These Sniveling ‘Lefties’ - What a sorry state of affairs

William Bowles

I have been involved with left-wing politics in one guise or another pretty much my entire life and I have to admit to getting an awful lot of stuff wrong, largely because rather than thinking things through properly for myself, I listened to the ‘authority’, to those who allegedly know best.

Contrary to popular belief, I’ve gotten more radical as I’ve gotten older and as just as willing to consider new ideas, new approaches, perhaps due to my 19th century ‘liberal’ arts education that encouraged us to explore wherever our fancy took us, (though it has to be said that much depended on the quality/interest/encouragement of the lecturers we had and a pretty motley but interesting crew it was).

All of this by way of a run-in to this Mother Agnes Mariam affair that once again reveals the bankrupt nature of left political activity in this country (and elsewhere in the ‘developed’ world). If I remember correctly, Mother Agnes came to our attention back in September when she blew the lid on the chemical weapons attack in Ghouta, incurring the wrath of the Western media as she contradicted the story then being peddled, that it was Assad wot did it.

Depleted Uranium: The BBC’s John Simpson does a hatchet job on Fallujah’s genetically damaged children

William Bowles

Under the title Fallujah children's 'genetic damage' that old war horse ‘literally’ of the BBC’s foreign propaganda service, John Simpson, manages not to mention the phrase ‘depleted uranium’ when allegedly reporting on the alarming rise in birth defects that include cancer, leukaemia and a horrific rise in child mortality since the US demolished the city of Fallujah in 2004. And it’s not until right at the end of the piece that the US attack on Fallujah is even mentioned, let alone depleted uranium!

Simpson says:

“Even if it’s possible to produce watertight scientific proof that American weapons were responsible for the genetic damage it will be almost impossible for the people who suffered to get any redress. American legislation makes it extremely difficult to sue the US government over acts of war.”

Well that takes care of that little problem then, doesn’t it. I trust the US government will reward Simpson for his slavish support of its wars of conquest and destruction.

Indeed, just look at the title of the video, the phrase genetic damage is in single quotes, thus the damage to the children of Fallujah, which is clearly and obviously genetic in origin, is questioned by the BBC’s spin meister Simpson. Worse, the video shows doctors comparing the effects of depleted uranium on the children of Fallujah with that of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and point out that in fact, they’re much worse than the damage inflicted by the Empire’s atomic bombs.

Occupy The World! To the barricades comrades?

William Bowles

Who will break up Shell or Goldman Sachs? Who will smash the military-industrial-media complex?

Four years ago in a Ministry of Defence Review, the Whitehall Mandarins, more astutely than any so-called Lefty, determined the following:

“The Middle Class Proletariat — The middle classes could become a revolutionary class, taking the role envisaged for the proletariat by Marx. The globalization of labour markets and reducing levels of national welfare provision and employment could reduce peoples’ attachment to particular states. The growing gap between themselves and a small number of highly visible super-rich individuals might fuel disillusion with meritocracy, while the growing urban under-classes are likely to pose an increasing threat to social order and stability, as the burden of acquired debt and the failure of pension provision begins to bite. Faced by these twin challenges, the world’s middle-classes might unite, using access to knowledge, resources and skills to shape transnational processes in their own class interest.” — ‘UK Ministry of Defence report, The DCDC Global Strategic Trends Programme 2007-2036’ (Third Edition) p.96, March 2007

Yeah, I know, I’m always using this quote (I first used it four years ago) but it illustrates the great intellectual divide between the political class and the citizens they rule, including our Left, now made so apparent by what the pundits are now calling the ‘Occupy The World’ (OTW) movement. It seems that only our very own ruling class foresaw OTW.

Dig a little deeper into OTW and we find that with a few exceptions, there are no challenges to capitalism, mostly it’s a ‘clean up your act’ kinda thing. Throw a few billionaires in jail, add some regulation and things will eventually turn out just fine. Dream on…

But we’ve been here before. This is what attempts at ‘reforming’ capitalism in the past have looked like. We lived under such a system from 1945 until the late 1970s, before the Empire reasserted itself, proving once again, that concepts like ‘democracy’ under capitalism, are at best, mere conveniences and so vague a concept that it can be made to resemble almost anything.

And once the so-called Good Life that capitalism allegedly had offered us started to wear thin and capitalism once more plunged us into war and poverty, so too the ‘Good Life’ had to be dumped. Belt-tightening time again.

The state unleashes the Dogs of Media

William Bowles

At 9.22 the Brixton shopping centre appeared almost calm by comparison to Railton Road. Rubbish was strewn across the main A23 Brixton Road; burglar alarms rang vainly from looted shops; and knots of youths, black and white, drifted along in the almost complete absence of police.” – ‘Eyewitness: Looters moved in as the flames spread’

No, not Brixton in August 2011 but Brixton on 13 April 1981 as reported by the The Times. “Absence of police” eh? Now we’ve all heard this somewhere else quite recently, so what’s changed that made it such an issue this time round?

