior doctors went out on strike, and did so on several occasions in the wake of Jeremy Hunt’s punishing reform proposals. Legal professionals are in the process of a mass exodus from the legal aid program, with Scottish wages having dropped over 20% from 2007/8-2013/2014 and trainee barristers earning salaries as low as £12,000 per anum (with training costs of £17,000)[v].

While an opportunity clearly presents itself to launch an appeal to traditional middle class Conservative voters, the Labour party is too embroiled with internal affairs to mount any effective effort.

On this point of traditional Conservative voters, it’s time to speak to farmers once again. We will soon have control over farming subsidies, let’s outbid the Tories on this issue and in addition offer an innovative rural apprenticeship program in order to train future generations in the ways of agriculture, while also aiding overworked and beleaguered farmers.

Furthermore, let’s force supermarkets to pay a fair price for dairy, meat, and vegetables, while subsidizing the cost to the consumer, paid for by an equivalent tax on sugary foods in order to ensure farms thrive while still protecting consumers and simultaneously improving the health of the nation.

Once free from the Common Fisheries Policy, let’s put our fisherman back to work and become the fishing capital of Europe. It makes no sense to subsidize corporations through working tax credits. Labour should promise an increase in the minimum wage and use the welfare savings to fund new infrastructure in our now-decrepit seaside towns.

Through this dual approach, we can not only increase the quality of life of those left behind by globalism while once again making British seaside towns worthy tourist attractions, but also bring back into the fold voters who have long since deserted Labour for UKIP.

Through these methods, we can expand our ever-shrinking coalition to include people from all walks of life, while still staying true to Labour values in a modern and relevant way. Let’s go forward in lockstep with farmers, fishermen, carpenters, shopkeepers, laborers, dockers, lorry drivers, and lawyers.

Some may ponder, then, might this not alienate the metropolitan middle classes, who as of this moment form the last bastion of the Labour bloc vote? Well, the biggest genuine issue for such people is the absurdly high house prices which keep people off the property ladder to middle age, and some of the highest rents in the world.

All the while we spend £25 billion every single year on housing benefit[vi], money which goes straight into landlords’ pockets, (not that we don’t want landlords to prosper).

It’s time to announce a national house building program that takes the money straight out of the housing benefit budget and puts it into building 250,000 homes a year until the housing shortage becomes a surplus, at which point the free market will dictate rents, house prices will return to affordable levels, and the UK will once again become a home-owning democracy.

This is how we can offer concrete solutions to clear issues that will resonate with the 8 million people who live in London. Such a program would also lead to the employment of hundreds of thousands of people, prompting a higher tax revenue and increased spending in local economies throughout the country.

In summary, in order for Labour to properly construct policy that appeals to the working class, it must first understand how the working class has evolved over the past century. It should adopt a dual approach that halts the decline of traditional manufacturing and shores up our export market, while simultaneously engendering job growth in emerging markets, with an eye to appealing to those whose new nature of work leaves them without a natural party to vote for.

This program should incorporate the good work done by Ed Miliband in formulating policies to re-introduce security into the workplace, particularly in dealing with ‘zero-hour’ contracts, while also acknowledging that such policies do not have a broad enough appeal amongst swing voters. Labour must push for full, proud, and secure employment. By these means, Labour will rally all elements of the modern working class to their cause. 

Chapter II Foreign Policy and the Military

Foreign policy is not an election winner. Even when Blair’s hated decision to invade Iraq prompted the largest marches ever seen in the UK, the Labour government comfortably held on to power in the 2005 elections.

However, it’s important to remain principled and strive always to do what is right and best, both for the people of our nation and for those abroad but never at the expense of either. Moreover, Labour faces challenges from the left, notably the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, whenever it assumes an overtly pro-war posture.

There is scarcely a sentient being on earth who still believes Iraq, Libya, or Afghanistan were successful interventions, and for all the times it’s been said, it’s clear we haven’t learnt the lessons of the past. The Labour party should make it clear that they will not involve themselves in foreign military entanglements that do not directly concern the security of the United Kingdom and its allies.

British blood should not be expended to remove a foreign dictator only for that nation’s people to find liberation give way to an unimaginably worse kind of tyranny as has happened when ISIS filled the vacuum that Western bombs created.

Having said that, it is crucial that Labour demonstrate that it does not take security lightly, and its commitment to having first-class armed forces should be clear to everyone.

We have a Conservative government that has sacked soldiers before they could claim their full pensions, moved hundreds of thousands of positions into the reserve army, has aircraft carriers that we can’t land aircraft on, and now, most bizarrely, is offering troops the option of not serving in combat zones in return for a pay cut.

In uncertain global times, Labour should put itself forward as a patriotic party committed to the primary duty of the state: the protection of its own people. It’s essential that a commitment to at least 2% of GDP on defense be made in line with NATO requirements as well as a commitment to nuclear weaponry.

The latter is contentious, particularly within Labour circles, but there are some universal truths on this matter. Firstly, Trident has been commissioned, and should Labour win power, they will inherit the system no matter what their policy is. Secondly, the majority of the population are in favor of nuclear weapons, and confusion on the issue only allows the Tories to portray Labour as a threat to national security, philosophical arguments about MAD aside.

It’s also right that we reverse the horrible mistreatment suffered by our veterans. No individual who has laid their life on the line for the nation should be allowed to sleep on the streets, and as part of the aforementioned house building program, there should be guaranteed homes for veterans with subsidized mortgages, a cost to be taken from the 2% of GDP mentioned earlier.

There should also be jobs in the public sector reserved for them, particularly in the police and border forces. It’s my view that the treatment of veterans is a legitimate use of the term ‘military spending’.

Our foreign aid spending is disproportionate, badly allocated, and unsustainable. We are running a budget deficit of £40 billion, and continue to borrow more money to spend abroad, often sponsoring foreign militaries in proxy wars, or putting money into the pocket of despots to secure exploitative trade deals.

After the United States of America, we are the second biggest foreign aid donor on the planet in real terms. We spend $18 billion compared to the U.S. spending of $31 billion[vii]. That is over half of their expenditure despite being significantly less than half the size of their economy.

There are many cases in which it is not only right but morally incumbent upon us as a nation to send funds and resources abroad, to combat Ebola as a recent example.

But setting an annual target of 0.7% of GDP and dispersing that money across the globe, borrowed money in the first place, only exacerbates the economic conditions this country currently faces, and in the long run will prevent us as a nation aiding other countries to our fullest capacity, since our economic growth is constantly hampered by this gross cost.

Foreign aid does a lot of good, and where it does so it should continue to do so, but where reasonable savings can be made, this is exactly the course of action that should be pursued. The liberal, Guardian–reading, mocha-sipping elites will tweet furiously in response to such a suggestion, as if there’s something essential about the budget being set at 0.7% rather than 0.6%.

It’s important to ignore these people, whose numbers appear  more significant online, as they represent a minority as has been shown time and time again, with only 1 in 4 supporting the current foreign aid policy[viii].

For those who suggest that giving money to space-program-pushing India will somehow engender good relations with developing countries, I’d suggest we could better build relations by ceasing to hinder their economic growth through climate regulation (with caveats) and ending the practice of Western and Chinese companies exploiting the developing countries’ natural resources.

We currently face the worst refugee crisis the world has yet known, and as a party, people, and species, we have a duty to help those in need. In the immediate future, we should accept lone child refugees and house them with willing volunteers in the UK.

Subsequent to this, we should quiz every local council in the country and see what facilities they can spare to house other refugees, prioritizing families. However, there are 60 million displaced people globally and counting. The UK cannot effectively double its population by accepting every single individual – even 5% of that number would bring the country’s infrastructure to its knees.

Thus, longer-term solutions must be found, and they begin with rich Middle Eastern countries which have so far allowed the burden to be shouldered by their neighbors like Lebanon as well as Western nations, namely Germany.

It is time we lobbied Saudi Arabia, to whom we sell jets and whose pilots we train in order to better fly them, we gave a free ride when they invaded Bahrain, and continue to do so as they fight in Yemen killing civilians with British bombs, and whose disgusting head-chopping record gives ISIS a run for their money.

This is not a suggestion to cut ties with the Saudis or the UAE, but given the support both militarily and diplomatically that we provide for them, it’s reasonable to assume we can make demands of them: and if ever there was a need to, it is now. These countries should be taking in great numbers of refugees. They have the infrastructure; they just lack the will.

Further to this, the foreign aid budget should be used to contribute to a wider transnational program to build U.N.-protected safe zones across the Middle East, to prevent refugees making the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean, which in itself will save thousands of lives but also to keep them safe from terrorism and keep them fed, watered, and sheltered until such time that they can return to their country or region of origin.

The geopolitical landscape has suffered a seismic shift in the past year alone, and upcoming European elections look to continue that trend. The long and short of the matter is that we have distanced ourselves from our European neighbors so long as their current rulers last anyway, and thus we must move closer to our historic allies in the U.S.

However, Jeremy Corbyn (perhaps out of some need for the adoration of the echo chamber of his cult of no personality) is making a frequent habit of attacking President Trump vocally, viciously and publicly. He’s joined in such attacks by other high-profile liberals, notably the speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow.

When the Cameron government shamelessly courted the Chinese into buying out our public infrastructure, John Bercow was front and center in welcoming Xi Jinping to address both houses of Parliament.

Yet in a stunningly hypocritical fashion which must require Olympic levels of mental gymnastics to justify, Bercow has come out against Trump addressing Parliament and intends to block him from doing so, all the while being supported in these efforts by the leader of the Labour party. Part of the problem is the disingenuous hysteria around Trump that you’ll find in the Guardian, Mirror or indy100.

But putting that aside, even a blind man can see that it’s absolutely within British interests to foster closer cooperation and trade with the U.S.A., the biggest economy in the world, which also has in common with us in language, culture, and history.  In fact, for anybody who considers themselves on the left, a closer relationship with Trump can only be a good thing for world peace, given his thus-far successful moves towards détente with Russia.

On this point, there’s no need to paint Putin as the eternal bogeyman. There are elements of his governance which we can all criticize from one angle or another, but to invoke the words of a separate J. C. for a moment, “Those without sin should cast the first stone”.

The domestic policies of Russia are entirely an issue for the Russian people, and continuing to burden Russia with ever worsening sanctions not only destroys diplomatic relations but is mutually harmful for both our economies. Let’s work with Trump and Putin to defeat ISIS, and in doing so we will position ourselves closer to their ears to best influence them on any human rights issues we find significant.

We claim ownership of an island over 7,000 miles away from our shores on the basis that its citizens voted in a referendum to remain British. This is no bad thing and we should continue to respect the right to self-determination.

However, when those in Crimea, who are 65% Russian by ethnicity[ix], vote overwhelmingly to join the Russian state, the Western political class sees this as grounds for a proxy war in Ukraine.

This is made even more bizarre by the fact Crimea was part of Russia as recently as 1954, when Khrushchev gave it to Ukraine, and now over 60 years on, it’s reasonable that its inhabitants would rather unite themselves to a superpower rather than a failed state.

Some will surely cry ‘appeasement’ to the idea that we should improve relations with Russia. To those people, I say: compromise is essential in international relations, we can’t preach to the world how they should live and operate, and it’s arrogant and pseudo-supremacist to try and push our liberal democratic model on every culture and people of the earth.

That’s not to mention that Putin did little when we invaded Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, supported French action in Mali, and imposed sanctions against their Iranian allies, yet liberals appear indignant at any suggestion that the Russians be allowed the same freedom in their international actions.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t assume a strong posture – we absolutely should – which is one of the reasons this text has hitherto advocated the maintenance of Trident and spending of 2% of GDP on defense.

Working closely with our American allies, we should aim to maintain peace through strength, but this is by no means mutually exclusive with closer cooperation with Russia, with whom we should be seeking to strike trade deals, closer ties, and better relations. In short, we should make allies, not enemies, wherever possible.

Most people aren’t concerned with international relations. They want food on their table, a roof over their heads, and enough disposable income to live a good life. However, it will never be the case that Jeremy Corbyn could be elected Prime Minister on an anti-American ticket.

It’s a simple truism that the U.S. is a crucial ally, and to worsen our relations in the context of Brexit would leave the UK essentially isolated. Trump’s lewd comments about women are not a hill Labour should be dying on, nor a hill they should have even assumed a position atop in the first instance.

Instead Labour should have a foreign policy that doesn’t indulge in 3-dimensional chess and virtue signalling but instead sends a very clear message. Labour will be second to none in defense of the nation, second to none in rebuilding relations, and unwilling to expend British blood or treasure in foreign wars that do not concern us.

In Europe, let’s form bilateral trade agreements and maintain the same standard of intelligence sharing as exists today, both of which are perfectly possible without power sharing in a technocratic bureaucracy.

The upshot of this in messaging terms is that Labour should state loud and clear that Labour will keep you safe, prioritize our own citizens, and maintain a humanitarian outlook on global affairs. Little else is necessary, and Corbyn’s famous hand-holding with the IRA and Hamas are enough to set him up for a decisive defeat in any British election.

Chapter III – Immigration

Immigration became a taboo subject in the realm of political discourse with the dawn of the Blair Age. Conversation on the matter was shut down, and dissidents were branded racists, outcasts, and forced into silence. A mixture of concern and outrage boiled up amongst those left behind by New Labour, leading to the return of two British National Party candidates in the European Elections of 2009.

Fortunately, both of those vile individuals have since lost their seats and faded into obscurity, with those voters now opting to side with the far more moderate UKIP. Nigel Farage single-handedly put immigration at the center of British politics, and his influence led to a vote to leave the European Union, within which the primary concern amongst Out voters was immigration.

This had been a sleeping giant for some time, and Farage was able to awaken it. However, even now in a post-Brexit world, the issue of immigration is still taboo for many, particularly in the mainstream media. It’s rare that anyone advocating a merit-based immigration system as opposed to no controls at all isn’t branded a racist by a ‘Question Time’ panelist or political opponent.

It’s an issue that’s particularly pernicious on university campuses and in inner cities. In the former, anyone to the right of Chairman Mao on the issue is considered Hitler’s earthly avatar, and in the latter, it’s a common occurrence to find your trip through Central London punctuated with stalls of the Socialist Workers Party distributing leaflets that read along of the lines of ‘Let all refugees in now! Stop racism!’.

Speaking of the SWP, whilst Labour seems curious about its own credibility gap, meanwhile its own shadow chancellor is giving interviews to the SWP[x], so whoever is running the Labour PR machine should enjoy the ‘benefit’ of instant dismissal.

The fact that the views of a tiny vocal minority are over-represented on television and online media makes people scared to air their true opinions, only taking action within the security and anonymity of the ballot box. Over 70% of the country believe immigration controls are not tough enough[xi], and this is a figure Labour leaders should be more concerned with than the number of retweets a platitude about multiculturalism can receive online.

Overwhelmingly, the country is dissatisfied with current levels of immigration. This includes Black and minority ethnic voters of all stripes who believe the number of immigrants should be reduced, and they do so by sizeable majorities[xii].

It’s pertinent to mention that immigration is disproportionately a concern for the working classes, and many of them have fled Labour, leading UKIP to be the main challenger to Labour in a great many constituencies in the 2015 election. Although it’s proven difficult for UKIP to directly take seats from Labour, there are two problems that this bleeding of voters poses.

The first is that it will lead the Labour vote in northern communities to be split with UKIP, thus allowing a Tory candidate to take a seat with as little as 30% of the vote. The second problem is that these UKIP voters distance themselves so far from Labour when they look at its middle class-centric tone that they jump ship to the Conservatives, and if that happened in large enough numbers, a Labour general election victory would be inconceivable for a generation.

We are in the process of leaving the European Union, and thus we will no longer be shackled to the free movement of labor which has given every citizen of the EU the right to live and work in the UK. However, neither the Conservatives nor Labour have made clear the path ahead.

What better opportunity then for Labour to appeal to its forgotten voters, take back the defectors, and win over Conservatives by proposing a strict points–based,Australian-style immigration system. Let’s legislate in order to ensure that only immigrants who possess the skills and resources we need have the ability to settle and work in this country.

Let’s mandate that immigrants should have an excellent grasp of the English language, not just because such a skill is essential (particularly in the medical profession) but also because it will ensure universally beneficial integration.

At the same time, we should make it clear that this country already has enough unskilled workers, unemployed, and disabled people who are struggling to cope as it is, and it should not be incumbent on the country to take more such people in.

It’s here the points-based system comes into its own: for example, if there is a shortage of unskilled labor, we can adjust the requisite points for entry and mandate that people who enter under such circumstances have jobs waiting for them.

Some suggest a migration system based on merit is xenophobic, and to those people it’s worth mentioning that we’ve applied a points-based system to non-EU citizens for years, and as members of the EU, we were giving preference to European migrants who were predominantly White over Indian and African migrants.

A points-based system is totally equitable and accepts people based on ability, irrespective of skin color, creed, or nationality. This is entirely in keeping with the sort of values that led to Labour’s foundation and should remain at the forefront of any respectable leftwing movement.

There is a myth that there is something ‘left wing’ or ‘progressive’ about uncontrolled migration, or that it would be desirable to have an unlimited number of unknown individuals entering the country every year.

Let’s be clear: the free movement of labor is a rightwing, neoliberal, capitalist policy, not dissimilar to the free movement of capital. It’s a symptom of an anarchic free market system that serves the elites extremely well; it drives down the price of labor for corporations, affords the middle classes cheap gardeners and nannies, and perpetually rigs the job market in the employers’ favor.

It’s a fundamental leftist belief that the free market is not infallible, requires regulation, and this regulation should pertain not just to levels of taxation and regulation but also to the distribution of workers.

This is not advocacy of immigration control on the basis of electoral populism, or economic philosophy, though it would indeed be popular, and it does follow philosophically; instead it’s an advocacy on the grounds of basic math.

Plainly, the UK cannot sustain the number of immigrants coming into the country every year. 300,000 is the rough annual net migration figure to the UK per annum. Many point out rightly that a large number of these people are students, and they’re right to do so.

However, whether student or worker, they still take the same toll on transport, health, and social infrastructure.  As a nation, we are building around half the number of houses we need every single year, at around 135,000[xiii], creating a clear deficit in housing availability. That’s not to mention that our own domestic birth rate is over 800,000 per year[xiv].

