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Is Europe Doomed By Vassalage To Washington?

By Paul Craig Roberts Source : Information Clearing House  , 29-7-2016 – Uploaded on Athenianvoice 5-8-2016


in Greek, στα Ελληνικά

“One Ring to rule them all . . . and in the darkness bind them.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

World War II resulted in Europe being conquered, not by Berlin but by Washington.

The conquest was certain but not all at once. Washington’s conquest of Europe resulted from the Marshall Plan, from fears of Stalin’s Red Army that caused Europe to rely on Washington’s protection and to subordinate Europe’s militaries to Washington in NATO, from the replacement of the British pound as world reserve currency with the US dollar, and from the long process of the subordination of the sovereignty of individual European countries to the European Union, a CIA initiative implemented by Washington in order to control all of Europe by controlling only one unaccountable government.

With few exceptions, principally the UK, membership in the EU also meant loss of financial independence. As only the European Central Bank, an EU institution, can create euros, those countries so foolish as to accept the euro as their currency no longer have the power to create their own money in order to finance budget deficits.

The countries that joined the euro must rely on private banks to finance their deficits. The result of this is that over-indebted countries can no longer pay their debts by creating money or expect their debts to be written down to levels that they can service. Instead, Greece, Portugal, Latvia, and Ireland were looted by the private banks.

The EU forced the pseudo-governments of these countries to pay the northern European private banks by suppressing the living standards of their populations and by privatizing public assets at pennies on the dollar. Thus retirement pensions, public employment, education and health services have been cut and the money redirected to private banks. Municipal water companies have been privatized with the result being higher water bills. And so on.

As there is no reward, only punishment, for being a member of the EU, why did governments, despite the expressed wishes of their peoples, join?

The answer is that Washington would have it no other way. The European founders of the EU are mythical creatures. Washington used politicians that Washington controlled to create the EU.

Some years ago CIA documents proving that the EU was a CIA initiative were released. See: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/1356047/Euro-federalists-financed-by-US-spy-chiefs.html and http://benwilliamslibrary.com/blog/?p=5080

In the 1970s my Ph.D. dissertation chairman, then a very high-ranking official in Washington with control over international security affairs, asked me to undertake a sensitive mission abroad. I refused. Nevertheless, he answered my question: “How does Washington get foreign countries to do what Washington wants?”

“Money,” he said. “We give their leaders bagfuls of money. They belong to us.”

The record is clear that the EU serves the interests of Washington, not the interests of Europe. For example, the French people and government are opposed to GMOs, but the EU permits a “precautionary market authorization” of GMO introduction, relying perhaps on the “scientific findings” of the scientists on Monsanto’s payroll. When the US state of Vermont passed a law requiring labeling of GMO foods, Monsanto sued the state of Vermont. Once the paid-off EU officials sign the TTIP agreement written by US global corporations, Monsanto will take over European agriculture.

But the danger to Europe goes far beyond the health of European peoples who will be forced to dine on poisonous foods. Washington is using the EU to force Europeans into conflict with Russia, a powerful nuclear power capable of destroying all of Europe and all of the United States in a few minutes.

This is happening because the paid-off with “bagfuls of money” European “leaders” had rather have Washington’s money in the short-run than for Europeans to live in the long-run.

It is not possible that any European politician is sufficiently moronic to believe that Russia invaded Ukraine, that Russia any moment will invade Poland and the Baltic states, or that Putin is a “new Hitler” scheming to reconstruct the Soviet Empire. These absurd allegations are nothing but Washington propaganda devoid entirely of truth. Washington’s propaganda is completely transparent. Not even an idiot could believe it.

Yet the EU goes along with the propaganda, as does NATO.

Why? The answer is Washington’s money. The EU and NATO are utterly corrupt. They are Washington’s well paid whores.

The only way Europeans can prevent a nuclear World War III and continue to live and to enjoy what remains of their culture that the Americans have not destroyed with America’s culture of sex and violence and greed, is for the European governments to follow the lead of the English and exit the CIA-created European Union. And exit NATO, the purpose of which evaporated with the collapse of the Soviet Union, and which is now being used as an instrument of Washington’s World Hegemony.

Why do Europeans want to die for Washington’s world hegemony? That means Europeans are dying for Washington’s hegemony over Europe as well.

Why do Europeans want to support Washington when Washington’s high officials, such as Victoria Nuland, say “Fuck the EU.”

Europeans are already suffering from the economic sanctions that their overlord in Washington forced them to apply to Russia and Iran. Why do Europeans want to be destroyed by war with Russia? Do Europeans have a death wish? Have Europeans been Americanized and no longer appreciate the historic accumulation of artistic and architectural beauty, literature and music achievements of which their countries are custodians?

The answer is that it makes no difference whatsoever what Europeans think, because Washington has set up a government for them that is totally independent of their wishes. The EU government is accountable only to Washington’s money. A few people capable of issuing edicts are on Washington’s payroll. The entire peoples of Europe are Washington’s serfs.

Therefore, if Europeans remain the gullible, insouciant, and stupid peoples that they currently are, they are doomed, along with the rest of us.

On the other hand, if the European peoples can come to their senses, free themselves from The Matrix that Washington has imposed on them, and revolt against Washington’s agents who control them, the European peoples can save their own lives and the lives of the rest of us.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West, How America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

We must stop pretending that economic and financial terrorism doesn’t exist and that it doesn’t trigger physical terrorism

By Kosmas Loumakis 1-8-2016


383605_269508179778959_231164773613300_762184_1558922987_nIt was a bloody July in Europe this year and again everyone are appalled by the evil acts of the few, that affect so many. But why on earth aren’t everyone appalled by the role US, EU and our governments, our bankers, our businessmen and our media plays in this horrific development? 

To grasp the root causes that elicits the evil acts of the few, whether these few are lonely maniacs or organized terrorists, one must go beyond the disturbingly monotonous and self-justifying government tale. Pure evil doesn’t have a specific religion, a specific nationality or a specific culture. It has a specific “recipe” though, and dehumanization and deception are its basic ingredients.

Pure evil, only pours out from the hearts of individuals and societies that have let fear, narcissism, greed and empathy eroding doctrines form their character. And it pours out from the pain and the rage of the individuals and the societies that are continuously violated, oppressed, dehumanized and tormented.

Pure evil, is like a sooty, black, thin and gluey veil, a tar like concentrate, created from all human pain and suffering caused by intentional cruelty and injustice. It hovers over the earth looking for “fertile” and “welcoming” places to envelope and infest. It seek numbed, emotionally paralyzed and loveless human souls to lure into misanthropy, ruthlessness and death.

It finds such places wherever injustice and tyranny prevail, wherever people’s pain and suffering is ignored and wherever this very arrogance and indifference, becomes foreign policies and economic models. It finds such places where despotic, sociopath rulers have caused immense suffering and mass death. It finds such places where neglect, carelessness, abuse, ruthlessness and brutality towards the poor, the weak and the minorities has become the norm. And where the voices of the suffering are disregarded and suffocated, by those who were elected and assigned to defend them.

In the name of righteousness, our evil must therefore be deeply scrutinized, thoroughly investigated, politically condemned and promptly brought to justice in the international courts and tribunals. At least by the governments and the societies that claim to be democratic, righteous and humane.

Unfortunately, from what has been said and reported about the attacks in Nice and in Germany until this moment, apart from the regular criminal-reality-narrative, we have again basically just been told how free and democratic our societies are, compared to the societies the villains want. Even though, none of these particular attacks seem to be executed by IS or other organized jihadists, nobody want to truthfully explain to the European citizens that a lot of Arabs, Africans and Asians, in fact might have a very good reason to hate the neo-colonial and imperialistic policies and socioeconomic-cultural crusades of our sanctimonious democratic governments. We are again being told that “now more than ever before, we must defend our values in our free and open societies”, at the same time as France and EU are passing laws that further limit and cripple the human rights and democracy in Europe.

They tell us, “it is just temporary”, but we know through historic facts that it never is. Never ever have such limitations of democratic rights, been restored by the governing systems that enforced them and the socioeconomic models that demanded them. We know that such rights have only been won back, with bloody revolutions and devastating civil wars and world wars in the end. Over one hundred million people died in Europe last century in such conflicts, so we really do have every right in the world, to openly question the quality, the accuracy, the efficiency and the honesty of our democracy and our justice.

Of course nothing about that, was on the agenda of the NATO Summit in Warsaw 7, 8, 9 July. And not only member states was invited. For the first time was so many “hangaround-countries” invited plus countries that has supported and participated different initiatives of NATO.

