Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Reason, thy name is Caitlin Johnstone

I first came across Caitlin Johnstone's writing on "Newslogue", described on its home page as follows:
Welcome to Newslogue 
Newslogue is Australia’s first online publishing platform that matches audiences to writing they love. Our digital environment provides you with stories from your favourite writers direct to your front page, because a newspaper isn’t a platform, and social media isn’t news.
Ms. Johnstone is also on Twitter, and is definitely worth following.  She is one woke chick, let me tell you.  Here's a small sampling:

Two words: American privilege. Democrats will gleefully accuse their political opposition of white privilege, male privilege, straight and cis privilege in their attempts to hand the government over to politicians who want to topple governments and drop cluster munitions on cities overseas, because the alternative might make things a little uncomfortable for them at home. How many of my readers were accused of “white privilege” for their decision to back Jill Stein over Hillary Clinton in the general election? Quite a few I’d imagine. They’d rather have elected a President with an extensive history of supporting disastrous military intervention after disastrous military intervention, who was promising to shoot down Russian military planes over Syria and provide “military responses” for Russian “cyber attacks”, than fight the political system that forces them into voting for World War 3 in a pants suit. All because the orange guy said he’d build a wall.
 The Establishment Is Incapable Of Winning The Media War
The message, of course, being that David Brock’s brand of ham-fisted astroturfing will poison anything it touches. Progressives want real human beings, not a corporatist agenda wearing a fake nose and glasses pretending to be a human being. 
No, David Brock is not a winner. But he’s also the best they’ve got. There’s a reason Brock was hired by the Clinton campaign despite having spent the first part of his career attacking the Clintons; he’s the very sharpest tool in the establishment’s tool shed. And even he is far too blunt for the job. He simply cannot compete with the energy, adaptability, speed and hunger of the anti-globalist grassroots movements on both the left and the right which oppose everything Brock stands for. 
What the corrupt systems which control our world are rapidly realizing is that you simply cannot artificially imitate a grassroots movement. When your candidates have their words being audited by entire teams of campaign strategists before making a single tweet, there’s no competing with thousands of minds all around the world pouring inspired creativity into a memetic war against the rigid, blocky ideas you’re trying to circulate.
 You Can’t Fight Trump Without Understanding TheAnti-Globalization Movement
Trump, like Sanders, and like all progressives who are worth a damn, is an anti-globalist. He opposes the way multinational corporations and banks have used legislation, war, and predatory trade deals to subvert the needs of the nation to powerful elites who are not limited by or loyal to it. You cannot understand the Trump movement without understanding globalism and the anti-globalization movement, and most Democrats don’t. Anti-globalization was the crux of Trump’s entire campaign, and most liberals are still squealing about racism and sexism as the thing that got him elected. This is wrong, and the rank-and-file left will be unable to mount any meaningful grassroots counteroffensive until this changes. 
I doubt any of the hyperventilating Democrats who are breathlessly gasping that Trump is the next Adolf Hitler have taken a moment to reflect on the fact that Hitler was not exactly the poster-boy for non-interventionism. Trump has been advocating non-interventionism so extensively that some critics have been accusing him of isolationism, which, if you haven’t figured it out yet, is kind of the exact opposite of trying to conquer the world and make everyone look like Ryan Gosling. Non-interventionism happens to be an essential part of both the progressive and anti-globalist movements; if you support America’s policy of military interventionism and world-policing, you are not progressive, you are a war hawk like Clinton and Bush.
This one I find especially poignant.  I distinctly recall being one of about eight or so left wing people in the western hemisphere in the mid 1990s, and each month's issue of Dissent, Z Magazine and The Progressive were stuffed with articles warning of the dangers of NAFTA, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the International Monetary Fund and so on.  All of this columnated in the anti globalization protests in Seattle and elsewhere beginning in 1999.  Of course, the Clinton wing of the Democratic party and their copycats in the Canadian Liberal Party and the British Labour Party were all for globalism, but organized labor and anti poverty groups in general were against it and strove to warn all who would listen (not very many, I can assure you) that it would not be the grandeur that the media in the 1990s promised us it would be.

Perhaps organized labor should adopt a green frog as a mascot.  Perhaps people will listen to them this time.

And speaking of mass media blitzes to groom the populace into the acceptance of shitty policy:

So to recap, an elite insider of the Democratic party met with a group of powerful neoliberal oligarchs to discuss how they would use their footholds in the media, the internet, academia, faith-based groups and think tanks to create “a group situation where information, ideas, and beliefs are uncritically bounced from insider to insider and amplified, while dissenting views are censored and/or ignored,” exactly like the idiocy-generating manipulation machine that conservative think tanks were inflicting upon Americans of the political right. They planned this, and they succeeded, which is why Democrats have been acting like raving lunatics lately.
This one's a doozie.  Well worth reading, for it contains links to Podesta email 59125, which is essential reading for anyone really curious about where the current form of the regressive left came from.  There's two, actually, found under the attachments: NYC Meeting 2007 and 2008 Combined Fundraising ...  They are downloadable doc files.  Well worth the read, and I'll likely do more blog posts and YouTube videos about them in the future.  They lay out a solid blueprint for precisely how to build an astroturf political movement, and confirm all your worst suspicions about the state of progressive blogging and journalism during the late Bush and Obama years.  It is also continuing to pay dividends into the Trump presidency.

