Chris Hedges: A MINIMUM Agenda for Revolution [Hold Bernie Sanders to THIS Agenda] — TruthDig

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To save ourselves from impending financial and environmental catastrophe we need to build movements that have as their uncompromising goal the abolition of corporate power.

Corporation after corporation, including banks, energy companies, the health care sector and defense contractors, must be broken up and nationalized.

We must institute a nationwide public works program, especially for those under the age of 25, to create conditions for full employment.We must mandate a $15-an-hour minimum wage.

We must slash our obscene spending on defense—we spend $610 billion a year, more than four times the outlay of the second-largest military spender, China—and cut the size of our armed forces by more than half.

We must rebuild our infrastructure, including mass transit, roads, bridges, schools, libraries and public housing.We must make war on the fossil fuel industry and turn to alternative sources of energy.

We must place heavy taxes on the rich, including a special tax on Wall Street speculators that would be used to wipe out the $1.3 trillion in student debt.

We must ensure that education at all levels, along with health care, is a free right of all Americans, not something accessible for the wealthy alone.

We must abolish the Electoral College and mandate public financing of political campaigns.

We must see that the elderly, the disabled, poor single parents and the mentally ill receive a weekly income of at least $600, or we must find them space in state-run institutions if they require daily care.

We must institute a moratorium on foreclosures and bank repossessions.

We must end our wars and the proxy wars in the Middle East and bring home our soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors.We must pay reparations to Iraq and Afghanistan, and to African-Americans whose ancestors largely built this country as slaves who never were compensated for their labor. [AND NATIVE AMERICANS ALSO!]

We must repeal the Patriot Act and Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act.

We must abolish the death penalty.We must dismantle our system of mass incarceration, release the vast majority of our 2.3 million prisoners, place them in job-skill programs and find them work and housing.

Police must be demilitarized. Mass surveillance must end.

Undocumented workers must be given citizenship and full protection under the law.

NAFTA, CAFTA and other free-trade agreements must be revoked.

Anti-labor laws such as the Taft-Hartley Act, along with laws that criminalize poverty and dissent, must be repealed.

All this is the minimum.

US is ‘the greatest purveyor of violence in the world’ — Dr. Martin Luther King, 1967 / CounterPunch

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“[The Vietnamese] must see Americans as strange liberators…the people read our leaflets and receive regular promises of peace and democracy – and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs….as we he herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps. They know they must move or be destroyed by bombs.

They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops.

They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees.

They wander into the hospitals, with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one ‘Vietcong’-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them – mostly children…

What do they think as we test out our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicines and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe?”

King broke with both sides of the American Exceptionalist coin:

(A) the notion that the United States is so breathtakingly splendid that it has nothing to learn from the rest of the world and everything to teach others and

(B) the notion that the United States is unique among world history’s great powers in the fundamentally benevolent, democratic, humanitarian, and non-(and even anti-) imperial intention and nature of its foreign policies.


[And ALSO read Barack Obama’s servile sycophancy to “the market” of American capitalism and to the whole premise of American Exceptionalism itself from Obama’s book “The Audacity of Hope.” Had I read his damn book, I would have SEEN this and bailed from the entire political system in 2008, expecting NOTHING.

Sanders is FINALLY giving expression to policy and political positions I have held — and held in check — for decades, thinking the damned Democrats were on the same page. Turns out they were not. Clinton was a particularly onerous two-timer and four-flusher with his trade deals, ending welfare for the poor, illegally bombing Yugoslavia, “ah feel yore pain” and repealing the strict Glass-Steagall bank regulation act which was the FIRST bill passed by the New Deal Congress in 1933.

So CLINTON himself is directly responsible for the financial calamity of 2008.

Sanders has a tres viable candidacy in my book and I think Hillary is going down anyway. People have had far too much of BOTH the CLINTONS and the BUSHES.

At LEAST we can use the Bernie Sanders campaign to connect with our real next-door neighbors and organize ourselves for a humane, democratic, ecological governance once the looming apocalypse of capitalist empire begins its nasty descent into collapse.

Indeed, I see signs of this happening all around.

They who have eyes, let them see.

They who have ears, let them hear.]

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Glenn Greenwald: Hijacking Homosexuality by the CIA, GCHQ and the rest of the Military/Industrial/Surveillance Complex — Intercept

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[THE FEEL-GOOD MEANS FOR LIBERALS TO SUPPORT WAR. ANY WAR. Just as Homo Rights was the Feel-Good means to re-elect Obama and to elect and re-elect Bill Clinton and seems to be the FEEL-GOOD MEANS TO ELECT THE PSYCHOPATHIC MILITARIST HILLARY CLINTON.]

