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Adapted from Wikipedia articles Nineteen Eighty-Four and George Orwell
Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950), who used the pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic. George Orwell know something about propaganda. He participated in Spanish Civil War and during the Second World war worked at BBC. That's why 1984 despite viewed typically as a depiction of the USSR and similar communist regimes is actually much deeper and is a novel that researched ultimate limits of propaganda (aka brainwashing). Orwell's work continues to influence popular and political culture, and The adjective Orwellian connotes an attitude and a policy of control by propaganda, surveillance, misinformation, denial of truth, and manipulation of the past.
Many of his neologisms, such as cold war, Big Brother, Thought Police, Room 101, memory hole, doublethink, and thoughtcrime became common English words. Newspeak is a simplified and obfuscatory language designed to make independent thought impossible. Doublethink means holding two contradictory beliefs simultaneously. The Thought Police are those who suppress all dissenting opinion. Prolefeed is homogenised, manufactured superficial literature, film and music, used to control and indoctrinate the populace through docility. Big Brother is a supreme dictator who watches everyone. Orwell may have been the first to use the term cold war, in his essay, "You and the Atom Bomb", published in Tribune, 19 October 1945. He wrote:
As a yong man George Orwell has first hand experience with the security apparatus of British empire and its intelligence agencies. Working as an imperial policeman In Birma gave him considerable responsibility while most of his contemporaries were still at university in England. When he was posted farther east in the Delta to Twante as a sub-divisional officer, he was responsible for the security of some 200,000 people. At the end of 1924, he was promoted to Assistant District Superintendent and posted to Syriam, closer to Rangoon. A colleague, Roger Beadon, recalled (in a 1969 recording for the BBC) that Blair was fast to learn the language and that before he left Burma, "was able to speak fluently with Burmese priests in 'very high-flown Burmese.'" Later, he wrote that he felt guilty about his role in the work of empire and he "began to look more closely at his own country and saw that England also had its oppressed ..." In imitation of Jack London, whose writing he admired (particularly The People of the Abyss), Blair started to explore the poorer parts of London.
In 1927 he resigned from the Indian Imperial Police to become a writer. He drew on his experiences in the Burma police for the novel Burmese Days (1934) and the essays "A Hanging" (1931) and "Shooting an Elephant" (1936). At the outbreak of the Second World War, Orwell's wife Eileen started working in the Censorship Department of the Ministry of Information in central London, staying during the week with her family in Greenwich. In August 1941, Orwell obtained "war work" when he was taken on full-time by the BBC's Eastern Service. He supervised cultural broadcasts to India to counter propaganda from Nazi Germany designed to undermine Imperial links. In September 1943, Orwell resigned from the BBC post that he had occupied for two years. In November 1943, Orwell was appointed literary editor at Tribune, where his assistant was his old friend Jon Kimche. Orwell was on staff until early 1945, writing over 80 book reviews and on 3 December 1943 started his regular personal column, "As I Please", usually addressing three or four subjects in each. Animal Farm: A Fairy Story was published in Britain on 17 August 1945, and a year later in the US, on 26 August 1946. In March 1949, while in sanatorium due to deteriorating health, he was visited by Celia Kirwan. Kirwan had just started working for a Foreign Office unit, the Information Research Department, set up by the Labour government to publish anti-communist propaganda, and Orwell gave her a list of people he considered to be unsuitable as IRD authors because of their pro-communist leanings. Orwell's list, not published until 2003, consisted mainly of writers but also included actors and Labour MPs. In sanatorium Orwell received more streptomycin treatment and improved slightly. In June 1949 Nineteen Eighty-Four was published to immediate critical and popular acclaim. Early on the morning of 21 January 1950, an artery burst in Orwell's lungs, killing him at age 46.As he wrote in the conclusion to his 1940 essay on Charles Dickens,
When one reads any strongly individual piece of writing, one has the impression of seeing a face somewhere behind the page. It is not necessarily the actual face of the writer. I feel this very strongly with Swift, with Defoe, with Fielding, Stendhal, Thackeray, Flaubert, though in several cases I do not know what these people looked like and do not want to know. What one sees is the face that the writer ought to have. Well, in the case of Dickens I see a face that is not quite the face of Dickens's photographs, though it resembles it. It is the face of a man of about forty, with a small beard and a high colour. He is laughing, with a touch of anger in his laughter, but no triumph, no malignity. It is the face of a man who is always fighting against something, but who fights in the open and is not frightened, the face of a man who is generously angry—in other words, of a nineteenth-century liberal, a free intelligence, a type hated with equal hatred by all the smelly little orthodoxies which are now contending for our souls.
George Woodcock suggested that the last two sentences characterised Orwell as much as his subject. Orwell's writing pierced intellectual hypocrisy wherever he found it
Nineteen Eighty-Four is a the second classic dystopian novel by George Orwell (the first was Animal Farm). It was published in 1949 several month before his death. Orwell managed to predict two negative development after WWII: the emergence of the National Security State and stratification of the society into several "parallel" strata with low upward mobility. With the upper strata ( top 0.01% ) possessing almost absolute power over the rest of society by controlling the governing party. He predicted 24x7 total survellance (see Snowden revelations) long before technical capabilities for this were available and only first steps toward it made in Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia and wartime Britain. He essentially predicted the situation "Privacy is Dead – Get Over It" that exists today.
His second major achievement is that he predicted emergence of the states, where the truth didn't exist as such, but is replaced by "artificial reality" created by propaganda picture and systemic, all encompassing brainwashing. The total control of the global mass media has made it possible when desired to portray white as black and black as white.
Truth is what the "Big Brother" said. Rewriting of history is systematic amd all-encompassing, to fit the current political needs. Much like in most modern states. The state depicted is a totalitarian one and reminds more Nazi dictatorship, Latin American Junta with death squads, Stalinist Russia or Maoist China then modern Western states, as Orwell did not live to experience Inverted Totalitarism.
But the ideology of inverted totalitarism and its attempt to control the discourse via controlling the language and creation of artificial reality including artificial history was predicted brilliantly.
The book was written near the author death, and that probably partially explains the uncompromising stance that the author demonstrated in the book. Orwell wrote most of it in rather short period of time on the Scottish island of Jura, from 1947 to 1948.
The Last Man in Europe was one of the original titles for the novel, but in a letter dated 22 October 1948 to his publisher Fredric Warburg, eight months before publication, Orwell wrote about hesitating between The Last Man in Europe and Nineteen Forty-Eight. Warburg suggested changing the main title to a more commercial one. Throughout its publication history, Nineteen Eighty-Four has been either banned or legally challenged as subversive or ideologically corrupting, like Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (1932); We (1924), by Yevgeny Zamyatin; Kallocain (1940), by Karin Boye; and Fahrenheit 451 (1951), by Ray Bradbury.
It was published on 8 June 1949, six months before the author death (21 January 1950). By 1989, it had been translated into sixty-five languages, more than any other novel written in English at the time.
In 2005 the novel was chosen by TIME magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. It was awarded a place on both lists of Modern Library 100 Best Novels, reaching number 13 on the editor's list, and 6 on the reader's list. In 2003, the novel was listed at number 8 on the BBC's survey The Big Read. Literary scholars consider the Russian dystopian novel We, by Zamyatin, to have strongly influenced Nineteen Eighty-Four.
The novel demonstrates stark predictions in several aspects. In the novel England is now the province of Oceania called Airstrip One. Oceania with the center in the former USA is in perpetual war with other two global states and its alliances are constantly shifting.
The title of the novel, its themes, the Newspeak language, and the author's surname are often invoked as a warning against excessive control and intrusion by the state, made possible by modern technical means and computers.
The adjective Orwellian describes a totalitarian dystopia characterized by total surveillance that crashes any resistance, compete government control and subjugation of the 99% of the people in the interest of the top 1% (the elite).On August 17, 1975 Senator Frank Church stated on NBC's Meet the Press without mentioning the name of the NSA (Church Committee - Wikipedia ):
In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. There would be no place to hide.
If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.
I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.
Surviving population is suffering from omnipresent government surveillance, and public mind control, dictated by a political system euphemistically named English Socialism (Ingsoc) which is run under the control of a privileged Inner Party elite (the term which instantly reminds me the term nomenclatura) that persecutes all individualism and independent thinking as thoughtcrimes.
With NSA washing our every step we can say that modern technology exceed the dystopian picture provided by the book. Surveillance in modern societies is really omnipresent due to the fact that most communications are now electronic. As for social system the only replacement that reality made to the book is that this new political system is called neoliberalism. See Henry Giroux On the Rise of Neoliberalism As a Political Ideology . Other then we can state that omnipresent government surveillance, and public mind control rules the day.
After Prism program was revealed in June 2013, Nineteen Eighty-Four became a bestseller on Amazon. As of June 15, 2013 it was #87 in Fiction. As one Amazon reviewer put it:"Note to US Congress and house of representatives: This is a fictional book, not an instruction manual..."
In November 2011, the United States government argued before the US Supreme Court that it wants to continue utilizing GPS tracking of individuals without first seeking a warrant. In response, Justice Stephen Breyer questioned what this means for a democratic society by referencing Nineteen Eighty-Four. Justice Breyer asked
"If you win this case, then there is nothing to prevent the police or the government from monitoring 24 hours a day the public movement of every citizen of the United States. So if you win, you suddenly produce what sounds like 1984...."
The tyranny described in the book is headed by Big Brother, the quasi-divine Party leader who enjoys an intense cult of personality, but who may not even exist. Much like modern heads of states, who are essentially placeholders, actors hired for the ruling financial oligarchy clans. Big Brother and the Party justify their rule in the name of a supposed greater good. We can say in the name of democracy ;-).
In this respect too the reality provided to be amazingly close to the fiction. Obama is often described as " a pawn of the moneyed interests before he even took office. He didn't sell out; he was a well engineered product with a well targeted brand, selected and groomed for it. " Actually it is interesting to compare the picture of political system in the book with the picture of the political system provided in the post Why The Democrats Got Their Clocks Cleaned (Jesse's Café Américain, Nov 09, 2014)
The Democrats failed to make the most of a great moment in history because there was no Democrat brave enough, independent enough, to energize their party around the mandate for reform given to them overwhelmingly by the people in 2008.
Remember when everyone thought that the Republican party was dead, completely and utterly repudiated in 2008? And how they have risen from the dead!
Obama was a pawn of the moneyed interests before he even took office. He didn't sell out; he was a well engineered product with a well targeted brand, selected and groomed for it.
Less a politician than a thoroughly modern manager, Obama's primary objectives are to please his shareholders, whomever those may be. And they were certainly not the people who voted for him. He is not any kind of progressive or reformer once one scratches the surface.
That became clear in his first 100 days with his appointments. And in his defense, the Democrats on the whole have been throwing their constituents under the bus for the sake of Wall Street money since 1992. So Obama was not so much a betrayer as a fake, a member of the Wall Street wing of the Democratic party. He is always fumbling, and making excuses, but at the end of the day, he did as he was told.
The Democratic leadership has tried to bridge a gap between representing the people and fattening their wallets, and have ended up pleasing few. They won't become the party of the moneyed interests because they cannot sell out more deeply than their counterparts. And as for their traditional constituency in the working class, the only rejoinder is, 'the other guys are worse.' And the other guys say the same thing to their base about them. And no one is getting served, except the one percent.
I think that the 'other guys' are going to be worse, and people are just going to have to see how bad things can get, again, before they can get any better.From an FDR 1936 campaign speech in Madison Square Garden:"For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up.
We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace—business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.
They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.
Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred.
I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master."
The protagonist of the novel, Winston Smith, is a member of the Outer Party who works for the Ministry of Truth (Minitrue), which is responsible for propaganda and historical revisionism. His job is to re-write past newspaper articles so that the historical record always supports the current party line. Smith is a diligent and skillful worker, but he secretly hates the Party and dreams of rebellion against Big Brother. His daily task is revising historical records to make the past conform to the ever-changing party line and deleting references to unpersons, people who have been "vaporised", i.e. not only killed by the state, but denied existence even in history or memory.
The picture of modern MSM and the level of brainwashing is less intrusive but no less effective, and journalists proved to be willing accomplices of the regime (Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few)
The smokescreen of propaganda is so think that it is impossible for common people of discern the reality.
They live in artificial reality.
Orwell's invented language, Newspeak, satirizes hypocrisy and evasion by the state. For example the names of the the ministries became classic and nicely illustrate the concept:
Many of its terms and concepts became common words in English and other languages. The effect of Nineteen Eighty-Four on the English language is so profound that there is a large set of works that were derived directly from the novel, but now entered common usage.
Among them the concepts of Big Brother, Room 101, the Thought Police, thoughtcrime, unperson, memory hole (oblivion), doublethink (simultaneously holding and believing contradictory beliefs) and Newspeak (ideological language) have become common phrases for denoting totalitarian authority. Doublespeak and groupthink are both deliberate elaborations of doublethink, while the adjective "Orwellian" denotes totalitarian state with omnipresent propaganda machine engaged in not stop brainwashing of citizens. It became apt depiction of official deception, secret surveillance, and manipulation of the past by a modern neoliberal state with the "Oceiania" as the most prominent of them. The practice of ending words with "-speak" (e.g. corporate-speak) is also stems from the novel. For example Doublespeak.
In describing the future social system George Orwell was strongly influence by the book The Managerial Revolution. This book written in 1941 book in former Trotskyite James Burnham described World War II as the first in a series of conflicts between managerial powers for control over three great industrial regions of the world—North America, Europe, and East Asia. The geographic scheme and condition of perpetual war are reflected in Orwell’s novel by the ceaseless struggles between Oceania (America with its Atlantic and Pacific outposts), Eurasia (Russian-dominated Europe), and Eastasia (the Orient). The Managerial Revolution itself appears in 1984 as Emmanuel Goldstein’s forbidden book The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism.
The Managerial Revolution, attempted to theorize about the future of world capitalism based upon observations of its development in the interwar period. Burnham argued that capitalism was a temporary form of organization currently being transformed into some non-socialist but Totalitarian rule, strongly influenced by national socialism.
The events depicted in Nineteen Eighty-Four are set in Oceania, one of three inter-continental super-states that divided the world among themselves after a global war. Most of the action takes place in London, the "chief city of Airstrip One", the Oceanic province that "had once been called England or Britain". Posters of the Party leader, Big Brother, bearing the caption "BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU", dominate the city, while the ubiquitous telescreen (transceiving television set) monitors the private and public lives of the populace.
The social system of Oceania consists of three classes:
As the government, the Party controls the population with four ministries: the Ministry of Peace (Minipax), which wages wars, the Ministry of Plenty (Miniplenty), which deals with economic affairs (rationing and starvation), the Ministry of Love (Miniluv), which deals with law and order (torture), the Ministry of Truth (Minitrue), which deals with propaganda (news, entertainment, education and art)
The story of Winston Smith begins on 4 April 1984:
"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen"; yet he is uncertain of the true date, given the régime’s continual rewriting and manipulation of history. His memories and his reading of the proscribed book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, by Emmanuel Goldstein, reveal that after the Second World War, the United Kingdom fell to civil war and then was absorbed into Oceania. Simultaneously, the USSR conquered mainland Europe and established the second superstate of Eurasia. The third superstate, Eastasia, comprises the regions of East Asia and Southeast Asia. The three superstates wage perpetual war for the remaining unconquered lands of the world, forming and breaking alliances as is convenient.
From his childhood (1949–53), Winston remembers the Atomic Wars fought in Europe, western Russia, and North America. It is unclear to him what occurred first: the Party's victory in the civil war, the US annexation of the British Empire, or the war in which Colchester was bombed. However, his strengthening memories and the story of his family's dissolution suggest that the atomic bombings occurred first (the Smiths took refuge in a tube station), followed by civil war featuring "confused street fighting in London itself", and the societal postwar reorganisation, which the Party retrospectively calls "the Revolution".
Oceanian society: Big Brother atop, the Party in middle, the Proles at bottom, in 1984. The story of Winston Smith presents the world in the year 1984, after a global atomic war, via his perception of life in Airstrip One (England or Britain), a province of Oceania, one of the world's three superstates; his intellectual rebellion against the Party and illicit romance with Julia; and his consequent imprisonment, interrogation, torture, and re-education by the Thinkpol in the Miniluv.
Principal characters in the book are inston Smith—the protagonist, is a phlegmatic everyman. Julia—Winston's lover, is a covert "rebel from the waist downwards" who publicly espouses Party doctrine as a member of the fanatical Junior Anti-Sex League. Big Brother—the dark-eyed, mustachioed embodiment of the Party who rule Oceania. O'Brien—a member of the Inner Party who poses as a member of The Brotherhood, the counter-revolutionary resistance, in order to deceive, trap, and capture Winston and Julia. Emmanuel Goldstein—a former leader of the Party, the counter-revolutionary author of The Book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, and leader of the Brotherhood. He is the symbolic Enemy of the State—the national nemesis who ideologically unites the people of Oceania with the Party, especially during the Two Minutes Hate, and other fearmongering by the Inner Party. It is unknown whether he is real or a fabrication of the Party itself for the purpose of propaganda.
Winston Smith is an intellectual, a member of the Outer Party (middle class), who lives in the ruins of London, and who grew up in some long post-World War II England, during the revolution and the civil war after which the Party assumed power. At some point his parents and sister disappeared, and he was placed in an orphanage for training and subsequent employment as an Outer Party civil servant. He lives an austere existence in a one-room flat on a subsistence diet of black bread and synthetic meals washed down with Victory-brand gin. He keeps a journal of negative thoughts and opinions about the Party and Big Brother, which, if uncovered by the Thought Police, would warrant death. The flat has an alcove, beside the telescreen, where he apparently cannot be seen, and thus believes he has some privacy, while writing in his journal: "Thoughtcrime does not entail death. Thoughtcrime IS death." The telescreens (in every public area, and the quarters of the Party's members), have hidden microphones and cameras. These devices, alongside informers, permit the Thought Police to spy upon everyone and so identify anyone who might endanger the Party's régime; children, most of all, are indoctrinated to spy and inform on suspected thought-criminals – especially their parents.
At the Minitrue, Winston is an editor responsible for historical revisionism, concording the past to the Party's ever-changing official version of the past; thus making the government of Oceania seem omniscient. As such, he perpetually rewrites records and alters photographs, rendering the deleted people as "unpersons"; the original documents are incinerated in a "memory hole." Despite enjoying the intellectual challenges of historical revisionism, he becomes increasingly fascinated by the true past and tries to learn more about it.
One day, at the Minitrue, as Winston assists a woman who has fallen down, she surreptitiously hands him a folded paper note; later, at his desk he covertly reads the message: I LOVE YOU. The woman is "Julia," a young dark haired mechanic who repairs the Minitrue novel-writing machines. Before that occasion, Winston had loathed the sight of her, since women tended to be the most fanatical supporters of Ingsoc. He particularly loathed her because of her membership in the fanatical Junior Anti-Sex League. Winston fantasises about making love to her but he would want to kill her at the moment of climax. Additionally, Julia was the type of woman he believed he could not attract: young and puritanical. Nonetheless, his hostility towards her vanishes upon reading the message. As it turns out, Julia is a thoughtcriminal too, and hates the Party as much as he does.
Cautiously, Winston and Julia begin a love affair, at first meeting in the country, at a clearing in the woods, then at the belfry of a ruined church, and afterwards in a rented room atop an antiques shop in a proletarian neighbourhood of London. There, they think themselves safe and unobserved, because the rented bedroom has no apparent telescreen, but, unknown to Winston and Julia, the Thought Police were aware of their love affair.
Later, when the Inner Party member O'Brien approaches him, Winston believes he is an agent of the Brotherhood, a secret, counter-revolutionary organisation meant to destroy the Party. The approach opens a secret communication between them; and, on pretext of giving him a copy of the latest edition of the Dictionary of Newspeak, O'Brien gives Winston the Book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, by Emmanuel Goldstein, the infamous and publicly reviled leader of the Brotherhood. The Book explains the concept of perpetual war, the true meanings of the slogans WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH, and how the régime of the Party can be overthrown by means of the political awareness of the Proles.
The Thought Police capture Winston and Julia in their bedroom and deliver them to the Ministry of Love for interrogation. Charrington, the shop keeper who rented the room to them, reveals himself as an officer of the Thought Police. O'Brien also reveals himself to be a Thought Police leader, and admits to luring Winston and Julia into a trap used by the Thought Police to root out suspected thoughtcriminals. After a prolonged regimen of systematic beatings and psychologically draining interrogation, O'Brien, now Smith's interrogator, tortures Winston with electroshock, showing him how, through controlled manipulation of perception (e.g. seeing whatever number of fingers held up that the Party demands one should see, whatever the apparent reality, i.e. 2+2=5), Winston can "cure" himself of his "insanity" – his manifest hatred for the Party. In long, complex conversations, he explains the Inner Party's motivation: complete and absolute power, mocking Winston's assumption that it was somehow altruistic and "for the greater good." Asked if the Brotherhood exists, O'Brien replies that this is something Winston will never know; it will remain an unsolvable quandary in his mind. During a torture session, his imprisonment in the Ministry of Love is explained: "There are three stages in your reintegration... There is learning, there is understanding, and there is acceptance," i.e. of the Party's assertion of reality.
In the first stage of political re-education, Winston Smith admits to and confesses to crimes he did and did not commit, implicating anyone and everyone, including Julia. In the second stage, O'Brien makes Winston understand that he is rotting away; by this time he is little more than skin and bones. Winston counters that: "I have not betrayed Julia"; O'Brien agrees, Winston had not betrayed Julia because he "had not stopped loving her; his feelings toward her had remained the same." One night, in his cell, Winston awakens, screaming: "Julia! Julia! Julia, my love! Julia!" O'Brien rushes into the cell and sends him to Room 101, the most feared room in the Ministry of Love, where resides each prisoner's worst fear, which is forced upon him or her. In Room 101 is Acceptance, the final stage of the political re-education of Winston Smith, whose primal fear of rats is invoked when a wire cage holding hungry rats is fitted onto his face. As the rats are about to reach Winston’s face, he shouts: "Do it to Julia!" thus betraying her, and relinquishing his love for her. At torture’s end, upon accepting the doctrine of the Party, Winston now loves Big Brother and is reintegrated into Oceania society.
Some time after being restored to orthodox thought, Winston encounters Julia in a park. It turns out that Julia has endured a similar ordeal to Winston, and has also been purged of rebellion. Each admits betraying the other:
"I betrayed you," she said baldly. "I betrayed you," he said. She gave him another quick look of dislike. "Sometimes," she said, "they threaten you with something – something you can't stand up to, can't even think about. And then you say, 'Don't do it to me, do it to somebody else, do it to so-and-so.' And perhaps you might pretend, afterwards, that it was only a trick and that you just said it to make them stop and didn't really mean it. But that isn't true. At the time when it happens you do mean it. You think there's no other way of saving yourself and you're quite ready to save yourself that way. You want it to happen to the other person. You don't give a damn what they suffer. All you care about is yourself." "All you care about is yourself," he echoed. "And after that, you don't feel the same toward the other person any longer." "No," he said, "you don't feel the same."
Throughout, a song recurs in Winston's mind: Under the spreading chestnut tree I sold you and you sold me— The lyrics are an adaptation of ‘Go no more a-rushing’, a popular English campfire song from the 1920s, that was a popular success for Glenn Miller in 1939.
An alcoholic Winston sits by himself in the Chestnut Tree Cafe, still troubled by false memories which he is convinced are indeed false. He tries to put them out of his mind when suddenly a news bulletin announces Oceania's decisive victory over Eurasia for control of Africa. A raucous celebration begins outside, and Winston imagines himself a part of it. As he looks up in admiration at a portrait of Big Brother, Winston realises that "the final, indispensable, healing change" within his own mind had only been completed at just that moment. He engages in a "blissful dream" in which he offers a full, public confession of his crimes and is executed. He feels that all is well now that he has at last achieved a victory over himself, ending his previous "stubborn, self-willed exile" from the love of Big Brother — a love Winston now happily returns.
Aaronson, Jones, and Rutherford—Former members of the Inner Party whom Winston vaguely remembers as among the original leaders of the Revolution, long before he had heard of Big Brother. They confessed to treasonable conspiracies with foreign powers and were then executed in the political purges of the 1960s. In between their confessions and executions, Winston saw them drinking in the Chestnut Tree Café — with broken noses, suggesting that their confessions had been obtained by torture. Later, in the course of his editorial work, Winston sees newspaper evidence contradicting their confessions, but drops it into the waste disposal pipe. Eleven years later, he is confronted with the same photograph during his interrogation. Ampleforth—Winston's one-time Records Department colleague who was imprisoned for leaving the word "God" in a Kipling poem; Winston encounters him at the Miniluv. Ampleforth is a dreamer and an intellectual who takes pleasure in his work, and respects poetry and language, which traits and qualities cause him disfavour with the Party. Charrington—An officer of the Thought Police posing as a sympathetic antiques-shop keeper. Katharine—The emotionally indifferent wife whom Winston "can't get rid of". Despite disliking sexual intercourse, Katharine continued with Winston because it was their "duty to the Party". Although she was a "goodthinkful" ideologue, they separated because she could not bear children. Parsons—Winston's naïve neighbour, and an ideal member of the Outer Party: an uneducated, suggestible man who is utterly loyal to the Party, and fully believes in its perfect image. He is socially active and participates in the Party activities for his social class. Although friendly towards Smith, and despite his political conformity, he punishes his bully-boy son for firing a catapult at Winston. Later, as a prisoner, Winston sees Parsons is in the Ministry of Love, because his daughter had reported him to the Thought Police after overhearing him speak against the Party whilst he slept. Mrs. Parsons—Parsons's wife is a wan and hapless woman who is intimidated by her own children, who are members of the Party Youth League and represent the new generation of Oceanian citizens, without memory of life before Big Brother, and without family ties or emotional sentiment; the model society moulded by the Inner Party. Syme—Winston's colleague at the Ministry of Truth, whom the Party "vaporised" because he remained a lucidly thinking intellectual. He was a lexicographer who developed the language and the dictionary of Newspeak, in the course of which he enjoyed destroying words, and wholeheartedly believed that Newspeak would replace Oldspeak (Standard English) by the year 2050. Although Syme's politically orthodox opinions aligned with Party doctrine, Winston noted that "He is too intelligent. He sees too clearly and speaks too plainly". After noting that Syme's name was deleted from the members list of the Chess Club, Winston infers he became an unperson who never had existed. Goldstein's book says that "Between the two branches of the Party there is a certain amount of interchange, but only so much as will ensure that weaklings are excluded from the Inner Party and that ambitious members of the Outer Party are made harmless by allowing them to rise." It is unknown whether Syme has been killed or promoted in the Inner Party in another province.
(English Socialism), is the regnant ideology and pseudo-philosophy of Oceania, and Newspeak is its official language, of official documents.
In London, the Airstrip One capital city, Oceania's four government ministries are in pyramids (300 metres high), the façades of which display the Party's three slogans. The ministries' names are antonymous doublethink to their true functions: "The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation". (Part II, Chapter IX — The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism) Ministry of Peace (Newspeak: Minipax) Minipax supports Oceania's perpetual war.
The primary aim of modern warfare (in accordance with the principles of doublethink, this aim is simultaneously recognized and not recognized by the directing brains of the Inner Party) is to use up the products of the machine without raising the general standard of living. Ever since the end of the nineteenth century, the problem of what to do with the surplus of consumption goods has been latent in industrial society. At present, when few human beings even have enough to eat, this problem is obviously not urgent, and it might not have become so, even if no artificial processes of destruction had been at work. Ministry of Plenty (Newspeak: Miniplenty) The Ministry of Plenty rations and controls food, goods, and domestic production; every fiscal quarter, the Miniplenty publishes false claims of having raised the standard of living, when it has, in fact, reduced rations, availability, and production. The Minitrue substantiates the Miniplenty claims by revising historical records to report numbers supporting the current, "increased rations". Ministry of Truth (Newspeak: Minitrue) The Ministry of Truth controls information: news, entertainment, education, and the arts. Winston Smith works in the Minitrue RecDep (Records Department), "rectifying" historical records to concord with Big Brother's current pronouncements, thus everything the Party says is true. Ministry of Love (Newspeak: Miniluv) The Ministry of Love identifies, monitors, arrests, and converts real and imagined dissidents. In Winston's experience, the dissident is beaten and tortured, then, when near-broken, is sent to Room 101 to face "the worst thing in the world" — until love for Big Brother and the Party replaces dissension.
Main article: Doublethink
The keyword here is blackwhite. Like so many Newspeak words, this word has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts. Applied to a Party member, it means a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands this. But it means also the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary. This demands a continuous alteration of the past, made possible by the system of thought which really embraces all the rest, and which is known in Newspeak as doublethink. Doublethink is basically the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.
— Part II, Chapter IX — The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism
Perpetual War: The news report Oceania has captured Africa, 1984. Three perpetually warring totalitarian super-states control the world: Oceania (ideology: Ingsoc, i.e., English Socialism); its core territories are the Western Hemisphere, the British Isles, Australasia and Southern Africa. Eurasia (ideology: Neo-Bolshevism); its core territories are Continental Europe and Russia, including Siberia. Eastasia (ideology: Obliteration of the Self, i.e., "Death worship"); its core territories are China, Japan, Korea, and Indochina.
The perpetual war is fought for control of the "disputed area" lying "between the frontiers of the super-states", it forms "a rough parallelogram with its corners at Tangier, Brazzaville, Darwin and Hong Kong", thus Northern Africa, the Middle East, India and Indonesia are where the super-states capture and utilise slave-labour. Fighting also takes place between Eurasia and Eastasia in Manchuria, Mongolia and Central Asia, and all three powers battle one another over various Atlantic and Pacific islands.
Goldstein's book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, explains that the super-states' ideologies are alike and that the public's ignorance of this fact is imperative so that they might continue believing in the detestability of the opposing ideologies. The only references to the exterior world for the Oceanian citizenry (the Outer Party and the Proles), are Minitrue maps and propaganda ensuring their belief in "the war".
Winston Smith's memory and Emmanuel Goldstein's book communicate some of the history that precipitated the Revolution; Eurasia was established after World War II (1939–45), when US and Imperial soldiers withdrew from continental Europe, thus the USSR conquered Europe against slight opposition. Eurasia does not include the British Empire because the US annexed it, as well as Latin America, southern Africa, Australasia, and Canada, thus establishing Oceania and gaining control over a quarter of the planet. The annexation of Britain was part of the Atomic Wars that provoked civil war; per the Party, it was not a revolution but a coup d'état that installed a ruling élite derived from the native intelligentsia. Eastasia, the last superstate established, comprises the Asian lands conquered by China and Japan. Although Eurasia prevented Eastasia from matching it in size, its larger populace compensate for that handicap. Precise chronology is unclear, but most of that global reorganisation occurred between 1945 and the 1960s.
See also: Perpetual war
In 1984, there is a perpetual war among Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia, the super-states which emerged from the atomic global war. "The book", The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism by Emmanuel Goldstein, explains that each state is so strong it cannot be defeated, even with the combined forces of two super-states—despite changing alliances. To hide such contradictions, history is re-written to explain that the (new) alliance always was so; the populaces accustomed to doublethink accept it. The war is not fought in Oceanian, Eurasian or Eastasian territory but in the arctic wastes and a disputed zone comprising the sea and land from Tangiers (northern Africa) to Darwin (Australia). At the start, Oceania and Eastasia are allies combatting Eurasia in northern Africa and the Malabar Coast.
That alliance ends and Oceania allied with Eurasia fights Eastasia, a change which occurred during the Hate Week dedicated to creating patriotic fervour for the Party's perpetual war. The public are blind to the change; in mid-sentence an orator changes the name of the enemy from "Eurasia" to "Eastasia" without pause. When the public are enraged at noticing that the wrong flags and posters are displayed they tear them down—thus the origin of the idiom "We've always been at war with Eastasia"; later the Party claims to have captured Africa.
"The book" explains that the purpose of the unwinnable, perpetual war is to consume human labour and commodities, hence the economy of a super-state cannot support economic equality (a high standard of life) for every citizen. Goldstein also details an Oceanian strategy of attacking enemy cities with atomic rockets before invasion, yet dismisses it as unfeasible and contrary to the war's purpose; despite the atomic bombing of cities in the 1950s the super-states stopped such warfare lest it imbalance the powers. The military technology in 1984 differs little from that of World War II, yet strategic bomber aeroplanes were replaced with Rocket Bombs, helicopters were heavily used as weapons of war (while they didn't figure in WW2 in any form but prototypes) and surface combat units have been all but replaced by immense and unsinkable Floating Fortresses, island-like contraptions concentrating the firepower of a whole naval task force in a single, semi-mobile platform (in the novel one is said to have been anchored between Iceland and the Faroe Islands, suggesting a preference for sea lane interdiction and denial).
In 1984, the society of Airstrip One lives in poverty; hunger, disease and filth are the norms and ruined cities and towns the consequence of the civil war, the atomic wars and purported enemy (but quite possibly self-serving Oceanian) rockets. Social decay and wrecked buildings surround Winston; aside from the ministerial pyramids, little of London was rebuilt. The standard of living of the populace is low; almost everything, especially consumer goods, is scarce and available goods are of low quality; half of the Oceanian populace go barefoot – despite the Party reporting increased boot production. The Party claims that this poverty is a necessary sacrifice for the war effort; "the book" reports that this is partially correct, because the purpose of perpetual war is consuming surplus industrial production.
The Inner Party upper class of Oceanian society enjoy the highest standard of living. O'Brien resides in a clean and comfortable apartment, with a pantry well-stocked with quality foodstuffs (wine, coffee, sugar, etc.), denied to the general populace, the Outer Party and the Proles, who consume synthetic foodstuffs; "Victory" gin and "Victory" cigarettes are of low quality. The brand "Victory" is taken from the low-quality "Victory" cigarettes (also known as Vs), made in India, that were widely smoked in Britain and by British soldiers during World War II when American cigarettes could not easily be imported across the U-boat-infested waters of the North Atlantic. Winston is astonished that the lifts in O'Brien's building function and that the telescreens can be switched off. The Inner Party are attended to by slaves captured in the disputed zone. O'Brien has an Asian manservant, Martin.
The proles live in poverty and are kept sedated with alcohol, pornography and a national lottery, yet the proles are freer and less intimidated than the middle class Outer Party, and jeer at the telescreens. "The Book" reports that the state of things derives from the observation that the middle class, not the lower class, traditionally started revolutions, therefore tight control of the middle class penetrates their minds in determining their quotidian lives, and potential rebels are politically neutralised via promotion to the Inner Party or "reintegration" by Miniluv; nonetheless Winston believed that "the future belonged to the proles".
Nineteen Eighty-Four expands upon the subjects summarised in the essay Notes on Nationalism (1945) about the lack of vocabulary needed to explain the unrecognised phenomena behind certain political forces. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the Party's artificial, minimalist language 'Newspeak' addresses the matter.
Positive nationalism: Oceanians' perpetual love for Big Brother; Neo-Toryism, Celtic nationalism and British Israelism are (as Orwell argues) defined by love. Negative nationalism: Oceanians' perpetual hatred for Emmanuel Goldstein; Stalinism, Anglophobia and antisemitism are (as Orwell argues) defined by hatred.
Transferred nationalism: In mid-sentence an orator changes the enemy of Oceania; the crowd instantly transfers their hatred to the new enemy. Transferred nationalism swiftly redirects emotions from one power unit to another (e.g., Communism, Pacifism, Colour Feeling and Class Feeling). This happened during a Party Rally against the original enemy Eurasia, when the orator suddenly switches enemy in midsentence, the crowd goes wild and destroys the posters that are now against their new friend (Eurasia) and many say that this must be the act of an agent of their new enemy (and former friend) Eastasia, even though many of the crowd must have put up the posters before the rally. The enemy has always been Eastasia.
O'Brien concludes: "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power."
In the book, Inner Party member O'Brien describes the Party's vision of the future:
There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always-do not forget this, Winston-always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face-forever.
-Part III, Chapter III, Nineteen Eighty-Four
This contrasts the essay "England Your England" (1941) with the essay "The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius" (1941):
The intellectuals who hope to see it Russianised or Germanised will be disappointed. The gentleness, the hypocrisy, the thoughtlessness, the reverence for law and the hatred of uniforms will remain, along with the suet puddings and the misty skies. It needs some very great disaster, such as prolonged subjugation by a foreign enemy, to destroy a national culture. The Stock Exchange will be pulled down, the horse plough will give way to the tractor, the country houses will be turned into children's holiday camps, the Eton and Harrow match will be forgotten, but England will still be England, an everlasting animal stretching into the future and the past, and, like all living things, having the power to change out of recognition and yet remain the same.
The geopolitical climate of Nineteen Eighty-Four resembles the précis of James Burnham's ideas in the essay "James Burnham and the Managerial Revolution" (1946):
These people will eliminate the old capitalist class, crush the working class, and so organize society that all power and economic privilege remain in their own hands. Private property rights will be abolished, but common ownership will not be established. The new 'managerial' societies will not consist of a patchwork of small, independent states, but of great super-states grouped round the main industrial centres in Europe, Asia, and America. These super-states will fight among themselves for possession of the remaining uncaptured portions of the earth, but will probably be unable to conquer one another completely. Internally, each society will be hierarchical, with an aristocracy of talent at the top and a mass of semi-slaves at the bottom.
A major theme of Nineteen Eighty-Four is censorship, especially in the Ministry of Truth, where photographs are doctored and public archives rewritten to rid them of "unpersons" (i.e. persons who have been arrested, whom the Party has decided to erase from history). On the telescreens figures for all types of production are grossly exaggerated (or simply invented) to indicate an ever-growing economy, when the reality is the opposite. One small example of the endless censorship is when Winston is charged with the task of eliminating reference to an unperson in a newspaper article. He proceeds to write an article about Comrade Ogilvy, a fictional party member, who displayed great heroism by leaping into the sea from a helicopter so that the dispatches he was carrying would not fall into enemy hands.
The inhabitants of Oceania, particularly the Outer Party members, have no real privacy. Many of them live in apartments equipped with two-way telescreens, so that they may be watched or listened to at any time. Similar telescreens are found at workstations and in public places, along with hidden microphones. Written correspondence is routinely opened and read by the government before it is delivered. The Thought Police employ undercover agents, who pose as normal citizens and report any person with subversive tendencies. Children are encouraged to report suspicious persons to the government, and some even denounce their own parents.
This surveillance allows for effective control of the citizenry. The smallest sign of rebellion, even something so small as a facial expression, can result in immediate arrest and imprisonment. Thus, citizens (and particularly party members) are compelled to absolute obedience at all times.
Main article: Newspeak
"The Principles of Newspeak" is an academic essay appended to the novel. It describes the development of Newspeak, the Party's minimalist artificial language meant to ideologically align thought and action with the principles of Ingsoc by making "all other modes of thought impossible". (For linguistic theories about how language may direct thought, see the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis.) Note also the possible influence of the German book LTI - Lingua Tertii Imperii, published in 1947, which details how the Nazis controlled society by controlling language.
Whether or not the Newspeak appendix implies a hopeful end to Nineteen Eighty-Four remains a critical debate, as it is in Standard English and refers to Newspeak, Ingsoc, the Party, et cetera, in the past tense (i.e., "Relative to our own, the Newspeak vocabulary was tiny, and new ways of reducing it were constantly being devised", p. 422); in this vein, some critics (Atwood, Benstead, Pynchon) claim that, for the essay's author, Newspeak and the totalitarian government are past. The countervailing view is that since the novel has no frame story, Orwell wrote the essay in the same past tense as the novel, with "our" denoting his and the reader's contemporaneous reality.
Nineteen Eighty-Four uses themes from life in the Soviet Union and wartime life in Great Britain as sources for many of its motifs.
The statement "2 + 2 = 5", used to torment Winston Smith during his interrogation, was a Communist party slogan from the second five-year plan, which encouraged fulfilment of the five-year plan in four years. The slogan was seen in electric lights on Moscow house-fronts, billboards, etc.
The switch of Oceania's allegiance from Eastasia to Eurasia is evocative of the Soviet Union's changing relations with Nazi Germany, who were open adversaries until the signing of the Treaty of Non-Aggression. Thereafter, and continuing until the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, no criticism of Germany was allowed in the Soviet press, and all references to prior party lines stopped.
The description of Emmanuel Goldstein, with a goatee beard, evokes the image of Leon Trotsky. The film of Goldstein during the two-minutes hate is described as showing him being transformed into a bleating goat. This image was used in a propaganda film during the Kino-eye period of Soviet film, which showed Trotsky transforming into a goat. Goldstein's book is redolent of Trotsky's highly critical analysis of the USSR "The Revolution Betrayed", published in 1936.
The omnipresent images of Big Brother, described as having a mustache, evokes the cult of personality built up around Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler.
The news in Oceania emphasised production figures, just as it did in the Soviet Union, where record-setting in factories (by "Heroes of Socialist Labor") was especially glorified. The best known of these was Alexey Stakhanov, who purportedly set a record for coal mining in 1935.
The tortures of the Ministry of Love evoke the procedures used Gestapo and NKVD in their interrogations, including the use of rubber truncheons, being forbidden to put your hands in your pockets, remaining in brightly lit rooms for days, and the victim being shown a mirror after their physical collapse.
Orwell's "Spies", a youth organization taught to look for enemies of the state, appears to be based on the Hitler Youth
A poster showing young Pioneers as future Komsomol members. The "Junior Anti-Sex league" was based on the Young Communists; the komsomol and Bund Deutscher Mädel (the League of German Girls).
The random bombing of Airstrip One is based on the Buzz bombs, which struck England at random in 1944-1945.
The Thought Crime motif is drawn from Kempeitai, the Japanese wartime secret police, who arrested people for "unpatriotic" thoughts.
The confessions of the "Thought Criminals" Rutherford, Aaronson and Jones are based on the show trials of the 1930s, which included fabricated confessions by prominent Bolsheviks Nikolai Bukharin, Grigory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev to the effect that they were being paid by the Nazi government to undermine the Soviet regime under Leon Trotsky's direction.
The song "Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree" ("Under the spreading chestnut tree, I sold you, and you sold me") was based on Glenn Miller's 1939 song of the same name ("Under the spreading chestnut tree, Where I knelt upon my knee, We were as happy as could be, 'Neath the spreading chestnut tree.") The song has its origins in the 1920s, when it was a camp song, sung with corresponding movements (like touching your chest when you sing "chest", and touching your head when you sing "nut"). The original title was 'Go no more a-rushing'. Under these lyrics, the song was published as early as 1891.
The "Hates" (two-minutes hate and hate week) were inspired by the constant rallies sponsored by party organs both in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia.
The contractions of words, in which "Ministry of Truth" was shortened to "Minitrue" and "English Socialism" to "Ingsoc" was inspired by the Soviet habit of combining words. Smert Shpionam ("death to spies", a sub-division of the NKVD) was shortened to "Smersh". Dialectical Materialism was similarly shortened to "DiaMat", and The Communist International was referred to as the Comintern.
"Vaporising" criminals (a metaphor for execution) is based on the Soviet word "liquidation" a vague term that usually meant execution or "Internal Exile" to the gulag labour camps. Nikolai Yezhov, walking with Stalin in the top photo from the 1930s. Following his execution, Yezhov was edited out of the photo by Soviet censors. Yezhov became an "unperson".
Winston Smith's job, "revising history" (and the "unperson" motif) are based on the Stalinist habit of airbrushing images of 'fallen' people from group photographs and removing references to them in books and newspapers. In one well-known example, the Soviet encyclopaedia had an article about Lavrentiy Beria. When he fell in 1953, and was subsequently executed, institutes that had the encyclopaedia were sent an article about the Bering Strait, with instructions to paste it over the article about Beria.
Big Brother's "Orders of the Day" were inspired by Stalin's regular wartime orders, called by the same name. A small collection of the more political of these have been published (together with his wartime speeches) in English as "On the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union" By Joseph Stalin. Like Big Brother's Orders of the day, Stalin's frequently lauded heroic individuals, like Comrade Ogilvy, the fictitious hero Winston Smith invented to 'rectify' (fabricate) a Big Brother Order of the day.
The Ingsoc slogan "Our new, happy life", repeated from telescreens, evokes Stalin's 1935 statement, which became a CPSU slogan, "Life has become better, Comrades; life has become more cheerful.
During World War II (1939–1945) Orwell believed that British democracy as it existed before 1939 would not survive the war, the question being "Would it end via Fascist coup d'état (from above) or via Socialist revolution (from below). Later he admitted that events proved him wrong: "What really matters is that I fell into the trap of assuming that 'the war and the revolution are inseparable'".
Thematically Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) and Animal Farm (1945) share the betrayed revolution; the person's subordination to the collective; rigorously enforced class distinctions (Inner Party, Outer Party, Proles); the cult of personality; concentration camps; Thought Police; compulsory regimented daily exercise and youth leagues. Oceania resulted from the US annexation of the British Empire to counter the Asian peril to Australia and New Zealand. It is a naval power whose militarism venerates the sailors of the floating fortresses, from which battle is given to recapturing India, the "Jewel in the Crown" of the British Empire.
Much of Oceanic society is based upon the propaganda strategies that emerged after WWI and fully florished during WWII. A similar thing also happened during the French Revolution in which many of the original leaders of the Revolution were later put to death, for example Danton who was put to death by Robespierre, and then later Robespierre himself met the same fate.
In his 1946 essay Why I Write, Orwell explains that the serious works he wrote since the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) were "written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism".
Nineteen Eighty-Four is a cautionary tale about revolution betrayed by totalitarian defenders previously proposed in Homage to Catalonia (1938) and Animal Farm (1945), while Coming Up for Air (1939) celebrates the personal and political freedoms lost in Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). Biographer Michael Shelden notes Orwell's Edwardian childhood at Henley-on-Thames as the golden country; being bullied at St Cyprian's School as his empathy with victims; his life in the Indian Burma Police – the techniques of violence and censorship in the BBC - capricious authority.
Other influences include Darkness at Noon (1940) and The Yogi and the Commissar (1945) by Arthur Koestler; The Iron Heel (1908) by Jack London; 1920: Dips into the Near Future by John A. Hobson; Brave New World (1932) by Aldous Huxley; We (1921) by Yevgeny Zamyatin which he reviewed in 1946; and The Managerial Revolution (1940) by James Burnham predicting perpetual war among three totalitarian superstates. Orwell told Jacintha Buddicom that he would write a novel stylistically like A Modern Utopia (1905) by H. G. Wells.
Extrapolating from World War II, the novel's pastiche parallels the politics and rhetoric at war's end-the changed alliances at the "Cold War's" (1945–91) beginning; the Ministry of Truth derives from the BBC's overseas service, controlled by the Ministry of Information; Room 101 derives from a conference room at BBC Broadcasting House; the Senate House of the University of London, containing the Ministry of Information is the architectural inspiration for the Minitrue; the post-war decrepitude derives from the socio-political life of the UK and the USA, i.e. the impoverished Britain of 1948 losing its Empire despite newspaper-reported imperial triumph; and war ally but peace-time foe, Soviet Russia became Eurasia.
The term "English Socialism" has precedents in his wartime writings; in the essay "The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius" (1941), he said that "the war and the revolution are inseparable... the fact that we are at war has turned Socialism from a textbook word into a realisable policy" - because Britain's superannuated social class system hindered the war effort and only a socialist economy would defeat Adolf Hitler. Given the middle class's grasping this, they too would abide socialist revolution and that only reactionary Britons would oppose it, thus limiting the force revolutionaries would need to take power. An English Socialism would come about which "... will never lose touch with the tradition of compromise and the belief in a law that is above the State. It will shoot traitors, but it will give them a solemn trial beforehand and occasionally it will acquit them. It will crush any open revolt promptly and cruelly, but it will interfere very little with the spoken and written word".
Julie - See all my reviews
Official Strategy Of Mandatory Poverty Through Eternal War, June 14, 2013
This review is from: 1984: 60th-Anniversary Edition (Plume) (Paperback)The key part of the book is near the end where O'Brien is brainwashing Winston and explaining how the system works.
The Party's main problem is to keep the middle and lower classes hungry and fearful, and to make sure that the products of automation don't supply them with comfort and leisure.
The only way to do this is through eternal war, so that all excess production goes to weapons that are blown up or sunk in the ocean. It doesn't even matter if the war is real or not - the obsolete weapons are scrapped anyway. The important thing is to keep people poor so the class structure survives with the party on top.
The other key is to keep the population in a constant state of screaming enraged hatred. Anyone that looks "foreign" will get rounded up and executed. The country is saturated in phony "patriotism" over a war that probably doesn't even exist.
The government also pushes a national Puritanical drive to stamp out sex. And of course they use torture on a massive scale, and they apply it more or less randomly to get false confessions.
The only thing that make the book more anti-communist than anti-Fascist is that the Christian churches have been closed. The Nazis did not close churches, only synagogues.
Orwell was a life-long socialist but not a pacifist.
The History Lesson You Wish you Had,Plom de Nume "Rob" (Wolverhampton, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
March 3, 1998
George Orwell's final novel, 1984, was written amidst the anti-communist hysteria of the cold war. But unlike Orwell's other famous political satire, Animal Farm, this novel is filled with bleak cynicism and grim pessimism about the human race. When it was written, 1984 stood as a warning against the dangerous probabilities of communism. And now today, after communism has crumbled with the Berlin Wall; 1984 has come back to tell us a tale of mass media, data mining, and their harrowing consequences.
It's 1984 in London, a city in the new überstate of Oceania, which contains what was once England, Western Europe and North America. Our hero, Winston Smith works in the Ministry of Truth altering documents that contradict current government statements and opinions. Winston begins to remember the past that he has worked so hard to destroy, and turns against The Party. Even Winston's quiet, practically undetectable form of anarchism is dangerous in a world filled with thought police and the omnipresent two-way telescreen. He fears his inevitable capture and punishment, but feels no compulsion to change his ways.
Winston's dismal observations about human nature are accompanied by the hope that good will triumph over evil; a hope that Orwell does not appear to share. The people of Oceania are in the process of stripping down the English language to its bones. Creating Newspeak, which Orwell uses only for examples and ideas which exist only in the novel. The integration of Newspeak into the conversation of the book. One of the new words created is doublethink, the act of believing that two conflicting realities exist. Such as when Winston sees a photograph of a non-person, but must reason that that person does not, nor ever has, existed.
The inspiration for Winston's work, may have come from Russia. Where Stalin's right-hand man, Trotzky was erased from all tangible records after his dissention from the party. And the fear of telescreens harks back to the days when Stasi bugs were hooked to every bedpost, phone line and light bulb in Eastern Europe.
His reference to Hitler Youth, the Junior Spies, which trains children to keep an eye out for thought criminals -- even if they are their parents; provides evidence for Orwell's continuing presence in pop culture. "Where men can't walk, or freely talk, And sons turn their fathers in." is a line from U2's 1993 song titled "The Wanderer".
Orwell assumes that we will pick up on these political allusions. But the average grade 11 student will probably only have a vague understanding of these due to lack of knowledge. It is even less likely that they will pick up on the universality of these happenings, like the fact that people still "disappear" without a trace every day in Latin America.
Overall, however, the book could not have been better written. Orwell has created characters and events that are scarily realistic. Winston's narration brings the reader inside his head, and sympathetic with the cause of the would-be-rebels. There are no clear answers in the book, and it's often the reader who has to decide what to believe. But despite a slightly unresolved plot, the book serves its purpose. Orwell wrote this book to raise questions; and the sort of questions he raised have no easy answer. This aspect can make the novel somewhat of a disappointment for someone in search of a light read. But anyone prepared to not just read, but think about a novel, will get a lot out of 1984.
1984, is not a novel for the faint of heart, it is a gruesome, saddening portrait of humanity, with it's pitfalls garishly highlighted. Its historic importance has never been underestimated; and it's reemergence as a political warning for the 21st century makes it deserving of a second look. Winston's world of paranoia and inconsistent realities is an eloquently worded account of a future we thought we buried in our past; but in truth may be waiting just around the corner.
1984 is the most "contemporary" book around - read it now!,Having just re-read 1984 it struck me that, whilst the quality of the writing is "timeless," (Orwell constructs a better sentence than most "literary artists"), the book's themes get more and more frightening as Western culture decays toward the millennium. My first school reading was in the days when 1984 was literally "the future," (even though Orwell had always intended it as a satire on contemporary Britain, with "1948" the originally intended title); in England today the resonances are especially profound, and what looked "old-fashioned" to `sixties and `seventies sci-fi readers has gained a new and bleaker realism. We're beginning to catch up with the US when it comes to presidential-style "leadership" and "spin," whilst the rewriting of history - with its horrible parallels with the politically correct mythologies espoused in transatlantic universities and the like - is already being implemented, with particular regard to the guilty denial of the achievements of the British Empire, (whilst the Roman and Greek civilisations still manage to escape trendy censure).
November 2, 1999
The worst shock comes with the realisation that everything 1984 says about the manipulation and reduction of thought by language-control, (Doublethink and Newspeak, respectively), is demonstrably happening right now. Things you can't say become thoughts you can't think, and an attempted conversation with most contemporary English youths on the street will reveal how hard it has become for our ill-educated masses actually to formulate rationale thought: what you get is a monotonic patois recitation of received simplistic opinion - or a boot stamping on your face, followed by a law-suit for your assault on them! One recent encounter left me with the reflection that we are so far from Shakespeare one could weep; then I read 1984 again, where Orwell has Winston wake up one morning with the name on his lips, a fleeting memory of a better past. The book is brilliantly written, shockingly painful and horribly, horribly relevant! (It's also fantastically entertaining and often very funny). Read it, read it again, and read it to your children!
C. Chow (Calgary, Alberta Canada) -
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Doug Vaughn - See all my reviews
Consummately Wrong,Orwell wrote 1984 at a miserable juncture in history. The Second World War had just ended, the Europe of his memory was in ruins, the full horror of the holocaust had been laid bare and the victorious powers seemed bent on completing the destruction the planet. The best of optimists would have quailed, and Orwell was no optimist. Surrounded by this stark despairing landscape, he wrote a stark despairing speculation. It was his damning indictment of the dark places of our souls.
October 10, 2004
It has been called a masterpiece; one of the twentieth century's greatest prophecies; a visionary dystopia that will speak for all time.
I beg to differ.
I do not question the brilliance of Orwell's writing. It exactly conveys the utter dejection and despair that he felt in the aftermath of the war. It is an incredibly taut development of character, theme, setting, and plot that strikes our psyche like a fist to the stomach. It attains exactly the right balance between storytelling and polemic.
It is also all wrong. It felt wrong thirty years ago when I first read it. It feels just as wrong today.
If we ever manage to create hell, it won't be Orwellian. Humans are far more amenable to seduction than oppression. Why spy into every household when one can be persuaded to spy on oneself? Why use techniques as inefficient as torture when far more can be accomplished by appealing to our basest pleasures? Why need doublethink be forced when we will freely embrace it where it is invested with enough allure? And why would the denizens of a misbegotten future bother to listen to voices of discord when their every waking hour can be filled to excess with titillation, shallow ecstasy, and unending bombardment of the senses? The dystopia of the future will not be one of oppression, but of gluttony.