Humanity fought against exactly that plutocratic and very aggressive, political and military and paramilitary behaviour last century and it sought to get rid of exactly such imperialistic ruthlessness, and it installed democracy and justice. The main reasons and the most decisive arguments behind the establishment of the democratic nation-states after the two world wars, was to provide a whole people, a nation, the intellectual, political and legal tools and make it possible for it to guarantee and ensure democracy and the human rights for ALL its citizens. That is, to protect and defend the citizen against tyrants, plutocracies and oligarchies.

They were born as an absolute necessity, from the ashes and the remnants of the old ruthless, kingdoms and empires that had starved, tortured, massacred and driven away entire folk groups and peoples from their lands in Europe for 1000 years. And they matured, in particular during WWII, when the peoples from a few of these new European nation-states fought fascism and nazism and by that strengthened their democratic character.

However, what we can conclude from historic records, is that these popular democratic strives and struggles have always been accompanied with immense suffering, rivers of blood and millions of dead, caused by the sinister conspiracies, the sabotages, the dictatorships and the wars of the bankers and the businessmen with their political-legal “gangs”. Our sanctimonious and self-righteous, democratic governments and courts.

Systematic financial and economic terrorism most certainly exists and it triggers physical terrorism, and we can no longer pretend that it’s not like that, or that US, EU and our governments don’t commit horrific crimes against entire populations, nations and continents. Not, if we want to call ourselves civilized and not if we want to handle global terrorism adequately.

Noam Chomsky: US, Terrorism (2015)

 

The FASCISTIZATION of Europe! Rising fortunes of right-wing populists in Europe

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AFP Photo/Dimitar Dilkoff

Berlin (AFP) – A wave of right-wing populism has swept across Europe in recent months as the continent struggles with its biggest refugee crisis since the end of World War II.

Anti-migrant parties in countries from Hungary to Germany to Slovakia are experiencing a record surge in support.

Here are some of the key players in Europe’s populist movements:

IN POWER

HUNGARY

Viktor Orban’s conservative Fidesz party has seen soaring poll ratings at the expense of the far-right Jobbik, as he took an unapologetically hardline stance in the migrants crisis.

The Hungarian leader has sealed the country’s southern borders with razor wire and fences, refusing to take in a single migrant under a mandatory EU quota scheme. The right-winger has styled himself as the defender of Christian Europe against Muslim hordes.

POLAND

The conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party came to power last October and is deeply opposed to taking in refugees under an EU quota system.

Its leader Jaroslaw Kaczynsk had accused migrants of “bringing in all kinds of parasites which are not dangerous in their own countries, but which could prove dangerous for the local populations” in Europe.

ESTABLISHED

AUSTRIA

The far-right Freedom Party — already the third-largest party in parliament — has topped opinion polls lately, with scores as high as 34 percent.

The nationalist party, which made it into a coalition government under its late leader Joerg Haider in the early 2000s, rails against “asylum cheats”, organises demonstrations against planned centres for refugees and wants Austria’s borders sealed.

DENMARK

The populist Danish People’s Party formed in 1995 achieved a historic high score of 21.1 percent in the June 2015 elections. Although it is not in power, Denmark’s right-wing minority government needs backing from the DPP to pass legislation.

It was behind a controversial measure passed in January allowing Denmark to seize valuables from refugees to pay for their stay.

FRANCE

The far-right National Front (FN) topped the vote in regional polls on December 6, forcing traditional parties to band together to keep them out of power.

Its leader Marine Le Pen has said migration into Europe recalls the “barbarian invasions” of the fourth century.

Opinion polls consistently show that the FN leader would make it to the second round of presidential elections in 2017, regardless of her opponent.

GREECE

The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn captured seats in parliament in 2012 with 6.92 percent of the vote while Greece was in the throes of a sovereign debt crisis. It has orchestrated demonstrations against the opening of refugee shelters, but its popularity has not grown.

NETHERLANDS

The far-right Freedom Party has steadily grown since its establishment a decade ago, stoked by its leader Geert Wilders’ fiery anti-Islam and anti-European Union rhetoric.

While he was the front-runner in political polls on the back of the migrant crisis, Wilders’ popularity has slumped lately ahead of an initial court appearance next week where he faces charges of inciting racial hatred.

SWEDEN

The far-right Sweden Democrats were on the fringes until 2014, when they burst into parliament with 12.9 percent of the vote, becoming the country’s third biggest political force. Opinion polls show them gaining popularity since summer 2015.

NEWCOMERS:

CZECH REPUBLIC

Anti-foreigner party The Dawn, captured eight seats in parliament in 2013. Czech President Milos Zeman, known for his anti-migrant rhetoric, sparked an uproar last year when he appeared on the same stage with Dawn officials.

ESTONIA

The far-right Conservative People’s Party of Estonia (EKRE) founded in 2012 entered parliament last year with seven seats. It holds torchlight night parades through Tallinn and one of its MPs has openly praised fascism.

GERMANY

The populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) was founded in 2013 on an anti-euro platform, but has since morphed into an anti-migrant party that sparked a storm in January after suggesting police may have to shoot at migrants at the borders.

Its popularity has risen as misgivings grow in Germany over a record influx of refugees. It is eyeing its first seats in three regional parliaments in Sunday’s state elections.

SLOVAKIA

Far-right nationalist party LS-Nase Slovensko made spectacular gains in elections last weekend.

The head of the LS-Nase Slovensko (Our Slovakia) party, 38-year-old Marian Kotleba, wants to impose order on the parasites in (Roma) settlements,” to protect residents from “gypsy terror”.

http://news.yahoo.com/rising-fortunes-wing-populists-europe-051526058.html

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Note due to immediate concern of EU:

UKRAINE

Svoboda, The Right Sector and the Fatherland Party are the most notorious nazis at the moment, being supported by both US and EU.

The Cabinet is not only integrated by the Svoboda and Right Sector (not to mention former members of defunct fascist UNA-UNSO), the two main Neo-Nazi entities have been entrusted with key positions which grant them de facto control over the Armed Forces, Police, Justice and National Security.

While Yatsenuyk’s Fatherland Party controls the majority of portfolios and Svoboda Neo-Nazi leader Oleh Tyahnybok was not granted a major cabinet post (apparently at the request of assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland), members of Svoboda and the Right Sector occupy key positions in the areas of Defense, Law Enforcement, Education and Economic Affairs.

Tsipras interprets the Peoples NO as a NYES

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Svenska

Strange that the educated and well articulate journalists have such difficulties to interpret a word of only three letters. The tens of thousands of banners and posters all over Greece as well as the approximately 4 million Greeks slogans on streets and squares in recent days, were not clear enough, says both the news parrots and their own government.

The panic among news readers, commentators and assorted “experts” in the Greek TV channels, was complete last night. So much drivel and hair-raising theories about how to interpret this NO. Most of them managed to twist it to that “NO meant “NO to a break with the EU”. And then the Swedish lawmakers on sex crimes claim that NO always is a NO. What about the rape case of Greece?

The interpretations, over the whole range, of course was that NO actually means yes and that no one in Greece really wants to leave the euro and the EU. Despite the fact that people across the country have spoken of “NO to the occupation”, which is how we all see the Eurogroup’s and in particular the German government’s role in Greece. These parrots need to broaden the horizons a little bit and stop drinking their coffee only in the highly polished in-cafés, where both staff and guests poses with the ridiculously bleached jaws and the ridiculously unnatural smiles.

Then came the real “turn off”, Tsipras own “victory speech”, in which he assured that he does not take the Greeks vote as if he had been commissioned to break with Europe, but to negotiate better terms for the “cooperation”. Firstly, you never call a choke leash “cooperation”, and secondly, we want him to throw off his choke leash and begin to actually lay the issues of the legitimacy of the debt and the agreements legitimacy on the table, and with the support in international law and even on the advice from the UN’s own human rights adviser, to refuse to pay the creditors and announce that Greece will not pay the debt and declare the debt and the loan agreement illegal.

Let the international courts deal with the matter and in the meantime Greece will not pay a single euro of the legally challenged debt. Why this would pose any problem to the Greeks, no sensible person who manages to count has really understood, despite all the doomsday propaganda in the media? If the Greeks do not pay usury-debt and therefore do not need to take new loans to pay back the last five years forced, unfair loans, there is enough money for salaries, pensions, healthcare, education, infrastructure, social and health insurances and necessities for the people.

That is in any case, what a Prime Minister and a government that works for its people and not for the banks and businessmen would do.

If someone, with such “wind in the sails” and with the main international legal bodies advice to refuse to pay, still doesn’t interpret a NO as a “NO to this sort of Europe”, one clearly have different allegiances than what one show. So his own interpretation was thus NYES. His victory speech sounded as if it was YES the people said. Didn’t he read the banners and didn’t he hear the slogans, or didn’t he see the graffiti across Athens that said “NO” and “RAUS”? Didn’t his party members pass the people’s “don’t you dare” message to any further negotiations with EU/ECB, on the people’s sacrifices, on the illegal debt and its inhumane choke leash called “loan agreement”? “Even if this would mean to leave the euro and a break with the EU,” was the clear message that echoed throughout Greece to the government on Sunday.