We already have a dangerous housing bubble which threatens to collapse at any moment, pulling our entire economy down with it, and it’s only exacerbated by such migrant numbers. Of course, part of this problem is that we don’t build enough houses, and issues pertaining to that were detailed in the first chapter.

However, the costs of building such enormous numbers of houses and providing the associated infrastructure would be to say the least prohibitive, and even if it were feasible, it would not be desirable.

Aside from housing there are huge costs associated with the NHS, when people who have never contributed arrive able to take full advantage of it without question. This is one of the factors that has led to a record NHS deficit of £1.85 billion[xv]; although of course underfunding remains the direct cause of this crisis, immigration serves to aggravate it.

You’ll hear from Labour politicians and often to the thunderous applause of their echo chambers, the following platitude: “You’re more likely to see an immigrant working in the NHS than using it”.

Aside from being disingenuous, since it’s entirely determined by happenstance and geography, the point they are trying to make is that because immigrants work in the NHS, we should allow an unlimited number of immigrants to enter the country, as if the former warrants the latter, which is a total non-sequitur.

Yes, we have a large number of migrants working in the NHS, and that’s a good thing to. Let’s keep them there and continue to allow medical professionals into the country in line with demand. Having controlled immigration and having Indian doctors are not mutually exclusive; in actuality an equitable points-based system will incentivize and drive up the number of highly qualified migrant workers relative to unskilled workers.

The people are crying out for a credible party to come out strongly on immigration, and if Labour did so, they would take the country by storm.

Chapter IV – And the Rest

Regarding inertia

As of this writing the most commonly seen Labour slogan is “Working together for real change”. The problem is the party is not working together, and presents no change. The conflict within and between the constituency and parliamentary Labour parties is wreaking havoc on Labour’s public image, and as the well-known adage tells us, voters don’t vote for divided parties.

However, this text will not attempt to dissect the intricacies that have led to this point; instead suffice it to mention a couple of key issues.

Jeremy Corbyn will never receive the support of the current MPs and therefore must go. The only alternative would be to begin a process of deselection across the country –  a sort of Trotskyist Night of the Long Knives, which would only leave the party’s reputation in tatters and replace experienced MPs with amateurs.

There is a divide within the parliamentary party between those representing constituents who are socially conservative working class and middle class social liberals. While Labour has always been a broad church that has incorporated numerous factions, the divisions now seem to be intensifying like never before.

Party loyalty is at record low rates, and people are now more likely than ever to throw out of office the candidate of their forefather’s choice and often on the basis of a single issue. This is more contentious than ever post-Brexit, given that some Labour MPs represent constituencies that voted overwhelmingly to Remain and others the reverse. Inevitably MPs jostle with one another to represent their diverse constituents.

The remedies are imperfect for both issues. For the first, Corbyn must go, which is easier said than done; and secondly the Labour party must support the will of the people and push for a real Brexit that rejects freedom of movement. Neither solution is ideal, but both are necessary, not least because the majority of the country hate Corbyn, and the majority of the country voted for Brexit.

On to the second, and more important, element of the slogan: “Real Change.” The most obvious change that has taken place in the last couple of years is the transformation of the Labour party from a party of government to one that wallows in political oblivion. Change is an important message to transmit, but the kind of change needs to be clear, and Corbyn’s Labour has thus far advocated very few changes indeed.

In fact, in my research for this work, I wanted to see exactly what policies Jeremy Corbyn had promoted in order to deal with them individually. However, when I tried to access Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘priorities’ on his website, it returned an error page reading “Unfortunately the page you were looking for was not found”, which is so patently ironic that no explanation is needed.

Further hunting will lead you to an article in the Mirror listing several flagship policies, which range from unpopular and bizarre like abolishing the monarchy to leftist clichés like ‘tax the rich’, and standard Labour talking points like re-nationalizing rail.

An eager hunter will find a more exhaustive list in a Telegraph article, which is pretty damming for the Labour party PR machine when the right-wing pro-Tory paper gives more policy detail than Labour themselves do. Eventually, one will stumble upon the ‘Jeremy for Labour’ page detailing ten broad policy positions. A brief glance is enough to know it’s a slight rewording of Ed Miliband’s 2015 manifesto combined with some broad meaningless jargon.

“We will build a progressive tax system so that wealth and the highest earners are fairly taxed, act against executive pay excess, and shrink the gap between the highest and lowest paid – FTSE 100 CEOs are now paid 183 times the wage of the average UK worker, and Britain’s wages are the most unequal in Europe. We will act to create a more equal society, boost the incomes of the poorest, and close the gender pay gap.”[xvi]

Do we not already have a progressive tax system? What rate should the highest earners pay? Will you cap executive bonuses? How will you boost the incomes of the poorest? How will you close the gender pay gap?

Such questions could be the only reasonable response to reading such general non-offensive meaningless milk-and-honey talking points. Anyone who feels the media hasn’t given Corbyn’s Labour a fair shake and has undertaken to do their own research will only be doubly disappointed when they discover that in the two years of his leadership, there’s scarcely a new policy to speak of.

For those who seek out concrete information, they should be rewarded with definitive and detailed policy proposals signed off by renowned economists, think tanks, and financial organizations.

Such policies should include pledges to build huge tidal power stations taking advantage of the fact that our nation is surrounded by water, to build offshore wind farms (including specifications on how many of them, at what cost and where the money is coming from), and to build new motorways, detailing how many people such a project would employ and projecting the economic benefits it would bring to this city or that. Alas, nothing of the sort exists.

Not to harp on about political antiquity, but Harold Wilson talked of the ‘white heat of the technological revolution.’ It’s not something that was ever truly delivered on, but it’s a phrase that stuck. What better time than now is there to renew the scientific and technological revolution? In the age of drones, self-driving cars, nanotechnology, and interstellar rovers, the modern Labour party has very little or nothing to say about it.

As a people we have the potential and as a country we have the need to host research and development facilities for the world’s leading technology firms and to have factories producing technology for the modern age. Labour Shadow Ministers should be meeting with Tesla and Microsoft, putting out press releases and winning support amongst the firms of the future, letting them know Britain is open for business.

In tandem with this we need new and forward-looking training schemes. The youth vote is overwhelmingly Labour but also the least likely to turn out.

Labour councilors, MPs and its half million members (Where are they?) should be knocking on every door of every council estate, meeting the unemployed, disenfranchised youth, and giving them a clear, concise piece of paper offering them a world-class training program that Labour guarantees to introduce if it wins the election.

Give these people something to aspire to and something to vote for outside of the Blue and Red tribal dichotomy which means very little to most people.

AddendumI have returned to this section to note that shortly after the time of writing, the Conservative government has unveiled so called ‘T-levels’, which promise to train youngsters in the practical and technical fields of the future. Once again, Labour has been too slow on the draw and attempts to do so now would appear to be a derivative imitation.

Put before people a plan that they can understand and offer them a future: through training programs, scientific advancement, industrialization, automation, pay rises, and tax breaks. Talking points must give way to the tangible.

What matters to most people when all is said and done is the food on their table, the money in their pockets and the roof over their head. Naturally, a sense of community drives many voters, but elections cannot be won through street marches in aid of the NHS. It’s an established truism that Labour will best serve the NHS, and people understand that all too well, but it cannot rely on this one-trick pony to carry it through to government.

Tough on Crime, Tough on the Causes of Crime

Possibly the best thing to come out of the Blair era was the acknowledgment that the great mass of Labour voters were not ultra-liberal, as the Westminster establishment would have you believe but are in fact deeply socially conservative. As such, it’s crucial not only for the execution of justice, but for the electability of the party that Labour are seen to come down hard on criminals and serve justice to victims.

This should come in tandem with core Labour values about alleviating poverty, which we know to be the leading cause of crime since the devil will find work for idle hands to do. Any attempt to crack down on crime must do so heavily and stringently on perpetrators, while simultaneously delivering a revolutionary jobs program to put those idle hands to work.

As a consequence, such people will be able to sustain a family and home, thus giving people a stake in society they would be unwilling to discard with wanton criminality. The Tories have shamelessly cut back the numbers of police to levels last seen in 2003[xvii]. Prisons are being sold to private companies and the conditions that occur within them as a result is nothing short of disgraceful.

Prison guards are striking, and criminals are forcibly taking control of their own prisons, if such a thing could be believed to be true in 21st century Britain. Not only is this a national crisis that warrants an urgent response, but it’s a political opportunity Labour has thus far made no move to exploit.

It should call for and develop credible plans to introduce an increase in police numbers, prison reform, and higher wages for those on the frontline keeping our streets safe. Labour should be tough on crime because it’s the working class who suffer disproportionately at the hands of criminals without the benefits of gated drives and suburbia to protect them.

The Labour party has thus far failed to make political capital from any of these issues. It should go forth hand in hand with the police unions and declare that Labour will be second to none in its commitment and strength of purpose to cut down crime and clean up our prisons. Labour will serve the interests of victims and not criminals once again.

Corbyn’s irreparably damaging comments that he was ‘unhappy’ with the shoot-to-kill policy have done nothing to reduce the idea that Labour are soft on crime. The party needs to push the message night and day until it’s accepted as a truism that under Labour the streets will be safe again. 

Speaking to the People

Many in the Labour party have become totally removed from the voters they serve. Famously, Emily Thornberry poured scorn on a white van man for daring to hang the English flag on his own home. She was roundly attacked by people living outside the ultra-liberal Westminster bubble and was forced to resign from her then position as Shadow Attorney General, though since then Corbyn has secured her promotion to even greater heights.

It’s no surprise that working-class people continue to turn to UKIP in such numbers, when Labour’s North London elite mocks anyone patriotic or traditional in outlook. The voters of Rochester and Strood where the comments were made had nothing in common with Emily Thornberry and the beliefs she manifests, yet she felt perfectly entitled to go there and belittle the very people whose support she should have been trying to secure.

Unsurprisingly, Labour came 3rd in the constituency, losing over 10% of their vote share on the 2010 election. Seats like these are essential to take in order for Labour to have any hope of winning a general election.

Such events are symptomatic of a wider problem, which at the moment is embodied within the Labour leadership. The public watched in outrage as Jeremy Corbyn failed to sing the national anthem during a Battle of Britain commemoration. The papers made hay when Corbyn made a half-hearted bow at the Cenotaph, and did so, by the way, in a tatty suit. When the Red Flag is sung, it brings a smile to activists’ faces but confusion to the country at large.

Corbyn is known to be a republican. There is no problem with that. But he must understand that the vast majority of the country are in favor of the British monarchy because it speaks to their patriotism, is synonymous with their British identity, and is associated with the wars from times gone by and those lost in them.

Any leader of any party should sing the national anthem with gusto, and do so in the finest black suit with the boldest red tie. A refusal or failure to engage in the traditions that venerate the nation and honor our war dead sends a clear signal to the working class of this country that Labour is not the party for them. Indeed, many in the country view Corbyn as directly ‘anti-British’ given his close ties to IRA figures and his now infamous comments calling Hezbollah his ‘friends’.

Some will suggest that the aforementioned are merely superficial issues. In many ways, they are an issue of presentation, but the image the Labour party and its present leadership is not a secondary or tertiary concern, it should be the primary concern for any party seeking to win power.

It’s all well and good having an excellent manifesto, but if no one reads it or gives it credence because they believe its authors are intrinsically unpatriotic, then the manifesto is entirely useless.

Jeremy Corbyn’s tenure as leader is essentially a job interview with the British people at large. He must win their approval in order for them to grant him power. Yet he can’t be bothered to wear a decent suit, which in the opening days of his leadership campaign was endearing and charming, but at this point marks him as an unprepared amateur.

The Labour party has a war coffer of funds at its disposal, including membership subscriptions of over 500,000 individuals, a long list of big private donors, and a great deal more cash donated by trade unions. Yet for all these resources, there isn’t a single advisor who can tell Corbyn not to wear black suit trousers with a blue suit jacket during Prime Minister’s question time. When members of the public go for a job interview, they dress to impress, and they expect their leaders to do the same.

We need a leader of the Labour party flanked by the Union Flag, bellowing the national anthem, and embracing patriotism the same way the people do. Sadly, it appears the liberal elite feels shame and embarrassment at any suggestion of national pride.

There are people who understand this. Andy Burnham makes a particularly good example. A working-class lad who graduated from Cambridge, he returned to his home town to represent Leigh as a member of parliament, where he notably worked to secure justice for the victims of the Hillsborough disaster cover-up.

From a cold reception in a speech at the Anfield Football Grounds in 2009, he returned after five tireless years of fighting for justice to a well-earned hero’s reception. He wasn’t afraid to speak about that which for so long Labour had considered taboo, namely immigration, and during his bid for the leadership in 2015, he did just that.

Burnham rightly acknowledged all the good that immigration brings, from economic growth to cultural enrichment, while at the same time talking about those left behind by uncontrolled immigration. He talked of a factory worker in his constituency who sat alone during lunch times as he was the only English-speaking worker.

He rightly identified that immigration had disproportionately taken a toll on Labour’s industrial and post-industrial heartlands, and since his failed campaign, he has become even more vocal on this issue.

Alas, for some reason he lacked a certain spark during the campaign, though that aside, he spoke directly to the country, but yet it was the niche Labour party membership who had for the first time the total say on the new leader. Consequently Corbyn won. Burnham has moved out of the front line of national politics towards a campaign to be the mayor of Manchester. Let’s hope that he and his fellows plan a return in the near future.

Chapter V – Conclusions

There absolutely is a place for social liberals within the modern Labour party. The Labour party has a history of pushing through excellent liberal reforms from Barbra Castle legislating equal pay for equal work between the genders to the introduction of civil partnerships under Blair.

Throughout its history, Labour has been at the forefront of liberal reforms that have liberated people of all stripes, and it’s a good thing too. It’s also right that the Labour party platform deals with discrimination against transgender, gay, and black and minority ethnic individuals, but it should not do so at the expense of all else.

Too often, Labour party circles have discussion dominated by issues that (while important) effect .01% of the population or less. The cry of ‘racist’ or ‘transphobe’ is too often an excuse to shut down freedom of speech, particularly on university campuses and by individuals associated with Labour at a student level.

How can it be that lifelong gay activist Peter Tatchell, feminist icon Germaine Greer, and the left-of-Labour George Galloway have all been no-platformed or attacked on our university campuses. The attitudes that lead to such absurd action are rife among Labour party members and less often to be seen amongst the general populace, for whom these individuals would be considered far left, not something-or-other-ophobic.

There’s a false equivalence between parties like UKIP, a liberal isolationist organization, on the one hand, and fascism or racism on the other, and the comparison between them is consistently pushed by groups like Momentum, the Alliance for Workers Liberty and the Socialist Workers Party, all of which are groups operating with or within the Labour party.

Here’s an excerpt from the SWP publication the Socialist Worker, which I have seen distributed by Labour party members outside meetings and talks:

“And in Stoke Central the racist UKIP party, which came second there at the last general election, wants to whip up racism to take the seat from Labour. Socialist Worker is calling for a vote for Labour in both elections. They will be seen as referendums on Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour—and Corbyn could be forced to resign as leader if Labour does badly.

The racist right will feel ecstatic if UKIP leader Paul Nuttall wins in Stoke. Labour has rightly attacked Nuttall for his previous statements supporting privatization of the NHS. But Labour’s official campaign has not challenged UKIP over its racism. Labour will be most effective if it both attacks the cuts and also confronts UKIP divisive racism.”[xviii]

It’s simply not enough to shout ‘racist’ and expect to win an argument. In fact, at this point it’s no longer even a case of diminishing returns, but it’s actually backfiring, making people more inclined to vote for UKIP when their concerns about migration are met with insult by leftists. We on the left should be trying to win debates, not shut them down.

This isn’t an appeal to the SWP to change their tactics. They are free agents and can do as they please. But the fact that the Labour party leadership meets with them, gives them interviews and is commonly seen marching alongside them is indicative of the sort of attitudes that fester in Labour and also appears to be a soft endorsement of such views.

It’s part of a wider problem where certain social liberals are going so far in their anti-racism campaigns that they shut down free speech within the media, on university campuses, and on the streets, more often than not targeting people who were never racist in the first place.

In short, these liberals have become the very illiberal people they believe they’re fighting against. Such people are fooled into believing the rest of the country is on their wavelength, buoyed up by thousands of retweets and Facebook likes, yet they do not appear to understand that their online presence is an echo chamber. The more their preaching is welcomed by the converted, the more steadfast they become in their initial beliefs.

Most people in the country are not anything close to this level of ultra-liberal, and such attitudes do not resonate with them. The great mass of people are patriotic and socially conservative, and their concern with politics extends to ensuring the system provides them with a safety net and the opportunity for employment.

That doesn’t mean the country at large doesn’t have a sense of and desire for social justice. Of course it does. But the best way to ensure it is to first establish economic justice. When Labour party figures engage in extended diatribes about intersectional feminism, which to most people of both genders means nothing, it turns the public off.

Liberalism is a welcome element of the Labour coalition, but it cannot continue in such an extreme form, nor can it override concern for the economy and for jobs. Labour need to talk less about rules surrounding transgender usage of bathrooms in North Carolina, and more, much more, about jobs.

Corbyn’s position is untenable. He has had second chance upon second chance and failed to rehabilitate his image or reform his party. His name is toxic and his leadership destructive, and for these reasons, he must go.

In his place, we need a strong man or woman who understands the patriotism that stirs within Labour’s core vote, who understands the nation’s deep social conservatism, and who is prepared to meet the electorate’s demands for homes and jobs. Perhaps an Andy Burnham, a Gisela Stewart, a Dan Jarvis, a Richard Burgeon, or someone else entirely.

Labour must overcome its misconceptions about the people’s wants by breaking free of both Westminster and its online echo chambers.

The public are not shocked or angered about cuts to the benefits bill, in fact it’s a popular position[xix]. On this, let’s deliver the biggest benefits cut yet seen, and let them fall on the corporate welfare that now costs over £50 billion a year between working tax credits and housing benefit alone.

Let’s force corporations to pay a living wage, and put the working tax credit savings into a jobs program that will mop up any collateral unemployment. Let’s build houses until prices fall and housing benefit drops to record lows. Let’s cut old-age benefits for the very richest pensioners who have no need of them, and distribute that money to the needy elderly according to their ability and means.

Over a million food parcels were distributed by food banks to hungry citizens throughout the country in 2015[xx], evidence if any more were needed that our infrastructure, welfare, and employment programs are totally failing the British people.