An observant person, looking at the here and now, might conclude that hell has already arrived. But it has arrived via Huxley, not Orwell. We already have the Brave New World of test tube babies, mass pacification, casual sex, and broadcasted voyeurism. The key to keeping a society docile is to make docility so pleasant, so seductive, that we will freely and willingly embrace it over the rigours of a well-examined life. The road to hell is paved with syrup, not vinegar.
Orwell was a brilliant thinker and writer, not just of fiction, but of social and personal commentary. His essays are probably the finest since Montaigne's, and his powers of human observation and his sheer intellect are overwhelming in their stature. This is what makes 1984 so difficult to understand. Such a keen mind should have arrived at very different conclusions from those exposited in this book.
In a really hellish future, there will be no need to destroy malcontents; they will simply be irrelevant.
Control language; control the world,So much has been written by others on this classic text that I will limit my comments to that aspect of the book I feel is still the most important - the manipulation of language to control behavior. Orwell understood how crucial meaning and communication is to social and political behavior. The Bolsheviks first and then the Nazis both went to great lengths to manipulate meaning, creating an acceptable vocabulary of politically positive words and images and an equally negative vocabulary for that which was to be vilified and destroyed. Attempting to channel behavior into patterns predefined by these limited modes of expression represents the greatest part of the state propogandist's art. Orwell reduced the complexity of this enterprise to something that could be seen for the con game it is. His invention of 'newspeak' demonstrates the reducto ad absurdum of such verbal restrictiveness.
December 8, 1999
In our day, whether Big Brother is really watching or not, we suffer from some of the same contraints of limited language and, in term, limited behavioral options. On the one hand we suffer from a language of polictical correctness that strives to offend no one, but makes speech clumsy and artificial. On the other extreme we suffer from the limited categories that the professional news media use - the narrow meanings available to them for understanding and communicating what is considered 'news'. Since politicians contribute to this limited vocabulary and play off of it, it saves them from facing much real in depth analysis and critique and limits the public to shallow expositions that distort reality and make meaningful political choice impossible.
So 1984 has come and gone and we haven't fallen into the dramatic pit that Orwell pictured, but the language we use to deal with social and political issues has been so attenuated that we are in danger of becoming slaves to a limited set of possibilities because we cannot even articulate any alternatives.
Pletko "Uncle Stevie" (London, Ontario, Canada) -
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WAR IS PEACE; FREEDOM IS SLAVERY; IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH,Melkor "Lord of Darkness" (Angband) - See all my reviews
September 16, 2005
This novel by George Orwell (whose real name was Eric Arthur Blair, 1903 to 1950) is about the effects of totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is a characteristic of a government or state in which one political party maintains complete control under a dictatorship and bans all others.
This story, which takes place in London in 1984, follows one man (named Winston Smith) and his love interest (Julia) as they struggle against this totalitarian party ("The Party") whose leader (actually dictator) is "Big Brother." The Party political orthodoxy rules the giant country of "Oceania" (in which London is located).
At the heart of this party's political orthodoxy is the process of controlling thought through the manipulation of language and information by the use of "Newspeak" which utilizes what is called "doublethink."
Newspeak is the official language of Oceania (but is not the only language spoken). It is a language that eliminates unnecessary words and is designed to diminish rather than help expressive thought. For example, Newspeak states that there is no good and bad but only good and "ungood." Doublethink is the ability to simultaneously hold two opposing ideas in one's mind and believe in them both. The three Party slogans that title this review are examples of doublethink. Another good example is that (2+ 2 =4) and (2 + 2 = 5).
The Party keeps everybody in line through Newspeak and doublethink. But they also have other methods. For example, they have the "Thought Police" that investigate "thoughtcrimes." These are "crimes" of just having negative thoughts about The Party. Another example are telescreens that watch your every move even in bathroom stalls. Thus, "Big Brother is watching you" at all times.
Winston and Julia are discovered to be guilty of thoughtcrimes by O'Brien (who is the personification of The Party). O'Brien also represents those leaders who use cruelty and torture as their primary method of control (like Hitler and Stalin did). He makes them pay for their "crimes."
This novel clearly shows how totalitarianism negatively affects the human spirit and how it's impossible to remain freethinking under such circumstances.
This novel also contains an appendix written by Orwell. Here he explains various aspects of Newspeak and to my surprise he states that by the year 2050, Newspeak will be the only language that anyone will understand. Why does he state this? He wanted to keep the fear of totalitarianism alive in his readers well past the year 1984. (Thus, this novel is still quite relevant for today!)
This novel is in a word fascinating! It is well written and is filled with symbolism and imagination. It begins slow but gradually picks up speed. And the story is very interesting.
Finally, after reading this book, I recommend watching the 1984 movie "1984" starring John Hurt and Richard Burton (his last movie role).
In conclusion, this novel is a masterpiece of political speculation that serves as a warning to us all. Read it for yourself to see why it brought Orwell world-wide fame!!
(first published 1949; 3 parts or 24 chapters; 325 pages)
The "squirrelMaster" (BROUSSARD, LA United States) - See all my reviews
Among the Literary Greats for Reason,It seemed so innocuous, just sitting there wedged between two other books on the shelf, collecting dust with the others on my "yet to read" list. I may have passed it by altogether had it not been for the fact that I needed to complete my three hundred pages for the second quarter of my junior year. Besides, I'd read this author's work before and knew that I enjoyed his writing fairly well. So, without realizing what I was plunging into, I picked up George Orwell's 1984; the most unceremonious beginning for a most extraordinary event.
September 14, 2005
As I unconsciously flipped the pages, not realizing that I was still me and not Winston Smith, the story's protagonist, barely cognizant, in fact, that this was a book and not reality, I was dimly aware that this was something special; something far beyond what I had been expecting. If Animal Farm was a slightly humorous, if morbid, look at communism, then 1984 was a ghastly, apocalyptic vision of a demented future. After reading the first twenty pages, I determined that this was the single most quotable book of all time.
The infamous Party slogans:
- "War is Peace," "Freedom is Slavery," "Ignorance is Strength."
- "Thoughtcrime does not entail death; thoughtcrime IS death."
- "I understand HOW: I do not understand WHY."
- "Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows."
Chilling words from what could have been, from an averted catastrophe in which the human race subjugates itself through ignorance. Yet who's to say this could never come to pass? None can honestly look another straight in the eye and say, "That is not the future." To presume so is vanity manifest.
The one enemy man need truly fear is himself. The notorious Big Brother, the faceless autocrat in charge of Orwell's nightmare world (incidentally, it is never established whether Big Brother is a single man or a surreptitious group superciliously dealing justice to the masses), mercilessly dominates life on Oceania, one of three nations in existence. These countries, Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia, are continually in a state of war with each other, in which Oceania and one of the others are allied against the last. Big Brother's control over his people is absolute, executed through a methodical censorship that keeps the façade of truth as a contorted mask. Big Brother has the power to efface any record of an event or person - to rewrite the past as he sees fit.
Perhaps less relevant as a prophecy today (1984 has come and gone and no dictatorship has arisen to consolidate the Americas and the United Kingdom into a single communist entity), 1984 remains a very real piece of culture, with its own voice in the way it challenges one's preconceived notions and ideals. My English teacher perhaps said it best, when comparing 1984 to Animal Farm: "Animal Farm hits you with gloves on; 1984 just smacks you bare-fisted." And it's no slap, no half-hearted jab; it is an in-your-face, force of a moving train blow to the jaw from which the reader reels for weeks, even months after. It is an illustration, as well, of the need of consolidation and the hopelessness that such a government can be beaten: Winston, after waging a personal crusade for his secret freedom, winds up a brainwashed pawn of Big Brother.
In the end, Orwell proves that, if the government so wills it, two and two really make five, not four, and no amount of protest is going to change that. This book was a life-changer for me in many ways, but mostly because it made me see a broader view of the world and made me appreciate life as I know it just that much more.
"He gazed up at that enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark mustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast. Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was alright, everything was alright, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother."
Quotes taken from George Orwell, 1984, copyright 1949 by Harcourt Brace Javonovich, Inc.
Ahmed Ayad (Redmond, WA) - See all my reviews
A masterpiece, misunderstood by many.,A lot of readers seem to miss the point of this novel (especially the people who gave it 1 star, that's just weak). It's not about Orwell guessing what the world would be like in 1984 or really even a poke at communism.
July 1, 2004
Orwell presents an exaggerated and seemingly impossible not-so-distant future to the reader and supports it magnificently with parallelisms to religion and ideology. He addresses whether freedom of the mind is intrinsic to the human conscience and whether or not free thought is necessary for human happiness. It also questions what is real or true. Does 2+2=5? If you believe it and everyone else believes it, than why in the hell wouldn't it be so. The novel left me more afraid of the masses and the susceptibility of the human mind than the government. The people can take back control at the drop of a hat and they are the ones who allow it to get out of control in the first place.
A must read for all,A.J. (Maryland) - See all my reviews
October 26, 2005
This is the most depressing tale I have ever read. Though I know it to be fiction, I still can't take myself out of its ending. Although you KNOW for certain how the story will end, one could even imagine writing the plot exactly as it is only half way through the book, you could still not imagine the profoundness in which it was written and the mood it puts you in. It is also one of the most mentally exhausting reads. Taking you from logical absurdities to the haziness of dream worlds to metaphysical discussions.
Ok, so why am I giving it 5 stars despite all this?
Because in doing it the way it is, Orwell has succeeded in transferring to you his absolute HATRED of mental bondage, and of absolute unchecked human authority, and anything and everything that can lead to them. The rate at which the story is advanced towards the darkness and viciousness, the way he never for a moment leaves a prickle of hope in you heart or your mind about the final outcome of the protagonists or the world in which he lives, all reflect in no uncertain terms this hatred. Sometimes you think to yourself reading this "ok, I get it, why all this darkness"? Then, you realize what he was doing. He is shouting with the top of his lungs to all of us to NEVER EVER let things even approach the conditions of "Airstrip one".
What I have found most amazing in the novel towards the end is his resolution of a question that kept lingering in the protagonist's mind throughout the story; the "why?", why would the "Party" or the people in it do that? I have seen few reviewers allude to it. His answer was as simple and unexpected to me as it was to Winston - the protagonist, yet was perfectly inline with the extreme world Orwell built. There is no "why", there is no logic to explain it. Power is an end, not a means. In the words of the party members: "GOD is power". There is no reason for such attrocities but a sheer animalistic lust for power. Again, he is in a way saying: "don't ever try to rationalize it to yourself or others".
What sets "1984" apart from its famous sibling "Animal Farm", which by the way was also very depressing, is that it is not tailored to the history of the Communists. You could see, in a sense, the development of Orwell's thought while writing these two pieces. He started with the first to document one of the worst forms of collectivism that he witnessed, then - seeing at that time no sign of it being defeated or abated - took it to its extreme form. Such a form was sufficiently general to cover all types of mind slavery, to the extent that it can be applicable everywhere. I belive he might have even hinted at that in the part where he recounts the "history of the world" that he imagined from the his time to 1984. In this history, ALL of the globe, is ruled the same way albeit with different names and insignificant changes in ideology.
It is impossible to read 1984 without drawing parallels between contemporary events and something that is taking place in the novel. Indeed, one might never find a place where this kind of world exists. Yet, there is always something to draw parallels upon. Here, in the States, when you here the words "spin masters", you can't help but think of the principle of "doublethink"; in which one can not only muster the ability to consciously think of something and its opposite at the same time, yet somehow be able to believe both of them. You hear the word "alternate reality" in which people hear, read, and see the facts yet still are able to fit them into their worldview. A view in which internment is justified, the poor are robbing the rich, dissent is treason, torture is patriotism, failures are successes, and everything you think is true is a lie fabricated by the an enemy called "the main stream media". Then, you can't help but think of the "Ministry of truth" and the "Ministry of love".
Orwell is a champion of freedom at all levels, but most importantly in "1984", he is a champion of common sense.
"Freedom is the ability to say that two plus two equals four".
1984 is a must read for all.
A great year for the defense industry,George Orwell's "1984," published in 1949, projects a parallel world 35 years into the future in which all nations have been combined into three major superpowers in an eternal state of unrest. London still exists, but it is now a part of Oceania, governed by an entity called the Party, headed by a sovereign figure known only as Big Brother. The Party's one goal is power -- power over everybody and everything in Oceania. Surveillance is administered constantly; devices called telescreens are placed in people's homes to monitor thoughts and actions and broadcast Party propaganda continuously, with no way for the resident to turn his off or change the channel. Free thinkers are not tolerated, and roving bands of "Thought Police" are sent to sniff out transgressors. The Party is developing an official language called Newspeak, whose goal is to simplify language by eliminating as many extraneous words as possible and reducing vocabulary to a small number of basic words, thus narrowing the scope of thought.
June 18, 2001
But there's always a rebel. The protagonist is a man named Winston Smith who works at the Ministry of Truth as a sort of professional history revisionist. His job is to revise newspaper articles and documents in which Big Brother made predictions or statements that did not agree with the actual outcome of events; in other words, to maintain the public illusion that the Party is infallible and omniscient. Unhappy with his state of being, Winston would like to overthrow the Party but is powerless to do so. Teaming up with his love interest Julia, another Party worker, he colludes with a high-ranking Party official named O'Brien, who reveals himself as a secret member of a society called the Brotherhood who are planning to destroy the Party. O'Brien gives Winston a subversive book explaining the ideals and motivations of the Party: The upper classes (the highest Party members) need to retain their economic status, so it is important to control the minds and bodies of the lower classes, and wars are waged constantly only so that capital will be spent on the production of war machinery instead of being converted into wealth which could be distributed to the lower classes.
Winston knows that if he is caught as a dissident, he's dead. The Thought Police are everywhere, and can he trust Julia, O'Brien, and the friendly old shopkeeper Mr. Charrington to be who they say they really are? Predictably, he is apprehended, but the Party's plans involve not killing but reprogramming him, which unfortunately for poor Winston could be a fate worse than death.
"1984" is not strictly an anti-communist rant. (For that, see Arthur Koestler's "Darkness at Noon.") Rather, it attacks the complacency of all people and nations who would let a small number of idealists have their way and take command over the rest of the population. Semantics aside, Communism and Fascism, as practiced by certain Twentieth Century world powers, are essentially the same thing: the individual loses all his importance for the benefit of the nation, which really means the ruling Party. If democracy requires eternal vigilance, "1984" illustrates the consequences of apathy.
New Age of Barbarism "zosimos" (EVROPA.) - See all my reviews
Big Brother Is Watching You.,_Nineteen Eighty Four_, first published in 1949 by George Orwell (pen name of Eric Blair), is a horrifying dystopian novel of a world in which the individual human being has been completely degraded and deprived of his fundamental humanity that reflects the totalitarianisms of the day, particularly communism and Stalinism. George Orwell (1903 - 1950) was the pen name of the British author Eric Blair, who developed an early enmity towards those in power and their abuses of power. Orwell was a socialist but came to witness the horrors of the Soviet state and the betrayal of his ideals by Stalinists. As such, Orwell came to loathe totalitarianism in general and wrote novels showing the degrading effects such societies had on people. Throughout this book, one can witness the underlying hatred of Orwell and those imprisoned by the system for the totalitarian state and bureaucracy which completely controls their lives and existences. This book in particular shows that rage in the main character of Winston Smith, a mere pawn in a totalitarian society. Orwell's books are indeed prophetic and show us a world in which the very life-force has been sapped out of mankind by those in power. Orwell imagines a highly efficient totalitarian state, capable of enforcing political correctness at the highest levels, tampering with the memories of men, and maintaining a total disregard for the truth. Orwell shows how under such regimes the very notion of truth becomes suspect and the individual can no longer distinguish between fact and state propaganda. This particularly applies to the Soviet Union under Josef Stalin, which is the primary setting for Orwell's stories.
September 23, 2007
However, Orwell's books are also applicable to the West of today, where the constant menace of totalitarian ideology exists.
1984 gives us a whole slew of new terminology to describe the situation as it exists in a totalitarian state in which political correctness is enforced. The book introduces such terms as thought police, thought crime (and thought criminal), doublethink, memory hole, Ingsoc, and Newspeak. Such terms reflect the complete disregard of the totalitarian state for the truth and the active promotion of propaganda within society. They have also largely entered into our culture as expressions to describe the enforcement of political correctness.
1984 focuses on the main character Winston Smith, a member of the Outer Party who lives in England and works for the Ministry of Truth. As it turns out, the Ministry of Truth ironically is responsible for spreading propaganda, and as all ministries mentioned by Orwell has a purpose exactly opposite to its stated purpose. The world of 1984 is a very bleak one indeed, run by a single party and its ruling leader "Big Brother", in which all individuals are subject to surveillance by the state should they commit a "thought crime". All expressions of individuality in 1984 have been wiped out and the human being is totally degraded living a pathetic existence of total subservience to the party. Sexuality has been suppressed as part of the "Anti-sex League" as well as religion. Truth itself is highly malleable and memory is constantly distorted, reflected in such ironical and oxymoronic sayings of the party as "War Is Peace", "Freedom Is Slavery", and "Ignorance Is Strength". Further, the nation of Oceania is constantly at war with either Eurasia or Eastasia, varying from day to day and reflected in the official propaganda of the state bureaucracy.
All party members revere their leader "Big Brother" (perhaps reminiscent of Josef Stalin or other totalitarian dictators) and despise the rebellious "Goldstein" (perhaps reminiscent of the Soviet hatred for Leon Trotsky). Further, the party exists in a caste system in which the "proles" (the proletariat) live underneath the party members (who are divided into the Inner and Outer Party). Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth but begins to keep a diary (which is strictly forbidden to party members) in which he reflects his hatred for "Big Brother". His work involves developing propaganda for the party. At work he meets up with Julia, who he initially believes is a strict orthodox member of the party. However, eventually he comes to realize that Julia is in love with him and they have a secret encounter in the countryside. Eventually Julia expresses to Winston her complete loathing for the party, though she publicly maintains a persona of utter obeisance and orthodoxy and belongs to the "Anti-sex League". Together they find a new hiding place in a shop in a part of the city where the "proles" live and attempt to re-discover the past of England. Throughout this period, however, the two live in constant fear of the thought police, should they catch onto their affair.
Eventually, Winston meets up with O'Brien at work, a man who he believes is a member of the Resistance, and is given a copy of Goldstein's book which explains the rise of the party and the need for perpetual war. Orwell quotes extensively from Goldstein's book which reflects much of the social thinking of the time, in particular the theory of managerial elites. However, Winston and Julia are captured by the party and it turns out that O'Brien is in fact a member of the party. While taken captive, both are tortured and made to recant their original beliefs about the party. In a particularly disgusting scene, Winston is taken to Room 101 where he must face his worst fear. There he ultimately betrays Julia (as she has already betrayed him) to save himself from being tortured by rats (the worst torture that he can imagine).
Eventually, Winston is completely re-educated and made to love "Big Brother" while his relationship with Julia is forever changed after their mutual betrayals of each other. Thus, ends in the most horrifying of manners Orwell's classic novel. Orwell concludes with an appendix on "The Principles of Newspeak" which effectively shows how even the language itself can be put to the purposes of propaganda within a totalitarian state.
1984 remains a classic dystopia reflecting the darker side of human existence within the Twentieth Century as it played out in the totalitarian dictatorships of the age. Throughout this novel, the very notion of truth remains problematic, as the party re-defines history to reflect its own agenda and thus even memory itself becomes distorted. Orwell shows the sheer degradation that the human being undergoes within such a surveillance society, to the eventual point where a man can be tortured by the powers that be to such an extent that he will eventually even renounce his love and embrace the figure he hates the most. While the novel is made to reflect Soviet society and Stalinism in particular, it also reflects the modern world in general, in which large-scale and efficient bureaucratic structures rob man of his humanity. Orwell's novels prove particularly prescient warnings to mankind to avoid the dangers of totalitarianism. As such, they should be read by all thinking individuals who seek to understand the horrors that can be inflicted upon the human being through totalistic societies.
reality then v reality now,Valentin (Philadelphia) - See all my reviews
January 9, 2004
You've probably already read the other reviews on this site, so i'll just concentrate on my opinion on the relevance of this book in our contemporary society 1984 is a stark warning against totalitarianism. Written in 1948, Orwell's depiction of a government-controlled society seemed absurd when published, contrasting the innumerable amount of people that've said how real it seems now than it did then in western society
One interesting factor is the geography of the planet. We are told very little and all we're told is that there're three 'super-states', Oceania, Eastasia and Eurasia. Oceania is constantly at war with a vague and distant enemy, and is always switching between being allies and enemies with Eurasia and Eastasia. Comparing it to today, just what is this 'war on terrorism, and how threatened do you really feel about it (disregarding media opinion)?. America and Britian, both independantly throughout the years and in allegiance with each other recently, are constantly at war with an enemy. WWI, WWII, Cold war, Korean war, Vietnam war, Falklands War, Gulf war I and more recently Gulf war II. Societal opinions + perceptions are influenced by media, but who are we at war with? The "War on Terror" clearly highlights the fact that there is no tangible enemy anymore. Explained more clearly in Goldstein's passage in the book, we are constantly at war because it keeps us united, and stops us fighting one another, stops us fighting the government.
Another interesting factor in book is the issue of government surveillance. 'Telescreen' in homes, Cameras everywhere you walk, Microphones even in the countryside to detect rebellious behaviour. Although key issues stated in the book aren't as extreme, the power the government now has to keep tabs on people and spy on them has reached limits it has never reached before. The 'Party' explain that this surveillance is for the benefit of the people (note: animal farm) and they constantly reassure the citizens, or 'comrades', that life was worst off before they came along. Similarly, our governments are constantly re-assuring us how much better our lives are because of them. I.D cards are being proposed under the pretence that they will 'eliminate terrorism and benefit fraud', which are something the people are 'persuaded they want' because they media tells them they do.
The third, conclusively and i think most importantly, is the way this book challenges the fact we (society in 1948) take our freedom for granted. One passage in the book which sticks out in my mind specifically is when the main charactor walks through a lower-class area, and is terrified that the police patrols might stop him and ask him questions; 'what are you doing in this part of town? is this your usual way home'? etc. Similarly, if someone was walking down the street at 2am in a dangerous part of town for no particular reason, it would be deemed socially strange, thus encouraging this person not to do so, and do what everyone else does. If someone dresses in clothes that you do not usually see, he/she would be regarded as a weirdo, a social outcast".My point is, how free do we really think we are as a society these days? How easily are we opinionated by the media?
Our society is edging closer and closer to the reality that is 1984, and i recommend that you read it, it will change the way you perceive news articles, and you'll question all these erosions of civil liberties that have been happening.
By the way, Orwell didn't intend for this vision to be reality in the year 1984. He wrote it in 1948, so he just switched the last 2 letters around.
Aleksander Coho (Athens Greece, from Albania) - See all my reviews
January 30, 2009
This excellent book is about life which was deprived of all meaning, whose primary goal was a constantly increasing productivity motivated by an ingeniously designed social system that advocated "love and peace."
I was born in the Soviet Republic of Ukraine. I recall the anxiety that tormented my family during the preceding months that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. I was seven and lived in my own universe, but I was sort of aware that the Soviet Empire was seeing its last days. Karl Marx must have been doing somersaults in his grave.
I don't remember much about living under communism - except that daily life was "by the book" - but I've talked plenty about it to my parents and grandparents. When Stalin went six feet under, it became a bit more tolerable, but it remained totalitarianism nonetheless. Orwell did an exceptional job at depicting the essential aspects of that kind of state, more precisely Soviet regime.
The detail that he told is fascinating; as if Stalin or Beria had let him in on the juicy stuff. Some of it he exaggerated, some he understated, but fundamentally he was accurate. Also, it is imperative that the reader keeps in mind that it was published in 1949. A vast majority of people in Russia and Europe were isolated from this kind of knowledge - the government made sure of that through an intricate system of secret police - so this book was a revelation. Of course we now know that, aside from the fictitious names, he essentially portrayed reality. The indoctrination that is described in the book still lingered when I attended school in Ukraine in the `80s. Soviet propaganda machine was thorough indeed.
The history of totalitarian states is complex and enormous amount of time and literature has been dedicated to it. This book, however, is a good substitute if one cannot wrestle with a lengthy 700-page tome. It won't make you a political scholar, but it'll educate you on what Soviet Russia was. It's written in a lucid manner; however, one has to read it as nonfiction to truly appreciate the author's vision. George Orwell is a genius and his "1984" will be read for a long time.
History of The Communist World,"skaven264" (Rochester Hills, MI United States) - See all my reviews
February 20, 2001
No amount of positive reviewing will do justice to the importance and beauty of this book - you have to read if for yourself. What I really want to review are the reviews of some reviewers from Wstern countries. They like the book, but their reviews are of the kind 'This is a book about a hypothetical totalitarian dictatorshp, ..., etc.' What is wrong, is the word 'hypothetical' This book could have been titled 'Bits of the History of the Communist World (albeit a little allegorical)'
I don't know what people born in the West understand in this book. Not much perhaps. The very fact that Orwell is the ONLY Westerner I know of to have written an accurate description (though a bit allegorical) of communism in practice, suggests that most Westerners couldn't understand what was happening in the communist world. I suggest that they read it for what it is: History cast into an allegorical novel.
Now an example or two. There was a famous picture in history textbooks in communist countries. Lenin in a podium holding a speech, his hand streched to the masses listening. On his left you could see Stalin. Everyone of my age has seen this picture. What most people haven't seen, though, is an older version of it: Lenin holding a speech, and on his left, Trotsky. (Winston's job right)
Now my country (Albania) was great friends with USSR, until 1961, that is. Albania broke up with USSR (considering USSR a traitor of real socialism), to advance real socialism together with China. Not for ever of course - in 1978 China became a traitor of real socialism, too, having in fact never been really socialist. There was a famous picture in Albanian history textbooks. The Albanian B.B. (Enver Hoxha) was denouncing the betrayal of real socialism by the Soviet leadership. I have seen all three versions of this painting: In the first one, Enver Hoxha had Chou EnLai on one side and Mehmet Shehu (Albanian Prime Minister) on the other. This was valid between 1961 and 1978. When China betrayed socialism in 1978, Chou Enlai disappeared from the painting, and someone else took his stead. This second version lasted until 1981. That's because in 1981 Mehmet Shehu became a traitor, and 'was suicided'. So he disappeared from the painting, too. This is the last version of it. By the way, the painting stood in the Albanian National Art Gallery. Many people must have seen all three versions of it in original.
I could wrie a book longer than 1984, describing how accurate 1984 is.
Read 1984 as a history of the communist world; it is valid even for the four decades after Orwell's death.
Through a dark mirrior, George Orwell's world of 1984,Mike H "Livin in the Past" (Reno, NV USA) - See all my reviews
December 7, 2003
There are many different types of books out there: fiction, non-fiction, science fiction, fantasy, horror, history, and biography. But only a few of them have the same impact that George Orwell achieves in his book 1984. It seems part paranoid fantasy, part tribute to the malleability of the human psyche, and part historical allegory.
The issues, even presented in the outdated means that they are, still ring true for our modern society. The line between patriotism and nationalism is a thin one, and one that Americans look at each day. But in Orwell's world that line was crossed, and the result was a totalitarian government beyond anything most of us can imagine. With the government controlling all jobs, information, deeds, and actions, even to the smallest thought of their peoples, his world is stark and horrible to those of us used to a freedom. But the steps into that world are not that far away from our modern media control. In his world of 1984 the media serves the purpose of brainwashing the populace at large, and an ongoing war keeps the pressure on. And while some may claim that the media in our own country has the same control over us, in his world, the media is the government, and has no other agenda than that which the government sets forth.
The strange part is that all of this occurs to us, through the eyes of the main character, Winston Smith, as he falls in love with a young woman named Julia. In Oceania, the nation-state in which Smith lives, love is not allowed, and not tolerated. Winston Smith is, in essence, an insurgent in his own nation. He sleeps each night knowing that something is wrong, but not being able to say exactly what. As a reader we can see exactly the horrors to which he is made to endure, and though they might make us scream and shout, he is unmoved. But love draws him out of that sheltered reality, and into open insurgency against his own nation.
This is the beginning of the end for Wilson, as the romance, and the pleasures, are short lived. Like a terrible wave the police of the world he inhabits come crashing down upon him to break his spirit. The way they torture him is gruesome, and should offend anyone who values our human rights. But in the end, Wilson himself comes to love "Big Brother" the face of the state of Oceania. He forgets his insurgency, through a conscious adaptation of his logic processes. He has to know that whatever the nation does is right, even when it contradicts what he has experienced in the recent past. In Orwell's words, Doublethink.
These are just the surface issues that come across in Orwell's vision world the deeper issues are buried. As in, how could such a world come to exist? Well, he explains that after World War 2, there came a mighty nuclear war that wiped out most of the population centers of the world. And that out of the nuclear ash arose a political methodology that swept the nations, a kind of socialism that blended into totalitarianism. This totalitarian regime took hold and great purges, on the scope of the great purges in the early communist USSR, ran across the world as we know it. 3 stable nations were born: Oceania (The Americas, the Pacific Islands, Australia, and England), Eastasia (China, Mongolia, The Indonesian Peninsula, and Japan), and Eurasia (All of Europe save England, and all of the Former USSR). The rest of the world was in a constant state of conquest by one of these 3 super-nations, with the captured populations used as slaves. The constant state of war between the nations served to keep control over the people within the nations.
This is a world devoid of hope. Indeed, devoid of any emotions except hatred, fanatical delight in the war effort, and the obedience to the governments of the nations. This is the worst vision of what the Nazis in Germany hoped to accomplish in their conquests. A world without any laws, but what the government states to be true at that moment. A world where people disappear, but no one notices, or even cares, a world of total devotion to the state as a whole, without regard to creed, race, or social status.
It isn't often that the characters in a book become common usage in the world at large, but the phrase "Big Brother is watching you" has become synonymous with the government watching over its citizens. It shows up today in almost everyday speech. Especially when people are talking right to privacy issues. This seems apt, as privacy is one of the things that Wilson Smith never had, and will never have. Big Brother (the government) watched his every move of his life, recorded his every word, and rifled through his belongings at their leisure. This book is the origin of that phrase.
Orwell gives us a black and white view of the virtues of that world, and its drawbacks. The astounding thing is that it isn't still more talked about. We have, most of us, read this book. But how many too the time to understand the social and political ramifications it speaks of? I will from now on, that is for sure.
What More Can You Say: An Abiding Classic That Demands To Be Read,P. L. SORUM "Ricia" (FL) - See all my reviews
September 21, 2012
It's nearly impossible to reduce what George Orwell achieved with "1984", but here are some good examples: First, that of the nearly 1,800 reviews of this book, it's likely nobody managed to say anything really different than anyone else; yet Orwell managed to do it throughout an entire novel -- and he did it nearly 70 years ago.
Further, Orwell was incredibly prescient and insightful. Take his "telescreen" for instance, which closely mirrors our giant-screen TVs today and soon-to-be two-way viewing technology that we enjoy with our computers. The little helicopters buzzing around spying on everyone could just as easily be drones and satellites today.
And take the ever-changing alliances between the United States, Russia and China -- which could easily be called Eurasia, Eastasia and Oceania. There's always a war somewhere and when you turn on what passes for news today and it's all double-talk spin -- not so much concrete reality than it is flip-flop opinion. The world has yet to degenerate to thought control or "thoughtcrime", but the increasing constraints of political correctness has us edging that way.
And when it comes to our economic system, Orwell nailed that too -- "oligarchical collectivism," a system made by the few for the few. The Orwellian lexicon lives on: "Big Brother."
In the end, it boils down to the book itself. In short, it's a once-in-a-lifetime novel that begs to be read. An enduring classic. It's a book you can read time and again -- I know I have. One man resisting authority. The quest for freedom of thought and speech and liberty.
And I've said nothing no one else hasn't said already. You may as well quit reading what people have to say about this great classic and find out for yourself.
I attended parochial school as a teen and this book was a huge "no-no." I read it anyway and understood why those who seek control over others are very uncomfortable with this book. Personally, I think it should be required reading as it helps to define manipulative behaviors. It's a great book about a lousy world where thought is actively curtailed and the powers that be are only satisfied when the soul is utterly destroyed.Carolyn Blades (Dexter, MI) - See all my reviews
Our world today and to come,Tikhonov Alexei "nabludatel" (Suwon, South Korea) - See all my reviews
January 29, 2009
Once science fiction, now daily reality: constant war, newspeak, doublethink, surveillance by hidden cameras (and now satellites), TV sets humming 24/7 in many homes, political cover-ups, repression, restriction of language and the concomitant impoverishment of thought, manipulation on many levels. If you only read this in high school, read it again.
1984 by Orwell,
January 3, 2007
As a person who lived at socialism and now at capitalism in Russia and outside Russia I can say... '1984' is still actual, regardless of a political system. UNFORTUNATELY.
A lot of mind controlling methods, may be not as cruel as in '1984' described, but still same unhuman, are applied all over the world.... I strongly recommend to read this book to younger generation and don't think that it is about gone away Stalin's Russia... IT IS ABOUT OUR TODAY...In Russia and elsewhere. It is not too easy to read it, but when you MUST THINK it is always not easy....
James E. Egolf (Florida) - See all my reviews
john b (Concord, NC) - See all my reviews
A Description of the West from 1948 to the Present,George Orwell (1903-1950) wrote 1984 in the late 1940s,and the novel was published in 1949. This book was a description of a negative utopia,and served as a warning to the West of not only future events but events that had already occured in Western Europe and the United States. In fact, the original title of 1984 was 1948, but Orwell's publishers thought a futuristic title would increase sales of the book. There are three basic warnings in this book.
March 27, 2006
- One is that the status of "perpetual war for perpetual peace" was a permanent feature.
- Secondly, Orwell was clear about the corruption of language and thought that could be used to manipulate the masses (the proles as described in the book).
- The third warning was the use of war to maintain unity and the illusion of full employment.
The shifting of political alliances in 1984 has an all to familiar ring. Note that during the first had of the decade of the 1940s that the Soviets, Chinese, etc. were gallant allies. On the other had, the Japanese, Germans, and the Italians were the forces of evil beyond redemption. Yet, by 1948, or 1946, the scene dramatically changes. All of a sudden, the Soviets were the evil "Gremlins in the Kremlin." The Chinese suddenly became wicked. The previously defined wicked Germans, Japanese, and Italians were now suddently "good guys." One should also that those who clearly wrote about this in any honest context were badly smeared or condemned for being honest.
Another part of 1984 which should be closely examined is the corruption of language. The politically approved words such as democracy, world peace, etc., are part of the media's cowardly effort to avoid truth. Political hacks use these approval words in a flimsy attempt to pose as experts assigned to explain the changes of "allies" and power shifts. Orwell was always aware of the corruption of language and, in turn, the corruption of thought. The examples Orwell uses in 1984 should attract the attention of thoughtful men.
Orwell was one of the few who saw the connection between war and economics. He was one of the first who saw war production as an economic engine to maintain something close to full employment. He lived through the Great Depression and realized that wars are started not so much to defeat the enemy as to maintain political unity and full employment on "the home front." If a "war" can be prolonged, the better attempt to maintain war production and full employment. While living standards were not good, workers have the illusion that they are reasonable well off and are busy with important work.
Orwell's 1984 should be required reading for any teenager. The political lessons derived from this book are important, and, as some have mentioned, one can learn good prose. Reading 1984 can help explain the shifting of alliances since the start of the Cold War and can help explain phony international tensions from the end of W.W. II to the present. One should reflect how many "enemies" and allies the Americans have had during this time as well as reflect on how enemies quickly become allies and vice versa. This reviewer would not recommend 1984 to anyone who is immune to reason.
2+2=5,Too often people summarily dismiss anything with the word 'classic' on the outside of it as something that is either too deep to understand or too tame to be interesting. 1984 defies the second mold and blows away the first, roaring off its pages as an untamable black-hearted novel about society.
December 30, 2005
That's where the ability to define the novel stops. Undoubtedly, when the reader finishes 1984, the last four words are going to draw a line for them; that line will be the one that demarcates whether the reader is a socialist (that the power of production in society lies in the hands of the state) or a capitalist (that the power of production in society should lie in individuals). The brief bio at the beginning of the novel states that Orwell himself was a socialist...this is a strange thing to have to hear because you get the feeling that the novel is not pulling for that side, nor the other.
Because that is the strange greatness that is this novel -- it pulls for nothing, gives no easy answers, and least of all holds back on the literary punch that it delivers. Some novels put forth a question then attempt to answer it (Dostoevsky's 'The Idiot' is one such attempt) and they are great for their own pattern. 1984 is of the other milieu, giving us only a large, unanswered question which is bound to divide us as much as it helps us to see the problems which we all face.
I've not talked much about the plot of the book, nor the characters to this point. To this I must simply say: why should I? The plot and characters, the whole course of the book...they are all contained in what I've already said. This is not a book, it is a problem, a deep philosophical/sociological one which cannot be pinned down. The novel uses its characters and their situations to stake out the nature of its presentation, and then leaves the reader to wade through it on their own once it is finished. It is a disturbance in the mind, one that is significant more so today than ever before- What is the nature of government and its intrusion into life (the NSA situation)? What controls should be placed on the individual (abortion, censorship, euthanasia)? What form should punishment take (torture in the US run detention camps)?
By the time you finish the book, you're going to be thinking about these questions and several more. Hopefully you will want to find answers, though doing so is no easy task; these are intentionally hard questions, aimed at all strata of society, ones that will stick with you the older you get, facing you every time you look at your pay stub and think about where your effort goes.
And again, the cultural significance of this novel cannot be understated. It has already pervaded our daily lives in such a way that we might take for granted; from the lyrics in songs (who controls the past now, controls the future), to the shows on television (Big Brother), one cannot help but to see 1984 all around us, so ingrained into our lives that we might overlook the impact it has made.
Bottom line: this is required reading in many schools for a reason. Every person should be made to read this book.
Chris (Washington state, USA) - See all my reviews
A fine piece of work,
August 5, 2004
Oceania, with the British Isles, the America's and other lands, and London as its capital is a totalitarian state. Winston Smith works on changing past newspapers and other documents to make them doctrinally consistent with the short term needs of the party running Oceania, INGSOC. Thus documents are changed to make it seem that Oceania has always been at war with one of the two other nations of the world, Eurasia and in an alliance with EastAsia, the other nation; similarly is the construction when Oceania goes to war with EastaAsia. Similarly documents will be changed that have some INGSOC official uttering an inaccurate prediction about economic performance so that the official will have originally made an accurate prediction.. Documents are changed to eliminate mention of former favored party members after they fall out of favor and are sent to a forced labor camp or are "vaporized." Winston and other bureaucrats throw doctrinally inaccurate documents into the "memory hole", a chute, attached to his cubicle where they are sent down to the inner recesses of the government building to be burned.
Party members have in their homes and offices "telescreens" where they receive propaganda, are led in mandatory morning exercises but through which are also watched by officials for suspicious facial expressions, or any activity that might indicate independence of mind or feelings of love, enthusiasm or any other human emotion that are not directed at Big Brother, the possibly non-existent ruler of Oceania. People who exhibit such tendencies towards "thought crimes" are immediately arrested, executed or released back into society brainwashed and then rearrested and shot or sometimes sent to a forced labor camp.
INGSOC indoctrination ensures that its party members will not be able to not think logically and instead be completely subordinated to their emotions, which are completely engrossed in worshipping Big Brother. "Doublethink" is what is called the ability of the INGSOC party member to somewhat recognize the logical fallacies and outright falsehoods the party propagates as truth. At the same time such fallacies and falsehoods are accepted as the truth because one's emotions are trained to accept the party's pronouncements as truth whatever common sense says. Thus, it is easy to accept that two plus two equals five when logic says two plus two equals four. Or to not see anything wrong in the Ministry of Torture being officially called "The Ministry of Love," The ministry of truth management/propaganda, etc, where Winston works, as "The Ministry of Truth, and so on. Or to have the party denounce the original ideals of socialism while declaring itself to be a repository of socialist purity. Logic seems to be only tolerated when examining the crimes of official enemies of Oceania.
The bigger one's vocabulary is, of course, the more one can utilize it to articulate opposition to the party; so INGSOC wants to keep Newspeak-the language it is developing--and the remaining use of "Oldspeak"-old standard English-- as small as possible. In Newspeak there is no bad to good. Instead bad is called "ungood," "very good" in oldspeak is called "doubleplusgood." INGSOC indoctrination and throwing old documents and dictionaries down the "memory hole" has made "freedom" have no political connotations but only is defined as in the sentence "She was now free from the illness." Most documents before 1960 are sent down the memory hole or like the Declaration of Independence, altered to express doctrines of INGSOC.
Orwell is not just talking about Stalinism in this book. He sort of touches on elements of our own society. The bottom eighty five percent of Oceanic society, the non-party members are called "Proles", for Proletarian. The Proles are far less constrained by party discipline than INGSOC members produces for them and encourages them to consume dumb popular songs, pornography, trashy novels, play lotteries.. They are encouraged to jingoist frenzies where they attack foreigners and watch parades where they can jeer at foreign POW's and so on. All this distracts them from organizing to seize economic and political justice for themselves. They are still economically enslaved as they were under capitalism.
The sort of Trotsky of the story, Goldstein, notes that Oceania's rulers want to keep throwing resources into war-making so as not to have to divert them to making an equitable standard of living for the masses. \
Erich Fromm notes in his 1961 Afterward notes a few examples of how we in the U.S. practice "doublethink." He gives the example of the person who works for Corporation A and defends its products and everything about it as perfect regardless of what one's common sense might say. However the person will attack his employer's rival corporation B, trying logically to look for flaws in the latter's products and so on. Then the person might switch to employment in corporation B., thus switching loyalty to the latter, and attack the flaws of Corporation A., its former employer. Fromm also notes how American propagandists described U.S. allies as part of the Free World even though it contained viscous Latin American military dictatorships, apartheid South Africa, Salazar's Portugal, Franco's Spain, and so on.
As a piece of literature, this book is excellent. The structure, the parts of the story, are well put together and flow together well. Winston's struggle to maintain his intelligence and impendence is very realistic and well told. I liked the views of life among the Proles as seen by Winston. How Winston and Julia make contact and their first meeting where they end up fornicating are all a little unreal.. But despite this the Winston-Julia love story is very charming, full of real feeling. Winston's experiences in the last part of the book are described vividly, if being slightly incredible.
Amazon.com BooksJulie on March 3, 1998The History Lesson You Wish you HadGeekier than thou TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 25, 2000
George Orwell's final novel, 1984, was written amidst the anti-communist hysteria of the cold war. But unlike Orwell's other famous political satire, Animal Farm, this novel is filled with bleak cynicism and grim pessimism about the human race. When it was written, 1984 stood as a warning against the dangerous probabilities of communism. And now today, after communism has crumbled with the Berlin Wall; 1984 has come back to tell us a tale of mass media, data mining, and their harrowing consequences.
It's 1984 in London, a city in the new überstate of Oceania, which contains what was once England, Western Europe and North America. Our hero, Winston Smith works in the Ministry of Truth altering documents that contradict current government statements and opinions. Winston begins to remember the past that he has worked so hard to destroy, and turns against The Party. Even Winston's quiet, practically undetectable form of anarchism is dangerous in a world filled with thought police and the omnipresent two-way telescreen. He fears his inevitable capture and punishment, but feels no compulsion to change his ways.
Winston's dismal observations about human nature are accompanied by the hope that good will triumph over evil; a hope that Orwell does not appear to share. The people of Oceania are in the process of stripping down the English language to its bones. Creating Newspeak, which Orwell uses only for examples and ideas which exist only in the novel. The integration of Newspeak into the conversation of the book. One of the new words created is doublethink, the act of believing that two conflicting realities exist. Such as when Winston sees a photograph of a non-person, but must reason that that person does not, nor ever has, existed.
The inspiration for Winston's work, may have come from Russia. Where Stalin's right-hand man, Trotzky was erased from all tangible records after his dissention from the party. And the fear of telescreens harks back to the days when Stasi bugs were hooked to every bedpost, phone line and light bulb in Eastern Europe.
His reference to Hitler Youth, the Junior Spies, which trains children to keep an eye out for thought criminals- even if they are their parents; provides evidence for Orwell's continuing presence in pop culture. "Where men can't walk, or freely talk, And sons turn their fathers in." is a line from U2's 1993 song titled "The Wanderer".
Orwell assumes that we will pick up on these political allusions. But the average grade 11 student will probably only have a vague understanding of these due to lack of knowledge. It is even less likely that they will pick up on the universality of these happenings, like the fact that people still "disappear" without a trace every day in Latin America.
Overall, however, the book could not have been better written. Orwell has created characters and events that are scarily realistic. Winston's narration brings the reader inside his head, and sympathetic with the cause of the would-be-rebels. There are no clear answers in the book, and it's often the reader who has to decide what to believe. But despite a slightly unresolved plot, the book serves its purpose. Orwell wrote this book to raise questions; and the sort of questions he raised have no easy answer. This aspect can make the novel somewhat of a disappointment for someone in search of a light read. But anyone prepared to not just read, but think about a novel, will get a lot out of 1984.
1984, is not a novel for the faint of heart, it is a gruesome, saddening portrait of humanity, with it's pitfalls garishly highlighted. Its historic importance has never been underestimated; and it's reemergence as a political warning for the 21st century makes it deserving of a second look. Winston's world of paranoia and inconsistent realities is an eloquently worded account of a future we thought we buried in our past; but in truth may be waiting just around the corner.
Big Brother is watching you - read this book and see how!
George Orwell's classic was incredibly visionary. It is hardly fathomable that this book was written in 1948. Things that we take for granted today - cameras everywhere we go, phones being tapped, bodies being scanned for weapons remotely - all of these things were described in graphic detail in Orwell's book.
Now that we have the Internet and people spying on other people w/ webcams and people purposely setting up their own webcams to let others "anonymously" watch them, you can see how this culture can develop into the Orwellian future described in "1984."
If you've heard such phrases as "Big Brother," "Newspeak," and "thought crime" and wondered where these phrases came from, they came from this incredible, vivid and disturbing book.
Winston Smith, the main character of the book is a vibrant, thinking man hiding within the plain mindless behavior he has to go through each day to not be considered a thought criminal. Everything is politically correct, children defy their parents (and are encouraged by the government to do so) and everyone pays constant allegiance to "Big Brother" - the government that watches everyone and knows what everyone is doing at all times - watching you shower, watching you having sex, watching you eat, watching you go to the bathroom and ultimately watching you die.
This is a must-read for everyone.
May 15, 2019 | caucus99percent.com
"They hate us for our freedom" 2.0
gjohnsit on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 5:32pm The NY Times just posted one of the most atrocious pieces of journalistic malpractice I have ever read.
Less than two weeks before pivotal elections for the European Parliament, a constellation of websites and social media accounts linked to Russia or far-right groups is spreading disinformation, encouraging discord and amplifying distrust in the centrist parties that have governed for decades.
European Union investigators, academics and advocacy groups say the new disinformation efforts share many of the same digital fingerprints or tactics used in previous Russian attacks, including the Kremlin's interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.
That's a powerful statement. There's just one problem: the article doesn't present a single bit of proof. Just anecdotes. In fact, it doesn't even quote anyone to back up these claims, but for one single exception."The goal here is bigger than any one election," said Daniel Jones, a former F.B.I. analyst and Senate investigator whose nonprofit group, Advance Democracy, recently flagged a number of suspicious websites and social media accounts to law enforcement authorities.
"It is to constantly divide, increase distrust and undermine our faith in institutions and democracy itself. They're working to destroy everything that was built post-World War II."
Russia is why people are losing faith in our government institutions. Not because they are owned by oligarchs. If you listen closely you can hear President Bush.
So who is Daniel Jones and Advance Democracy? That's an interesting story .According to a report published this morning, he notes that the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which has received "significant funding" from technology billionaires, funneled $500,000 to the non-profit group Advance Democracy. That organization shares a street address with The Democracy Integrity Project.
That's because both organizations were founded by former Senate Intel staffer Daniel Jones, who at that time worked for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who hails from just down the road from Silicon Valley in San Francisco. As TruNews has previously reported, those connections to the Senate Intel Committee have played a significant role in the ongoing "Russia Narrative" drama in Washington, D.C.
Jones has been previously identified as a central figure in the investigation who served as potential go-between with the committee's ranking Democrat, Sen. Mark Warner, and former MI6 agent Christopher Steele. That's because TDIP, which receives significant funding from George Soros, funneled some of that money toward Steele's research for Fusion GPS that led to the infamous dossier on President Donald Trump.
However, as Ross reports today: "Mystery surrounds both of Jones's operations. The identities of both groups' donors have largely been kept secret, as Jones has avoided revealing his backers.
Nothing to see here. Just two sketchy political organizations sharing the same street address. Perfectly normal.
"The election has yet to come, and we are already suspected of doing something wrong?" the Russian prime minister, Dmitri A. Medvedev, said in March. "Suspecting someone of an event that has not yet happened is a bunch of paranoid nonsense."
It's not nonsense. It's scapegoating. There's a difference.
gjohnsit on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 5:46pmThe Hill forgot Tulsi againUntimelyRippd on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 5:59pm
It's #IgnoreTulsiTime again. @thehill pic.twitter.com/rVe306gXxx
-- K. Rosef (@kayrosef) May 10, 2019
they can't even say itCBS News (2/4/19) briefly interviewed Honolulu Civil Beats reporter Nick Grube regarding Gabbard's campaign announcement. The anchors had clearly never encountered the term anti-interventionism before, struggling to even pronounce the word, then laughing and saying it "doesn't roll off the tongue."If you have trouble pronouncing "anti-interventionism",Centaurea on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 6:49pm
you lack one of perhaps three must-have skills for being a TV reporter.The other skills beingBollox Ref on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 6:14pm
@UntimelyRippd a perky voice and a lack of critical thinking ability? And for women, blonde hair.I assume that the meteoric rise of Farage's Brexit partyCentaurea on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 6:44pm
over the last couple of weeks, is all down to Putin/bots/funding. The NYT is very much invested in the post Cold War status quo.Once again, NYT gets the facts wrongsnoopydawg on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 7:12pm
They're [the Kremlin] working to destroy everything that was built post-World War II.
That would be the Clintons and the Bushes. Both political parties and every POTUS since 1968. In fact, I believe this is the main reason why the Dems created and are pushing Russiagate so hard. They don't want us looking at what really gave us Trump: the neoliberal neoconservative fiasco of the past 40+ years.
It's also why so many people of my generation (over 60) are having trouble understanding and accepting what's going on. To do so will require letting go of everything they thought was true. That kind of change does not come easy to many people.
I heard someone recently say "We have to elect a Dem or else our post-War advantages will disappear."
Got to wonder where he's been for the past 40 years. That horse left the barn a long time ago.Unfortunately people really believe everything they have beenTheOtherMaven on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 7:28pm
told about Russia and that they interfered with not only our elections, but in so many other countries too. I remember a time when people would insist on seeing the evidence on stuff the intelligence agencies tell them, but ever since Her lost the election they lost their minds. I'll see references to articles that say something, but offer no evidence. Like the one this essay is about.
Plus they tried to kill the Skripals. And the GOP are also under Vlad's thumb. This is why Russia Gate has to be debunked.
People say that Mueller has put to rest the fact that Russia indeed interfered with the election, but all he showed was the FBIs "belief' that they did and that some Russians will ties to Vlad hacked the DNC computers. He didn't interview anyone involved with that as laid out in my recent essay.
I've even seen people who were once against our invasions being okay with them and repeating the party line. Unfuckingbelievable!I wonder how much of this is residual Millennial Maniasnoopydawg on Mon, 05/13/2019 - 1:33am
The Year 2000 was not that long ago, and we were bombarded for two decades beforehand with talk of all the dreadful things that might happen, could happen, and some people firmly believed would happen - and then didn't happen. (As it turned out, the most obvious sign of "Y2K" was the "19100" bug that plagued Web pages for months afterward. It was cosmetic and harmless, but annoying.)
I expected it to take about ten years for sanity to return - but it looks like being more like fifty. And there will probably be some cultists who construct their own "reality" around what didn't happen, like the 1840s Millerites (who spun off the still-extant Seventh Day Adventists).It might be longertravelerxxx on Mon, 05/13/2019 - 3:10am
The NYT and WaPoo have new articles out about how bad the dastardly Russians are still interfering with the whole dang country now. And WaPoo had some university do a study on how Russia tried to get people to vote for Bernie and blah, blah,...
I read an article last year saying that Bernie needs to knock off being with the Russia Gaters because he is going to be accused of being in Vlad's pockets anyway. But he's still saying that Trump is under Russia's thumb and that Russia is doing all kinds of bad stuff.
Then there's all the websites like DK, emptyhead, democratic underground and others saying that Mueller confirmed Russia did bad things and maybe if the democrats work harder on their investigations they will find stuff that Mueller missed. I think 10 years is optimistic, but however long it's going to take its going to be too long.A lit fuse with nothing to stop itthanatokephaloides on Mon, 05/13/2019 - 8:12pm
I think 10 years is optimistic, but however long it's going to take it's going to be too long.
Consider how long it took for Cold War I to finally start to ebb. It took at least a decade, and that was with the memory of a horrendous world war fresh on most minds. Now, we're so insulated from the reality of war, not even allowed reports from the battlefields, much less accurate information and numbers, that we have lost touch with the horror. Evil men such as Bolton spend every minute of every day trying to embroil us in deadly excursions and foreign entanglements. Our "intelligence" agencies are no more than modern versions of the NAZI era Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda.
So, yes, it's going to take too long. Short of a miracle, I'm starting to think we're all going to be radioactive ash before Cold War II ends. There was a modicum of restraint with Cold War I; some people had enough sense to realize the end result was nuclear war. That type of sense seems nowhere to be found in Washington, D.C., these days.the RussiansJen on Mon, 05/13/2019 - 9:02am
So, yes, it's going to take too long. Short of a miracle, I'm starting to think we're all going to be radioactive ash before Cold War II ends. There was a modicum of restraint with Cold War I; some people had enough sense to realize the end result was nuclear war. That type of sense seems nowhere to be found in Washington, D.C., these days.
Fortunately for us ordinary Americans, the Russians really do love their children too.....
//www.youtube.com/embed/wHylQRVN2Qs?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0If Bernie is the nomineeHawkfish on Mon, 05/13/2019 - 7:14pm
@snoopydawg Are they going to say they're both (Bernie and Trump) working with Russia? That would be amusing. I wonder if it would cause any of them to vote third party or not vote at all.As someone in the industry...SnappleBC on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 10:03pm
...who was a software development consultant at the time, the reason nothing much happened was that's lot of people worked their butts off for several years. COBOL programmers were dragged out of retirement and all kinds of goofy OS and library hacks were implemented to reduce the amount of work and risk.
Sometimes freaking out gets the job done!It did not come easy for me anywayUntimelyRippd on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 10:50pm
It's also why so many people of my generation (over 60) are having trouble understanding and accepting what's going on. To do so will require letting go of everything they thought was true. That kind of change does not come easy to many people.