What this referendum has done and that actually is of great value, is that it caused a climate of panic where all masks has finally fallen and they have revealed themselves and their real purposes to the people. Today we clearly see what real loyalties each and every one has and whose interests they are working for. The political leadership, the news channels, the terrorized YES voters, the pretending democrats and the pretending left has been unmasked. Those who have maintained and lived on the corruption and the nepotism which overturned Greece now stands “nude” and with “their hand up to the elbow in the cookie jar.”

This can force Tsipras to new elections and a wider coalition or a new technocrat government type Papademo’s government. In the worst case, a military dictatorship to put the Greeks in the “plaster cradle” again as that psychopath-colonel, dictator and CIA agent Papadopoulos put it, in April 21, 1967. It will be very interesting to see how the vast majority of SYRIZA will react to Tsipras, to say the least, treacherous NO interpretation. It is doubtful whether he can handle this to the end of the month, to not say the end of the week, as he again reappears to the negotiations in political “shorts” to communicate the Greek people’s position to the Brussels and Berlin commandants.

I sure hope they refueled the helicopters!

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A man holds a board which reads "No" for the vote in the Greek referendum, as he celebrates at Syntagma Square in Athens on July 5, 2015 after the first exit-polls of a referendum on usterity measures. Greek voters headed to the polls today to vote in a historic, tightly-fought referendum on whether to accept worsening austerity measures in exchange for more bailout funds, in a gamble that could see the country crash out of the euro. AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLAROsign says we say NO to the ockupation

The NO frightens and causes panic to the gangsters of the Euro and the banks

Big graffiti on wall in Athens

I must inform everyone who still believe the European news media’s version of what happens in Greece, and what they report about Greece and the referendum, that a huge “yes”-propaganda machinery has been unleashed from all those who with their “courts” have brought the country to this position. Of course with huge foreign support and help, since at least WWII.

EPAM’s general secretary the economist Dimitris Kazakis says:

“The YES-side is struggling to hide that YES means confiscation of deposits, salary, pension, private and public property of Greek citizens, as required by the lenders. YES means the release of layoffs without compensation, permanency of the interests of the employer, unemployment and temporary short-term work for the vast majority of Greeks. It means the continuance and increase of misery, soup kitchens, suicides and deaths because of lack of the basic necessities. All this that the lenders call bailout.

And the government? What is the government doing? At the same time that they are closing the banks, leaving them at the mercy of the deliberately caused panic among the pensioners and the private sector, in the Government Gazette, Sheet no. 1295, June 30, 2015, the government gives new guarantees in public to the Eurobank, so that this particular bank can sell its own bonds of around 1.91 billion euros, and to the Greek National Bank for 4.26 billion euros.

The government supports bankrupt banks and guarantees that the Greek taxpayer will pay their debts if these banks cannot. But when it comes to protect the people’s savings, wages and pensions, they hold up their hands. It closes banks, puts a ceiling on withdrawals and paves the way for “haircut” savings from the first euro.

At the same time, and while having announced a referendum, Mr. Tsipras submit an ostensibly own proposal based on which the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) will redeem the IMF. In other words, it suggests that the Greek should be further burdened with the IMF debt with ESM money and with at least twice the rate.

And the worst, he proposes to put the whole country under the ESM, which operates as a super state with complete immunity and privileges capitulations. This will move away from the IMF, which is unable to declare Greece bankrupt the and thus surrender completely to the ESM. To a super state that has the ability to sell, dismantle, cut and maim entire Greece.

Even though he wants to hide it Mr. Tsipras can not. He is with the YES even if he in public says NO. As does the leadership of Perissos (head quarters of the communist-party) that very much would like to say yes, but for show throws in an invalid vote. The referendum has already clarified the cloudy landscape. Every crook goes back to his own counter and shows his true colors.”

The yes-side, everyone should know, are those who have become used to not work for their income, but want to keep a position in the corrupt system and the subservient Greece of the cartels and the European banksters. They exist in the top of all the established parties in Greece and in all top channels in Greece and all of them are dependent on money from the different private and political interests, domestic as foreign. It’s all those who want to keep Greece a plutocracy and an oligarchy in dependence and in the lap of the foreign vultures. And I am not talking about serious investors who have long-term interests in Greece and in accordance with the Greek people’s interests, but the vultures that roam from country to country waiting for national collapses and is pushing for such things to happen and who lives on blood money and crimes against humanity… These are the ones that EU generally mean when they talk about “investors” and those are the ones that the Eurogroup doesn’t want to disappoint.

Anyone who are advocating a “yes” in this referendum wants to put Greece in a final colonial status to Brussels and Berlin and the Greek people to become debt-serfs in their own country…

Since the images of fighting pensionaries’ stomping on eachother or chaos and havoc in ATM queues that the photographers wanted didn’t actually occur to extent that they expected, they simply arranged them or in some cases I even saw images from other parts of the world broadcasted by European media as if they were from Athens… Even a number of buses from Sofia was chartered by ND-members and filled with Bulgarians, who for 100 Euro per head acted as “yes-supporters” on Syntagma on the YES-rally. Friends tried to talk with some people and they talked some Slavic language they told me and many others discovered the same… The current European propaganda machinery is not only spreading a ridiculous kind of black “journalism” but it also is a great humiliation to the intelligence and the common sense of the European citizen. Well apart from a few remote and intellectually dark corners of Europe.

In Sweden where I happen to be at the moment, unfortunately as always almost everyone are more or less very supportive of EU’s “defend-the-criminals-and-blame-the-victims” policy, the austerity-policies and they are completely influenced by the European Brussels directed media, so they listen to and trust every imaginable crap that comes out of every media-parrot’s beak in TV. The alleged critical voices in main stream media are ludicrous and on a level that not even kids in first class would believe in Greece, Spain and Portugal. In Sweden those voices are the absolute limit for what they can handle.

But forget about the Swedes. The Europeans that are actually able to critically follow the current events are not that stupid or that well conditioned, so at this time in history the masks are falling and everyone will show their right faces and their right intents and I have quite solid reason to believe that the nations and the people in Europe with a spine will stand up and do their historic duty. The Swedes will read about it and get the point in the history books in 60 or 70 years.

 

Kosmas Loumakis

Stockholm 3-7-2015

The Radical Reconfiguration of Southern European Politics: The Rise of the Non Leftist Left

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Introduction: Over the past decade fundamental changes have taken place in Southern Europe, which have broken with previous political alignments, resulting in the virtual disappearance of traditional leftist ’parties, the decline of trade unions and the emergence of ‘middle class radicalism’.

New political movements, purportedly on the left, no longer are based on class conscious workers nor are they embedded in the class struggle. Likewise on the right, greater attention is paid to escalating the repressive capacity of the state instead of state intervention in pursuit of economic markets.

Radicalization of the right, including massive cutbacks in social spending, has demolished welfare programs. The dispossession of households has uprooted cohesive neighborhood-based social organizations.

In place of the class based traditional left, ‘non-leftist left’ movements have emerged. Their leaders embrace ‘participatory democracy’ but engage in vertical political practice.

On the right, politics no longer revolve around conserving national economic privileges. Rightwing leaders willingly subordinate their economies and society to imperial led crusades, which empty national sovereignty of any meaning while pillaging the national treasury.

This essay will proceed to discuss these complex changes and their meaning.

The ‘Non-Leftist Left’ in Southern Europe

The economic crisis, in particular the imposition of severe cuts in wages, pensions and other social welfare programs by rightwing and social democratic governments have led to widespread discontent, which the traditional workplace based leftist parties have been unable to address and mobilize the people. Prolonged and deepening unemployment and the growth of temporary employment have affected over 50% of the labor force.

Union representation has declined precipitously, further weakening the presence of traditional leftist parties in factories.

Large-scale evictions, foreclosure of mortgages and accompanying job losses have led to neighborhood-based anti-eviction movements and struggles. Millions of young workers now depend on their grandparents’ pensions and remain with two older generations in their parents’ home. For the young workers, the degradation of everyday life, the loss of personal autonomy and the inability to live independently have led to revolts for ‘dignity’.

The traditional left parties and trade unions have failed (or not attempted) to organize the unemployed. They have failed to attract the young and the downwardly mobile temporary workers in anything resembling class-based, class struggle-oriented movements.

Paradoxically despite the deepening crisis among most workers, the traditional left has declined. Its workplace orientation and its language of class struggle do not resonate with those without jobs or prospects. For the radicalized middle class the traditional left is too radical in seeking to overturn capitalism and too distant from power to realize changes.

