Wednesday, 29 November 2017
Tuesday, 21 November 2017
The Guardian has spent the last two years relentlessly attacking Jeremy Corbyn. Only recently has it changed its tune, perhaps worried that it has alienated too many readers. Corbyn's success has been despite the Guardian and the rest of the corporate media. The Guardian will now want readers to forget its propaganda war on Corbyn. We've compiled this list so they don't. Dump the Guardian!Via Tony Greenstein.
Monday, 9 October 2017
A Massive Exposé From Buzzfeed on How Breitbart and Milo Yiannopoulos Pushed White Nationalism Into the Mainstream
From LGF's intro to this important work of internet investigative journalism:
Today, Buzzfeed’s Joseph Bernstein has a mammoth exposé on this vile agenda, and the dominant role played by Milo Yiannopoulos, who was made a right wing star by Steve Bannon specifically to legitimize the white supremacist underworld to which he was already deeply connected.
The Breitbart employee closest to the alt-right was Milo Yiannopoulos, the site’s former tech editor known best for his outrageous public provocations, such as last year’s Dangerous Faggot speaking tour and September’s canceled Free Speech Week in Berkeley. For more than a year, Yiannopoulos led the site in a coy dance around the movement’s nastier edges, writing stories that minimized the role of neo-Nazis and white nationalists while giving its politer voices “a fair hearing.” In March, Breitbart editor Alex Marlow insisted “we’re not a hate site.” Breitbart’s media relations staff repeatedly threatened to sue outlets that described Yiannopoulos as racist. And after the violent white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, Breitbart published an article explaining that when Bannon said the site welcomed the alt-right, he was merely referring to “computer gamers and blue-collar voters who hated the GOP brand.”
These new emails and documents, however, clearly show that Breitbart does more than tolerate the most hate-filled, racist voices of the alt-right. It thrives on them, fueling and being fueled by some of the most toxic beliefs on the political spectrum — and clearing the way for them to enter the American mainstream.
It’s a relationship illustrated most starkly by a previously unreleased April 2016 video in which Yiannopoulos sings “America the Beautiful” in a Dallas karaoke bar as admirers, including the white nationalist Richard Spencer, raise their arms in Nazi salutes.
These documents chart the Breitbart alt-right universe. They reveal how the website — and, in particular, Yiannopoulos — links the Mercer family, the billionaires who fund Breitbart, to underpaid trolls who fill it with provocative content, and to extremists striving to create a white ethnostate.
They capture what Bannon calls his “killing machine” in action, as it dredges up the resentments of people around the world, sifts through these grievances for ideas and content, and propels them from the unsavory parts of the internet up to TrumpWorld, collecting advertisers’ checks all along the way.Read the long, evidence packed exposé, here at the source.
Friday, 1 September 2017
Chris Hedges, so much to the point, as almost always. One of the very few voices truly worth hearing in this whole cacophony of the altright/antifa/altleft blame game:
Behind the rhetoric of the “alt-right” about white nativism and protecting American traditions, history and Christian values is the lust for violence. Behind the rhetoric of antifa, the Black Bloc and the so-called “alt-left” about capitalism, racism, state repression and corporate power is the same lust for violence.
The two opposing groups, largely made up of people who have been cast aside by the cruelty of corporate capitalism, have embraced holy war. Their lives, battered by economic misery and social marginalization, have suddenly been filled with meaning. They hold themselves up as the vanguard of the oppressed. They arrogate to themselves the right to use force to silence those they define as the enemy. They sanctify anger. They are infected with the dark, adrenaline-driven urge for confrontation that arises among the disenfranchised when a democracy ceases to function. They are separated, as Sigmund Freud wrote of those who engage in fratricide, by the “narcissism of minor differences.” They mirror each other, not only ideologically but also physically—armed and dressed in black, the color of fascism and the color of death.
It was inevitable that we would reach this point. The corporate state has seized and corrupted all democratic institutions, including the two main political parties, to serve the interests of corporate power and maximize global corporate profits. There is no justice in the courts. There is no possibility for reform in the legislative bodies. The executive branch is a dysfunctional mess headed by a narcissistic kleptocrat, con artist and pathological liar. Money has replaced the vote. The consent of the governed is a joke. Our most basic constitutional rights, including the rights to privacy and due process, have been taken from us by judicial fiat. The economically marginalized, now a majority of the country, have been rendered invisible by a corporate media dominated by highly paid courtiers spewing out meaningless political and celebrity gossip and trivia as if it were news. The corporate state, unimpeded, is pillaging and looting the carcass of the country and government, along with the natural world, for the personal gain of the 1 percent. It daily locks away in cages the poor, especially poor people of color, discarding the vulnerable as human refuse.
A government that is paralyzed and unable and unwilling to address the rudimentary needs of its citizens, as I saw in the former Yugoslavia and as history has shown with the Weimar Republic and czarist Russia, eventually empowers violent extremists. Economic and social marginalization is the lifeblood of extremist groups. Without it they wither and die. Extremism, as the social critic Christopher Lasch wrote, is “a refuge from the terrors of inner life.”
Germany’s Nazi stormtroopers had their counterparts in that nation’s communist Alliance of Red Front Fighters. The far-right anti-communist death squad Alliance of Argentina had its counterpart in the guerrilla group the People’s Revolutionary Army during the “Dirty War.” The Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) rebels during the war I covered in El Salvador had their counterparts in the right-wing death squads, whose eventual demise seriously impeded the FMLN’s ability to recruit. The Serbian nationalists, or Chetniks, in Yugoslavia had their counterparts in the Croatian nationalists, or Ustaše. The killing by one side justifies the killing by the other. And the killing is always sanctified in the name of each side’s martyrs.