I spent several years grappling with my fall down the rabbit hole. I started freeing myself from the matrix during #Occupy and towards the end of Obama's first term I was starting to really get it... at least get it enough to know I wasn't voting for him a second time. Then Bernie arrived on the scene and it was music to my ears. That pretty much completed the process for me but it STILL took time and I STILL have places where I "don't believe they are that evil" (twin towers anyone) yet I suspect that in the fullness of time I may yet find that they are in fact that evil.
I have a lot of sympathy for those still caught in the matrix. It's a really good trap. That doesn't change the fact that I see them as my enemy and the enemy of all mankind but I at least understand.I've always been clear on one thing:travelerxxx on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 10:58pm
Dick Cheney is as evil as any human being I've ever heard of. I doubt whether he's done everything some folks believe he's done -- but not because he isn't evil enough, only because he lacked either the guts or the necessity. I believe he would have fit in perfectly well with Himmler and Goebbels, and he would enthusiastically embraced their approach to getting and wielding power.I need to focus bettersnoopydawg on Mon, 05/13/2019 - 1:44am
I believe he would have fit in perfectly well with Himmler and Goebbels ...
I had to go back and re-read your comment, as I had subconsciously read
PresidentSecurity Advisor John Bolton rather than what you wrote -- Cheney .
I mean, you were talking about evil men ...They really are that evilNot Henry Kissinger on Mon, 05/13/2019 - 3:01am
Just this century this country has killed a million Iraqis and who knows how many people in the other countries we've invaded? 40,000 Venezuelans died last year because of our sanctions and no matter how many people in Yemen die every day because of the Saudis we will continue supporting them.
Then there's Hiroshima and Nagasaki as aliasalias stated. Oh hell yes they are that evil.After all the millions of people...Pluto's Republic on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 7:41pm
killed and displaced around the Globe by the Empire in just this century alone, so many still can't believe this same government could murder 3000 on 9/11.
Cognitive dissidence doesn't even start to explain it.Well, the key issue heresnoopydawg on Mon, 05/13/2019 - 1:46am
...is the intense access that these privatized propagandists have to the New York Times . And certainly the Times should explain why it freely publishes radical divisive stories that cannot be verified from compromised sources that have previously been exposed as disreputable. This is what Russia is accused of doing, sewing confusion and fear in the US, based on misinformation. Now the New York Times is doing it for them. The fact that a US media outlet is deliberately sabotaging the domestic tranquility with alarming lies is exactly what congress should be investigating. But any congressperson that did so would see their careers destroyed. Congress surrendered to the media monopolies a long time ago.
What we can do is confirm for Americans that they must never trust anything they read in the New York Times and the Washington Post . Remind them of the tragic facts in recent history. The lies that endangers people's lives and disables their intelligence are written between the lines.Ayupaliasalias on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 10:36pm
The NYT and WaPoo and other media are continuing to come up with new stories every day telling us something new that Russia is doing. This is not going away any time soon. Unfortunately.I can't forget those commercials nor the school drillsaliasalias on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 10:51pm
@Lookout @Lookout with us all getting under our desks or along the walls if we are in the hallway and I don't think any one of us didn't treat this as something critical for us to learn in order to survive.
As a kid that loved riding a bicycle one Public Service announcement I paid careful attention to was the instruction to do if I saw that bright flash which was to throw the bike down and curl up along the curb, I even thought about that problem on unpaved streets.
I remember bomb shelters were advertised a lot and I remember some tv dramas were about people fleeing to their bomb shelter and the dilemma of being only fit to hold a small group but had neighbors, friends and strangers pleading to be let in.
The 'Twilight Zone' series even had one episode where a very wealthy man with a shelter picked certain important people in his life, his school teacher, Priest and others were offered shelter only if they will apologize for things he'd caught criticism for his behavior in his past. Trivial stuff, but he had a screen for them to watch the destruction live.
Long story short, they'd rather die than spend the rest of their lives with him. Especially with all their friends and family gone, so he is alone, goes crazy, runs outside and is found by a policemen to be crying and babbling at a city fountain, in a city that had not been bombed, but for him it had happened and all he could see was destruction around him.
All that aside considering we'd already dropped 'the' bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki those behind all the public warnings and information that was needed in order for people to know how to survive couldn't really believe that nonsense.
Unless they could believe all those dead Japanese would've likely survived if they had ducked under their desks or curled up along a curb, and if that were true they were as loony as the 'Twilight Zone' character.
Yeah if only all those schoolchildren had jumped under their desk before the building and everything around it was obliterated.
...if you see a light brighter than the sun. (1 min)
data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==Today I'm watching the NY Yankees vs Tampa Bay andtravelerxxx on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 11:02pm
in the top of the ninth the screen goes black, the live stream has stopped because the electrical grid the Tropicana had shut down and the stadium was without power for the lights, scoreboard, broadcast, etc. were down.
It took about forty-five minutes for power to be restored but right when it happened I thought it was the stream I was watching so I clicked on other streaming sites and it was on a couple of them I read why all broadcasts were off.
But in the chat box I really couldn't tell if a few were joking or not when they blamed it on the Russians. One in particular didn't look like they were joking as that person repeated the claim a few times. No kidding, and one lamented that (paraphrasing) 'now the Russians are messing with our National sport'.
THIS is what mainstream media has wrought.Worse yetsnoopydawg on Mon, 05/13/2019 - 1:41am
THIS is what mainstream media has wrought.
I'd offer that this is what a mainstream media controlled by handful of corporations, reading from a script, has wrought.BingoNot Henry Kissinger on Mon, 05/13/2019 - 2:57am
Any time something happens now people will willingly accept that Russia did something that caused it. See the tweet I posted above. Secret service agents and police are doing nothing as the Guaido goons keeps people from delivering food and stuff to the embassy sitters. One goon tried taking the bag out of a guy's hands and they just watched. One person tried to throw a cucumber and the cops pounced on him, pushed him to the ground and bloodied him up. But Russia is the one who put the embassy sitters into the embassy and is supporting them. SMDH!Love the projection...Jen on Mon, 05/13/2019 - 9:09am
Advance Democracy, recently flagged a number of suspicious websites and social media accounts to law enforcement authorities."It is to constantly divide, increase distrust and undermine our faith in institutions and democracy itself.
An organization that reports undesirable speech to law enforcement is worried about the undermining of democracy. Got it.It's the other way around this time
A few months ago, I made a comment to someone that it's like we're supposed to hate them (Russia) for their freedoms.
May 14, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
1984 Turns 70-Years-Old In A World That Looks A Lot Like The Book
by Tyler Durden Tue, 05/14/2019 - 16:25 0 SHARES Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print Authored by John Vibes via ActivistPost.com,
This month, George Orwell's legendary novel Nineteen Eighty-Four turns 70 years old, and the warnings contained within the story are now more relevant than ever. Orwell's predictions were so spot on that it almost seems like it was used as some type of accidental instruction manual for would-be tyrants.
In the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four , there is an all-encompassing surveillance state that keeps a watchful eye on everyone, in search of possible rebels and points of resistance.
Censorship is the norm in this world, and is so extreme that individuals can become "unpersons" who are essentially deleted from society because their ideas were considered dangerous by the establishment. This is an idea that is very familiar to activists and independent journalists who are being removed from the public conversation for speaking out about government and corporate corruption on social media.
Orwell is famous for coining the term "double-speak," which is a way to describe the euphemistic language that government uses to whitewash their most dirty deeds. For example, in Orwell's story, the ministry of propaganda was called the Ministry of Truth, just as today the government agency that was once known as "The Department of War," is now called the "Department of Defense."
There was also never-ending war in Orwell's story, the conditions of which would change on a regular basis, keeping the general population confused about conflicts so they give up on trying to understand what is actually going on. Some of these predictions were merely recognitions of patterns in human history, since the idea of "unpersons" and war propaganda is nothing new. However, Orwell had an incredible understanding of how technology was going to progress over the 20th century, and he was able to envision how technology would be used by those in power to control the masses.
The technological predictions made in the book were truly uncanny, as they give a fairly accurate description of our modern world. Orwell described "telescreens," which acted as both an entertainment device and a two-way communication device. This type of technology was predicted by many futurists at the time, but Orwell's prediction was unique because he suggested that these devices would be used by the government to spy on people, through microphones and cameras built into the devices.
Unfortunately, just like in Orwell's book, people in the modern world are so distracted by entertainment and the divided by politics that they have no idea they are living in a tyrannical police state. This police state was also a strong deterrent in the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four , because although many of the citizens in the book had a positive opinion of "big brother," it was still something that they feared, and it was a force that kept them in control. Of course, this is not much different from the attitude that the average American or European has when confronted with police brutality and government corruption.
Many of the ideas about power and authority that were expressed in Orwell's classic are timeless and as old as recorded history ; but his analysis of how technology would amplify the destructive nature of power was incredibly unique, especially for his time.
wonder warthog , 2 minutes ago linksacredfire , 2 minutes ago link
Not to stray too far, I always liked the part in Ray Bradbury's "Something Wicked This Way Comes":
"Sometimes the man who looks happiest in town, with the biggest smile, is the one carrying the biggest load of sin. There are smiles and smiles; learn to tell the dark variety from the light. The seal-barker, the laugh-shouter, half the time he's covering up. He's had his fun and he's guilty. And men do love sin, oh how they love it, never doubt, in all shapes, sizes, colors, and smells."
The laugh shouter is one of those government or corporate chuckle-heads that goes along, gets along, and usually spends less than an hour a day actually doing his job. You see them on TV and in every office. Everything out of their mouths has to be punctuated with a chuckle.Teja , 6 minutes ago link
Coincidentially, I am reading it now and when I first started reading it three weeks ago I was stunned at it's accurate depiction of todays America!Reaper , 7 minutes ago link
Regarding the way the world is dis-informed and manipulated by social media comments, try "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card, written in 1985.wonder warthog , 12 minutes ago link
The Exceptionals find virtue in trusting their "protectors," aka police/FBI/military/CIA./courts.TahoeBilly2012 , 11 minutes ago link
The thing I remember from the novel was the "versificator" which was a typewriter-like device that allowed historical events to be changed as needed . . . very much like the networked computer.
Deep Snorkeler , 21 minutes ago link
Facebook recently made me an UnPerson, not joking. I had deleted my acct some years ago, re-registered to man a business page and...haha they rejected me, recent photo and all.WileyCoyote , 22 minutes ago link
Donald Trump's World
He watches TV. That's his primary experience with reality.
He communes with nature solely through manicured golf courses.
A man of empty sensationalism, devoid of real experience,
uneducated, insulated and deeply shallow.hedgeless_horseman , 28 minutes ago link
A group of 'servants' possessing a monopoly of force and using it to rule over others has never worked out well for the 'citizens' in the long run.Barbarossa296 , 19 minutes ago link
...and The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.Alananda , 28 minutes ago link
A great classic by Edward Gibbons. History does indeed repeat itself.chumbawamba , 22 minutes ago link
There are a few other books and booklets and letters that also seem eerily prescient. Following modern-day protocols, however, it's best not to mention them in polite company. ;-)hedgeless_horseman , 32 minutes ago link
To which Protocols do you refer?
-chumblez.chumbawamba , 28 minutes ago link
Unfortunately, just like in Orwell's book, people in the modern world are so distracted by entertainment and the divided by politics that they have no idea they are living in a tyrannical police state.
"We are not at war with Eurasia. You are being made into obedient, stupid slaves of the Party." -Emmanuel Goldstein
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-05-10/voting-big-brother-you-might-be-low-information-voterhedgeless_horseman , 20 minutes ago link
"1984", otherwise known as "Plantation Theory 101" to the bloodline elites.
I plan on voting in the local elections, especially for Sheriff and the bond issues. Also, I still think that voting for the quality Libertarian candidates is a better option than not voting, but I do understand your point. But when all else fails, you better be prepared to vote from the rooftops...
May 03, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Both the Washington Post and CNN - which breathlessly reported on their peers' anonymously-sourced anti-Trump propaganda for two years - have somehow failed to write a single article mentioning Azra Turk . As the Times revealed on Thursday, the FBI operative who went by the name Azra Turk repeatedly flirted with Trump aide George Papadopoulos during their encounters as well as in email exchanges according to an October, 2018 Daily Caller report, confirmed by the Times.
While in London in 2016, Ms. Turk exchanged emails with Mr. Papadopoulos, saying meeting him had been the " highlight of my trip ," according to messages provided by Mr. Papadopoulos.
" I am excited about what the future holds for us :), " she wrote. - New York Times
And as the Times makes clear, "the FBI sent her to London as part of the counterintelligence inquiry opened that summer" to investigate the Trump campaign. Verified account @ ByronYork May 2 Follow Follow @ ByronYork Following Following @ ByronYork Unfollow Unfollow @ ByronYork Blocked Blocked @ ByronYork Unblock Unblock @ ByronYork Pending Pending follow request from @ ByronYork Cancel Cancel your follow request to @ ByronYork More
In his House testimony, George Papadopoulos described undercover FBI informant Stefan Halper introducing him to undercover FBI informant 'Azra Turk.' pic.twitter.com/8jO4lK6Ldt
So I get there. I get to London. And he introduces -- or he does not introduce me to, but I can't remember exactly how I came into contact with his assistant, this young lady named Azra Turk, which I think is a fake name, by the way. My --
Mr. Meadows. Why do you believe it's a fake name?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Reading -- reading Twitter and people saying that Azra in Turkish means pure and then Turk. So unless she has the name of pure Turk. I don't know. Maybe that's -- those are common names in Turkey. I don't know. But it just seems that it was probably a fake alias.
Another beautiful young lady -- you know, I had many young beautiful ladies coming into my life with Joseph Mifsud and now another professor. The professors liked to introduce me to young beautiful women.
And we're sitting there, and she didn't strike me as a Cambridge associate at all. So right away, I was suspicious that there was something not right here. She -- her English was very bad. She spoke with -- I think she was a Turkish national, but she also might have been a dual American citizen. I'm not sure. And she took me to -- out for drinks in London and was probing me a lot.
Meanwhile, a Russian-born academic falsely accused of being a Kremlin 'honeypot' operative against Mike Flynn, Svetlana Lokhova, has an interesting theory as to why the Times published the '2nd spy' revelation in the first place.Svetlana Lokhova @ RealSLokhova 8h 8 hours ago More
I am a 'veteran' of reading Adam Goldman (NYT) articles about Halper's role with the FBI so here are pointers. You always have to ask: 1) Why did he write the article? 2) When did he write the article? 3) What is the narrative he is placing? 4) What has he left out? THREAD
Svetlana Lokhova @RealSLokhova
Follow ) v
2/ You might remember that McCabe picked Goldman of all people to interview him about the use of 'Confidential Human Sources' in
Operation Crossfire Hurricane - funny that!
Andrew McCabe intervied by NYT's Adam Goldma...
Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe discussed his career, the FBI, and his firing from the Bureau. He was interviewed by New York Times reporter Adam Go...
4/ Goldman's (McCabe's) argument is that the President was a national security risk because he fired Comey. "Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president's own actions constituted a possible threat to national security."
3 years and at least 33 million have been wasted in attempt to link Trump campaign to Russian intelligence. As I stated 2 years ago, I am not A Russian honeytrap for Gen Flynn.
RG @ rgreader 15h 15 hours ago More
Replying to @ RealSLokhova
Brennan used any Russian talking to a U.S. person as a reason to surveillance the U.S. person. Red scare...the century old excuse used by the FBI to illegally spy on Americans. The history books won't describe his actions as honorable
Svetlana Lokhova @RealSLokhova • 7h v
7/ This is Goldman's implausible explanation for spying. The President is portrayed as nuts, nytimes.com/2018/05/18/us/...
President Trump accused the without evidence, of planting a mole inside his campaign to undermine his presidential run. But the F.B.I. in fact dispatched a confidential informant to meet with Trump campaign advisers as it began its investigation into possible links between his campaign and Russia.
8/ What was it that prompted Goldman (ie McCabe) to publish his latest article on the FBI Russia investigation? Answer: Barr's criticism's of the FBI.
Barr: One of the things I want to look -- there are people -- many people seem to assume that the only intelligence collection that occurred was a single confidential informant and a FISA warrant. I would like to find out whether that is, in fact, true. It strikes me as a fairly anemic effort if that was the counterintelligence effort designed to stop the threat as it's being represented.
9/ The message by NYT (McCabe) is that the FBI threw their best guys at this, hence sudden reference to Operation 'Ghost Stories'.
10/ The main message is that the Russia investigation was legally predicated,
CNN law enforcement analyst and retired FBI agent James A. Gagliano opined on Twitter that perhaps the Times was helping the intelligence community get out in front of the upcoming Inspector General report on the FBI's conduct during the 2016 election.
James A. Gagliano @JamesAGagliano
Must caveat with -- would have had to have been a "CERTIFIED" FBI Undercover Agent (UCA), who had passed the UCA course, been pre-screened (psychologicals) and been handpicked by FBI HQ for a high-profile overseas assignment. Also, Legat London would've assuredly coordinated w/MI5.
James A. Gagliano @JamesAGagliano
Unless it was foreign intelligence service supplying the "honey trap.'' Papadopoulos argued *Azra Turk* had thick accent -- which wouldn't preclude her from FBI service, if US citizen. Some argue Agency employee. Surmise, absent heavy redaction, pending IG report lays this bare.
James A. Gagliano @JamesAGagliano
MAYBE this is why @nytimes helped get out in front of the news cycle that will roil following IG report that may be released this month or next.
Yog Soggoth , 1 hour ago linkmalek , 1 hour ago link
Papadapoulos was smart enough to get pictures of her with his phone ... Right?RightLineBacker , 4 minutes ago link
Who is Azra Turk?Thought Processor , 1 hour ago link
An FBI spy.11b40 , 2 hours ago link
CIA/FBI helping each other out. Informally of course. Standard off the books quid pro quo.surf@jm , 2 hours ago link
As I understand it, the CIA is not supposed to be involved with spying on American citizens, but the FBI has wide ranging latitude. This article says she was presumed to be FBI, but Papadoploulos says he thinks she was CIA. So, it would be a graver offense if she was CIA and busy performing illegal spying activities on an American citizen.
If I am fuzzy on this, maybe someone can clarify who knows the rules a little better.my new username , 2 hours ago link
New York Slimes in collusion with the CIA and FBI deepstate.......
No **** Sherlock...........C.J. , 2 hours ago link
Will she disappear like Mifsud...HideTheWeenie , 2 hours ago link
MSM burying the truth? Well imagine my shock. I'm surprised the likes of CNN and Facebook are still trying to hide their ban on truth and just openly claim truth is hate speech.Northbridge , 4 hours ago link
If you work at the CIA, do you get "honeypot" privileges ?
They must have a lot of downtime.
Wonder if "honeypot" is a line item in the CIA budget and how they forecast that. Do their rates decline over time, maybe with an associated depletion account set up like for petroleum reserves. Lots of questions here.AntiLeMaire , 4 hours ago link
Here's a link to the actual article.
"Mr. Barr reignited the controversy last month when he told Congress , "I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal." He backed off the charged declaration later in the same hearing, saying: "I think spying did occur. The question is whether it was adequately predicated. And I'm not suggesting that it wasn't adequately predicated. But I need to explore that." "
Mr. Barr again defended his use of the term "spying" at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, saying he wanted to know more about the F.B.I.'s investigative efforts during 2016 and explained that the early inquiry most likely went beyond the use of an informant and a court-authorized wiretap of a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page, who had interacted with a Russian intelligence officer.
Weeks before Mr. Papadopoulos met with Ms. Turk and Mr. Halper, the F.B.I. had opened its investigation into the Russia effort -- based largely on information that Mr. Papadopoulos had relayed to an Australian diplomat about a Russian offer to help the Trump campaign by releasing thousands of hacked Democratic emails.
The F.B.I. received the information from the Australian government on July 26, 2016, the special counsel's report said, and the bureau code-named its investigation Crossfire Hurricane .
Investigators scrambled to determine whether Mr. Papadopoulos had any Russian contacts while deciding to scrutinize three additional Trump campaign aides who had concerning ties to Russia: Paul Manafort, its chairman; Michael T. Flynn, who went on to be the president's first national security adviser; and Mr. Page.
His response: "I'm just going to leave it right now as a 'government investigator.' I use that wording for a reason, and I'm going to leave it at that."
Not FBI, just a 'government investigator.' and "I use that wording for a reason," and people on Twitter all trying to solve that complicated puzzle ! LOL.
Apr 28, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Hoarsewhisperer , Apr 28, 2019 5:20:25 PM | link
SBS broadcast a 4 part doco called The Fourth Estate in June last year. It's about the NYT unhealthy obsession with Trump. Episode 1 begins with his swearing in and cuts to stunned(?) NYT staffers watching the speech in which he says "For too long, our politicians have prospered while (blah blah blah) and this stops, right here, and right now."
From then on it consists of an endless stream of huddles as various groups of staffers ponder the best way to spin various 'angles' and approaches, or solo senior staffers pontificating on all manner of hypotheticals. There are lots of opinionated people working at the NYT and none of them is 'stupid'.
I recorded Episode 1 and my conclusion from watching it is that NOTHING the NYT publishes is accidental. I began recording Episode 2 but aborted the mission after 30 minutes or so because the repetitive self-worship and drivel was eerily similar to Episode 1.
Wikipedia has an entry devoted to the series and it's freely available on the www. I recommend watching the first few minutes of Episode 1 just to get a feeling for the tone.
The cartoon in question was published in an International Edition as a gloat or a public (private) joke, imo. I remain unconvinced that the Editorial Staff at the Jew York Times was blissfully unaware that the cartoon 'might' create an opportunity for the "Anti-Semitism!!?" crowd to stir up, and capitalise upon, the ensuing indignation and outrage.
Apr 21, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
As we now shift from the "witch hunt" against Trump to 'investigating the investigators' who spied on him - remember this; Donald Trump was supposed to lose the 2016 election by almost all accounts. And had Hillary won, as expected, none of this would have seen the light of day .
We wouldn't know that a hyper-partisan FBI had spied on the Trump campaign , as Attorney General William Barr put it during his April 10 Congressional testimony .
We wouldn't know that a Clinton-linked operative, Joseph Mifsud, seeded Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos with the rumor that Russia had 'Dirt' on Hillary Clinton - which would later be coaxed out of Papadopoulos by a Clinton-linked Australian ambassador, Alexander Downer, and that this apparent 'setup' would be the genesis of the FBI's " operation crossfire hurricane " operation against the Trump campaign.
We wouldn't know about the role of Fusion GPS - the opposition research firm hired by Hillary Clinton's campaign to commission the Steele dossier. Fusion is also linked to the infamous Trump Tower meeting , and hired Nellie Ohr - the CIA-linked wife of the DOJ's then-#4 employee, Bruce Ohr. Nellie fed her husband Bruce intelligence she had gathered against Trump while working for Fusion , according to transcripts of her closed-door Congressional testimony.
And if not for reporting by the Daily Caller 's Chuck Ross and others, we wouldn't know that the FBI sent a longtime spook, Stefan Halper, to infiltrate and spy on the Trump campaign - after the Obama DOJ paid him over $400,000 right before the 2016 US election (out of more than $1 million he received while Obama was president).
According to the New York Times , the tables are turning, starting with the Steele Dossier.
[T]he release on Thursday of the report by the special counsel , Robert S. Mueller III, underscored what had grown clearer for months -- that while many Trump aides had welcomed contacts with the Russians, some of the most sensational claims in the dossier appeared to be false, and others were impossible to prove . Mr. Mueller's report contained over a dozen passing references to the document's claims but no overall assessment of why so much did not check out.
Now the dossier -- financed by Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee , and compiled by the former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele -- is likely to face new, possibly harsh scrutiny from multiple inquiries . - NYT
While Congressional Republicans have vowed to investigate, the DOJ's Inspector General is considering whether the FBI improperly relied on the dossier when they used it to apply for a surveillance warrant on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The IG also wants to know about Steele's sources and whether the FBI disclosed any doubts as to the veracity of the dossier .
Attorney General Barr, meanwhile, said he will review the FBI's conduct in the Russia investigation after saying the agency spied on the Trump campaign .
Doubts over the dossier
The FBI's scramble to vet the dossier's claims are well known. According to an April, 2017 NYT report , the FBI agreed to pay Steele $50,000 for "solid corroboration" of his claims . Steele was apparently unable to produce satisfactory evidence - and was ultimately not paid for his efforts:
Mr. Steele met his F.B.I. contact in Rome in early October, bringing a stack of new intelligence reports. One, dated Sept. 14, said that Mr. Putin was facing "fallout" over his apparent involvement in the D.N.C. hack and was receiving "conflicting advice" on what to do.
The agent said that if Mr. Steele could get solid corroboration of his reports, the F.B.I. would pay him $50,000 for his efforts, according to two people familiar with the offer. Ultimately, he was not paid . - NYT
Still, the FBI used the dossier to obtain the FISA warrant on Page - while the document itself was heavily shopped around to various media outlets . The late Sen. John McCain provided a copy to Former FBI Director James Comey, who already had a version, and briefed President Trump on the salacious document. Comey's briefing to Trump was then used by CNN and BuzzFeed to justify reporting on and publishing the dossier following the election.
Let's not forget that in October, 2016, both Hillary Clinton and her campaign chairman John Podesta promoted the conspiracy theory that a secret Russian server was communicating with Trump Tower.
The report was debunked after internet sleuths traced the IP address to a marketing server located outside Philadelphia, leading Alfa Bank executives to file a lawsuit against Fusion GPS in October 2017, claiming their reputations were harmed by the Steele Dossier.
And who placed the Trump-Alfa theory with various media outlets? None other than former FBI counterintelligence officer and Dianne Feinstein aide Dan Jones - who is currently working with Fusion GPS and Steele to continue their Trump-Russia investigation funded in part by George Soros .
Russian tricks? The Times notes that Steele "has not ruled out" that he may have been fed Russian disinformation while assembling his dossier.
That would mean that in addition to carrying out an effective attack on the Clinton campaign, Russian spymasters hedged their bets and placed a few land mines under Mr. Trump's presidency as well.
Oleg D. Kalugin, a former K.G.B. general who now lives outside Washington, saw that as plausible. "Russia has huge experience in spreading false information," he said. - NYT
In short, Steele is being given an 'out' with this admission.
A lawyer for Fusion GPS, Joshua Levy, says that the Mueller report substantiated the "core reporting" in the Steele memos - namely that "Trump campaign figures were secretly meeting Kremlin figures," and that Russia's president, Vladimir V. Putin, had directed "a covert operation to elect Donald J. Trump."Of course, when one stops painting with broad brush strokes, it's clear that the dossier was fabricated bullshit.
The dossier tantalized Mr. Trump's opponents with a worst-case account of the president's conduct. And for those trying to make sense of the Trump-Russia saga, the dossier infused the quest for understanding with urgency.
In blunt prose, it suggested that a foreign power had fully compromised the man who would become the next president of the United States.
The Russians, it asserted, had tried winning over Mr. Trump with real estate deals in Moscow -- which he had not taken up -- and set him up with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel in 2013, filming the proceedings for future exploitation. A handful of aides were described as conspiring with the Russians at every turn.
Mr. Trump, it said, had moles inside the D.N.C. The memos claimed that he and the Kremlin had been exchanging intelligence for eight years and were using Romanian hackers against the Democrats , and that Russian pensioners in the United States were running a covert communications network . - NYT
And after a nearly two-year investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller and roughly 40 FBI agents and other specialists, no evidence was found to support the dossier's wild claims of "DNC moles, Romanian hackers, Russian pensioners, or years of Trump-Putin intelligence trading ," as the Times puts it.
Now that the shoe is on the other foot, and key Democrats backing away from talks of impeachment, let's see if lady justice will follow the rest of us down the rabbit hole.
Yippie21 , 2 minutes ago linkSan Pedro , 2 minutes ago link
This is why the whole FISA court is a joke. What is their remedy if their power is abused? What happens. Well,... the FISA courts was lied to and found out about it in the early 2000's. Mueller was FBI chief. So they got a strongly worded dressing-down, a mark in their permanent record from high school, and NO ONE was fired... no one was sanctioned, no agent was transferred to Alaska.
Fast forward 10 or 12 years and the FBI is doing this **** again. Lying to the court... you know the court where there are no Democrat judges or Republican judges.. they are all super awesome.... and what is the remedy when the FISA court is told they've been lied to by the FBI and used in a intel operation with MI6, inserting assets, into a freaking domestic Presidential campaign!!! and then they WON. Good god.
And what do we hear from our court? Nadda. Do we hear of some Federal Judges hauling FBI and DOJ folks in front of them and throwing them in jail? Nope. It appears from here... that our Federal Justices are corrupt and have no problem letting illegal police-state actions go on with ZERO accountability or recourse. They could care less evidently. It's all secret you know... trust us they say.. Why aren't these judges publicly making loud noises about how the judiciary is complicit , with the press, in wholesale spying and leaking for political reasons AND a coup attempt when the wrong guy won.???
Where is awesome Justice Roberts? Why isn't he throwing down some truth on just how compromised the rule of law in his courts clearly are in the last 10 years? The FISA court is his baby. It does no good for them to assure us they are concerned too, and they've taken action and sent strongly worded letters. Pisses me off. ? Right? heck of rant...Scipio Africanuz , 4 minutes ago link
When did Russians interfere in our elections?? 2016. Who was president when Russians interfered with elections?? oobama. Who was head of the CIA?? Brennan. Who was National Intelligence director?? Clapper. Who was head of the FBI when the Russians interfered in our elections?? Comey. The pattern is obvious. When Trump was a private citizen the oobama and all his cabinet appointees and Intel Managers had their hands on all the levers and instruments of Government..and did nothing . Your oobama is guilty of treason and failing his Oath Of Office...everybody knows this.King of Ruperts Land , 5 minutes ago link
This article is still a roundabout gambit to blame Russia.
Fair enough, where's Bill Browder? In England. Browder's allegations were utilized to try and damage Russia, even though Russia (not the USSR), is about the most reliable friend America has.
Russia helped Lincoln, and were it not for that crucial help, there'd be no America to sanction Russia today. The Tsar paid for that help with his dynasty, when Nicholas II was murdered, and dethroned.
Americans are truly ungrateful brutes..
Now, sanctions, opprobrium, and hatred are heaped on Russia, most cogently by chauvinistic racists, who look down their noses at Rus (Russ) and yet, cannot sacrifice 25 millions of their own people, for the sake of others.
Russians are considered subhuman, and yet, the divine spark of humanity resides solely in their breasts. The zionists claim a false figure of 6 million for a faux holocaust, and yet, nobody pays attention to the true holocaust of 25 millions, or the many millions before that disastrous instigated war.
That the Russians are childlike, believing others to be like them, loyal, self sacrificing, and generous, has now brought the world to the brink of armageddon, and still, they bear the burden of proof, though their accusers, who ought provide the evidence, are bereft of any..
Thomas Jefferson it was, who observing whatever he observed, exclaimed in cogent agitation, that "I fear for my countrymen, when I remember that God is Just, and His Justice does not repose forever".
Investigate Jared and Ivanka Kushner, along with Charles Kushner, and much ought be clear, no cheers...Sanity Bear , 15 minutes ago link
I don't buy that "Few bad apples at the top", "Good rank and file" Argument. I have never seen one. We should assume everyone from the top to the bottom of FBI, DOJ, and State, just to get started, probably every other three better agency is bad. At least incompotent, at worst treasonous.besnook , 20 minutes ago link
As there was spying, there must necessarily also have been channels to get the information thus gathered back to its original buyer - the Clinton campaign. Who passed the information back to Clinton, and what got passed?ClickNLook , 23 minutes ago link
the NYTt prints all the news a scumbag would. remember Judith Miller, the Zionazi reporter the NYT used to push the Iraq war with all sorts of ********? after the war was determined to be started under a false premise and became common knowledge there were no wmds in iraq the nyt came forward and reported the war was ******** as if they were reporting breaking news.
they have done the same thing here. they pushed the russiagate story with both barrels even though the informed populace knew it was ******** before trump was sworn in as potus. now that the all the holes in the story are readily apparent the nyt comes forward with breaking revelation that something is wrong with the story.I Am Jack's Macroaggression , 30 minutes ago link
Now we will have another 2 years of investigation and another expensive and meaningless report. WWE Soup Opera continues. Plot sickens.I Am Jack's Macroaggression , 30 minutes ago link
There was no 'hack.' That is the big, anti-Russia, pro-MIC lie which all the other lies serve.DaBard51 , 24 minutes ago link
There was no 'hack.' That is the big, anti-Russia, pro-MIC lie which all the other lies serve.
His name is Seth Rich.ClickNLook , 19 minutes ago link
The Seth Rich investigation; where is it now? Murder of a campaign staffer; tampering with or influencing an election, is it not? Hmmm... When nine hundred years old you become, look this good you will not.Amy G. Dala , 22 minutes ago link
Once upon a time there was a Bernie supporter. And his name was Seth Rich. Then there was a "botched robbery", which evidence that was concluded on, I have no idea. Do you? Anyhow, The End.ComeAndTakeIt , 10 minutes ago link
Seth Rich had the means and the motive. So did Imran Awan, but it would make no sense for Awan to turn anything over to wikileaks . . .he would have kept them as insurance.
Why wouldn't Assange name the source for the DNC emails? Is this a future bargaining chip? And what if he did name Seth Rich? He would have to prove it. Could he?Bricker , 32 minutes ago link
They've got Assange now...Maybe they should ask him if it was Seth Rich who gave him the emails?
Maybe even do it under oath and on national television. I don't think it's still considered "burning a source" if your source has already been murdered....Mike Rotsch , 35 minutes ago link
Until the real criminals are processed and the media can be restored you don't have a United States. This corruption is beyond comprehension. You had the (((media)) providing kickbacks to the FBI for leaked information. These bribes are how CNN was on site during Roger Stones invasion.
Treason and Sedition is rampant in America and all SPY roads lead to Clapper, Brennan and Obama...This needs attention.
The media is abusive and narrating attacks on a dully elected president
Oleg D. Kalugin, a former K.G.B. general who now lives outside Washington, saw that as plausible. "Russia has huge experience in spreading false information," he said. - NYT
You have got to be ******* kidding me. So now the narrative is, "We were wrong about Russian collusion, and that's Russia's fault"?!
Apr 17, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Piotr Berman , Apr 17, 2019 1:53:14 PM | link
I am not sure if it is clear for folks on the far side of NYT paywall that NYT reported on "children and ducks" not merely as a quote of CIA director, but as a straight fact. This is the caption of one of the photos illustrating the article: "A former Russian intelligence officer, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter were poisoned last year in Britain in a slipshod attack that also sickened children, killed ducks and required careful cleanup.CreditWill Oliver/EPA, via Shutterstock"
Zachary Smith , Apr 17, 2019 1:59:53 PM | link@ Grieved #74karlof1 , Apr 17, 2019 5:44:31 PM | link
I'm willing to believe a lot of things about the Brits and Haspel, but "stupid" isn't one of them. That they tried the Skripal stunt demonstrates they had great confidence in their control of the UK and US press, and I'll concede that confidence was justified.
Note Haspel hasn't denied any aspect of the news item.
Why perpetrate a hoax like the Skripal Saga, which was all too real for the one confirmed dead.
Why? Previous sanctions not performing as anticipated--indeed, they are actually backfiring.
But if that policy line's already a proven failure, why double-down?
When faced with failure, Neocons always double-down.
Meanwhile, sanctions employed for almost 4 years when Skripal Act 1 begins clearly aren't working, which brings up the question of how Russia is actually perceived by the genuine International Community--did the provocations and sanctions diminish Russia's standing in the world prior to March 2018?
Given ever growing attendance to Russian sponsored and located symposiums, Russia's reputation seems to be growing at the expense of the smearing nations.
Motive for Skripal Hoax: To do what sanctions couldn't.
Outcome of Skripal Hoax: Russian reputation higher than ever. Indeed, the two hoaxes have had the opposite affect on Russia's international standing and the entire sanctions regime helped to make Russia stronger than it otherwise would be without their imposition.
Apr 13, 2019 | www.unz.com
For seven years, we have had to listen to a chorus of journalists, politicians and "experts" telling us that Assange was nothing more than a fugitive from justice, and that the British and Swedish legal systems could be relied on to handle his case in full accordance with the law. Barely a "mainstream" voice was raised in his defence in all that time.
... ... ...
The political and media establishment ignored the mounting evidence of a secret grand jury in Virginia formulating charges against Assange, and ridiculed Wikileaks' concerns that the Swedish case might be cover for a more sinister attempt by the US to extradite Assange and lock him away in a high-security prison, as had happened to whistleblower Chelsea Manning.
... ... ...
Equally, they ignored the fact that Assange had been given diplomatic status by Ecuador, as well as Ecuadorean citizenship. Britain was obligated to allow him to leave the embassy, using his diplomatic immunity, to travel unhindered to Ecuador. No "mainstream" journalist or politician thought this significant either.
... ... ...
They turned a blind eye to the news that, after refusing to question Assange in the UK, Swedish prosecutors had decided to quietly drop the case against him in 2015. Sweden had kept the decision under wraps for more than two years.
... ... ...
Most of the other documents relating to these conversations were unavailable. They had been destroyed by the UK's Crown Prosecution Service in violation of protocol. But no one in the political and media establishment cared, of course.
Similarly, they ignored the fact that Assange was forced to hole up for years in the embassy, under the most intense form of house arrest, even though he no longer had a case to answer in Sweden. They told us -- apparently in all seriousness -- that he had to be arrested for his bail infraction, something that would normally be dealt with by a fine.
... ... ...
This was never about Sweden or bail violations, or even about the discredited Russiagate narrative, as anyone who was paying the vaguest attention should have been able to work out. It was about the US Deep State doing everything in its power to crush Wikileaks and make an example of its founder.
It was about making sure there would never again be a leak like that of Collateral Murder, the military video released by Wikileaks in 2007 that showed US soldiers celebrating as they murdered Iraqi civilians. It was about making sure there would never again be a dump of US diplomatic cables, like those released in 2010 that revealed the secret machinations of the US empire to dominate the planet whatever the cost in human rights violations.
Now the pretence is over. The British police invaded the diplomatic territory of Ecuador -- invited in by Ecuador after it tore up Assange's asylum status -- to smuggle him off to jail. Two vassal states cooperating to do the bidding of the US empire. The arrest was not to help two women in Sweden or to enforce a minor bail infraction.
No, the British authorities were acting on an extradition warrant from the US. And the charges the US authorities have concocted relate to Wikileaks' earliest work exposing the US military's war crimes in Iraq -- the stuff that we all once agreed was in the public interest, that British and US media clamoured to publish themselves.
Still the media and political class is turning a blind eye. Where is the outrage at the lies we have been served up for these past seven years? Where is the contrition at having been gulled for so long? Where is the fury at the most basic press freedom -- the right to publish -- being trashed to silence Assange? Where is the willingness finally to speak up in Assange's defence?
It's not there. There will be no indignation at the BBC, or the Guardian, or CNN. Just curious, impassive -- even gently mocking -- reporting of Assange's fate.
And that is because these journalists, politicians and experts never really believed anything they said. They knew all along that the US wanted to silence Assange and to crush Wikileaks. They knew that all along and they didn't care. In fact, they happily conspired in paving the way for today's kidnapping of Assange.
They did so because they are not there to represent the truth, or to stand up for ordinary people, or to protect a free press, or even to enforce the rule of law. They don't care about any of that. They are there to protect their careers, and the system that rewards them with money and influence. They don't want an upstart like Assange kicking over their applecart.
Now they will spin us a whole new set of deceptions and distractions about Assange to keep us anaesthetised, to keep us from being incensed as our rights are whittled away, and to prevent us from realising that Assange's rights and our own are indivisible. We stand or fall together.
Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include "Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and "Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair" (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net .
anonymous  • Disclaimer , says: April 12, 2019 at 10:41 am GMTThank you.Digital Samizdat , says: April 12, 2019 at 5:11 pm GMT
This should be an uncomfortable time for the “journalists” of the Establishment. Very few will speak up as does Mr. Cook. Watch how little is said about the recent Manning re-imprisonment to sweat out grand jury testimony. Things may have grown so craven that we’ll even see efforts to revoke Mr. Assange’s awards.
This is also a good column for us to share with those people who just might want not to play along with the lies that define Exceptionalia.Carlton Meyer , says: • Website April 13, 2019 at 4:32 am GMT
… from the moment Julian Assange first sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, they have been telling us we were wrong, that we were paranoid conspiracy theorists. We were told there was no real threat of Assange’s extradition to the United States, that it was all in our fevered imaginations.
It all reminds me of Rod Dreher’s Law of Merited Impossibility: “That’ll never happen. And when it does , boy won’t you deserve it!”
Equally, they ignored the fact that Assange had been given diplomatic status by Ecuador, as well as Ecuadorean citizenship. Britain was obligated to allow him to leave the embassy, using his diplomatic immunity, to travel unhindered to Ecuador. No “mainstream” journalist or politician thought this significant either.
Why would they? They don’t even recognize diplomatic status for heads of state who get in their way! Remember what they did to President Evo Morales of Bolivia back when he was threatening to grant asylum to Ed Snowden? Here’s a refresher:
Any way you slice, this is a sad for liberty.From my blog:The Alarmist , says: April 13, 2019 at 5:01 am GMT
Apr 13, 2019 – Julian Assange
People who just watch corporate media think Julian Assange is a bad guy who deserves life in prison, except those who watch the great Tucker Carlson. Watch his recent show where he explains why our corporate media and political class hate Assange.
He is charged with encouraging Army Private Chelsea Manning to send him embarrassing information, specifically this video of a US Army Apache helicopter gunning down civilians in broad daylight in Baghdad.
But there is no proof of this, and Manning has repeatedly said he never communicated to Assange about anything. Manning got eight years in prison for this crime; the Apache pilots were never charged. and now they want to hang Assange for exposing a war crime. I have recommend this great 2016 interview twice, where Assange calmly explains the massive corruption that patriotic FBI agents refer to as the “Clinton Crime Family.”
This gang is so powerful that it ordered federal agents to spy on the Trump political campaign, and indicted and imprisoned some participants in an attempt to pressure President Trump to step down. It seems Trump still fears this gang, otherwise he would order his attorney general to drop this bogus charge against Assange, then pardon him forever and invite him to speak at White House press conferences.Endgame Napoleon , says: April 13, 2019 at 6:14 am GMT
“… they ignored the fact that Assange was forced to hole up for years in the embassy, under the most intense form of house arrest, even though he no longer had a case to answer in Sweden.”
Meh! Assange should have walked out the door of the embassy years ago. He might have ended up in the same place, but he could have seized the moral high ground by seeking asylum in Britain for fear of the death penalty in the US, which was a credible fear given public comments by various US officials. By rotting away in the Ecuadorian embassy, be greatly diminished any credibility he might have had to turn the UK judicial system inside out to his favour. Now he’s just a creepy looking bail jumper who flung faeces against the wall, rather than being a persecuted journalist.@Johnny Rottenborough Millionaire politicians on both sides of the political fence get very emotional about anything that impacts their own privacy & safety and the privacy & safety of their kin, while ignoring the issues that jeopardize the privacy & safety of ordinary voters. While corporate-owned politicians get a lot out of this game, ordinary voters who have never had less in the way of Fourth Amendment privacy rights, and whose First Amendment rights are quickly shrinking to the size of Assange’s, do not get the consolation of riches without risk granted to bought-off politicians in this era’s pay-to-play version of democracy. It’s a lose / lose for average voters.Tom Welsh , says: April 13, 2019 at 9:31 am GMTMr Cook’s criticism of the mainstream media (MSM) is absolutely justified.UncommonGround , says: April 13, 2019 at 10:13 am GMT
It seems to me that their hatred of Mr Assange reflects the unfortunate fact that, while he is a real journalist, they actually aren’t. Instead, they are stenographers for power: what Paul Craig Roberts calls “presstitutes” (a very happy coinage which exactly hits the bull’s eye).
The difference is that real journalists, like Mr Assange, Mr Roberts and Mr Cook, are mainly motivated by the search for objective truth – which they then publish, as far as they are able.
Whereas those people who go by the spurious names of “journalist”, “reporter”, “editor”, etc. are motivated by the desire to go on earning their salaries, and to gain promotion and “distinction” in society. (Sad but true: social distinction is often gained by performing acts of dishonesty and downright wickedness).
Here are some interesting quotations that cast some light on this disheartening state of affairs. If you look carefully at their dates you may be surprised to find that nothing has changed very much since the mid-19th century.
‘Marr: “How can you know that I’m self-censoring? How can you know that journalists are…”
‘Chomsky: “I’m not saying you’re self censoring. I’m sure you believe everything you’re saying. But what I’m saying is that if you believed something different, you wouldn’t be sitting where you’re sitting”’.
– Transcript of interview between Noam Chomsky and Andrew Marr (Feb. 14, 1996) https://scratchindog.blogspot.com/2015/07/transcript-of-interview-between-noam.html
‘If something goes wrong with the government, a free press will ferret it out and it will get fixed. But if something goes wrong with our free press, the country will go straight to hell’.
– I. F. Stone (as reported by his son Dr Jeremy J Stone) http://russia-insider.com/en/media-criticism/hey-corporate-media-glenn-greenwald-video-can-teach-you-what-real-journalism/ri6669
‘There is no such a thing in America as an independent press, unless it is out in country towns. You are all slaves. You know it, and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to express an honest opinion. If you expressed it, you would know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid $150 for keeping honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for doing similar things. If I should allow honest opinions to be printed in one issue of my paper, I would be like Othello before twenty-four hours: my occupation would be gone. The man who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the street hunting for another job. The business of a New York journalist is to distort the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread, or for what is about the same — his salary. You know this, and I know it; and what foolery to be toasting an “Independent Press”! We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are jumping-jacks. They pull the string and we dance. Our time, our talents, our lives, our possibilities, are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes’.
– John Swinton (1829–1901), Scottish-American journalist, newspaper publisher, and orator. https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/John_Swinton http://www.rense.com/general20/yes.htm
‘The press today is an army with carefully organized arms and branches, with journalists as officers, and readers as soldiers. But here, as in every army, the soldier obeys blindly, and war-aims and operation-plans change without his knowledge. The reader neither knows, nor is allowed to know, the purposes for which he is used, nor even the role that he is to play. A more appalling caricature of freedom of thought cannot be imagined. Formerly a man did not dare to think freely. Now he dares, but cannot; his will to think is only a willingness to think to order, and this is what he feels as his liberty’.
– Oswald Spengler, “The Decline of the West” Vol. II, trans. C.F. Atkinson (1928), p. 462
‘How do wars start? Wars start when politicians lie to journalists, then believe what they read in the press’.
– Karl Kraus, “Through Western Eyes – Russia Misconstrued” http://www.hellevig.net/ebook/Putin’s%20new%20Russia.pdf
And finally, two quotations from classic novels which go to the heart of the matter.
‘It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it’.
– Upton Sinclair
‘Sometimes a man wants to be stupid if it lets him do a thing his cleverness forbids’.
– John Steinbeck (“East of Eden”)Very good article. There is one point that I would like to make: Assange asked for asyl before he went to the embassy of Ecuador and Ecuador gave him asylum. This meant that they had an obligation to protect him. It’s really unbeliavable that a country gives asylum to someone and half way tells that they have changed their mind and will let the person be arrested. ” We told you you would be safe with us, but now we just changed our mind”. Assange also became a citizen of Ecuador and this possibly means that Ecuador couldn’t have let him been arrested in their embassy by the police of another country without a process against him in Ecuador and without him having the right to defend himself in a court. Many countries don’t extradit their citizens to other countries.EliteCommInc. , says: April 13, 2019 at 10:59 am GMT
Another remark. For years there were uncountable articles about Assange in The Guardian. Those articles were read by many people and got really many comments. There were very fierce discussions about him with thousends of comments. With time The Guardian turned decisively against him and published articles againt him. There were people there who seemed to hate him. In the last days there were again many articles about him. They pronounce themselves discretely against his extradition to the US even if showing themselves to be critical of him as if trying to justify their years of attacks against him. But one detail: I didn’t find even one article in The Guardian where you can comment the case. Today for instance you can comment an article by Gaby Hinsliff about Kim Kardashian. Marina Hyde talks in an article about washing her hair (whatever else she wants to say, with 2831 comments at this moment). But you don’t find any article about Assange that you can comment. 10 or 8 or 5 years ago there were hundreds of articles about him that you could comment.The game afoot here is obvious.Tsar Nicholas , says: April 13, 2019 at 11:38 am GMT
UK PM May said about Assange – “no one is above the law” – proving she is a weak sister without a clue.
No one is above the law except the British government, which ignored the provisions of the EU Withdrawal Act requiring us to leave on March 29th.
No one is above the law except for the US and the UK which have illegally deployed forces to Syria against the wishes of the government in Damascus.
And Tony Blair, a million dead thanks to his corruption. He should be doing time in a Gulag for his evil crimes.
And of course, the black MP for Peterborough – Fiona Onasanya – served a mere three weeks in jail for perverting the course of justice, normally regarded as a very serious offence. But she was out in time – electronic tag and curfew notwithstanding – to vote in the House of Commons against leaving the EU.
Apr 10, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Some of Lokhova’s comments on ‘twitter’ are extremely entertaining. An example, with which I have much sympathy:
‘AN APOLOGY: Yesterday, I compared @nytimes journalists, who smeared @GenFlynn and accused me of being a Russian spy, to cockroaches. In good conscience, I must apologize to the cockroaches for the distress caused to them for being compared to @nytimes #Russiagate hoaxers. Sorry!’
Apr 05, 2019 | www.commondreams.org
Why "free" why not "fair". Neoliberals are as dangerious as Big brother in 1994. Actually neoliberal state is as close to Big Brother regine described in 1994. We have total surveillance, with technological capabiltiies which probably exceed anything rulers of 1984 world possessed, Russiagate as "hour of anger", permanent war for permanent people (and total victory of "democracy") , and of course "[neoliberal] freedom is [debt[ slavery..." in neoliberal MSM.Fast forward from one Gilded Age to another. Citizens United, granting unions and corporations the right to spend unlimited amounts of money to advocate for and against political candidates, is often regarded as a singularly dangerous challenge to our democratic norms, especially with its infamous assertion that money is speech. Less attention, however, is pad to the context in which this decision occurred, including corporate consolidation in most sectors of the economy, obscene levels of economic inequality, and near religious reverence for deregulated markets.
Media consolidation itself has played an enormous role in driving up the cost of political campaigns. How did we get to this second Gilded Age and what lessons can we infer regarding our democratic prospects?
The post World War II decades saw white working class gains in income made possible by unionization, the GI bill, and a federal commitment to full employment. Positive as these gains were, they carried with them unintended consequences. Workers and employers, having less fear of depression, periodically drove wages and prices up.
Bursts of inflation and an unprecedented profit squeeze led to unemployment even in the midst of inflation, an unprecedented and unexpected circumstance. Blacks had been left out of the full benefits of the New Deal welfare state and raised demands not only for political equality but also for economic opportunity, one of Reconstruction's forgotten promises.
These events provided an opening for a group of academics who had long despised the New Deal welfare state. Notre Dame University 's Philip Mirowski Never Let a Serious Crisis G to Waste has provided a careful and detailed analysis of this neoliberal movement in American politics.
These neoliberals shared with their nineteenth- century predecessors a faith in markets, but with an important difference. Adam Smith and JS Mill saw markets as non-coercive means to allocate resources and produce goods and services. Neoliberals regarded markets as perfect information processing machines that could provide optimal solutions to all social problems. Hence a commitment not only to lift rent control on housing but also to privatize prisons, water and sewer systems, and to deregulate all aspects of personal finance and treat education and health care as commodities to be pursued on unregulated markets. An essential part of this faith in markets is the post Reagan view of corporate consolidation. Combinations are to be judged only on the basis of cheap products to the consumer.
Older antitrust concerns about worker welfare or threat to democracy itself are put aside. Corporate mergers and the emergence of monopoly are seen as reflections of the omniscient market. In practice, however as we shall see, such a tolerant attitude is not applied to worker associations.
Neoliberals differ from their classical predecessors in a second important way. Market is miraculous and a boon to many, but paradoxically only a strong state can assure its arrival and maintenance. Sometimes it may appear that the market is yielding iniquitous or unsustainable outcomes, which my lead to premature or disastrous rejection of its wisdom. The answer to this anger is more markets, but that requires a strong state staffed by neoliberals. They would have the capacity and authority to enact and impose these markets and distract the electorate and divert them into more harmless pursuits. Recognition of the need for a powerful state stands in partial contradiction to the neoliberal's professed deification of pure markets and was seldom presented to public gatherings. As Mirowski put it, neoliberals operated on the basis of a dual truth, an esoteric truth for its top scholars and theorists and an exoteric version for then public. Celebration of the spontaneous market was good enough for Fox News, whereas top neoliberal scholars discussed how to reengineer government in order to recast society.
The signs of neoliberalism are all around us. Worried about student debt? There is a widely advertised financial institution that will refinance your loan. Trapped in prison with no money for bail. There are corporations and products that will take care of that. Cancer cures, money for funerals and burial expenses can all be obtained via the market. Any problem the market creates the market can solve. The implications of this view have been ominous for democracy and social justice.
The neoliberal deification of markets has many parents. This mindset encouraged and was encouraged by a revolt against democracy. The wealthy had always been concerned that a propertyless working class might vote to expropriate them, but neoliberalism gave them further reason to bypass democracy. Markets were seen as better indicators of truth than democratic elections, though that point was seldom expressed as directly.
Here is FA Hayek's oblique expression of this concern: "if we proceed on the assumption that only the exercises of freedom that the majority will practice are important, we would be certain to create a stagnant society with all the characteristics of unfreedom."
The revolt against democracy has occurred on several different levels of the political process. The question of who can vote is just as contested as during Reconstruction, and not just in the South. As during Reconstruction, it does not take the form of explicit racial appeals. The strategy includes further limiting the time polls are open, reduction in the number of polling places, voter identification cards that take time and money to obtain. Who can vote is also a function of the racist legacy of our history, with prohibitions on voting by felons serving to exclude large numbers of potential voters, disproportionately minorities. It should be mentioned more than it is that these techniques also work to the disadvantage of poor whites. Political scientists Walter Dean Burnham and Thomas Ferguson point out: "In Georgia in 1942, for example, turnout topped out at 3.4 percent (that's right, 3.4 percent; no misprint). Why is no mystery: the Jim Crow system pushed virtually all African-Americans out of the system, while the network of poll taxes, registration requirements, literacy tests and other obstacles that was part of that locked out most poor whites from voting, too. Since the civil rights revolution, turnouts in the South have risen fitfully to national levels, amid much pushback, such as the raft of new voter ID requirements (though these are not limited to the South)."
Minorities, poor, and even substantial segments of the working class are further disadvantaged by efforts to defund the labor opposition. Unions have been the one big money source that Democrats had available, but as the party from Bill Clinton on increasingly became a kind of neoliberalism light, embracing corporate trade agreements with a little bit of job training assistance thrown in, unions lost members, many corporations forced decertification elections. Democrats lost not only financial resources but also the ground troops that had mobilized their voters.