The radicalized middle class includes public employees, professionals and self-employed private contractors who aspire to, and until recently, experienced upward mobility but have now found their path blocked by the austerity programs imposed by rightwing, as well as, social democratic parties.

Frustrated by the social democrats’ betrayal and facing downward mobility, the radicalized middle class are disoriented and fragmented. Many have joined amorphous street protests; some have even embraced, temporarily in most cases, the alternative traditional rightwing parties only to encounter even more brutal job cuts, insecurity and downward mobility.

The middle classes deeply resent being denied the opportunity for upward mobility for themselves and their children. They resent their formerly ‘moderately progressive’ Social Democratic leaders’ betrayal of their interests. Their radicalism is directed toward restoring their past access to social advancement. Their deep-seated hostility to the authorities is rooted in the loss of their previous status as a result of the crisis.

Middle class radicalism is tempered by nostalgia for the past. This radicalism is rooted in the struggle to restore the European Union’s social subsidies and growth policies. They remember a recent past of rising living standards and “social inclusion”, now denied their own children. This vision guides the rhetoric that the progressive middle class had earned and enjoyed theirrising incomes as a result of their own ‘merit’.

Today the radicalized middle class looks for practical, specifically defined and government-sponsored policies that can restore their past prosperity. They do not aim to ‘level the playing field’ for everyone but to prevent their proletariazation. They reject the politics of the traditional left parties because class struggle and worker-centered ideologies do not promote their own social aspirations.

For most radicalized middle class activists the culprits are ‘austerity’, the mega-bank swindlers and the political kleptocrats. They seek parties that can reform or moralize capitalism and restore ‘individual dignity’. They want to kick out corrupt officials. They demand ‘participatory democracy’ rather than the traditional left’s goal of public ownership under worker control.

Under the specific conditions generated by the current social crisis, a non-leftist left (NLL) has emerged throughout Europe. Spontaneous, amorphous, ‘anarchic’, extra-institutional and ‘street-centered’, the NLL has adopted an irreverent style. The NLL, in its origins, rejected political parties, well-defined programs and disciplined cadres in favor of spontaneity and irreverence toward institutions.

As the appeal of the NLL grew, the unemployed, the temporary workers, the insecure and unprotected non-unionized workers and the radicalized middle class joined demonstrations and found safety in the crowds. They were attracted by the appeals from ‘the street’ to oust the incumbent kleptocrats.

Emerging from this movement aimed at the downwardly mobile middle class’ anger, Podemosin Spain, Syriza in Greece and Five Stars in Italy have appealed to all the people disconnected from power, by promising a restoration of ‘dignity and respect.’ They made amorphous appeals to ‘end austerity’ with only a vague promise that they would create jobs.

The NLL leadership, however, is most clearly influenced by the non-radical resentments of the downwardly mobile middle class.

They never engaged in class struggles and have rejected class ideology. For the NLL leaders, social polarization is mostly a vehicle for building an electoral base. Their participation in small-scale local struggles was presented as ‘proof’ that the NLL leaders spoke to authentic popular aspirations.

The Non-Leftist Left’s Transition: From Street to Public Office

From the street, the NLL moved swiftly to elections and from elections they proceeded to form coalitions with traditional parties. Strategic decisions were taken by a small coterie of personalistic leaders: They redefined ‘participatory democracy’ to refer only to local neighborhood activism and issues – not national issues, which were the realm of ‘experts’.

Syriza, the first NLL to reach power, reflected the immense gap between the radical posturingof its leaders in opposition and their cringing conformity before Established Power (the Troika: IMF, European Commission, Central Bank) once elected to government.

Syriza embodied middle class resentment toward the Euro-technocratic elite in Brussels whom they blamed for their loss of past prosperity and job security and for the ongoing degradation of everyday life. Syriza denounced the Troika while it remained under its tutelage. It excoriatedthe EU elite in the highest moral tones for doing what its elite class interests dictated, that is, defend the EU bankers, extract debt payments and threaten their underlings. In practice,Syriza never applied any class analysis to the Troika’s policy as it continued to refer to their ‘EU partners’. ..even as they imposed brutall demands.

Once in power the Syriza leaders never mobilized a single mass protest and never even threatened a general strike in the face of EU colonial dictates.

Syriza’s personalist leader, Alexis Tsipra,s appointed right wingers from former regimes to key posts. He negotiated with the Troika and caved on all strategic issues dealing with debt payments, austerity and privatizations. Syriza never considered ‘going to the people’. Syriza’smoral crusade’ against capitalism ended by their embracing capitalism and the colonial Eurozone system.

Syriza’s lack of class analysis, class struggle and class mobilization and its total commitment to working within a moralized capitalism and the Eurozone to restore middle class status and security has resulted in the most abject conformity and surrender – punctuated by shameless buffoonery on the part of some leaders.

In the end, Syriza surrendered to the dictates of higher powers of the Troika ad their Eurozone acolytes, but not until it had emptied the Greek Treasury. The leaders have combined the worst of all worlds: a bankrupt national economy, a ‘protesting’ but fundamentally colonial regime and a disenchanted electorate.

Where Syriza wildly succeeded was in marginalizing the traditional left (the Greek Communist Party). It reaffirmed the historic pattern: free floating movements of the moment end up being run by personalistic leaders who presume to speak for “the people” while bending over to their overseas overlords.

NLL in Spain and Italy: Podemos and Five Stars

Podemos in Spain and Five Stars in Italy are ready to follow Syriza’s path of colonial subservience. They rejected and successfully marginalized the traditional left. They have gained mass support, organized mass protests and loudly rejected austerity and the dictates of the Troika.

While Podemos leaders talk of ‘participatory democracy’, a handful of leaders make all policy pronouncements, decide which candidates to support in the elections and determine what kind of post-election coalition governments they will join.

What gives Podemos and Five Stars their radical appearance is their opposition to the governing parties, their rejection of ‘austerity’, their criticism of neoliberalism – and their support for ‘micro-politics’ of local grassroots direct-action.

At no time or place have they counterpoised an alternative to capitalism. Nor have they repudiated illicit debts or supported the expropriation of the banks responsible for the pillage their economies.

Podemos and Five Stars deliberately obscure their politics: They are whatever any of their affiliates’ claim to be…

The leaders raise populist demands and speak about ‘dignity’, employment and punishment of corrupt officials. They call for an end to authoritarian measures, but avoid any real commitments to institutional change, especially of the repressive courts, police or armed forces.

Podemos and Five Stars criticize the EU’s austerity programs while staying in the EU as subordinate members of an organization dominated by German bankers. They promote popular mobilizations which they have turned into vote-gathering machines for electing their members to office.

The NLLs contradictory politics of populist gestures and institutional commitments reflect the politics of a frustrated and blocked middle class demanding a restoration of its past status and security. Podemos and Five Stars leaders put on the grand show of thumbing their noses at the establishment to promote limited middle class demands. On a much broader front, the leaders of the NLL have not organized any mass protests – let alone formed a mass movement which would seriously challenge the imperialist powers, NATO, the Middle East wars and US-EU sanctions against Russia.

Since most of their supporters are anti NATO, in favor of Palestinian independence and critical of the Kiev regime the popular base of the NLL will act on their own but will have no real impact on the current national leadership.

The reason for the disparity between leaders and followers is clear: The NLL leaders intend to form post-electoral coalitions with the corrupt and reactionary ‘center left’ parties so despised and rejected by their own electorate.

Following the nationwide Spanish municipal and regional elections, Podemos allied with corrupt Socialist Party (PSOE). In the municipality of Madrid, Podemos supported the left-center coalition Ahora Madrid (Madrid Now), which in turn has allied with the center-right Socialists to elect the ‘progressive’ mayoral candidate, Manuela Carmena.

While the entire ‘progressive camp’ celebrates the defeat of the hard-right Popular Party candidate –little has been said about consequential changes in the municipal and regional budgets, structures of economic power and class relations.

Five Stars’,( Movimento Cinque Stelle or M5S), Italy’s non-leftist left is dominated by a single ‘anti-leader’, Beppe Grillo, he defines the party’s programs and affiliations. He is known for making clownish, provocative gestures against the authorities, calling for a “Fuck the Parliament Day”.

It is Beppe who selects the candidates to run for Parliament. While in opposition, M5S loudly opposed all NATO wars in the Middle East, US military interventions in Latin America and free trade agreements. But now ensconced in the European Parliament, Beppe has aligned with the Libertarian Right.

Five Stars (M5S) central demands revolve around ‘direct democracy’ and ‘sustainable development’. It has captured the electoral support of the majority of the lower middle classgaining 26% of the vote (9 million voters) in the 2013 general elections.

While Beppe and his colleagues engage in fist fights within the Parliament, make radical gestures and spout belligerent rhetoric, ‘M5S’ has not supported a workers general strike. It participates in each and every election, but has stayed away from factory struggles.