The violence by antifa—short for anti-fascist or anti-fascist action—in Charlottesville, Va., saw a surge in interest and support for the movement, especially after the murder of Heather Heyer. The Black Bloc was applauded by some of the counterprotesters in Boston during an alt-right rally there Aug. 19. In Charlottesville, antifa activists filled the vacuum left by a passive police force, holding off neo-Nazi thugs who threatened Cornel West and clergy who were protesting against the white nationalist event. This was a propaganda coup for antifa, which seeks to portray its use of violence as legitimate self-defense. Protecting West and the clergy members from physical assault was admirable. But this single act no more legitimizes antifa violence than the turkeys, Christmas gifts and Fourth of July fireworks that John Gotti gave to his neighbors legitimized the violence of the Gambino crime family. Antifa, like the alt-right, is the product of a diseased society.
The white racists and neo-Nazis may be unsavory, but they too are victims. They too lost jobs and often live in poverty in deindustrialized wastelands. They too often are plagued by debt, foreclosures, bank repossessions and inability to repay student loans. They too often suffer from evictions, opioid addictions, domestic violence and despair. They too sometimes face bankruptcy because of medical bills. They too have seen social services gutted, public education degraded and privatized and the infrastructure around them decay. They too often suffer from police abuse and mass incarceration. They too are often in despair and suffer from hopelessness. And they too have the right to free speech, however repugnant their views.
Read it all, at source (and perhaps weep?)...
Friday, 9 June 2017
South Carolina Lt. Governor Andre Bauer, who hopes to succeed fellow Republican Mark Sanford as his state's governor, drew a comparison between government help for poor people and "feeding stray animals" – who, he noted, "breed."
"My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals," Bauer said during a town hall meeting, as the Greenville News reported over the weekend. "You know why? Because they breed. You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that. And so what you've got to do is you've got to curtail that type of behavior. They don't know any better."
As the Greenville News notes, more than half of the students in South Carolina participate in a program that allows them to get their lunch for free, or at a reduced cost.
Read the rest here, if you're that way inclined...
Wednesday, 7 June 2017
Yesterday, JVP’s website went dark for 24 hours in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the occupation. We put the following text up instead:
Almost 70 years since over 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes in the Nakba of 1948, the catastrophe of Palestinian displacement and oppression continues. Half a century after Israeli forces illegally occupied Palestinian land, the Palestinian people are still fighting for justice.
The war that was being fought 50 years ago today was one that remade the region. 300,000 people were displaced, over a million found themselves living under a brutal occupation, and the settlement enterprise was born, which in the fifty years since has brought approximately 600,000 Jewish settlers into the West Bank and East Jerusalem through land theft, expropriation and violence. Over the past 12 years, since settlers there were pulled out, Gaza has been under siege, subject to embargoes and repeated bombings, creating an “open-air prison” with some of the most unlivable conditions on the planet.
When JVP began in the early 2000s, many of us knew about the occupation, but nothing about the Nakba, or catastrophe, that was part and parcel of the founding of the state of Israel, and is ongoing until today. As we learned, 1967 was not the beginning of Palestinian oppression and dispossession: The seeds of the occupation were laid in 1948, when 750,000 Palestinians were displaced from their homes-- and in fact the history of displacement, segregation, and violence goes back even further. We are deeply thankful to organizations such as Zochrot, Badil, and the Boycott National Committee that have pushed us, educated us, and provided us with resources for educating others, as part of our commitment to ongoing political education and transformation.
As we reflect this week on the meaning of this anniversary, we also need to remind ourselves of the real reason the occupation has reached the rotten old age of fifty. It is not because the solution is impossible to imagine or to achieve. It’s because the Israeli government is simply not interested in it.
And neither is the primary economic, military, and diplomatic guarantor of that government: the United States. Peace talks have always been a cover for further settlement expansion and entrenchment of the occupation, and have avoided almost entirely the underlying issues that predate the occupation-- among them the rights of refugees to return.
We can’t end the occupation without understanding its basis in the history and logic of supremacy and domination. And there can’t be real “peace talks” while one side is actively oppressing, exploiting and disenfranchising the other.
Matzpen was an Israeli anti-Zionist organization that was founded less than 20 years after the establishment of the state. Just months after the War of 1967, they published an ad in Ha’aretz that was remarkable prophetic, saying (in Hebrew):
“Our right to defend ourselves against annihilation does not grant us the right to oppress others. Conquest brings in its wake foreign rule. Foreign rule brings in its wake resistance. Resistance brings in its wake oppression. Oppression brings in its wake terrorism and counterterrorism. The victims of terrorism are usually innocent people. Holding onto the territories will turn us into a nation of murderers and murder victims. Let us leave the occupied territories now.” 1
Even in 1967, some Israelis were prescient and brave enough to publicly recognize what would result from the occupation.
We are proud to continue in the lineage of that resistance, recognizing that this work is long and hard-- and that it is necessary, and worth it.
During this solemn week of commemoration and reflection, please join me in re-committing to the struggle for justice and for the long-term future of all the people in Israel/Palestine.
Rebecca Vilkomerson, via email