One result of and partial driving force behind these changes is that both parties become big money parties. Burnham and Ferguson-( December 2014)- The President and the Democratic Party are almost as dependent on big money – defined, for example, in terms of the percentage of contributions (over $500 or $1000) from the 1 percent as the Republicans. To expect top down money-driven political parties to make strong economic appeals to voters is idle. Instead the Golden Rule dominates: Money-driven parties emphasize appeals to particular interest groups instead of the broad interests of working Americans that would lead their donors to shut their wallets.
As David Stockman, President Reagan's Budget Director once all but confessed,
"in the modern era the party has never really pretended to have much of a mass constituency. It wins elections by rolling up huge percentages of votes in the most affluent classes while seeking to divide middle and working class voters with various special appeals and striving to hold down voting by minorities and the poor."
Challenging this bipartisan money driven establishment becomes even more difficult as state level ballot access laws are notoriously hostile to third parties. Add to this the private, deceptively named Presidential Debate Commission, which specializes in depriving even candidates about whom large segment s of the population are curious access to the widely watched debates. Unfortunately the celebrated voting reform proposal, HR1, though containing some democratic initiatives such as early voting and automatic voter registration, makes it own contribution to economic and political consolidation.
Bruce Dixon, editor of Black Agenda Report, maintains that only two provisions of this bill are likely to become law and both are destructive: "by raising the qualifying amount from its current level of $5,000 in each of 20 states to $25,000 in 20 states. HR 1 would cut funding for a Green presidential candidate in half, and by making ballot access for a Green presidential candidate impossible in several states it would also guarantee loss of the party's ability to run for local offices." Dixon also predicts that some Democrats "will cheerfully cross the aisle to institutionalize the Pentagon, spies and cops to produce an annual report on the threat to electoral security.
"Democrats are a capitalist party, they are a government party, and this is how they govern. HR 1 reaches back a hundred years into the Democrat playbook politicians created a foreign menace to herd the population into World War 1, which ended in the Red Scare and a couple of red summers, waves of official and unofficial violence and deportations against US leftists and against black people. The Red Scare led to the founding of the FBI, the core of the nation's permanent political police . Fifty years ago these were the same civil servants who gave us the assassinations, the disinformation and illegality of COINTELPRO, and much, much more before that and since then. HR 1 says let's go to the Pentagon and the cops, let's order them to discover threats to the electoral system posed by Americans working to save themselves and the planet."
Dixon is surely right that both parties are capitalist parties, but capitalism itself has taken different forms. New Deal and neoliberal capitalism had far different implications for working class Americans. The New Deal itself was heavily influenced by Norman Thomas and the socialist tradition. In this regard, if what Paul Wellstone used to call the democratic wing of the Democratic Party wishes to see its ideals translated into practice, it must resist efforts to exclude third parties or to deny primary opponents an even playing field.
I am not claiming that there has been a carefully coordinated conspiracy among the individuals and groups that supported these policies, but leaders did act out of a general animus toward popular movements that further reinforced their reverence for corporate markets, and the faith in markets drove the worries about popular movements.
One positive conclusion to be drawn is that if this attack on democracy exists on several levels, activism might be fruitful in many domains and may have a spillover effect. Unions are still not dead, and there is a fight now for the soul of the Democratic Party and that fight might stimulate voter access and eligibility reforms. These in turn could reshape the party's orientation and ideology. Even at the Federal level Dark money is worrisome to many voters and could be an incentive to mobilize for better disclosure laws. There are ample fronts on which to fight and good reason to keep up the struggle.
Mar 03, 2006 | www.nytimes.com
Can you trust the BBC news? How many journalists are working for the security services? The following extracts are from an article at the excellent Medialens
HACKS AND SPOOKS
By Professor Richard Keeble
And so to Nottingham University (on Sunday 26 February) for a well-attended conference...
I focus in my talk on the links between journalists and the intelligence services: While it might be difficult to identify precisely the impact of the spooks (variously represented in the press as "intelligence", "security", "Whitehall" or "Home Office" sources) on mainstream politics and media, from the limited evidence it looks to be enormous.
As Roy Greenslade, media specialist at the Telegraph (formerly the Guardian), commented:
"Most tabloid newspapers - or even newspapers in general - are playthings of MI5."
Bloch and Fitzgerald, in their examination of covert UK warfare, report the editor of "one of Britain's most distinguished journals" as believing that more than half its foreign correspondents were on the MI6 payroll.
And in 1991, Richard Norton-Taylor revealed in the Guardian that 500 prominent Britons paid by the CIA and the now defunct Bank of Commerce and Credit International, included 90 journalists.
In their analysis of the contemporary secret state, Dorril and Ramsay gave the media a crucial role. The heart of the secret state they identified as the security services, the cabinet office and upper echelons of the Home and Commonwealth Offices, the armed forces and Ministry of Defence, the nuclear power industry and its satellite ministries together a network of senior civil servants.
As "satellites" of the secret state, their list included "agents of influence in the media, ranging from actual agents of the security services, conduits of official leaks, to senior journalists merely lusting after official praise and, perhaps, a knighthood at the end of their career".
Phillip Knightley, author of a seminal history of the intelligence services, has even claimed that at least one intelligence agent is working on every Fleet Street newspaper.
A brief history
Going as far back as 1945, George Orwell no less became a war correspondent for the Observer - probably as a cover for intelligence work. Significantly most of the men he met in Paris on his assignment, Freddie Ayer, Malcolm Muggeridge, Ernest Hemingway were either working for the intelligence services or had close links to them.
Stephen Dorril, in his seminal history of MI6, reports that Orwell attended a meeting in Paris of resistance fighters on behalf of David Astor, his editor at the Observer and leader of the intelligence service's unit liasing with the French resistance.
The release of Public Record Office documents in 1995 about some of the operations of the MI6-financed propaganda unit, the Information Research Department of the Foreign Office, threw light on this secret body - which even Orwell aided by sending them a list of "crypto-communists". Set up by the Labour government in 1948, it "ran" dozens of Fleet Street journalists and a vast array of news agencies across the globe until it was closed down by Foreign Secretary David Owen in 1977.
According to John Pilger in the anti-colonial struggles in Kenya, Malaya and Cyprus, IRD was so successful that the journalism served up as a record of those episodes was a cocktail of the distorted and false in which the real aims and often atrocious behaviour of the British intelligence agencies was hidden.
And spy novelist John le Carré, who worked for MI6 between 1960 and 1964, has made the amazing statement that the British secret service then controlled large parts of the press – just as they may do today.
In 1975, following Senate hearings on the CIA, the reports of the Senate's Church Committee and the House of Representatives' Pike Committee highlighted the extent of agency recruitment of both British and US journalists.
And sources revealed that half the foreign staff of a British daily were on the MI6 payroll.
David Leigh, in The Wilson Plot, his seminal study of the way in which the secret service smeared through the mainstream media and destabilised the Government of Harold Wilson before his sudden resignation in 1976, quotes an MI5 officer: "We have somebody in every office in Fleet Street"
And the most famous whistleblower of all, Peter (Spycatcher) Wright, revealed that MI5 had agents in newspapers and publishing companies whose main role was to warn them of any forthcoming "embarrassing publications".
Wright also disclosed that the Daily Mirror tycoon, Cecil King, "was a longstanding agent of ours" who "made it clear he would publish anything MI5 might care to leak in his direction".
Selective details about Wilson and his secretary, Marcia Falkender, were leaked by the intelligence services to sympathetic Fleet Street journalists. Wright comments: "No wonder Wilson was later to claim that he was the victim of a plot". King was also closely involved in a scheme in 1968 to oust Prime Minister Harold Wilson and replace him with a coalition headed by Lord Mountbatten.
Hugh Cudlipp, editorial director of the Mirror from 1952 to 1974, was also closely linked to intelligence, according to Chris Horrie, in his recently published history of the newspaper.
David Walker, the Mirror's foreign correspondent in the 1950s, was named as an MI6 agent following a security scandal while another Mirror journalist, Stanley Bonnet, admitted working for MI5 in the 1980s investigating the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
Maxwell and Mossad
According to Stephen Dorril, intelligence gathering during the miners' strike of 1984-85 was helped by the fact that during the 1970s MI5's F Branch had made a special effort to recruit industrial correspondents – with great success.
In 1991, just before his mysterious death, Mirror proprietor Robert Maxwell was accused by the US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh of acting for Mossad, the Israeli secret service, though Dorril suggests his links with MI6 were equally as strong.
Following the resignation from the Guardian of Richard Gott, its literary editor in December 1994 in the wake of allegations that he was a paid agent of the KGB, the role of journalists as spies suddenly came under the media spotlight – and many of the leaks were fascinating.
For instance, according to The Times editorial of 16 December 1994: "Many British journalists benefited from CIA or MI6 largesse during the Cold War."
The intimate links between journalists and the secret services were highlighted in the autobiography of the eminent newscaster Sandy Gall. He reports without any qualms how, after returning from one of his reporting assignments to Afghanistan, he was asked to lunch by the head of MI6. "It was very informal, the cook was off so we had cold meat and salad with plenty of wine. He wanted to hear what I had to say about the war in Afghanistan. I was flattered, of course, and anxious to pass on what I could in terms of first-hand knowledge."
And in January 2001, the renegade MI6 officer, Richard Tomlinson, claimed Dominic Lawson, the editor of the Sunday Telegraph and son of the former Tory chancellor, Nigel Lawson, provided journalistic cover for an MI6 officer on a mission to the Baltic to handle and debrief a young Russian diplomat who was spying for Britain.
Lawson strongly denied the allegations.
Similarly in the reporting of Northern Ireland, there have been longstanding concerns over security service disinformation. Susan McKay, Northern editor of the Dublin-based Sunday Tribune, has criticised the reckless reporting of material from "dodgy security services". She told a conference in Belfast in January 2003 organised by the National Union of Journalists and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: "We need to be suspicious when people are so ready to provide information and that we are, in fact, not being used." (www.nuj.org.uk/inner.php?docid=635)
Growing power of secret state
Thus from this evidence alone it is clear there has been a long history of links between hacks and spooks in both the UK and US.
But as the secret state grows in power, through massive resourcing, through a whole raft of legislation – such as the Official Secrets Act, the anti-terrorism legislation, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and so on – and as intelligence moves into the heart of Blair's ruling clique so these links are even more significant.
Since September 11 all of Fleet Street has been awash in warnings by anonymous intelligence sources of terrorist threats.
According to former Labour minister Michael Meacher, much of this disinformation was spread via sympathetic journalists by the Rockingham cell within the MoD.
A parallel exercise, through the office of Special Plans, was set up by Donald Rumsfeld in the US. Thus there have been constant attempts to scare people – and justify still greater powers for the national security apparatus.
Similarly the disinformation about Iraq's WMD was spread by dodgy intelligence sources via gullible journalists.
Thus, to take just one example, Michael Evans, The Times defence correspondent, reported on 29 November 2002: "Saddam Hussein has ordered hundred of his officials to conceal weapons of mass destruction components in their homes to evade the prying eyes of the United Nations inspectors." The source of these "revelations" was said to be "intelligence picked up from within Iraq". Early in 2004, as the battle for control of Iraq continued with mounting casualties on both sides, it was revealed that many of the lies about Saddam Hussein's supposed WMD had been fed to sympathetic journalists in the US, Britain and Australia by the exile group, the Iraqi National Congress.
Sexed up – and missed out
During the controversy that erupted following the end of the "war" and the death of the arms inspector Dr David Kelly (and the ensuing Hutton inquiry) the spotlight fell on BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan and the claim by one of his sources that the government (in collusion with the intelligence services) had "sexed up" a dossier justifying an attack on Iraq.
The Hutton inquiry, its every twist and turn massively covered in the mainstream media, was the archetypal media spectacle that drew attention from the real issue: why did the Bush and Blair governments invade Iraq in the face of massive global opposition? But those facts will be forever secret.
Significantly, too, the broader and more significant issue of mainstream journalists' links with the intelligence services was ignored by the inquiry.
Significantly, on 26 May 2004, the New York Times carried a 1,200-word editorial admitting it had been duped in its coverage of WMD in the lead-up to the invasion by dubious Iraqi defectors, informants and exiles (though it failed to lay any blame on the US President: see Greenslade 2004). Chief among The Times' dodgy informants was Ahmad Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress and Pentagon favourite before his Baghdad house was raided by US forces on 20 May.
Then, in the Observer of 30 May 2004, David Rose admitted he had been the victim of a "calculated set-up" devised to foster the propaganda case for war. "In the 18 months before the invasion of March 2003, I dealt regularly with Chalabi and the INC and published stories based on interviews with men they said were defectors from Saddam's regime." And he concluded: "The information fog is thicker than in any previous war, as I know now from bitter personal experience. To any journalist being offered apparently sensational disclosures, especially from an anonymous intelligence source, I offer two words of advice: caveat emptor."
Let's not forget no British newspaper has followed the example of the NYT and apologised for being so easily duped by the intelligence services in the run up to the illegal invasion of Iraq.
Richard Keeble's publications include Secret State, Silent Press: New Militarism, the Gulf and the Modern Image of Warfare (John Libbey 1997) and The Newspapers Handbook (Routledge, fourth edition, 2005). He is also the editor of Ethical Space: The International Journal of Communication Ethics. Richard is also a member of the War and Media Network.
Aug 21, 2017 | www.globalresearch.caRegion: USA Theme: Media Disinformation , Police State & Civil Rights
More people are becoming alienated, cynical, resentful or resigned, while too much of mass and social media reinforces less-than-helpful narratives and tendencies. The frog's in the frying pan and the heat is rising.
On the big screens above us beautiful young people demonstrated their prowess. We were sitting in the communications center, waiting for print outs to tell us what they'd done before organizing the material for mass consumption. Outside, people were freezing in the snow as they waited for buses. Their only choice was to attend another event or attempt to get home.
The area was known as the Competition Zone, a corporate state created for the sole purpose of showcasing these gorgeous competitors. Freedom was a foreign idea here; no one was more free than the laminated identification card hanging around your neck allowed.
Visitors were more restricted than anyone. They saw only what they paid for, and had to wait in long lines for food, transport, or tickets to more events. They were often uncomfortable, yet they felt privileged to be admitted to the Zone. Citizens were categorized by their function within the Organizing Committee's bureaucracy. Those who merely served -- in jobs like cooking, driving and cleaning -- wore green and brown tags. They could travel between their homes and work, but were rarely permitted into events. Their contact with visitors was also limited. To visit them from outside the Zone, their friends and family had to be screened.
Most citizens knew little about how the Zone was actually run, about the "inner community" of diplomats, competitors and corporate officials they served. Yet each night they watched the exploits of this same elite on television.
The Zone, a closed and classified place where most bad news went unreported and a tiny elite called the shots through mass media and computers, was no futuristic fantasy. It was Lake Placid for several weeks in early 1980 -- a full four years before 1984.
In a once sleepy little community covered with artificial snow, the Olympics had brought a temporary society into being. Two thousand athletes and their entourage were its royalty, role models for the throngs of spectators, townspeople and journalists. This convergence resulted in an ad hoc police state, managed by public and private forces and a political elite that combined local business honchos with an international governing committee. They dominated a population all too willing to submit to arbitrary authority.
Even back then, Lake Placid's Olympic "village" felt like a preview of things to come. Not quite George Orwell's dark vision, but uncomfortably close.
In Orwell's imagination, society was ruled in the future by Big Brother. It wasn't a computer, but rather the collective expression of the Party. But not like the Republicans; this Party was an autonomous bureaucracy and advanced surveillance state interested only in perpetuating itself as a hierarchy. In this dystopia, "the people" had become insignificant, without the power of "grasping that the world could be other than it is."
Concepts like freedom were perverted by a ruthless Newspeakperpetuated by the Party through the media. A Goodthinker was someone who followed orders without thinking. Crimestop was the instinctual avoidance of any dangerous thought, and Doublethink was the constant distortion of reality to maintain the Party's image of infallibility.
Writing in 1948, Orwell was projecting what could happen in just a few decades. By most measures, even 70 years later we're not quite there yet. But we do face the real danger that freedom and equality will be seriously distorted by a new form of Newspeak, a Trumpian version promoted by the administration and its allies through their media. We already have Trumpian Goodthinkers -- the sychophantic surrogates who follow his lead without thinking, along with Crimestop -- the instinctual avoidance of "disloyal" thought, and Doublethink -- the constant distortion of reality to maintain Trump's insatiable ego and image of infallibility. Orwellian ideas are simply resurfacing in a post-modern/reality TV form.
Our fast food culture is also taking a long-term toll. More and more people are becoming alienated, cynical, resentful or resigned, while too much of mass and social media reinforces less-than-helpful narratives and tendencies. The frog's in the frying pan and the heat is rising.
Much of what penetrates and goes viral further fragments culture and thought, promoting a cynicism that reinforces both rage and inaction. Rather than true diversity, we have the mass illusion that a choice between polarized opinions, shaped and curated by editors and networks, is the essence of free speech and democracy. In reality, original ideas are so constrained and self-censored that what's left is usually as diverse as brands of peppermint toothpaste.
When the Bill of Rights was ratified, the notion that freedom of speech and the press should be protected meant that the personal right of self-expression should not be repressed by the government. James Madison, author of the First Amendment, warned that the greatest danger to liberty was that a majority would use its power to repress everyone else. Yet the evolution of mass media and the corporate domination of economic life have made these "choicest privileges" almost obsolete.
As community life unravels and more institutions fall into disrepute, media have become among of the few remaining that can potentially facilitate some social cohesion. Yet instead they fuel conflict and crisis. It's not quite Crimestop, but does often appeal to some of the basest instincts and produce even more alienation and division.
In general terms, what most mass media bring the public is a series of images and anecdotes that cumulatively define a way of life. Both news and entertainment contribute to the illusion that competing, consuming and accumulating are at the core of our aspirations. Each day we are repeatedly shown and told that culture and politics are corrupt, that war is imminent or escalating somewhere, that violence is random and pervasive, and yet also that the latest "experts" have the answers. Countless programs meanwhile celebrate youth, violence, frustrated sexuality, and the lives of celebrities.
Between the official program content are a series of intensely packaged sales pitches. These commercial messages wash over us, as if we are wandering in an endless virtual mall, searching in vain for fulfillment as society crumbles.
In 1980, Ralph Nader called the race for president at that time -- between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan -- a choice between mediocrity and menace. It was funny then, but now we can see what real menace looks like. Is Trump-ism what Orwell warned us about? Not quite, though there are similarities. Like Trump, you can't talk to Big Brother. And he rarely gives you the truth, only doublespeak. But Trump is no Big Brother. More like a Drunk Uncle with nukes.
So, is it too late for a rescue? Will menace win this time? Or can we still save the environment, reclaim self-government, restore communities and protect human rights? What does the future hold?
It could be summer in Los Angeles in 2024, the end of Donald Trump's second term. The freeways are slow-moving parking lots for the Olympics. Millions of people hike around in the heat, or use bikes and cycles to get to work. It's difficult with all the checkpoints, not to mention the extra-high security at the airports. Thousands of police, not to mention the military, are on the lookout for terrorists, smugglers, protesters, cultists, gangs, thieves, and anyone who doesn't have money to burn or a ticket to the Games.
Cash isn't much good, and gas has become so expensive that suburban highways are almost empty.
Security is tight and hard to avoid, on or offline. There are cameras everywhere, and every purchase and move most people make is tracked by the state. Still, there are four bombings in the first week of the Games. There is also another kind of human tragedy. Four runners collapse during preliminary rounds as a result of a toxic mix -- heat and pollution.
... ... ...
Greg Guma is the Vermont-based author of Dons of Time, Uneasy Empire, Spirits of Desire, Big Lies, and The People's Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution.
This article was originally published by Greg Guma: For Preservation & Change .
Oct 10, 2014 | The GuardianBradBenson, 10 October 2014 6:14pmThe American Public has gotten exactly what it deserved. They have been dumbed-down in our poor-by-intention school systems. The moronic nonsense that passes for news in this country gets more sensational with each passing day. Over on Fox, they are making the claim that ISIS fighters are bringing Ebola over the Mexican Border, which prompted a reply by the Mexican Embassy that won't be reported on Fox.BaronVonAmericano , 10 October 2014 6:26pm
We continue to hear and it was even reported in this very fine article by Ms. Benjamin that the American People now support this new war. Really? I'm sorry, but I haven't seen that support anywhere but on the news and I just don't believe it any more.
There is also the little problem of infiltration into key media slots by paid CIA Assets (Scarborough and brainless Mika are two of these double dippers). Others are intermarried. Right-wing Neocon War Criminal Dan Senor is married to "respected" newsperson Campbell Brown who is now involved in privatizing our school system. Victoria Nuland, the slimey State Department Official who was overheard appointing the members of the future Ukrainian Government prior to the Maidan Coup is married to another Neo-Con--Larry Kagan. Even sweet little Andrea Mitchell is actually Mrs. Alan Greenspan.
General Electric, the world's largest military contractor, still controls the message over at the so-called "liberal" MSNBC. MSNBC's other owner is Comcast, the right wing media conglomerate that controls the radio waves in every major American Market. Over at CNN, Mossad Asset Wolf Blitzer, who rose from being an obscure little correspondent for an Israeli Newspaper to being CNN's Chief "Pentagon Correspondent" and then was elevated to supreme anchorman nearly as quickly, ensures that the pro-Israeli Message is always in the forefront, even as the Israeli's commit one murderous act after another upon helpless Palestinian Women and Children.
Every single "terrorism expert", General or former Government Official that is brought out to discuss the next great war is connected to a military contractor that stands to benefit from that war. Not surprisingly, the military option is the only option discussed and we are assured that, if only we do this or bomb that, then it will all be over and we can bring our kids home to a big victory parade. I'm 63 and it has never happened in my lifetime--with the exception of the phony parade that Bush Senior put on after his murderous little "First Gulf War".
Yesterday there was a coordinated action by all of the networks, which was clearly designed to support the idea that the generals want Obama to act and he just won't. The not-so-subtle message was that the generals were right and that the President's "inaction" was somehow out of line-since, after all, the generals have recommended more war. It was as if these people don't remember that the President, sleazy War Criminal that he is, is still the Commander in Chief.
The Generals in the Pentagon always want war. It is how they make rank. All of those young kids that just graduated from our various academies know that war experience is the only thing that will get them the advancement that they seek in the career that they have chosen. They are champing at the bit for more war.
Finally, this Sunday every NFL Game will begin with some Patriotic "Honor America" Display, which will include a missing man flyover, flags and fireworks, plenty of uniforms, wounded Vets and soon-to-be-wounded Vets. A giant American Flag will, once again, cover the fields and hundreds of stupid young kids will rush down to their "Military Career Center" right after the game. These are the ones that I pity most.Let's be frank: powerful interests want war and subsequent puppet regimes in the half dozen nations that the neo-cons have been eyeing (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan). These interests surely include industries like banking, arms and oil-all of whom make a killing on any war, and would stand to do well with friendly governments who could finance more arms purchases and will never nationalize the oil.
So, the same PR campaign that started with Bush and Cheney continues-the exact same campaign. Obviously, they have to come back at the apple with variations, but any notion that the "media will get it someday" is willfully ignorant of the obvious fact that there is an agenda, and that agenda just won't stop until it's achieved-or revolution supplants the influence of these dark forces.
IanB52, 10 October 2014 6:57pm
The US media are indeed working overtime to get this war happening. When I'm down at the gym they always have CNN on (I can only imagine what FOX is like) which is a pretty much dyed in the wool yellow jingoist station at this point. With all the segments they dedicate to ISIS, a new war, the "imminent" terrorist threat, they seem to favor talking heads who support a full ground war and I have never, not once, heard anyone even speak about the mere possibility of peace. Not ever.
In media universe there is no alternative to endless war and an endless stream of hyped reasons for new killing.
I'd imagine that these media companies have a lot stock in and a cozy relationship with the defense contractors.
Damiano Iocovozzi, 10 October 2014 7:04pmID5868758 , 10 October 2014 10:20pm
The media machine is a wholly owned subsidiary of the United States of Corporations. The media doesn't report on anything but relies on repeating manufactured crises, creating manufactured consent & discussing manufactured solutions. Follow the oil, the pipelines & the money. Both R's & D's are left & right cheeks of the same buttock. Thanks to Citizens United & even Hobby Lobby, a compliant Supreme Court, also owned by United States of Corporations, it's a done deal.Oh, the greatest propaganda arm the US government has right now, bar none, is the American media. It's disgraceful. we no longer have journalists speaking truth to power in my country, we have people practicing stenography, straight from the State Department to your favorite media outlet.
Let me give you one clear example. A year ago Barack Obama came very close to bombing Syria to kingdom come, the justification used was "Assad gassed his own people", referring to a sarin gas attack near Damascus. Well, it turns out that Assad did not initiate that attack, discovered by research from many sources including the prestigious MIT, it was a false flag attack planned by Turkey and carried out by some of Obama's own "moderate rebels".
But all that research from MIT, from the UN, and others, has been buried by the American media, and every single story on Syria and Assad that is written still refers to "Assad gassing his own people". It's true, it's despicable, and it's just one example of how our media lies and distorts and misrepresents the news every day.
Mar 11, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Rufus , Mar 10, 2019 1:06:59 PM | link
On the NYT story, you have to love how transparent the propaganda is, and yet they (Bolton, Pompeo, Rubio) don't care whatsoever. Oh, and not one critical word about people throwing Molotov cocktails. Like that's a perfectly normal, non-violent means of protest.
Glenn Greenwald also has a good one on this.
Feb 19, 2019 | www.unz.com
Rational says: February 18, 2019 at 6:29 am GMT 100 Words
Thanks for the article, Sir. Welcome to unz.com.
The media in most countries report the news in a neutral manner. Since the Judaists bought the media, they turned media into weapons of terror, by:
a. Fake news -- outright lies (eg. calling alien invaders "migrants").
b. Manufacturing scandals that THEY make up eg. blackface.
c. Harassing and abusing patriots and others and calling them racists, getting them fired from jobs, etc.
None of these are legitimate jobs of the media. The New York Times and most Zionists controlled media in this country are therefore criminal enterprises and terrorist organizations and these criminals belong in prison.
Feb 18, 2019 | www.zerohedge.comBy Simon Black via Sovereignman.com
"Sometimes [two and two are four], Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane."
One of the key themes from George Orwell's dystopic novel 1984 is that the Party can do and say whatever it wants.
And more importantly, you must believe it, with all your heart. No matter how absurd.
That's doublethink . It is impossible for two plus two to equal three, four, and five simultaneously. But if the Party says it is so, it is so.
If you can't make yourself believe two contradictory facts simultaneously, that makes you a thought criminal– an enemy of the Party.
Thoughtcrime is thinking any thought that contradicts the Party.
Facecrime is when you have the wrong expression on your face. For instance, if captured enemy soldiers are being paraded through the streets, looking sympathetic is a facecrime.
Newspeak is the language of the Party–one that has painstakingly been removed of unnecessary words, or words that might contradict the Party's ideals.
"Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it."
During daily two minutes hate , citizens shout and curse whatever enemies the Party shows them.
And the face of the Party, Big Brother , is watching you. He helps you be a better citizen.
This isn't just some random literature lesson. Understanding Orwell's 1984 will help you understand 2019 America.
For instance, one California state senator is working on her own version of Newspeak.
She has banned the members of her committee from using gender pronouns, such as he, she, her, and him. Instead they must use "they and them" to respect non-binary gender choices.
So Billy Joel's famous song "She's always a woman" would become "They're always a non-binary gender. . ." Somehow that just doesn't ring with the same sweetness.
Last month a high school student famously committed a facecrime when he stood, apparently smirking, while a Native American activist beat a drum in his face.
The 16-year-old was then subjected to "two minutes hate" by the entire nation. The Party labeled him an enemy, and Twitter obliged.
Of course when I reference the 'Party', I don't mean to imply that all these Orwellian developments are coming from a single political party.
They've ALL done their parts to advance Orwellian dystopia and make it a reality.
Senators Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders want to limit corporate stock buybacks and share payouts. But the tax code already has the accumulated profits tax, which punishes corporations for NOT engaging in stock buybacks and share payouts
It's like doublethink you have to simultaneously pay and not pay out dividends.
Same goes for cops will pull you over for speeding, but also for "suspicious" textbook perfect driving .
The #MeToo movement made it a thoughtcrime to not immediately believe the accuser and condemn the accused , no evidence required.
When Matt Damon pointed out that we should not conflate a pat on the butt with rape, he was met with "two minutes hate" for expressing the wrong opinion.
On college campuses, some students are upset that white students are using multicultural spaces . Apparently "multicultural" is newspeak for "no whites allowed."
And when a controversy over offensive Halloween costumes erupted at Yale a few years ago, it was a student free speech group which suppressed any debate on the topic.
It's amazing how they want you to celebrate diversity as long as its not intellectual diversity.
1984 was supposed to be a warning. Instead, it has become an instruction manual.
Jan 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
The always excellent Moon of Alabama blog has just published a sarcasm-laden piece documenting the many, many aggressive maneuvers that this administration has made against the interests of Russia, from pushing for more NATO funding to undermining Russia's natural gas interests to bombing Syria to sanctioning Russian oligarchs to dangerous military posturing.
And yet the trending, most high-profile stories about Trump today all involve painting him as a Putin puppet who is working to destroy America by taking a weak stance against an alarming geopolitical threat. This has had the effect of manufacturing demand for even more dangerous escalations against a nuclear superpower that just so happens to be a longtime target of U.S. intelligence agencies.
If the mass media were in the business of reporting facts, there would be a lot less "Putin's puppet" talk and a lot more "Hey, maybe we should avoid senseless escalations which could end all life on earth" talk among news media consumers. But there isn't, because the mass media is not in the business of reporting facts, it's in the business of selling narratives. Even if those narratives are so shrill and stress-inducing that they imperil the health of their audience.Like His Predecessors
Trump is clearly not a Russian asset, he's a facilitator of America's permanent unelected government just like his predecessors, and indeed as far as actual policies and administration behavior goes he's not that much different from Barack Obama and George W Bush. Hell, for all his demagogic anti-immigrant speech Trump hasn't even caught up to Obama's peak ICE deportation years.
If the mass media were in the business of reporting facts, people would be no more worried about this administration than they were about the previous ones, because when it comes to his administration's actual behavior, he's just as reliable an upholder of the establishment-friendly status quo as his predecessors.
Used to be that the U.S. mass media only killed people indirectly, by facilitating establishment war agendas in repeating government agency propaganda as objective fact and promulgating narratives that manufacture support for a status quo which won't even give Americans health insurance or safe drinking water.
Now they're skipping the middle man and killing them directly by psychologically brutalizing them so aggressively that it ruins their health, all to ensure that Democrats support war and adore the U.S. intelligence community .
They do this for a reason, of course. The Yellow Vests protests in France have continued unabated for their ninth consecutive week , a decentralized populist uprising resulting from ordinary French citizens losing trust in their institutions and the official narratives which uphold them.
The social engineers responsible for controlling the populace of the greatest military power on the planet are watching France closely, and understand deeply what is at stake should they fail to control the narrative and herd ordinary Americans into supporting U.S. government institutions. Right now they've got Republicans cheering on the White House and Democrats cheering on the U.S. intelligence community, but that could all change should something happen which causes them to lose control over the thoughts that Americans think about their rulers.
Propaganda is the single most-overlooked and under-appreciated aspect of human society. The ability of those in power to manipulate the ways ordinary people think, act and vote has allowed for an inverted totalitarianism which turns the citizenry into their own prison wardens, allowing those with real power to continue doing as they please unhindered by the interests of the common man.
The only thing that will lead to real change is the people losing trust in corrupt institutions and rising like lions against them. That gets increasingly likely as those institutions lose control of the narrative, and with trust in the mass media at an all-time low, populist uprisings restoring power to the people in France, and media corporations acting increasingly weird and insecure , that looks more and more likely by the day.
Jan 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,
Following what the Washington Post has described as "the highest-profile misstep yet for a news organization during a period of heightened and intense scrutiny of the press," mass media representatives are now flailing desperately for an argument as to why people should continue to place their trust in mainstream news outlets.
On Thursday Buzzfeed News delivered the latest "bombshell" Russiagate report to fizzle within 24 hours of its publication, a pattern that is now so consistent that I've personally made a practice of declining to comment on such stories until a day or two after their release. "BOOM!" tweets were issued by #Resistance pundits on Twitter, "If true this means X, Y and Z" bloviations were made on mass media punditry panels, and for about 20 hours Russiagaters everywhere were riding the high of their lives, giddy with the news that President Trump had committed an impeachable felony by ordering Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about a proposed Trump office tower in Moscow, a proposal which died within weeks and the Kremlin never touched .
There was reason enough already for any reasonable person to refrain from frenzied celebration, including the fact that the story's two authors, Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier, were giving the press two very different accounts of the information they'd based it on, with Cormier telling CNN that he had not personally seen the evidence underlying his report and Leopold telling MSNBC that he had. Both Leopold and Cormier, for the record, have already previously suffered a Russiagate faceplant with the clickbait viral story that Russia had financed the 2016 election, burying the fact that it was a Russian election .
Then the entire story came crashing down when Mueller's office took the extremely rare step of issuing an unequivocal statement that the Buzzfeed story was wrong , writing simply, "BuzzFeed's description of specific statements to the special counsel's office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen's congressional testimony are not accurate."
According to journalist and economic analyst Doug Henwood, the print New York Times covered the Buzzfeed report on its front page when the story broke, but the report on Mueller's correction the next day was shoved back to page 11 . This appalling journalistic malpractice makes it very funny that NYT's Wajahat Ali had the gall to tweet , "Unlike the Trump administration, journalists are fact checking and willing to correct the record if the Buzzfeed story is found inaccurate. Not really the actions of a deep state and enemy of the people, right?"
This is the behavior of a media class that is interested in selling narratives, not reporting truth. And yet the mass media talking heads are all telling us today that we must continue to trust them.
"Those trying to tar all media today aren't interested in improving journalism but protecting themselves," tweeted NBC's Chuck Todd.
"There's a lot more accountability in media these days than in our politics. We know we live in a glass house, we hope the folks we cover are as self aware."
More accountability in media than in politics, Chuck? Really? Accountability to whom? Your advertisers? Your plutocratic owners? Certainly not to the people whose minds you are paid exorbitant sums to influence; there are no public elections for the leadership of the mass media.
"Mueller didn't do the media any favors tonight, and he did do the president one," griped the odious Chris Cuomo on CNN. "Because as you saw with Rudy Giuliani and as I'm sure you'll see with the president himself, this allows them to say 'You can't believe it! You can't believe what you read, you can't believe what you hear! You can only believe us. Even the Special Counsel says that the media doesn't get it right.'"
"The larger message that a lot of people are going to take from this story is that the news media are a bunch of leftist liars who are dying to get the president, and they're willing to lie to do it, and I don't think that's true" said Jeffrey Toobin on a CNN panel , adding "I just think this is a bad day for us."
"It does reinforce bad stereotypes about the news media," said Brian Stelter on the same CNN panel.
"I am desperate as a media reporter to always say to the audience, judge folks individually and judge brands individually. Don't fall for what these politicians out there want you to do. They want you to think we're all crooked. We're not. But Buzzfeed now, now the onus is on Buzzfeed. "
CNN, for the record, has been guilty of an arguably even more embarrassing Russiagate flub than Buzzfeed 's when they wrongly reported that Donald Trump Jr had had access to WikiLeaks' DNC email archives prior to their 2016 publication, an error that was hilariously due to to the simple misreading of an email date by multiple people.
The mass media, including pro-Trump mass media like Fox News, absolutely deserves to be distrusted. It has earned that distrust. It had earned that distrust already with its constant promotion of imperialist wars and an oligarch-friendly status quo, and it has earned it even more with its frenzied promotion of a narrative engineered to manufacture consent for a preexisting agenda to shove Russia off the world stage.
The mainstream media absolutely is the enemy of the people; just because Trump says it doesn't mean it's not true. The only reason people don't rise up and use the power of their numbers to force the much-needed changes that need to happen in our world is because they are being propagandized to accept the status quo day in and day out by the mass media's endless cultural engineering project .
They are the reason why wars go unopposed, why third parties never gain traction, why people consent to money hemorrhaging upward to the wealthiest of the wealthy while everyone else struggles to survive. The sooner people wake up from the perverse narrative matrix of the plutocratic media, the better.
* * *
The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website , which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My articles are entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook , following my antics on Twitter , throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal , purchasing some of my sweet new merchandise , buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone , or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers .
Feb 12, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org
On stage at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C. this past week was Princeton University Professor Emeritus Stephen Cohen, author of the new book, War with Russia: From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate.
Cohen has largely been banished from mainstream media.
"I had been arguing for years -- very much against the American political media grain -- that a new US/Russian Cold War was unfolding -- driven primarily by politics in Washington, not Moscow," Cohen writes in War with Russia. "For this perspective, I had been largely excluded from influential print, broadcast and cable outlets where I had been previously welcomed."
On the stage at Busboys and Poets with Cohen was Katrina vanden Heuvel, the editor of The Nation magazine, and Robert Borosage, co-founder of the Campaign for America's Future.
During question time, Cohen was asked about the extent of the censorship in the context of other Americans who had been banished from mainstream American media, including Ralph Nader, whom the liberal Democratic establishment, including Borosage and Vanden Heuvel, stiff armed when he crashed the corporate political parties in the electoral arena in 2004 and 2008.
Cohen said the censorship that he has faced in recent years is similar to the censorship imposed on dissidents in the Soviet Union.
"Until some period of time before Trump, on the question of what America's policy toward Putin's Kremlin should be, there was a reasonable facsimile of a debate on those venues that had these discussions," Cohen said. "Are we allowed to mention the former Charlie Rose for example? On the long interview form, Charlie would have on a person who would argue for a very hard policy toward Putin. And then somebody like myself who thought it wasn't a good idea."
"Occasionally that got on CNN too. MSNBC not so much. And you could get an op-ed piece published, with effort, in the New York Times or Washington Post ."
"Katrina and I had a joint signed op-ed piece in the New York Times six or seven years ago. But then it stopped. And to me, that's the fundamental difference between this Cold War and the preceding Cold War."
"I will tell you off the record – no, I'm not going to do it," Cohen said. "Two exceedingly imminent Americans, who most op-ed pages would die to get a piece by, just to say they were on the page, submitted such articles to the New York Times , and they were rejected the same day. They didn't even debate it. They didn't even come back and say – could you tone it down? They just didn't want it."
"Now is that censorship? In Italy, where each political party has its own newspaper, you would say – okay fair enough. I will go to a newspaper that wants me. But here, we are used to these newspapers."
"Remember how it works. I was in TV for 18 years being paid by CBS. So, I know how these things work. TV doesn't generate its own news anymore. Their actual reporting has been de-budgeted. They do video versions of what is in the newspapers."
"Look at the cable talk shows. You see it in the New York Times and Washington Post in the morning, you turn on the TV at night and there is the video version. That's just the way the news business works now."
"The alternatives have been excluded from both. I would welcome an opportunity to debate these issues in the mainstream media, where you can reach more people. And remember, being in these pages, for better or for worse, makes you Kosher. This is the way it works. If you have been on these pages, you are cited approvingly. You are legitimate. You are within the parameters of the debate."
"If you are not, then you struggle to create your own alternative media. It's new in my lifetime. I know these imminent Americans I mentioned were shocked when they were just told no. It's a lockdown. And it is a form of censorship."
"When I lived off and on in the Soviet Union, I saw how Soviet media treated dissident voices. And they didn't have to arrest them. They just wouldn't ever mention them. Sometimes they did that (arrest them). But they just wouldn't ever mention them in the media."
"Dissidents created what is known as samizdat – that's typescript that you circulate by hand. Gorbachev, before he came to power, did read some samizdat. But it's no match for newspapers published with five, six, seven million copies a day. Or the three television networks which were the only television networks Soviet citizens had access to."
"And something like that has descended here. And it's really alarming, along with some other Soviet-style practices in this country that nobody seems to care about – like keeping people in prison until they break, that is plea, without right to bail, even though they haven't been convicted of anything."
"That's what they did in the Soviet Union. They kept people in prison until people said – I want to go home. Tell me what to say – and I'll go home. That's what we are doing here. And we shouldn't be doing that."
Cohen appears periodically on Tucker Carlson's show on Fox News. And that rankled one person in the audience at Busboys and Poets, who said he worried that Cohen's perspective on Russia can be "appropriated by the right."
"Trump can take that and run on a nationalistic platform – to hell with NATO, to hell with fighting these endless wars, to do what he did in 2016 and get the votes of people who are very concerned about the deteriorating relations between the U.S. and Russia," the man said.
Cohen says that on a personal level, he likes Tucker Carlson "and I don't find him to be a racist or a nationalist."
"Nationalism is on the rise around the world everywhere," Cohen said. "There are different kinds of nationalism. We always called it patriotism in this country, but we have always been a nationalistic country."
"Fox has about three to four million viewers at that hour," Cohen said. "If I am not permitted to give my take on American/Russian relations on any other mass media, and by the way, possibly talk directly to Trump, who seems to like his show, and say – Trump is making a mistake, he should do this or do that instead -- I don't get many opportunities – and I can't see why I shouldn't do it."
"I get three and a half to four minutes," Cohen said. "I don't see it as consistent with my mission, if that's the right word, to say no. These articles I write for The Nation , which ended up in my book, are posted on some of the most God awful websites in the world. I had to look them up to find out how bad they really are. But what can I do about it?"
Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Russell Mokhiber
Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter..
Feb 06, 2019 | www.youtube.com
the op kingdom , 1 week ago (edited)FrozenWolf150 , 1 week ago
This woman had NO CLUE what she was talking about. She thought she was on a show that would just tow the party line and let her get away with wrong statements. She's just repeating what critics say with no idea of the truth. What a fool. As a woman, THIS IS WHY I WON'T JUST VOTE FOR ANY WOMAN. We are just as capable of being stupid as anyone else.Jeff Oloff , 1 week ago
Bari: "I think Tulsi Gabbard is an Assad toadie." Joe: "What do you mean by toadie?" Bari: "Oh, I don't know what that means." Joe: "Okay, I looked it up, and it's like a sycophant." Bari: "Then Tulsi is like an Assad sycophant." Joe: "So what do you mean by that?" Bari: "I'm not sure what sycophant means either." Joe: "I looked up the definition, it's like a suck-up." Bari: "All right, Tulsi is an Assad suck-up." Joe: "Could you explain that further?" Bari: "I don't know what suck means." Joe: "It's what you're doing right now."Joe Smith , 1 week ago
Bari Weiss is a tool of Zionist war mongers that promote perpetual war. She has no thoughts of her own.Nicholas Pniewski , 1 week ago
I hate Bari Weiss....I just don't why.Captain Obvious , 1 week ago
Tulsi also recently clarified her position of Assad and Syria on CNN, where she said she would have diplomacy rather than war
"Am I crazy?" -Bari Weiis Well Bari Weiis you're either crazy or you're a yet another worthless establishment shill whose job is spread deliberate misinformation about the most genuine anti-war candidate running at a time when the entire MSM, MIC, and the neoliberal rightwing establishment (including AIPAC) is deliberately smearing her to immediately kill her campaign. And you didn't come across as crazy so...
Feb 06, 2019 | sputniknews.comMonday to discuss current events, but things got embarrassing when she went in on Gabbard, a progressive Democrat whose foreign policy positions have turned more than a few heads.
Neocon NY Times columnist Bari Weiss smeared Tulsi Gabbard (who bravely opposed regime change and US support for Salafi-jihadist contras) as an "Assad toady," then couldn't spell/define toady or offer any evidence to prove her smear. Embarrassingly funny pic.twitter.com/m0MLaHFPiX-- Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) January 22, 2019
She has "monstrous ideas, she's an Assad toady," Weiss tells Rogan.© AFP 2018 / Timothy A. CLARY Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard Speaks the Truth on Syria, Gets Smeared by the Mainstream Media
When Rogan asks for clarification, she says, "I think that I used that word correctly." She then asks someone off camera to look up what toady means. "Like toeing the line," Rogan says, "is that what it means?" "No, I think it's like, uh " and Weiss drones off without an answer. She then attempts to spell it, and can't even do that. "T-O-A-D-I-E. I think it means what I think it means "
Rogan then reads the definition: "Toadies. The definition of toadies: A person who flatters or defers to others for self-serving reasons." "A sycophant. So I did use it right!" Weiss exclaims. "So she's an Assad sycophant? Is that what you're saying?" "Yeah, that's, proven -- known -- about her."
When Rogan asks what Gabbard has said that qualifies her as a sycophant, Weiss replies: "I don't remember the details."© AP Photo / Marco Garcia 'Assad's Mouthpiece in Washington': Controversial Dem. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard Announces 2020 Run
"We probably should say that before we say that about her -- we should probably read it, rather, right now, just so we know what she said," Rogan notes. "I think she's, like, the motherlode of bad ideas," Weiss then says. "I'm pretty positive about that, especially on Assad. But maybe I'm wrong. I don't think I'm wrong." It seems to us here at Sputnik that such claims should be made with a bit more confidence than this. So let's set the record straight.
Gabbard, who announced her presidential campaign on January 11, has drawn incredible amounts of ire from mainstream Democrats tripping over themselves for war with Syria because in January 2017, Gabbard met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and denounced the opposition rebels in the country's civil war as "terrorists."
She has also expressed skepticism about accusations that Assad's government has used chemical weapons during the conflict and spoken out against cruise missile attacks by the US and its allies against the country.© REUTERS / Omar Sanadiki US Lawmakers Call for Syria Strategy Where Assad Leaving Post, Russian Military Pulls Out
"Initially I hadn't planned on meeting him," Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran, told CNN's Jake Tapper following the meeting. "When the opportunity arose to meet with him, I did so, because I felt it's important that if we profess to truly care about the Syrian people, about their suffering, then we've got to be able to meet with anyone that we need to if there is a possibility that we could achieve peace. And that's exactly what we talked about."
"I have seen this cost of war firsthand, which is why I fight so hard for peace," Gabbard said. "And that's the reality of the situation that we're facing here. It's why I have urged and continue to urge [US President Donald] Trump to meet with people like Kim Jong Un in North Korea, because we understand what's at stake here. The only alternative to having these kinds of conversations is more war."
Moreover, in a March 2016 speech before Congress, Gabbard called Assad "a brutal dictator," noting that her opposition to what she called a "war bill" was over the legal ramifications that she feared would lead to the overthrow of Assad, which she opposes on anti-interventionist grounds.
"[T]oppling ruthless dictators in the Middle East creates even more human suffering and strengthens our enemy, groups like ISIS and other terrorist organizations, in those countries," Gabbard said at the time.© AP Photo/ J. Scott Applewhite House Democrats Will Expand Russiagate in 2019 to Push Trump Toward War
Gabbard has been thoroughly demonized for her pro-peace views by global liberal media, as Trump has been for his moves to end the war in Syria and avoid another on the Korean Peninsula. For example, The Daily Beast's article announcing her candidacy called Gabbard "Assad's Favorite Democrat" in its headline; a Haaretz headline from last week say she had "Tea With Assad," and the Washington Post has called her "Assad's Mouthpiece in Washington." The UK Independent called her a "defender of dictators."
It's not clear what Weiss had in mind when she called Gabbard a "sycophant" and a "toady," since the congresswoman's rhetoric about Assad has consisted of skepticism and opposition to intervention, and she hasn't hesitated to call the Syrian president a "brutal dictator." What Gabbard's treatment has demonstrated is that a Democrat who steps out of line from the party's pro-regime change agenda in Syria and who condemns Muslim extremists associated with Daesh and al-Qaeda should be prepared to suffer for it in the mainstream media.
Feb 06, 2019 | www.youtube.com
Tacet the Terror , 1 week agokamran5461 , 1 week ago
Sanders/Gabbard 2020 is the only non-"lesser of two evils" choice.Zero Divisor , 1 week ago
Now you see why the establishment really hates her.it's show buiness kiddo , 1 week ago
Tulsi Gabbard went to Standing Rock. She has my support.Voitan , 1 week ago
I wwant tulsi to defeat Kamala in the primaries. Kamala is a fake progressive and the establishment already coronated her. I can't trust her.malena garcia , 1 week ago
I'm voting Tulsi Gabbard. Uncompromising commitment to no more interventions and wars.Jurgen K , 1 week ago
I love Tulsi; her ad was great. She's the only dem I would vote for at this point. Kamala is an evil hypocrite. And Tulsi's right, love is the most powerful force in the planet.Jay Smathers , 1 week ago (edited)
Tulsi is hated by the establishment the most not Bernie , this is the reason I say Tulsi2020
FujiFire , 1 week ago
Wake up folks -Tulsi would not have run if Bernie was going run. Bernie will endorse her early on and she will have a much tougher fight than he did, because while Sanders caught the corporate establishment sleeping in 2016, they are now frightened and see Gabbard coming. They will use every dirty trick at their disposal to keep her from catching fire -and that begins with dividing progressives like us. Tulsi is not perfect because no one is perfect. But she is young, bright and fucking fearless compared to other politicians about putting the long term good of the American people above the moneyed interests who think they own our media and our government. This is why the establishment despises her more than even Sanders. 2020 will reveal weather or not we can retake ownership of our media and our government. That fight will require all of us - so Kyle get on the bus!D. Martin , 1 week ago (edited)
Tulsi is an amazing candidate in her own right, but IMO she would be a perfect VP pick for Bernie. She has the amazing foreign policy cred and would really shore up Bernie's weakest areas.rolled oats , 1 week ago
I remember Obama ripping interventionism too. And Trump.Wayne Chapman , 1 week ago
Tulsa Gabbard's ad doesn't mention the people who die in the countries we invade. That's 600k people in Iraq for example. A significant omission me thinks.madara uchiha , 1 week ago
The Aloha Spirit Law is a big deal in Hawaii. Government officials are required to approach dignitaries from other countries or states with the spirit of aloha. "Aloha" means mutual regard and affection and extends warmth in caring with no obligation in return. Aloha is the essence of relationships in which each person is important to every other person for collective existence. I think that's what we want in a President or a diplomat.David , 1 week ago (edited)
She's great and unique as she doesnt fall back to identity politics and sjwism as much as the standard left politicians. I hope she doesnt bend her ethics when the sjws come for her. I'm putting my trust in her. I hope she wins. And if she isn't in the race, i wont be voting.GoLookAtJohn PodestasEmails , 1 week ago
The question I would love her to address specifically is will her campaign focus on decreasing military spending like Bernie Sanders? She has a military background and the US loves war. This ad is good but it is tip toing around the MIC ( military industrial complex) She can be non interventionist but not decrease military spending is what worries meGeoff Daly , 1 week ago
This is why we need Gabbard on the debate stage. She will push the Overton window on revealing to the public what our military is actually doing overseas. She's also a staunch progressive. Bernie/Tulsi 2020. Their weakness match well with each other, and Tulsi was one of the first to jump ship on the sinking DNC ship when Hillary got caught cheating being the DNC. Keep small donations going into your favorite progressive candidates to hear their voice. It doesn't work any other way folks.
Tom Pashkov , 1 week ago
Intervention isn't only an issue about morality. As Dwight Eisenhower put it (even though he himself was far from an anti imperialist), you can't have an endless stream of money dedicated to military endeavors AND a sufficient investment in domestic public priorities. This easily explains why we have increasingly decrepit infrastructure, increasingly worse performing education, increasingly worse performing health care, absurdly insufficient regulation between government and business (although the pay to play system certainly is the top reason) and a generally decaying public atmosphere. Beyond the fact that getting involved everywhere creates humanitarian crises, countless dead people, hopelessly destroyed countries, and so much more, even if other countries haven't in return bombed our shores from sea to sea, even if generally speaking those who consider not only the US but Americans the "enemies" haven't overwhelmed with non stop attacks, this non stop and ever growing appetite for more money for more war priorities has created the very decline we see in our country today. Until there is a change in priorities in general, these problems in the US will only continue to get worse.Jacob Serrano , 1 week ago
Gabbard for Sec. of Defense in the Sanders/Warren administration.Ny3 43 , 1 week ago
Man, Tulsi made me tear up. She's my girl. This message reminds me more of the message of Jesus than many of the fundamentalists. She's not even Christian, yet represents Christ very well. I love this woman.Gem Girlla , 1 day ago (edited)
Prepare for BAE, Systems, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and other weapons corporations and their bum lickers to launch a viscous smear campaign against her suggesting she's somehow a Neo Nazi communist anti Semitic islamophobic islamist.GiantOctopus0101 , 1 day ago
Tulsi 2020 she's saying some of the same things Trump said in his 2016 campaign. Unfortunately, he didn't deliver. Per the corporate Democrates, making America better is a bad thing.
Tulsi can actually beat Trump...if she gets the nomination. The wars are the elephant in the room, and whoever is willing to take that on full force, can win.
Feb 05, 2019 | www.youtube.com
nywvblue , 1 day agotom burton , 15 hours ago
Bari Weiss is the monstrous motherlode of ineptitude, it would appear.Robert Harper , 17 hours ago
Bari Weiss's next column: Joe Rogan is a toady of Tulsi Gabbard.Mike Honcho , 17 hours ago
Now it is easy to understand why I stopped my nyt subscription.
Unbelievable! It's like Joe is interviewing an airhead middle school mean girl.
Jan 15, 2019 | original.antiwar.com
... ... ...Why, it is apparently the following, which is surely a red hot smoking gun. That is, one that condemns the FBI, not Trump; and shows that the NYT , which once courageously published the Pentagon Papers and had earned the above sobriquet for its journalistic stateliness, sense of responsibility and possession of high virtue, has degenerated into a War Party shill – not to say the journalistic equivalent of a comfort woman:
Mr. Trump had caught the attention of FBI counterintelligence agents when he called on Russia during a campaign news conference in July 2016 to hack into the emails of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump had refused to criticize Russia on the campaign trail, praising President Vladimir V. Putin. And investigators had watched with alarm as the Republican Party softened its convention platform on the Ukraine crisis in a way that seemed to benefit Russia.
Well, for crying out loud!
Any journalist worth his salt would know that Trump's July 2016 shout-out to the Russians was a campaign joke. At best, it was merely an attempt to cleverly state in one more way the running GOP theme about Hillary's missing 30,000 emails. How many times before that had Sean Hannity delivered his riff about Hillary's alleged hammer-smashing of 13 devices and acid-washing with BleachBit of the missing emails?
Jan 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Jackrabbit , Jan 15, 2019 9:31:08 PM | lin kkarlof1
According to Wolin, domestic and foreign affairs goals are each important and on parallel tracks, as summarized at Wikipedia, the United States has two main totalizing dynamics:The first, directed outward, finds its expression in the global War on Terror and in the Bush Doctrine that the United States has the right to launch preemptive wars. This amounts to the United States seeing as illegitimate the attempt by any state to resist its domination.
The second dynamic, directed inward, involves the subjection of the mass of the populace to economic "rationalization", with continual "downsizing" and "outsourcing" of jobs abroad and dismantling of what remains of the welfare state created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal and President Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society. Neoliberalism is an integral component of inverted totalitarianism. The state of insecurity in which this places the public serves the useful function of making people feel helpless, therefore making it less likely they will become politically active and thus helping maintain the first dynamic.