Radicalism, as grand ‘gesture politics’, is an entertaining, non-threatening response to capitalism since there is no concerted effort to form class alliances with workers engaged in workplace struggles.

M5S’, like Podemos and Syriza, expresses the disorganized radicalism of the young, frustrated lower middle class raging against their downward mobility, while refusing to breakwith the EU .They rail against the concentration of power in the hands of the banks, but refuse to pursue their nationalization. M5S mobilized 800,000 people in Rome recently but led them nowhere. ‘Five Stars’ convokes crowds to meet and cheer its leaders and to ridicule the power brokers. Afterwards they all go home.

Conclusion

While the ‘NLL’ movements capture the support of the ‘indignant’, the mass of unemployed workers and the evicted householders, their leaders do not articulate a serious plan of action capable of challenging the economic power structures: they raise popular expectations via demands for ‘change’. However, these vague and deceptive slogans allow the NLL leaders to join in a medley of opportunist electoral coalitions and governmental alliances, with decidedly establishment personalities and parties.

In Greece, Italy and Spain the traditional left has either disappeared, or shrunk to a marginal force. With little or no base outside of the workplace and trade unions, they barely secure five percent of the votes.

The NLL has deepened the isolation of the traditional left and has even attracted a part of its social base. NLL’s rejection of the traditional left’s tight organization and top down leadership and its pluralistic rhetoric appeals to the young. Moreover, as the left trade unions have sought compromises with the bosses to save the jobs of employed workers and ignored the unemployed, the latter has looked to the ‘open and spontaneous’ NLL to express their opposition. In Spain’s municipal elections, the United Left, a Communist-led electoral formation, joined with Podemos to elect Manuela Carmena, the ‘insurgent mayor’ of Madrid.

While the Euro-US academic left has rightly celebrated the emergence of mass opposition to the rightist regimes in Southern Europe, they have failed to understand the internal dynamicswithin the NLL movements: the limitations of middle class radicalism and their conformists’ goals.

The example of Syriza in Greece is a warning of the fatal consequences of middle class leaders trying to realize radical changes, within the neo-liberal framework imposed by the EU.

Epilogue

Currently, the best example of the opportunism and bankruptcy of the NLL is found in the successful Mayor-elect of Madrid, Manuela Carmena, whose victory was hailed by Podemos as the ‘great victory for the people’ at recent celebration.

For her part, Mayor-elect Carmena has wasted no time repudiating all ‘five basic emergency reforms’ promised during the elections. In a press conference, the so-called ‘progressive Mayor of Madrid’ announced (with a cynical grin) that ‘promise number one’ – a public bank – was no longer needed because she was satisfied to work with the private banking oligarchy. She refused to pursue ‘promise number two’ – to provide subsidies for electricity, water and gas for poor families cut off from those services, claiming such support was too early and could wait until winter

Regarding Podemos ‘promise number three’ – a debt moratorium, Carmena insisted that “we will keep paying, for now”. On ‘promise number four’ favoring public over private contractors for municipal contracts, Carmena reversed the position: “We can’t change right away”.

Carmena even repudiated ‘promise number five’ – to immediately implement a summer meals program for poor children, insisting that she would rely on the inadequate programs of far right predecessor.

Moreover, Mayor-elect Carmena went even further, staffing her administration with far-right holdovers from the previous government to strategic policy-making positions. For example, sheappointed Carmen Roman, a former Director General of the far right Prime Minister Aznar, as Senior Executive of Madrid. She defended these reactionary decisions claiming that she was looking for “technocrats who are the best professional administrations”. Indeed, Carmen Roman had implemented mass firing of public workers and the dismantling of social programs in the ‘best professional’ manner possible!

Carmena further betrayed her Podemos electorate by insisting she looked forward to working with the hard right Prime Minister Rajoy and flatly rejected the idea of promoting a progressive alternative!

In less than one week, the euphoria over the victory of Podemos backed candidates has been dissipated by these acts of cynical opportunism: the non-leftist left has betrayed its electorate, from the very start!

GREECE NEEDS DEBTS CANCELLED AND GROWTH – SIGNED BY ECONOMISTS

From The Guardian

Greece, austerity, letter

PENSIONERS TAKING PART IN A PROTEST AGAINST AUSTERITY OUTSIDE THE GREEK FINANCIAL MINISTRY IN ATHENS IN DECEMBER. PHOTOGRAPH: PETROS GIANNAKOURIS/AP

As economists, we note that the historical evidence demonstrates the futility and dangers of imposing unsustainable debt and repayment conditions on debtor countries; the negative impact of austerity policies on weakening economies; and the particularly severe effects that flow on to the poorest households.

We therefore urge the troika (EU, European Central Bank and IMF) to negotiate in good faith with the Greek government so that there is a cancellation of a large part of the debt and new terms of payment which support the rebuilding of a sustainable economy. This settlement should mark the beginning of a new EU-wide policy framework favouring pro-growth rather than deflationary policies (Report, 14 January).

We urge the Greek government to abandon the austerity programme that is crushing economic activity and adopt a more expansive fiscal policy setting, targeting immediate relief from poverty and stimulating further domestic demand; to launch a fully independent investigation into the historic and systemic failure of the Greek public financial management processes (including any evidence of corruption) that led to the accumulation of debt, the disguising of the size and nature of the debt and the inefficient/ineffective use of public funds; and to consider the establishment of a judicial body or alternative mechanism that is independent of government and charged with a future responsibility of investigating corruption from the highest to lowest levels of government.

We urge other national governments to exercise their votes within official sector finance agencies and to pursue other diplomatic activities that will support a cancellation of a large part of the Greek sovereign debt and new terms of payment for the rebuilding of a sustainable Greek national economy.

Malcolm Sawyer Emeritus prof, University of Leeds
Danny Lang Associate prof, University of Paris
Prof Yu Bin Professor and deputy director, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
Prof Ozlem Onaran University of Greenwich
Prof Mario Seccareccia University of Ottawa
Hugo Radice Life fellow, University of Leeds
John Weeks Professor emeritus, Soas, University of London
Prof Howard Stein University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Anitra Nelson Associate professor, RMIT University, Melbourne
Prof George Irvin University of London, Soas
Dr John Simister Manchester Metropolitan University
Mogens Ove Madsen Associate professor, Aalborg University
Wang Zhongbao Associate professor, editorial director, World Review of Political Economy
Dr Susan Pashkoff Economist
Andrea Fumagalli University of Pavia
Pat Devine University of Manchester
Professor Ray Kinsella University College Dublin
Alan Freeman Co-director, Geopolitical Economy Research and Education Trust
Eugénia Pires Economist, member, Portuguese Citizens Debt Audit
Dr Jo Michell University of the West of England, Bristol
Michael Burke Economist, Socialist Economic Bulletin
Paul Hudson Formerly Universität Wissemburg-Halle
Dr Alan B Cibils Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Guglielmo Forges Davanzati Associate prof, University of Salento
Prof Sergio Rossi University of Fribourg
Faruk Ulgen Associate prof, University of Grenoble
Tim Delap Positive Money
Eleni Paliginis Middlesex University
Grazia Ietto-Gillies Emeritus professor, London South Bank University
Professor Radhika Desai University of Manitoba
Michael Roberts Economist, ‘The next recession’
Michael Taft Unite the Union, Ireland region
Dr Andy Denis City University London
Peter Kenyon Chartist
Professor Emeritus Geoffrey Colin Harcourt UNSW Business School

Looking Backward, Looking Forward: 2014 – 2015

petras

Introduction: The balance sheet for 2014 and the prospects for 2015 provide us with a complex panorama of negative and positive outcomes. In most cases the advances, are not earth-shattering but open possibilities for further progress. The negative developments, however, have greater and more threatening systemic outcomes.

We will proceed in a telegraphic fashion to outline the positive and negative developments in 2014 and their real and potential symbolic and substantive impacts. In the second part of the essay we will sketch out some of the most important events and the way in which the positive and negative outcomes of 2014 will play out in 2015.

Positive Developments in 2014

While most leftist and progressive writers have emphasized the negative events of 2014, a more nuanced analysis will reveal ten important positive outcomes.

(1) The revelations that the US National Security Agency was engaged in a world-wide long-standing and continuous spying operations against hundreds of millions of Americans, allies and adversaries, citizens and leaders provoked deep distrust and questioning of Washington’s claims of upholding democracy and respecting the sovereignty of nations. The revelations led to greater vigilance among countries and domestic demands for reform.

(2) The US Senate revelations that the CIA engaged in widespread and repeated torture of political suspects, documented the growth of a police state apparatus and provoked a world-wide demand to prosecute prominent US leaders for crimes against humanity.

