Category Archives: Cold War

US Foreign Policy Agenda, 1900-Present: Destroy “the Threat of a Good Example”

People talk about the power of a good example a lot. Noam Chomsky says that anywhere on Earth that the US sees a good example, they try to snuff it out due tot what he calls “the threat of a good example.” This has been our policy in much of the world since WW2, given a fake veneer of moral authority at best and even realpolitik necessity at worst. Before the Cold War, this was our policy mostly only in Latin America.

Except now that the Cold War is over, we are still doing the exact same thing that we did in the Cold War. The Cold War was a fake war and the USSR was a fake enemy. The real enemy is progressive politics, real democracy and forms of socialist (democratic by nature) economics. A mask called “Cold War” was put on this agenda from 1946-1991, but after then, the policy stayed the same even though the Cold War mask came off.

We didn’t do all of those horrible things “because we had to due to the Cold War,” the typical lousy liberal excuse (a favorite of my liberal Democrat father). We did all those horrible things because that’s what we do.

Now we are continuing to do all of the same horrible things that we did in the Cold War, except there is no Cold War so we can’t use that as a fake excuse anymore. So why are we doing these things now? We are doing those horrible things now because that is what we do.

And if we did all of those terrible things due to the Cold War, why were we doing them in Latin America for 45 years before the Cold War even started? We did all those things in our backyard in the first half of that blighted century because that’s what we do.

The success of the American model exemplifies what I call “the power of a bad example.”

3 Comments

Filed under Cold War, Economics, Geopolitics, Government, History, Latin America, Liberalism, Political Science, Regional, Socialism, USA, USSR

Oil, Power and Money: ‘Assad Must Go’ That’s Been Washington’s ‘Regime Change’ Mantra from The Get-Go,” by Mike Whitney

Via Global Research.

The Syrian War is really all about a pipeline! While there are other things at stake here including checking Iran and disrupting the Shia Crescent of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah for the Gulf states, Jordan, Turkey and especially Israel, that’s not why we started this war. The whole war is over a damned pipeline. Almost all wars are really about money at the end of the day. Briefly, Qatar wanted to put a pipeline through Jordan, the eastern part of Syria and Turkey to deliver Qatari gas to Europe. This pipeline would have also stopped another pipeline by the Gulf states’ deadly rival, Iran.

This pipeline would have shipped Iranian gas through Northern Iraq, Northeastern Syria and Turkey to Europe in order to ship Iranian gas to Europe. Whoever wins the pipeline sweepstakes gets a lot of money and also ups their influence in the deadly game of chess being played over there between the Gulf states and who they see as their worst enemy, Iran. The Iranian pipeline had to be stopped, and the Qatari pipeline had to be put in. As soon as Assad rejected the Qatari pipeline going across his land, the US, Qatar, UAE, and Saudi Arabia all met and decided to foment a rebellion to take down Assad. Sure there are other goals here, but the Number 1 goal is the pipeline. Everyone needs to keep that in mind. At the end of the day, it’s usually all about money? What’s all about money? Everything.

Oil, Power and Money: “Assad Must Go”

That’s Been Washington’s “Regime Change” Mantra from The Get-Go

us-syria flags

Secret cables and reports by the U.S., Saudi and Israeli intelligence agencies indicate that the moment Assad rejected the Qatari pipeline, military and intelligence planners quickly arrived at the consensus that fomenting a Sunni uprising in Syria to overthrow the uncooperative Bashar Assad was a feasible path to achieving the shared objective of completing the Qatar/Turkey gas link. In 2009, according to WikiLeaks, soon after Bashar Assad rejected the Qatar pipeline, the CIA began funding opposition groups in Syria. — Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Why the Arabs Don’t Want Us in Syria, Politico.

The conflict in Syria is not a war in the conventional sense of the word. It is a regime change operation, just like Libya and Iraq were regime change operations.

The main driver of the conflict is the country that’s toppled more than 50 sovereign governments since the end of World War 2  (see Bill Blum here.) We’re talking about the United States of course.

Washington is the hands-down regime change champion, no one else even comes close. That being the case, one might assume that the American people would notice the pattern of intervention, see through the propaganda and assign blame accordingly. But that never  seems to happen and it probably won’t happen here either. No matter how compelling the evidence may be, the brainwashed American people always believe their government is doing the right thing.