Unfortunately, the people accessing these food banks are the least likely to turn out in a general election. Let’s take Labour’s mass membership and send it to deprived communities to knock on doors and win support from those who have never voted before. Such an effort should be supported by its hundreds of MPs, thousands of councilors, and hundreds of thousands of trade union affiliated members.

Labour’s war coffers are full enough to help out its members when they sacrifice their time for the party. Travel and other associated costs should be subsidized in such campaigns.

Let’s take a strong message into the heart of the country, into Scotland, Wales, the Midlands and the North, that Labour will deliver British jobs for British workers.  It will carry through to the agricultural areas which the Tories presume to sit upon since time immemorial and deliver a program to get British farms working again.

Let’s go into London and make clear that Labour is the party for social justice, and that begins with housing. Guarantee the construction of at least 250,000 homes every year and provide credible plans on how it will be done because whether you’re Black, White, trans, gay, straight, male or female, your primary concern is shelter, of which there is currently a dire shortage.

Let’s spark off a renaissance in 21st century manufacturing, now with the benefits of automation and renewable energy. Take to the public a message that cuts in the foreign aid budget will deliver a program of nuclear, tidal, wind, and solar energy expansion that will not just create innumerable high-paying jobs but will have the added advantage of saving the climate.

Let’s wade into the realm of the intelligentsia and say loud and clear that Labour is the party for true liberals, those who believe in rationalism, freedom of speech, and tolerance. Let’s talk to those who face the prospect of a life behind bars and deliver to them a place behind a college desk, a workbench or the wheel of a JCB.

Let us go to the people and promise them; Jobs, Homes and Health.

[i] Khan, O. (2015 May 15) Race and the 2015 General Election Part 1: Black and Minority Ethnic Voters. Retrieved from http://www.runnymedetrust.org/blog/race-and-the-2015-general-election-black-and-minority-ethnic-voters

[ii] Monegan, A. (2014 August 20) Self-employment in UK at Highest Level Since Records Began. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/aug/20/self-employment-uk-highest-level

[iii] BBC Business. (2015 March 18) Economy Tracker: Unemployment. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10604117

[iv] Mirza-Davies J. (2016 November 21) Apprenticeship Statistics: England. Retrieved from http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN06113/SN06113.pdf

[v] Blacking, D. (2014 July) So You Want to Be a Legal Aid Lawyer? Retrieved from http://lacuna.org.uk/justice/so-you-want-to-be-a-legal-aid-lawyer/

[vi] BBC Business (2015 September 21) Why Is the UK’s Housing Benefit Bill so High? Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34290727

[vii] OECD. (2016 April 13) Development Aid in 2015 Continues to Grow despite Costs for In-donor Refugees. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/dac/stats/ODA-2015-detailed-summary.pdf

[viii] Leach, B. (2012 December 19) One in Four Support Britain’s Foreign Aid Policies. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/9770644/One-in-four-support-Britains-foreign-aid-policies.html

[ix] Lubin, G. (2014 March 16) How Russians Became Crimea’s Largest Ethnic Group, in One Haunting Chart. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/crimea-demographics-chart-2014-3?IR=T

[x] Socialist Worker (2017 February 28) Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell Spoke to Socialist Worker on the Recent By-election Results. Retrieved from https://socialistworker.co.uk/art/44161/Shadow+chancellor+John+McDonnell+spoke+to+Socialist+Worker+on+the+recent+by+election+results

[xi] Migration Watch UK (2014 November 18) Opinion Poll Results on Immigration. Retrieved from https://www.migrationwatchuk.org/briefingPaper/document/249

[xii] Migration Watch UK (2015 March 25) Immigration Policy and Black and Minority Ethnic Voters. Retrieved from https://www.migrationwatchuk.org/briefing-paper/11.37

[xiii] Castella, T. (2015 January 13) Why Can’t the UK Build 240,000 Houses a Year? Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-30776306

[xiv] BBC News (2013 August 8) More UK births Than any Year Since 1972, Says ONS. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23618487

[xv] Dunne, P. Mckenna, H. and Murray, R. (2016 July) Deficits in the NHS 2016. Retrieved from https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/sites/files/kf/field/field_publication_file/Deficits_in_the_NHS_Kings_Fund_July_2016_1.pdf

[xvi] Our Ten Pledges to Rebuild and Transform Britain. Retrieved from http://www.jeremyforlabour.com/pledges

[xvii] Newburn, T. (2015 November 24) What’s Happening to Police Numbers? Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34899060

[xviii] Clark, N. (2017 February 14) Clive Lewis Backs off, but the Labour Right is out for Corbyn’s Blood. Retrieved from https://socialistworker.co.uk/art/44091/Clive+Lewis+backs+off%2C+but+the+Labour+right+is+out+for+Corbyns+blood

[xix] Wells, A. (2011 May 16) Strong Public Support for Benefit Cuts. Retrieved from https://yougov.co.uk/news/2011/05/16/strong-public-support-benefit-cuts/

[xx] BBC News. (2015 April 22) Record Numbers Use Food Banks – Trussell Trust. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-32406120

Something Wrong with America? or Why Is America Hated? By A. J. Harvey-Hall

An interesting piece from a reader and financial supporter (thank you!) of this website. Hope you enjoy it.

Something Wrong With America? or Why is America hated?

By A. J. Harvey-Hall, Australia

Where do I start?
I originally wrote this in 2013 when I was mad as hell, and here we are in 2015, and I am still mad as hell at you guys. Most of what I have written has come true.
Don’t believe me – ask your Remote Viewing (Project Stargate) people to drop in and check me out. It works both ways in case you are unaware.
Coming from Australia I can tell you a hell of a lot of where America “went wrong”. I am not saying Australia is/was perfect – it’s just a fact we were the last large island/continent settled by the so-called enlightened Westerners – due to distance we saw where everyone else stuffed up and decided as a whole not to do that (Commonwealth knowledge?).
Canada is very similar to Australia, so look to them as well. One thing’s for certain – everyone gets a fair go in this country. We are multicultural and tolerant. Early Western settlers did not treat the Aboriginals appropriately, but in summary, it was probably no different to any superior culture that overtook another at some time in history. It’s easy to look back and say what the Westerners did to Aboriginals was disgraceful.
I have a right to tell you how it is because Australia is the only country that has fought every war alongside America all through WW1 and WW2 and several “police” actions.
Let’s revisit some words spoken by one of your greatest presidents in the course of the America’s Cup back in 1962 when Australia was still a country of 10 million:
Quoting Kennedy –

Ambassador, Lady Beale, Ambassador and Mrs. Berckmeyer, Ambassador and Lady Ormsby Gore, the Ambassador from Portugal, our distinguished Ministers from Australia, Ladies and Gentlemen:
I know that all of us take the greatest pleasure in being here, first of all because whether we are Australian or American, we are all joined by a common interest, a common devotion and love for the sea.
And I am particularly glad to be here because this Cup is being challenged by our friends from Australia, this extraordinary group of men and women numbering some 10 million, who have demonstrated on many occasions, on many fields, in many countries, that they are the most extraordinarily athletic group in the world today, and that this extraordinary demonstration of physical vigor and skill has come not by the dictates of the state because the Australians are among the freest citizens in the world, but because of their choice…
Australia became committed to physical fitness, and it has been disastrous for the rest of us. We have the highest regard for Australia, Ambassador. As you said, we regard them as very satisfactory friends in peace and the best of friends in war. And I know there are a good many Americans of my generation who have the greatest possible reason to be grateful to the Australians who wrote a most distinguished record all the way from the desert of North Africa, and most particularly in the islands of the South Pacific, where their particular courage and gallantry I think met the strongest response in all of us in this country.
But I really don’t look to the past. I look to the present. The United States and Australia are most intimately bound together today, and I think that — and I speak as one who has had some experience in friendship and some experience in those who are not our friends — we value very much the fact that on the other side of the Pacific, the Australians inhabit a very key and crucial area and that the United States is most intimately associated with them. So beyond this race, beyond the result, rests this happy relationship between two great people.
– President John F. Kennedy, Newport, Rhode Island, September 14, 1962

Let’s go back to the (your) War of Independence:
The English were wrong in what they were doing – hence independence – not a problem. In gaining independence however you put in place the building blocks that as of today are not crumbling – they have already crumbled.
Every builder in the world knows that unless your foundations are spot on and repaired when cracks appear, a structure cannot live for hundreds of years. You must update and repair as you go to ensure the building is viable for hundreds of years ongoing – not just paper over it.
The building I am referring to is the “United States of America”. It has now crumbled as a result of a demarcation dispute between your two political parties that act worse than our Australian Parliament. Each party is only out to make a name for itself and has lost the understanding of “serving the people”.
Let’s talk about your constitution – ohhh – am I upsetting you already? Remember I am an outsider who is looking in giving you an unbiased opinion.
When your Constitution was framed it was OK, for the day!
It is now the oldest ‘out of date’ Constitution in the world. Don’t stand behind your outdated constitution. Start again. Be bold.
Yes – you have made amendments, but those amendments are just papering over extensions – you need to go back and look at the foundations and do the work there.
Take one example – a right to bear arms.
It was OK 200 years ago when things were a bit rough – it is not acceptable in the 20th or 21st Centuries, but you will not remove that right. How many people have died in your country as a result of that one so called right?
Your gun culture is one of the bases (not basis) that has crumbled. This is ultimately why you have numerous police forces that are happy to shoot first and ask questions later.
Your children and work colleagues will continue to die in massacres as a result of this “right“. They will continue to die in soft target areas such as schools, mass transport, malls, parades (early days – wait for it).
Hang on – maybe the British, Russians or Communists are still coming to invade. Pity you don’t update your Constitution the same way you enforce updates to laws you force upon people who want to trade with you.
You allow gun lobbyists to “set the course” with government officials, senators and the public.
Since when did lobbyists of any ilk run the government? Since when did they represent “the people”?
You continue to think of arms as a gun – they are no longer guns – instead are bombs, viruses or maybe even the Internet itself. But it’s OK because you have a right” to bear arms.
Let’s talk about your medical care.
Actually let’s save time and refer to Michael Moore. He is spot on. How can you allow your own citizens suffer and even die on the streets because they don’t have medical insurance? And some of your citizens applaud this stance.
How about your returned veterans – even wounded veterans have to fight to get medical assistance upon return – why – because you outsourced the process and someone applied expiry dates that wounded veterans were not aware of. It then requires an act of Congress or a law to be passed to allowed them back into the system.
More veterans have committed suicide upon return that you lost in actual combat. That is an absolute disgrace.
Even that poor, small country across from Florida – Cuba – does it better than you. A pissant island makes you look like a disgrace. Ohhh that’s right…you won’t interact with them because they put one over you in the Cuban Missile crisis. Get over it – you eventually did with Vietnam. And that leads me to another chapter – Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia…or shouldn’t I mention all the “minor” illegal wars you waged?
You lost LOST the Vietnam War – admit it. You will also lose the Afghanistan and Iraqi Wars. The Middle Eastern wars are also bankrupting your country – why can’t day to day Americans see this? No one (starting with Alexander the Great) has ever conquered Afghanistan – get real or get out.
If you think those wars are over, and as G. W. Bush said, “Mission completed”…think again. You have effectively put people in charge who are far worse than the dictators that were already there in Egypt, Iraq, Tunisia, Afghanistan etc. and now you are trying to do the same in Crimea via the Ukraine. You are responsible for the extremists that are now running around the Middle East, and I don’t mean Al Qaeda. You are responsible for the creation of ISIS.
Let’s look at all those African refugees (including Syrians, Lebanese etc.) who are risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean Sea to get to Europe. The USA is totally responsible for all these simply because of WMD lies that resulted in the invasion of Iraq. All Middle East actions from thereon are his fault. He is a war criminal – oopps did I break one of your laws saying he is a war criminal in the land of the free and home of the brave? The land of free speech?
Fact – history is written by the victors.
The USA is trying to run the Middle East like a corporation – all the top executives from the G. W. Bush era on are criminals lining their own pockets.
Starting wars in the 21st century will no longer get a country out of a recession. It’s simply profit-making. Why don’t you take Saudi Arabia to task for 9/11? Ohhh that’s right, they control the oil flow. Don’t upset them – why don’t you find an alternative to Middle East oil?
Are you getting a message here?
The entire world dislikes and even hates you. You have acted the bully for many years after The Korean War, effectively destroying the good will you established in the early 20th century. You are hated across all lines – economic, religious, social, political and otherwise.
What is your obsession with Israel?
Fact – Israel was founded by Jewish terrorists. They set off bombs, killed people and destroyed property to achieve their aims. Because the world had ‘sympathy’ for Jews after WW2, it happened and a blind eye was turned. Today Middle America strongly believes in the Bible literally and as such wants to see Israel succeed in order the “Second Coming” results.
People – the Bible is a guide. It is not Gospel.
Why? In the early centuries, the Roman Catholic Church held conferences and decided which books, writings and teachings ended up in “The Bible”. God did not decide which early Christian books ended up in The Bible – so it is absolute rubbish for someone to state that the Bible guides what the United States should do. Too many real accounts of Jesus’ workings were excluded. The Roman Catholic Church is responsible for closing our eyes to the real Christ.
Hopefully Pope Francis can arrest this BS.
There are numerous United Nations resolutions that Israel has refused to comply with. By the way – are you (USA) financially paid up with the UN, or do you still refuse to pay in a timely manner in order to attempt to remind them that you rule over them?
How about the Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq that lead to invasion? Colin Powell held up a drawing and said – here is the proof. You never found proof and never admitted you were wrong. Yes – Saddam Hussein was a bastard but he had the warring clans under control. It was all ALL about oil and nothing else. When the mud got too deep, you changed tact and said it was all about democracy. How far is Greece from Iraq? – damn closer that the USA. If the Greeks could not influence them – you sure in Hell can’t.
You can resolve the Palestinian problem in a matter of weeks, but you won’t due to that “minority” in the Middle East. This bullshit has been going on for 60 years.
Everyone knows (sorry – obviously you don’t) – the longer a problem festers, the harder and more costly it is to resolve.
I worked in the finance industry for many years and can only say that the number of times “we” (non-Americans) had to change our processes and rules etc. because the USA had set ‘”new standards” makes me sick. The standards set were not improvements – they were changed to line your pockets.
Look at Sarbanes Oxley for example – the world spent hundreds of billions of $’s attempting to comply because the USA would not do business with another country unless they did so only to see the USA itself found it too costly to implement itself! What a joke!
We now have many European countries in dire straits as a direct result of the exporting of American ways.
You destroyed the financial industry with your Subprime rubbish.
What about changes to financial models and makes etc. of any product or service that demand that people buy the “updated” version to reline your pockets. This is simply to keep the money wheel turning. You are desperately trying to ensure it keeps turning long enough for your problems to be passed to some other country or the next generation.
Ever thought about how much you spend on items such as defense, spying, war, inventing, manufacturing and using machines of war? Just imagine if only half of that was diverted to your health programs, science or to the benefit of other countries less fortunate? What about converting the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines into an international force for peace and relief of local and international disasters?
How can you allow a company to have a patent on the human breast cancer gene? You have to be kidding the world – but then again that’s your Constitution at work. No one owns human genes!
What happened to the “United States” that I remember as a child? That far-off country whose technology was so far advanced we could never dream of equaling.
What happened to that country that every county – even Russia in the old days – feared  -a form of respect?
Oh – and how long before I get the FBI, CIA, and all your other bullshit muscle agencies to frame me for some rubbish and shut me down…
A parting true story:
In late 1978/early 1979 my family traveled to Washington state where my father was working on behalf of a company in Australia. Unfortunately, departing Auckland NZ they had an emergency which meant we had to go back, dumping fuel on the way. 24 hours later we took off again after repairs and finally landed in Honolulu. My mother was pretty savvy and said get to the front of the Customs line so we can get to the connecting flight to LA.
Well – I was at the front of the queue, 18 years old, looking at an overweight female Customs officer wearing a gun strutting back and forwards. Her welcoming words to the Australians and New Zealanders were, “If you step over that yellow line, I will shoot you!” What a fucking joke – in 1978! No wonder you have a gun problem.
Welcome to America!
Congratulations to the NRA who lobby the most congressman/women on both sides.
Fact – I was born in July 1960, and in November 1963 I still vividly recall my parents being very upset when they heard of the news of Kennedy’s death despite my being three years old. All the more remarkable is the fact that we lived in Papua New Guinea – a protectorate of Australia at the time – literally a colonial backwater. I was too young to understand but remembered the words Kennedy and death and vaguely remembered the Cuba Crisis. We cried in the backwaters of the Pacific!
I fully understand that the Kennedys had their dalliances. Small beer in the scheme of things.
He and his brother are the standard you must return to.
Did Kennedy not say “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country?”
And in closing, written on the base of the Statue of Liberty…

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Emma Lazurus

My country totally lacks world-shaking oratory ,but I think we more than make up with it in our actions.