(3) The growth of economic, political and military ties between Russia and China augurs a rebalancing of global power – fostering a multi-polar world, which can act as a deterrent to future western imperial aggression.

(4) China’s President Xi’s deepening anti-corruption campaign has led to the arrest of leading business and political leaders and has encouraged popular denunciations and demands for ‘good government’ and greater attention to social demands.

(5) President Putin’s support for the Eastern Ukraine resistance to the Kiev puppet regime and for Crimean separatists, and his moves to restrict and, in some cases, prosecute criminal behavior among oligarchs has successfully countered Western efforts to encircle, undermine and revert Russia to a vassal state. US-NATO backed neo-liberals within Russia have been severely weakened Western sanctions may strengthen efforts to socialize the economy.

(6) The opening of a dialogue with Cuba, and Washington’s recognition that its half century blockade has only isolated the US in Latin America, is a step in the right direction. The increase in tourism and economic missions may increase demands for the end of the blockade.

(7) The growth and spread of the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS)against

the Israeli occupation of Palestine has reached major trade unions, student and religious organizations ,which in turn has influenced numerous political leaders to recognize Palestine, overcoming massive opposition from the Presidents of the 52 Major American Jewish organizations in the US and their counterparts overseas.

(8) The Iranian – US peace and nuclear negotiations have lessened the prospect of an Israeli promoted regional war. The ongoing negotiations have led to some advances, mostly concessions by Iran, but, at least, have favored diplomacy over US military aggression.

(9) Latin America witnessed a near sweep by ‘left of center’ regimes against US backed ‘hard right’ neo-liberals, in Brazil, Venezuela, Chile, Uruguay, Ecuador and Bolivia. While these election outcomes will not in any way challenge capitalism or lead to the expropriation of the agro-mineral and financial elite, they do indicate a relative degree of independence from US militarist foreign policy. The election of President Santos in Colombia, and the defeat of the far right opposition candidate, allowed for the peace negotiations with the FARC, the popular insurgency, to proceed toward a definitive agreement.

(10) The widespread dissemination of multi-media recordings of prominent scientists testifying to and documenting the evidence demonstrating that the collapse of the World Trade Center could only be a controlled demolition and not a result of the plane crashes, has led to widespread calls for a new investigation of 9/11.

Negative Events in 2014

Major events and policies in 2014 which have had a profoundly negative effect on the prospects for peace and social justice are equally numerous.

(1) The US and EU installation of a puppet regime in the Western Ukraine (Kiev) and its conversion into an economic vassal state of the European Union and NATO outpost on Russia’s border is a major blow against democracy and boost to Ukrainian neo-fascist political leaders. The militarization of the Ukraine, as an adversary of Russia, threatens a global nuclear war.

(2) The military coup in Egypt and the violent purge, jailing and torture of elected officials and secular dissidents, ensures the return of US influence in North Africa and reinforces Israel’s blockade of Gaza and colonization over the West Bank. Food and transport subsidies were ended in accord with the IMF. In 2014 as a result of the military dictatorship’s pro-business policies, the Egyptian stock market index returned 30% to foreign and domestic speculators. Between the coup in mid-2013 to the end of 2014, the M5CI stock index of Egypt doubled.

(3) The US re-entry in the Iraq civil war, its air war in Syria to counter the advance of ISIS, and the decision to retain thousands of troops in Afghanistan means that the militarist policies of the past decade continue to define US foreign policy in the Middle East. Civilian casualties are mounting and the wars are showing no signs of ending. The devastation wrought by the US-NATO military intervention in Libya continues to provoke Islamic extremism and civilian flight.

(4) US repeatedly supported Israeli seizures and colonization of Palestinian land in the West Bank and Jerusalem and Israel’s savage murder of 2000 Palestinians and 5 billion dollar devastation of property in Gaza. Under the prodding of Zionist multi-billionaires and AIPAC, the US blocked the PLOs effort to gain UN membership via arm-twisting of African representatives in the Security Council.

(5) The President and Congress’s defense of NSA spying and CIA responsibility for torture has further weakened residual constitutional guarantees.

(6) The electoral victories by the hard right in the US legislative elections will present major problems in proceeding with peace negotiations with Iran, in ending the economic blockade of Cuba and lessening the Government’s purge of immigrants.

(7) The Ferguson protest against the police assassination of a young black man grew into a nationwide protest (“black lives matter”) against the police impunity and violence, and had all the makings of a popular movement to democratize the state. Instead the police officials and police unions launched a massive counter-attack and mobilization, defending police power, by exploiting the killing of two policemen in New York City by a deranged individual.

(8) The US success in imposing sanctions against Russia, with the backing of the European Union, the escalation of military exercises on Russia’s Baltic frontiers and in the Caucuses, threaten a nuclear confrontation.

(9) Washington’s promotion of Asian-Pacific economic pacts excluding China, the military base agreements with Japan, Australia and the Philippines, and the expansion of provocative air and sea surveillance of China’s coastlines, has dimmed any prospect that Washington is willing to accommodate China’s ascent as a world power.

(10) Economic policies continue to concentrate wealth in the upper 1%, while investment bankers escape jail sentences for on-going multi-billion dollar swindles and illicit operations, laying the bases for a new financial crisis.

Looking Toward the New Year

The prognosis for 2015 is not promising. For one thing the positive changes that took place in 2014 are not sustainable and will be under threat by the further rightward shift in US policy.

The likelihood is that the new rightwing majority in Congress will do everything possible to prevent the ending of the US economic blockade of Cuba. The powerful Israel power configuration in the Congress, mass media and in the Treasury will likely impose such onerous and unilateral demands on Iran as to undermine any meaningful agreement. In Israel far right neo-fascist parties are likely to take power, early in 2015, and accelerate the seizure and colonization of Palestinian land foreclosing any prospects of a negotiated agreement. The Zionist power configuration in Washington will guarantee continued US backing.

The Obama Administration, blinded by its success in securing EU support for sanctions against Russia, will push harder for a full scale economic war, in hopes of overthrowing the Putin government.

Incremental increases in troops and military commitments in South Asia, the Middle East and the Baltic regions will further heighten economic tensions with China and North Korea as well as Russia.

Obama will work with the new rightwing Congress to lower corporate taxes, to secure fast track passage of free trade agreements with Europe (excluding Russia) and Asia (excluding China) and to strengthen the arbitrary police power of the CIA, NSA, and FBI.

The police, organized and mobilized, will further subordinate civilian authorities, and launch a full scale war on the movement to curtail police violence against Afro-Americans. New York City’s giant pro-police show of force is a dress rehearsal for 2015.

The US economy will become even more lopsided, unequal and subject to financial volatility. Middle and working class Americans will become further alienated from the parties, legislature and executive – abstention will increase. However, many Americans will struggle to elect popular representatives in local elections and initiatives.

Overseas the US will fail to secure any decisive military victory in any major theater of war. ISIS in Syria and Iraq is likely to continue to occupy wide swaths of territory and to sustain a long term war. The Taliban will eventually surround the big cities and garrisons in which US advisers are holed up. Libya will continue to be a failed sate. The Ukraine will likely descend into economic bankruptcy. In southern Europe the left-socialist party SYRIZA will probably win the elections and attempt to impose a moratorium on debt payments and stimulate the economy. The neo-liberal political regimes in Italy, Spain and Portugal will continue to deteriorate. In France the Socialist regime’s embrace of a pro-business agenda will provoke major conflicts with trade unions and may fracture. The National Front may become the leading party, adopting positions on the Right (anti-immigrant) and Left (anti EU austerity). Leftist, populist and far –right parties and movements are likely to increase support in eight scheduled elections in the EU this year.

Turmoil, wars, and sanctions will lead to new political alignments. Just as Russia and China move to realign, so too, political forces in North and South America, Asia and the Middle East may find new de facto alignments. Saudi and Israel, Iran and Iraq, Turkey and Russia, Brazil and Venezuela…

Unpredictable challenges may emerge from minor and major players: Greece’s new Syriza government, by refusing to abide by Berlin’s austerity agenda, may provoke a major crises in the EU. China’s anti-corruption campaign could lead to heighten mass protests. North and South Korea may open long sought negotiations – excluding the US.

With the beginning of 2015 we enter a journey to the end of the night…

Ukraine – Truce or Trojan Horse: Retreat, Re-Armament and Relaunch

petras

09.12.2014 :: Analysis

Introduction: The NATO proxy war in the Ukraine started with the violent US-EU-sponsored overthrow of the elected government via a mob putsch in February 2014. This was well financed at $5 billion, according to President Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland.

The result was a junta, composed of neo-liberal puppets, rightist nationalists and fascists, which immediately proceeded to purge the Ukrainian legislature of any politicians opposed to the coup and Kiev’s submission to the European Union and NATO. The NATO-sponsored client regime then moved swiftly to extend its control by centralizing power and overturning the official policy of bilingualism (Russian and Ukrainian) in the southeastern regions. It was preparing to break its long-standing agreement over the huge Russian naval base in Crimea and renege on its massive debts to Russia for gas and oil imports.