<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
Wolin's Inverted Totalitarianism provides the ground work for my suspicions regarding faux populists Obama and Trump:By using managerial methods and developing management of elections, the democracy of the United States has become sanitized of political participation, therefore managed democracy is "a political form in which governments are legitimated by elections that they have learned to control".
Under managed democracy, the electorate is prevented from having a significant impact on policies adopted by the state because of the opinion construction and manipulation carried out by means of technology, social science, contracts and corporate subsidies.
Jan 12, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
President Trump on Saturday lashed out after a Friday evening report in the New York Times that US law enforcement officials " became so concerned by the president's behavior " in the days after Trump fired James Comey as FBI director, that "t hey began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests. "
According to the NYT, agents and senior F.B.I. officials " had grown suspicious of Mr. Trump's ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign " but held off on opening an investigation into him, the people said, in part because they were uncertain how to proceed with an inquiry of such sensitivity and magnitude.
What happened next? Well, a collusion narrative was born and carefully crafted as the paper explains:
The president's activities before and after Mr. Comey's firing in May 2017, particularly two instances in which Mr. Trump tied the Comey dismissal to the Russia investigation, helped prompt the counterintelligence aspect of the inquiry, the people said.
The odd inquiry carried "explosive implications" as counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president's own actions constituted a possible threat to national security. Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow's influence.
The criminal and counterintelligence elements were coupled together into one investigation, former law enforcement officials said in interviews in recent weeks, because if Mr. Trump had ousted the head of the F.B.I. to impede or even end the Russia investigation, that was both a possible crime and a national security concern. The F.B.I.'s counterintelligence division handles national security matters.
Even so, "...some former law enforcement officials outside the investigation have questioned whether agents overstepped in opening it ."
Then, in paragraph nine we read " No evidence has emerged publicly that Mr. Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian government officials. " Or, as The Washington Examiner 's Byron York sums it up:
Some were even more laconic, summarizing the "scoop" as "anybody who fires corrupt Comey must be a Russian spy."
Put another way:
Responding to the "bombshell" NYT report - which curiously resurrects the "Russian collusion" narrative right as Trump is set to test his Presidential authority over the border wall, the president lashed out over Twitter .
Wow, just learned in the Failing New York Times that the corrupt former leaders of the FBI, almost all fired or forced to leave the agency for some very bad reasons, opened up an investigation on me, for no reason & with no proof, after I fired Lyin' James Comey, a total sleaze!"
Funny thing about James Comey. Everybody wanted him fired, Republican and Democrat alike. After the rigged & botched Crooked Hillary investigation, where she was interviewed on July 4th Weekend, not recorded or sworn in, and where she said she didn't know anything (a lie), the FBI was in complete turmoil (see N.Y. Post) because of Comey's poor leadership and the way he handled the Clinton mess (not to mention his usurpation of powers from the Justice Department).
My firing of James Comey was a great day for America. He was a Crooked Cop who is being totally protected by his best friend, Bob Mueller, & the 13 Angry Democrats - leaking machines who have NO interest in going after the Real Collusion (and much more) by Crooked Hillary Clinton, her Campaign, and the Democratic National Committee. Just Watch!
I have been FAR tougher on Russia than Obama, Bush or Clinton. Maybe tougher than any other President. At the same time, & as I have often said, getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. I fully expect that someday we will have good relations with Russia again!
Lyin' James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter S and his lover, agent Lisa Page, & more, all disgraced and/or fired and caught in the act. These are just some of the losers that tried to do a number on your President. Part of the Witch Hunt. Remember the "insurance policy?" This is it! -Donald Trump
Update: Comey has responded over Twitter with a pithy FDR quote:
Although we seem to recall that Democrats were Comey's enemy when he reopened Hillary Clinton's email investigation during the election.
While there is nothing new here confirming Trump was colluding with Russia, as Byron York asks following the article, was the New York Times story about Trump, or about FBI malfeasance?
Jan 18, 2018 | countercurrents.orgThe creation of large enterprises gave rise not only to an organized labor movement, but to a larger bureaucratic regulatory state with agencies intended to help stabilize and grow capitalism while keeping the working class loyal to the social contract. Crisis in public confidence resulted not only from economic recessions and depressions built into the economy, but the contradictions capitalism was fostering in society as the benefits in advances in industry, science and technology accrued to the wealthy while the social structure remained hierarchical.
Ever since 1947 when the ideological father of neoliberalism Friedrich von Hayek called a conference in Mont Pelerin to address how the new ideology would replace Keynesianism, neoliberals have been promising to address these contradictions, insisting that eliminating the social welfare state and allowing complete market dominationthat would result in society's modernization and would filter down to all social classes and nations both developed and developing. Such thinking is rooted in the modernization theory that emerged after WWII when the US took advantage of its preeminent global power to impose a transformation model on much of the non-Communist world. Cold War liberal economist Walt Rostow articulated the modernization model of development in his work entitled The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto , 1960. By the 1970s, neoliberals adapted Rostow's modernization theory as their bible and the core of the social contract. (Evans Rubara, "Uneven Development: Understanding the Roots of Inequality"
The challenge for the political class has always been and remains to mobilize a popular base that would afford legitimacy to the social contract. The issue for mainstream political parties is not whether there is a systemic problem with the social contract intended to serve the capitalist class, but the degree to which the masses can be co-opted through various methods to support the status quo. "A generation ago, the country's social contract was premised on higher wages and reliable benefits, provided chiefly by employers. In recent decades, we've moved to a system where low wages are supposed to be made bearable by low consumer prices and a hodgepodge of government assistance programs. But as dissatisfaction with this arrangement has grown, it is time to look back at how we got here and imagine what the next stage of the social contract might be."
Considering that Keynesianism and neoliberalism operate under the same social structure and differ only on how best to achieve capital formation while retaining sociopolitical conformity, the article above published in The Atlantic illustrates how analysts/commentators easily misinterpret nuances within a social contract for the covenant's macro goals. A similar view as that expressed in The Atlantic is also reflected in the New America Foundation's publications, identifying specific aspects of Arthur Schlesinger's Cold War militarist policies enmeshed with social welfare Keynesianism as parts of the evolving social contract.
Identifying the social contract with a specific set of policies under different administrations evolving to reflect the nuances of political class and economic elites,some analysts contend that there is a European Union-wide social contract to which nationally-based social contracts must subordinate their sovereignty. This model has evolved to accommodate neoliberal globalism through regional trade blocs on the basis of a 'patron-client'integration relationship between core and periphery countries.
A European export and integral part of cultural hegemony in the non-Western world, the liberal-bourgeois social contract for the vast majority of Africans has failed to deliver on the promise of socioeconomic development, social justice and national sovereignty since independence from colonial rule. Just as in Africa, the Asian view of the social contract is that it entails a liberal model of government operating within the capitalist system rather than taking into account social justice above all else. Embracing pluralism and diversity while shedding aspects of authoritarian capitalism associated with cronyism and the clientist state, the view of the Asian social contract is to subordinate society to neoliberal global integration and work within the framework of Western-established institutions. In each country, traditions governing social and political relationships underlie the neoliberal model. (Sanya Osha, The Social Contract in Africa , 2014;
https://www.ecb.europa.eu/press/key/date/2013/html/sp130302.en.html ; http://www.mei.edu/content/map/myanmar-transition-social-control-social-contract )
Despite far reaching implications for society and despite the political and business class keen awareness of neoliberalism, most people around the world are almost as perplexed by the term neoliberalism as they are with social contract theory that is outside the public debate confined to the domain of political philosophy. Many associate neoliberalism withRonald Reagan supporter Milton Friedman and the 'Chicago School', rarely mentioning the political dimension of the economic philosophy and its far-reaching implications for all segments of society. In an article entitled "Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems" The Guardian columnist George Monbiot raised a few basic questions about the degree to which the public is misinformed when it comes to the neoliberal social contract under which society operates.
" Neoliberalism: do you know what it is? Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007-2008, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which the Panama Papers offer us merely a glimpse, the slow collapse of public health and education, resurgent child poverty, the epidemic of loneliness, the collapse of ecosystems, the rise of Donald Trump. But we respond to these crises as if they emerge in isolation, apparently unaware that they have all been either catalysed or exacerbated by the same coherent philosophy; a philosophy that has – or had – a name. What greater power can there be than to operate namelessly?
Advocates of neoliberalism, both from the pluralist-social welfare wing and the rightwing populist camp, have succeeded in institutionalizing the new social contract which has transformed the historically classical notion of individual freedombased on the Enlightenment concept of natural rights into freedom of capitalist hegemony over the state and society. Whether operating under the political/ideological umbrella of pluralism-environmentalism in Western nations, combined with some version of a Keynesian social welfare pluralist model, with rightwing populism or authoritarianism in one-party state, political and corporate elites advancing the neoliberal model share the same goal with regard to capital formation and mainstream institutions.
http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0896920516668386 ; https://www.counterpunch.org/2015/10/23/culture-of-cruelty-the-age-of-neoliberal-authoritarianism/ ; http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0896920516668386
Weakening the social welfare corporatist state model by reaching political consensus among mainstream political parties by the late 1980s-early 1990s, whether operating under a centrist-pluralist or conservative party, neoliberals have been using the combination of massive deregulation with the state providing a bailout mechanism when crisis hits; fiscal policy that transfers income from workers and the middle class – raising the public debt to transfer wealth from the bottom 90% to the wealthiest 10% -; providing corporate subsidies and bailouts; and privatizing public projects and services at an immense cost to the declining living standards for the middle class and workers.
As much in the US as in other developed nations beginning in the 1980s, the neoliberal state has become status quo by intentionally weakening the social welfare state and redefining the social contract throughout the world. Working with large banks and multilateral institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank that use loans as leverage to impose neoliberal policies around the world in debtor nations desperate to raise capital for the state and attract direct foreign investment, the advanced capitalist countries impose the neoliberal social contract on the world.
As reflected in the integrated global economy, the neoliberal model was imbedded in IMF stabilization and World Bank development loans since the late 1940s. After the energy crisis of the mid-1970s and the revolutions in Iran and Nicaragua in 1979, international developments that took place amid US concerns about the economy under strain from rising balance payments deficits that could not accommodate both 'military Keynesianism' (deficit spending on defense as a means of boosting the economy) and the social welfare system, neoliberalism under the corporate welfare state emerged as the best means to continue strengthening capitalism. (J. M. Cypher, "From Military Keynesianism to Global-Neoliberal Militarism" , Monthly Review Vol. 59, No. 2, 2007; Jason Hickel, A Short History ofNeoliberalism ,
Everything from government agencies whose role is strengthening capital, to public schools and hospitals emulating the market-based management model and treating patients and students as customers, the neoliberal goal is comprehensive market domination of society. Advocates of the neoliberal social contract no longer conceal their goals behind rhetoric about liberal-democratic ideals of individual freedom and the state as an arbiter to harmonize the interests of social classes. The market unequivocally imposes its hegemony not just over the state but on all institutions, subordinating peoples' lives to market forces and equating those forces with democracy and national sovereignty. In pursuit of consolidating the neoliberal model on a world scale, the advocates of this ideology subordinate popular sovereignty and popular consent from which legitimacy of the state emanates to capital. http://www.rhizomes.net/issue10/introren.htm
As an integral part of the social environment and hegemonic culture reflecting the hierarchical class structure and values based on marginalization, the neoliberal social contract has become institutionalized in varying degrees reflecting the more integrative nature of capitalism after the fall of the Communist bloc coinciding with China's increased global economic integration. Emboldened that there was no competing ideology from any government challenging capitalism, neoliberals aggressively pursued globalization under the deregulation-corporate welfare anti-labor model.
Some countries opted for mixed policies with a dose of quasi-statist policies as in the case of China. Others retained many aspects of the social welfare state as in the case of EU members, while some pursue authoritarian capitalism within a pluralistic model. Still other nations in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia where pluralism and multi-party traditions are not very strong, neoliberal policies are tailored to clientist politics and crony capitalism. In all cases, 'market omnipotence theory' is the catalyst under the umbrella of the neoliberal social contract.
Ideology, the Neoliberal State, and the Social Contract
Just as religion was universally intertwined with identity, projection of self-image in the community and the value system in the Age of Faith (500-1500), secular ideology in the modern world fulfills somewhat a similar goal. Although neoliberalism has been criticized as a secular religion precisely because of its dogmatism regarding market fundamentalism, especially after 2013 when Pope Francis dismissed it as idolatry of money that attempts to gloss over abject socioeconomic inequality on a world scale, capitalistsand the political class around the world have embraced some aspects if not wholeheartedly neoliberal ideology. https://economicsociology.org/2014/12/25/pope-francis-against-neoliberalism-finance-capitalism-consumerism-and-inequality/
In the early 21 st century arguments equating the rich with societal progress and vilifying the poor as social stigma indicative of individual failure are no different than arguments raised by apologists of capitalism in the early 19 th century when the British Parliament was debating how to punish the masses of poor that the industrial revolution had created. In defending tax cuts to the wealthy, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley stated: "I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing -- as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it's on booze or women or movies." https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/grassley-estate-taxes-booze-women_us_5a247d89e4b03c44072e5a04 ; The US senator's argument could easily be heard in early 19 th century England. Blaming the poor for structural poverty which capitalism causes has become widespreadsince the early 1980s. This is because of government efforts to dismantle the welfare state as a social safety net and transfer resources for tax cuts to the wealthiest individuals. https://www.globalresearch.ca/blaming-the-poor-for-poverty/535675
Rooted in classical liberal ideology, neoliberalism rests on laissez-faire and social Darwinist principles that affirm societal progress as defined by materialist self-interest. Because private financial gain is the sole measure of success and virtue, neoliberals demand that the state and international organizations must remove impediments to capital accumulationnationally and internationally no matter the consequences to the non-propertied classes. Aiming for more than mere mechanical compliance, the goal of the ideology is to create the illusion of the neoliberal self that lives, breathes, and actualizes neoliberal myths in every aspect of life from a person as a worker to consumer and citizen.
Jim Mcguigan argues that "the transition from organised capitalism to neoliberal hegemony over the recent period has brought about a corresponding transformation in subjectivity. Leading celebrities, most notably high-tech entrepreneurs, for instance, operate in the popular imagination as models of achievement for the aspiring young. They are seldom emulated in real life, however, even unrealistically so. Still, their famed lifestyles and heavily publicised opinions provide guidelines to appropriate conduct in a ruthlessly competitive and unequal world." (Jim McGuigan: 'The Neoliberal Self',Culture Unbound, Volume 6, 2014; http://www.cultureunbound.ep.liu.se/v6/a13/cu14v6a13.pdf
By offering the illusion of integration to those that the social structure has marginalized while trying to indoctrinate the masses that the corporate state is salvation and the welfare state is the enemy to default all of society's problems, the neoliberal ideology has captured the imagination of many in the middle class and even some in the working class not just in the West but around the world and especially in former Communist bloc countries where people entertained an idealized version of bourgeois liberal society. (S. Gill, "Pessimism of Intelligence, Optimism of Will" in Perspectives on Gramsci , ed. by Joseph Francene 2009)
Similar to liberalism in so far as it offers something for which to hope, neoliberalism is a departure when it decries the state as an obstacle to capitalist growth not only because of regulatory mechanisms and as an arbiter in society that must placate the masses with social programs, but even as a centralized entity determining monetary and fiscal policy. Proponents of neoliberalism demand turning back the clock to the ideology that prevailed among capitalists and their political supporters at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution when there were no state mechanisms to regulate labor conditions, mining operations and the environment, food and drugs, etc. From a dogmatic market fundamentalist perspective, the market transcends national borders and supersedes the state, thus the principal form of governance revolves around furthering capital accumulation.
Not only is there an absence of a social conscience not so different than what prevailed in the nascent phase of industrial capitalism, but there is disdain of social responsibility on the part of capital beyond the realm of tax-deductible charity donations and voluntarism. More significant, neoliberals believe that capital is entitled to appropriate whatever possible from society because the underlying assumption of corporate welfare entitlement is built into the neoliberal ideology that identifies the national interest with capital and labor as the enemy of capital accumulation. (K. Farnsworth, Social vs. Corporate Welfare , 2012)
The irony in all of this is that in 2008 the world experienced the largest and deepest recession since the 1930s precisely because of neoliberal policies. However, its advocates insisted that the recession was causedwe did not have enough deregulation, privatization, corporate welfare and low taxes on capital rather than going too far with such an extreme ideology whose legal and illegal practices that led to the global recession. Even more ironic neoliberal ideology blames the state – central banks, legislative branch and regulatory agencies – rather than the economic system for the cyclical crisis. https://cgd.leeds.ac.uk/events/2008-global-financial-crisis-in-a-long-term-perspective-the-failure-of-neo-liberalism-and-the-future-of-capitalism-2/
Because the state puts the interests of a tiny percentage of the population above the rest of society, it is a necessary structure only in so far as it limits its role to promoting capital formation by using any means to achieve the goal. Whether under a pluralistic-diversity political model or an authoritarian one, neoliberalism is anti-democratic because as Riad Azar points out, "The common denominator is the empowering of elites over the masses with the assistance of international forces through military action or financial coercion -- a globalized dialectic of ruling classes."
From conservative and liberal to self-described Socialist, political parties around the world have moved ideologically farther to the right in order to accommodate neoliberalism as part of their platform. The challenge of the political class is to keep people loyal to the neoliberal ideology; a challenge that necessarily forces political parties to be eclectic in choosing aspects of other ideological camps that appeal to voters. While embracing corporate welfare, decrying social welfare is among the most glaring neoliberal contradiction of an ideology that ostensibly celebrates non-state intervention in the private sector. This contradiction alone forces neoliberal politicians of all stripes and the media to engage in mass distraction and to use everything from identity politics ideologies to cult of personality,and culture wars and 'clash of civilization' theories. https://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/How-the-Democrats-Became-The-Party-of-Neoliberalism-20141031-0002.html ; https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/paul-emery/why-on-earth-would-socialists-support-neoliberal-undemocratic-eu
To justify why self-proclaimed socialist and democratic parties have embraced neoliberalism, many academics have provided a wide range of theories which have in fact helped solidify the neoliberal ideology into the political mainstream. Among the countless people swept up by the enthusiasm of the Communist bloc's fall and China's integration into the world capitalist economy, Daniel Bell, The End of Ideology (2000), argued that the world returned to old religious and ethnic conflicts around which ideologies of the new century were molded.
Encouraged by China's integration into the global capitalist system, in September 2006 Bell wrote : "It's the end of ideology in China. Not the end of all ideology, but the end of Marxist ideology. China has many social problems, but the government and its people will deal with them in pragmatic ways, without being overly constrained by ideological boundaries. I still think there's a need for a moral foundation for political rule in China – some sort of guiding ideal for the future – but it won't come from Karl Marx." https://prezi.com/kha1ketnfjtd/ideology-in-everyday-life/
Such hasty pronouncements and others in works like Francis Fukuyama's The End of History expressed the Western bourgeois sense of relief of an integrated world under the Western-dominated neoliberal ideology that would somehow magically solve problems the Cold War had created. While Bell, Fukuyama and others celebrated the triumphant era of neoliberal ideology, they hardly dealt with the realities that ideology in peoples' lives emanates from mainstream institutions manifesting irreconcilable contradictions. A product molded by the hegemonic political culture, neoliberal ideology has been a factor in keeping the majority in conformity while a small minority is constantly seeking outlets of social resistance, some within the neoliberal rightwing political mold. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/mar/21/bring-back-ideology-fukuyama-end-history-25-years-on
As catalyst to mobilize the masses, nationalism remains a strong aspect of ideological indoctrination that rightwing populist neoliberals have used blaming immigrants, Muslims, women, gays, environmentalists, and minorities for structural problems society confronts resulting from the political economy. Although there are different political approaches about how best to achieve neoliberal goals, ideological indoctrination has always played an essential role in keeping people loyal to the social contract. However, the contradiction in neoliberal ideology is the need for a borderless world and the triumph of capital over the nation-state while state policies harmonize disparate capitalist interests within the nation-state and beyond it. If neoliberal ideology tosses aside nationalism then it deprives itself of a mechanism to mobilize the masses behind it. https://left-flank.org/2011/01/16/the-curious-marriage-of-neoliberalism-and-nationalism/
Arguing that the 'Ideological State Apparatuses' (ISA) such as religious and educational institutions among others in the private sector perpetuate the ideology of the status quo, Louis Pierre Althusser captured the essence of state mechanisms to mobilize the masses. However, ideology is by no means the sole driving force in keeping people loyal to the social contract. While peoples' material concerns often dictate their ideological orientation, it would be hasty to dismiss the role of the media along with hegemonic cultural influences deeply ingrained into society shaping peoples' worldview and keeping them docile.
Building on Althusser's theory of how the state maintains the status quo, Goran Therborn ( Ideology of Power and the Power of Ideology , 1999) argues that the neoliberal state uses ideological domination as a mechanism to keep people compliant. Combined with the state's repressive mechanisms – police and armed forces – the ideological apparatus engenders conformity wherein exploitation and repression operate within the boundaries that the state defines as 'legal', thus 'normal' for society. A desirable goal of regimes ranging from parliamentary to Mussolini's Fascist Italy (1922-1943) and clerical Fascism under Antonio de Oliveira Salazar's Portugal (1932-1968), legalized repressive mechanisms have become an integral part of neoliberal ideological domination.
( http://notevenpast.org/louis-althusser-on-interpellation-and-the-ideological-state apparatus/ ; https://isreview.org/issue/99/althussers-theory-ideology ; Jules Boykoff, "Limiting Dissent: The Mechanisms of State Repression in the USA" Social Movement Studies," Vo. 6, No 3, 2007)
It is part of the neoliberal ideology that markets dictate the lives of people in every respect from cradle to grave where self and identity are inexorably intertwined. Striving to determine public policy in all its phases of the individual\s life, of localities, nationally and internationally, the market has no other means to retain hegemony in society and pursue capital formation with the fewest possible obstacles. Neoliberals justify such an ideology on the basis that modernization of society transcends not just social justice but societal collective welfare when measured against private gain. https://www.salon.com/2016/03/27/good_riddance_gig_economy_uber_ayn_rand_and_the_awesome_collapse_of_silicon_valleys_dream_of_destroying_your_job/ ; https://www.greeneuropeanjournal.eu/neoliberalism-has-eviscerated-the-fabric-of-social-life/
The unchecked role of neoliberal capitalism in every aspect of the social fabric runs the risk of at the very least creating massive social, economic and political upheaval as was the case with the great recession of 2008 preceded by two decades of neoliberal capitalism taking precedence over the welfare regulatory state whose role is to secure and/or retain equilibrium in global markets. In The Great Transformation , (1944)", Karl Polanyi argued that: "To allow the market mechanism to be sole director of the fate of human beings and their natural environment would result in the demolition of society."
Because Polanyi lived through the Great Depression era of the New Deal and the rise and fall of the Axis Powers, he was optimistic that a return to the 1920s would not take root after WWII. Polanyi accepted Hegel's view of the social contract that the state preserves society by safeguarding general or universal interests against particular ones. However, we have been witnessing the kind of demolition of society Polanyi feared because of unchecked market forces. This is in part because the demise of the Communist bloc and the rise of China as a major economic power emboldened advocates of neoliberal ideology.
With the realization of US long road to decline at the end of the Vietnam War, neoliberal elites prevailed that the crisis of American leadership could be met with the elimination of Keynesian ideology and the adoption of neoliberalism as tested by the Chicago School in Chile under the US-backed dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet from 1973 to 1990. That the neoliberal ideology became an experiment tested in a US-backed military dictatorship in South America is itself revealing about what the nature of the social contract once implemented even in pluralistic societies where there was popular and political support for Keynesianism. Characteristic of a developing nation like Chile was external dependence and a weak state structure, thus easily manipulated by domestic and foreign capital interested in deregulation and further weakening of the public sector as the core of the social contract.
https://www.thenation.com/article/the-chicago-boys-in-chile-economic-freedoms-awful-toll/ ; https://www.salon.com/2010/03/02/chicago_boys_and_the_chilean_earthquake/
"The withering away of national states and the wholesale privatization of state-owned enterprises and state-administered services transferred highly profitable monopolies to capitalists, and guaranteed the repayment of the foreign debt-contracted, as in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay-by irresponsible, corrupt, and de facto military rulers. Neoliberalism supplied the general justification for the transfer of public assets and state-owned enterprises, paid for with public savings, even in areas considered "taboo" and untouchable until a few years ago, such as electricity, aviation, oil, or telecommunications. (Atilio A. Boron, "Democracy or Neoliberalism?" http://bostonreview.net/archives/BR21.5/boron.html
Advocating the systematic dismantling of the social welfare state in the name of upholding the virtues of individualism while strengthening of corporate welfare capitalism in the name of economic growth on global scale, advocates of neoliberal ideology were emboldened by the absence of a competing ideology after the fall of the Soviet bloc and China's capitalist integration. As the income gap widened and globalization resulted in surplus labor force amid downward pressure on wages, a segment of the social and political elites embraced a rightwing populist ideology as a means of achieving the neoliberal goals in cases where the pluralist ideological model was not working. The failure of neoliberal policies led some political and business elites to embrace rightwing populism in order to save neoliberalism that had lost support among a segment of society because of its association with centrist and reformist cultural-diversity pluralist neoliberals. This trend continues to gain momentum exposing the similarities between neoliberalism and Fascism. (David Zamora, "When Exclusion Replaces Exploitation: The Condition of the Surplus-Population under Neoliberalism" http://nonsite.org/feature/when-exclusion-replaces-exploitation .
Neoliberalism and Fascism
- The role of the state
Unprecedented for a former president, on 10 December 2017 Barak Obama warned Americans not to follow a Nazi path. A clear reference to president Trump and the Republican Party leading America in that direction with rhetoric and policies that encourage 'culture war' ( kulturkampf – struggle between varieties of rightwingers from evangelicals to neo-Nazis against secular liberals), Obama made reference to socioeconomic polarization at the root of political polarization.
"The combination of economic disruption, cultural disruption ― nothing feels solid to people ― that's a recipe for people wanting to find security somewhere. And sadly, there's something in all of us that looks for simple answers when we're agitated and insecure. The narrative that America at its best has stood for, the narrative of pluralism and tolerance and democracy and rule of law, human rights and freedom of the press and freedom of religion, that narrative, I think, is actually the more powerful narrative. The majority of people around the world aspire to that narrative, which is the reason people still want to come here." https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/obama-warns-americans-against-following-in-the-path-of-nazi germany_us_5a2c032ce4b0a290f0512487
Warning about the road to Nazism, Obama drew distinctions between the Democratic Party's brand of pluralist neoliberalism and Trump's rightwing populist model. Naturally, Obama did not mention that both models seek the same goals, or that policies for which he and his predecessor Bill Clinton pursued drove a segment of the population toward the authoritarian neoliberal model that offers the illusion of realizing the American Dream. Distancing themselves from neo-Fascists, mainstream European political leaders embracing the pluralist model under neoliberalism have been as condemnatory as Obama of rightwing populism's pursuit of 'culture war' as a precursor to Fascism.
Accusing Trump of emboldening varieties of neo-Fascists not just in the US and EU but around the globe, European neoliberal pluralists ignored both the deep roots of Fascism in Europe and their own policies contributing to the rise of neo-Fascism. Just as with Obama and his fellow Democrats, European neoliberal pluralists draw a very sharp distinction between their version of neoliberalism and rightwing populism that either Trump or Hungary's Viktor Orban pursue. Neoliberal pluralists argue that rightwing populists undercut globalist integration principles by stressing economic nationalism although it was right nationalists Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan that engaged in wholesale implantation of neoliberal policies. https://bpr.berkeley.edu/2017/02/28/the-myths-of-far-right-populism-orbans-fence-and-trumps-wall/
Rightwing populism under Ronald Reagan as the first president to implement neoliberal policies emerged as a reaction to the prospect that the Western-basedcore of capitalism was weakening as a result of a multi-polar world economy. Whereas in the middle of the 20 th century the US enjoyed balance of payments surpluses and was a net creditor with the dollar as the world's strongest reserve currency and the world's strongest manufacturing sector, in 2017 the US is among the earth's largest debtor nations with chronic balance of payments deficits, a weak dollar with a bleak future and an economy based more on parasitic financial speculation and massive defense-related spending and less on productive sectors that are far more profitable in Asia and developing nations with low labor costs. (Jon Kofas, Independence from America: Global Integration and Inequality , 2005, 40-54)
Exerting enormous influence by exporting its neoliberal ideological, political, economic and cultural influence throughout the world, the US-imposed transformation model has resulted in economic hardships and political and social instability in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Institutionalizing neoliberalism under rightwing populism and using Trump as the pretext to do so, the US is leading nations around the world to move closer to neo-Fascism, thus exposing neoliberalism as totalitarian.The recognition by the political class and business class that over-accumulation is only possible by continued downward wage pressure has been a key reason that a segment of the population not just in the US but across EU has supported populist rightwing and/or neo-fascists.
https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2015/01/24/exporting-fascism-us-imperialism-in-latin-america/ ; https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/feb/03/americanism-us-writers-imagine-fascist-future-fiction ; http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Political_skeptic/Corporatism/neofascism.shtml ; Bertram Gross, Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America , 1999.
Rejecting the claim of any similarities between neoliberalism and Fascism, neoliberal apologists take pride that their apparent goal is to weaken the state, by which they mean the Keynesian welfare state, not the 'military Keynesian' and corporate welfare state. By contrast, Fascists advocated a powerful state – everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state. American neoliberals of both the pluralist and rightwing camps have created a societal model not just in one nation like Mussolini and Hitler but globally with the result of: "everything within neoliberalism, nothing against neoliberalism, nothing outside neoliberalism.
Neoliberal totalitarianism finds different expression in the US than in India, in Hungary than in Israel. In " Neoliberal Fascism: Free Markets and the Restructuring of Indian Capitalism," Shankar Gopalakrishnan observed that exclusive Hindu nationalism has been the catalyst for rightwing neoliberalism to mobilize popular support. "Hindutva [ a term coined by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in 1923 to assert exclusive Hindu dominance] is seen as an effort by neoliberalism, or perhaps more broadly by capitalism, to divert attention from class conflict, to divide and weaken working class struggles and to deflect class-driven anxieties on to minority communities. This approach is problematic in two senses. First, it does not explain why Hindutva organisations are able to develop a mass base, except to the extent that they are seen to be appealing to "historical identity" or "emotive" issues. The state exists only as the expression and guarantor of a collectivity founded around a transcendent principle : The ideal state is the guarantor of the Hindu rashtra, a "nation" that exists as an organic and harmonious unity between "Hindus."
Whereas under Ronald Reagan's neoliberal populist policies (Reaganism) under a rightwing political umbrella the state structure was strengthened in the US, in the process of implementing neoliberal policies state bureaucratic functions have been outsourced to private companies thus keeping with the spirit of corporate-welfare goals. Other countries followed a path similar to the one of the US. Contrary to the claims of many neoliberal scholars, politicians and commentators, neoliberalism has not weakened the state simply because the ideology lays claims to a hegemonic private sector and weak state. It is true that the Keynesian-welfare state structure has been weakened while the corporate-welfare-militarist-police-state structure has been strengthened. However, in the less developed capitalist countries the public sector has weakened as a result of the US and EU imposing the neoliberal model which drains the public sector of any leverage in stimulating economic and social development investment because of the transfer of public assets and public services to the private sector.( http://jgu.edu.in/article/indias-neoliberal-path-perdition ; Monica Prasad, The Politics of Free Markets , 2006)
Gaspar Miklos Tamas, a Romanian political philosopher of the George Lukacs-inspired Budapest School, argues that global division of labor in the neoliberal era has not only resulted in wealth transfer from the bottom up but it has diminished national sovereignty and citizenship for those in less developed (periphery) nations. "The new dual sate is alive and well: Normative State for the core populations of the capitalist center, and another State of arbitrary decrees for the non-citizens who are the rest. Unlike in classical fascism, this second State is only dimly visible from the first. The radical critique protesting that liberty within the Normative State is an illusion, although understandable, is erroneous. The denial of citizenship based not on exploitation, oppression and straightforward discrimination, but on mere exclusion and distance, is difficult to grasp, because the mental habits of liberation struggle for a more just redistribution of goods and powers are not applicable. The problem is not that the Normative State is becoming more authoritarian: rather, that it belongs only to a few." https://www.opendemocracy.net/people-newright/article_306.jsp
If the normative state is the domain of the very few with the rest under the illusion of inclusion, Miklos Tamas concludes that we are living in a global post-fascist era which is not the same as the interwar totalitarian model based on a mass movement of Fascism. Instead, neoliberal totalirarianism categorically rejects the Enlightenment tradition of citizenship which is the very essence of the bourgeois social contract. While the normative state in advanced countries is becoming more authoritarian with police-state characteristics, the state in the periphery whether Eastern Europe, Latin America or Africa is swept along by neoliberal policies that drive it toward authoritarianism as much as the state in Trump's America as in parts of Europe to the degree that in January 2018 Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) faced the prospect either of new elections or entering into a coalition with the neo-Nazi Alternative fur Deutchalnd (AfD). https://www.prosper.org.au/2010/05/25/the-counter-enlightenment/
The rightwing course of the Western World spreading into the rest of the world is not only because of IMF austerity used as leverage to impose neoliberalism in developing nations. Considering that countries have been scrambling to attract foreign investment which carries neoliberal policies of deregulation, privatization, weak trade unions and low taxes as a precondition, the entire world economic system is the driving force toward a form of totalitarianism. As Miklos Tamas argues, this has diluted national sovereignty of weaker countries, allowing national capitalists and especially multinational corporations to play a determining role in society against the background of a weak state structure. Along with weakened national sovereignty, national citizenship in turn finds expression in extreme rightwing groups to compensate for loss of independence as the bourgeois social contract presumably guarantees. (Aihwa Ong, Neoliberalism as Exception: Mutations in Citizenship and Sovereignty , 2006; http://www.e-ir.info/2012/08/22/globalization-does-not-entail-the-weakening-of-the-liberal-state/
It is undeniable that there is a qualitative difference in Berlin and Rome under neoliberal regimes today than it was under Fascism. It would be a mistake to lump a contemporary neoliberal society together with the Third Reich and Fascist Italy, a dreadful and costly mistake that Stalinists made in the 1930s. Interwar totalitarianism existed under one-party state with a popular base operating as a police state. Although many countries under varieties of neoliberal regimes have an electoral system of at least two parties alternating power, the ruling parties pursue neoliberal policies with variations on social and cultural issues (identity politics), thus operating within the same policy framework impacting peoples' living standards.
Not just leftist academic critics, but even the progressive democratic Salon magazine recognized during the US election of 2016 that the neoliberal state would prevail regardless of whether Trump or Clinton won the presidential contest. " Neoliberalism presumes a strong state, working only for the benefit of the wealthy, and as such it has little pretence to neutrality and universality, unlike the classical liberal state. I would go so far as to say that neoliberalism is the final completion of capitalism's long-nascent project, in that the desire to transform everything -- every object, every living thing, every fact on the planet -- in its image had not been realized to the same extent by any preceding ideology.
In neoliberal society either of the pluralist-diversity or of the authoritarian political camp there are elements of polizeistaat though not nearly full blown as in the Third Reich. While conformity to the status quo and self-censorship is the only way to survive, modern means of communication and multiple dissident outlets attacking the status quo from the right, which is far more pervasive and socio-politically acceptable than doing so from the left, has actually facilitated the evolution of the new totalitarian state. http://www.thegreatregression.eu/progressive-neoliberalism-versus-reactionary-populism-a-hobsons-choice/
Whereas big business collaborated closely with Fascist dictators from the very beginning to secure the preeminence of the existing social order threatened by the crisis of democracy created by capitalism, big business under the neoliberal social contract has the same goal, despite disagreement on the means of forging political consensus. Partly because neoliberalism carries the legacy of late 19 th century liberalism and operates in most countries within the parliamentary system, and partly because of fear of grassroots social revolution, a segment of the capitalist class wants to preserve the democratic façade of the neoliberal social contract by perpetuating identity politics. In either case, 'economic fascism' as the essence of neoliberalism, or post-fascism as Miklos Tamas calls it, is an inescapable reality. (Andrea Micocci and Flavia Di Mario, The Fascist Nature of Neoliberalism , 2017).
In distinguishing the composition and goals of theparliamentary state vs. the Fascist one-party state, Italian Fascism's theoretician Giovanni Gentile characterizedit as 'totalitario'; a term also applied to Germany's Third Reich the latter which had the added dimension of anti-Semitism as policy. Arguing that ideology in the Fascist totalitarian state had a ubiquitous role in every aspect of life and power over people, Gentile and Mussolini viewed such state as the catalyst to a powerful nation-state that subordinates all institutions and the lives of citizens to its mold. In "La Dottrina del Fascismo" (Gentile and Mussolini, 1932), Musolini made famous the statement: "Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state," although Hitler's polizeistaat was more totalitarian because it had the means to achieve policy goals stated in Mein Kampf .
The convergence of neoliberalism and Fascism is hardly surprising when one considers that both aim at a totalitarian society of different sorts, one of state-driven ideology and the other market-driven with the corporate welfare state behind it. In some respects, Sheldon Wolin's the "inverted totalitarianism" theory places this issue into another perspective, arguing that despite the absence of a dictator the corporate state behind the façade of 'electoral democracy' is an instrument of totalitarianism. Considering the increased role of security-intelligence-surveillance agencies in a presumably open society, it is not difficult to see that society has more illiberal than classic liberal traits. Sheldon Wolin, Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism, 2008)
More powerful than the Axis Powers combined, American "Inverted totalitarianism" was internationalized during the Cold War and became more blatant during the war on terror, in large measure used as a pretext to impose neoliberalism in the name of national security. As the police-state gradually became institutionalized in every respect from illegal surveillance of citizens to suppressing dissent to the counterterrorism-neoliberal regime, it was becoming clearer to many scholars that a version of fascism was emerging in the US which also sprang up around the world. (Charlotte Heath-Kelly et al. eds., Neoliberalism and Terror: Critical Engagements , 2016; https://deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showthread.php?15074-Chris-Hedges-The-Great-Unraveling-USA-on-the-brink-of-neo-fascist-police-state#.WifwyLBrzIU
Almost a century after the era of Fascist totalitarianism that led to WWII, the transition of capitalism's global structure with a shifting core from the US and northwest Europe to East Asia has entailed intense global competition for capital accumulation to the degree that the advanced countries have been pushing living standards downward to compete with low-wage global markets. The process of draining greater surplus value from labor especially from the periphery countries where IMF-style austerity policies have resulted in massive capital transfer to the core countries has taken place under the neoliberal social contract that has striking similarities with Fascism.
Backed by the state in the advanced capitalist countries, international organizations among them the IMF have been promoting economic fascism under the label of 'neoliberal reforms', thus molding state structures accordingly. Neoliberal totalitarianism is far more organized and ubiquitous than interwar Fascism not only because of the strong national state structure of core countries and modern technology and communications networks that enables surveillance and impose subtle forms of indoctrination, but also because the international agencies established by the US under the Bretton Woods system help to impose policies and institutions globally.
- Characteristics of the Illiberal Neoliberal Society
The genesis of illiberal politics can be traced back to the end of WWI when Europeans witnessed the unraveling of the rationalist order of the Enlightenment rooted in Lockean liberalism. Influenced by the wars of imperialism that led the First World War at the end of which Vladimir Lenin led the Bolsheviks to a revolutionary victory over Czarist Russia, Joseph Schumpeter like many European scholars was trying to make sense of how capitalism's forcible geographic expansion (imperialism) led to such global disasters that undermined the rationalist assumptions of the Enlightenment about society and its institutions. In his Sociology of Imperialism (1919), he wrote the following about the relationship of the bourgeoisie with the state.
"The bourgeoisie did not simply supplant the sovereign, nor did it make him its leader, as did the nobility. It merely wrested a portion of its power from him and for the rest submitted to him. It did not take over from the sovereign the state as an abstract form of organization. The state remained a special social power, confronting the bourgeoisie. In some countries it has continued to play that role to the present day. It is in the state that the bourgeoisie with its interests seeks refuge, protection against external and even domestic enemies. The bourgeoisie seeks to win over the state for itself, and in return serves the state and state interests that are different from its own."
The strong state structure of the imperial state that the bourgeoisie supported as a vehicle of expanding their interests globally while maintaining the social order at the national level held true only for the advanced capitalist countries eagerly trying to secure international markets at any cost including armed conflict. While essential for capital integration and expansion, the strong state structure was and remains an anathema to the bourgeoisie, if its role is to make political, economic and social concessions to the laboring and middle classes which are the popular base for bourgeois political parties. While classical liberal theory expresses the interests of capitalism its role is not to serve in furtherance of political equality for the simple reason that capitalism cannot exist under such a regime. Both John Locke and John Stuart Mill rejected political egalitarianism, while Schumpeter viewed democratic society with egalitarianism as an integral part of democracy. Rejecting Locke's and Mill's abstract receptiveness to egalitarianism, neoliberals of either the pluralist or authoritarian camp are blatantly adopt illiberal policies that exacerbate elitism, regardless of the rhetoric they employ to secure mass popular support.
Characterized by elitism, class, gender, racial and ethnic inequality, limits on freedom of expression, on human rights and civil rights, illiberal politics thrives on submission of the masses to the status quo. In his essay The Political Economy of Neoliberalism and Illiberal Democracy, Garry Jacobs, an academic/consultant who still believes in classical liberal economics operating in a pluralistic and preferably non-militaristic society, warns that world-wide democracy is under siege. " Democratic elections have become the means for installing leaders with little respect for democratic values. The tolerance, openness and inclusiveness on which modern democracy is founded are being rejected by candidates and voters in favor of sectarian, parochial fears and interests. The role of the free press as an impartial arbiter of facts is being undermined by the rise of private and public news media conglomerates purveying political preference as fact combined with a blinding blizzard of fake news. Party politics has been polarized into a winner-take-all fight to the finish by vested-interests and impassioned extremist minorities trying to impose their agendas on a complacent majority. Corporate power and money power are transforming representative governments into plutocratic pseudo-democracies. Fundamentalists are seizing the instruments of secular democracy to impose intolerant linguistic, racial and religious homogeneity in place of the principles of liberty and harmonious heterogeneity that are democracy's foundation and pinnacle of achievement."
While neoliberals in the populist rightwing wholeheartedly share and promote such views, those who embrace the pluralist-identity politics camp are just as supportive of many aspects of the corporate welfare-police-counterterrorism state as a means to engender domestic sociopolitical conformity and to achieve closer global economic integration. The question is not so much what each political camp under the larger neoliberal umbrella pursues as a strategy to mobilize a popular base but whether the economic-social policies intertwined with a corporate-welfare-police-counterterrorism state is the driving force toward a Fascist model of government. In both the pluralist model with some aspects of the social safety net, and the rightwing populist version neoliberalism's goal is rapid capital accumulation on a world scale, institutional submission of the individual and molding the citizen's subjective reality around the neoliberal ideology.
Illiberal politics in our time is partly both symptomatic of and a reaction to neoliberal globalism and culture wars that serve to distract from the intensified class struggle boiling beneath the surface. Rhetorically denouncing globalist neoliberalism, populist rightwing politicians assert the importance of national capitalism but always within the perimeters of neoliberal policies. Hence they co-opt the socio-cultural positions of nationalist extremists as a political strategy to mobilize the masses. Scholars, journalists and politicians have speculated whether the rising tide of rightwing populism pursuing neoliberalism under authoritarian models not just in the Western World, but Eastern Europe, South Asia and Africa reflects the rejection of liberal democracy and the triumph of illiberal politics that best reflects and serves the political economy. Unquestionably, there is a direct correlation between the internationalization of the Western neoliberal transformation model imposed on the world in the post-Soviet era and the rise of rightwing populism reacting to the gap between the promises of what capitalism was supposed to deliver and the reality of downward pressures on living standards. http://www.counterfire.org/interview/18068-india-s-nightmare-the-extremism-of-narendra-modi ; http://ac.upd.edu.ph/index.php/news-announcements/1201-southeast-asian-democracy-neoliberalism-populism-vedi-hadiz ; http://balticworlds.com/breaking-out-of-the-deadlock-of-neoliberalism-vs-rightwing-populism/
Not just the US, but Europe has been flirting with 'illiberal democracy' characterized by strong authoritarian-style elected officials as Garry Jacobs has observed. Amid elections in Bosnia in 1996, US diplomat Richard Holbrooke wondered about the rightwing path of former Yugoslav republics. "Suppose the election was declared free and fair and those elected are "racists, fascists, separatists, who are publicly opposed to [peace and reintegration]. That is the dilemma." Twenty years after what Holbrooke dreaded election outcomes in Yugoslavia, the US elected a rightwing neoliberal populist leading the Republican Party and making culture wars a central theme to distract from the undercurrent class struggle in the country. A structural issue that transcends personalities, this reality in America is symptomatic of the link between neoliberalism and the rise of illiberal democracy in a number of countries around the world. https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/1997-11-01/rise-illiberal-democracy
Some political observers analyzing the rightist orientation of neoliberal policies have concluded that neoliberalism and Fascism have more in common than people realize. In 2016, Manuela Cadelli, President of the Magistrates Union of Belgium, wrote a brief article arguing that Neoliberalism is indeed a form of Fascism; a position people seem to be willing to debate after the election of Donald Trump pursuing neoliberal policies with a rightwing populist ideological and cultural platform to keep a popular base loyal to the Republican Party. "Fascism may be defined as the subordination of every part of the State to a totalitarian and nihilistic ideology. I argue that neoliberalism is a species of fascism because the economy has brought under subjection not only the government of democratic countries but also every aspect of our thought. The state is now at the disposal of the economy and of finance, which treat it as a subordinate and lord over it to an extent that puts the common good in jeopardy." http://www.defenddemocracy.press/president-belgian-magistrates-neoliberalism-form-fascism/
It is ironic that neoliberal society is 'a species of fascism', but there no widespread popular opposition from leftist groups to counter it. People remain submissive to the neoliberal state that has in fact eroded much of what many in the pluralist camp hail as liberal democratic institutions. Most adapt to the status quo because to do otherwise means difficulty surviving today just as it was difficult to survive under Fascism for those in opposition; as Palmiro Togliatti noted ( Lectures on Fascism, 1935) when he cautioned about castigating workers who joined the party simply because they placed survival of their family above any progressive ideology. Because evidence of systemic exploitation ingrained into society passes as the 'norm', and partly because repression targets minority groups, migrants, and the working class, especially those backing trade unions and progressive political parties, people support the neoliberal state that they see as the constitutional entity and the only means for survival.
The media, government and mainstream institutions denounce anyone crying out for social justice, human rights and systemic change. Such people are 'trendy rebels', as though social justice is a passing fad like a clothing line, misguided idealists or treasonous criminals. Considering that the corporate-owned and state media validates the legitimacy of the neoliberal social contract, the political class and social elites enjoy the freedom to shape the state's goals in the direction toward a surveillance police-state. All of this goes without notice in the age when it is almost expected because it is defaulted to technology making easy to detect foreign and domestic enemies while using the same technology to shape the citizen's subjective reality.
Partly because of the communications revolution in the digital age, neoliberalism has the ability to mold the citizen beyond loyalty to the social contract not just into mechanical observance but total submission to its institutions by reshaping the person's values and identity. In this respect, neoliberalism is not so different from Fascism whose goal was to mold the citizen. " Neoliberalism has been more successful than most past ideologies in redefining subjectivity, in making people alter their sense of themselves, their personhood, their identities, their hopes and expectations and dreams and idealizations. Classical liberalism was successful too, for two and a half centuries, in people's self-definition, although communism and fascism succeeded less well in realizing the "new man." It cannot be emphasized enough that neoliberalism is not classical liberalism, or a return to a purer version of it, as is commonly misunderstood; it is a new thing, because the market, for one thing, is not at all free and untethered and dynamic in the sense that classical liberalism idealized it.
Although people go about their daily lives focused on their interests, they operate against the background of neoliberal institutions that determine their lives in every respect from chatting on their cell phones to how they live despite their illusions of free will. As the world witnessed a segment of the population openly embracing fascism from movement to legitimate political party in interwar Europe, a corresponding rise in racism and ethnocentrism under the umbrella of rightwing neoliberal populism has taken place in the first two decades of the 21 st century.
Representing the UN Human Rights agency, Prince Zeid bin Ra'ad al-Hussein stated that 2016 was disastrous for human rights, as the 'clash of civilizations' construct has become ingrained into the political mainstream in Western countries. "In some parts of Europe, and in the United States, anti-foreigner rhetoric full of unbridled vitriol and hatred, is proliferating to a frightening degree, and is increasingly unchallenged. The rhetoric of fascism is no longer confined to a secret underworld of fascists, meeting in ill-lit clubs or on the 'deep net'. It is becoming part of normal daily discourse." http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/united-nations-chilling-warning-rise-fascism-human-rights-prince-zeid-a7464861.html
Because neoliberalism has pushed all mainstream bourgeois political parties to the right, the far right no longer seems nearly as extreme today as it did during the Vietnam War's protest generation who still had hope for a socially just society even if that meant strengthening the social welfare system. The last two generations were raised knowing no alternative to neoliberalism; the panacea for all that ails society is less social welfare and privatization of public services within the framework of a state structure buttressing corporate welfare. The idea that nothing must be tolerated outside the hegemonic market and all institutions must mirror the neoliberal model reflects a neo-totalitarian society where sociopolitical conformity follows because survival outside the system is not viable.
Although Western neoconservatives have employed the term 'neo-totalitarian' to describe Vladimir Putin's Russia, the term applies even more accurately to the US and someEuropean nations operating under neoliberal-military-police state structures with as much power than the Russian bureaucratic state has at its disposal.The contradiction of neoliberalism rests in the system's goal of integrating everyone into the neo-totalitarian mold. Because of the system's inherent hierarchical structure, excluding most from the institutional mainstream and limiting popular sovereignty to the elites exposes the exploitation and repression goals that account for the totalitarian nature of the system masquerading as democratic where popular sovereignty is diffused. The seemingly puzzling aspect of the rise in rightwing populism across the globe that rests in marginalization of a segment of the population and the support for it not just from certain wealthy individuals financing extremist movements, but from a segment of the middle class and even working class lining up behind it because they see their salvation with the diminution of weaker social groups. This pattern was also evident in Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and pro-Nazi authoritarian regimes of the interwar era. https://www.demdigest.org/neo-totalitarian-russia-potent-existential-threat-west/ ; Benjamin Moffitt, The Global Rise of Populism (2017.
Because of contradictions in bourgeois liberal democracy where capital accumulation at any social cost is the goal, the system produced the current global wave of rightwing populism just as capitalism in the interwar era gave rise to Fascism. As one analyst put it, " The risk democratic formations continually face is internal disintegration such that the heterogeneous elements of the social order not only fail to come together within some principle of or for unity, but actively turn against one another. In this case, a totally unproductive revolution takes place. Rather than subversion of the normative order causing suffering, rebellion or revolution that might establish a new nomos of shared life as a way of establishing a new governing logic, the dissociated elements of disintegrating democratic formations identify with the very power responsible for their subjection–capital, the state and, the strong leader. Thus the possibility of fascism is not negated in neoliberal formations but is an ever present possibility arising within it. Because the value of the social order as such is never in itself sufficient to maintain its own constitution, it must have recourse to an external value, which is the order of the sacred embodied by the sovereign. http://readersupportednews.org/pm-section/78-78/41987-neoliberalism-fascism-and-sovereignty /
Public opinion surveys of a number of countries around the world, including those in the US, indicated that most people do not favor the existing social contract rooted in neoliberal policies that impact everything from living standards and labor policy to the judicial system and foreign affairs. Instead of driving workers toward a leftwing revolutionary path, many support rightwing populism that has resulted in the rise of even greater oppression and exploitation. Besides nationalism identified with the powerful elites as guardians of the national interest, many among the masses believe that somehow the same social contract responsible for existing problems will provide salvation they seek. While widespread disillusionment with neoliberal globalization seems to be at the core in the rise of rightwing populism, the common denominator is downward social mobility. (Doug Miller, Can the World be Wrong ? 2015)
As Garry Jacobs argues, "Even mature democracies show signs of degenerating into their illiberal namesakes. The historical record confirms that peaceful, prosperous, free and harmonious societies can best be nurtured by the widest possible distribution of all forms of power -- political, economic, educational, scientific, technological and social -- to the greatest extent to the greatest number. The aspiration for individual freedom can only be realized and preserved when it is married with the right to social equality. The mutual interdependence of the individual and the collective is the key to their reconciliation and humanity's future. http://www.cadmusjournal.org/article/volume-3/issue-3/political-economy-neoliberalism-and-illiberal-democracy
Just as in the interwar era when many Europeans lost confidence in the rationalism of the Enlightenment and lapsed into amorality and alienation that allowed for even greater public manipulation by the hegemonic culture, in the early 21 st the neoliberal social contract with a complex matrix of communications at its disposal is able to indoctrinate on a mass scale more easily than ever. Considering the low level of public trust in the mainstream media that most people regardless of political/ideological position view as propaganda rather than informational, cynicism about national and international institutions prevails. As the fierce struggle for power among mainstream political parties competing to manage the state on behalf of capital undercuts the credibility of the political class, rightwing elements enter the arena as 'outsider' messiahs above politics (Bonapartism in the 21 st century) to save the nation, while safeguarding the neoliberal social contract. This is as evident in France where the pluralist political model of neoliberalism has strengthened the neo-Fascist one that Marine Le Pen represents, as in Trump's America where the Democratic Party's neoliberal policies helped give rise to rightwing populism.
https://www.globalresearch.ca/macronism-neoliberal-triumph-or-next-stage-in-frances-political-crisis/5596722 ; https://socialistworker.org/2016/12/05/the-18th-brumaire-of-trump
As the following article in The Economist points out, widespread disillusionment with globalist neoliberal policies drove people to the right for an enemy to blame for all the calamities that befall society. " Beset by stagnant wage growth, less than half of respondents in America, Britain and France believe that globalisation is a "force for good" in the world. Westerners also say the world is getting worse. Even Americans, generally an optimistic lot, are feeling blue: just 11% believe the world has improved in the past year. The turn towards nationalism is especially pronounced in France, the cradle of liberty. Some 52% of the French now believe that their economy should not have to rely on imports, and just 13% reckon that immigration has a positive effect on their country. France is divided as to whether or not multiculturalism is something to be embraced. Such findings will be music to the ears of Marine Le Pen, the leader of the National Front, France's nationalist, Eurosceptic party. Current (and admittedly early) polling has her tied for first place in the 2017 French presidential race. https://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2016/11/daily-chart-12
Similar to deep-rooted cultural and ideological traits of Nazism in German society, there are similar traits in contemporary US, India and other countries where rightwing populism has found a receptive public. Although there are varieties of populism from Lepenism (Marine Le Pen's National Front) to Trumpism (US Republican Donald Trump) to Modism (India's Narendra Modi), they share common characteristics, including cult of personality as a popular rallying catalyst, promoting hatred and marginalization of minority groups, and promising to deliver a panacea to "society" when in fact their policies are designed to strengthen big capital.