The Hell with the Pentagon

As the agency which enforces US foreign policy at gunpoint, the Pentagon has always blown.
First of all, there is no such thing as the Defense Department. When has the Pentagon ever defended the country? Pearl Harbor? They did a fine job there, huh?
Obviously the task of the Pentagon is not to defend the US mainland, which is all it ever ought to do anyway.
Its task is to running around the world starting wars and killing people in other countries. Leaving aside whether that is sometimes a good idea (and I think it is,) what’s so defensive about that?
The real name of the Pentagon is the War Department.That’s what it was always called until World War 2, which the War Department won. After that in a spate of Orwellian frenzy, we named an army of aggression an army of self-defense and comically renamed its branch the Defense Department.
It’s like calling cops peace officers. You see anything peaceful about what a cop does in a typical day? Neither do I?
There was a brief glimmer of hope there in WW2 when we finally starting killing fascists and rightwingers instead of sleeping with them, but the ink was barely dry on the agreements before we were setting up the Gladio fascists, overthrowing Greek elections and slaughtering Greek peasants like ants.
Meanwhile it was scarcely a year after 1945 when the US once again started a torrid love affair with fascism and rightwing dictators like we have always done. We were smooching it up right quick with Europe’s fascists, in this case the former Nazis of Germany (who became the West German elite), Greek killer colonels, Mussolini’s heirs, actual Nazis in Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, Jew-Nazis in Palestine, Franco (who we never stopped sleeping with anyway), Salazar, the malign Mr. Churchill, the true repulsive Dutch royalty and disgusting European colonists the world over, who we showered with guns and bombs to massacre the colonized.
In 1945, a war against fascism, reaction, Nazism and malign colonialism had ended, and for some reason America had fought against these things instead of supporting them as usual.
1946, and we were back in old style again, hiring Nazis by the busload for the CIA, overthrowing democratic governments and putting in genocidal dictatorships, becoming butt buddies with fascist swine everywhere.
So you see we have always pretty much sucked. World War 1 was fought amidst one of the most dishonest propaganda campaigns the world had ever seen, the Korean War was a Godawful mess where we turned North Korea to flaming rubble with the population cowering in caves while slaughtering 3 million North Koreans.
The horrific catastrophe called the Indochinese Wars, such as the Vietnam War, the Secret War in Laos and the Cambodian Massacre, where we genocided 500,000 Cambodians with bombs, driving the whole place crazy and creating the Khmer Rogue.
Panama and Grenada were pitiful jokes, malign, raw, naked imperialism at its worst.
The Gulf War was a brief return to sanity but turkey shoots are sickening.
Of course that followed on with the most evil war in US history, the Nazi-like war on aggression called The War on the Iraqi People (usually called the Iraq War), the Afghan rabbit hole which started out sensibly enough but turned into another Vietnam style Great Big Mess.
I suppose it is ok that we are killing Al Qaeda guys and I give a shout out to our boys over there fighting ISIS or the Taliban and Al Qaeda in South-Central Asia, Somalia and Yemen. Some people need killing.
But I sure don’t feel that way about their superiors, the US officers who fund and direct ISIS, Al Qaeda, etc. out of an Operations Center in Jordan with Jordanian, Israeli (!), Saudi, UAE, and Qatari officers.
And it was very thoughtful of the Pentagon to cover up the Ukrainian Air Force shootdown of the jetliner which we saw on the radar of our ships in Black Sea.
And it was nice of the US to relay the flight path of the Russian jet to the Turks 24 hours in advance so they could shoot down that Russian jet and kill that pilot.
One hand giveth and the other taketh away. For every good thing we do in Syria and Iraq, we do 10 or 20 bad things. Pretty much the story of the Pentagon.
Sure if you fought in WW2 or one of the few other decent wars, you have something to be proud of, and I can even say, “Thank you for your service,” but the main thing is that you signed up for the rightwing army of the rich that is dead set against the people and popular rule everywhere on Earth. Sure, it’s a great army, professional, super-competent and deadly, but it’s generally tasked with doing lousy things. Why anyone would sign up for that reactionary nightmare of an institution is beyond me. America needs to level the Pentagon and put in a true People’s Army instead. Like that would ever happen.

Syrian Government Sued for Killing US Journalist

Here.
I am sure that they did it. That’s a nasty little regime they have over there in Syria. On the other hand, Assad seems to be better than any of the alternatives, which isn’t saying much.
I never agree with targeting journalists during war, but increasingly just about everyone does it. We definitely targeted journalists and even whole media outfits in the first weeks of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. We bombed the Al Jazeera building in Kabul, and we attacked Al Jazeera reporters in a Baghdad hotel. There were fatalities in both cases. In both Iraq wars, the US bombed all major Iraqi news outlets and newspapers, but most of them kept reporting anyway. The Pentagon said they were targeted for “disseminating enemy propaganda in wartime.”
Recent Pentagon documents discuss the need to “control the narrative” during wartime and speak of another need to silence enemy critics and journalists who are seen as combatants in an information war. The language used to describe propaganda, controlling the narrative and targeting journalists sympathetic to the enemy is genuinely creepy.
Lousy countries always do this sort of thing in wartime, but I thought we were above this.
Putin has had reporters beaten up for reporting on Russian soldiers who were killed fighting in Ukraine when there supposed to be no Russians there. He is also implicated in the killing of journalists, including a woman who was famous for reporting on Russian atrocities in Chechnya.
Turkey routinely targets journalists, especially Kurdish reporters. A number of them have been killed.
Israel is notorious for targeting journalists. Palestinian journalists are arrested regularly, and a number have been shot by soldiers. A fair number of them have been killed. Some American journalists have also been killed by the IDF, and at least one was killed.
The US would not defend this journalist at all, and instead seemed to take Israel’s side. So here we have a government that supports a foreign state over its own people. Our country should be called “USrael” to symbolize the extent to which we dutifully support this foreign country against all common sense. An interview with a representative of the Israeli government regarding this case was tense and combative, and the Israeli seemed to be arguing that journalists were legitimate targets as some sort of “terrorist supporters” or “terror propagandists.”
I was always taught that my country was the good guy. I was taught how we generally fought fair and square in World War 2. This made me so proud to be an American. I learned quite a few things since then that made me question that line. But this recent behavior of the Pentagon’s has made me lose all hope. I had thought we were above this sort of crap and that we believed in fighting fair at least out of a gentlemanly honor. Turns out I was wrong. While we do fight quite a bit more fairly than most other countries (and so do the Israelis), a lot of our behavior is scumbucket low down there with the worst Turd World shitholes.
Color me disenchanted. I am not so much an America-hater as a disappointed patriot gone sour.

“France’s Response to Paris Attacks Encourages ISIS’s Caliphate Fantasy,” by Eric Walberg

Eric is a personal friend of mine and he published this on Academia.edu so that usually means anyone can grab it as long as you credit them. Lately, Eric writes for the Iranian media, presumably for money. I believe Kieth Preston is also writing for the Iranians these days.

I am putting this up mostly to provoke discussion.

France’s Response to Paris Attacks Encourages ISIS’s Caliphate Fantasy

Eric Walberg

France’s emotional response to the recent tragedy, devoid of reason and ignoring history, just makes matters worse.

 

The death toll in the November 13 attacks in Paris stands at 127. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani sent a message to his French counterpart Francois Hollande condemning the attacks. “In the name of the Iranian nation, itself a victim of the evil scourge of terrorism, I strongly condemn these inhumane crimes and condole with the bereaved French nation and government.”

In contrast, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu opened his weekly Cabinet meeting by calling on world leaders to condemn terror against … Israel. He began by addressing the killing of two Israelis, ignoring the 81 Palestinians who have died in protests this month. “The time has come for the nations of the world to condemn terrorism against us as much as they condemn terrorism anywhere else in the world.” He pledged Israeli intelligence assistance to France, adding “An attack on any of us needs to be seen as an attack on all of us.”

Translate: France’s tragedy is a wake-up call for solidarity with … Israel.

France’s Colonial Legacy

Until 2012, France was spared serious terrorist attacks, but its enduring colonial mentality continues to stoke anger. Most evident recently was the official defense of anti-Muslim hate literature published by the magazine Charlie Hebdo. Rather than persecuting the Islamophobes, which would have prevented blowback by enraged Muslims, the French insistence on freedom led to an attack in January on the Paris offices of the magazine, killing 12 people and wounding 11 others.

Worse yet, the new Socialist President Hollande pushed ahead with a return to outright colonial invasion, with air strikes and arms to Syrian rebels in opposition to both the Syrian government and ISIS supporters. This confused policy only makes sense if the intent is to dismantle the Syrian state and refashion a Syrian puppet government, harking back to France’s invasion of Syria-Lebanon following WWI in collusion with Britain, when they destroyed the Ottoman state and set up puppet regimes across the Middle East.

France was slow to adjust to post-WWII decolonization, and stubbornly maintained its military presence not only in Vietnam but in the Middle East. Along with Britain, now both humiliated bankrupt powers, it was in no position to enforce its will, and it handed over its colonial possessions to the US either directly or via the new world order institutions. Plus, of course, intrigue where a glimmer of independence appeared, as in Iran in 1953 or Egypt 1956.

Worst of all was the horror France inflicted for more than a century in Algeria. Algeria had to suffer a long, brutal war of liberation in which a million Algerians died before France finally left in 1962. French meddling in Algeria since has only compounded the animosity, especially the support given the military coup in 1992 in which 200,000 Algerians died.

France’s current return to openly colonial policies, first in Afghanistan, then Libya, Mali and now Syria, are guaranteed to have dire consequences. To its credit, France did not support the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, but there are now 3,200 French troops there.

France and US Support the Terrorists

France and the US have played a dangerous and foolish hand in their great games of asserting world power, at times using jihadists (1980s in Afghanistan) and at other times attacking them (1990s+ in Afghanistan), sometimes both at the same time (2011+ in Syria).

“Thank God for the Saudis and Prince Bandar,” John McCain told CNN in January 2014. Is McCain not aware that two of the most successful factions fighting Syrian President Assad’s forces are Islamist extremist groups Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS, and that their success is due to the support they have received from Qatar and Saudi Arabia? A senior Qatari official told The Atlantic journalist Steve Clemons that “he can identify al-Nusra commanders by the blocks they control in various Syrian cities. But ISIS is another matter. As one senior Qatari official stated, ‘ISIS has been a Saudi project.’”

France doesn’t have a wild card like McCain, but, like the US, supports Islamic fundamentalists in Syria and elsewhere through its ties with the Saudi and Qatari regimes and its actions in Syria. Even after it became obvious to everyone that the regime change project in Syria has led to an expansion of terrorism, Hollande was still pursuing it.

But then this hypocrisy goes for all the western nations, in the first place Canada, which has been bombing Syrian rebels and, at the same time, just signed a $14.8b arms deal with Saudi Arabia. The largest arms exports contract in Canadian history will be remembered as going to one of the worst human rights violators in the world and a funder of ISIS-related groups in Syria and Iraq.

In fact, Canada’s record on bombing Muslims in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, on restricting burqas and promoting ‘free speech’ defaming Islam, mirrors France, and led to a shooting last year that penetrated the parliament buildings in Ottawa and had Prime Minister Harper cowering in his closet.

Harper’s answer, when he had stopped shaking, was the same as Hollande’s: he insisted that “Canada will not be intimidated” by acts of violence and remained committed to Canada’s efforts “to work with our allies around the world and fight against the terrorist organizations … who bring their savagery to our shores.” He did admit that “we’re all aware and deeply troubled that both attacks were carried out by Canadian citizens, by young men born and raised in this peaceful country,” but, like Hollande today, failed to draw the logical conclusion.

Powder Keg

France has the largest Muslim population in Europe at 4m. Despite its claims of “liberty, equality and brotherhood”, it is considered the most racist country in Europe. French-Algerian communities still live on impoverished housing estates, go to bad schools, and have few opportunities for social advancement.

Discrimination in everything from jobs to housing is routine. There are few French-Algerians in politics, the law, the media or any other profession, though the prisons are full. Hollande refuses to reverse measures like the burqa ban and has highlighted his opposition to halal meat and praying in the street because of a lack of mosques.

Populist rightwing politicians like Nicolas Sarkozy and the National Front’s Marine Le Pen routinely portray alienated migrant communities as France’s enemy within. Le Pen garnered 20% of the popular vote in the first round of May’s presidential elections.

In their communique, the perpetrators of the recent attacks listed France’s crimes as leading a “new crusade” in Syria, as well as defending Charlie Hebdo magazine, and just because of general French decadence and racism. They claimed their targets were well chose ― a football match between ‘crusaders’ France and Germany attended by Hollande, and the Bataclan exhibition where “hundreds of pagans gathered for a concert of prostitution and vice” (the California group Eagles of Death Metal).

“This is for Syria,” were the last words of one of the Paris attackers. But he could have said it was for Mali, or Libya, or Iraq. France is very proactive against Islamists worldwide, especially in the face of what is frequently seen as British and American retreat. Over 10,000 French troops are currently deployed abroad. In addition to Iraq, there are over 5,000 troops in western and central Africa. Last week Hollande announced that France will deploy an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf to assist the fight against ISIS.

As with Osama Bin Laden’s strategy of promoting dramatic terrorist attacks in the West to provoke a crackdown and to radicalize Muslims, the strategy behind the current attacks is to generate a French crackdown to encourage Muslims to follow ISIS’s caliphate fantasy. It has worked all too well so far, and Hollande’s vow to be “ruthless” in his response leads him and France in the wrong direction.

In his address on recent events, Iran’s Leader Imam Khameini acknowledged that “there are voices of criticism in the West about its colonial past. But they only criticize the distant past. Why should the revision of collective conscience apply to the distant past and not to the current problems?”

Originally published here.

Salafi Jihadism: Part 1

Original here. This essay is very well-done, the best I have ever read on the subject.

This is the first of a two-part post on Salafi jihadism. Part 1 is intended to provide a definition of jihad, a look at the history of Salafism/Wahhabism, their similarities and differences and how they spread in the end of the 20th century.

Also before anyone thinks I’m targeting Salafis for an agenda, I intend to cover jihadism in each segment of Islam. I simply chose to begin with Salafi jihadism due to its greater relevance and attention in the world today.

Definition of Jihad: The Arabic word Jihad is derived from the verb Jahada – meaning to strive or struggle. In Islamic terminology it means to make an effort, to endeavor and to strive for a noble cause. The word is generally used to describe any type of striving in the cause of Allah (God). According to Islamic teachings there are three main types of Jihad as explained below:

i) Jihad-e-Akbar, i.e jihad of the highest order. This is the jihad (struggle) for self-reformation. The struggle is against our own temptations such as greed, lust and other worldly temptations. This type of jihad is obligatory on every Muslim throughout his life.

ii) Jihad-e-Kabir, i.e major jihad. This is the jihad of propagation of the truth, the message of Qur’an. The Qur’an also instructs us to spread this message with wisdom, tolerance and respect to others and their beliefs and prohibits the use of any coercion or force. According to the Qur’an anyone who devotes his time, effort, wealth or knowledge to the cause of righteousness is practicing Jihad-e-Kabir. This is also obligatory on all Muslims.

iii) Jihad-e-Asghar, i.e jihad of the lower order. This is the jihad of a defensive battle. The Qur’an has clearly restricted this type of jihad to certain conditions while forbidding transgression of any sort. The conflict must of a defensive nature for the Muslim community, Muslims must have been prevented from freely practicing their religion and beliefs, and they must have been driven from their homes.

Another requirement for the declaration of this type of jihad is the existence of an Islamic State and a Muslim leader to declare it; without this condition, Muslims are allowed to defend themselves in case of being attacked or persecuted but not to declare and prosecute an official jihad. Once a jihad has been declared, the Muslim army is bound by a set of regulations to observe while on campaign, some of which are listed here.[1][2]

It is critical to understand that the aim of jihad is not the conversion of non-Muslim populations. Most scholars agree upon the concept of jihad being a defensive measure; some modern Islamic revivalists such as Sayyid Qutb and Abdullah Azzam argued for the use of jihad as an offensive measure but for the expansion of Muslim territory and Islamic ideals rather than the religious conversion of the local peoples, forced or otherwise, to Islam. As a result, jihad is similar to the Christian concept of a crusade but differs in this critical matter among others. However, jihad is a hotly debated topic in jurisprudence, and a look at the opinions of various scholars can be found here.[3]

History of Salafism/Wahhabism: Salafism is a conservative, orthodox movement within Sunni Islam that seeks to return the practice of Islam to its fundamentals. As such, it emphasizes emulation of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the Salaf as Saliheen (Pious Predecessors) which comprise the first three generations of Muslims (Companions, Successors and Successors of the Successors), and it rejects any rituals or beliefs not practiced by them; as a result, they are against any innovations, or bidah.

In legal jurisprudence, Salafis are divided among those that remain faithful to the four Sunni maddhabs (schools of law) and those that reject them in favour of ijtihad (independent legal judgement).

In terms of politics, Salafis are generally divided into three categories.

The largest category consists of the quietists, those who believe in remaining indifferent to politics and repression in favour of being closer to God.

The next largest category is the activists, that comprises those who participate in politics to advocate for Islamist agendas and religious legislation.

The smallest category by far is the jihadists, which are the most well known category worldwide but are a tiny minority.

The central tenets of Salafism have existed since the earlier days of Islam, with scholars such as Ibn Taymiyyah referring to and emphasizing adherence to the model of the Salaf. However, Salafism did not spread widely until the 18th century when Muhammad Abdul Wahhab started preaching in the Najd area of Arabia. Abdul Wahhab believed that the practices of the society around him, including venerating the tombs of the Companions, or making invocations to holy men, were similar to the practices during the pre-Islamic Jahiliya (Age of Ignorance).

Thus, he wished to return to a more puritan and conservative form of Islam free of any supposed innovations or bidah and similar to how he believed Islam was practiced in its earliest days. He also believed that those who professed themselves to be Muslim but participated in bidah were beyond the pale of Islam. He began preaching in the town of Unayna, but his actions and ideals were unpopular with the nobility of the era, with Abdul Wahhab being expelled from his town due to pressure applied by a powerful chief, Sulaiman ibn Muhammad ibn Ghurayr.

However, he managed to find refuge with the ruler of the town of Diriyah, Muhammad ibn Saud. In 1744, they formed a pact whereby ibn Saud would protect and propagate the doctrines espoused by Abdul Wahhab by military action, while the latter would religiously legitimize the former’s military conquests and allow the imposition of Islamic taxation, which would net the Al Sauds more income than at the current rates.

Hence began a period of conquest over multiple generations that expanded the Al Sauds’ holdings to much of Arabia, created the First Saudi State and the propagation of Abdul Wahhab’s teachings, pejoratively termed Wahhabism by its critics, outside of Najd. This is also where Abdul Wahhab broke with traditional Salafist thinking; unlike traditional Salafists, Abdul Wahhab was willing to use force and coercion to spread his teachings and was willing to participate in politics and political agreements to achieve that goal.

Scholars are disputed over the degree of brutality sanctioned by Abdul Wahhab, but it is clear that in successive generations, the Wahhabis have become more and more radical, ultimately adopting ibn Taymiyyah’s ideas of takfir (excommunication); this allowed them to brand Muslims living in violation of Islamic law to be non-Muslims and thus justified their fighting against other Muslims. They also adopted a ‘convert or die’ approach to their enemies.

This increasing ruthlessness was the cause of the Al Saud’s downfall. In 1802, the Wahhabis attacked Karbala, slaughtering much of the population and desecrating the shrine of Imam Hussain, and launched a similar assault on Taif in 1803, slaughtering the male population and enslaving women and children.

Ultimately, the Ottoman Empire, which controlled Arabia at the time, had enough and dispatched an army in 1818 that destroyed the First Saudi State, killing the Al Saud ruler, razing Diriyah and doing their best to stamp out both the House of Saud and the Wahhabi movement. However, the remoteness of the Najd prevented either from happening, and a Second Saudi State resulted in that region; consequently, by the end of the 19th century, most of the townspeople in the area were Wahhabis.