EXCERPT: “This is all a stark illustration of what has become a deeply cynical but highly effective tactic. Support for institutions of militarism and policies of imperialism is now manufactured by parading them under the emotionally manipulative banners of progressive social causes.”

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GCHQ’s Rainbow Lights: Exploiting Social Issues for Militarism and Imperialism

This is so very moving. Gay Brits are now just as free as everyone else to spy on people, covertly disseminate state propaganda, and destroy online privacy. Whatever your views on all this nasty surveillance business might be, how can you not feel good about GCHQ when it drapes itself in the colors of LGBT equality?

This is all a stark illustration of what has become a deeply cynical but highly effective tactic. Support for institutions of militarism and policies of imperialism is now manufactured by parading them under the emotionally manipulative banners of progressive social causes.

The CIA loves this strategy. It now issues press releases hailing LGBT Pride Month and its “Agency Network of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Officers and Allies (ANGLE),” which “heralded the start of Pride Month by unveiling a photography exhibit at CIA Headquarters showcasing LGBT officers, allied employees, and their families.” Last month, the spy agency actually set up a recruiting tent at the Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade. Also last month, it summoned Maureen Dowd to Langley to interview female agents — ones whom the NYT columnist hailed as a “perky 69-year-old blond” and a mid-30s “chic analyst” — to produce a glowing portrait of “the C.I.A. sisterhood.”

What Good Progressive could possibly view such such a pro-gay and feminist institution with disdain?

Neocons have long adeptly exploited this tactic and are among its pioneers. Before the invasion of Afghanistan, Americans were inundated with stories about the Taliban’s oppression of women: as though feminism was part of the cause of that war. To help justify the invasion of that country, the Bush State Department suddenly discovered its profound concern for the plight of “Afghan women and girls.” Some American feminist groups dutifully took up the cause as U.S. bombs were falling and U.S. soldiers were invading that country, as though it were some sort of War for Feminism and the Liberation of Afghan Women.

What Good Progressive could oppose a war like that? The fact that the U.S. not only refrained from invading, but lavishly supported, all sorts of regimes that were at least as repressive to women as the Taliban went unmentioned. That might suggest that liberation of women was merely a propagandistic pretext for that war rather than an actual desired outcome — just as Saddam Hussein’s “gassing of his own people” and other human rights abuses (committed when he was a close U.S. ally) had exactly zero to do with that war other than providing a feel-good means for liberals to support it.

These days, animosity toward leading U.S. adversaries — Vladimir Putin and Iranian mullahs — is bolstered through a sustained focus on their maltreatment of their LGBT citizens.

The most war-craving neocons endlessly focus on the plight of gay Iranians — as though that’s what motivates their hostility, as though neocons care about any of that in the slightest — while completely ignoring brutal LGBT suppression by regimes that are highly deferential to the U.S. and Israel. All of this, though blatantly manipulative, is also a remarkably effective tactic: Obama-aligned gay groups in the U.S. such as Human Rights Campaign regularly churn out anti-Russia screeds, and do the same for Iran.Like any effective propaganda, all of this is grounded in some semblance of truth. The Taliban really are grotesquely oppressive to women; Saddam really was a severe human rights violator; Iran really does punish and sometimes even executes its gay citizens, while Putin has cultivated an anti-gay climate for domestic political benefits.

But none of that has the even the remotest connection to U.S. foreign policy or to the reasons these countries are deemed American adversaries.

Just as is true for the Taliban’s treatment of women, the regimes the U.S. loves and supports the most are at least as oppressive to LGBT individuals as Iran is (or, when compared to Russia’s actual record on gays, far more oppressive). The U.S. government doesn’t mind in the slightest if a government is oppressive to its gay or female citizens: quite the contrary, as a look at its closest allies proves. It just exploits those social issues as a means of propagandizing the public into hating the regimes that oppose its dictates, and well-intentioned people then dutifully march into line (just as some Iraq War supporters, and Libya War supporters, genuinely got convinced that invading and bombing those countries would somehow improve “human rights” — as though that were the goal or the likely outcome).As a general matter, this tactic for Washington is far from new.

The U.S. media has long hyped human rights and civil liberties abuses when perpetrated by governments disliked at the moment by the U.S. government, while ignoring far worse ones committed by subservient regimes.

That’s why “Pussy Riot” has become a household name among Americans, and

why the U.S. media developed an acute interest in the press freedom record of Ecuador as soon as it granted asylum to Julian Assange, but there is almost no interest in hearing about the systematic abuses of the Gulf tyrannies most commonly hailed by the U.S. media as “Our Friends and Partners in the Region.” This is human rights concerns as a cynical propaganda tactic, not anything remotely approaching an actual belief.