Rightwing populist politicians who pursue neoliberal policies are opportunistically pushing the political popular base toward consolidation of a Fascist movement and often refer to themselves as movement rather than a party. Just as there were liberals who refused to accept the imminent rise of Fascism amid the parliamentary system's collapse in the 1920s, there are neoliberals today who refuse to accept that the global trend of populism is a symptom of failed neoliberalism that has many common characteristics with Fascism. In an article entitled "Populism is not Fascism: But it could be a Harbinger" by Sheri Berman, the neoliberal journal Foreign Affairs , acknowledged that liberal bourgeois democracy is losing its luster around the world. However, the author would not go as far as to examine the structural causes for this phenomenon because to do so would be to attack the social contract within which it operates. Treating rightwing populism as though it is a marginal outgrowth of mainstream conservatism and an aberration rather than the outgrowth of the system's core is merely a thinly veiled attempt to defend the status quo of which rightwing populism is an integral part.
Structural Exploitation under the Neoliberal Social Contract
Structural exploitation – "a property of institutions or systems in which the "rules of the game" unfairly benefit one group of people to the detriment of another" https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/exploitation/ – has been an incontrovertible reality of all class-based societiesfrom the establishment of the earliest city-states in Mesopotamia until the present.Usually but not always intertwined with social oppression, structural exploitation entails a relationship of social dominance of an elite group over the rest of society subordinated for the purpose of economic, social, political, and cultural exploitation. Legitimized by the social contract, justifications for institutional exploitation include safety and security of country, eliminating impediments to progress, and emulating nature's competitive forces that exist in the animal kingdom and reflect human nature.
From Solon's laws in 6 th century BC Athens until our contemporary neoliberal era, social contract theory presumes that the state is the catalyst for social harmony if not fairness and not for a privileged social class to exploit the rest of society. No legal system has ever been codified that explicitly states its goal is to use of the state as an instrument of exploitation and oppression. In reality however, from ancient Babylon when King Hammurabi codified the first laws in 1780 B.C. until the present when multinational corporations and wealthy individuals directly or through lobbyists exert preponderate influence in public policy the theoretical assumption is one of fairness and justice for all people as a goal for the social contract.
In the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – biotechnology, nanotechnology, quantum computing, and artificial intelligence – presumably to serve mankind as part of the social contract rather than to exploit more thoroughly and marginalize a large segment of humanity, the persistence of structural exploitation and oppression challenges those with a social conscience and morality rooted in humanist values to question what constitutes societal progress and public interest. Liberal and Christian-Libertarian arguments about free will notwithstanding, it has always been the case that mainstream institutions and the dominant culture indoctrinate people into believing that ending exploitation by changing the social contract is a utopian dream; a domain relegated to poets, philosophers and song writers lacking proper grounding in the reality of mainstream politics largely in the service of the dominant socioeconomic class. The paradox in neoliberal ideology is its emphasis on free choice, while the larger goal is to mold the subjective reality within the neoliberal institutional structure and way of life. The irreconcilable aspects of neoliberalism represent the contradictory goals of the desire to project democratic mask that would allow for popular sovereignty while pursuing capital accumulation under totalitarian methods. http://www.philosophybasics.com/branch_contractarianism.html ' http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/2017/05/15/indoctrination-and-free-will/
Social cooperation becomes dysfunctional when distortions and contradictions within the system create large-scale social marginalization exposing the divergence between the promise of the neoliberal social contract and the reality in peoples' lives. To manage the dysfunction by mobilizing popular support, the political elites of both the pluralist and the authoritarian-populist wing operating under the neoliberal political umbrella compete for power by projecting the image of an open democratic society. Intra-class power struggles within the elite social and political classes vying for power distracts from social exploitation because the masses line behind competing elites convinced such competition is the essence of democracy. As long as the majority in society passively acquiesces to the legitimacy of the social contract, even if in practice society is socially unjust, the status quo remains secure until systemic contradictions in the political economy make it unsustainable. https://mises.org/library/profound-significance-social-harmony
In the last three centuries, social revolutions, upheavals and grassroots movements have demonstrated that people want a social contract that includes workers, women, and marginalized groups into the mainstream and elevates their status economically and politically. In the early 21 st century, there are many voices crying out for a new social contract based on social justice and equality against neoliberal tyranny. However, those faint voices are drowned against the preponderate neoliberal public policy impacting every sector while shaping the individual's worldview and subjective reality. The triumph of neoliberal orthodoxy has deviated from classical liberalism to the degree that dogmatism 'single-thought' process dominates not just economics, not just the social contract, but the very fabric of our humanity. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/21598282.2013.761449?journalCode=rict20 ; https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/aug/18/neoliberalism-the-idea-that-changed-the-world
Under neoliberalism, "Uberization" as a way of life is becoming the norm not just in the 'financialization' neoliberal economy resting on speculation rather than productivity but in society as well. The neoliberal ideology has indoctrinated the last two generations that grew up under this system and know no other reality thus taking for granted the neoliberal way of life as natural as the air they breathe. Often working two jobs, working overtime without compensation or taking work home just to keep the job has become part of chasing the dream of merely catching up with higher costs of living. People have accepted perpetual work enmeshed with the capitalist ideology of perpetual economic growth perversely intertwined with progress of civilization. The corporate ideology of "grow or die" at any cost is in reality economic growth confined to the capitalist class, while fewer and fewer people enjoy its fruits and communities, cities, entire countries under neoliberal austerity suffer.
Carl Boggs, The End of Politics: Corporate Power and the Decline of the Public Sphere , 2000; https://monthlyreview.org/2007/04/01/the-financialization-of-capitalism/ ; https://permaculturenews.org/2012/06/15/myth-of-perpetual-growth-is-killing-america/
The incentive for conformity is predicated on the belief that the benefits of civilization would be fairly distributed if not in the present then at some point in the future for one's children or grandchildren; analogous to living a virtuous life in order to enjoy the rewards after death. As proof that the system works for the benefit of society and not just the capitalist class, neoliberal apologists point to stock market gains and surprisingly there is a psychological impact – the wealth effect – on the mass consumer who feels optimistic and borrows to raise consumption. Besides the fact that only a very small percentage of people on the planet own the vast majority of securities, even in the US there is no correlation between stock market performance and living standards. (John Seip and Dee Wood Harper, The Trickle Down Delusion , 2016)
If we equate the stock market with the 'wealth of the nation', then in 1982 when the S & P index stood at 117 rising to 2675 in December 2017, the logical conclusion is that living standards across the US rose accordingly. However, this is the period when real incomes for workers and the middle class actually declined despite sharp rise in productivity and immense profits reflected in the incomes gap reflected in the bottom 90% vs. the top 10%. This is also the period when we see the striking divergence between wealth accumulation for the top 1% and a relative decline for the bottom 90%. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/17/upshot/income-inequality-united-states.html ; https://ourworldindata.org/income-inequality/
A research study compiled by the pro-organized labor non-profit think tank 'Economic Policy Institute' stresses the divergence between productivity and real wages. While the top 0.01% of America's experienced 386% income growth between 1980 and 1914, the bottom 90% suffered 3% real income drop. Whereas in 1980 income share for the bottom 90% stood at 65% and for the top 1% it stood at 10%, by 2014 the bottom 90% held just half of the income, while the top 1% owned 21%. This dramatic income divergence, which has been shown in hundreds of studies and not even neoliberal billionaires deny their validity, took place under the shift toward the full implementation of the neoliberal social contract. It is significant to note that such income concentration resulting from fiscal policy, corporate subsidy policy, privatization and deregulation has indeed resulted in higher productivity exactly as neoliberal apologists have argued. However, higher worker productivity and higher profits has been made possible precisely because of income transfer from labor to capitalist. http://www.epi.org/publication/charting-wage-stagnation/ ; https://aneconomicsense.org/2015/07/13/the-highly-skewed-growth-of-incomes-since-1980-only-the-top-0-5-have-done-better-than-before/
"Real hourly compensation of production, nonsupervisory workers who make up 80 percent of the workforce, also shows pay stagnation for most of the period since 1973, rising 9.2 percent between 1973 and 2014.Net productivity grew 1.33 percent each year between 1973 and 2014, faster than the meager 0.20 percent annual rise in median hourly compensation. In essence, about 15 percent of productivity growth between 1973 and 2014 translated into higher hourly wages and benefits for the typical American worker. Since 2000, the gap between productivity and pay has risen even faster. The net productivity growth of 21.6 percent from 2000 to 2014 translated into just a 1.8 percent rise in inflation-adjusted compensation for the median worker (just 8 percent of net productivity growth).Since 2000, more than 80 percent of the divergence between a typical (median) worker's pay growth and overall net productivity growth has been driven by rising inequality (specifically, greater inequality of compensation and a falling share of income going to workers relative to capital owners).Over the entire 1973–2014 period, rising inequality explains over two-thirds of the productivity–pay divergence. " (Josh Bivens and Lawrence Mishel, "Understanding the Historic Divergence Between Productivity and a Typical Worker's Pay Why It Matters and Why It's Real" in Economic Policy Institute, 2015, http://www.epi.org/publication/understanding-the-historic-divergence-between-productivity-and-a-typical-workers-pay-why-it-matters-and-why-its-real/
The average corporate tax rate in the world has been cut in half in the last two decades from about 40% to 22%, with the effective rate actually paid lower than the official rate. This represents a massive transfer of wealth to the highest income brackets drained from the working class. More than half-a-century ago, American anthropologist Jules Henry wrote that: "The fact that our society places no limit on wealth while making it accessible to all helps account for the 'feverish' quality Tocqueville sensed in American civilization." Culture Against Man (1963). The myth that the neoliberal policies in the information age lead toward a society richer for all people is readily refuted by the reality of huge wealth distribution gaps resulting from 'informational capitalism' backed by the corporate welfare state.
Capital accumulation not just in the US but on a world scale without a ceiling has resulted in more thorough exploitation of workers and in a less socially just society today than in the early 1960s when Jules Henry was writing and it is headed increasingly toward authoritarian models of government behind the very thin veneer of meaningless elections. Against this background of unfettered neoliberalism, social responsibility is relegated to issues ranging from corporate-supported sustainable development in which large businesses have a vested interest as part of future designs on capital accumulation, to respecting lifestyle and cultural and religious freedoms within the existing social contract. (Dieter Plehwe et al. eds., Neoliberal Hegemony , 2006; Carl Ferenbach and Chris Pinney, " Toward a 21st Century Social Contract" Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Vol. 24, No 2, 2012; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1745-6622.2012.00372.x/abstract
At its Annual conference in 2017 where representatives from the 'Fortune 500', academia, think tanks, NGOs, and government, business consultancy group BSR provided the following vision under the heading "A 21 st Century Social Contract" : "The nature of work is changing very rapidly. Old models of lifelong employment via business and a predictable safety net provided by government are no longer assured in a new demographic, economic, and political environment. We see these trends most clearly in the rise of the "gig economy," in which contingent workers (freelancers, independent contractors, consultants, or other outsourced and non-permanent workers) are hired on a temporary or part-time basis. These workers make up more than 90 percent of new job creation in European countries, and by 2020, it is estimated that more than 40 percent of the U.S. workforce will be in contingent jobs." https://bsr17.org/agenda/sessions/the-21st-century-social-contract
Representing multinational corporate members and proud sponsors of sustainable development solutions within the neoliberal model, BSR applauded the aspirations and expectations of today's business people that expect to concentrate even more capital as the economy becomes more 'UBERized' and reliant on the new digital technology. Despite fear and anxiety about a bleak techno-science future as another mechanism to keep wages as close to subsistence if not below that level as possible, peoples' survival instinct forces them to adjust their lives around the neoliberal social contract. https://www.technologyreview.com/s/531726/technology-and-inequality/
Reflecting the status quo, the media indoctrinate people to behave as though systemic exploitation, oppression, division, and marginalization are natural while equality and the welfare of the community represent an anathema to bourgeois civilization. What passes as the 'social norm', largely reflects the interests of the socioeconomic elites propagating the 'legitimacy' of their values while their advocates vilify values that place priority on the community aspiring to achieve equality and social justice. (Robert E. Watkins, " Turning the Social Contract Inside Out: Neoliberal Governance and Human Capital in Two Days, One Night" , 2016).
The neoliberal myth that the digital technological revolution and the 'knowledge based economy' (KBE) of endless innovation is the catalyst not only to economic growth but to the preservation of civilization and welfare of society has proved hollow in the last four decades. Despite massive innovation in the domain of the digital and biotech domains, socioeconomic polarization and environmental degradation persist at much higher rates today than in the 1970s. Whether in the US, the European Union or developing nations, the neoliberal promise of 'prospering together' has been a farce. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/tsq.12106/full ; http://www.ricerchestoriche.org/?p=749
Neoliberal myths about upward linear progress across all segments of society and throughout the world notwithstanding, economic expansion and contraction only result in greater capital concentration. "The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich have taken a database listing 37 million companies and investors worldwide, pulled out all 43,060 multinational corporations and the share ownerships linking them to construct a model of which companies controlled others through shareholding networks, coupled with each company's operating revenues, to map the structure of economic power.The model revealed a core of 1318 companies with interlocking ownerships. Each of the 1318 had ties to two or more other companies, and on average they were connected to 20. What's more, although they represented 20 per cent of global operating revenues, the 1318 appeared to collectively own through their shares the majority of the world's large blue chip and manufacturing firms, the "real" economy, representing a further 60 per cent of global revenues.When the team further untangled the web of ownership, it found much of it tracked back to a super-entity of 147 even more tightly knit companies (all of their ownership was held by other members of the super-entity) that controlled 40 per cent of the total wealth in the network. "In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network." https://weeklybolshevik.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/imperialism-and-the-concentration-of-capital/ http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1107/1107.5728v2.pdf .
With each passing recessionary cycle of the past four decades working class living standards have retreated and never recovered. Although the techno-science panacea has proved a necessary myth and a distraction from the reality of capital concentration, considering that innovation and technology are integral parts of the neoliberal system, the media, politicians, business elites, corporate-funded think tanks and academics continue to promote the illusive 'modernist dream' that only a small segment of society enjoys while the rest take pride living through it vicariously. ( Laurence Reynolds and Bronislaw Szerszynski, "Neoliberalism and technology: Perpetual innovation or perpetual crisis?"
Rooted in militarism and police-state policies, the culture of fear is one of the major ways that the neoliberal regime perpetually distracts people from structural exploitation and oppression in a neoliberal society that places dogmatic focus on atomism. Despite the atomistic value system as an integral part of neoliberalism, neoliberals strongly advocate a corporate state welfare system. Whether supporting pluralism and diversity or rightwing populists, neoliberals agree that without the state buttressing the private sector, the latter will collapse. Author of Liberalism in the Shadow of Totalitarianism (2007) David Ciepley argues in "The Corporate Contradictions of Neoliberalism" that the system's contradictions have led to the authoritarian political model as its only option moving forward.
"Neoliberalism was born in reaction against totalitarian statism, and matured at the University of Chicago into a program of state-reduction that was directed not just against the totalitarian state and the socialist state but also (and especially) against the New Deal regulatory and welfare state. It is a self-consciously reactionary ideology that seeks to roll back the status quo and institutionalize (or, on its own understanding, re-institutionalize) the "natural" principles of the market. But the contradiction between its individualist ideals and our corporate reality means that the effort to institutionalize it, oblivious to this contradiction, has induced deep dysfunction in our corporate system, producing weakened growth, intense inequality, and coercion. And when the ideological support of a system collapses -- as appears to be happening with neoliberalism -- then either the system will collapse, or new levels of coercion and manipulation will be deployed to maintain it. This appears to be the juncture at which we have arrived." https://americanaffairsjournal.org/2017/05/corporate-contradictions-neoliberalism/
Adhering to a tough law-and-order policy, neoliberals have legalized large-scale criminal activity perpetrated by capitalists against society while penalizing small-scale crimes carried out mostly by people in the working class and the marginalized lumpenproletariat . Regardless of approaches within the neoliberal social contract, neoliberal politicians agree on a lengthy prison sentences for street gangs selling narcotics while there is no comparable punishment when it comes to banks laundering billions including from narcotics trafficking, as Deutsche Bank among other mega banks in the US and EU; fixing rates as Barclays among others thus defrauding customers of billions; or creating fake accounts as Wells Fargo , to say nothing of banks legally appropriating billions of dollars from employees and customers and receiving state (taxpayer) funding in times of 'banking crises'. Although it seems enigmatic that there is acquiescence for large scale crimes with the institutional cover of 'legitimacy' by the state and the hegemonic culture, the media has conditioned the public to shrug off structural exploitation as an integral part of the social contract. http://theweek.com/articles/729052/brief-history-crime-corruption-malfeasance-american-banks ; https://www.globalresearch.ca/corruption-in-the-european-union-scandals-in-banking-fraud-and-secretive-ttip-negotiations/5543935
Neoliberalism's reach does not stop with the de-criminalization of white-collar crime or the transfer of economic policy from the public sector to corporations in order to reverse social welfare policies. Transferring sweeping policy powers from the public to the corporate sector, neoliberalism's tentacles impact everything from labor and environment to health, education and foreign policy into the hands of the state-supported corporate sector in an effort to realize even greater capital concentration at an even greater pace. This has far reaching implications in peoples' lives around the world in everything from their work and health to institutions totalitarian at their core but projecting an image of liberal democracy on the surface. (Noam Chomsky and R. W. McChesney, Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order , 2011; Pauline Johnson, "Sociology and the Critique of Neoliberalism" European Journal of Social Theory , 2014
Comprehensive to the degree that it aims to diminish the state's role by having many of its functions privatized, neoliberalism's impact has reached into monetary policy trying to supplant it with rogue market forces that test the limits of the law and hard currencies. The creation of cryptocurrencies among them BITCOIN that represents the utopian dream of anarcho-libertarians interested in influencing if not dreaming of ultimately supplanting central banks' role in monetary policy is an important dimension of neoliberal ideology. Techno-utopians envisioning the digital citizen in a neoliberal society favor a 'gypsy economy' operating on a digital currency outside the purview of the state's regulatory reach where it is possible to transfer and hide money while engaging in the ultimate game of speculation. ( https://btctheory.com ; Samuel Valasco and Leonardo Medina, The Social Nature of Cryptocurrencies , 2013)
Credited as the neoliberal prophet whose work and affiliate organizations multinational corporations funded, Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek favored market forces to determine monetary policy rather than having government in that role working behind central banks. Aside from the fact that central banks cater to capital and respond to markets and no other constituency, Hayek's proposal ( The Denationalization of Money , 1976) was intended to permit the law of the 'free market' (monetary speculation) determine policy that would impact peoples' living standards. Hence capital accumulation would not be constrained by government regulatory measures and the coordination of monetary policy between central banks. In short, the law of unfettered banking regulation would theoretically result in greater economic growth, no matter the consequences owing to the absence of banking regulatory measures that exacerbate contracting economic cycles such as in 2008. www.voltaire.org/article30058.html )
In December 2017, the UK and EU warned that cryptocurrencies are used in criminal enterprises, including money laundering and tax evasion. Nevertheless, crypto-currency reflects both the ideology and goals of capital accumulation of neoliberals gaining popularity among speculators in the US and other countries. Crypto-currencyfulfills the neoliberal speculator's dream by circumventing the IMF basket of reserved currencies on which others trade while evading regulatory constraints and all mechanisms of legal accountability for the transfer of money and tax liability.
Although a tiny fraction of the global monetary system, computer networks make crypto-currency a reality for speculators, tax evaders, those engaged in illegal activities and even governments like Venezuela under Nocolas Maduro trying to pump liquidity into the oil-dependent economy suffering from hyperinflation and economic stagnation If the crypto-currency system can operate outside the purview of the state, then the neoliberal ideology of trusting the speculator rather than the government would be proved valid about the superfluous role of central banks and monetary centralization, a process that capitalism itself created for the harmonious operation of capitalism. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/dec/04/bitcoin-uk-eu-plan-cryptocurrency-price-traders-anonymity ; http://www.lanacion.com.ar/2099017-venezuela-inflacion-nicolas-maduro-crisis-precios
Indicative of the success of the neoliberal ideology's far reaching impact in economic life cryptocurrencies' existencealso reflects the crisis of capitalism amid massive assaults on middle class and working class living standards in the quest for greater capital concentration. In an ironic twist, the very neoliberal forces that promote cryptocurrencies decry their use by anti-Western nations – Iran, Venezuela, and Russia among others.The criticism of anti-Western governments resorting to cryptocurrenciesis based on their use as a means of circumventing the leverage that reserve currencies like the dollar and euro afford to the West over non-Western nations. This is only one of a few contradictions that neoliberalism creates and undermines the system it strives to build just as it continues to foster its ideology as the only plausible one to pursue globally. Another contradiction is the animosity toward crypto-currencies from mainstream financial institutions that want to maintain a monopoly on government-issued currency which is where they make their profits. As the world's largest institutional promoter of neoliberalism, the IMF has cautioned not to dismiss cryptocurrencies because they could have a future, or they may actually 'be the future'. https://www.coindesk.com/bitcoins-unlimited-potential-lies-in-apolitical-core/ ; http://fortune.com/2017/10/02/bitcoin-ethereum-cryptocurrency-imf-christine-lagarde/
After the "Washington Consensus" of 1989, IMF austerity policies are leverage to impose neoliberal policies globally have weakened national institutions from health to education and trade unions that once formed a social bond for workers aspiring to an integrative socially inclusive covenant in society rather than marginalization. The IMF uses austerity policies for debt relief as leverage to have the government provide more favorable investment conditions and further curtail the rights of labor with everything from ending collective bargaining to introducing variations of "right-to-work" laws" that prohibit trade unions from forcing collective strikes, collecting dues or signing the collective contract. Justified in the name of 'capitalist efficiency', weakening organized labor and its power of collective bargaining has been an integral part of the neoliberal social contract as much in the US and UK as across the rest of the world, invariably justified by pointing to labor markets where workers earn the lowest wages. (B. M. Evans and S. McBride, Austerity: The Lived Experience , 2017; Vicente Berdayes, John W. Murphy, eds. Neoliberalism, Economic Radicalism, and the Normalization of Violence , 2016).
Although many in the mainstream media took notice of the dangers of neoliberalism leading toward authoritarianism after Trump's election, a few faint voices have been warning about this inevitability since the early 1990s. Susan George, president of the Transnational Institute, has argued that neoliberalism is contrary to democracy, it is rooted in Social Darwinism, it undermines the liberal social contract under which that people assume society operates, but it is the system that governments and international organization like the IMF have been promoting.
"Over the past twenty years, the IMF has been strengthened enormously. Thanks to the debt crisis and the mechanism of conditionality, it has moved from balance of payments support to being quasi-universal dictator of so-called "sound" economic policies, meaning of course neo-liberal ones. The World Trade Organisation was finally put in place in January 1995 after long and laborious negotiations, often rammed through parliaments which had little idea what they were ratifying. Thankfully, the most recent effort to make binding and universal neo-liberal rules, the Multilateral Agreement on Investment, has failed, at least temporarily. It would have given all rights to corporations, all obligations to governments and no rights at all to citizens. The common denominator of these institutions is their lack of transparency and democratic accountability. This is the essence of neo-liberalism. It claims that the economy should dictate its rules to society, not the other way around. Democracy is an encumbrance, neo-liberalism is designed for winners, not for voters who, necessarily encompass the categories of both winners and losers."
Those on the receiving end of neoliberalism's Social Darwinist orientation are well aware of public policy's negative impact on their lives but they feel helpless to confront the social contract. According to opinion polls, people around the world realize there is a huge gap between what political and business leaders, and international organizations claim about institutions designed to benefit all people and the reality of marginalization. The result is loss of public confidence in the social contract theoretically rooted in consent and democracy. "When elected governments break the "representative covenant" and show complete indifference to the sufferings of citizens, when democracy is downgraded to an abstract set of rules and deprived of meaning for much of the citizenry, many will be inclined to regard democracy as a sham, to lose confidence in and withdraw their support for electoral institutions. Dissatisfaction with democracy now ranges from 40 percent in Peru and Bolivia to 59 percent in Brazil and 62 percent in Colombia. (Boron, "Democracy or Neoliberalism", http://bostonreview.net/archives/BR21.5/boron.html )
Not just in developing nations operating under authoritarian capitalist model to impose neoliberal policies, but in advanced countries people recognize that the bourgeois freedom, democracy and justice are predicated on income. Regardless of whether the regime operates under a pluralistic neoliberal regime or rightwing populist one, the former much more tolerant of diversity than the latter, the social contract goals are the same. In peoples' lives around the world social exploitation has risen under neoliberal policies whether imposed the nation-state, a larger entity such as the EU, or international organizations such as the IMF. Especially for the European and US middle class, but also for Latin American and African nations statistics show that the neoliberal social contract has widened the poor-rich gap.
In a world where the eight wealthiest individuals own as much wealth as the bottom 50% or 3.6 billion people, social exploitation and oppression has become normal because the mainstream institutions present it in such light to the world and castigate anyone critical of institutionalized exploitation and oppression. Rightwing populist demagogues use nationalism, cultural conservatism and vacuous rhetoric about the dangers of big capital and 'liberal elites' to keep the masses loyal to the social contract by faulting the pluralist-liberal politicians rather than the neoliberal social contract. As the neoliberal political economy has resulted in a steady rising income gap and downward social mobility in the past three decades, it is hardly surprising that a segment of the masses lines behind rightwing populist demagogues walking a thin line between bourgeois democracy and Fascism.
(Alan Wertheimer, Exploitation , 1999; Ruth J. Sample, Exploitation; What is it and why it is Wrong , 2003; http://money.cnn.com/2017/08/31/investing/wells-fargo-fake-accounts/index.html ; https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/5/14/1662227/-Was-suicide-of-Deutsche-Bank-executive-linked-to-Trump-and-Russia-money-laundering
Seizing power from sovereign states, multinational corporation are pursuing neoliberal policy objectives on a world scale, prompting resistance to the neoliberal social contract which rarely class-based and invariably identity-group oriented manifested through environmental, gender, race, ethnicity, gay, religious and minority groups of different sorts. Regardless of the relentless media campaign to suppress class consciousness, workers are aware that they have common interests and public opinion studies reveal as much. (Susan George, Shadow Sovereigns: How Global Corporations are seizing Power , 2015)
According to the Pew Research center, the world average for satisfaction with their governments are at 46%, the exact percentage as in the US that ranks about the same as South Africa and much lower than neighboring Canada at 70% and Sweden at 79%. " Publics around the globe are generally unhappy with the functioning of their nations' political systems. Across the 36 countries asked the question, a global median of 46% say they are very or somewhat satisfied with the way their democracy is working, compared with 52% who are not too or not at all satisfied. Levels of satisfaction vary considerably by region and within regions. Overall, people in the Asia-Pacific region are the most happy with their democracies. At least half in five of the six Asian nations where this question was asked express satisfaction. Only in South Korea is a majority unhappy (69%).
As confounding as it appears that elements of the disillusioned middle class and working class opt either for the exploitation of pluralist neoliberalism or the exploitation and oppression of rightwing populism expressed somewhat differently in each country, it is not difficult to appreciate the immediacy of a person's concerns for survival like all other species above all else. The assumption of rational behavior in the pursuit of social justice is a bit too much to expect considering that people make irrational choices detrimental to their best interests and to society precisely because the dominant culture has thoroughly indoctrinated them. It seems absurd that indirectly people choose exploitation and oppression for themselves and others in society, but they always have as the dominant culture secular and religious indoctrinates them into accepting exploitation and oppression. (Shaheed Nick Mohammed, Communication and the Globalization of Culture , 2011)
Throughout Western and Eastern Europe rightwing political parties are experiencing a resurgence not seen since the interwar era, largely because the traditional conservatives moved so far to the right. Even the self-baptized Socialist parties are nothing more than staunch advocates of the same neoliberal status quo as the traditional conservatives. The US has also moved to the right long before the election of Donald Trump who openly espouses suppression of certain fundamental freedoms as an integral part of a pluralistic society. As much as in the US and Europe as in the rest of the world, analysts wonder how could any working class person champion demagogic political leaders whose vacuous populist rhetoric promises 'strong nation" for all but their policies benefit the same socioeconomic elites as the neoliberal politicians.(J. Rydgren (Ed.), Class Politics and the Radical Right , 2012)
Rooted onclassical liberal values of the Enlightenment, the political and social elites present a social contract that is theoretically all-inclusive and progressive, above all 'fair' because it permits freedom to compete, when in reality the social structure under which capitalism operates necessarily entails exploitation and oppression that makes marginalization very clear even to its staunchest advocates who then endeavor to justify it by advancing theories about individual human traits.
In 2012 the United States spent an estimated 19.4% of GDP on such social expenditures, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Paris-based industrial country think tank. Denmark spent 30.5%, Sweden 28.2% and Germany 26.3%. All of these nations have a lower central government debt to GDP ratio than that of the United States. Why the United States invests relatively less in its social safety net than many other countries and why those expenditures are even at risk in the current debate over debt reduction reflect Americans' conflicted, partisan and often contradictory views on fairness, inequality, the role and responsibility of government and individuals in society and the efficacy of government action. Rooted in value differences, not just policy differences, the debate over the U.S. social contract is likely to go on long after the fiscal cliff issue has been resolved." http://www.pewglobal.org/2013/01/15/public-attitudes-toward-the-next-social-contract/
The neoliberal model of capitalism spewing forth from core countries to the periphery and embraced by capitalists throughout the world has resulted in greater social inequality, exploitation and oppression, despite proclamations that by pluralist-diversity neoliberals presenting themselves as remaining true to 'democracy'. The tilt to the right endorsed at the ballot box by voters seeking solutions to systemic problems and a more hopeful future indicates that some people demand exclusion and/or punishment of minority social groups in society, as though the exploitation and oppression of 'the other' would vicariously elevate the rest of humanity to a higher plane. Although this marks a dangerous course toward authoritarianism and away from liberal capitalism and Karl Popper's 'Open Society' thesis operating in a pluralistic world against totalitarianism, it brings to surface the essence of neoliberalism which is totalitarian, the very enemy Popper and his neoconservative followers were allegedly trying to prevent. (Calvin Hayes, Popper, Hayek and the Open Society , 2009)
Social Exclusion, Popular Resistanceand the Future of Neoliberalism
Every sector of society from the criminal justice system to elderly care has been impacted by neoliberal social marginalization. More significant than any other aspect of neoliberalism, the creation of a chronic debtor classwithout any assets is floating a step above the structurally unemployed and underemployed.The Industrial revolution exacerbated social exclusion producing an underclass left to its own fate by a state that remained faithful to the social contract's laissez philosophy. Composed of vagrants, criminals, chronically unemployed, and people of the streets that British social researcher Henry Mayhew described in London Labour and the London Poor , a work published three years after the revolutions of 1848 that shattered the liberal foundations of Europe, the lumpenproletariat caught the attention of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels ( The German Ideology ) interested in the industrial working class movement as the vanguard of the revolution.
Lacking a class consciousness thus easily exploited by the elites the lumpenproletariat were a product of industrial capitalism's surplus labor that kept wages at or just above subsistence levels, long before European and American trade union struggles were able to secure a living wage.In the last four decades neoliberal policies have created a chronic debtor working class operating under the illusion of integration into the mainstream when in fact their debtor status not only entails social exclusion but relegated to perpetual servitude dependence and never climbing out of it. The neoliberal state is the catalyst to the creation of this new class. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-20/a-164-year-old-idea-helps-explain-the-huge-changes-sweeping-the-world-s-workforce
In an essay entitled "Labour Relations and Social Movements in the 21st Century"
Portuguese social scientists Elísio Estanque and Hermes Augusto Costa argue that the manner that neoliberalism has impacted Europe's social structure in both core and periphery countries has given rise to the new precarious working class, often college-degreed, overqualified, and struggling to secure steady employment especially amid recessionary cycles that last longer and run deeper.
"The panorama of a deep economic crisis which in the last few decades has hit Europe and its Welfare state in particular has had an unprecedented impact on employment and social policies. The neoliberal model and the effects of deregulated and global finance not only question the "European social model" but push sectors of the labour force – with the youngest and well-qualified being prominent – into unemployment or precarious jobs. the sociological and potential socio-political significance of these actionsparticularly as a result of the interconnections that such movements express, both in the sphere of the workplace and industrial system or whether with broader social structures, with special emphasis on the middle classes and the threats of 'proletarianization' that presently hang over them. labour relations of our time are crossed by precariousness and by a new and growing "precariat" which also gave rise to new social movements and new forms of activism and protest." http://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs/34149/InTech-Labour_relations_and_social_movements_in_the_21st_century.pdf
'Proletarization' of the declining middle class and downward income pressure for the working class and middle classhas been accompanied by the creation of a growing chronic debtor class in the Western World. Symptomatic of the neoliberal globalist world order, the creation of the debtor class and more broadly social exclusion transcends national borders, ethnicity, gender, culture, etc. Not just at the central government level, but at the regional and local levels, public policy faithfully mimics the neoliberal model resulting in greater social exclusion while there is an effort to convince people that there is no other path to progress although people were free to search; a dogma similar to clerical intercession as the path to spiritual salvation. http://www.isreview.org/issues/58/feat-economy.shtml
The neoliberal path to salvation has resulted in a staggering 40% of young adults living with relatives out of financial necessity. The number has never been greater at any time in modern US history since the Great Depression, and the situation is not very different for Europe. Burdened with debt, about half of the unemployed youth are unable to find work and most that work do so outside the field of their academic training. According to the OECD, youth unemployment in the US is not confined only to high school dropouts but includes college graduates. Not just across southern Europe and northern Africa, but in most countries the neoliberal economy of massive capital concentration has created a new lumpenproletariat that has no assets and carries debt. Owing to neoliberal policies, personal bankruptcies have risen sharply in the last four decades across the Western World reflecting the downward social mobility and deep impact on the chronically indebted during recessionary cycles. https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/04/53-of-recent-college-grads-are-jobless-or-underemployed-how/256237/ ; https://www.cbsnews.com/news/for-young-americans-living-with-their-parents-is-now-the-norm/ ; Iain Ramsay, Personal Insolvency in the 21st Century: A Comparative Analysis of the US and Europe, 2017)Historically, the safe assumption has been that higher education is the key to upward social mobility and financial security, regardless of cyclical economic trends. However, the laws of overproduction apply not only to commodities but to the labor force, especially as the information revolution continues to chip away at human labor. College education is hardly a guarantee to upward social mobility, but often a catalyst to descent into the debtor unemployed class,or minimum wage/seasonalpart time job or several such jobs. The fate of the college-educated falling into the chronic debtor class is part of a much larger framework, namely the 'financialization' of the economy that is at the core of neoliberalism. ( Vik Loveday, "Working-class participation, middle-class aspiration? Value, upward mobility and symbolic indebtedness in higher education."The Sociological Review , September 2014) Beyond the simplisticsuggestion of 'more training' to keep up with tech changes, the root cause of social exclusion and the chronic debtor class revolves around the 'financialization' of the neoliberal globalist economy around which central banks make monetary policy. Since the beginning of the Thatcher-Reagan era, advanced capitalist countries led by the US conducted policy to promote the centrality of financial markets as the core of the economy. This entails resting more on showing quarterly profit even at the expense of taking on debt, lower productivity and long-term sustainability, or even breaking a company apart and dismissing workers because it would add shareholder value. Therefore, the short-term financial motives and projection of market performance carry far more weight than any other consideration.
Symptomatic of a combination of deregulation and the evolution of capitalism especially in core countries from productive to speculative, financialization has transformed the world economy. Enterprises from insurance companies to brokerage firms and banks like Goldman Sachs involved in legal and quasi-legal practices, everything from the derivatives market to helping convert a country's sovereign debt into a surplus while making hefty profits has been part of the financialization economy that speeds up capital concentration and creates a wider rich-poor gap. Housing, health, pension systems, health care and personal consumption are all impacted by financialization that concentrates capital through speculation rather than producing anything from capital goods to consumer products and services. (Costas Lapavitsas, The Financialization of Capitalism: 'Profiting without producing' http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13604813.2013.853865
Billionaire speculator George Soros has observed that market speculation not only drives prices higher, especially of commodities on a world scale, but the inevitability of built-in booms and busts are disruptive simply because a small group of people have secured a legal means for capital accumulation. At the outbreak of the US stock market collapse followed by the 'great recession' of 2008, the European Network and Debt and Development (EURODAD) published an article critical of financialization and its impact on world hunger.
"Do you enjoy rising prices? Everybody talks about commodities – with the Agriculture Euro Fund you can benefit from the increase in value of the seven most important agricultural commodities." With this advertisement the Deutsche Bankt tried in spring 2008 to attract clients for one of its investment funds. At the same time, there were hunger revolts in Haiti, Cameroon and other developing countries, because many poor could no longer pay the exploding food prices. In fact, between the end of 2006 and March 2008 the prices for the seven most important commodities went up by 71 per cent on average, for rice and grain the increase was 126 per cent. The poor are most hit by the hike in prices. Whereas households in industrialised countries spend 10 -20 per cent for food, in low-income countries they spend 60 – 80 per cent. As a result, the World Bank forecasts an increase in the number of people falling below the absolute poverty line by more than 100 million. Furthermore, the price explosion has negative macroeconomic effects: deterioration of the balance of payment, fuelling inflation and new debt." http://eurodad.org/uploadedfiles/whats_new/news/food%20speculation%202%20pager%20final.pdf
Someone has to pay for the speculative nature of financialization, and the labor force in all countries is the first to do so through higher indirect taxes, cuts in social programs and jobs and wages for the sake of stock performance. Stock markets around which public policy is conducted have eroded the real economy while molding a culture of financialization of the last two generations a large percentage of which has been swimming in personal debt reflecting the debt-ridden financialization economy. Contrary to claims by politicians, business leaders and the media that the neoliberal system of financialization is all about creating jobs and helping to diffuse income to the middle class and workers, the only goal of financialization is wealth concentration while a larger debtor class and social marginalization are the inevitable results. It is hardly surprising that people world-wide believe the political economy is rigged by the privileged class to maintain its status and the political class is the facilitator. http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/41359-financialization-has-turned-the-global-economy-into-a-house-of-cards-an-interview-with-gerald-epstein ; Costas Lapavitsa, Financialization in Crisis, 2013; Rona Foroohar, Makers and Takers: How Wall Street Destroyed Main Street , 2016)
Despite efforts by pluralist and populist neoliberals throughout the world to use 'culture wars' and identity politics as distractionwhile deemphasizing the role of the state as the catalyst in the neoliberal social contract, the contradictions that the political economy exposes the truth about the socially unjustsociety that marginalizes the uneducated poor and college-educated indebted alike.Not to deemphasize the significance of global power distribution based on the Westphalian nation-state model and regional blocs such as the European Union, but neoliberals are the ones who insist on the obsolete nation-state that the international market transcends, thus acknowledging the preeminence of capitalism in the social contract and the subordination of national sovereignty to international capital and financialization of the economy. After all, the multinational corporation operating in different countries is accountable only to its stockholders, not to the nation-state whose role is to advance corporate interests.
No matter how rightwing populists try to distract people from the real cause of social exclusion and marginalization by focusing onnationalist rhetoric, marginalized social groups and Muslim or Mexican legal or illegal immigrantshave no voice in public policy but financialization speculators do. In an article entitled "The Politics of Public Debt: Neoliberalism, capitalist development, and the restructuring of the state", Wolfgang Streeck concludes that neoliberalism's systemic rewards provide a disincentive for capitalists to abandon financialization in favor of productivity. "Why should the new oligarchs be interested in their countries' future productive capacities and present democratic stability if, apparently, they can be rich without it, processing back and forth the synthetic money produced for them at no cost by a central bank for which the sky is the limit, at each stage diverting from it hefty fees and unprecedented salaries, bonuses and profits as long as it is forthcoming -- and then leave their country to its remaining devices and withdraw to some privately owned island?
An important difference between pluralists and rightwing populists in their approach to the state's role is that the former advocate for a strong legislative branch and weaker executive, while rightwing populists want a strong executive and weak legislative. However, both political camps agree about advancing market hegemony nationally and internationally and both support policies that benefit international and domestic capital, thus facilitating the convergence of capitalist class interests across national borders with the symptomatic results of social exclusion. ( http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016718508000924 ; Vicente Navarro, "The Worldwide Class Struggle" https://monthlyreview.org/2006/09/01/the-worldwide-class-struggle/
Regardless of vacuous rhetoric about a weak state resulting from neoliberal policies, the state in core countries where financialization prevailshas been and remains the catalyst for class hegemony as has been the case since the nascent stage of capitalism. Both Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan strengthened the corporate welfare state while openly declaring war against trade unions and by extension on the working class that neoliberals demonize as the enemy of economic progress. As statistics below illustrate, the debtor class expanded rapidly after 1980 when the financialization economy took off, reaching its highest point after the subprime-induced great recession in 2008. Under neoliberal globalist policies, governments around the world followed theReagan-Thatcher model to facilitate over-accumulation of capital in the name of competition. (Montgomerie Johnna, Neoliberalism and the Making of the Subprime Borrower , 2010)
Whether the state is promoting neoliberal policies under a pluralist or authoritarian models, the neoliberal culture has designated labor as the unspoken enemy, especially organized labor regardless of whether the ruling parties have co-opted trade unions. In the struggle for capital accumulation under parasitic financialization policies, the state's view of labor as the enemy makes social conflict inevitable despite the obvious contradiction that the 'enemy-worker' is both the mass consumer on whom the economy depends for expansion and development. Despite this contradiction, neoliberals from firms such as Goldman Sachs has many of its former executives not just in top positions of the US government but world-wide, no matter who is in power. Neoliberal policy resulting in social exclusion starts with international finance capitalism hiding behind the pluralist and rightwing populist masks of politicians desperately vying for power to conduct public policy.
Just as the serfs were aware in the Middle Ages that Lords and Bishops determined the fate of all down here on earth before God in Heaven had the last word, people today realize the ubiquitous power of capitalists operating behind the scenes, and in some case as with Trump in the forefront of public-policy that results in social exclusion and rising inequality in the name of market fundamentalism promising to deliver the benefits to all people. Neoliberalism has created a chronicdebtor class that became larger after the 2008 recession and will continue growing with each economic contracting cycle in decades to come. Despite its efforts to keep one step ahead of bankruptcy, the identity of the new chronic debtor class rests with the neoliberal status quo, often with the rightwing populist camp that makes rhetorical overtures to the frustrated working classthat realize financialization benefits a small percentage of wealthy individuals.
Personal debt has skyrocketed, reaching $12.58 trillion in the US in 2016, or 80% of GDP. The irony is that the personal debt level is 2016 was the highest since the great recession of 2008 and it is expected to continue much higher, despite the economic recovery and low unemployment. Wage stagnation and higher costs of health, housing and education combined with higher direct and indirect taxes to keep public debt at manageable levels will continue to drive more people into the debtor class. Although some European countries such as Germany and France have lower household debt relative to GDP, all advanced and many developing nations have experienced a sharp rise in personal debt because of deregulation, privatization, and lower taxes on the wealthy with the burden falling on the mass consumer. Hence the creation of a permanent debtor class whose fortunes rest on maintaining steady employment and/or additional part-time employment to meet loan obligations and keep one step ahead of declaring bankruptcy. Austerity policies imposed either by the government through tight credit in advanced capitalist countries or IMF loan conditionality in developing and semi-developed nations the result in either case is lower living standards and a rising debtor class. http://fortune.com/2017/02/19/america-debt-financial-crisis-bubble/
Maurizio Lazzarato's The Making of the Indebted Man: An Essay on the Neoliberal Condition argues that neoliberalism has created a debtor-creditorrelationship which has supplanted the worker-capitalist dichotomy, an argument that others focusing on the financialization of the economy have made as well. Although in Keynesian economics public and private debt was a stimulant for capitalist growth amid the contracting cycle of the economy, the neoliberal era created the permanent chronic debtor class that finds it difficult to extricate itself from that status. Evident after the deep recession of the subprime-financialization-induced recession in 2008, this issue attracted the attention of some politicians and political observers who realized theconvergence of the widening debtor class with the corresponding widening of the rich-poor income gap.
By making both private and public debt, an integral part of the means of production, the neoliberal system has reshaped social life and social relationships because the entire world economy is debt-based. Servicing loans entails lower living standards for the working class in advanced capitalist countries, and even lower in the rest of the world, but it also means integrating the debtor into the system more closely than at any time in history. While it is true that throughout the history of civilization human beings from China and India to Europe have used various systems of credit to transact business (David Graeber, Debt: the First 5000 Years , 2014), no one would suggest reverting back to debt-slavery as part of the social structure. Yet, neoliberalism has created the 'indebted man' as part of a policythat has resulted in social asymmetrical power,aiming to speed up capital accumulation and maintain market hegemony in society while generating greater social exclusion. https://marxandphilosophy.org.uk/reviewofbooks/reviews/2013/87E0
Ever since the British Abolition of the Slave Trade Act in 1807, followed by a number of other European governments in the early 1800s, there was an assumption that slave labor is inconsistent with free labor markets as well as with the liberal social contract rooted in individual freedom. Nevertheless, at the core of neoliberal capitalismUS consumer debt as of October 2017 stood at $3.8 trillion in a 419 trillion economy. Debt-to-personal income ratio is at 160%; college student debt runs at approximately $1.5 trillion, with most of that since 2000; mortgage debt has tripled since 1955, with an alarming 8 million people delinquent on their payments and the foreclosure rate hovering at 4.5% or three times higher than postwar average; consumer debt has risen 1,700 since 1971 to above $1 trillion, and roughly half of Americans are carrying monthly credit debt with an average rate of 14%. The debt problem is hardly better for Europe where a number of countries have a much higher personal debt per capita than the US.In addition to personal debt, public debt has become a burden on the working class in so far as neoliberal politicians and the IMF are using as a pretext to impose austerity conditions, cut entitlements and social programs amid diminished purchasing power because of inflationary asset values and higher taxes. https://www.thebalance.com/consumer-debt-statistics-causes-and-impact-3305704 ; https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/17/business/dealbook/household-debt-united-states.html
While personal debt is often but not always a reflection of a consumerist society, personal debt encompasses everything from education to health care costs in times when the digital/artificial intelligence economy is creating a surplus labor force that results in work instability and asymmetrical social relations. Technology-automation-induced unemployment driving down living standards creates debtor-workers chasing the technology to keep up with debt payments in order to survive until the next payment is due. Considering the financial system backed by a legal framework is established to favor creditors, especially given the safeguards and protections accorded to creditors in the past four decades, there are many blatant and overt ways that the state uses to criminalize poverty and debt. In 2015, for example, Montana became the first state not to take the driver's license of those delinquent on their student debt, thus decriminalizing debt in this one aspect, though hardly addressing the larger issue of the underlying causes of debt and social exclusion. https://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:4b8gtht779 ; https://lumpenproletariat.org/tag/neoliberalism/
In an article entitled "Torturing the Poor, German-Style" , Thomas Klikauer stressed that the weakening of the social welfare state took place under the Social Democratic Party (SPD)-Green Party coalition (1998-2005) government pursuing pluralist neoliberal policies. Although historically the SPD had forged a compromise that would permit for the social inclusion of labor into the institutional mainstream, by the 1990s, theSPD once rooted in socialism had fully embraced neoliberalism just as the British Labour Party and all socialist partiers of Europe pursuing social exclusion. Klilauer writes: "Germany's chancellor [Gerhard] Schröder (SPD) –known as the "Comrade of the Bosses"– no longer sought to integrate labour into capitalism, at least not the Lumpenproletariat or precariate . These sections of society are now deliberately driven into mass poverty, joining the growing number of working poor on a scale not seen in Germany perhaps since the 1930s." https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/20/torturing-the-poor-german-style/
No different than working class people in other countries need more than one job to keep up with debt and living expenses, so do three million Germans (rising from 150,000 in 2003) that have the privilege of living in Europe's richest nation. Just as the number of the working poor has been rising in Germany, so have they across the Western World. Social exclusion and the expansion of the debtor class in Germany manifested itself in the national elections of 2017 where for the first time since the interwar era a political party carrying the legacy of Nazism, the Alternative fur Deutchland (AfD), founded by elite ultra-conservatives, captured 13% of the vote to become third-largest party and giving a voice of neo-Nazis who default society's neoliberal ills to Muslims and immigrants. Rejecting the link between market fundamentalism that both the SPD and German conservatives pursued in the last three decades, neoliberal apologists insist that the AfD merely reflects a Western-wide anti-Muslim trend unrelated to social exclusion and the policies that have led to Germany's new lumpenproletariat and working poor. https://crimethinc.com/2017/10/01/the-rise-of-neo-fascism-in-germany-alternative-fur-deutschland-enters-the-parliament ; https://www.jku.at/icae/content/e319783/e319785/e328125/wp59_ger.pdf
Interestingly, US neoliberal policies also go hand-in-hand with Islamophobia and the war on terror under both Democrat and Republican administrations, although the pluralist-diversity neoliberals have been more careful to maintain a politically-correct rhetoric. Just as in Germany and the rest of Europe, there is a direct correlation in the US between the rise in social exclusion ofMuslim and non-Muslim immigrants and minorities and the growing trend of rightwing populism. There is no empirical foundationto arguments that rightwing populism whether in Germany or the US has no historical roots and it is unconnected both to domestic and foreign policies. Although the neoliberal framework in which rightwing populism operates and which creates social exclusion and the new chronic debtor class clashes with neoliberal pluralism that presents itself as democratic, structural exploitation is built into the social contract thus generating grassroots opposition.
Grassroots Resistance to Neoliberalism
Even before the great recession of 2008, there were a number of grassrootsgroups against neoliberal globalism both in advanced and developing nations. Some found expression in social media, others at the local level focused on the impact of neoliberal policies in the local community, and still others attempted to alter public policy through cooperation with state entities and/or international organizations. The most important anti-neoliberal grassroots organizations have been in Brazil ( Homeless Workers' Movement and Landless Workers' Movement), South Africa (Abahlali baseMjondolo, Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign, Landless Peoples' Movement), Mexico (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN), Haiti (Fanmi Lavalas) and India (Narmada Bachao Andolan).
The vast majority of organizations claiming to be fighting against neoliberal policies are appendages either of the pluralist or the rightwing populist political camp both whose goal is to co-opt the masses as part of their popular base. The anti-globalization movement and by implication anti-neoliberal includes elements from the entire political spectrum from left to ultra-right. From India, to Bangladesh, from South Africa to Brazil, and from the US, France, and the UK, working class resistance to neoliberal globalism has been directly or indirectly co-opted and often de-politicized by corporate-funded or government-funded NGOs and by 'reformist' local and international organizations.
https://ssir.org/articles/entry/a_neoliberal_takeover_of_social_entrepreneurship ; http://anticsr.com/ngos-csr/
By promoting measures invariably in the lifestyle domain but also some social welfare and civil rights issues such as women's rights, renter's rights, etc, the goals of organizations operating within the neoliberal structure is not social inclusion by altering the social contract, but sustaining the status quo by eliminating popular opposition through co-optation. It is hardly a coincidence that the rise of the thousands of NGOs coincided with the rise of neoliberalism in the 1990s, most operating under the guise of aiding the poor, protecting human rights and the environment, and safeguarding individualism. Well-funded by corporations, corporate foundations and governments, NGOs are the equivalent of the 19 th century missionaries, using their position as ideological preparatory work for Western-imposed neoliberal policies. http://socialistreview.org.uk/310/friends-poor-or-neo-liberalism ; https://zeroanthropology.net/2014/08/28/civil-society-ngos-and-saving-the-needy-imperial-neoliberalism/
On the receiving end of corporate and/or government-funded NGOs promoting the neoliberal agenda globally, some leading grassroots movements that advocate changing the neoliberal status quo contend that it is better to 'win' on a single issue such as gay rights, abortion, higher minimum wage, etc. at the cost of co-optation into neoliberal system than to have nothing at all looking in from the outside. Their assumption is that social exclusion can be mitigated one issue at a time through reform from within the neoliberal institutional structure that grassroots organizations deem as the enemy. This is exactly what the pluralist neoliberals are promoting as well to co-opt grassroots opposition groups.
Partly because governmental and non-governmental organizations posing as reformist have successfully co-opted grassroots movements often incorporating them into the neoliberal popular base, popular resistance has not been successful despite social media and cell phones that permit instant communication. This was certainly the case with the Arab Spring uprisings across North Africa-Middle East where genuine popular opposition to neoliberal policies of privatization, deregulation impacting everything from health care toliberalizing rent controls led to the uprising. In collaboration with the indigenous capitalists, political and military elites, Western governments directly and through NGOs were able to subvert and then revert to neoliberal policies once post-Arab Spring regimes took power in the name of 'reform' invariably equated with neoliberal policies. https://rs21.org.uk/2014/10/06/adam-hanieh-on-the-gulf-states-neoliberalism-and-liberation-in-the-middle-east/
In "Dying for Growth: Global Inequality and the Health of the Poor" Jim Yong Kim ed., 2000) contributing authors illustrate in case studies of several countries how the neoliberal status quo has diminished the welfare of billions of people in developing nations for the sake of growth that simply translates into even greater wealth concentration and misery for the world's poor. According to the study: "100 countries have undergone grave economic decline over the past three decades. Per capita income in these 100 countries is now lower than it was 10, 15, 20 or in some cases even 30 years ago. In Africa, the average household consumes 20 percent less today than it did 25 years ago. Worldwide, more than 1 billion people saw their real incomes fall during the period 1980-1993." http://www.mit.edu/~thistle/v13/2/imf.html
Anti-neoliberal groups assume different forms, depending on the nation's history, social and political elites, the nature of institutions and the degree it has been impacted by neoliberal policies that deregulate and eliminate as much of the social safety net as workers will tolerate. Even the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) that experienced rapid growth from the early 1990s until the great recession of 2008 have not escaped mass opposition to neoliberalism precisely because the impact on workers and peasants has been largely negative. https://www.cpim.org/views/quarter-century-neo-liberal-economic-policies-unending-distress-and-peasant-resistance ; Juan Pablo Ferrero, Democracy against Neoliberalism in Argentina and Brazil, 2014; Mimi Abramovitz and Jennifer Zelnick, " Double Jeopardy: The Impact of Neoliberalism on Care Workers in the United States and South Africa" , http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2190/HS.40.1.f
Grassroots organizations opposed to policies that further integrate their countries into the world economy and marginalize the working class have been especially persistent in South Africa, Brazil, and India. To assuage if not co-opt the masses the BRICS followed a policy mix that combines neoliberalism, aspects of social welfare and statism. Combined with geopolitical opposition to US-NATO militarism and interventionism, the BRICS policies were an attempt to keep not just the national bourgeois loyal but the broader masses by projecting a commitment to national sovereignty.