Many of the new members were former Bedouins who abandoned nomadic life for settlements on the insistence of Wahhabi religious scholars who declared that a nomadic lifestyle was incompatible with Islam. The newly settled Bedouins served well as soldiers for the Wahhabi religious leaders.

Although alive, Wahhabism remained mostly confined to the Najd till the end of the First World War. During the war, the reigning head of the Al Saud family, Abdulaziz ibn Saud, aided the Allies by revolting against the Ottomans. Although his campaign to rule Arabia had begun in 1901, he was unable to assert his authority over Hijaz until 1923, when the British removed their support for the Sharifs of Makkah.

In 1927, Abdulaziz signed a treaty with the British, who recognized his independence from the former Ottoman territories in exchange for letting go of Transjordan, Iraq, Kuwait and other British protectorates. However, Abdulaziz faced an internal rebellion among his troops. During his campaigns, he made use of the Ikhwan, a militia of radical Wahhabi Bedouin warriors. When he signed the treaty with the British, the Ikhwan refused to obey and raided Transjordan.

Unwilling to risk British ire, Abdulaziz fought the Ikhwan and defeated them in 1929 with British support. The survivors of the Ikhwan were then organized in various militias which would later form the core of the Saudi Arabian National Guard. Although defeated, the Ikhwan left their mark on Arabian society by uprooting the old cultural norms and supplanting them with radical Wahhabi ideology as part of their campaign on behalf of the Al Sauds.

In addition, Wahhabi ideology spread to the cities of Makkah and Madinah and gained control of the religious apparatus in the land. Although the Wahhabi religious establishment was given much latitude with respect to religious observance and teaching, in many cases Abdulaziz overruled the ulema, allowing the driving of automobiles and the attendance of Shia pilgrims at the annual Hajj. In addition, most of Abdulaziz’s consolidation of power and dealings with Western powers kept him at odds with the ulema.

Although Salafism/Wahhabism inspired offshoots such as the Ahl-e-Hadith and Deoband movements in South Asia, the reach of these two ideologies was quite low during most of the 20th century. Even within Saudi Arabia, the implementation of Islamic law was relatively relaxed compared to today.

This changed in 1979, when two things happened. First the Iranian Revolution occurred, toppling the Shah there and sending shockwaves through the monarchies in the region. Second, the Grand Mosque in Makkah was taken over by Islamic extremists who called for the stricter implementation of Islamic doctrines and the fall of the Al Saud family.

In the aftermath of these events, the Saudi government became stricter in religious matters. Due to the huge increase in oil income since the 1973 oil crisis, the government had lavished funding on religious literature, scholarships and hundreds of new Islamic schools, universities and mosques. In order to counter any threat of an Iranian-style revolution by the Shia population of the country and to satisfy disgruntled conservative clerics, this funding was further increased.

The beginning of the Afghan War provided an opportunity to export troublesome clerics to Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries. This achieved two aims; first, it allowed the Sauds to embed a Wahhabi religious establishment of their choice, and secondly, the export of Wahhabi ideology served as a bulwark against the revolutionary doctrines that Iran was beginning to propagate in the Middle East. Since the Afghan War attracted volunteers from all over the Muslim world, almost all of whom spent time in the Saudi-sponsored religious schools, the spread of Salafism was assured.[4]

Due to the financial support that Salafism/Wahhabism enjoys from the Gulf, it has received attention and commands influence disproportionate to its size. There are roughly 50 million Salafists in the world, a tiny fraction of the total Muslim population.[5] Yet, Salafi scholars such as Zakir Naik from India are some of the most recognizable in the Muslim world, having instant name recognition even amongst many non-Salafis.

The Salafi movement is described as the fastest growing Islamic movement in the world, according to a report by the BND, the German domestic intelligence service.[6] This is especially true for regions such as Europe and North America, which have no native Islamic traditions of their own and thus are more susceptible to supplanting than historically Muslim areas.

Although Salafis have historically been peaceful and apolitical, believing in using persuasion rather than force, modern Salafism is often considered indistinguishable from Wahhabism and in many cases, conflict has arisen when Salafis have tried to propagate their doctrines. For instance in Pakistan, there is much animosity between followers of the Deoband movement, inspired by Salafism, and the Barelvi movement, inspired by the Sufi traditions of the subcontinent.

Moreover, in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, more and more Salafists are becoming part of the activist category, joining politics to propagate their beliefs. One example of such a movement is the Nour Party in Egypt, which gained a quarter of the seats in the 2011-12 elections.

In normal circumstances, one might consider the engagement of conservative Islamists in democratic politics to be a positive sign; however, the failure of the Arab Spring to bring meaningful change to the lives of people in most of the affected countries has disillusioned many democratic Salafis, many of whom have shifted to the jihadist category of Salafism, thinking military action to be the last feasible route.[7]

Sources:

1 http://islamicfaq.org/jihad/

2 http://www.islamhelpline.net/node/441

3 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jihad#Current_usage

4 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wahhabism

5 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salafi_movement#cite_note-123

6 http://www.aina.org/news/20120416150547.htm

7 http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21656189-islams-most-conservative-adherents-are-finding-politics-hard-it-beats

The Blood on Obama’s Hands: Kunduz Hospital Attack Designed “to Kill and Destroy”

I have not written about this attack yet, but this article sums up my feelings about it. Obviously there was a deliberate attack on the hospital. The story that Afghan government troops called in the strike and we then hit the hospital by accident does not seem to be true.

MSF had given the coordinates of the hospital to the US a number of times before the attack. The location was given again two days before and the day of the attack. US intelligence knew where the hospital was, as they had been discussing whether or not a Pakistani spy was present in the hospital.

The hospital repeatedly called the US military while the attack was taking place, but the attack went on anyway. The attack went on for an incredible one hour and fifteen minutes, even while hospital staff were calling and reporting that the attack was taking place! This means it was 100% intentional.

They either did it because they thought the Pakistani spy was there, or because they thought some Taliban were hiding there, or, most likely of all, to punish the hospital for treating Taliban fighters. Field hospitals and medics have always been off limits for attacks as per the Geneva Conventions, but the Pentagon’s latest horrifying Laws of War Manual seems to exempt the US military from virtually all of the Geneva and other Conventions we have signed.

The US military did this at least once before. In the Battle of Fallujah, the military deliberately bombed Fallujah’s hospital which was treating wounded fighters and civilians. It was one of the first targets we hit. We knew exactly where it was and had been told many times where it was but we bombed it anyway. We obviously bombed it deliberately.

I used to think we were above all this crap but it looks like we are not and the US military is down there with the worst militaries on Earth when it comes to brutal ways of fighting war. How dare we complain about Assad! We are just as bad as he is!

The Blood on Obama’s Hands: Kunduz Hospital Attack Designed “to Kill and Destroy”

from Global Research

“Patients burned in their beds, medical staff were decapitated and lost limbs, and others were shot by the circling AC-130 gunship while fleeing the burning building.”

So reads the opening of an initial review issued Thursday by Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders—MSF), documenting the horrifying October 3 US airstrike on the charitable agency’s hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan.

While spelling out the carnage inflicted upon wounded men, women and children as well as doctors, nurses and other medical staff that day, the report adds to the already overwhelming evidence that the attack was neither an accident nor a case of “collateral damage,” but rather a deliberate war crime ordered by the Pentagon to further US military objectives in Afghanistan.

Among the new information provided by the report is that, after repeatedly providing the Pentagon, the US Army in Kabul as well as the Afghan authorities with the coordinates of the well-known medical facility, MSF staff at the Kunduz hospital received a phone call two nights before the attack from a US government official in Washington. He asked whether it “had a large number of Taliban ‘holed up’ there.” The official was told that the hospital was functioning normally and at full capacity, with some wounded Taliban fighters among the patients.

The hospital, the report states, was well-lit and clearly marked, with MSF insignia on its roof. Based on interviews with some 60 staff members, the report establishes that there were no armed individuals in the facility and, indeed, there had been no fighting, gunshots or explosions in the vicinity of the hospital in the evening preceding the attack.

The attack by the slow-moving, propeller-driven AC-130 gunship lasted between an hour and an hour and 15 minutes, with the plane continuously circling the hospital, hitting it with its multiple rapid-fire cannon, precision bombs and missiles.

“The view from inside the hospital is that this attack was conducted with a purpose to kill and destroy,” Christopher Stokes, MSF’s general director, told reporters at a press conference in Kabul on Thursday. “A mistake is quite hard to understand and believe at this time.”

The MSF report gives a chilling sense of the brutality of this crime. It recounts that the first area to be hit was the Intensive Care Unit, where immobile patients, including two children, were killed outright or burned to death in their hospital beds.

The operating theaters were then destroyed, with at least two patients killed as they lay on operating tables.

“An MSF nurse arrived at the administrative building covered from head to toe in debris and blood with his left arm hanging from a small piece of tissue after having suffered a traumatic amputation in the blast,” the report recounts.

Staff members described people being mowed down as they tried to flee the airstrike. “MSF doctors and other medical staff were shot while running to reach safety in a different part of the compound,” the report adds.

“One MSF staff member described a patient in a wheelchair attempting to escape from the inpatient department when he was killed by shrapnel from a blast,” the report states. “Other MSF staff describe seeing people running while on fire and then falling unconscious on the ground. One MSF staff was decapitated by shrapnel in the airstrikes.”

The US airstrike turned what had been the principal medical facility for over one million people in northeastern Afghanistan into hell on earth. In addition to wantonly killing patients and medical staff, it left the region’s entire population without badly needed medical care.

There are two plausible theories that have been advanced to explain the attack. The first, based on reporting by AP, indicates that the strike was ordered out of suspicion that a Pakistani intelligence officer who was coordinating operations with the Taliban was present in the hospital. In other words, mass murder against innocent civilians was carried out as part of a “targeted assassination” against one man.

The other explanation is that the US military decided to obliterate the hospital because it was treating wounded Taliban fighters.

In either case, under international law the attack constitutes a war crime, the kind of offense for which Nazi officers were tried and convicted at Nuremberg.

But not so under the legal rationales for US criminal aggression fashioned under the Obama administration.

As the four-part series, “The Pentagon’s Law of War Manual,” being finalized on the World Socialist Web Site today establishes, the pseudo-legal doctrine that has been crafted for the US military, while giving a formal nod to international law’s prohibition against targeting civilians, makes clear that in practice such attacks are not only allowed but encouraged.

“Civilians may be killed incidentally in military operations; however, the expected incidental harm to civilians may not be excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage from an attack,” the law of war manual states. In other words, the US military is allowed to kill civilians, and the greater the military objective, the more innocent men, women and children, not to mention doctors, nurses and patients, may be slaughtered.

Similarly, while stating that “feasible precautions” should be taken to “avoid” civilian casualties, the manual goes on to affirm that, if US commanders determine that “taking a precaution would result in operational risk (i.e., a risk of failing to accomplish the mission) or an increased risk of harm to their own forces, then the precaution would not be feasible and would not be required.” This is a clear mandate to US military officers to wipe out however many civilians they deem necessary to “accomplish the mission” or reduce their own casualties.

No doubt, within the US chain of command, such calculations were made to arrive at the decision to order an AC-130 to slowly and deliberately reduce a civilian hospital to rubble, killing at least 30 patients and medical staff and wounding many others.

The responsibility for this crime lies not merely with the crew of the flying gunship, the commanders on  the ground in Afghanistan or the top brass of the US military. It extends to the top of the US political establishment, including President Barack Obama and his top aides, who have done so much to make murderous violence around the world routine, from aggressive war, to drone assassinations to cold-blooded massacres.

The White House and the Pentagon have thus far stonewalled MSF’s demand for an independent investigation into the Kunduz hospital massacre.

Even more telling, Joanne Liu, president of MSF, reported this week that the agency had appealed to some 76 governments seeking support for an impartial investigation, but had received none. “The silence is embarrassing,” Liu told Reuters.

Behind this apparent indifference by capitalist governments around the globe to the horrors unleashed by the US military in Kunduz lies the recognition that this attack constituted not the exception, but the rule, not the product of a “tragic error” or “collateral damage,” but the inevitable expression of  the criminality of American imperialism.

“ISIL and the Taliban”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJ4LYj2uIQ0

You might get an error message if you try to play this video on the page here. If that happens,click on the Youtube icon in the lower right and watch it on Youtube, where it should work.

Fantastic documentary from Al Jazeera on the growing ISIS forces in Afghanistan.

ISIS is mostly in Nangarhar, Kunar and Nuristan. These are very rugged areas in the northeast where some of the most radical Taliban elements stay.

In addition, this area was very popular with high ranking Al Qaeda types. A video of Osama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri walking down a rocky mountain slope was probably shot in Kunar, and Tora Bora, where bin Laden made his escape, is in Nangarhar.

Nuristan was originally called Kafirstan, as it was pagan until Muslim invaders converted the area in the 1890’s. For some reason these relatively new converts to Islam became some of the most fundamentalist Muslims in the country.

Many small Indo-Iranian languages are spoken here that are pretty far from either Pashto, Persian or Urdu/Hindi. A lot of these people look very white – these are some of the Whitest people in Afghanistan. The very interesting Kalash people reside right across the border in Pakistan near Chitral.

The area is especially rugged – especially Nuristan and Kunar – and is more or less impenetrable. Nuristan is very steep, and the uniquely styled houses are cut right into the hillside in what looks like terraced villages. Many areas are only accessible by helicopter or on foot, as there it is not even passable by jeep, and there are only footpaths. Further, many of the bridges in Nuristan are only footbridges, and no vehicle can cross them. Many of the few US missions in Nuristan operated by dropping the troops in by helicopter. US forces took relatively heavy losses in this area. I believe there was a US base there which was nearly overrun by the Taliban.

The few Afghan government outposts were quickly abandoned, and the state has little or no presence in the area. I believe that for a time in the last decade, Nuristan even lacked a governor. Successive governors were appointed ,but the Taliban kept threatening them, and they would quit.

It is here where ISIS has chosen to set up its new home in Afghanistan. My understanding is that they have been able to recruit quite a few former Taliban into their ranks, and in addition, many new fighters have come from the Pakistani Taliban across the border, some of whose factions have already declared allegiance to ISIL.

ISIS and the Taliban are fighting in this area, as ISIS generally says that they are the only rebel army that can exist in any area, and they try force all competitors to either pledge allegiance to ISIS or be destroyed by ISIS’ army.

I fear that ISIS has quite a few fighters in Afghanistan (I believe over 1,000 at the very least and possibly thousands). The future will probably see more and more Afghan fighters pledging allegiance to ISIS and joining their side, but for the moment, their largest presence is in the northeast.

US Knew They Were Bombing Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Kunduz, Went ahead and Did It Anyway

Here.

Apparently US “analysts” (an analyst is generally CIA or some sort of intelligence personnel such as military intelligence) had been studying the Medicins Sans Frontiers Hospital in Kunduz for weeks and had become convinced that a major Taliban figure was using the hospital as a safe house to coordinate Taliban attacks all over Kunduz.

A major uproar took place when the US bombed this hospital in Kunduz, killing and wounding dozens of people. The attacks from a C-130 gunship continued for 30 minutes even as the organization frantically contacted the US military and told them that they were bombing a hospital. The hospital had also given the US the coordinates of the hospital several times before so it would not get accidentally bombed.

The US report said that Afghan military called in the attacks when they said they were taking gunfire from the hospital. The US plane apparently acted on the Afghan request without checking it out.

Now it turns out that US analysts believed that the hospital was being used as central control for the Taliban. In addition, either the US or the Afghans or both were angry that the hospital was treating wounded Taliban fighters.

It is looking dubious that the Afghans called in the attack themselves. Instead it looks like the US deliberately hit the hospital either because a Taliban leader was holed up there or to send a message to the Medicins Sans Frontiers organization to stop treating wounded Taliban fighters. If Medicins Sans Frontiers refused and continued to treat wounded Taliban, their hospitals might just get bombed.

US officials said that although a number of US officials knew where the hospital was, they were not sure if the fact that it was a hospital had been communicated to the C-130 crew when the crew attacked it, so the crew either could have been told that it was a hospital and went ahead and bombed it anyway, or the crew was deliberately left in the dark about the nature of the target.

I must say that when I heard this happened, I knew it was done deliberately, especially when the attacks did not stop for 30 minutes after the US was warned they were hitting a hospital. I figured that the US or Taliban ordered the strikes to punish Medicins Sans Frontiers for treating wounded Taliban, but now it looks like they may have been trying to take out a major Taliban figure instead.

Nothing surprised me about this attack. In the Total Spectrum Dominance Warfare Theory that the US now practices, hospitals that treat enemy wounded are considered to be military targets.

How far we have fallen.