But the exploitation of these specific progressive social issues — especially women’s and LGBT rights — is a relatively new modification of this long-standing tactic. It has found expression in the “pink washing” of Israeli aggression: all Good Progressives are supposed to side with Israel because they provide better treatment to LGBT citizens than Palestinians do.

Anti-Muslim fanatics use this same tactic constantly (literally every day, I’m told I should never oppose persecution and imperialistic aggression against Muslims because of “their” anti-gay fanaticism: why are you defending “them” since “they” would throw you off a roof, etc.).

Similarly, the (genuinely exciting) milestone of the first African-American president was

effectively used to obscure what the CIA itself in 2008 regarded as Obama’s irreplaceable value in protecting status quo militarism, while the milestone of the first female president will be used to obscure Hillary Clinton’s similar role.

Figuratively dressing up American wars in the pretty packaging of progressive social causes, or literally decorating pernicious spy agencies with the colors of the LGBT cause, should leave no doubt about what this tactic is. Militarism and aggression don’t become any more palatable because the institutions that perpetrate them let women and gays participate in those abuses, nor do American wars become less criminal or destructive because their targets share the same primitive social issue stances as America’s closest allies.

[My bi/same-sex desire — biHomosexualdom — has been hijacked FIRST by GAY INCORPORATED INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX and NOW by the Military/Israeli/Surveillance/Banking/WallStreet/Empire/Capitalist/WAR Industrial Complex.


Any same-sexers who are NOT doing what Chelsea Manning did and are INSTEAD, serving as despicable members-in-good-standing of the A List of the Anglo/Euro/US GESTAPO STATE SECURITY SERVICES are beneath contempt; they are despicable human beings.]
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Andre Viltchek: Time for a Creative Revolution: How to Fight Western Propaganda — CounterPunch

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The Empire lies continuously. It lies in the morning, during the day, in the evening, even at night, when most of the people are sound asleep.

First they manufacture monstrous lies, and then they tell us that we should be objective!Is love objective; is passion?Are dreams defendable, logically and philosophically?

When a house is attacked by brigands, when a village is overran by gangsters, when smoke, fire and cries for help are coming from every corner, should we award ourselves with the luxury of time to calculate, analyze and aim at complete logical, ethical, holistic and objective solutions?

I strongly believe no! We are obliged to fight those who are burning our dwellings, to hit with full force those who are attempting to rape our women, and to confront fire with fire when innocent beings are slaughtered.

When the most powerful and the most destructive force on earth employs all its persuasive might, utilizing everything from the mainstream media to educational facilities, in order to justify its crimes, when it spreads its poisonous propaganda and lies in order to oppress the world and suppress hope, do we step back and begin endless and detailed work on precise and objective narratives?

Or do we confront lies and propaganda with our own narrative, supported by our intuition, passion and dreams for a better world? CLICK ON TEXT TO READ MORE FROM COUNTERPUNCH

George Monbiot: [Why the Democrats, I mean,] Labour keeps losing elections and what to do about it from the ground up — UK Guardian

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EXCERPT: “…community life is weaker than almost anywhere else. The destruction of rural populations through enclosure and agricultural change, followed by rapid and chaotic urbanisation based around industries that later collapsed, the implosion of organised labour, extreme atomisation and hyper-consumerism: all these mean that there is less with which to work than in other parts of the world. Rebuilding community has to start almost from scratch, and it might take decades. But until it happens, there’s little hope for lasting progressive change in this country.”

Leadership comes from below: that’s what most successful progressive parties have in common. Left-wing parties have triumphed where politics have been reshaped by powerful social movements, and failed where they rely on passive support. The late 20th-century model, of speeches, spin and central diktats, is a dud.

No progressive party can survive the corporate press, corrupt party funding systems and conservative fear machines by fighting these forces on their own terms. The left can build only from the ground up; reshaping itself through the revitalisation of communities, working with local people to help fill the gaps in social provision left by an uncaring elite. Successful progressive movements must now be citizen’s advice bureau, housing association, scout troop, trade union, credit union, bingo hall, food bank, careworker, football club and evangelical church, rolled into one. Focus groups and spin doctors no longer deliver.

This is the lesson from Latin America, where many of the progressive victories of the past 20 years have been won. They arose not from short-term electoral strategies, let alone from friendly overtures to media barons and banks, but from citizens’ movements that began, in some cases, 50 years ago. These movements have had plenty of setbacks and disappointments. But they have locked in change of the kind that once seemed impossible.

Between 1989 and 1991, I worked with movements representing landless rural workers in Brazil. As they sought to reclaim their land, thousands were arrested; many were tortured; some were killed. They faced not only hostile newspapers, but television channels that made the Daily Mail look like the Morning Star. Yet the change they catalysed looks, in retrospect, inexorable. These mobilisations were preceded, during the murderous reign of the generals, by liberation theology and popular education movements that involved a daily risk to the lives of their instigators. You think we have it hard in Britain? Think again.

In Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador, Venezuela, Uruguay and Chile, similar movements transformed political life. They have evicted governments opposed to their interests and held to account those who claim to represent them. Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain have been inspired, directly or indirectly, by the Latin American experience.

Ed Miliband has left little behind, except his attempts to mobilise communities. Though his efforts were small, tentative and mostly frustrated, he appeared to have understood what it took to produce lasting change. He altered Clause 1 of Labour’s constitution to include a pledge to “make communities stronger through collective action and support”. He re-launched his brother’s attempt to create a mass movement of community organisers. The Movement for Change might be small, but where it’s active, it works. It has lobbied job centres to stop treating applicants like criminals; pressed local businesses to advertise their jobs openly; urged the police to change the way they engage with victims of domestic abuse; chivvied councils to clear up discarded needles; struggled against revenge evictions; asked local media to stop running advertisements for loan sharks and sought to provide alternative finance; and appealed to the owners of derelict buildings to rehabilitate them, all with a degree of success.

Miliband brought in the community organiser Arnie Graf from Chicago to try to catalyse mass participation and allow party supporters to lead, rather than merely follow orders. But in October 2013, he made what might have been the biggest of his many blunders: he put Douglas Alexander in charge of his election strategy.

Alexander is widely reported to have been responsible for sacking Arnie Graf. He pulled Labour back to the old model of clipboards and cold calling, centralisation and commands from on high. The Movement for Change appears to have been treated as if it were an embarrassment: it was scarcely mentioned during the Labour campaign. You can see how well Alexander’s political instincts were attuned to the times: he was beaten in his own constituency by a 20-year-old student, on a 27% swing.

It’s true that community development will not produce instant results. In Britain community life is weaker than almost anywhere else. The destruction of rural populations through enclosure and agricultural change, followed by rapid and chaotic urbanisation based around industries that later collapsed, the implosion of organised labour, extreme atomisation and hyper-consumerism: all these mean that there is less with which to work than in other parts of the world. Rebuilding community has to start almost from scratch, and it might take decades. But until it happens, there’s little hope for lasting progressive change in this country.

[Democrats, I mean] Labour’s problem is not that the people who run the party have spent their entire careers in politics.

It’s that they have spent their entire careers in the kind of politics that washes its hands if ever it has the misfortune of touching a voter.

A lifetime’s study of tactics and manouevres within the Westminster bubble might work for a party supported by the corporate media, and that can mobilise fear to push people to the right; it does not work for a party that requires genuine public enthusiasm to succeed. It’s not people with experience in banking or business that Labour desperately needs,

but people who know how to build a political movement from the bottom up.

Amid depressing signs that the party might be learning all the wrong lessons from defeat – not least the collection of pre-programmed animatrons currently considered serious contenders to lead the party – there are also some stirrings of hope.

For example the former minister John Denham notes that “our failure to recognise, let alone address, the central importance of the politics of belonging was the single unifying thread of our disappointment”. Tessa Jowell writes that “we missed Arnie Graf’s work in changing the relationship with local communities and labour activists … it is an important part of building our shared future.” But so far their voices have been drowned by arguments about the message that “we” should have handed down to “them”; them being the remote and inscrutable tribe known as the electorate.

Revitalising communities is not just an election strategy. It is a programme for change in its own right; even without a sympathetic government. If it takes root, it will outlast the vicissitudes of politics. But it will also make success more likely. If Labour wants to reconnect, it must be the change it wants to see.

‘Listen to the pablum that passes for political discussion…’ — John Michael Greer, The Archdruid Report

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Listen to the pablum that passes for political discussion in Washington DC or the mainstream US media these days, or the even more vacuous noises being made by party flacks as the country stumbles wearily toward yet another presidential election — [do you hear]

* that the American dream of upward mobility has become an American nightmare of accelerating impoverishment outside the narrowing circle of the kleptocratic rich;

* that corruption and casual disregard for the rule of law are commonplace in political institutions from local to Federal levels;

* that our medical industry charges more than any other nation’s and still provides the worst health care in the industrial world;

* that our schools no longer teach anything but contempt for learning;

* that the national infrastructure and built environment are plunging toward Third World conditions at an ever-quickening pace;

* that a brutal and feckless foreign policy embraced by both major parties is alienating our allies while forcing our enemies to set aside their mutual rivalries and make common cause against us:

these are among the issues that matter, but they’re NOT the issues you’ll hear discussed as the latest gaggle of carefully airbrushed candidates go through their carefully scripted elect-me routines on their way to the 2016 election.– John Michael Greer, The Archdruid Report, 13 May 2015ce, THE ERA OF PRETENSE

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