Ah, I see, it’s the ‘law and order’ posse calling for tougher policing, even importing a NYC cop to bash some heads.

What a depressing state of affairs. The media, like some slavering pack of wolves, eager for blood has descended on our dispossessed and demonized them some more. It’s like something out of the worst of the Victorian period, where to be poor was literally regarded as a crime and treated as such.

It is not for communists to condemn the riots. They are a sign of capitalism’s crisis and decay. [...] So long as capitalism continues on its downward spiral of crisis with the rich getting richer and the poorest more and more excluded there will be more and more explosions like these. The race is on for the revival of a really liberating movement of the working class to present an alternative to capitalist barbarism. –’Driving People into Rebellion‘, Stephen Harper, Dissident Voice

Two thousand people arrested and all just to make a point. Courts working around the clock to make an example of anybody who dares challenge the status quo, no matter how chaotic and self-destructive such cries of rage are. History is littered with such spontaneous rebellions, all of which are symptoms of a much deeper malaise but clearly it’s a malaise that the political class do not want to confront, dare not confront, else they would be forced to deal with the conditions that they themselves have created.

Who is the sick one here?

William Bowles

[Photo: A disabled victim of the British London police was dragged from his wheelchair. (From an earlier London demo)]

On 10 August our vainglorious pm announced that the communities from which it is alleged the ‘rioters and looters’ emanated from were “sick”. But more on who is really sick in our society later. In the meantime I’d like to pick up on an aspect of the state’s response (or apparent lack of) to the uprising that I referred to earlier, namely my assertion that the forces of ‘law and order’ deliberately allowed fires to burn and shops to be looted, as it served to demonize the people involved as well as justifying the use of heavy firepower and a complete lockdown (which happened yesterday).

Meanwhile, Cameron, who has come under fire for the apparent lack of response by the forces of ‘law and order’ had this to say to the assembled MPs on the subject:

“There were simply far too few police were deployed on to our streets and the tactics they were using weren’t working.
“Police chiefs have been frank with me about why this happened.
“Initially the police treated the situation too much as a public order issue – rather than essentially one of crime.
“The truth is that the police have been facing a new and unique challenge with different people doing the same thing – basically looting – in different places all at the same time.” — David Cameron, BBC News, 10 August 2011. (My emph. WB)

The actual difference escapes me as far as it comes to imposing law and order on the streets between public order and crime but perhaps Cameron knows something I don’t?

Things fall apart

William Bowles

The media’s mantras of ‘lawlessness’, ‘copycat crime’ and ‘Twitter coordinated riots’, designed to mask the desperate conditions of millions of young people who languish, ignored and forgotten in impoverished communities across the UK.

It’s fashionable to call them the ‘underclass’ that the state has buried away, out of sight–out of mind on ‘sink estates’ or trapped and invisible in the poorest neighborhoods of our cities. Demonized and/or sentimentalized by the state/corporate media (‘Shameless’ and ‘East Enders’ come to mind), exactly as in Victorian times, an entire section of the working class have been reduced to some inferior, sub-human species by the political class and its media partners-in-crime.

“Were there a serious political opposition party in this country it would be arguing for dismantling the shaky scaffolding of the neoliberal system before it crumbles and hurts even more people.” — Tariq Ali

I suspect the figure is probably as high as 30%, that is to say, nearly a third of the population and a great many of them under the age of twenty-five. To put it another way, the youngsters we are seeing out on the street are for the most part, the children of this 30% of the population ‘surplus to capitalist requirement’. Unemployment is especially high amongst the young and (deliberately) under-educated, especially at a time when big chunks of the ‘middle class’ are being forced back whence they came from, the working class, just like most of us.

Distractions and diversions

William Bowles
Strategic Culture Foundation

'The BBC's Tim Willcox takes a look at a tank destroyed in recent air
strikes near the Libyan town of Ajdabiya.' - 'VIDEO: How air strikes
destroy Libyan tanks
', BBC Website, 4 April 2011

"This is pure hypocrisy and demagogy, they are already giving weapons to the rebels, and not only that: they are interfering in the struggle of the Libyan people," he said, adding that “this action is against international law and the United Nations Charter.”-- Miguel D'Escoto

One thing should surely be clear and that is the pivotal role played by the corporate/state media in selling the Libyan 'no-fly zone' and the subsequent invasion by the Empire, albeit by first 'softening up the enemy' and then as illegal arms supplier. Thus the 'rebels', about whom absolutely nothing is known, become the West's 'democratic' torch-bearers and all pretence at it being some kind of 'humanitarian intervention', is dropped.

But in spite of the all-embracing media barrage it didn't take long for the real story behind the 'rebels' to emerge.