US Foreign Policy: Nation State Destruction

Under folks like “Democrat” Anne-Marie “Humanitarian Bomber” Slaughter and “Republican” George “Mission Accomplished” Bush, US foreign policy really boils down to the removal of nation-states either by invasion, mercenary insurgency or armed coup. What’s left over is a failed state with little authority in most of its territory which is then ruled by various US proxy forces such as Nazis, fascists, warlords, tribal chiefs and Islamist fundamentalist idiots.
In Libya, we destroyed a brutal yet stable nation-state and replaced it with anarchy, a failed state apparatus and rule by tribes, warlords and radical Al Qaeda types with a continuous low level of violence.
In Syria, we destroyed a brutal yet stable nation-state and replaced with utter chaos, a mad civil war that left 180,000 dead and 9 million refugees and most of the nation in utter ruins outside of the state’s rule. Radical Islamists control vast swathes of land and atrocities occur continuously. The truth is that Syria has been destroyed.
In Iraq, the US removed a very brutal yet stable nation-state and replaced it with utter chaos, and a continuous insurgency followed by a savage civil war that has left 1.4 million Iraqis dead. Al Qaeda types control vast swathes of land, and Ayatollah types hold sway in the south. Iraq lies in ruins.
In Afghanistan, the US removed an evil yet fairly stable state under the Taliban and replaced it with military occupation and a failed state which barely has jurisdiction or control outside of Kabul city limits. Most of the land lies in ruins and a vast number of died for no particularly good reason. Afghanistan basically lies in ruins.
In Ukraine, the US replaced a stable but corrupt leader who refused to bow to IMF debt slavery and be a nation-seller. A man who got cold feet when it came down to the nitty-gritty of selling out his people bailed on the devastating deal being shoved down his throat. The US then funded some of its pet Nazis to riot in the streets, kill cops and put snipers on buildings shooting dozens in false flag operations.
An insane Nazi regime soon took over and immediately declared war on every minority in the country, especially the Russians. They also for all intents and purposes declared war on Russia. The Russians in the East, naturally alarmed at the rise of this new Nazi power in Europe, logically decided they wanted no part of this mess and voted to secede. A huge military operation was then launched on the people of the East resulting in hundreds dead and entire cities in ruins while America cheered on the slaughter and called for more killing and destruction. Much of Eastern Ukraine now lies in ruins.
In Yemen, a weak government has lost control of much of the countryside where tribal militias and Al Qaeda type Islamists control giant swathes of territory. I am not sure what it was like before 9-11, but I do not think it was this bad.
Tunisia, previously a very stable state, is now destabilized by invading Al Qaeda types from Libya flooded with weapons from the overthrown Libyan government.
Mubarak was removed in Egypt, and in the resulting protests, many died. Elections were held, and Muslim Brotherhood Islamists won. Quite a bit of protest and some violence then ensued. The MB started enacting a lot of anti-democratic laws, and al-Sisi, a Nasserite style general in the Egyptian Army, seized power along with other officers. The MB protested, and many MB protesters were massacred in cold blood. Death sentences were levied against 600 protestors for a protest in which one cop was killed. Attacks against Egyptian Coptic Christians increased dramatically. The result is a chaotic Egypt that was much more stable under Mubarak.

James Petras, “US Working and Middle Class: Solidarity or Competition in the Face of Crisis?”

Another excellent article by Petras. He discusses the obvious, why working class and middle class Americans consistently support the policies of the rich.

US Working and Middle Class: Solidarity or Competition in the Face of Crisis?

James Petras

“I don’t think you realize how hard it is for the oppressed to become united. Their misery unites them (…) But otherwise their misery is liable to cut them off from one another, for they are forced to snatch the wretched crumbs from each other’s mouth”. – Bertolt Brecht, Collected Plays Vol. 9 (Pantheon Books, New York, 1972) p. 379

Introduction

There are two incontestable facts about the United States: the economy and the working class are experiencing a prolonged economic crisis which has lasted over three years and shows no signs of ending; there has been no major revolt, mass national resistance or even large scale protests of any consequence. Few writers have attempted to address this seeming paradox and those who do, have provided partial answers which in fact raise more questions than they answer.

Lines of Inquiry

Essentially most writers emphasize one of the two sides of the “paradox”. The ‘crises’ analysts focus on the extent, duration and enduring nature of the economic breakdown, outlining its harsh impact on the working and middle class in terms of losses of employment, benefits, wages, mortgages etc. Others, mostly left progressive, emphasize the local protests, critical responses registered in opinion polls, occasional complaints of trade union bureaucrats and the hopes and intimations of academics and pundits that a ‘revolt’ is on its way some time in the near future.

Among the minority of less sanguine critical analysts, there is despair, or at least a more pessimist view of the ‘paradox’. They point to several deep-seated psychological, organizational and political obstacles which prevent any revolt or mass unrest from taking hold among the United States’ public.

On the whole these critics see the working and middle class as ‘victims’ of the system, acted upon by false leaders, media manipulation, corporate capitalism and the two party system which prevent them from pursuing their class interests.

In this essay, I will pursue an alternative line of analysis which will argue that the “external enemies” blocking working and middle class resistance are aided and abetted by the behavior and perceived interest within the classes. In pursuit of this line of inquiry, I will argue that both the nature and scope of ‘the crises’ has been misunderstood in its impact on the working and middle class and as a consequence the degree of internal contradictions within those classes has not been adequately understood.

Key Concepts: Clarifying ‘Crises’ and its Impact

Economic crises, even severe, prolonged ones, such as is affecting the US today, do not have a uniform impact on all sectors of the working and middle class. The uneven impact has segmented the working and middle class, between those who are adversely affected and those not, or who in certain circumstances have benefited. This segmentation is one key factor accounting for the lack of class solidarity and has resulted in ‘contradictions’ within and between the working and middle class.

Secondly the uneven development of social organization – especially trade unionization – between public and private sector workers, has led to the former securing and retaining greater social benefits and increases and wages, while the former has lost ground. The public sector workers draw on public financing to fund their ‘corporate interests’ while private sector workers are forced to pay increased taxes, because of regressive fiscal legislation.

The result is an apparent or real conflict of interest between well-organized public workers organized around a narrow set of (self) interests and the mass of unorganized private sector workers who, unable to increase their wages via class struggle, side with “fiscal conservatives” (funded by big business) to demand cutbacks from public sector workers.

Political partisanship, especially among middle and working class Democrats, undercuts class solidarity and weakens unified social resistance. This is evident in relation to issues of war and peace, the economic crises and cutbacks in social programs.

When the Democrats hold office, as they do today ad the wars and war spending multiply, the bulk of the peace movement has disappeared, labor protests against budget cutbacks focus on Republican governors, not Democrats, even as the working and middle class (including public sector employees) are adversely affected.

The millionaire top trade union officials (average annual salary over $300,000 plus perks) further the division by prioritizing the security of their position via million dollar contributions to the Democrats, thus buying insurance on income flows from dues payments. Security of officialdom via alignment with Party legislators and governors, mayors and executive leaders contributes to a further division within the working class between ‘secure functionaries’ and their followers on the one hand, and the rest of the middle and working class.

Operating with these key concepts we will now turn to describing the ‘objective conditions of crises’, a critical survey of some explanations for the ‘paradox’, and follow with a detailed examination of the ‘internal contradictions’ and conclude by outlining some points of departure for resolving the paradox.

Economic Crisis is Real, Deep and Sustained

The symptoms and structures of a deep economic crisis are readily visible to any but the most obtuse government apologist or prestigious economist: un- and under-employment has reached between 18 to 20 percent. One out of three US families are directly affected by loss of employment. One out of ten American family homeowners are either behind in the mortgage payments or face foreclosure. Over half of the current unemployed (9.1 percent) have been out of work at least six months.

Massive cutbacks in public expenditures and investments have led to the end of health, educational and welfare programs for tens of millions of low income families, children, the disabled, the elderly pensioners. Private firms have eliminated or reduced payments for health insurance, leaving over 50 million working Americans without health insurance and another 30 million with inadequate medical coverage. Tax exemptions, reduced and regressive taxation have increased tax payments by wage and salaried workers, reducing their net income.

Increases in pension and health payments forced on middle and working class employees have further reduced net income. Increased spending for at least four wars (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya) preparation for a fifth (Iran) and support for the world’s most militarist state (Israel) and a greatly expanded and costly domestic police state apparatus (Homeland Security alone costs $180 billion) has greatly deteriorated environmental, workplace and leisure space living standards.

Corporate political power and absolute tyrannical control over the workplace has increased fear, insecurity and virtual terror among employees facing increased speed-ups and arbitrary elimination of any say in health and workplace safety, work schedules, over and under time workloads. Low pay service jobs proliferate, high pay jobs are outsourced out of the country; manufacturing plants are relocated abroad; lower paid immigrant professionals and laborers are imported increasing pressure on US workers to compete for lower pay and lesser benefits.

The ‘economic crises’ is embedded in the deep structure of US capitalism and is not a ‘cyclical phenomenon’ subject to a dynamic recovery, restoring lost jobs, homes, living standards and working conditions.

Middle and Working Class Responses to the Economic Crises

The profound, deep seated and pervasive economic crises has not elicited any commensurate revolts, rebellion or even sustained national protest movement. At best local protests by specific segments of the working and middle class have sought to defend narrow organizational and economic interests. The public employees in Wisconsin’s protest movement were as exceptional in its militancy as it was isolated and limited in its overall national impact.

As California Republican and New York Democratic governors eliminate tens of billions of dollars in wages, pension and health benefits for hundreds of thousands of unionized public employees, union officials squawk impotently on the sidelines, incapable of mounting any serious protests let alone popular movements.

Though public opinion polls register high levels of individual concern about the economic crises and dissatisfaction with both political parties the response to the crises has not led to practical activity, nor has any mass ‘movement’’ emerged – it remains private inconsequential discontent.

As much as millions of middle and working classes are deeply preoccupied with the ongoing economic crises there are no significant social or political repercussions past, present or in the foreseeable future.

All the inflated hopes and ‘ominous prognostications’ by liberals and leftists, socialists and progressives, who wrote and predicted a coming ‘revolt of the masses’ have been flat wrong. The crisis continues and the highly dissatisfied middle and working class remain privately suffering, muttering their grievances in isolation, unwilling to engage in any mass collective action.

Even as the mass media, even as the internet, Facebook and Tweeter, present millions demonstrating and striking and even toppling oppressive regimes in the Middle East and North Africa; even as news reports filter out of repeated general strikes and mass occupations of public plazas by employees and workers and unemployed in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy and France, the United States workers stand numb, indifferent and impotent to ‘learn the lessons’ and ‘take collective action’ even where the issues of employment and cutbacks are similar.

Explanations for Social Immobility in the Face of the Economic Crises

There is no lack of ‘recognition’ that ‘something is wrong’ in these United States. There is no lack of pundits attempting to grapple with the paradox of economic crises and social immobility.

Several explanatory forays are floating through the media and the internet. Some writers resort to psychological explanations of social passivity pointing to widespread ‘fear’ of employer retaliation, state repression, or a sense of ‘futility’ in the face of political party indifference and hostility. The psychological arguments have some merit as they point to some of the immediate causes of non-involvement but fail to explain what causes ‘fear’ and futility.

In response many critical progressive cite the absence or weakness of social organizations in particular they point to the decline of trade union organizations, leaving 93 percent of the private sector unorganized and the state sector unionized workers with limited bargaining powers. While these critics are right to emphasize the unwillingness of millionaire trade union officials to break new political ground and initiate new organizing efforts, one needs to explain why the unorganized middle and working class have not themselves launched any new initiatives?

Union officials have a long history of “give backs” going back at least two decades and yet those who are directly adversely affected and those who have lost their jobs have not organized an alternative network of solidarity.

Political analysts emphasize the oligarchic and restrictive nature of the electoral system as pre-empting the emergence of new political initiatives. The multi-million dollar cost of running for office, the near monopoly dominance of the mass media by the corporate two-party elite and the legal obstacle to securing a place on the ballot, discourage disenchanted voters from supporting new political party initiatives.

But the deeper question is why mass movements, outside of the party-electoral framework, have not emerged that might eventually challenge the political oligarchy, the corporate monopoly of media and change the legal constraints on effective entry into the electoral arena. Why do mass movements emerge in other even more repressive countries, facing similar constraints on legal access and confronted by entrenched oligarchies?

If similar ‘external constraints’ as those found in the US led to divergent behavioral responses, it raises the question of whether the differences within the middle and working class can be the source of passivity and immobility?

A few writers, principally on the Left, cite the divorce or distance between intellectuals/academics and the downwardly mobile middle and working class. In the United States there are few intellectuals – politically engaged writers and political lecturers.

What passes for the educated classes, are full-time professional academics who differ little in their social and everyday life, regardless of their stated ideological philosophies. The vast majority of leftist academics conceive of their ‘activism’ as reading papers to each other at ‘left’ or ‘social forums’, which differ little in format and consequences from mainstream professional meetings.

Even those left academics who take a political role, it is mostly in relation with the multi-millionaire senior trade union officials and their loyalist apparatus. As a result the progressive academics have ended up with little entrée into the vast majority of workers who are outside of the trade unions and those dissident union factions challenging the trade union – Democratic Party – corporate nexus.

An Alternate Explanation for the ‘Paradox’

One of the key problems inhibiting an understanding of the paradox is the treatment of the key concept – “crises”. Many writers conceive of the ‘crises’ in a ‘holistic’ way, presuming what is ‘general’ or ‘systemic’ has a homogenous effect on the middle and working class. In fact the vast majority, say three-quarters have not been seriously impacted by the “crises”.

Assuming that the unemployed and under-employed comprise about twenty percent and adding those who have suffered serious downward mobility, we still have at least 70 percent whose main preoccupation is to retain their ‘privileged’ position and to disengage from those who have fallen out of their class-social orbit.

In the US, more than any other country, the sharp internal differences, between employed and un-underemployed, has led to ‘competition’ not solidarity. In most countries of the world ‘unemployed’ and underemployed workers can expect backing, active support from unionized workers; in the US once middle class employees and workers lose their job and cannot pay dues they are dropped.

Even in terms of social, family and neighborhood life, they are seen as a ‘cost’, a potential drain on the resources of those who are employed. The employed see the unemployed and poorly paid as a welfare cost , hence an added tax burden instead of as an ally in a struggle to make the corporate elite pay higher taxes and reduce war spending. Among employed workers higher taxes, means capital flight; lesser military expenditures mean few war industry jobs.

Segmentation within the middle and working class operates at many levels. The most striking is between the pay scale of top union officials which runs over $300,000 plus perks and the unemployed/underemployed living on less than $30,000. These economic differences are played out politically and socially. The trade union apparatus buys ‘job security’ by contributing tens of millions to mostly Democrats, to ensure that unions retain their formal legality and collective bargaining rights.

In other words the ‘organized’ unions, all of 12% of the labor force, is a ‘captive force’ of the ‘crises ridden’ state, which excludes any new socio-political initiatives which would reflect the demands and interest of the under-unemployed and low paid non-unionized workers.

Middle and working class are differentially, impacted by the crises: those with jobs and ties to the Democratic Party place their partisan loyalties above any notion of class solidarity. Job holders don’t support the jobless – they see them as competitors over a shrinking income pie.

If we examine these two groups in detail we find that the poorly paid and un and underemployed tend to be young people under 30 years, blacks, Hispanics and single parents; the better paid employed middle and working class tend to be older, white educated and of Anglo-Jewish background. The generational, racial, ethnic divisions play a far bigger role in the US than anywhere else, because of the obliteration of class identity and outlooks, which has diluted any notion of class solidarity.

The segmentation of the middle and working class is deepened in the US because those with stable employment in many cases benefit from the adverse consequences affecting downwardly mobile (unemployed) employees and workers.

Mortgage foreclosures affect over 10 million American families unable to meet their payments. Banks eager to recover some part of their loan, offer to sell houses at sharply reduced prices. Employed middle and working class home buyers are elated to purchase homes, even as their class members are evicted to the street or trailer camp. There is no movement to block or protest evictions from neighbors, workmates and/or relatives; instead discreet inquiries are made about the auction date.

Better paid workers look to secure cheaper consumer goods in super-stores that employ minimum wage workers. The ‘interests’ of workers are defined by immediate individual-consumer interests not in terms of the improvement of strategic interests resulting from the potential social and political power of an organized class.

Employed middle and working class homeowners see themselves as ‘tax payers’ allied with corporate and real estate moguls fighting to lower taxes by cutting welfare and social services for the low paid working class and unemployed. The growth of upper and middle/working class tax revolts against the welfare state is in effect a war of one segment of the class against another. Clearly one segment fights to grab the crumbs from the mouth of another segment.

Even among the organized working class, there is segmentation. Pockets of better paid unionized public sector workers secured pay raises and pension and health plans via collective struggle, ignoring the interests, demands and needs of the sea of non-unionized workers, who were in the process of downward mobility while paying higher taxes. Hence their socio-economic differences were politicized and exploited by the Right – and the public-private sectors of the middle and working class competed over the crumbs of a shrinking budget.

As public facilities for health and education declined, the middle and working class divided between those who turned to private clinics and schools and those who remained dependent on public facilities, based on state expenditures. Those segments tied to the ‘private’ rejected taxes to fund the ‘public’; undercutting any class solidarity to improve the financing and quality of public health and education.

Conclusion

It is clear that the crisis of capitalism has evoked contradictory responses among different segments of the middle and working class based on its differential impact. Pre-existing non-class identities, internal economic division between leaders and followers and generational divisions and party partisan loyalties have undermined class solidarity and led to inconsequential complaints and diffuse hostility.

Competition- not solidarity- within and among the middle and working class is the reason for the profound immobility of Americans in the face of a prolonged and deepening economic crises.

That is now and in the past. Are there any prospects for a different future? Is there any possibility for uniting middle and working class segments in any sustained struggle? Are there alternative roads to class solidarity and popular mobilizations?

The most promising direction is to start at the local and regional level and involve local community organizations and dissident rank and file trade unions and progressive professionals (lawyer, doctors, etc.) in struggles, which resonate with the most adversely affected groups facing unemployment, foreclosures, no health plans, etc.

All polls show a deep divergence between the vast majority of Americans and the political elite of both parties on issues of bank bailouts, tax exemptions for the rich, “reforms” (privatizations and cut backs), Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Divergences exist over the loss of life and expenditures in America’s multiple and longest wars (Afghanistan).

Referendums proposing (1) to end the cap on social security taxes for the rich would end the so-called “social security crises”. (2) A sales tax on financial transactions would fund the Medicare deficit. Public investments in our deteriorating infrastructure based on the transfer of war funds ($790 billion) would create jobs, increase demand in the domestic economy and augment the productivity and competitiveness of the US economy.

Support for public health is an issue that unites most segments of the middle and working class, unionized health workers and community organizations in a potential confrontation with Big Pharma and the private corporate health industries.

A higher minimum wage – starting at $12 an hour – could mobilize most middle and working class segments, and initiatives at the local level could bring in the immigrant and domestic low paid workers.

The interview data demonstrate that most Americans have apparently ‘contradictory’ attitudes: supporting progressive and regressive policies. For example many support Medicare and ‘small government’; federal job creation and deficit reduction; import tariffs and cheap consumer imports.

An comprehensive activist political educational program, that demonstrates that progressive social reforms are feasible and fundable, based on a sustained fiscal struggle against corporate and financial capital, can be converted into organization and direct action. We start with an objective reality, demonstrating that the sustained crisis of capitalism does not and cannot deliver the most elementary demands: jobs, housing, security, peace and growth.

That is a big advantage over the advocates of the system who argue for prolonged and deeper regressive measures for the foreseeable future.

Secondly, we start with the advantage of knowing that the country has the potential wealth, skills and resources to overcome the crises. Thirdly, we can argue from relatively successful popular programs which have vast support – social security, Medicare, Medicaid – as ‘examples’ to extend and deepen social coverage.