These extremist measures by a violent coup regime amounted to a radical break with existing economic, cultural and political institutions and, naturally, provoked a robust response from large sectors of the population. The overwhelmingly Russian speaking majority in Crimea convoked a referendum with 90% voter participation: 89% voted to secede and rejoin Russia. The ethnic Russian and bilingual, industrialized southeast regions of Ukraine organized their own referenda, formed popular militias and prepared for an armed response from what they viewed as an illegal junta in Kiev. Threatened by the new measures against their language and traditional and economic ties with Russia, the resistance drew its fighters from the vast reservoir of skilled industrial workers, miners and local business people who understood that they would lose thousands of jobs and access to the Russian markets as well as cultural and family links under the boot of the EU-NATO puppet in Kiev.

For critical sections of Ukraine, the Kiev junta was illegitimate, so the NATO overseers, cooked up an election with a pre-selected candidate, Petro Poroshenko, a millionaire oligarch, willing to serve as a ‘reliable’ proxy, despite his history of dubious ‘business’ deals, who would implement the Euro-US agenda. Despite large sectors boycotting the sham elections, the ‘victorious President’ Poroshenko immediately joined the EU, shredding the heavily subsidized and generous gas and oil agreements with Russia as well as cutting Ukraine off from its main export markets. He proposed to join NATO and convert Ukraine into a launching pad aimed at Russia. He eagerly signed an IMF agreement ending critical subsidies for low income Ukrainians, privatizing public enterprises and raising the cost of basic public services and food. He launched an all-out military campaign against the Donbass region, using missiles, air strikes, artillery and ground forces while assuring his masters in Washington and Brussels that he could easily smash all resistance to his dictatorial fiats and impose their radical retrograde agenda.

The scope and depth of the changes and the unilateral manner in which they were formulated and implemented provoked a widespread popular uprising in the southeast that cut across the entire social spectrum. The popular democratic nature of the opposition in the east attracted support throughout the region, reaching beyond the borders of Ukraine. The resistance easily captured Ukrainian military outposts while conscripted soldiers, ex-soldiers and local police units joined the resistance, bringing their arms with them.

The Kiev regime and its increasingly fascist shock troops responded with terror tactics, bombing civilian infrastructure and neighborhoods. In the ethnically-mixed city of Odessa, with its substantial Russian-speaking population, Kiev-based fascists torched the city’s main trade union building where civilian protesters had sought refuge, burning alive or later slaughtering over 40 trapped citizen demonstrators.

The terrorist tactics of the Kiev government spurred thousands more to join the resistance. Horrified and demoralized Ukrainian conscripts, who had been told they were fighting ‘Russian invaders’ defected or surrendered in large numbers. The spectacle of surrender and demoralization among its armed forces and police undermined this phase of Kiev’s offensive and led to a ‘legitimacy’ crisis.

The US-EU propaganda campaign intensified denying civilian resistance in the southeast any authenticity as an independent, democratic, national force by labeling them as ‘Russian separatists’ and ‘invaders’. Together with their puppet-‘President’ Petro Poroshenko, the US-EU tried to discredit the popular resistance via a major provocation: Ukrainian government air controllers in Kiev re-directed a civilian air liner, Malaysian Airlines Flt. 17, to fly directly over the war zone, shot it down killing almost 300 passengers and crew. The puppet in Kiev and their masters in Brussels and Washington then blamed the resistance, as well as Russia, for the crime!

The NATO-backed proxy regime’s tactic of terror boomeranged and caused even more outrage! More Ukrainian troops refused to fire on the own compatriots .The puppet regime in Kiev had to rely on the special fascist battalions eager to kill ‘Russians’. Many ordinary soldiers deserted rather than obey orders to fire heavy artillery shells into densely populated urban neighborhoods full of trapped civilians. Other troops crossed over into the safety of neighboring Russia where they surrendered and turned their arms over to the resistance.

The incredible strength of the southeast regional resistance came from several sources: First and foremost, they were defending home turf: their families, relatives, friends, neighbors, homes, workplaces, transport systems, hospitals and schools and they increasingly saw themselves as a nation confronting the ravages of a foreign-imposed dictatorship arbitrarily selling their principle economic enterprises and means of livelihood while submitting to the dictates of the US-EU controlled International Monetary Fund. This popular resistance was bolstered morally and materially by pro-democracy activists and militants from Euro-Asia, who understood that a NATO victory in Ukraine would lead to more coups in sovereign countries, more civil wars and brutal conquests throughout the region – a formula for economic and social disaster affecting tens, if not hundreds, of millions of people.

NATO’s heavy-handed presence behind the putsch in Kiev spurred a national liberation struggle in Ukraine and the growth of anti-NATO internationalism regionally. The battle was joined. The Kiev blitzkrieg halted in confusion. The battles for Donetsk and Lugansk turned the tide. The Resistance went on the offensive. Over 800 Kiev soldiers were killed. Thousands more were wounded, captured or deserted.

The Resistance was advancing westward and to the south threatening to create a land bridge to the Crimea and encircle an entire regiment. The puppet regime in Kiev panicked and pleaded for its EU and US patrons to intervene directly. Divisions within the junta deepened: the fascists demanded an all-out war against the Russian-speaking population and total mobilization. The neo-liberals, for their part, begged for direct NATO intervention.

Meanwhile, the EU and US imposed wide economic sanctions against Russia, unwilling to believe that the citizens in the Donbass region of southeast Ukraine would successfully resist their puppet in Kiev. They drank their own propaganda swill and blamed ‘Putin’, the Russian President, for the debacle. The increasing economic sanctions against Russia had no effect on the popular resistance in Ukraine as it took on the character of a national liberation struggle. However, the sanctions did provoke painful counter-measures from Russia, which slapped major embargos on EU and US agricultural products, deepening Europe’s economic recession. And there was a build up of NATO troops and joint military exercises on Russia’s borders in Poland, the Baltic States and over the Black Sea.

Finally the NATO powers realized that their puppet’s military conquest of the East was not going to be another ‘cake walk’, indeed it was turning into a brutal farce. From top to bottom, the junta’s armed forces were in shambles. The continued advance of the popular resistance and the onset of winter without Russian oil and gas could topple the regime in Kiev and force new elections free from NATO, the CIA and the machinations of US Assistant Secretary ‘F… the EU’ Victoria Nuland, Obama’s key strategist for Eastern Europe.

With NATO’s and Washington’s fears in mind, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed a ‘compromise’ for Poroshenko, an immediate ceasefire and negotiations leading to a political settlement between Kiev and the rebels. In the face of a military debacle in the East and growing internal fissures, the puppet in Kiev agreed to the ceasefire.

Prospects for Peace with Justice

Poroshenko and his NATO overseers eagerly grabbed onto Putin’s peace plan to stave off the advance of the popular resistance and gain time to re-group, rebuild and re-supply Kiev’s armed forces. NATO leaders are counting on a ‘political’ settlement where they trade easily-broken political promises in exchange for the resistance demobilizing and disarming under Kiev’s authority. There is no indication that the NATO-Kiev axis intends to abandon their strategic goal of turning Ukraine into a NATO base and vassal state of the EU.

As the cease fire comes into effect, the NATO powers have organized two sets of military exercises within Ukraine and on its immediate border – clearly undermining Russia’s strategic interests. The ongoing military build-up is a sign that NATO intends to participate directly in crushing the popular resistance in the next round. It is just a matter of time for NATO and Kiev to trot out some pretext to end the ceasefire. Meanwhile, NATO is increasing the flow of arms, advisers and contract mercenaries to Kiev. The oligarch in Kiev, Poroshenko is attempting to bolster his ground forces by imposing a highly unpopular universal conscription. Even the citizens in the west of Ukraine can see the war is going badly with the return of wounded soldiers and caskets holding their sons and brothers.

Tactically Poroshenko/NATO may offer paper concessions, greater ‘autonomy’ . . . under the rule of the Kiev junta, and the acceptance of bilingualism, but political, administrative, legal and fiscal powers will not devolve to the democrats in Donesk and Lugansk to design and implement their own policies and protect their rights. The regime will demand the re-entry of ‘its army’ on the pretext of guarding borders against Russia. There will be no reparations for the massive loss of life and infrastructure in the region. Kiev will seek to surround and fragment the Resistance and eliminate the key cross-border sanctuary with Russia. The ultimate goal would be to squeeze and oust resistance-led regional self-government.