Today as Colonel Haftar finally returns to the battlefields of North Africa with the objective of toppling Gaddafi, his former co-conspirator from Libya’s 1969 coup, he may stand as the best liaison for the United States and allied NATO forces in dealing with Libya’s unruly rebels.”-- 'Rebel army chief is veteran Gaddafi foe-think-tank', Reuters news service, 1 April, 2011

What's so incredible about the power of the media to transform reality for us is best illustrated by the fact that the political elite knew what the 'no-fly zone' really meant, that it was an act of war, the media just omitted this particular detail from its coverage, or rather it relegated it to a footnote, just as it did with the way it presented the illegal invasion of Iraq to the public. Crimes become 'omissions' and 'errors' and finally 'historical' footnotes.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday that the Obama administration knew that the Libyan opposition was eager to be seen “as doing this by themselves on behalf of the Libyan people — that there not be outside intervention by any external force.”— ‘Libyan Rebels Said to Debate Seeking U.N. Airstrikes‘, New York Times, 2 March, 2011.

Gaddafi of course, is just one of a whole slew of stereotypes that can be conveniently pulled out of storage as and when necessary and used to dehumanize and transform into the 'other' without missing a beat (no images in the MSM of Gaddafi hugging Blair or hanging out with Berlusconi). Reality gets literally 'boilerplated' by an all-embracing electronic media where rumour /disinformation becomes reality as it is wrapped around the planet 24/7.

Depleted Uranium: A War Crime Within a War Crime

William Bowles

Destroying Iraq's Future, Its Children

As if destroying a country and its culture ain't bad enough, how about destroying its future, its children? I want to scream it from the rooftops! We are complicit in crimes of such enormity that I find it difficult to find the words to describe how I feel about this crime committed in my name! In the name of the 'civilized' world?

"Forget about oil, occupation, terrorism or even Al-Qaeda. The real hazard for Iraqis these days is cancer. Cancer is spreading like wildfire in Iraq. Thousands of infants are being born with deformities. Doctors say they are struggling to cope with the rise of cancer and birth defects, especially in cities subjected to heavy American and British bombardment." — Jalal Ghazi, for New America Media

According to Dahr Jamail,

"The U.S. and British militaries used more than 1,700 tons of depleted uranium in Iraq in the 2003 invasion (Jane's Defence News, 4/2/04)-on top of 320 tons used in the 1991 Gulf War (Inter Press Service, 3/25/03). Literally every local person I've ever spoken with in Iraq during my nine months of reporting there knows someone who either suffers from or has died of cancer.

Ghazi reported that in Fallujah, which bore the brunt of two massive U.S. military operations in 2004, as many as 25 percent of newborn infants have serious physical abnormalities. Cancer rates in Babil, an area south of Baghdad, have risen from 500 cases in 2004 to more than 9,000 in 2009. Dr. Jawad al-Ali, the director of the Oncology Center in Basra, told Al Jazeera English (10/12/09) that there were 1,885 cases of cancer in all of 2005; between 1,250 and 1,500 patients visit his center every month now. — 'The New 'Forgotten' War' By Dahr Jamail, 15 March, 2010

Capitalism cut adrift

William Bowles

Have we really been brainwashed?

There has been much talk expended over the years on the degree to which the media—and hence culture—is central to maintaining the capitalist system. Leading the charge have been Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman, so much so that they now more resemble sainted objects than social/political analysts, but then this is nothing new for the left, who unfortunately for the most part are happy to let others do the thinking for them.

The problem for the ‘rest of us’ is that Chomsky et al speak the private language of the professional academics that is ironically also the source of the very problem they write about. I am not faulting Chomsky and co’s analysis, the problem is that to some degree it contradicts what people think out here in the real world.

Hands Across the Seas, Part IV (Final Chapter)

Musafir' Musings

Sarah sent us this photo from her beloved St. Ives last summer.
We had the privilege of meeting Sarah in person, once among
the snow-clad mountains of Norway and once in her home in
Rodmell, East Sussex. ~ Editor, Another World Is Possible.

In Memory of Sarah Meyer

Sarah Meyer of Rodmell, East Sussex, died of complications from bladder cancer shortly after 11:00 PM on 3rd March 2010. She was 73. Cremation service has been scheduled for 19th March. In accordance with her wish, ashes will be scattered at the Cornish Coast.

This is a tribute to Sarah, not a lament for her.

From anti-nuclear protest at Greenham Common in the 1980's to marching against the war foisted on us by Bush and Blair, Sarah was a valiant, dedicated fighter against aggression and injustice. In Bosnia, Sarah conducted homeopathic/Jungian clinics for doctors and psychiatrists in Zagreb and Split, as well as two in the war zone.

Her posts under Index Research covered a wide range of topics -- from wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, to torture; Guantanamo; intrusive surveillance of civilian populations; Israel's use of cluster bombs in Lebanon; war crimes, including use of white phosphorus shells in highly populated areas in Gaza; the environment, and her own experience of being afflicted with cancer.

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