For most Americans, the fight today, to the extent that it exists is defensive – efforts to preserve the last vestiges of independent organization, to defend social security, health programs, affordable public education, pensions. The corporate offensive is increasingly ‘homogenizing’ the organized middle and working class with the lowest paid unorganized segments. There are fewer ‘privileged workers’ even as they are still in self-denial.

The near extinction of private sector unionism and the moribund millionaire leadership provides an opportunity to start anew with a horizontal leadership, accountable to the membership and integrated with community based co-op, ecologist, immigrant, consumer based organizations. What is absolutely clear is that ‘crises’ alone will not result in any mass upheaval; nor do ‘enlightened’ progressive academics holed up in their micro-world offer any leadership.

The road forward starts with local leaders emerging from local coalitions, building organizations on the bases of independent political and social initiatives which resonate with their neighbors, fellow workers and the organized and unorganized downwardly mobile Americans. I see no easy or quick solutions to the ‘paradox’ but I do see the objective conditions, for building a movement. I hear a multitude of angry and discordant voices. Above all, I hope the oppressed will stop “snatching the crumbs from each other.”

The NATO War on Libya: Way to Go, Idiots

I knew this would happen.

All of you liberals who supported the war on Libya, now look what you’ve done.

Speaking on CBS’ Face the Nation, South Carolina Republican Lindsay Graham said we are getting very close to the time when we are going to have to attack Syria. He also said that now is the time to let Assad know that all options are on the table. Graham was an avid supporter of the US Nazi war of aggression on the Iraqi people that led to the US colonization of Iraq. He supported the somewhat more supportable Afghan War. Of course he was very much behind the Libyan War.

Of course, Graham cited the Libyan War as the basis for attacking Iraq, saying that Assad and Ghaddafi were indistinguishable.

Graham could not seem to stop with Syria. He also demanded more aggressive attacks against Pakistani territory and said that the US is on a collision course with Pakistan.

In the wake of war on Libya, Jew Lieberman (Independent – Tel Aviv/Connecticut) demanded that the US also attack Syria. If we can attack Libya, then we can attack Syria too, he reasoned.

I was very worried about this. Though the war on Libya seemed innocent enough, the problem is what these things lead to. In an imperialist power such as the US, they set the stage via the slippery slope for more wars of aggression on whichever other target the imperialists feel like attacking next. It opens a Pandora’s Box. First Libya, next Syria, next Pakistan, next what?

See why I thought this was a bad idea?

How To Solve 90% of the US Long-Term Debt Problems

Real simple.

  1. End US military involvement in Iraq. Recall there are still 50,000 troops there?
  2. End US military involvement in Afghanistan. This is a hot war that shows no sign of ending soon, or period. I’m worried, but maybe it’s time to leave.
  3. Eliminate all of the catastrophic Bush tax cuts of 2001 (now the Obama tax cuts on the principle of you do them, you own them), including the middle class tax cuts that everyone loves so much. Even the middle class cuts are serious threat to the New Deal and Great Society, and I don’t see why any middle class American would want to kill the New Deal and Great Society just to get a tax cut. That means going back to Clinton era tax rates, which were quite low and affordable last time I checked.

That solves 90% of our long-term debt problems right there, just like that. Now how hard was that?
Ever heard a single deficit hawk scum mention this solution? Of course not. Did you hear a single single deficit hawk oppose the latest outrageous Obama tax cuts? Of course not.
Deficit hawks, by their definition, are all liars. They really don’t care about deficits and debt. What they all, and I mean all, believe in is Starve the Beast. Starve the Beast has been the neoliberal supply side philosophy of both political parties, the Punditocracy and the entirety of the US media “right” to “left”. Works like this:

  1. First, “starve the beast” by defunding the state with huge tax cuts. We now of 30 years of endless tax cuts, and they are really starting to bite.
  2. Create a deficit or debt crisis deliberately with tax cuts and deliberate overspending on a variety of things that are never paid for, including wars, defense spending, Medicare Part B, etc.
  3. Use the deficit and debt crisis you manufactured to create a constituency for the utter necessity of massive cuts in government programs, with the main focus being social programs. In this way, the Right can finally kill the Great Society and New Deal that they have hated from Day One.
  4. Use ruined economies as “disaster capitalism,” which means that the ruined economy will starve the state of funds. Then use the economic crisis to gut the state and kill the hated social programs.In this sense, ruined economies, economic crises, recessions and depressions are actually seen by deficit hawks as wonderful things.

Reagan, both Bushes, Clinton and now Obama were all Starve the Beast politicians. Time for something new.

List of Obama Sellouts Since the Election

Right after his “shellacking” he went to India, of all places, and negotiated some crazy trade deal with the diabolical Indian elite. He claimed he got some American jobs in the deal. None of these crazy neoliberal trade pacts ever pay for themselves in the way of US jobs. They always only lose US jobs. That’s all they do. That’s what they are designed to do. India is taking 10 jobs from Americans for every 1 job Obama got from the deal. The disconnect was almost unfathomable. These Beltway elites just don’t get it.
List:
Afghanistan: Obama junked a 2011 pullout date, and General Petraeus said we would be there for decades. Afghanistan is going to be like the “temporary” tax cuts. Occupation will become permanent.
Iraq: From promising to pull out of Iraq, Obama has left 50,000 troops in the country! The 50,000 are left after the “complete pullout. LOL. Iraq looks to be another permanent occupation.
Chamber of Commerce Monsters: After the fanatically pro-Republican CoC ran one of the most dishonest campaigns in memory, helping to destroy the Democratic Party’s candidates, Obama met with them!
Congressional Republicans: Totally obstructionist Republicans who have admitted that they have one goal only, to destroy Obama’s Presidency, should have been shunned. Instead, outrageously, Obama met with them and apologized for not “reaching out to them more.” LOL!
That’s like the victim apologizing to the bully for making him mad after getting beat up for the 300th time. The bully laughs in his face and beats him again for good measure. That’s exactly what happened here. The Republicans punched him out again in the meeting, and Obama walked away smiling, presumably with a sore anus.
Roger Altman: Total disaster Roger Altman helped run the criminal enterprise called Lehman Brothers that was shut down by the state under the RICO Act. This is one of the singlehandedly helped to destroy the US economy. Obama is rewarding him for this destruction by putting Altman on his economic team! Outrageous. Obama’s economic team is mostly made of Goldman Sachs gangsters who ought to be indicted under the RICO Act for their role in the organized crime group called the Goldman Sachs Cartel.
Froze federal workers pay: Thereby going along with rightwing lies – federal workers make too much money, spending is the problem, we need austerity.
South Korea NAFTA: Went to South Korea and triumphantly negotiated a NAFTA like catastrophe with that country. It’s going to cost US workers an untold number of jobs.

Islamist Bombers Attack Sweden

1 dead, 2 wounded in blasts attacking Christmas shoppers in Stockholm. The dead man was apparently a bomber on foot. He was carrying a bag of pipe bombs and they seem to have exploded, either accidentally or on purpose is not known. The press was calling it a suicide bombing, but police are not sure.
Video of the blast here.
A while earlier, a car bomb had gone off in a shopping center. There was no one in the car.
Before the blasts, the Swedish press had received threats from Islamists threatening attacks against Sweden for their presence in Afghanistan and the recent cartoons of Mohammad by a Swedish cartoonist. The 2 wounded people suffered minor injuries.
The blasts seem to have been carried out by an Al Qaeda type group, because AQ groups are the ones who threaten to bomb Europe over Mohammad cartoons and troops in Afghanistan.

Reactionary Nut Republican On Various Non-Existent Threats

From In Mala Fide, where many a flipped out reactionary hangs out, a super-rightist named Whiskey holds forth:

You’re completely off base on this. The objections to the START treaty is that it hamstrings the US, particularly with weapons modernization (so they actually work) and forbids a ABM shield. Which is needed.
Obama’s objective is to punish White America for having and using Nukes by eliminating them first. As he’s pushed for repeatedly in speeches and actions. No one trusts him because he’s against the US having nukes or a military in the first place.
Nor are you correct about Iran not being able to get nukes. North Korea has them, and just today it was revealed their centrifuge program, thought impossible was far along and done in less than a year, right before our eyes. Of course they have help, as does Pakistan and Iran: CHINA.
China wishes to use proxies to threaten or even nuke the US, deniably, so they can scoop up much of Asia, including Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Their economy is a sham and they know it. They have a massive gender imbalance. They have looming demographic shortages coming.
This is the mark of a “use it or lose it” aggressive power: see Japan and Germany, 1930′s. For the Chinese to take Taiwan, and the rest of Asia, as colonies and mercantile advantages (think 1600-1700′s France) they must move the US out, and indirect ways are less risky than overt war (which is disturbingly contemplated in Chinese media and thus with official approval).
Iran is a threat because it too faces a looming crisis domestically with their economy, looming demographic implosion, and like China and Turkey aspirations for empire rebuilding. Iran’s leaders have stated they wish to reconstitute in Islamic form the Persian Empire, stretching into the Balkans, down to Egypt, and the Arabian Peninsula.
As a practical matter, Iran’s nukes would allow it to keep oil prices sky high (by threatening the Gulf states) and turf out the US Navy. If you like paying less than $20 a gallon for gas and keeping your job, you’ll find Iran’s nukes a threat. Given the need to start paying off their gunmen and what amounts to a cadre of military gangsters they are likely racing to this goal of nukes + ballistic missiles. Both technology more than sixty years old.
Its not that hard to do, the Russians did it in the 1950′s.
As far as Iran plus Pakistan, each could point to the other if they are both nuclear, if a major US city goes boom!
Which is why Lindsay Grahmanesty is right. We need to dismember Iran before they go nuclear. So we can have gas that is not so expensive it destroys the economy and puts us in horse and buggy times. We also need a robust nuclear deterrent, and ABM against nations like North Korea which are thinly disguised proxy attackers helped by China. Iran does not have any friends and a major power like the US needs to provide useful lessons and reminders of the danger of attacking us.
Our main problem is that no one really believes we have the will and ability to punish nations severely if they threaten our core interests. China has no such problem and is our major competitor. Thus we need to dump the START treaty and do something about Iran, like bomb all its major facilities. Setting back its nuke program and promoting useful fear. [I mean really, who’d care if we bombed the crap out of Iran? But its a good way to put fear of the US into Pakistan’s military, so they control their jihadis.]
Never underestimate the power of a useful example in international relations.

One insane remark at a time here.
The objections to the START treaty is that it hamstrings the US, particularly with weapons modernization (so they actually work) and forbids a ABM shield. Which is needed.
This guy must go to the Richard Perle School in International Relations. First he trots out the old, “We need to still keep building nukes ‘to make sure they still work'” line. Can you believe that this crazy line has captured the famished imaginations of many a US President? Sad but true.
Next up we have the ABM shield. It’s a bad idea, and it’s based on the premise of a winnable nuclear war. Nuclear wars are not winnable. Everyone loses. In the we can win scenario, the ABM shoots down all the enemy nukes, and then we blast them with our nukes. It goes back to the USSR and the Cold War, which is supposedly over, but neocons like this guy are always finding new wars to fight.
Obama’s objective is to punish White America for having and using Nukes by eliminating them first. As he’s pushed for repeatedly in speeches and actions. No one trusts him because he’s against the US having nukes or a military in the first place.
Wow, some Tea Party White racism thrown in for good measure. Obama hates US Whites because we have nukes and niggers don’t. LOL. No one cares that Obama opposes even the US having nukes, supposedly, but even Obama isn’t nuts enough to unilaterally disarm.
Of course they have help, as does Pakistan and Iran: CHINA.
China, a nuclear power, is helping potential enemy neighbors and near neighbors also become military powers, so that maybe they can threaten China in the figure. Right dude. Rule #1 about nuclear powers is that they don’t tend to spread it around. Look at all the big nuclear powers. Any of them proliferated? Of course not. If you had the deadliest poison on Earth, would you even give it to your best friends or family? Of course not.
China wishes to use proxies to threaten or even nuke the US, deniably, so they can scoop up much of Asia, including Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Their economy is a sham and they know it. They have a massive gender imbalance. They have looming demographic shortages coming. This is the mark of a “use it or lose it” aggressive power: see Japan and Germany, 1930′s. For the Chinese to take Taiwan, and the rest of Asia, as colonies and mercantile advantages (think 1600-1700′s France) they must move the US out, and indirect ways are less risky than overt war (which is disturbingly contemplated in Chinese media and thus with official approval).
LOL, whoa dude. Too much, dude, too much. Even the Perle – Wolfowitz – Gaffney – Rumsfeld – Cheney – Feith Project for a New American Century sociopaths don’t say things this crazy. There’s crazy and there’s batshit crazy. This is batshit crazy. So nuts I won’t even bother to refute it. Suffice to say there is no evidence for it.
China’s economy in some ways is in better shape than the West’s. It is growing at a remarkable pace. It avoided the financial ponzi scheme World Depression through the use of state banks. China invests in real capital investment, real productivity growth and real commodity production and increasing wages and living standards, whereas the US engages in asset stripping, bald and naked class war out of the 1890’s, financial ponzi schemes, the destruction of the real economy, a financialized casino economy that in reality is a house of cards, declining wages and living standards and an economy that both parties run only so the top 2% can attack the bottom 98%.
China’s economy is run for the nation, the people and workers. The US’ economy is run by and for a parasitical FIRE sector with banksters at the helm determined to suck every last bit of surplus out of consumers in form of payments to banks.
Iran is a threat because it too faces a looming crisis domestically with their economy, looming demographic implosion, and like China and Turkey aspirations for empire rebuilding. Iran’s leaders have stated they wish to reconstitute in Islamic form the Persian Empire, stretching into the Balkans, down to Egypt, and the Arabian Peninsula.
Iran’s demographics are no big deal anymore than any other 3rd World Country. The birth rate is below replacement. The economy is doing ok, barring the sanctions. Iran certainly has no desire to be an imperialist state, and neither does Turkey (LOL) and even China does not aspire to such.
Iran’s leaders certainly have never said that they want to recolonize the Arab World under a recreated Persian Empire. This sounds like the fevered blatherings of fanatical Sunnis more than rational analysis.
As a practical matter, Iran’s nukes would allow it to keep oil prices sky high (by threatening the Gulf states) and turf out the US Navy. If you like paying less than $20 a gallon for gas and keeping your job, you’ll find Iran’s nukes a threat. Given the need to start paying off their gunmen and what amounts to a cadre of military gangsters they are likely racing to this goal of nukes + ballistic missiles. Both technology more than sixty years old.
Won’t happen. Even if they ever get them, Iran won’t use nukes to blackmail the world. This is just ridiculous. They will use them like all other sane countries use them, in order to keep idiots like us from attacking them. Duh.
As far as Iran plus Pakistan, each could point to the other if they are both nuclear, if a major US city goes boom!
A US city won’t go boom unless someone shoots a nuke at it. If that ever happened, I’m sure the Pentagon has the high tech to figure out which country launched it. Snark. There’s no way to nuke a US city without shooting a ballistic missile at it. I deal with the suitcase nukes bullshit in an earlier post.
Which is why Lindsay Grahmanesty is right. We need to dismember Iran before they go nuclear. So we can have gas that is not so expensive it destroys the economy and puts us in horse and buggy times.
The homosexual Lindsay Graham is not right. We don’t need to invade Iran, much less dismember it. If you thought Iraq and Afghanistan were fun, try doing Iran!
Iran does not have any friends and a major power like the US needs to provide useful lessons and reminders of the danger of attacking us.
Yeah but no one’s “attacking us” you neocon dumbshit. Oh, that’s right, in the 107 degree minds of the neocons, the US is always “under attack.” Usually the attacks are the “invisible” kind, but they are attacks nonetheless. Snark.
We also need a robust nuclear deterrent, and ABM against nations like North Korea which are thinly disguised proxy attackers helped by China.
We don’t need the ABM, and it doesn’t even work anyway. Ever try shooting down a bullet with another bullet. That’s what an ABM is. It doesn’t work. North Korea is not a Chinese proxy. China has it’s own nukes, and it’s almost an ally anyway. There is huge trade between the US and China. No reason to screw that up with messy things like wars.
Our main problem is that no one really believes we have the will and ability to punish nations severely if they threaten our core interests.
Neocons are always saying this. “Our enemies think we are weak. We need to attack someone to show them we are serious!” By the way, this was one of the main rationales for the Iraq War, and look where that got us. Sure the world is scared of the US.
In the above, “threaten” means just about anything. It means looking at Uncle Sam wrong. It means not following orders when the US issues them. “US interests” means the interests of US imperialism. Not a good thing.
Thus we need to dump the START treaty and do something about Iran, like bomb all its major facilities.
Yeah, brilliant idea, dumbass. Want to see that $20/gallon oil? Then try this.
I mean really, who’d care if we bombed the crap out of Iran?
Just about the whole world, in particular the Muslim World, Russia, China, everyone really? This is another of the neocon delusions. First of all, the world is full of enemies who “hate us for our freedom” or whatever bullshit reason they thought up last night. We have no friends. Second of all, the world really does love America and will secretly be overjoyed when we start the next war. This is the thinking behind the assholes who started the Iraq War, exactly.
But its a good way to put fear of the US into Pakistan’s military, so they control their jihadis.
Yeah dude. Um, Pakistan is afraid we are going to bomb their nuclear facilities? WTF.
Never underestimate the power of a useful example in international relations.
This is the “make an example out of them” neocon school. This argument was also very important in the Iraq War. Boy, this guy is drumming them out one by one here, no?
The scary thing is that this raving lunatic represents the way the Republican Party thinks, and the way that 10’s of millions or possibly even a majority of Americans think, or could easily be led to think. Commenter AJ is right. US imperialism is a menace to humanity. The sooner it crashes and burns, the better.

Good Video on the Taliban

A Western journalist embedded with them high in the mountains of Kunar Province. They have a very large gun, but I’m not sure what it is. We get to see them set ambushes for US convoys, avoid US planes, etc. We see them at home relaxing with their troops and their families.

One thing that is interesting is the phenotype of these Kunar Pashtuns. These are some of the Whitest looking Pashtuns I’ve ever seen. The Kunar Pashtuns are right next door to Nuristan. Nuristan and Chitral across the border has the Whitest looking people in the region. Lots of blond hair and blue and green eyes. As far as I’m concerned, these people are Whites. Anyone who says they’re not White ought to have their head examined.