The prolongation of negotiations will be used to build-up Kiev’s military capabilities. Meanwhile more US-imposed EU economic sanctions against Russia give Washington greater power to expand its influence in Europe and deepen political and trade polarization between the EU and Moscow. The Ukraine crisis is only one part of the Obama regime’s strategy of global military escalation, which includes re-entry into Iraq, direct bombing of Syria (including Damascus) and increased sanctions against companies and banks trading with Iran and Cuba, as well as the encirclement and provocation of China.

An independent Russia is the real target and the annexation of the Ukraine is a mere stepping stone on the way to Moscow. Under this strategic (and insane) vision, the US and EU will never accept a neutral (NATO-free), independent, democratic Ukraine. The popular resistance in the country’s southeast must clearly understand this strategic vision and continue the fight. They must recognize that the only means to establish democracy and self-rule, free from NATO and IMF dominance, and free from the marauding gangs of Kiev-led Nazi thugs – the terrorist Azov, Aidar and Donbass battalions – is via a plebiscite for total national independence.

The current cease fire is a Trojan horse: within the bowels of these negotiations, Kiev warlords are busily preparing to unleash more of their military excrement – fascist hordes and the oligarchs’ private armies, the monstrous spawn of the NATO-armed Azov battalion under Nazi banners, sporting swastika tattoos and hate-filled insignias. The choice is clear.

 

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Chris Hedges – Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle

Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, by Pulitzer Prize winning author Chris Hedges, argues that we are heading for economic, environmental, political, and moral collapse, as a once proud nation becomes an empire. According to Hedges, corporations are using mass entertainment to sell us the illusion of meaning, while we are kept apathetic about the decline of our culture, the erosion of education, and the systematic loss of our liberties.

Chapter by chapter

In Chapter 1, “The Illusion of Literacy,” beginning with the popular appeal of professional wrestling and reality TV, the author traces how media creates illusions of life, or pseudo-events, which overlay reality in the minds of those who follow them. These pseudo-events become more important than our real-world problems. “The success of professional wrestling, like most of the entertainment that envelops our culture, lies not in fooling us that these stories are real. Rather, it succeeds because we ask to be fooled. We happily pay for the chance to suspend reality.”

Moving through a detailed panorama of media, the cult of celebrity, and shows like American Idol, The Swan, Big Brother, and Survivor, Hedges uncovers the messages behind these shows. “They leave us chasing vapors. They urge us toward a life of narcissistic self-absorption. They tell us that existence is to be centered on the practices and desires of the self rather than the common good.”

This assaults literacy, not just our ability to read, but also our capacity to think deeply about issues.

A culture dominated by images and slogans seduces those that are functionally literate but who make the choice not to read…Propaganda has become a substitute for ideas and ideals. Knowledge is confused with how we are made to feel. Commercial brands are mistaken for expressions of individuality.

This is most important in the area of politics.

Those captive to images cast ballots based on how candidates make them feel. They vote for a slogan, a smile, perceived sincerity, and attractiveness, along with the carefully crafted personal history of the candidate…Truth is irrelevant. Those who succeed in politics, as in most of the culture, are those create the most convincing fantasies.

In chapter 2, “The Illusion of Love,” Hedges addresses the issue of the growing use of pornography in the last 40 years. He shows the horrors of the porn industry, its abuse of women and the industrialization of rape. He allows porn actors to speak for themselves, focusing on those who share their victimization by soulless companies whose only concern is profit; in porn they are commodities, not people. Hedges pulls no punches in letting them tell their stories. The testimonies here are stark and sexually detailed, certainly not for the faint-hearted. In other interviews with people who support the industry you can hear the hollowness of their justifications of abuse and torture.

He has a section of interviews with Shelly Lubben and some of her team at a porn convention. Shelly is an ex-porn star and is now a Christian crusader against the industry. Her mission is to rescue women from porn and show them the gospel of Jesus Christ. The author never openly commends her work against the industry, though he seems to share her viewpoint. Hedges does not write from a Christian perspective, and given his other railing against Christians (especially the “Christian Right”) this is a compliment.

There are few conclusions or recommendations for how to deal with this scourge on the mental landscape of our citizens. Instead, the author leaves us to draw our own from the descriptions of how pornography victimizes both users and producers. He rightly sees pornography as disassociated from relationships, intimacy, and real sex, and more about power and violence. Hedges uses our cultures fascination with porn, and the way that it has become mainstreamed into other media, to show how we have replaced real love with an illusion. Porn is a reflection of the violence that we have come to accept as entertainment, as figured in the Abu Graib abuses.

Chapter 3, “The Illusion of Wisdom,” is about higher education, specifically the schools of the elite, like Yale, Harvard, Stanford, and Cambridge—the very schools where most of those in political and corporate power receive their education. Admission to these schools, like a country club membership, is only available to the rich and powerful, who make colossal donations to gain admittance for their children. Diversity is cultural and ethnic, but there is no diversity of class. Intelligence and analytical skills are the only traits prized in these cloisters of privilege, and those students and faculty who question the status quo are shunned. Hedges contrasts this to an earlier time when enrollment was open, and where students questioned what they were hearing, rather than simply regurgitating facts.

He notes,

These elites are not capable of asking the broad, universal questions, the staples of an education in the humanities, which challenge the deepest assumptions of a culture and examine the harsh realities of political and economic power…Instead the elite are taught skills which prepare them for careers in business and politics. If business and political institutions are going the wrong way, these skills will not enable them to see what is wrong, or show any way to correct them…The unstated ethic of these elite institutions is to make as much money as you can to sustain the elitist system…By the time they graduate, they are superbly conditioned for the drudgery of moving large sums of money around electronically or negotiating huge corporate contracts.

The consequence of this shift in education over the last 100 years is that the people making the biggest decisions about what kind of country and economy the rest of us will inherit are those unprepared to question authority and the status quo, and unlikely to set aside the interests of the rich and powerful to build a better world for all Americans. The moral and ethical dimensions of business and public policy will not just be ignored, but intellectually unavailable to them.

Chapter 4, “The Illusion of Happiness,” is about positive psychology and social engineering. Positive psychology believes that happiness can be engineered. “By thinking about things, by visualizing them, by wanting them, we can make them happen.” As preposterous as this con artistry seems, this is a prevailing philosophy being sold to major corporations. “The corporations tell us who we are and what we can become…If we are not happy there is something wrong with us.”

This ties in with the picture that Hedges is painting of our culture of illusion.

Once we adopt a positive mind, positive things will always happen. This belief, like all the other illusions peddled in the culture, encourages people to flee from reality when reality is frightening or depressing… This flight into self-delusion is no more helpful in solving real problems than alchemy. But it is very effective in keeping people from questioning the structure around them that are responsible for their misery. Positive Psychology gives an academic patina to fantasy.

These positive psychologists sell their services to corporations, who then build a culture where productivity at work, based on an illusion of happiness, not family or church, becomes the highest ethical goal for an individual. As this fails to produce real fulfillment and leads to isolation, the person who rebels against his keepers is passed over for promotion, or “downsized.” The person who is cowed into submission flees into the fantasy of spectacle on television or pornography to validate a life that should have been lived for a higher calling than next year’s annual report. Either way this accomplishes the corporation’s goal of profit, either by producing more brake pads, or downsizing those who don’t want to play the game.

Positive psychology, like celebrity culture, the relentless drive to consume, and the diversionary appeals of mass entertainment, feeds off the unhappiness that comes from isolation and the loss of community. The corporate teaching that we can find happiness through conformity to corporate culture is a cruel trick, for it is corporate culture that stokes and feeds the great malaise and disconnect of the culture of illusion.

The final chapter, “The Illusion of America,” sums up the rest of the book with the opening line, “I used to live in a country called America.” Hedges tells us that, though we use the same language of freedom, rights, liberty, and justice for all, we are left with only the illusion of these things in a country that cruelly treats those who are poor, laid off, and whose homes have been foreclosed, while those who have engineered their demise on Wall Street take home 10 million dollar bonuses. Ironically, the government we elected to promote liberty and to protect our people never steps in to interrupt this greed. There are slogans of hope and change, but the real hope is for the rich to get richer, and the change is just another coat of paint on the same collapsing edifice that was once a great and proud nation.

I challenge you to read that chapter for yourself. It’s not fun. Whether or not all that Chris Hedges says is true, there is certainly the ring of authenticity to someone born in the early 50s who grew up looking forward to a brighter future and a better America. Perhaps the most chilling statement is, “At no period in American history has our democracy been in such peril or the possibility of totalitarianism as real.” In the 70s I wondered, as I read Revelation 13, how the prediction of an evil world ruler could ever be bought and sold in America. Francis Schaeffer’s words were prophetic: “History indicates that that at a certain point of economic breakdown people cease being concerned with individual liberties and are ready to accept regimentation. The danger is obviously greater when [the] two main values so many people have are personal peace and affluence.”

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