In Brazil, India and South Africa internal and external corporate pressure along with US, EU, and IMF-World Bank pressures have been especially evident to embrace neoliberal policies and confront grassroots opposition rather than co-opt it at the cost of making concessions to labor. Considering that the development policies of the BRICS in the last three decades of neoliberal globalism accommodated domestic and foreign capital and were not geared to advance living standards for the broader working class and peasantry, grassroots opposition especially in Brazil, India and South Africa where the state structure is not nearly as powerful as in Russia and China manifested itself in various organizations.
http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=12129 ; Walden Bello, The BRICS: Challenges to the Global Status Quo" , in https://www.thenation.com/article/brics-challengers-global-status-quo/
One of the grassroots organizations managing to keep its autonomy is Brazil's Landless Workers Movement (MST)skillfully remaining independent of both former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff. Although the MST supported some policies of theformer presidents who presented themselves as champions of labor rather than capital, both Lula and Rousseff made substantial policy compromises with the neoliberal camp and were eventually implicated in corruption scandals revealing opportunism behind policy-making. While the record of their policies on the poor speaks for itself, the Lula-Rousseff era of Partido dos Trabalhadores was an improvement over previous neoliberal president Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1995-2003). https://monthlyreview.org/2017/02/01/the-brazilian-crisis/
The MST persisted with the struggle against neoliberal policies that have contributed to rising GDP heavily concentrated among the national and comprador bourgeoisie and foreign corporations. Other Latin American grassroots movements have had mixed results not much better than those in Brazil. Ecuador under president Rafael Correa tried to co-opt the leftby yielding on some policy issues as did Lula and Rousseff, while pursuing a neoliberal development model as much as his Brazilian counterparts. With its economy thoroughly integrated into the US economy, Mexico is a rather unique case where grassroots movements against neoliberalism are intertwined with the struggle against official corruption and the narco-trade resulting in the assassination of anti-neoliberal, anti-drug activists. (William Aviles, The Drug War in Mexico: Hegemony and Global Capitalism ;
Anti-neoliberal resistance in the advanced countries has not manifested itself as it has in the developing nations through leftist movements such as South Africa's Abahlali baseMjondolo or Latin American trade unions that stress a working class philosophy of needs rather than the one of rights linked to middle class property and identity politics. https://roarmag.org/essays/south-africa-marikana-anc-poor/ Popular resistance to neoliberalism in the US has been part of the anti-globalization movement that includes various groups from environmentalists to anti-IMF-World Bank and anti-militarism groups.
Although there are some locally based groups like East Harlem-based Justice in El Barrio representing immigrants and low-income people, there is no national anti-neoliberal movement. Perhaps because of the war on terror, various anti-establishment pro-social justice groups assumed the form of bourgeois identity politics of both the Democratic Party and the Republican where some of the leaders use rightwing populism as an ideological means to push through neoliberal policies while containing grassroots anger resulting from social exclusion and institutional exploitation. https://www.dissentmagazine.org/blog/the-legacy-of-anti-globalization
Black Lives Matter revolving around the systemic racism issue and Occupy Wall Street anti-capitalist group fell within the left orbit of the Democratic Party (Senator Bernie Sanders) who is an advocate of the pluralist-diversity model, opposes market fundamentalism,and proposes maintaining some vestiges of the Keynesian welfare state. With the exception of isolated voices by a handful of academics and some criticsusing social media as a platform, there is no anti-neoliberal grassroots movement that Democrats or Republicans has not successfully co-opted. Those refusing to be co-opted are invariably dismissed as everything from idealists to obstructionists. Certainlythere is nothing in the US like the anti-neoliberal groups in Brazil, India, Mexico, or South Africa operating autonomously and resisting co-optation by political parties. The absence of such movements in the US is a testament to the strong state structure andthe institutional power of the elites in comparison with many developing nations and even some parts of Europe. https://www.salon.com/2015/08/15/black_lives_matter_joins_a_long_line_of_protest_movements_that_have_shifted_public_opinion_most_recently_occupy_wall_street/
As an integrated economic bloc, Europe follows uniform neoliberal policies using as leverage monetary and trade policy but also the considerable EU budget at its disposal for subsidies and development. A number of European trade unions and leftist popular groups fell into the trap of following either Socialist or centrist parties which are pluralist neoliberal and defend some remnants of Keynesianism. Those disillusioned with mainstream Socialist Parties pursue the same neoliberal policies of social exclusion as the conservatives fell in line behind newly formed non-Communist reformist parties (PODEMOS in Spain, SYRIZA in Greece, for example) with a Keynesian platform and socialist rhetoric.
As the government of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras proved once in power in 2015, self-baptized 'leftist' parties areleftist in rhetoric only. When it comes to policy they are as neoliberal as the opposition they criticize; even more dangerous because they have deceived people to support them as the alternative to neoliberal conservatives. Because grassroots movements andthe popular base of political parties that promise 'reform' to benefit the masses are co-opted by centrists, center-left or rightwing political parties, social exclusion becomes exacerbated leading to disillusionment.
Consequently,people hoping for meaningful change become apathetic or they become angry and more radicalized often turning to rightwing political parties. Although there is a long-standing history of mainstream political parties co-opting grassroots movements, under neoliberalism the goal is to shape them intoan identity politics mold under the pluralist or rightwing populist camp. Behind the illusion of choice and layers of bourgeois issues ranging from property rights and individual rights rests a totalitarian system whose goal is popular compliance. https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/eliane-glaser/elites-right-wing-populism-and-left ;
'De-democratization' under Neoliberalism
More subtly and stealthily interwoven into the institutional structure than totalitarian regimes of the interwar era, neoliberal totalitarianism has succeeded not because of the rightwing populist political camp but because of the pluralist one that supports both militarism in foreign affairs and police-state methods at home as a means of maintaining the social order while projecting the façade of democracy. Whereas the neoliberal surveillance state retains vestiges of pluralism and the façade of electoral choice, the police state in interwar Germany and Italy pursued blatant persecution of declared ideological dogmatism targeting 'enemies of the state' and demanding complete subjugation of citizens to theregime. Just as people were manipulated in interwar Europeinto accepting the totalitarian state as desirable and natural, so are many in our time misguided into supporting neoliberal totalitarianism.
In her book entitled Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism's Stealth Revolution (2015), Wendy Brown argues that not just in the public sector, but in every sector of society neoliberal ideology of 'de-democratization' prevails. Extensions of a hierarchical economic system rather than citizens with civil and human rights guaranteed by a social contract aimed at the welfare of the collective, human beings are more commoditized today than they were in the nascent phase of industrial capitalism. The kind of ubiquitous transformation of the individual's identity with the superstructure and the 'de-democratization' of society operating under massively concentrated wealth institutionally intertwined with political power in our contemporary erawas evident in totalitarian countries during the interwar era.
Whereas protest and resistance, freedom of expression and assembly were not permitted by totalitarian regimes in interwar Europe, they are permitted in our time. However, they are so marginalized and/or demonized when analyzing critically mainstream institutions and the social contract under which they operate that they are the stigmatizedas illegitimate opposition. Permitting freedom of speech and assembly, along with due process and electoral politicsbest servesneoliberal socioeconomic totalitarianism because its apologists can claim the system operates in an 'open society'; a term that Karl Popper the ideological father of neo-conservatism coined to differentiate the West from the former Communist bloc closed societies.
As Italian journalist Claudio Hallo put it: "If the core of neoliberalism is a natural fact, as suggested by the ideology already embedded deep within our collective psyche, who can change it? Can you live without breathing, or stop the succession of days and nights? This is why Western democracy chooses among the many masks behind which is essentially the same liberal party. Change is not forbidden, change is impossible. Some consider this feature to be an insidious form of invisible totalitarianism. " https://www.rt.com/op-edge/171240-global-totalitarianism-change-neoliberalism/
Post-modern consumerist culture has inculcated into peoples' minds that they have never been so free yet they have never felt so helpless, as Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman has commented. Freedom is quantitatively measured based on materialist criteria at the individual rather than collective level and at a cost not just to the rest of society but to one's humanity and any sense of social responsibility sacrificed in the quest for atomistic pursuit.Not only the media, but government at all levels, educational institutions and the private sector incessantly reinforce the illusion of individual freedom within the context of the neoliberal totalitarian institutional structure. This is a sacred value above all others, including knowledge, creativity, and the welfare of society as a whole (public interest supplanted by private profit), as though each individual lives alone on her/his planet. https://thehumanist.com/magazine/march-april-2015/arts_entertainment/what-about-me-the-struggle-for-identity-in-a-market-based-society ; https://www.counterpunch.org/2015/12/04/american-nightmare-the-depravity-of-neoliberalism/ ; https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/29/neoliberalism-economic-system-ethics-personality-psychopathicsthic ; https://www.academia.edu/28509196/Neoliberal_Illusions_of_Freedom
In an essay entitled "The unholy alliance of neoliberalism and postmodernism" , Hans van Zon argues that as the Western World'sdominant ideologies since the 1980s, "undermine the immune system of society, neoliberalism by commercialization of even the most sacred domains and postmodernism by its super-relativism and refusal to recognize any hierarchy in value or belief systems." http://www.imavo.be/vmt/13214-van%20Zon%20postmodernism.pdf . Beyond undermining society's immune system and the open society under capitalism, asHans van Zon contends, the convergence of these ideologies have contributed to the 'de-democratization' of society,the creation of illiberal institutions and collective consciousness of conformity to neoliberal totalitarianism. The success of neoliberalism inculcated into the collective consciousness is partly because of the long-standing East-West confrontation followed by the manufactured war on terror. However, it is also true that neoliberal apologists of both the pluralist and rightwing camp present the social contract as transcending politics because markets are above states, above society as 'objective' thus they can best determine the social good on the basis of commoditized value. (Joshua Ramsay, "Neoliberalism as Political Theology of Chance: the politics of divination." https://www.nature.com/articles/palcomms201539
An evolutionary course, the 'de-democratization' of society started in postwar US that imposed transformation policy on the world with the goal of maintaining its economic, political, military and cultural superpower hegemony justified in the name of anti-Communism. Transformation policy was at the root of the diffusion of the de-democratization process under neoliberalism, despite the European origin of the ideology. As it gradually regained its status in the core of the world economy after the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1957, northwest Europe followed in the path of the US. http://www.eurstrat.eu/the-european-neoliberal-union/
Ten years before the Treaty of Rome that created the EEC,Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek gathered a number of scholars in Mont Pelerin where they founded the neoliberal society named after the Swiss village. They discussed strategies of influencing public policy intended to efface the Keynesian model on which many societies were reorganized to survive the Great Depression. Financed by some of Europe's wealthiest families, the Mont Pelerin Society grew of immense importance after its first meeting which coincided with the anti-labor Taft-Hartley Act, the Truman Doctrine formalizing the institutionalization of the Cold War, and the Marshall Plan intended to reintegrate Europe and its colonies and spheres of influence under the aegis of the US. Helped along by the IMF, World Bank, and the International Agreement on Tariffs and Trade established in 1947, US transformation policy was designed to shape the world to its own geopolitical and economic advantage based on a neo-classical macroeconomic and financial theoretical model on which neoliberal ideology rested. http://fpif.org/from_keynesianism_to_neoliberalism_shifting_paradigms_in_economics/
Considering that millionaires and billionaires providefunding for the Mont Pelerin Society and affiliates, this prototype neoliberal think tank became the intellectual pillar of both the pluralist and rightwing neoliberal camps by working with 460 think tanks that have organizations in 96 countries where they influence both centrist and rightwing political parties. Whether Hillary Clinton's and Emmanuel Macron's pluralist neoliberal globalist version or Donald Trump's and Narendra Modi's rightwing populist one, the Mont Pelerin Society and others sharing its ideology and goals exercise preeminent policy influence not on the merit of its ideas for the welfare of society but because the richest people from rightwing Czech billionaire Andrej Babisto liberal pluralist billionaireseither support its principles and benefit from their implementation into policy. (J. Peterson, Revoking the Moral Order: The Ideology of Positivism and the Vienna Circle , 1999; https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/09/rise-of-the-davos-class-sealed-americas-fate
If the neoliberal social contract is the answer to peoples' prayers world-wide as Hayek's followers insist, why is there a need on the part of the state, international organizations including UN agencies, billionaire and millionaire-funded think tanks, educational institutions and the corporate and state-owned media to convince the public that there is nothing better for society than massive capital concentration and social exclusion, and social conditions that in some respects resemble servitude in Medieval Europe? Why do ultra-rightwing Koch brothers and the Mercer family, among other billionaires and millionaires fromNorth America, Europe, India, South Korea and Latin America spend so much money to inculcate the neoliberal ideology into the collective consciousness andto persuade the public to elect neoliberal politicians either of the pluralist camp or the authoritarian one?
http://www.businessinsider.com/michael-bloomberg-forbes-rupert-murdoch-billionaires-2011-3 ; https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/01/no-one-knows-what-the-powerful-mercers-really-want/514529/
Seventy years after Hayek formed the Mont Leperin Societyto promotea future without totalitarianism, there are elected neoliberal politicians from both the pluralist and authoritarian camps with ties to big capital and organized crime amid the blurring lines between legal and illegal economic activities that encompasses everything from crypto-currency and insider trading to offshore 'shell corporations' and banks laundering money for drug lords and wealthy tax evaders. Surrender of popular sovereignty through the social contract now entails surrender to a class of people who are criminals, not only based on a social justice criteria but on existing law if it were only applied to them as it does to petty thieves. In the amoral Machiavellian world of legalized "criminal virtue" in which we live these are the leaders of society.Indicative of the perversion of values now rooted in atomism and greed, the media reports with glowingly admiring terms that in 2017 the world's 500 richest people became richer by $1 trillion, a rise that represents one-third of Africa's GDP and just under one-fifth of Latin America's. Rather than condemning mal-distribution ofincome considering what it entails for society, the media and many in the business of propagating for neoliberalism applaud appropriation within the legal framework of the social contract as a virtue. http://www.hindustantimes.com/business-news/500-richest-people-became-1-trillion-richer-in-2017-mukesh-ambani-tops-indian-list/story-JcNXhH9cCp2pzRopkoFdfL.html ; Bob Brecher, "Neoliberalism and its Threat to Moral Agency" in Virtue and Economy . ed. Andrius Bielskis and Kelvin Knight, 2015)
Neoliberalism has led to the greater legitimization of activities that would otherwise be illegal to the degree that the lines between the legitimate economy and organized criminal activity are blurred reflecting the flexible lines between legally-financed millionaire-backed elected officials and those with links to organized crime or to illegal campaign contributions always carrying an illegal quid-pro-quo legalized through public policy. Beyond the usual tax-haven suspects Panama, Cyprus, Bermuda, Malta, Luxemburg, among othersincluding states such as Nevada and Wyoming, leaders from former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to President Donald Trump with reputed ties to organized criminal networks have benefited from the neoliberal regime that they served. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/254953831_Economic_Crime_and_Neoliberal_Modes_of_Government_The_Example_of_the_Mediterranean )
Self-righteous pluralist neoliberals castigate rightwing billionaires for funding rightwing politicians. However, there is silence when it comes to the millions amassed by pluralist neoliberals as the infamous "Panama Papers" revealed in 2016. Despite the institutionalized kleptocracy, the mediahas indoctrinated the public to accept as 'normal' the converging interests of the capitalist class and ruling political class just as it has indoctrinated the public to accept social exclusion, social inequality, and poverty as natural and democratic; all part of the social contract.( http://revistes.uab.cat/tdevorado/article/view/v2-n1-armao ; Jose Manuel Sanchez Bermudez, The Neoliberal Pattern of Domination: Capital's Reign in Decline, 2012; https://www.globalresearch.ca/neoliberalisms-world-of-corruption-money-laundering-corporate-lobbying-drug-money/5519907
The Future of Neoliberalism
After the great recession of 2008, the future of neoliberalism became the subject of debate among politicians, journalists and academics. One school of thought was that the great recession had exposed the flaws in neoliberalism thus marking the beginning of its demise. The years since 2008 proved that in a twist of irony, the quasi-statist policies of China with its phenomenal growth have actually been responsible for sustaining neoliberalism globally and not just because China has been financing US public debt by buying treasuries while the US buys products made in China. This view holds that neoliberalism will continue to thrive so as long as China continues its global ascendancy, thus the warm reception to Beijing as the new globalist hegemonic power after Trump's noise about pursuing economic nationalism within the neoliberal model. (Barry Eichengreen, Hall of Mirrors: The Great Depression, the Great Recession and the Uses and Misuses of History , 2016; http://www.e-ir.info/2011/08/23/has-the-global-financial-crisis-challenged-us-power-in-international-finance/ )
China is not pursuing the kind of neoliberal model that exists in the US or the EU, but its economy is well integrated with the global neoliberal system and operates within those perimeters despite quasi-statist policies also found in other countries to a lesser degree. Adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP), China's current share of world GDP stands at 16% and at annual growth above 6% it is expected to reach 20%, by 2020. This in comparison with only 1.9% in 1979 and it explains why its currency is now among the IMF-recognized reserved currencies. With about half-a-million foreign companies in China and an average of 12,000 new companies entering every day, capitalists from all over the world are betting heavily on China's future as the world's preeminent capitalist core country in the 21 st century. China will play a determining role in the course of global neoliberalism, and it is politically willing to accept the US as the military hegemon while Beijing strives for economic preeminence. Interested in extracting greater profits from China while tempering its race to number one, Western businesses and governmentshave been pressuring Beijing to become more immersed in neoliberal policies and eliminate all elements of statism. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2012-09/22/content_15775312.htm ; https://en.portal.santandertrade.com/establish-overseas/china/foreign-investment
Although the US that has 450,000 troops in 800 foreign military bases in more than 150 countries and uses its military muscle along with 'soft-power' policies including sanctions as leverage for economic power, many governments and multinational corporations consider Beijing not Washington as a source of global stability and growth. With China breathing new life into neoliberalism on the promise of geographic and social convergence, it is fantasy to speculate that neoliberalism is in decline when in fact it is becoming more forcefully ubiquitous. However, China like the West that had promised geographic and social convergence in the last four decades of neoliberalism will not be any more successful in delivering on such promises. The resultof such policies will continue to be greater polarization and social exclusion and greater uneven development, with China and multinationals investing in its enterprises becoming richer while the US will continue to use militarism as leverage to retain global economic hegemony rapidly eroding from its grip. ( http://www.businessinsider.com/us-military-deployments-may-2017-5 ; http://www.zapruderworld.org/welfare-state-decline-and-rise-neoliberalism-1980s-some-approaches-between-latin-americas-core-and ; Dic Lo, Alternatives to Neoliberal Globalization , 2012)
Between China and the US, the world can expect neoliberal globalization to continue under the pluralist and populist rightwing models in different countries with the two converging and reflecting the totalitarian essence of the system at its core.Characterized by rapid development and sluggish growth in Japan and Western core countries, neoliberal globalization has entailed lack of income convergence between the developed and developing world where uneven export-oriented growth based on the primary sector keeps developingnations perpetually dependent and poor. Interestingly, the trend of falling incomes characteristic of the developing nations from 1980 to 2000 was just as true in Western countries. It was during these two decades of ascendant neoliberalism that rightwing populist movements began to challenge the pluralist neoliberal political camp and offering nationally-based neoliberal solutions, further adding to the system's existing contradictions. (Dic Lo, Alternatives to Neoliberal Globalization , 2012)
The debate whether the rise of populism or perhaps the faint voices of anti-capitalism will finally bring about the end of neoliberalism often centers on the digital-biotech revolution often blamed for exacerbating rather than solving social problems owing to uneven benefits accruing across social classes. It is somewhat surprising that IMF economists have questioned the wisdom of pursuing unfettered neoliberalism where there is a trade-off between economic growth andsocial exclusion owing to growing income inequality. Naturally, the IMF refrains from self-criticism and it would never suggest that neoliberal globalization that the Fund has been promoting is responsible for the rise of rightwing populism around the world.
Within the neoliberal camp, pluralist-diversity advocatesare satisfied they have done their part in the 'fight for democracy' when in fact their stealthy brand of the neoliberal social contract isin some respects more dangerous than the populist camp which is unapologetically candid about its pro-big business, pro-monopoly, pro-deregulation anti-social welfare platform. Shortly after Trump won the presidential election with the help of rightwing billionaires and disillusioned workers who actually believed that he represented them rather than the billionaires, an article appearing in the Christian Science Monitor is typical of how pluralist neoliberals view the global tide of rightwing populism.
"Worldwide, it has been a rough years for democracy. The UK, the United States and Colombia made critical decisions about their nations' future, and – at least from the perspective of liberal values and social justice – they decided poorly. Beyond the clear persistence of racism, sexism and xenophobia in people's decision-making, scholars and pundits have argued that to understand the results of recent popular votes, we must reflect on neoliberalism. International capitalism, which has dominated the globe for the past three decades, has its winners and its losers. And, for many thinkers, the losers have spoken. My fieldwork in South America has taught me that there are alternative and effective ways to push back against neoliberalism. These include resistance movements based on pluralism and alternative forms of social organisation, production and consumption." https://www.csmonitor.com/Technology/Breakthroughs-Voices/2016/1206/Opposing-neoliberalism-without-right-wing-populism-A-Latin-American-guide
Without analyzing the deeper causes of the global tide of rightwing populism promoting neoliberalism under an authoritarian political platform, pluralist-diversity neoliberals continue to promote socioeconomic policies that lead to social exclusion, inequality, and uneven development as long as they satisfy the cultural-lifestyle and corporate-based sustainable-development aspects of the social contract.Tolend legitimacy and public acceptance among those expecting a commitment to pluralism, the neoliberal pluralists embrace the superficialities and distraction of diversity and political correctness. Ironically, the political correctness trend started during theReagan administration's second term and served as a substitute for social justice that the government and the private sector were rapidly eroding along with the social welfare state and trade union rights. As long as there is'politically correctness', in public at least so that people feel they are part of a 'civilized' society, then public policy can continue on the barbaric path of social exclusion, police-state methods, and greater economic inequality.
https://www.dissentmagazine.org/online_articles/fighting-trump-right-wing-populism-vs-neoliberalism/ ; http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2056305117733226
The future of neoliberalism includes the inevitability that social exclusion will lead to social uprisings especially as even some billionaires readily acknowledge the social contract favors them to the detriment of society. As the voices against systemic exploitation become louder,the likelihood will increase for authoritarian-police state policies if not regimes reflecting the neoliberal social contract's ubiquitous stranglehold on society. Although resistance to neoliberalism will continue to grow, the prospects for a social revolution in this century overturning the neoliberal order in advanced capitalist countries is highly unlikely. Twentieth century revolutions succeeded where the state structure was weak and people recognized that the hierarchical social order was the root cause of the chasm between the country's vast social exclusion coupled with stagnation vs. its potential for a more inclusive society where greater social equality and social justice would bean integral part of the social contract. (Donna L. Chollett, Neoliberalism, Social Exclusion, and Social Movements , 2013)
Despite everything pointing to the dynamics of a continued neoliberal social contract, diehard pluralists like British academic Martin Jacques and American economist Joseph Stiglitz insist there is hope for reformist change. In The Politics of Thatcherism (1983) Jacques applauded neoliberalism, but during the US presidential election in 2016 he had changed his mind, predicting neoliberalism's demise. He felt encouraged that other pluralist neoliberals like Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz were voicing their concerns signaling an interest in the debate about social inequality. In an article entitled "The death of neoliberalism and the crisis in western politics" , he wrote: "A sure sign of the declining influence of neoliberalism is the rising chorus of intellectual voices raised against it. From the mid-70s through the 80s, the economic debate was increasingly dominated by monetarists and free marketeers." https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/21/death-of-neoliberalism-crisis-in-western-politics
Along with Krugman, Stiglitz and others in the pluralist camp favoring a policy mix that includes Keynesianism,Martin Jacques, Thomas Picketty and others like them around the world doenjoy some small influence with the pluralist-diversity camp. However, the demise of neoliberalism will not result from intellectual critiques regardless of the merits. On the contrary, the neoliberal social contract is solidifying not evolving toward dissolution. This is largely because the dynamics of the social order continue to favor it and the opposition is split between ultra-right nationalists, pluralists of varying sorts resting on hope of restoring Keynesian rationalism in the capitalist system, and the very weak and divided leftists in just about every country and especially the core ones. https://theconversation.com/if-we-are-reaching-neoliberal-capitalisms-end-days-what-comes-next-72366
Neoliberalism's inherent contradictions will result in its demise andthe transition into a new phase of capitalism. Among the most obvious and glaring contradictions is that the ideology promotes freedom and emancipation when in practice it is a totalitarian system aimed to mold society and the individual into conformity of its dogmatic market fundamentalism.Another contradiction is the emphasis of a borderless global market, while capitalists operate within national borders and are impacted by national policies that often collide at the international level as the competition intensifies for market share just as was the case in the four decades before the outbreak of WWI. Adding to the list of contradictions that finds expression the debate between neoliberal rightwingers and pluralists is the issue of "value-free" market fundamentalism while at the same time neoliberals conduct policy that has very strong moral consequences in peoples' lives precisely because of extremely uneven income distribution.
The enigma in neoliberalism's futureis the role of grassroots movements that are in a position to impact change but have failed thus far to make much impact. Most people embrace the neoliberal political parties serving the same capitalist class, operating under the illusion of a messiah politician delivering the promise of salvation either from the pluralist or authoritarian wing of neoliberalism. The turning point for systemic change emanates from within the system that fails to serve the vast majority of the people as it is riddled with contradictions that become more evident and the elites become increasingly contentious about how to divide the economic pie and how to mobilize popular support behind mainstream political parties so they can maintain the social order under an unsustainable political economy. At that juncture, the neoliberal social contract suffersan irrevocable crisis of public confidence on a mass scale. Regardless under which political regime neoliberalism operates, people will eventually reject hegemonic cultural indoctrination. A critical mass in society has not reached this juncture. Nevertheless, social discontinuity is an evolutionary process and the contradictions in neoliberalism will continue to cause political disruption, economic disequilibrium and social upheaval.
Jon V. Kofas , Ph.D. – Retired university professor of history – author of ten academic books and two dozens scholarly articles. Specializing in International Political economy, Kofas has taught courses and written on US diplomatic history, and the roles of the World Bank and IMF in the world.
Dec 01, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com
capatriot , 29 Aug 2012 15:49Good article. I especially like this:BradBenson , 29 Aug 2012 15:48
The more important objection is that the fact that a certain behavior is common does not negate its being corrupt. Indeed, as is true for government abuses generally, those in power rely on the willingness of citizens to be trained to view corrupt acts as so common that they become inured, numb, to its wrongfulness. Once a corrupt practice is sufficiently perceived as commonplace, then it is transformed in people's minds from something objectionable into something acceptable.
Because once we go from "corruption is getting more and more common; something must be done" to "meh," we are crossing from a flawed democratic republic to outright tyranny and oligarchy with little way back.
Besides, they don't all do it ... there are honorable reporters out there, some few of whom work for the Times and the Post.Another great article Glenn. The Guardian will spread your words further and wider. Salon's loss is the world's gain.CautiousOptimist , 29 Aug 2012 15:40
Why would anyone expect anything different from the Times, or any major U.S. Newspaper or media outlet? They are organs of the intelligence community and have been for many years. That these email were allowed to get out under FOIA is indicative of the fact that there are some people on the inside who would like to get the truth out. Either that, or the head of some ES-2's Assistant Deputy for Secret Shenanigans and Heinous Drone Murders will roll.Glenn - Any comments on the recently disclosed emails between the CIA and Kathryn Bigelow?CasualObs , 29 Aug 2012 15:32Scott Horton quote on closely related Mazzetti reporting (in this case regarding misleading reporting on how important CIA/Bush torture was in tracking down and getting bin Laden, the focus of this movie):Montecarlo2 , 29 Aug 2012 15:29
"I'm quite sure that this is precisely the way the folks who provided this info from the agency [to Mazzetti] wanted them to be understood, but there is certainly more than a measure of ambiguity in them, planted with care by the NYT writers or their editors. This episode shows again how easily the Times can be spun by unnamed government sources, the factual premises of whose statements invariably escape any examination."
I think the ridiculous and pathetic explanations by NYT in this case are, in part, due to the fact that they simply don't care enough to produce better answers. In their view, these CIA connections and those with other Govt. agencies are paramount, and must be maintained at all costs.
If you don't like their paper-thin answers, tough. In their view (imo) this will blow over and business will resume, with the all-important friends and connections intact. Thus leaving the machinery intact for future uncritical, biased and manipulative "spin" of NYT by any number of unnamed govt. sources/agencies...hominoid , 29 Aug 2012 15:27
In what conceivable way is Mazzetti's collusion with the CIA an "intelligence matter" that prevents the NYT's managing editor from explaining what happened here?
That one is easy, as we learned in the Valerie Plame affair. It is likely that the relationship is a little more formal than mere collusion.Just another step down the ladder towards despotism. "Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few" [George Bernard Shaw"LakerFan , 29 Aug 2012 15:13
The relationship between the New York Times and the US government is, as usual, anything but adversarial. Indeed, these emails read like the interactions between a PR representative and his client as they plan in anticipation of a possible crisis.
Has been since Judith Miller told us there were WMD in Iraq in 2003. They don't plan anticipations of crises, but the actual crises themselves. In a moral world, the NYT is as guilty of genocide as Bush and Blair.
The humor seems to go completely out of the issue when 100,000 people are dead and their families and futures changed forever.
Like I said, in a moral world....
Dec 01, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.comPouzar99 , 29 Aug 2012 17:36Great column. The NYT does do some good things, such as give us Paul Krugman three times a week, some important reporting and articulate editorial opposition to the republican nightmare, but they are much, much too close to the government, as evidenced by their asking for permission to print news the White House disapproves of.Burgsmueller -> Fulton , 29 Aug 2012 17:25
They are also devoted to denying their readers an accurate picture of American foreign policy. I frequently comment on threads there and my contributions nearly always get posted, except when I use the word empire. I have never succeeded in getting that word onto their website , nor have I seen it make it into anyone else's comment. It is like the famous episode of Fawlty Towers. "Don't mention the empire.'' Stories and commentaries sometimes describe specific aspects of US policy in negative terms, but connecting the dots is obviously forbidden.
Bill Keller is like a character from The Wire. The perfect example of the kind of authority-revering careerist that butt-kisses his way to the top in institutions.Shouldn't it be a bigger surprise that the CIA still needs to ask someone connected to find out what somebody else wrote on any electronic device?Fulton , 29 Aug 2012 17:16
In related news: http://business.financialpost.com/2012/08/29/spyware-can-take-over-iphone-and-blackberry-new-study-reveals/JoeFromBrooklyn -> worldcurious , 29 Aug 2012 17:10
most of the story seems to come down to the usual kind of thing we see from Judicial Watch - manufactured outrage over almost nothing
I think part of the outrage here is the extent to which it's almost hard to muster the energy because it's become so much the norm for the NYTimes to be in bed with whoever is in power in Washington at any given time. It's the sort of thing that should be "they did what!!!!?" but instead it's "yeah, well, Judith Miller, Wen Ho Lee, etcetc ... >long drawn-out sigh<." So, perhaps there is some manufacturing of outrage, but not unreasonably so if you take a step back and look at what's going on.
Having said that, still worrying that the CIA devotes time to finding out what Maureen Dowd might write!Learn to read. From the column:gunnison , 29 Aug 2012 17:05
"This cynicism – oh, don't be naive: this is done all the time – is precisely what enables such destructive behavior to thrive unchallenged.
It is true that Mazzetti's emails with the CIA do not shock or surprise in the slightest. But that's the point. With some noble journalistic exceptions (at the NYT and elsewhere), these emails reflect the standard full-scale cooperation – a virtual merger – between our the government and the establishment media outlets that claim to act as "watchdogs" over them."Anotherevertonian , 29 Aug 2012 16:42
Once a corrupt practice is sufficiently perceived as commonplace, then it is transformed in people's minds from something objectionable into something acceptable. Indeed, many people believe it demonstrates their worldly sophistication to express indifference toward bad behavior by powerful actors on the ground that it is so prevalent. This cynicism – oh, don't be naive: this is done all the time – is precisely what enables such destructive behavior to thrive unchallenged.
This is extremely important, and manifestly true. One runs into such people all the time. I haven't read any comments yet, but it would not surprise me to find some of them already here.
Even worse, I've done it myself on occasion, most recently just the other day on a Cif thread. Though I will say this; this kind of bullshit is not so much "transformed in people's minds from something objectionable into something acceptable ", as grudgingly transformed into something unstoppable , but still toxic and objectionable.
That's mighty thin gruel as an alibi, but the reality for a lot of ordinary working people is they get fucking tired of it, and yes, they do get discouraged, then cynical and hardened to it all. That, of course, is part of the plan.
Keep swinging Glenn. This shit matters.The NYT is as stuffed-full of spook urinals, bottom-feeders and intelligence officers as...The Guardian?Montecarlo2 -> jaytingle , 29 Aug 2012 16:42
I'm more shocked than I can feign.Ahzeld , 29 Aug 2012 16:33
"The optics aren't what they look like." Is Dean Baquet related to Yogi Berra?
Yogi Berra anticipated this problem: "You can observe a lot by watching".I'm unaware of a "source" being a person who requests documents from the reporter for doing damage control on behalf of the boss. (Not that I'd worry about Dowd either.) How exactly is this secret national intel? I'm glad this came out. We are being manipulated by the govt. through its minions in the media. The entire incident, from the glorious movie to this revelation is a fraud.jaytingle , 29 Aug 2012 16:31
I found this interesting example of media manipulation at nakedcapitalsim.org: "Pro-marijuana group endorses Obama The Hill. This purported group, which claims 10,000 members, appears to be just one guy with a PO Box and a press list. But don't count on your average reporter digging deeper than the news release.": Read more at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/08/links-82812.html#717LX1oL7dfPsb7I.99
The breadth and depth of propagandizing of citizens is astounding. I wonder what it's like to have so little integrity. What kind of person so readily sells out their fellow citizen with lies? It's scary because people read these things and they have no idea they are lies. People are making decisions based on manufactured "facts". It's very difficult to find actual information and I can tell you from personal experience, Obama supporters cling desperately to "authorities" like the NYTimes to maintain their belief in the goodness of dear leader."The optics aren't what they look like."paperclipper , 29 Aug 2012 16:15
Is Dean Baquet related to Yogi Berra?This weird big-brother relationship goes both ways. A few years ago the New York Times reported that there had been a successful coup in Venezuela - toppling Chavez. The story turned out to be inaccurate. The NY Times finally revealed their source - US State Dept... who were using NYT to give critical mass and support to their dream end to a thorn in their side.brianboru1014 , 29 Aug 2012 16:07
Nice investigative journalism. A couple of years ago the NYTmade a big deal of publicly firing a low level writer for making up articles from his NY apt when he was supposed to be in the field. He was hardly the worst of the bunch.Great article and thankfully I do not trust big newspapers in the USA especially the New York Times since it has being caught lying about Weapons of Mass Destructions in Iraq to justify the Iraq War. Judith Millar was the liar then. Read CounterPunch and smaller publications for the truth. The NYT is all about selling ads on a Sunday. It really is a corrupt rag.GlennGreenwald -> MonaHol , 29 Aug 2012 16:04MonaHolJinTexas , 29 Aug 2012 16:02
Ooh la-la. Snooty! Can Greenwald survive the devastatingly profound criticisms being lobbed in his new venue?
Who will be the first commenter to leave the classic devastating critique:
"The author fails to present a balanced view, showing only one side. The author's argument has no substance and is not really worth anything.""The New York Times-all the news the CIA decided is fit to print."JinTexas , 29 Aug 2012 16:00"the optics aren't what they look like" – is one of the most hilariously incoherent utterances seen in some time."AhBrightWings , 29 Aug 2012 15:59
"this didn't come from me and please delete after you read." -- Mazzetti
This could serve as the epitaph for our times. This (Shock and Awe, drones, the Apache Massacre, Guantanamo, killing children, etc.) didn't come from US (even though it did) because ...our crimes can be deleted through that magical "we're too big and bad to fail" button.
See, nothing to worry about.
(Except future historians who will not be blindfolded and gagged and who will therefore have some choice things to say about the journalists who were fully complicit in the crimes of this lawless era.)
Sep 21, 2018 | www.wsws.org
The New York Times published a fraudulent and provocative "special report" Thursday titled "The plot to subvert an election."
Replete with sinister looking graphics portraying Russian President Vladimir Putin as a villainous cyberage cyclops, the report purports to untangle "the threads of the most effective foreign campaign in history to disrupt and influence an American election."
The report could serve as a textbook example of CIA-directed misinformation posing as "in-depth" journalism. There is no news, few substantiated facts and no significant analysis presented in the 10,000-word report, which sprawls over 11 ad-free pages of a separate section produced by the Times.
The article begins with an ominous-sounding recounting of two incidents in which banners were hung from bridges in New York City and Washington in October and November of 2016, one bearing the likeness of Putin over a Russian flag with the word "peacemaker," and the other that of Obama and the slogan "Goodbye Murderer."
It acknowledges that "police never identified who had hung the banners," but nonetheless goes on to assert that: "The Kremlin, it appeared, had reached onto United States soil in New York and Washington. The banners may well have been intended as visual victory laps for the most effective foreign interference in an American election in history." The article begins with an ominous-sounding recounting of two incidents in which banners were hung from bridges in New York City and Washington in October and November of 2016, one bearing the likeness of Putin over a Russian flag with the word "peacemaker," and the other that of Obama and the slogan "Goodbye Murderer."
It acknowledges that "police never identified who had hung the banners," but nonetheless goes on to assert that: "The Kremlin, it appeared, had reached onto United States soil in New York and Washington. The banners may well have been intended as visual victory laps for the most effective foreign interference in an American election in history."
Why does it "appear" to be the Kremlin? What is the evidence to support this claim? Among the 8.5 million inhabitants of New York City and another 700,000 in Washington, D.C., aren't there enough people who might despise Obama as much as, if not a good deal more than, Vladimir Putin?
This absurd passage with its "appeared" and "may well have" combined with the speculation about the Kremlin extending its evil grip onto "United States soil" sets the tone for the entire piece, which consists of the regurgitation of unsubstantiated allegations made by the US intelligence agencies, Democratic and Republican capitalist politicians and the Times itself.
The authors, Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti, complain about a lack of "public comprehension" of the "Trump-Russia" story. Indeed, despite the two-year campaign of anti-Russian hysteria whipped up in Washington and among the affluent sections of the upper-middle class that constitute the target audience of the Times , polls have indicated that the charges of Russian "meddling" in the 2016 presidential election have evoked little popular response among the
Aug 30, 2012 | www.theguardian.com
samesamesame , 1 Sep 2012 13:02bin laden gave terror a face. how conveeeenient for warmongers everywhere!loftytom , 1 Sep 2012 10:40kantarakamara , 1 Sep 2012 10:04
I assume we're going to see a NYT expose on the large scale dodgy dealings of the Guardian Unlimited group then?
They could start with the tax dodging hypocrisy first. http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2012/05/16/has-the-guardian-exploited-tax-loopholes-to-save-millions/"@smartypants54Therealguyfaux -> Montecarlo2 , 1 Sep 2012 07:48
29 August 2012 9:44PM
I've often wondered what you think of the journalism of someone like Seymour Hirsch. (sic) He broke some very important stories by cozying up to moles in the MIC.
You'e confusing apples with oranges. Hersh seeks information on issues that outrage him. These do not usually include propaganda for the intelligence agencies, but information they would like to suppress. He's given secret information because he appears to his informers as someone who has a long record of integrity.It's straight outta that old joke about the husband being caught by his wife in flagrante delicto with the pretty young lady neighbour, who then tells his wife that he and his bit on the side weren't doing anything: "And who do you believe-- me, or your lying eyes?"Haigin88 , 1 Sep 2012 06:58New York Times a.k.a. The Langley Newsletterglobalsage , 1 Sep 2012 06:32CIA in collusion with mainstream newspaper NYT. And you call this news ?snookie -> LakerFan , 1 Sep 2012 05:46collusion between the us media and the us government goes back much, much further. Chomsky has plenty of stuff about this...hlkcna , 1 Sep 2012 02:28The NYTimes has its own agenda and bends the news that's fit to print. Journalistic integrity? LOL. No one beat the war drums louder for Bush's Neocons before the Iraq war. Draining our nation's resources, getting young Americans killed (they didn't come from the 1%, you see). The cradle of civilization that's the Iraqi landscape wiped out. Worst, 655,000 Iraqis lost their lives, said British medical journal Lancet, creating 2.5mn each internal & external refugees.Grandfield , 1 Sep 2012 00:56
Following the pre-Iraq embellishment, NYT covered up its deeds by sacrificing Journalist Judith Miller. As Miller answered a post-war court case, none other than Chairman & CEO Arthur Sulzberger jr. locked arms with her as they entered the courtroom.
The NYT never dwelled on the numbers of Iraqis killed. Up to a few weeks ago, its emphasis on the current Syrian tragedy is to inform us on the hundreds or thousands who've lost their lives.
World financial meltdown? When Sanford Weill of Citi pushed for the repeal of Glass-Steagall late 1990's, the FDR era 17-page law separating commercial from investment banks, a measure that's preserved the nation's banking integrity for over half a century, the Nyt added its megaphone to the task, urging Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin to comply, editorializing In 1988: "Few economic historians now find the logic behind Glass-Steagall persuasive" . In 1990, that "banks and stocks were a dangerous mixture" "makes little sense now."
NYT, a liberal icon? In year 2000, when I lived in NYC, New York Daily News columnist A.M. Rosenthal used to regularly demonize China in language surpassing even Rush Limbaugh. I told myself nah, that's not the Rosenthal-former-editor of the NYT. Only when I read his obituary a few years later did I learn that it was indeed the same one.Well of course. And just off the top of my head I recall the editor of one of a British major was an MI5 agent; this is in the public domain.weallshineon , 1 Sep 2012 00:42We pledge subservience to the Owners of the United Corporations of America, and to the Oligarchy for which it stands, one Greed under God, indivisible, with power and wealth for few.JET2023 -> MonaHol , 31 Aug 2012 21:53
NOAM CHOMSKY _MANUFACTURING CONSENT haven't read it? read it. read it? read it again.
thought totalitarianism and the ruling class died in 1945? think again. thought you wouldn't have to fight like grandpa's generation to live in a democratic and just society? think again.
You are not the 1 percent.Would that we could hold these discussions without reference to personal defamations -- "darkened ignorance" and "educate yourself" which sounds like "f___ yourself". Why can't we just say "I respectfully disagree"? Alas, when discussing political issues with leftists, that seems impossible. Why the vitriol?JoshuaFlynn , 31 Aug 2012 20:15
Greenwald's more lengthy posts make it clear that he believes that people who differ with him are "lying" and basing their viewpoint upon "a single right wing blogger". He chooses this explanation over the obvious and accurate one -- legal rationales developed by the Office of Legal Counsel during the Bush administration. The date of Greenwald's archive is February 19, 2006. Oddly, he bases all of his contentions upon whatever he could glean up to that date. But the legal rationale for warrantless wiretaps was based upon memos written by John Yoo at the OLC that Greenwald did not have access to in 2006. The memos were not released until after Obama took office in 2009.
Obama released them in a highly publicized press conference staged for maximum political impact. Greenwald could not possibly have understood the legal rationale for the program since he had not been privy to them until March 2009 if, indeed, he has bothered to acquaint himself with them since then. Either way, nobody was "lying" except those who could have understood the full dimension and willfully chose to hide or ignore the truth. It's not exactly like I am new to this subject as you seem to imply. I wrote a 700 page book about Obama administration duplicity in this same vein. An entire chapter is devoted to this very topic.
Warrantless wiretaps were undertaken after a legal ruling from OLC. And after Obama took office, warrantless wiretaps were continued. Obviously since they were based upon OLC rulings, since no prosecutions have ever been suggested and since they have continued uninterrupted after Obama took office, the Justice Department under both administrations agrees with me and disagrees with Greenwald. We arrive at this disagreement respectfully. Despite Obama's voluminous denunciations of the Bush anti-terror approach on the campaign trail, he resurrected nearly every plank of it once he took office.
But this is a subsidiary point to a far larger point that some observers on this discussion to their credit were able to understand. Despite all of these pointless considerations, the larger point of my original post was that Greenwald missed the "real" story here, which was that the collusion between NYT and CIA was not due to institutional considerations as Greenwald seems to allege, but due to purely partisan considerations. That, to me, is the story he missed.
I find that people who are losing debates try to shift the focus to subsidiary points hoping that, like a courtroom lawyer, if they can refute a small and inconsequential detail raised in testimony, they will undercut the larger truth offered by the witness. It won't work. Too much is on the record. And neither point, the ankle-biting non-issue about legality of warrantless wiretaps or the larger, salient point about the overt partisan political dimension of NYT's collusion with a political appointee at CIA who serves on the Obama reelection committee, has been refuted.
Author, "Change You Can REALLY Believe In: The Obama Legacy of Broken Promises and Failed Policies"Conspiracy theorists, have been, of course, telling you this for years (given media's motive is profit and not honesty). I suppose the exact same conspiracy theorists other guardian authors have been too eager to denounce previously?MonaHol -> JET2023 , 31 Aug 2012 18:50JET2023 -> Franklymydear0 , 31 Aug 2012 18:43
The NSA wiretap program revealed by Risen was not illegal as Greenwald wrongly asserts. As long as one end of the intercepted conservation originated on foreign soil as it did, it was perfectly legal and required no FISA court authorization.
Mr. Toomey, in 2006 Greenwald published a compendium of legal arguments defending the Bush Admin's warrantless wiretapping and the (sound) rebuttals of them. It is exhaustive, and covers your easily dispensed with argument. By way of introduction to his many links to his aggregated, rigorous analyses of the legal issues, he wrote this:
I didn't just wake up one day and leap to the conclusion that the Administration broke the law deliberately and that there are no reasonable arguments to defend that law-breaking (as many Bush followers leaped to the conclusion that he did nothing wrong and then began their hunt to find rationale or advocates to support this conclusion). I arrived at the conclusion that Bush clearly broke the law only by spending enormous amounts of time researching these issues and reading and responding to the defenses from the Administration's apologists.
He did spend enormous time dealing with people such as yourself, and all of his work remains available for you to educate yourself with, at the link provided above.Maybe you'd like to explain that to Samuel Loring Morison who was convicted and spent years in the federal system for passing classified information to Janes Defence Weekly. I'm sure he'd be entertained. Larry Franklin would also like to hear it. He's in prison today for violating the Espionage Act.utkarsh356 , 31 Aug 2012 12:39
Courts have recognized no press privilege exists when publishing classified data. In 1971, the Supreme Court vacated a prior restraint against NYT and The Washington Post allowing them to publish the Pentagon Papers. But the court also observed that prosecutions after-the-fact would be permissible and not involve an abridgement of the free speech clause. It was only the prior restraint that gave the justices heartburn. They had no issue with throwing them in the slammer after the deed was done.
Thomas Drake, a former NSA official, was indicted and convicted after revealing information to reporters in 2010. The statute covers mere possession which even NYT recognized could cover reporters as well. There have been numerous other instances of arrests, indictments and prosecutions for disclosure to reporters. It's only been due to political calculations and not constitutional limitations that have kept Risen and others out of prison.Manufacturing Consent: The political economy of mass media by Noam Chomsky can perhaps explain most of the media behaviour.HiggsBoson1984 , 31 Aug 2012 12:26The NYT has been infiltrated for decades by CIA agents. Just notice their dogged reporting on the completely debunked "lone-gunman" JFK theory---they will always report that Oswald acted alone---this is the standard CIA story, pushed and maintained by the NYT despite overwhelming evidence that there was a conspiracy (likely involving the CIA).Leviathan212 , 31 Aug 2012 10:54What outrages me the most is the NYT's condescending attitude towards its readers when caught in this obvious breach of journalistic ethics.Leviathan212 -> AnnaMc , 31 Aug 2012 10:28
Both Baquet and Abramson, rather than showing some humility or contrition, are acting as if nothing bad has happened, and that we are stupid to even talk about this.ranroddeb , 31 Aug 2012 10:10
This article misses the elephant in the room. Namely, that the NYT only plays footsies with Democrats in positions of power. With the 'Pubs, it's open season.
Not true. There are many examples of the NYT colluding with the Bush administration, some of which Glenn has mentioned in this article. Take, for example, the fact that the NYT concealed Bush's wire-tapping program for almost a year, at the request of the White House, and didn't release details until after Bush's re-election." The optics aren't what they look like " This phrase brings to mind the old Dem catch phrase " Who you gonna believe me or your lying eyes? " .
Sep 21, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
daffyDuct , Sep 20, 2018 8:21:06 PM | linkWoodward, "Fear" pg 82-85
"After the security briefing and everyone cleared out, McCabe shut the door to Priebus's office. This is very weird, thought Priebus, who was standing by his desk.
"You know this story in The New York Times?" Priebus knew it all too well.
McCabe was referring to a recent Times story of February 14 that stated, "Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the elections, according to four current and former American officials."
The story was one of the first bombs to go off about alleged Trump-Russian connections after Flynn's resignation.
"It's total bullshit," McCabe said. "It's not true, and we want you to know that. It's grossly overstated."
Oh my God, thought Priebus. "Andrew," he said to the FBI deputy, "I'm getting killed." The story about Russia and election meddling seemed to be running 24/7 on cable news, driving Trump bananas and therefore driving Priebus bananas. "This is crazy," Trump had told Priebus. "We've got to stop it. We need to end the story." McCabe had just walked in with a big gift, a Valentine's Day present. I'm going to be the hero of this entire West Wing, Priebus thought.
"Can you help me?" Priebus asked. "Could this knockdown of the story be made public?"
"Call me in a couple of hours," McCabe said. "I will ask around and I'll let you know. I'll see what I can do."
Priebus practically ran to report to Trump the good news that the FBI would soon be shooting down the Times story
Two hours passed and no call from McCabe. Priebus called him."I'm sorry, I can't," McCabe said. "There's nothing I can do about it. I tried, but if we start issuing comments on individual stories, we'll be doing statements every three days." The FBI could not become a clearinghouse for the accuracy of news stories. If the FBI tried to debunk certain stories, a failure to comment could be seen as a confirmation.
"Andrew, you're the one that came to my office to tell me this is a BS story, and now you're telling me there's nothing you can do?" McCabe said that was his position.
"This is insanity," Priebus said. "What am I supposed to do? Just suffer, bleed out?" "Give me a couple more hours." Nothing happened. No call from the FBI. Priebus tried to explain to Trump, who was waiting for a recanting. It was another reason for Trump to distrust and hate the FBI, a pernicious tease that left them dangling.
About a week later on February 24 CNN reported an exclusive: "FBI Refused White House Request to Knock Down Recent Trump-Russia Story." Priebus was cast as trying to manipulate the FBI for political purposes.
The White House tried and failed to correct the story and show that McCabe had initiated the matter.
Four months later on June 8, Comey testified under oath publicly that the original New York Times story on the Trump campaign aides' contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials "in the main was not true."
BM , Sep 21, 2018 8:38:36 AM | linkThe Mueller Hoax is unraveling.David , Sep 20, 2018 4:37:34 PM | link
Posted by: Sid2 | Sep 20, 2018 3:03:44 PM | 3
The Mueller Hoax is unraveling, and concommittently the NYT is digging in; ergo , the NYT is also unravelling! The NYT will permanently damage its reputation with its own readers.I love how the NYT mentions how no public evidence has emerged, to skirt around the fact that if there were internal evidence (from some gov agency or private citizen) it would've leaked by now. There is no such thing as evidence which hasn't been leaked in an alleged scandal of this size.karlof1 , Sep 20, 2018 4:40:58 PM | link
Further, the corporate news media gave Trump something like $2 billion dollars worth of advertising in free airtime. That's a much larger impact -- around 20 times Clinton's campaign costs IIRC -- than any alleged hacked e-mails (though the e-mails were leaked not hacked, and that played a role. As well as the FBI's investigation into Clinton's illegal email server which was public fact at the time) or social media interference.
Banks, defense contractors and oil companies decide who the President is and what their Cabinet will look like (see Obama's leaked CitiBank memo "recommending" executives to his 2009 Cabinet). Russians and the American people do not.John Pilger's essay: Hold the Front Page, the Reporters are Missing appropriately describes this BigLie media item b dissected, while also observing, "Although journalism was always a loose extension of establishment power, something has changed in recent years," prior to providing Why this is so.karlof1 , Sep 20, 2018 4:59:56 PM | link15 Cont'd:karlof1 , Sep 20, 2018 4:59:56 PM | link james , Sep 20, 2018 5:04:45 PM | link
Want to highlight this additional bit from Pilger:
"Journalism students should study this [New book from Media Lens Propaganda Blitz ] to understand that the source of "fake news" is not only trollism, or the likes of Fox news, or Donald Trump, but a journalism self-anointed with a false respectability: a liberal journalism that claims to challenge corrupt state power but, in reality, courts and protects it, and colludes with it.
The amorality of the years of Tony Blair, whom the Guardian has failed to rehabilitate, is its echo. [My emphasis]
IMO, the bolded text well describes BigLie Media. I wonder what George Seldes would say differently from Pilger if he were alive. Unfortunately, Pilger failed to include MoA as a source in his short list of sites having journalistic integrity.on journalism and it being usurped by social media behemoths google, facebook, twitter and etc - i found this cbc radio) interview last night worth recommending..jrkrideau , Sep 20, 2018 5:46:02 PM | linkThat New York Times piece was amazing. Belief anything the US Gov't/anti-Russian lobby and other nut cases tell you, unquestioningly. Investigative journalism at its best!
Accept the most stupid evidence with blinking an eye. Even if one believes the collusion argument, try to be a bit critical. And always believe that a GRU hacker will put Felix Dzerzinnsky's name in their program. For heaven's sake he was Cheka, the forerunner of the KGB, not the GRU which was military intelligence.
Aug 30, 2012 | www.theguardian.comChris Harlos , 29 Aug 2012 19:01The New York Crimes. The seamless web of media, government, business: a totalitarian system. Darkly amusing, perhaps, unless one begins to tally the damage.rrheard , 29 Aug 2012 18:36
USA Inc. Viva Death,
Did you hear the one about the investment banker whose very expensive hooker bite off his crank?I'm not sure what's scarier--that the CIA is spending taxpayer dollars spending even a split second worrying about what a two bit hack like Maureen Dowd writes, or that the NY Times principals are so institutionally "captured" that they parrot "CIA speak".024601 -> SanFranDouglas , 29 Aug 2012 18:32
Well what's actually scarier is that Operation Mockingbird has never stopped.
Or maybe that our purported public servants in the legislature are bipartisanly and openly attempting to repeal portions of the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 1987 banning domestic propaganda.
America is becoming a real sick joke. And the last to know will be about 65% of the populace I like to call Sheeple.Very depressing. I thought we would get a smart bunch over here. The major trend I've noticed instead? Blind support for the empire and the apparatus that keeps it thriving. Unable to be good little authoritarians and cheer for the now collapsing British Empire, they have to cheer for it's natural predecessor, the American Empire. This includes attacking all those who might question the absolute infallible of The Empire. Folks like.. Glenn. It is fascinating to watch, if not disheartening.SanFranDouglas -> smartypants54 , 29 Aug 2012 18:29shenebraskan -> Jpolicoff , 29 Aug 2012 18:12
So all cozying up to spooks is not always a bad thing, huh?
Just my point.