The Significance of the Refoundation of the Maoist Movement in Pakistan

This is an interesting document outlining the prospects for revolution in Pakistan.

If not for Islam, Pakistan would probably already be in a revolutionary situation right now.

Bangladesh, where objective conditions are just as bad as in India, if not worse, has seen little progress in an actual armed struggle by Maoist forces, mostly due to the presence of Islam. Islamic Bangladesh has recently seen a large movement towards Islamism, though the nation’s elites are still secular. The Islamic parties are very large and popular.

Your average poor, starving peasant, who ought to be on board with revolution, is instead wasting his time jerking off with Islamist reactinaries. The Islamist militias have attacked the Maoists many times, killing many cadres. The state is probably using them for this purpose. This is reminiscent of the situtation in Indonesia in 1965, when Islamist militias were used to kill 1 million Communists in less than a year, a massacre that the CIA was involved in from start to finish.

Every time revolution rears its head in the Islamic World, the Islamists immediately condemn them as “atheists” and slaughter them. I assume that your average religious Muslim supports this massacre of the apostates.

Since Islam is so embedded in the population, I am dubious at the prospects for revolution in Pakistan. The Islamists will quickly condemn the Maoists as “atheists” and will be free to slaughter them. Further, the state will use the Islamist militias, as it already does. For instance, the Pakistani state used the Islamist militias to kill Benazir Bhutto recently. Further, getting pegged as atheists will make it hard for the Maoists to get support.

The revolutionary situation in Hindu countries is much better for some reason. Maoism went over great in Nepal, and the Maoists are doing well in India. In Nepal, the Maoists simply asked, “What’s Hinduism done for you lately?” The answer in general was nothing. Hinduism was used via the caste system by local elites to repress the peasants in a feudal to semi-feudal manner. In India, most of the Hindu Maoists have not really given up Hinduism. I suspect that Hinduism is not as deeply embedded in your average peasant’s psyche as Islam is.

Nevertheless, I understand that the PMKP is already quite popular among peasants oppressed by semi-feudalism. They hold large rallies in favor of land rights and lots of peasants show up. I assume that they don’t directly attack Islam – that would be idiotic in Pakistan. I have a Pakistani friend who comes from a feudal landlord family, and even she supported the PMKP, saying they were good for the peasants.

At any rate, I don’t think a revolutionary situation exists in Pakistan right now, and it will be a while before one starts up. And that’s almost all due to Islam.

The Significance of the Refoundation of the Maoist Movement in Pakistan

August 12, 2010

A Statement to the Seventh National Congress of the Pakistan Mazdoor Kissan Party

From the General Secretary of Revolutionary Initiative

With our fists raised as high as our hopes for the future of the
Pakistani revolution, Revolutionary Initiative, a
Marxist-Leninist-Maoist pre-party formation in Canada, offers a red salute to the comrades convening the August 2010 7th National Congress of the Pakistan Mazdoor Kissan Party (Pakistan Workers and Peasants Party).

We understand that the 7th Congress will mark a return of the PMKP to the Maoist origins of the party, as established by its founders Major Ishaq Mohammed, Afzal Bungish, Eric Sperian, and Ghulam Nabi Kaloo in the 1960s.

The new program of the PMKP will effect a decisive break with the pseudo-alternatives currently being presented to the people of Pakistan: the perpetuation of a backward semi-colonial, semi-feudal society maintained by the pro-imperialist military and civil bureaucracy, comprador bourgeoisie, and feudal ruling elite; versus the equally backward social program offered up by the Taliban of
Pakistan. By breaking with the revisionist Left, which looks to U.S. imperialism for enlightenment through its brutal “War on Terror”, the PMKP is setting a course to truly rally the peasants, proletarians, and the progressive petty-bourgeois elements to the anti-imperialist cause.

Further, by exposing the program of the Taliban as fascism in a different form, the PMKP has truly placed itself at the vanguard of all the toiling masses in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s lackeys to the imperialists and the Taliban only appear to be irreconcilably opposing forces, but in practice they are two sides of the same coin. The world will never forget that it was U.S. imperialism, during the course of the Cold War, which helped create the Taliban with the unwavering support of the Pakistani state.

Due to the Pakistani ruling classes’ subservience to U.S. imperialism, the vast majority paid a steep price for the maintenance of the country’s incredible state of economic backwardness. Today, this relationship
has brought only new sufferings, with U.S. imperialism raining down drone attacks upon the heads of Pakistani civilians.

With a population of 170 million people, 48% of Pakistan’s labour force is involved in agricultural production. About 55% of the country’s population possesses no land at all. The vast majority of people in the countryside are exploited by landlords, usurers, merchants, and the religious institutions.

As the PMKP’s new draft program reads, it is the semi-colonial aspect of Pakistan’s countryside that remains the “main obstacle to the release of productive forces and the progress of our country”. This is what makes the heavily exploited and oppressed peasantry the “main force in the peoples democratic revolution carried out under the leadership of the proletariat.”

It is these conditions that make Pakistan ripe for People’s War. If the Maoists do not lead the struggle of the people, the Islamic forces will continue to prevail in their reactionary mobilization of the masses in their pseudo-opposition to U.S. imperialism.

The floods that are currently ravaging Pakistan, bringing great misery and dislocation to as much as 10% of the population and claiming thousands of lives, could be easily mitigated by a socialist society which places all the productive forces of society in the hands of the workers and peasants.

It is our hope that the floods do not derail the plans for the 7th Congress, but if they do, we know it will be because of the urgent need for the revolutionary vanguard to serve and guide the people in a time of great hardship. It is inevitable that the imperialists and the reactionaries in Pakistan will use the catastrophes to strengthen their legitimacy and order, just as the imperialists and reactionaries have done in Haiti with the great earthquake there in January 2010.

In addition to the great consequences that the rise of the Pakistani Maoist movement will have at the domestic level, the Pakistani revolution would also affect historic transformations at the regional and world levels.

Regionally, the revolution in Pakistan would carry the revolutionary tide sweeping South Asia deeper into the Muslim world, breaking the monopoly of the clerical fascists in the struggle against imperialism, which they do not fundamentally oppose and do so in appearance only for their own opportunistic and self-aggrandizing purposes.

At the world level, the rise of a revolutionary communist tide in Pakistan would deal a blow to the ideological basis of the imperialist ‘War on Terror’. In the Western imperialist countries, Muslims are being scapegoated to divert the rest of the masses from the true geopolitical and economic interests of the NATO bloc of imperialists: to plunder the world, exploit the toiling masses, and gain the upper hand in the inter-imperialist competition with the other imperialists and regional geopolitical rivals, especially Russia and China.

The masses in the West are blackmailed into supporting the imperialist war of aggression in Afghanistan through the specter of Taliban rule. But we know that the war against the Taliban, a war on domestic reactionaries and exploiting classes, can only be the class war of the toiling masses, not the imperialists. The world was reminded of this on May 1st, 2010 when the PMKP rallied and marched in North-West Frontier Province for the support of the revolution in Nepal.

We look forward, comrades, to the great feats that the people of Pakistan will achieve under the leadership of genuine communists guided by Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and we will show the masses in our country that the people of Pakistan are our friends and comrades, and that they strive for genuine democracy, for socialism and for communism, just like ourselves.

If the PMKP, alongside our comrades of the Shola Jawid (Communist Party Maoist of Afghanistan) and Sarbederan (Communist Party of Iran-Maoist), successfully organize and arouse the masses for national democratic revolution by way of anti-imperialist People’s Wars in Central and South Asia, genuine communists all around the world will rally to your cause, learn important lessons from your struggle, and promote them amongst the proletarians of their home countries.

If the PMKP holds fast to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism after the convention of the 7th National Congress, deeply uprooting the revisionism of the past decades, and boldly applies MLM to the conditions of Pakistan, then a glorious future lays ahead for the people of Pakistan and South and Central Asia. The era of imperialism is the era of world proletarian revolution. In this phase imperialism’s strategic decline, the phase of the second great crisis of capitalist imperialism that has plagued the world since the early 1970s, the conditions for proletarian revolution are inexorably improving.

Finally, this message of solidarity would not be complete without our own organization clearly identifying Canadian imperialism as a leading enemy of the people of the world, including the people of your country. A leading player in the occupation of Afghanistan and NATO is Canadian imperialism, the basis of which is Canadian monopoly-finance capital. As the imperialist war in Afghanistan more and more spills over into your country, your connection to the Canadian proletariat’s revolutionary struggle deepens more and more.

The proletarian youth who are being sent to Afghanistan only to return to Canada in body bags are also the victims of imperialist war, but they must be driven from Afghanistan just the same. The ruinous war in Afghanistan sets the basis for revolutionary agitation amongst the soldiers, no less than the Korean War and the Vietnam War radicalized whole generations of youth and soldiers in the West.

Together, let us hasten the movement towards socialism and communism on a world scale before the imperialists drag us further into a hellish world of war, avertable disasters, ecological catastrophe, and the day-to-day grinding exploitation and oppression of capitalism.

Red salute to the PMKP for taking up the banner of Marxism-Leninism- Maoism!

Onwards with the People’s War in Pakistan!

From Canada to Pakistan, long live the international proletarian revolution.

Jews Are Not the Problem

A commenter asks:

Robert, you claimed that anti-Semitism on the Maury2K blog was disturbing to you. As a leftist, ask yourself this question: what have Jews done for workers and the left in recent years, I mean other than pushing for more wars in the Middle East and promoting neoliberal economics.

National Bolshevik retarded anti-Semitism is indeed disturbing to me, and the more I read it, the less I like it. If this is socialism, it’s the Socialism of Fools:

Trotsky was a Jew. The defeat of Trotsky by Stalin was the defeat of Jewish plutocracy by Stalin’s workers revolution. Why was Trotsky a “plutocrat?” Because he was a Jew, dontcha know?

Retarded.

Why are Jews not the enemy?

Simple, the Jews as a voting group are the most liberal and progressive group in the US. If you look at the US liberal-Left, it’s full of Jews. I was on the Left for many years. The Communist Party USA is Jews from top to bottom. So are the Greens and other Left parties. Jews completely dominate the entire US Left, and your average US Jewish voter is the most progressive voter in the US.

Jews lead movements. Sure, a few promote neoliberalism, but neoliberalism is simply what is promoted by the entire US capitalist class, 98% of which is non-Jewish. Blaming Jews for neoliberalism is the Socialism of Fools! Wars in the Middle East? Well, it’s unfortunate, but the truth is that We Are All Jews now.

The US Gentiles support Israel and wars in the Middle East. Bush and Cheney knew what they were doing. No Jews secretly pushed them into war. They wanted war with Saddam going back years, but for reasons of US imperialism for the most part. Israel was a side issue, and Bush and Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al, could give a flying fuck about Saddam’s threat to Israel.

The entire US Republican Party is pro-Israel. And it’s not because Jews force them into this. It’s ideological. US conservatism at the moment is fanatically pro-Zionist. That is its ideological nature, and it has little to do with US internal politics, since Jews don’t vote Republican anyway.

Israel is a settler-colonial and imperialist state that is allied with US imperialism. As promoters of US imperialism, the Republican Party is deeply allied with Israel. Plus they see Israelis as Western Judeo-Christians in a sea of evil Muslims, so they support them on that basis  – the US Republican Party is now deeply Christian fundamentalist on an ideological level.

As far as the Democratic Party and Israel, the Democratic Party under Obama is the most anti-Israel Administration since Nixon 1972-1974. And it’s led by Jews. A Jew, Rahm Emanuel, is leading the anti-Israel charge with this Administration.

US Jewry is tiring of Israel’s crap. The gap between US Jewish liberalism, anti-racism and multiculturalism and Israeli Jewish fascism is becoming too wide to bridge. Israel’s bullshit is endangering US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

US Jews are not so dual loyalist as you think. They are loyal to the Jews, sure, but only up to a point. First and foremost, most US Jews are Americans and American patriots. A liberal and progressive Israel would win their loyalty, but Israeli fascism is getting too blatant these days. Hence US Jews are cutting the strings of their aprons to Israel.

Taliban Kill 12 NATO Troops in One Day

In multiple attacks, too, no mean feat.

4 US troops were killed in an IED attack, 1 more was killed in a gunfight, and three were killed in a Taliban effort to overrun a US-Afghan police base in Kandahar. The last attack involved a suicide car bomb, followed by RPG and automatic weapons fire, along and many rockets fired at the base.

All Americans were killed in the South, which probably means Kandahar and Helmand.

4 more troops, all British, were killed. 3 of them were killed in in Helmand in  yet another attack by a Taliban mole posing as an Afghan soldier. Either that, or an Afghan soldier who went over to the other side. We are seeing more and more of these “traitor attacks” where Afghan troops or police open fire on NATO forces that they are working with. These are essentially suicide attacks, since the attackers are often killed, but they are often deadly. In this case, incredibly, the guy escaped, and there is a huge manhunt on for him.

I am not sure what to do about Afghanistan. It’s quite clear that we are spending almost nothing on education, health care, roads, etc. for the Afghans. If we spent more on that, would they like us more? Hard to say. I also do not believe reports about a Taliban-Al Qaeda rift. The two groups are very well integrated, especially in Pakistan. It’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. If the Taliban win in Afghanistan when we pull out (dubious but possible) they could once again turn the place over to Al Qaeda.

The Taliban’s problem is that they are an ethnic militia. They are primarily, if not exclusively Pashtun. The Taliban anymore are simply a vehicle for Pashtun nationalism. Non-Pashtuns such as Afghan Hazara, Tajiks, Uzbeks, etc. are scarce if not nonexistent in the movement. So the Afghan Hazara, Tajiks, Uzbeks, etc will never go over to the Taliban, as the Taliban are racist Pashtuns who will oppress all the other groups.

But the Afghan government is almost worthless. The cops are corrupt and evil, often kidnapping young boys for sex and shaking down residents for bribes just to drive on the roads. They do nothing to help the people. In areas outside of Taliban control, highway robbery and brigands are very common. The Taliban come in and put a stop to all of that.

I really don’t know what to do about this situation, but I am not sure “we are going to win” with the way we are going.

Mullah Omar is still alive and is probably living in Quetta.

Nice Summary of the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan

Excellent article from the BBC covers Helmand, Kandahar, Zabul, Ghazni, Paktika, Khost, Paktia, Logar, Wardak, Nangarhar and Kunar Provinces in Afghanistan. The Taliban are most prominent in the South, in Helmand, Kandahar, Oruzgan and Zabul. They also have a strong presence in the East, in Khost, Paktika and Paktia and to the north in Kunar.

They have a lesser presence in Nangarhar, Ghazni, Logar and Wardak, but I think this article unnecessarily played down their presence in Ghazni. In Ghazni, the Taliban rule the night.

Excellent graphic from the BBC of the main Taliban areas in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Ghazni is way worse off than Logar and Wardak.

In Pakistan, the Taliban have a strong presence all along the border, especially in Chaghai, Quetta, Toba Kakar, North and South Waziristan, Mohmand, Bajaur and Swat. I think they have a very strong presence in Dir also. In fact, I have long suspected that Osama bin Laden is hiding in Dir. Ayman al-Zawahiri recently married a woman from the Mohmand tribe, the major group in the Mohmand region.

They have a lesser presence in the Orakzai, Kurram and Khyber Agencies.

The Pakistani Taliban are divided into groups that mostly fight in Afghanistan and others that mostly fight in Pakistan. The ones that mostly fight in Afghanistan are the ones that the Pakistani government would be most likely to cut a deal with.

I think the article is correct that the Taliban leadership is in Quetta. It would not surprise me.

There are 24,000 militants in South Waziristan, including many foreign fighters who for all intents and purposes are part of Al Qaeda. The foreign jihadis, including Arabs, Chechens, Uzbeks and Uighurs, have married deeply into the local tribes and are now part of the neighborhood. In the West, a Taliban group fights mostly in Afghanistan, while in East, another group fights in Pakistan.

There are 10,000 militants in North Waziristan. Jalaluddin Haqqani is a powerful force here. The militants mostly use this area as a base for operations in Afghanistan, and Haqqani brokered a peace deal with the Pakistan government in 2006. Haqqani has an excellent force, and it was his forces who blew up the CIA base in Khost a while back, killing 8 CIA officers, including the CIA chief of Khost. That’s some darned good counterintelligence.

Orakzai and Kurram have a lesser Taliban factor due to many Shia living there. Shia want nothing to do with the hyper-Sunni Taliban. However, there are 2,000 militants in Orakzai controlled by Hakimullah Mehsud of the Mehsud tribe. He is also one of the big shots in South Waziristan. His forces are present in Orakzai and in Lower Kurram where there are few Shia.

They have filtered up to the Khyber Agency where they are behind a lot of the attacks around Peshawar. Peshawar is no longer a safe city. There is a strong Taliban presence in the slums on the outskirts of the city in particular.

The Tehrik Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is present in the Mohmand, Bajaur and Khyber Agencies. This group has been fighting Pakistani forces from the very start. The Pakistani government is currently in the midst of a large operation against militants in Mohmand and Khyber.

Maulvi Faqir Mohammad is the head of the Taliban in Bajaur, and he is  a dangerous fellow. I’ve long suspected him of harboring top Al Qaeda figures. He has about 10,000 militants under his command. A truce ended hostilities here in 2009, and the TTP was supposed to dissolve itself and yield to the state. That has not happened, and they are back in charge of much of the Agency.

There are 5,000 militants in Mohmand Agency who are currently fighting the Pakistani government. The government is making good progress against them.

There was a large militant network of unknown size until recently in the Swat Valley. Swat had always been governed under archaic British colonial law which was ended in the early 1990s’s. This resulted in a campaign to impose Sharia Law. Finally, Sharia Law was imposed in 2009 as part of a deal with the government, but the fighting continued. Militants here were vicious, attacking anything and anyone having anything to do with the Pakistani state.

After a savage counterinsurgency by Pakistani forces, things are pretty calm. But there was a price to be paid for this, as many militants were murdered by state death squads who abducted them, tortured them horribly until their deaths and then left their mangled and mutilated bodies in the open for everyone to see. This was the Salvadorization of Swat Valley. It worked, but I don’t support such tactics.

All in all, the article lists 51,000 Pakistani Taliban forces in Pakistan, but I am afraid there are a lot more than that, since the forces in rear bases of Quetta and Chaghai are not included.