Yes, it did involve George Soros, in case you were wondering.

The Democratic establishment has lulled us into believing the lie that as long as its politicians are paying lip service to Black Lives Matter and advocating gay marriage, that it’s acceptable for them to choke us all to death by helping big money institutionalize the Walmart economy, shrinking our wages and making it a struggle to acquire medicine or put food on the table while spending trillions of dollars slaughtering millions of people overseas in corporatist wars. “Vote for me! Sure I’ll sell America’s infrastructure to my plutocrat owners and fight to protect them from tax loopholes while you work two jobs just so your kids can eat, but I’ll never assume your gender!” 
That is the fake left. That is the entirety of the Democratic establishment right now, and it’s what we need to be fighting. We need to be shining a big, bright light on that neoliberal bullshit at every opportunity until the whole country gets sick of it and flushes it down the toilet where it belongs. Let’s stop collaborating with their ineffectual demonstrations and manufactured outrage and start attacking the real oppressors. Let’s become real rebels.
Shocker: Amidst some valid criticisms, a lot of anti Trump sentiment on social media is "look at how witty I am" vanity and signalling.   

Establishment Dems Hold Minorities Hostage And Demand Support For Corporatist Policies As Ransom: The hyperbole in this one gets a bit carried away, but its essential point still stands:
I’m talking about the way the Democratic establishment extorts voters into supporting them and their soul-crushing corporatist policies under the threat of losing their civil rights. Everyone watched during the 2016 election cycle as the Dems forced a warmongering corporate crony into the nominee slot and then bullied, shamed and gaslighted progressives into supporting her because if they didn’t, minorities, LGBT people and women will lose their rights. The decision to invest your vote in a progressive third party was propagandized as a “mark of privilege,” because if you didn’t support the woman who wants to start wars, continue the policies which increase income and wealth inequality, and enslave Americans to predatory trade agreements while staving off welfare and universal healthcare, disadvantaged groups will lose their rights. 
This was not an accident, of course. The Republican and Democratic parties have figured out a scheme for working together to leverage Americans into supporting corporatist oppression no matter which party they vote for. The Republicans have agreed to threaten reproductive rights, gay rights and immigrants while wooing rural Americans who want to protect their culture and their families, while their neoliberal brothers in the Democratic party threaten the exact same things if you refuse to vote for their brand of corporatist exploitation. It would only take one party to stop this psychopathic game and give people both social justice and economic justice, but the Democrats choose not to be that party, because it keeps corporate donations rolling in. They deliberately perpetuate this evil for power and money.
The G.O.P are far from innocent, of course, for they threaten their base with the spectre of a liberal boogeyman forever coming to take their guns and their bibles away.  The article overall is a little harshly worded, but more true than false, ultimately.  

So you think you’re a badass, crowing about Michael Flynn’s resignation and making fun of Trump? You think you’re a rebel, spelling his name tRump like a naughty eight year old kid from the forties? It’s because “rump” means “butt”, right? Is that the gag? Be careful you don’t cut yourself on all that edge there, Lenny Bruce … 
This is not a defense of Trump; I see Trump as largely irrelevant and very low on the list of priorities America’s political left should be focusing on. This is simply a reminder to liberal Americans that you cannot attack Trump without propping up the Democratic establishment, and you cannot prop up the Democratic establishment without supporting the oligarchs who own it. When you celebrate the Deep State’s counteroffensives against the Trump administration, you are not cool, you are not anti-establishment, and you are not a rebel. You are a tool.
While most of Ms. Johnstone's articles attack the regressive left establishment, some of them also address looming economic problems.  And - surprise surprise - offer reasonably sound analysis.

The Right Has No Answer For Automation Job Loss, But The Left Does

Donald Trump is not going to solve America’s job creation problem. The manufacturing jobs are gone forever; they’re not coming back, and artificial intelligence advancements are only going to make things much, much worse very, very soon. Trump might be able to coerce companies into staying in America for a little while with protectionist policies, which might temporarily make it harder for CEOs to leverage unions into accepting dehumanizing wages for workers, but none of that will do anything about the imminent job apocalypse that’s just around the corner due to rapid advancements in artificial intelligence and robotics. There's no way "entrepreneurship" can compete with the rate at which artificial intelligence is going to accelerate in advancement. Conservatives have no answers for this problem, and neither do the fake-left neoliberals. 

But the true left does. AI and automation will make it much easier for a few lucky plutocrats to make a tremendous amount of money for themselves, which is just fine and dandy, because they’ll be able to afford a lot more taxes. With those taxes, we could easily help fund the basic living expenses of everyone in America. There will still be some jobs to be had, which will provide some people with some extra gravy for whatever cool skills and ideas they have that they want to put to use, but the soul-crushing demand that people find stupid, arbitrary tasks to do in order for their existence to feel justified will be eliminated.  
So all in all, what's not to like here?  We need all the good, honest columnists and pundits that we can get at this point, and Newslogue in general and Caitlin Johnstone specifically delivers it in spades.  Keep up the good work!

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