I see. I thought your point was that there was some sort of equivalence between Hersh's development of sources to reveal truths that their agencies fervently wished to keep secret and Mazzetti's active assistance in protecting an agency's image from sullying by fellow journalists.
I guess I stand corrected. . .And that ended his career in government service, as it should have...or not:Jpolicoff , 29 Aug 2012 18:01
From Wikipedia: John O. Brennan is chief counterterrorism advisor to U.S. President Barack Obama; officially his title is Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and Assistant to the President.Unfortunately this is nothing new for Mazetti or the New York Times, nor is it the first time Glenn Greenwald has called Mazetti out on his cozy relationship with the CIA:CitizenTM , 29 Aug 2012 17:52
The CIA and its reporter friends: Anatomy of a backlash
The coordinated, successful effort to implant false story lines about John Brennan illustrates the power the intelligence community wields over political debates.
Glenn Greenwald Dec. 08, 2008 |
...Just marvel at how coordinated (and patently inaccurate) their messaging is, and -- more significantly -- how easily they can implant their message into establishment media outlets far and wide, which uncritically publish what they're told from their cherished "intelligence sources" and without even the pretense of verifying whether any of it is true and/or hearing any divergent views:
Mark Mazzetti and Scott Shane, New York Times, 12/2/2008:
Last week, John O. Brennan, a C.I.A. veteran who was widely seen as Mr. Obama's likeliest choice to head the intelligence agency, withdrew his name from consideration after liberal critics attacked his alleged role in the agency's detention and interrogation program. Mr. Brennan protested that he had been a "strong opponent" within the agency of harsh interrogation tactics, yet Mr. Obama evidently decided that nominating Mr. Brennan was not worth a battle with some of his most ardent supporters on the left.
Mr. Obama's search for someone else and his future relationship with the agency are complicated by the tension between his apparent desire to make a clean break with Bush administration policies he has condemned and concern about alienating an agency with a central role in the campaign against Al Qaeda.
Mark M. Lowenthal, an intelligence veteran who left a senior post at the C.I.A. in 2005, said Mr. Obama's decision to exclude Mr. Brennan from contention for the top job had sent a message that "if you worked in the C.I.A. during the war on terror, you are now tainted," and had created anxiety in the ranks of the agency's clandestine service.
...The story, by Mark Mazzetti and Scott Shane, noted that John O. Brennan had withdrawn his name from consideration for CIA director after liberal critics attacked his role in the agency's interrogation program, even though Brennan characterized himself as a "strong opponent" within the agency of harsh interrogation techniques. Brennan's characterization was not disputed by anyone else in the story, even though most experts on this subject agree that Brennan acquiesced in everything that the CIA did in this area while he served there.
http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/12/08/cia/print.htmlThe Government leaks classified material at will for propaganda advantage, but hunts Assange and tortures Private Manning for the same.tballou , 29 Aug 2012 17:51"these emails reflect the standard full-scale cooperation – a virtual merger – between our the government and the establishment media outlets that claim to act as "watchdogs" over them."SanFranDouglas -> OneWorldGovernment , 29 Aug 2012 17:51
Glenn - the only objection I have to your column and all your previous columns on this matter is that I am not sure the establishment media actually claim to be watchdogs, at least not any more, and certainly not since Sept 11. They really are more like PR reps.OneWorldGovernment , 29 Aug 2012 17:44
The media is another tool in the [government, in this case] arsenal to help send a message, as are speeches before think tanks and etc.
Yes. The issue under discussion here, however, is the extent to which the media is an eager partner in the message-sending, rather than an unwitiing tool.Did everyone forget the Judith Miller article? The usage of Twitter and other social media during the Iranian election of 2009? The leaks about the Iranian nuclear program in the Telegraph? ARDA?SanFranDouglas -> smartypants54 , 29 Aug 2012 17:42
The U.S. government, along with every other government in the world, uses the media to influence public opinion and send geopolitical messages to others that understand the message (normally not the masses). The media is another tool in the arsenal to help send a message, as are speeches before think tanks and etc.
We use social media to create social unrest if it aligns with our interests. We use the media to send political messages and influence public opinion. The vast majority of reporting in the N.Y. Times, WSJ, Guardian, Telegraph, and etc. do not reflect this, but every now and then "unnamed sources" help further a geopolitical message.
In this country, it has been that way since before the founding fathers and the Republic. Remember the Federalist, Anti-Federalist, Sam Adams as Vtndex, and etc.? Newspapers used for "propaganda" purposes.DuErJournalist , 29 Aug 2012 17:42
Upthread I asked him for his comments on the reporting of Seymour Hirsh. He is someone who cozied up to all kinds of people - and wound up busting some extremely important stories in the process.
I think a modest amount of review of Sy Hersh's work will demonstrate that his "cozying up" hasn't included running interference for the spooks' official PR flacks.The New York Times: Burn after reading!
Aug 30, 2012 | www.theguardian.comPindi -> LakerFan , 30 Aug 2012 00:46Tujays , 30 Aug 2012 00:40
In a moral world, the NYT is as guilty of genocide as Bush and Blair.
As indeed are most UK newspapers, including the Graun.
Another great article Glen, please keep them coming."The moviemakers are getting top-level access to the most classified mission in history from an administration that has tried to throw more people in jail for leaking classified information than the Bush administration."smartypants54 -> MonaHol , 29 Aug 2012 23:31
-- Maureen Dowd
Downgrade Blues, Aug. 6, 2011, NYTI would have answered just as OnYourMarx has done. Most every story Hersh broke was from a series of well-developed relationships within CIA and/or MIC.smartypants54 -> TallyHoGazehound , 29 Aug 2012 23:24
In terms of its relevance, it seems to me that any real journalist worth their salt does this. And so rather than deride those who have relationships with government sources, we need to dig a bit deeper and ask ourselves what distinguishes the kind Hersh developed from those that are problematic.Excuse me for thinking that perhaps in the context of a discussion about the relationship between the media and government, it might be helpful to talk about how journalists can actually use their relationships with people in the government to break important stories. So I noted my thoughts about Hersh and asked for his.coramnobis -> smartypants54 , 29 Aug 2012 23:19
Contrary to "gotcha," I thought it might be an opportunity to take the conversation a bit deeper. As with what I said about humor, its no skin off my nose if no one takes me up on it. The only reason I brought it up later is because someone suggested perhaps I should attempt to engage on a more substantive level...which I had done.
I've been completely upfront about the fact that I disagree with Glenn on most things (although I'll just point out that I did comment about how much I agreed with his article on authoritarianism). So please also excuse me while I try to learn all the rules about what is ok and not ok to talk about and how I'm supposed to do that properly in order to satisfy someone like you.
But thanks for ultimately getting back to the point in talking about the difference being what emerges from the "cozy relationship." I actually disagree with that though. I think it depends on the journalist's ability to do critical thinking and questioning. If they're merely stenographers or are simply set on finding something negative - either way they corrupt what the real story might be.coramnobis -> BlackHawke , 29 Aug 2012 23:15
Let's clear up one thing...Maureen Down is not a journalist OR a reporter. She is opinion columnist.
You can suggest that there's a qualitative difference between journalists and reporters, but Dowd is neither one. So to me, the distinction when it comes to her is meaningless.
If that is so, then why would the CIA be so interested in what she wrote? And why would a NYT employee pass an unpublished draft to them without, presumably, checking with an editor? "See, nothing to worry about," indeed.MonaHol -> OnYourMarx , 29 Aug 2012 23:13
Frankly, I don't even understand what your hang up is. Was Marzetti supposed to violate this woman's trust? Is he not supposed to talk to government officials in order to report the news, which is the whole raison d'etre of his career.
For one thing, Marzetti apparently passed a draft of a Maureen Dowd column for vetting by the CIA . Her importance, or not, as a columnist or pundit aside, why would a NYT employee slip material to a gov't agency? That's the skillset of an informant, not a journalist.
I didn't think Ms. Dowd was that important to our nation's security, but that aside, why pass company material to outsiders?
"This song was known to everybody. A book was afterward printed, with a regular license He happened to select and print in his journal this song ... He was seised in his bed that night and has been never since heard of. Our excellent journal de Paris then is suppressed and this bold traitor has been in jail now three weeks Thus you see, madam, the value of energy in government; our feeble republic would in such a case have probably been wrapt in the flames of war and desolation for want of a power lodged in a single hand to punish summarily those who write songs."
-- Thomas Jefferson, in Paris, to Abigail Adams, June 21, 1785Right, and I knew some of that. However I was after the other commenter's notions of what he meant by saying Hersh "cozyd up" to CIA and MIC ppl, with an eye to figuring out why s/he thinks Hersh and his sources have relevance to the article being discussed.TallyHoGazehound -> smartypants54 , 29 Aug 2012 22:58OnYourMarx , 29 Aug 2012 22:50
I've often wondered what you think of the journalism of someone like Seymour Hirsch. He broke some very important stories by cozying up to moles in the MIC.
And I assumed Glenn supported Hirsh's work.
It's been kind of a long day. And, it's possible that I either need another drink, or to simply hit the sack. So, apologies if this comes off sounding less than supportive. While you're busy wondering and assuming , you might better advance your case if you also did a little Googling . And, pro tip, it wouldn't hurt to spell Hersh's name correctly. Lends credibility, methinks.
I'd suggest that you were ignored because of the gotcha flavor to the way you tried to engage. I would also suggest that if Glenn thought you were asking your question with some sincere intent, he might answer that it depends on how that coziness is conducted, and what emerges from that "cozy relationship." Dan Gillmor's piece - to which Glenn links - on this subject may add some additional insight.
In other words, if you're gonna do gotcha it helps not to show your hand too soon, or be quite so transparent. One could do a little research first and bring their best game.@MonaHot: Hersh's New Yorker piece about Bush regime ramping up against Iran in 2008. Robert Baer of the CIA was at least one of his sources for that piece. In fact the film Syriana based Clooney's character on Baer.MonaHol -> smartypants54 , 29 Aug 2012 22:25
Richard Armitage is the other MIC dude that comes to mind when thinking back on Hersh's stories. There must be countless of them, though, including Saudis and Israelis who work to provide info to the MIC.MonotonousLanguor , 29 Aug 2012 22:21
And I assumed Glenn supported Hirsh's work. That's why I brought him up. He cozys up to MIC folks as well. So its important to make a distinction between cozying up to break important stories and cozying up to get access to power...a distinction that Glenn didn't make.
What do you mean by claiming Hersh "cozys up" to MIC ppl? And what would be a specific example of a story he broke after doing that?The American Mega-Media has long been in the bag of Corporatism. Long gone are the days of reporters challenging the Military. During the Vietnam War the Military Briefings were Derisively called the Five O' Clock Follies.RobspierreRules , 29 Aug 2012 22:17
Today, the Wall Street-Security-Military Industrial Complex is unchallenged. Exaggerated respect is shown to the Military. Many of the Reporters who called in question the Political-Military establishment during Vietnam were muted during the second invasion of Iraq. None of lessons that Vietnam should have taught them about the lengths the Government would go to such as out right lies, and covert deceit were learned. Perhaps they were cowed into cooperation.
Julian Assange who should be seen as a hero to the free press was vilified by our corporate press. Assange did the work a free press and a real reporter should perform.Pravda e Izvestiasmartypants54 -> walkin , 29 Aug 2012 22:10Let's clear up one thing...Maureen Down is not a journalist OR a reporter. She is opinion columnist.BlackHawke , 29 Aug 2012 22:07
You can suggest that there's a qualitative difference between journalists and reporters, but Dowd is neither one. So to me, the distinction when it comes to her is meaningless.
And I assumed Glenn supported Hirsh's work. That's why I brought him up. He cozys up to MIC folks as well. So its important to make a distinction between cozying up to break important stories and cozying up to get access to power...a distinction that Glenn didn't make.
Finally, I have no need whatsoever for anyone to laugh with me. I just found the juxtaposition of Dowd and reporting to be funny. Someone said something similar and I added my agreement. If its not funny to you - ignore it. Not sure why you'd think I'd expect anything else.Mr. Grenwald, let's not make more of this than it's worth. I see nothing wrong with newspapers working with government agencies in order to report their news to their readership. Frankly, I don't even understand what your hang up is. Was Marzetti supposed to violate this woman's trust? Is he not supposed to talk to government officials in order to report the news, which is the whole raison d'etre of his career.walkin -> Andrew Wood , 29 Aug 2012 22:05You wrote:shenebraskan -> AhBrightWings , 29 Aug 2012 21:59
Mr Greenwald, please don't pretend that journalism has only just 'degraded'
If the sub-header had read "Mark Mazzetti's emails with the CIA expose the degradation of journalism that has only just lost the imperative to be a check to power" then you would have a case.
It doesn't, and you don't.
Next time read past the sub-header. You might get more out of it.walkin -> smartypants54 , 29 Aug 2012 21:58
About those fabled "handouts" ...where are they?
Exactly. Not coming from the so-called socialistic/communistic Democrat party either. In fact, the only reference I have seen to poverty since John Edwards in 2008 (he who shall not be named!) is on the front page of HuffPo, where there are Shadow Conventions, one of which concerns Poverty in America. There was a book in 1962, The Other America by Michael Harrington. We are well on our way to having that be The Only America , at least for the vast majority of us.Andrew Wood -> GlennGreenwald , 29 Aug 2012 21:50
I'd agree that the comment Glenn responded to was pretty superficial. I was just laughing with another commenter at the idea of Dowd doing any actual reporting.
What's interesting to me is that's the one Glenn responded to. And yet when I asked what I believe was a pretty substantive question about where the reporting of someone like Seymour Hirsh [sic] fits into his critique of journalism, he ignores it.
Superficial? He responded because, intentionally or not, you misrepresented what he said. While you may not have appreciated the difference, "reporting" and "journalism" are qualitatively (there's that word you don't like) different things.
It takes very little in the way of courage, skill or talent to work as a "reporter" for a major mainstream newspaper like the New York Times. For most pieces that the government has an interest in spinning (like the one under discussion), this is how it works: 1. Type up the words of anonymous officials, 2. Submit your article to those same officials for "fact-checking," censorship and approval, 3. Retire for the day.
Greenwald, a constitutional lawyer, and not a trained journalist, on the other hand, is doing real journalism, and putting most reporters to shame in the process. I can count on a single hand the number of reporters in the U.S. who deserve, like Greenwald, to have the term of art "journalism" applied to their work. Hersh is one of them, and in this context, there isn't any more to say with regards to a "critique."
As far as Glenn's own position goes, you can read any number of articles where he has praised Hersh's work. Just Google it.
That said, by joining the Guardian, Greenwald has graduated to a milieu where he rightly expects higher standards, in both professional practice and in the quality of his readership. That doesn't mean you leave levity at the door, but it does mean that you leave your whiny, self-entitled attitude ("But why won't he answer the question I really want him to answer?").
There are serious issues at stake here. I have a genuine question for you: if you disagree with Greenwald so much, why would you expect him (or most of his readers) to laugh along with what you find funny?
Think about that, and get back to me if you come up with something plausible.Mr GreenwaldAndrew Wood , 29 Aug 2012 21:39
Look at the top of the webpage, just underneath the headline.
Mark Mazzetti's emails with the CIA expose the degradation of journalism that has lost the imperative to be a check to powerIs it worse for a journalist to help the security forces of his or her own country, or to be an "agent of influence" for your country's enemies?basicmeans , 29 Aug 2012 21:23
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_GottThe USA has become so engrossed in itself that it doesn't even pretend to be a judicial state. Here we have a man called Osama Bin Laden who is innocent of any crime yet the President of the United States of America brags about having him murdered.smartypants54 -> TallyHoGazehound , 29 Aug 2012 21:20
This means that a precedent has been set that the President can order the murder of anyone even you.Thanks for the pointers.ElLissitzsky , 29 Aug 2012 21:14
The reason I said that perhaps I'd need to leave off the levity is that it was my superficial comment finding some humor in all this that Glenn responded to and suggested that I was a complainer lacking in quality. It wasn't meant as anything but a half-baked half-assed jab at the lightweight known as Maureen Dowd.
But as I said above, when I attempted to engage with some substance, I got ignored. I have no doubt that Glenn has a sense of humor. But I'm afraid I'm not a good enough humorist to combine a laugh with in-depth engagement.
I'm counting on you being right on the idea that Glenn thrives on well reasoned dissent. That's why I'm here.Unprincipled and disingenuous - both the Obama Administration and the New York Times. Doesn't come as a surprise though ...AhBrightWings -> shenebraskan , 29 Aug 2012 20:37Indeed. Horse-hooey is a pleasant alternative to this steaming load of self-congratulatory manure.coramnobis , 29 Aug 2012 20:34
About those fabled "handouts" ...where are they? Not in evidence when I see the local homeless vets in their wheelchairs...Nowhere to be found when I see children shivering at bus stops without proper coats...can't quite see it in my overcrowded library...one of the hottest tickets in town because it's literally a warm place to go. I'm sure parents who've lost homes because they were craven enough to have a sick child and went bankrupt caring for them would love to find this fabled place where those generous hands, stuffed full of money and goodies, are vying with each other to make things right.
If only we could find it.
"As of March 2012, 46.4 million Americans were receiving on average $133.14 per month in food stamps. "
According to the Government Accountability Office, at a 2009 count, there was a payment error rate of 4.36% of food stamps benefits down from 9.86% in 1999. A 2003 analysis found that two-thirds of all improper payments were the fault of the caseworker, not the participant. ("Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Payment Errors and Trafficking Have Declined, but Challenges Remain GAO report number GAO-10-956T, " July 28, 2010)
Wow, let's go wild on $33.25 a week! And then be accused of being "lazy," "pigs," "welfare queens," "parasites," "scum," etc.
[Pay no attention to the fat man behind the curtain busy purchasing his third home, or paying his lawyer to find another tax loophole in the Virgin Islands; that pure industrious Republican bloke is too busy to stick his neck out and see the world as he's helped make it for others.]I found this linked off Mazzetti's blog . Seems that USAF drones have been tracking private vehicles on New Mexico highways. Targeting practice. Maybe not news story but an interesting little sidelight.RobGehrke -> avelna2001 , 29 Aug 2012 20:00
As if the National Transportation Safety Board didn't have enough to worry about.
Oh, and Glenn, here's a Salon story from 2010 titled The NYT spills key military secrets on its front page . Your lede: "In The New York Times today, Mark Mazzetti and Dexter Filkins expose very sensitive classified government secrets -- and not just routine secrets, but high-level, imminent planning for American covert military action in a foreign country ..."
This didn't come from me, and please delete after you read. See, nothing to worry about. -- Guardian story
Was she aware that he was using the CIA to do his fact-checking?
I'd be worried about anyone going to the CIA for their fact-checking too...
Aug 30, 2012 | www.theguardian.comsanda1scuptorNYC , 30 Aug 2012 07:36Howard Zinn said, in a speech given shortly after the 2008 Presidential election, "If you don't know history, it's like you were born yesterday. The government can tell you anything." (Speech was played on DemocracyNow www.democracynow.org about Jan. 4, 2009 and is archived, free on the website.)sigil , 30 Aug 2012 05:49
Being older (18 on my last Leap Year birthday - 72), I recall the NYTimes and CIA have had relationship with, and was caught having "planted CIA workers" as NYTimes writers. Within my adult lifetime, in fact.Brusselsexpats , 30 Aug 2012 05:49
This is what the CIA reflexively does: insists that [...] it is an "intelligence matter".
In a sense the CIA is always going to be right on this one - "Central Intelligence Agency" - but only as a matter of nomenclature, rather than of any other dictionary definition of the word "intelligence".Actually the collusion between the CIA and big business is far more damaging. The first US company I worked for in Brussels (it was my first job) was constantly being targeted by the US media for having connections to corrupt South American and Third World regimes. On what seemed like an almost monthly basis our personnel department would send round memos saying that we were strictly forbidden to talk to journalists about the latest exposé.kcameron , 30 Aug 2012 05:26
It was great fun - even the telex operators knew who the spies were.The line "'The optics aren't what they look like,' is truly an instant classic. It reminds me of one of my favorite Yogi Berra quotes (which, unlike many attributed to him, is real, I think). Yogi once said about a restaurant in New York "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded." Perhaps Yogi should become an editor for the Times.AmityAmity , 30 Aug 2012 04:55British readers will no doubt be shocked -- shocked! -- to learn of cozy relations between a major news organization and a national intelligence agency.MiltonWiltmellow , 30 Aug 2012 02:40
... ... ...
"'I know the circumstances, and if you knew everything that's going on, you'd know it's much ado about nothing,' Baquet said. 'I can't go into in detail. But I'm confident after talking to Mark that it's much ado about nothing.'
"'The optics aren't what they look like,' he went on. 'I've talked to Mark, I know the circumstance, and given what I know, it's much ado about nothing.'"
How can you have a Party if you don't have Party elites?
And how can a self-respecting member of the Party claim their individual status within the Party without secret knowledge designed to identify one another as members of the Party elite?
[Proles are] natural inferiors who must be kept in subjection, like animals ... Life, if you looked about you, bore no resemblance not only to the lies that streamed out of the telescreens, but even to the ideals the Party was trying to achieve. ... The ideal set up by the Party was something huge, terrible, and glittering -- a world of of steel and concrete, of monstrous machines and terrifying weapons -- a nation of warriors and fanatics, marching forward in perfect unity, all thinking the same thoughts and shouting the same slogans, perpetually working, fighting, triumphing, persecuting -- 300 million people all with the same face. The reality was decaying, dingy cities, where underfed people shuffled to and fro in leaky shoes... [ 1984 ,pp 73-74]
It makes no difference if an imagined socialist England, a collapsing Roman city-state empire, an actual Soviet Union, or a modern American oligarchy.
Party members thrive while those wretched proles flail in confused and hungry desperation for something authentic (like a George Bush) or even simply reassuring (like a Barack Obama.)
Non-elite members of the Party -- functionaries -- mistake their "secret" knowledge as professional courtesy rather than as perquisite and status marker. (I don't suppose it's a secret to anyone that the US CIA regularly plants stories in the NYTimes and elsewhere... unless you weren't paying attention in the strident disinfo campaign prior to the Iraq invasion.)
Manzetti has "no bad intent" because he is loyal to the Party.
Like all loyal (and very well compensated) Party members, he would never do anything as subversive as reveal Party secrets.
People can be detained for almost any reason these days!
After all, what's the future of a Party that lacks effective enforcement?
Dec 08, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Livius Drusus , December 8, 2018 at 7:20 am
I think the Internet and the infotech revolution in general have been largely negative in their impact on the world. Ian Welsh has a blog post that largely sums up my views on the issue.
Contrary to what many people say I think large organizations like governments and corporations have significantly more power now than before and ordinary people have less power. The Internet has made it easier to get information but you have to sift through tons of junk to get to anything decent. For every website like Naked Capitalism there are thousands pushing nonsense or trying to sell you stuff.
And even if you are more knowledgeable, so what? If you cannot put that knowledge to use what good is it? At best it makes you more well-rounded, interesting and harder to fool but in political terms knowing a lot of stuff doesn't make you more effective. In the past people didn't have access to nearly as much information but they were more willing and able to organize and fight against the powerful because it was easier to avoid detection/punishment (that is where stuff like widespread surveillance tech comes in) and because they still had a vibrant civic life and culture.
I actually think people are more atomized now than in the past and the Internet and other technologies have probably fueled this process. Despite rising populism, the Arab Spring, Occupy, the Yellow Jackets in France, Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the DSA this is all a drop in the bucket compared to just the massive social movements of the 1960s much less earlier periods. Robert Putnam argued that television, the Internet and other technologies likely helped to produce the collapse of civic life in the United States by "individualizing" people's leisure time and personally I think Putnam is right. Civic life today is very weak and I think the Internet is partially to blame.
Mark , December 8, 2018 at 12:10 pm
And even if you are more knowledgeable, so what? If you cannot put that knowledge to use what good is it?
Agreed. If anything these more knowledgeable people had a greater audience prior to the internet. Whether you were a journalist, a great economist, a great author, or a great orator you need to persist and show intellect and talent to have your message heard wide and broad.
(This is probably a little idealistic, but I think there is truth there.)
Now you need very little of this. If your most famous asset is your attractive body you can attract a greater audience than great scholars and politicians.
Rosario , December 8, 2018 at 2:56 pm
I can't speak much on authoritarianism since whatever form it takes on today is wildly different from what it was in the past. Unfortunately, it is hard to convince many people living in western societies that they are living in an authoritarian system because their metal images are goose-stepping soldiers and Fraktur print posters.
I suppose the way I can assure myself that we are living in an authoritarian society is by analyzing the endless propaganda spewed from countless, high-viewership media and entertainment outlets. It is quite simple, if the media and entertainment narratives are within a very narrow intellectual window (with lots of 600 lb. gorillas sitting in corners) than the culture and politics are being defined by powerful people with a narrow range of interests. This is not to say that forming public opinion or preferring particular political views is a new thing in Western media and entertainment, just that its application, IMO, is far more effective and subtle (and becoming more-so by the day) than it ever was in, say, NAZI Germany or the Soviet Union.
I'd put my money down that most educated Germans during NAZI rule were well aware that propaganda was being utilized to "manufacture consent" but they participated and accepted this despite the content for pragmatic/selfish reasons. Much of the NAZI propaganda played on existing German/European cultural narratives and prejudices. Leaveraging existing ideology allowed the party to necessitate their existence by framing the German as juxtaposed against the impure and unworthy. Again, ideologies that existed independent of the party not within it. Goebbels and company were just good at utilizing the technology of the time to amplify these monstrosities.
I question that being the case today. It is far more complicated. Technology is again the primary tool for manipulation, but it is possible that current technology is allowing for even greater leaps in reason and analysis. The windows for reflection and critical thought close as soon as they are opened. Seems more like the ideology is manufactured on the fly. For example, the anti-Russia narrative has some resonance with baby boomers, but how the hell is it effective with my generation (millennial) and younger? The offhand references to Putin and Russian operatives from my peers are completely from left field when considering our life experience. People in my age group had little to say about Russia three years ago. It says volumes on the subtle effectiveness of Western media machines if you can re-create the cold war within two years for an entire generation.
In addition and related to above, the West's understanding of "Freedom of Speech" is dated by about 100 years. Governments are no longer the sole source of speech suppression (more like filtering and manipulation), and the supremacy of the free-market coupled with the erroneously perceived black-and-white division between public and private have convinced the public (with nearly religious conviction) that gigantic media and entertainment organizations do not have to protect the free speech of citizens because they are not government. Public/Private is now an enormous blob. With overlapping interests mixed in with any antagonisms. It is ultimately dictated by capital and its power within both government and business. Cracking this nut will be a nightmare.
Yes, this is an authoritarian world, if measured by the distance between the populace and its governing powers, but it is an authoritarianism operating in ways that we have never seen before and using tools that are terribly effective.
Nov 29, 2018 | www.antiwar.comDishonest (not "mistaken") intelligence greased the skids for the widespread killing and maiming in the Middle East that began with the Cheney/Bush "Shock and Awe" attack on Iraq. The media reveled in the unconscionable (but lucrative) buzzword "shock-and-awe" for the initial attack. In retrospect, the real shock lies in the awesome complicity of virtually all "mainstream media" in the leading false predicate for this war of aggression – weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
Only one major media group, Knight Ridder, avoided the presstitution, so to speak. It faced into the headwinds blowing from the "acceptable" narrative, did the investigative spadework, and found patriotic insiders who told them the truth. Karen Kwiatkowski, who had a front-row seat at the Pentagon, was one key source for the intrepid Knight Ridder journalists. Karen tells us that her actual role is accurately portrayed by the professional actress in the Rob Reiner's film Shock and Awe .
Other members of the Sam Adams Associates were involved as well, but we will leave it to them to share on Saturday evening how they helped Knight Ridder accurately depict the prewar administration/intelligence/media fraud.
More recently, former National Intelligence Director James Clapper added a coda to pre-Iraq-War intelligence performance. Clapper was put in charge of imagery analysis before the Iraq war and was able to conceal the fact that there were were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. In his memoir, Clapper writes that Vice President Cheney "was pushing" for imagery analysis "to find (emphasis in original) the WMD sites."
For the record, none were found because there were none, although Clapper – "eager to help" – gave it the old college try. Clapper proceeds, in a matter-of-fact way, to blame not only pressure from the Cheney/Bush administration, but also "the intelligence officers, including me, who were so eager to help that we found what wasn't really there."
Regarding those Clapper-produced "artist renderings" of "mobile production facilities for biological agents"? Those trucks "were in fact used to pasteurize and transport milk," Clapper admits nonchalantly. When challenged on all this while promoting his memoir at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington, Clapper gave not the slightest hint that it occurred to him his performance was somewhat lacking.
Media: Consequential Malfeasance
As for the self-licking ice cream cone that "mainstream media" have become, and how they overlook little peccadilloes like feeding at the government PR trough and helping Cheney and Bush attack Iraq, well – now, now – let's not be nasty. Here's how Jill Abramson, The New York Times Washington Bureau Chief from 2000 to 2003, while the Times acted as drum major for the war, lets Bob Woodward off the hook for his own abysmal investigative performance.
Reviewing Woodward's recent book on the Trump White House, Abramson praises his "dogged investigative reporting," noting that he has won two Pulitzer Prizes, and adds: "His work has been factually unassailable." Then she (or perhaps an editor) adds in parenthesis: "(His judgment is certainly not perfect, and he has been self-critical about his belief, based on reporting before the Iraq War, that there were weapons of mass destruction.)"
Are we to believe that the Abramsons, Woodwards, et al. of the media elite simply missed the WMD deception? (Hundreds of insiders knew of it, and some were willing to share the truth with Knight Ridder and some other reporters.) Or did the media moguls simply hunker down and let themselves be co-opted into helping Cheney/Bush start a major war? The latter seems much more likely: and transparent attempts to cover up for one another, still, is particularly sad – and consequential. Having suffered no consequences (for example, in 2003 Abramson was promoted to Managing Editor of the NYT ), the "mainstream media" appear just as likely to do a redux on Iran.
This is why there will be a premium on honest insider patriots, like Karen Kwiatkowski, to rise to the occasion and try to prevent the next war. Bring along your insider friends on Saturday; they need to know about Karen and about Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence.
Please do come and join us in congratulating Karen Kwiatkowski and the other SAAII members who also helped Knight Ridder get the story right. (Those others shall remain unnamed until Saturday.) And let insiders know this: they are not likely to hear about all this otherwise.
Date : Saturday, December 8, 2018
Time : 6:30 PM Showing of film, "Shock and Awe" – 8:00 PM Presentation 17th annual Sam Adams Award – Ceremony will include remarks by Larry Wilkerson, 7th SAAII awardee (in 2009)
Place : The Festival Center, 1640 Columbia Road, NW, Washington, DC 20009
FREE : But RSVP, if you can, to give us an idea of how many to expect; email: email@example.com
ALL WELCOME : Lots of space in main conference room
Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. His 27-year career as a CIA analyst includes serving as Chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and preparer/briefer of the President's Daily Brief. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). William Binney worked for NSA for 36 years, retiring in 2001 as the technical director of world military and geopolitical analysis and reporting; he created many of the collection systems still used by NSA. Reprinted with permission from Consortium News .
Nov 27, 2018 | www.unz.com
Luke Harding and the Guardian Publish Still More Blatant MI6 Lies
The right wing Ecuadorean government of President Moreno continues to churn out its production line of fake documents regarding Julian Assange, and channel them straight to MI6 mouthpiece Luke Harding of the Guardian.
Amazingly, more Ecuadorean Government documents have just been discovered for the Guardian, this time spy agency reports detailing visits of Paul Manafort and unspecified "Russians" to the Embassy. By a wonderful coincidence of timing, this is the day after Mueller announced that Manafort's plea deal was over.
The problem with this latest fabrication is that Moreno had already released the visitor logs to the Mueller inquiry. Neither Manafort nor these "Russians" are in the visitor logs.
This is impossible. The visitor logs were not kept by Wikileaks, but by the very strict Ecuadorean security. Nobody was ever admitted without being entered in the logs. The procedure was very thorough. To go in, you had to submit your passport (no other type of document was accepted). A copy of your passport was taken and the passport details entered into the log. Your passport, along with your mobile phone and any other electronic equipment, was retained until you left, along with your bag and coat. I feature in the logs every time I visited.
There were no exceptions. For an exception to be made for Manafort and the "Russians" would have had to be a decision of the Government of Ecuador, not of Wikileaks, and that would be so exceptional the reason for it would surely have been noted in the now leaked supposed Ecuadorean "intelligence report" of the visits. What possible motive would the Ecuadorean government have for facilitating secret unrecorded visits by Paul Manafort? Furthermore it is impossible that the intelligence agency – who were in charge of the security – would not know the identity of these alleged "Russians".
Previously Harding and the Guardian have published documents faked by the Moreno government regarding a diplomatic appointment to Russia for Assange of which he had no knowledge. Now they follow this up with more documents aimed to provide fictitious evidence to bolster Mueller's pathetically failed attempt to substantiate the story that Russia deprived Hillary of the Presidency.
My friend William Binney, probably the world's greatest expert on electronic surveillance, former Technical Director of the NSA, has stated that it is impossible the DNC servers were hacked, the technical evidence shows it was a download to a directly connected memory stick. I knew the US security services were conducting a fake investigation the moment it became clear that the FBI did not even themselves look at the DNC servers, instead accepting a report from the Clinton linked DNC "security consultants" Crowdstrike.
I would love to believe that the fact Julian has never met Manafort is bound to be established. But I fear that state control of propaganda may be such that this massive "Big Lie" will come to enter public consciousness in the same way as the non-existent Russian hack of the DNC servers.
Assange never met Manafort. The DNC emails were downloaded by an insider. Assange never even considered fleeing to Russia. Those are the facts, and I am in a position to give you a personal assurance of them.
I can also assure you that Luke Harding, the Guardian, Washington Post and New York Times have been publishing a stream of deliberate lies, in collusion with the security services.
I am not a fan of Donald Trump. But to see the partisans of the defeated candidate (and a particularly obnoxious defeated candidate) manipulate the security services and the media to create an entirely false public perception, in order to attempt to overturn the result of the US Presidential election, is the most astonishing thing I have witnessed in my lifetime.
Plainly the government of Ecuador is releasing lies about Assange to curry favour with the security establishment of the USA and UK, and to damage Assange's support prior to expelling him from the Embassy. He will then be extradited from London to the USA on charges of espionage.
Assange is not a whistleblower or a spy – he is the greatest publisher of his age, and has done more to bring the crimes of governments to light than the mainstream media will ever be motivated to achieve. That supposedly great newspaper titles like the Guardian, New York Times and Washington Post are involved in the spreading of lies to damage Assange, and are seeking his imprisonment for publishing state secrets, is clear evidence that the idea of the "liberal media" no longer exists in the new plutocratic age. The press are not on the side of the people, they are an instrument of elite control.Assange Never Met Manafort
SporadicMyrmidon , says: December 1, 2018 at 7:47 am GMTMy opinions are conflicted, but I'd rather give Assange a Nobel Peace Prize than a criminal conviction. He definitely deserves a Nobel Prize more than Obama. I was in an eatery in Cambridge, MA, when I heard Obama's prize announced, and even there people where aghast and astounded.jilles dykstra , says: December 1, 2018 at 10:25 am GMTThe Guardian was bought by Soros, a few years ago.Bill Jones , says: December 1, 2018 at 10:33 am GMT
Washpost, NYT and CNN, Deep State mouthpieces.
That the USA, as long as Deep State has not been eradicated completely from USA society, will continue to try to get Assange, and of course also Snowdon, in it claws, is more than obvious.
So what are we talking about ?
Assange just uses the freedom of information act, or how the the USA euphemism for telling them nothing, is called.
How Assange survives, mentally and bodily, being locked up in a small room without a bathroom, for several years now, is beyond my comprehension.
But of course, for 'traitors' like him human rights do not exist.I tried this in the Grauniad search boxanon  Disclaimer , says: December 1, 2018 at 10:38 am GMT
Term: "Far Right" result: "About 1,400,000 results (0.23 seconds)"
Term : "Far Left" result: "About 7,310 results (0.22 seconds) "
Only Pol Pot is to the Left of that bird-cage liner."I can also assure you that Luke Harding, the Guardian, Washington Post and New York Times have been publishing a stream of deliberate lies, in collusion with the security services."Altai , says: December 1, 2018 at 11:38 am GMT
These outfits are largely state-run at this point. The Washington Post is owned by Jeff Bezos, a man with deep ties to the CIA through his Amazon company (which depends upon federal subsidies and has received security agency "support") and the Guardian is clandestinely funded through UK government purchases, among other things. MI6 has also effectively compromised the former integrity and objectivity of that outlet by threatening them with prosecutions for revealing MI6 spy practices. And the NYT has always been state-run. See their coverage of the Iraq War. The Israelis have bragged about having an asset at the Times. The American government has several.It's amazing to see the obvious progression of the lies as they take hold in an anti-Trump elite who seem completely impervious to understanding his victory over Clinton. All these people who claim to be so cosmopolitan and educated seem to think Assange or Manafort would have any interest in meeting each other. (Let alone in the company of unspecified 'Russians'.)Che Guava , says: December 1, 2018 at 11:51 am GMT
At first it was that Assange was wrong to publish the DNC leaks because it hurt Clinton and thus helped Trump.
Then it was that Assange was actively trying to help Trump.
Now it's that Assange is in collusion with Trump and the 'Russians'.
The same thing happened with the Trump-Russian nonsense which goes ever more absurd as time goes on. Slowly boiling the frog in the public's mind. The allegations are so nonsensical, yet there are plenty of educated, supposedly cosmopolitan people who don't understand the backgrounds or motives of their 'liberal' heroes in the NYT or Guardian who believe this on faith.
None of these people will ever question how if any of this is true how the security services of the West didn't know it and if they supposedly know it, how come they aren't acting like it's true. They are acting like they're attempting to smear politicians they don't like, however.Luke Harding is particularly despicable. He made his name as a journalist off privileged access to Wilkileaks docs, and has been persistently attacking Assange ever since the Swedish fan-girl farce.Che Guava , says: December 1, 2018 at 12:05 pm GMT
Assange did make a mistake (of which I am sure he is all too aware now) in the choice to, rather than leave the info. open on-line, collaborate with the filthy Guardian, the sleazy NYT, and I forget dirty name of the third publication.
Big tactictal error.@anon Since you are posting as Anon coward, I am not expecting a reply, but would be interested in (and would not doubt) state funding of the 'Guardian'?mike k , says: December 1, 2018 at 12:33 pm GMT
As for the NYT, they are plainly in some sense state-funded, but the state in question is neither New York nor the U.S.A., but the state of Israel.Only the thoroughly brainwashed can doubt the truths in this article. Unfortunately that includes a huge number of Americans.Bill Jones , says: December 1, 2018 at 1:05 pm GMT@Altai The one lesson that the left has learned is to double downin perpetuity.Simon Tugmutton , says: December 1, 2018 at 1:23 pm GMT
Their invincible arragance is matched only by their stupidity.@Che Guava Perhaps he is referring to the sheer volume of ads the British government places for public sector appointments. As for the paper edition, most of it seems to be bought by the BBC!
Dec 01, 2018 | www.unz.com
Rational , says: November 29, 2018 at 7:51 pm GMT"ALL LIES, ALL LIES, ALL LIES"
So he screamed in the cafeteria and spilled his morning coffee. We all wondered what happened to him and so we looked at his friend, and he told us that he must have read the NYT, as that was his common reaction, a cry of pain and anguish and screams of "all lies, all lies, all lies" whenever he reads the newspaper or watches the TV, esp. NYT.
Your article and the previous news about Manfort visiting Assange and the funny timing of the same reminded me of this story.
The Western MSM is a lying scamming neoliberal propaganda machine.
Dec 01, 2018 | mainlymacro.blogspot.com
A lot of US blog posts have asked this after the US government came very close to self-inflicted default. It was indeed an extraordinary episode which indicates that something is very wrong. All I want to suggest here is that it may help to put this discussion in a global context. What has happened in the US has of course many elements which can only be fully understood in the domestic context and given US history, like the enduring influence of race , or cultural wars . But with other, more economic, elements it may be more accurate to describe the US as leading the way, with other countries following.
Jared Bernstein writes
"The US economy has left large swaths of people behind. History shows that such periods are ripe for demagogues, and here again, deep pockets buy not only the policy set that protects them, but the "think tanks," research results, and media presence that foments the polarization that insulates them further."
Support for the right in the US does appear to be correlated with low incomes and low human capital. Yet while growing inequality may be most noticeable in the US, but it is not unique to it, as the chart below from the Paris School of Economics database shows. Stagnation of median wages may have been evident for longer in the US, but the recession has led to declining real wages in many other countries. Partly as a result , we have seen 'farther right' parties gaining popularity across Europe in recent years.
Yet surely, you might say, what is unique to the US is that a large section of the political right has got 'out of control', such that it has done significant harm to the economy and almost did much more. If, following Jurek Martin in the FT, we describe business interests as 'big money', then it appears as if the Republican party has been acting against big money. Here there may be a parallel with the UK which could be instructive.
In the UK, David Cameron has been forced to concede a referendum on continued UK membership of the European Union, in an attempt to stem the popularity of the UK Independence Party. Much of UK business would regard leaving the EU as disastrous, so Cameron will almost certainly recommend staying in the EU. But with a a divided party, he lost a referendum. So the referendum pledge seems like a forced concession to the farther right that entails considerable risks. As Chris Dillow notes there are other areas where a right wing government appears to be acting against 'big money'.
While hostility to immigration has always been a reaction to economic decline, it is difficult to deny that hostility to the emigration associated with European Union is a burning issue for the majority of people in the UK. That's why was Cameron forced to make such a dangerous concession over the referendum.
fifthdecade , 23 October 2013 16:05Ralph Musgrave , 23 October 2013 20:06
Nice post, although I fear the causality in the US is exactly the same as in the UK. Politicians love scapegoats that cannot answer back or that have no votes: immigrants and foreign countries both fit the bill and so end up being lambasted ad infinitum. I also don't believe this issue is as trivial to the general population as you seem to suggest - if you tell a lie often enough it becomes the truth.
So when, as you so often point out, the politicians can be seen to be going against all the tenets of sound macroeconomic policy, perhaps because of their promotion of their almost religiously held ideologies, these policies fail, instead of taking responsibility they pass the blame onto the last government, the Eurozone, or whoever is handy. Their friends in the press are happy to add petrol to the flames, and as you say, at some point it all spirals out of control in some kind of right wing transatlantic race of the copy cats.
When will big business stand up and defend their profits and markets? Only perhaps when the referendum falls due in the next quarter...Anonymous , 23 October 2013 20:24
As far as the US debt limit fiasco goes, that's to a significant extent the fault of the economics profession. That is, you can't blame the average politician (who hasn't studied economics) for thinking that national debts can be treated the same way as the debt of a microeconomic entity. So politicians think national debts need to be limited.
The reality, as Keynes pointed out is: "Look after unemployment and the budget looks after itself". I.e. we should concentrate on keeping demand at a level that brings full employment, while leaving the debt to bob up and down (which it will do).
Unfortunately there is new breed of vociferous so called "economists" who don't understand Keynes: Rogoff, Reinhart, Fama, etc. Thus politicians get mixed messages from economists, and plumb for the simple minded microeconomic view of debt.Anonymous , 24 October 2013 01:18
Immigration and the EU have become linked. Popular EU support among the 12 started to fall with the rushed expansion eastwards that expanded it to 27 much poorer countries in a single stroke. Before then we did not see huge movements of labour. Britain went gung ho into this with immediate and complete liberalisation of labour flows based on a forecast (probably based on a "rigorous" DSGE model) that said only 13000 would enter the country following this expansion. Virtually overnight over a million entered from Poland alone. We have no control over this, and in a country in recession, growing income inequality, long term unemployment despite the Blair boom, pressures on the NHS and education expenditure, and with a moral obligation to allow in refugees to enter from outside the EU with a genuine need to escape violence, this is political dynamite.David Blum , 24 October 2013 02:59
We have seen something similar before in the UK, when after WW1 the Anti-Waste League led by the Daily Mail came into force to attack Lloyd-George's 'land fit for heroes' welfare policies.
The 1921-2 Geddes Committee was pressured by the Treasury, which wanted Geddes' savings to reduce the debt, while the Cabinet wanted to use them to reduce taxation. Geddes took as his 'normal year' 1914, but in the end spending on social services remained above 1914 levels, and the problem was solved with taxation on business profits.Bagehot-by-the-Bay , 24 October 2013 03:27
I'm an American. I used to go, long ago in my younger years, to a bar to play pool. I'd play with these two guys who drank whisky and looked like a Clint Eastwood type. They were poor mechanics, but total libertarians filled with conspiracy theories. You can't reason with these people. You just nod your head and walk away.Anonymous , 24 October 2013 04:58
A few years back, the "big business" right in the U.S. (as typified, say, by the Chamber of Commerce lobby) consciously sought an infusion of energy and numbers by inviting in the Far Right "insurgents" (or "crazies," depending on your point of view).
Now the Far Right faction has slipped its leash.
It is potentially good news that the Right has split. It can be easier to cope with two factions than a single unified party. Progressive Woodrow Wilson was elected in 1912 because Theodore Roosevelt split the Republicans.
But there are too many echoes of other countries and other years -- 1933 comes to mind -- to take much comfort in the situation.Anonymous , 24 October 2013 07:20
I'm not sure I understand the "mirror to a phenomenon that must be explained" stance of recent conservate media. Rush has been around for a long time. And he's a babe compared to Pat Buchanan, the 700 Club and the John Birch Society. Anti-other and anti-social contract have very long track records in the United States. News Corp. simply put large amounts of money into the coming niche programing in the 90's as cable news became accepted and diversified (fragmented if you like that word better). That gave a concentrated platform to the likes of Rush. The evolution was Murdoch's removal of religion as the context in which those views were presented (as was prevalent on cable in the 80s).Anonymous , 24 October 2013 10:15
I put a comment onto this blog about BBC think-tank reliance, comparing the number of Krugman, Shiller, and Stiglitz references on their website to IEA, Taxpayers' Alliance, and Adam Smith Institute references (the latter far greater).
The episode of 'Daily Politics' (24th October, minutes 30:19-40:27 on the iplayer for BBC 2 at 12:00) shows what 'centre ground' really means to the BBC:
1. 364 economists from 30 March 1980 Times letter are said to have been proven wrong by the show's host
2. Vicky Redwood says the UK could be like Greece if Osborne hadn't followed his economic plan
3. Booth from the IEA turns up etc.
4. Will Hutton looks flustered as a man with very slicked hair from the Telegraph mocks him
There is one day left on Feedback on Radio Four episode 18th October, in which Prof. Steve Jones talks about trying to convince the BBC that their reporting on climate change isn't 'centre-ground' but inadequate. The conclusions he draws so politely about the BBC couldn't be more germane to their economics coverage.Mainly Macro , 24 October 2013 13:32
Simon - thanks for this post - I've been wondering about this issue myself for some time.
I'm not so sure about your conclusion that the media have driven right-wing discontent with the EU. Consider:
1. The Daily Express was the only national paper that called for an EU referendum prior to January (when the PM announced he would hold one in the next parliament).
2. The rucktions in the Tory party over Europe started in the late 1980s and peaked over Maastrict - please correct me if you remember differently but I thought that much of the hostility in the press towards the EU came after 1997, with the adoption of the Social Chapter and large immigration post-2004 from Eastern Europe. This suggests that the popular press at most propogated discontent that was already there, rather than originated it.
3. With such a large readership, you might expect that anti-EU sentiment in the right-wing press to be reflected across a lot of people. But as you rightly note, most people don't care. Instead it's a small group of people who care *a lot*, and seem to be disproportionately powerful in selecting some Tory MPs. This suggests that something else is going on.
I suspect that the key issue is that being a member of the EU involves a loss of soverignty - and it's plausible that a certain type of Tory voter ("little Englanders") would care a lot about this independent of whether the media was pushing this or not. The fact that they don't like many of the byproducts of the EU (immigration from Eastern Europe, more regulation) is grist to the mill.
Anonymous , 25 October 2013 04:11
I agree that the line you suggest is certainly plausible. But even then I do not think you can discount the influence of the press in reinforcing this group's views. If the press do succeed in getting an out vote, then I think their influence will be clear.Rik , 24 October 2013 10:36
They are not the only people who like to have their beliefs and prejudices confirmed. Imagine how many economists would be happy to see examples of rational expectations all over the place.Rik , 24 October 2013 10:37
The US political system is simply basically dysfunctional, but because the way it is designed it is not able to properly adress that issue.
Go to the 4 major forces (roughly) in US politics (from right to left):
-Teadrinkers (morons that think the 18th century can come back):
-Rest Reps. Maybe not owned by big business but very close (and it is big business not business);
-Right part Demos. Very similar to the left Reps;
-Left Demos. Spendophiles who donot mind going bust in that process as it is other people's money anyway.
Centre being very similar (so effectively there is no choice for the half that votes). This is a system that allowed complete jokes like Bush and even worse Obama come to power. Probably there were realistically more people pro bombing Congres than there were pro bombing Syria. You have to shut down the government to be able to have that number of governmentservices that are affordable on basis of normal tax revenue apparently.
This is a seriously sick system.
If a populist rises who has some appeal (no tea crap as that will never work mainstream anyway even if the policies were realistic and they would be able to manage things and change) and is a bit clever you could see landslide.
Simply like in most of Europe an Alfa Romeo problem. You can sell a couple of time a crap car and subsequently tell people that the next generation model has it solved. But if you do that a couple of time in a row, people try something different (whatever it is). How good the alternative is mainly determines when they will move not if they will move. The latter is a certainty. In Europe the alternative looks to come from the former Lada and Zastava factories (so put on your safetybelts and have your airbags checked).
Simon Cooke , 24 October 2013 12:02
On income distribution.
EMs and Co have caught up especially on quality of workforce. The middle income (and subsequently average quality) Western workers are now competing in a world that is overflooded by cheap workers in their part of the market.
Simply means prices (of labour there) will go down.
Top end is not and capital is not. Capital is even 'subsidised' by things as QE.
A lot of the things you see happening can largely be explained by that eg:
-South of EU tanked. They face the EM competition first. Nobody is making stuff in Spain or Italy when it can be done for half the price in India or China. Even worse effectively except with design the latter 2 make already better stuff than the former 2.
-US was first to get hit as it has the most open economy and the most international and openminded companies. UK will be next on that list rest of Europe will follow.
-Germany looks to be the next outsource wave. It looks like that say in half a decade their model will not look as great as they like to believe themselves. They simply havenot got the outsource wave yet in the same way as the US and UK. Chinese can now make top end stuff and furthermore they have become a large part of the market for that.
Hard to tackle that redistribute income and you will see a lot more outsource. It is mainly in big business which is flexible anyway. But anyway can now chose between probably 50 or so countries that are able to provide a location for a headoffice, R&D and similar higher functions. Tax goes up they move.
Simply moronic to think you can tax international companies at rates for individuals 40-50-60%. Their stockvalue will drop with 20-30-40% because of that. Basically the CEO that gets that on his watch will never have any stock bonus because all growth he will create will be eaten by tax increases. You only can increase taxes for corporate functions that are impossible to move.
And longer term. Of course a factory will not be moved from today to yesterday. But when it goes wrong reversing it is even more difficult. Not that we won't see it, we probably will. But as said it will not work more likely only create trouble.
Longer term but worldwide the distribution will have to be adressed so way. Looks clear that there is not enough consumption. However probably completely in the EMs. As the Western mid level worker is still way too expensive for the worldmarket.
And when China becomes too expensive the next way is already in position. Not much help to be expected from that corner.
So better rephrase the question. When will we be hit with this phenomenon?
Soon imho btw, you are probably hit by it already only didnot notice.Mainly Macro , 24 October 2013 13:36
Brilliant isn't it - ordinary people taking upon themselves to challenge the domination of 'big money' as you put it. I know you like big money but me, I'm a victim of the big money and its great mate, Big Government. No-one brainwashed me, no-one had to tell me my taxes were too high, no one forced me to arrive at the view that big business is anti-market and anti-consumer.
As I said - it's brilliant, absolutely fantastic that people on the right of politics have realised that the establishment isn't their friend and hasn't been for a generation.jon livesey , 24 October 2013 12:59
And Obamacare is so evil that it is worth bringing about default to try and stop it?Mainly Macro , 24 October 2013 13:37
So the UKIP has gone from "far right" to "farther right". You can't get more nuanced than that, can you.jon livesey , 25 October 2013 13:15
By popular request! I was told that 'far right' was too like 'extreme right'. So how would you describe UKIP?Grandpa Don , 24 October 2013 13:22
I would let them describe themselves because my thinking about them is too complicated to put into a simple slogan.
I see them as essentially a single issue party - yes, I know they let themselves get contaminated with race and immigration - and I tend to dislike single issue parties. Single issue parties always have the weakness that their views on other issues are up for grabs, and they will "sell out" all but their single issue to whoever can put them into power.
However, the UKIP is now a fact. And we ignore facts at our peril. Perhaps worse than ignoring facts is explaining facts away. If we dismiss the UKIP as just X-kind of party, we won't understand their growth.
So I just don't see right-anything as a useful way to describe them. It's much more complex than that.Nashville Elliott , 24 October 2013 14:54
As an American observer I believe Simon is correct. No doubt there are many complex factors that led to the ongoing mess in our Congress but there is little doubt that the tremendous investment made by the right wing business community into buying up media and "coin operated think tanks" has indeed created the conditions where we have in the U.S. a situation where the rich get ever richer while the poor and middle class fall farther and farther behind. All the while, with the aid of clever propaganda combined with a failing education system, the very people who are hurt the most by our skewed economic distribution keep voting the crazies in. For a look into one of the original stimuli of this state of affairs, see the memo written in 1971 by Lewis Powell, a Republican corporate attorney and later Supreme Court justice.John Hakala , 24 October 2013 15:52
The only relevant political distinction today is "on top" or "on the bottom." The old Left and Right are increasingly meaningless.SpinningHugo , 25 October 2013 00:10
Excellent analysis, Professor Wren-Lewis. As a native of the US, your insights into parallels with UK politics come as news to me, and it helps to gain some global perspective. I am inclined to conclude from your arguments that Bernstein's assertions about the direction of causality (that income inequality creates fervent groups of voters, thereby leading to right wing media "reflecting" extreme political views) is wrong, and that the direction of causality in the US is probably the same as it is in the UK (that elements in the media want to push extreme political views, thereby "leading" the opinions of voters). Rupert Murdoch is an especially clear example of where a figure in the media uses his influence to sway voters, but I think in the US it is not uncommon for private citizens with enough resources and connections to manipulate the media in order to "lead" voters. Take for example the Koch brothers, who, despite normally being associated with business interests, were supposedly instrumental in fomenting the defund/shutdown strategy. ( http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/06/us/a-federal-budget-crisis-months-in-the-planning.html )
"So why was Cameron forced to make such a dangerous concession over the referendum? "
That would be because, if you remember all the way back to May, Ukip polled 23% in the last local government elections, just short of the Tories and far ahead of the Lib Dems.
That was the last electoral test of public op