The Lull Before the Social Storm

Jack D. Douglas

There comes a time finally when the accelerating crises and sufferings and rages become too much to bear and something sets off an explosive cascade of events that quickly leads to a vast social explosion.

Vast social revolutions and wars are often preceded by periods of giving up on reforms, despairing withdrawal from public life by the best and brightest, and even peacefulness which seems to have become the normal condition in spite of deep conflicts and growing crises beneath the surfaces of public life. Often, earlier periods of intense conflicts and crises have been overcome and resolved, so it comes to look like that is the normal in life. This lulls most people into assuming their worse fears cannot happen, but this leads them to lowering their guards against growing conflicts and crises, so small ones can more easily cascade down into massive ones. If people expected they could become vast wars or revolutions or implosions, they would take more precautions to prevent that. But when lulled in expecting the worst cannot happen, the worst than they could ever imagine often explodes suddenly.

The cataclysmic French Revolution came after many decades of attempted reforms and conflicts which people had come to think of as unending. It started with new attempts at reforms, then incidents that did not seem so important, then all of it a sudden it exploded. WWI came after so many decades of peace in Europe, in spite of imperial conflicts around the world and an arms race, that most people thought a major war was impossible. Then a single murder in the far away Balkans set in motion an explosive cascade of events that led to a cataclysmic war. The Russian Revolution was preceded by such a long "lull" encouraged by European peace and reforms by the tsar that even Lenin was near despair and was living abroad. After several years of WWI and growing poverty at home, the Russian front imploded and a small event at home triggered a revolution that started small and democratic and then exploded into one of the vastest social revolutions in history. The beginning of WWII on the crucial German-French front was so quiet for so many months after France and Britain had declared war on Germany after it invaded Poland that it was called the "Sitzen Krieg" in Germany, the sit-down war, then it exploded as Germany invaded through the Ardennes. This was repeated near the end of the war as Germany built up its forces secretly for attacking through the Ardennes again.

Hillary Clinton’s “democracy” for Syria

Bill Van Auken

US imperialism has a long and sordid record of bloody military interventions and interference in the affairs of other countries for the purpose of securing the interests of Wall Street and corporate America.

Ever since William Howard Taft declared that “our little brown brothers” of the Philippines would need “50 to 100 years of close supervision” to develop functioning self-government, these interventions have been justified with assertions of Washington’s unique role in bringing democracy to less fortunate peoples of the world, generally at the point of a gun.

Seldom, however, has this pretense been proclaimed so shamelessly as in the announcement last week by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that Washington had decided to appoint a new leadership for the “Syrian revolution.”

Clinton unceremoniously dismissed the former leadership, the Syrian National Council, a Muslim Brotherhood-dominated outfit that Washington had proclaimed little more than a year ago as the “legitimate representative” of the Syrian people. Now she says they are just a bunch of out-of-touch exiles who haven’t set foot in Syria for decades.

The problem is, Clinton declared, the SNC is insufficiently representative of the Syrian people. So the US State Department has handpicked a new group of individuals and organizations that is to form the basis of a transitional government. “We have recommended names and organizations that we believe should be included in any leadership structure,” Clinton told a press conference in Zagreb, Croatia on October 31.

Here one has a text-book example of democracy “made in the USA,” or, more precisely, neocolonialism.

Repost Nov. 7, 2012: Why Barack Obama is the More Effective Evil

Glen Ford

BAR executive editor Glen Ford made the following presentation at the Left Forum, Pace University, New York City, March 17. On the panel were Gloria Mattera, Margaret Kimberley (BAR), Suren Moodliar, John Nichols, and Victor Wallis. The discussion was titled, The 2012 Elections: Lesser Evil or Left Alternative?

No matter how much evil Barack Obama actually accomplishes during his presidency, people that call themselves leftists insist on dubbing him the Lesser Evil. Not only is Obama not given proper credit for out-evil-ing George Bush, domestically and internationally, but the First Black President is awarded positive grades for his intentions versus the presumed intentions of Republicans. As the author says, this “is psycho-babble, not analysis. No real Left would engage in it.”

Let me say from the very beginning that we at Black Agenda Report do not think that Barack Obama is the Lesser Evil. He is the more Effective Evil.

He has been more effective in Evil-Doing than Bush in terms of protecting the citadels of corporate power, and advancing the imperial agenda. He has put both Wall Street and U.S. imperial power on new and more aggressive tracks – just as he hired himself out to do.

That was always Wall Street’s expectation of Obama, and his promise to them. That’s why they gave him far more money in 2008 than they gave John McCain. They were buying Obama futures on the electoral political market – and they made out like bandits.

They invested in Obama to protect them from harm, as a hedge against the risk of systemic disaster caused by their own predations. And, it was a good bet, a good deal. It paid out in the tens of trillions of dollars.

If you believe that what Wall Street does is Evil, then Obama’s service to Wall Street is Evil, and there is nothing lesser about it.

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