But the United States is not doing the right thing in Syria. Arming, training and funding Islamic extremists — that have killed half a million people, displaced 7 million more and turned the country into an uninhabitable wastelands –is not the right thing. It is the wrong thing, the immoral thing. And the US is involved in this conflict for all the wrong reasons, the foremost of which is gas. The US wants to install a puppet regime in Damascus so it can secure pipeline corridors in the East, oversee the transport of vital energy reserves from Qatar to the EU, and make sure that those reserves continue to be denominated in US Dollars that are recycled into US Treasuries and US financial assets. This is the basic recipe for maintaining US dominance in the Middle East and for extending America’s imperial grip on global power into the future.

The war in Syria did not begin when the government of Bashar al Assad cracked down on protesters in the spring of 2011. That version of events is obfuscating hogwash.  The war began in 2009, when Assad rejected a Qatari plan to transport gas from Qatar to the EU via Syria. As Robert F Kennedy Jr. explains in his excellent article “Syria: Another Pipeline War”:

The $10 billion, 1,500 km pipeline through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Turkey….would have linked Qatar directly to European energy markets via distribution terminals in Turkey… The Qatar/Turkey pipeline would have given the Sunni Kingdoms of the Persian Gulf decisive domination of world natural gas markets and strengthened Qatar, America’s closest ally in the Arab world. ….

In 2009, Assad announced that he would refuse to sign the agreement to allow the pipeline to run through Syria “to protect the interests of our Russian ally…”

Assad further enraged the Gulf’s Sunni monarchs by endorsing a Russian approved “Islamic pipeline” running from Iran’s side of the gas field through Syria and to the ports of Lebanon. The Islamic pipeline would make Shia Iran instead of Sunni Qatar the principal supplier to the European energy market and dramatically increase Tehran’s influence in the Mideast and the world…

Naturally, the Saudis, Qataris, Turks and Americans were furious at Assad, but what could they do? How could they prevent him from choosing his own business partners and using his own sovereign territory to transport gas to market?

What they could do is what any good Mafia Don would do; break a few legs and steal whatever he wanted. In this particular situation, Washington and its scheming allies decided to launch a clandestine proxy-war against Damascus, kill or depose Assad, and make damn sure the western oil giants nabbed the future pipeline contracts and controlled the flow of energy to Europe. That was the plan at least. Here’s more from Kennedy:

Secret cables and reports by the U.S., Saudi and Israeli intelligence agencies indicate that the moment Assad rejected the Qatari pipeline, military and intelligence planners quickly arrived at the consensus that fomenting a Sunni uprising in Syria to overthrow the uncooperative Bashar Assad was a feasible path to achieving the shared objective of completing the Qatar/Turkey gas link. In 2009, according to WikiLeaks, soon after Bashar Assad rejected the Qatar pipeline, the CIA began funding opposition groups in Syria.

Repeat: “the moment Assad rejected the Qatari pipeline”, he signed his own death warrant. That single act was the catalyst for the US aggression that transformed a bustling, five thousand-year old civilization into a desolate Falluja-like moonscape overflowing with homicidal fanatics that were recruited, groomed and deployed by the various allied intelligence agencies.

But what’s particularly interesting about this story is that the US attempted a nearly-identical plan 60 years earlier during the Eisenhower administration. Here’s another clip from the Kennedy piece:

During the 1950′s, President Eisenhower and the Dulles brothers … mounted a clandestine war against Arab Nationalism — which CIA Director Allan Dulles equated with communism — particularly when Arab self-rule threatened oil concessions. They pumped secret American military aid to tyrants in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon favoring puppets with conservative jihadist ideologies which they regarded as a reliable antidote to Soviet Marxism….

The CIA began its active meddling in Syria in 1949 — barely a year after the agency’s creation…Syria’s democratically elected president, Shukri-al-Kuwaiti, hesitated to approve the Trans Arabian Pipeline, an American project intended to connect the oil fields of Saudi Arabia to the ports of Lebanon via Syria. (so)… the CIA engineered a coup, replacing al-Kuwaiti with the CIA’s handpicked dictator, a convicted swindler named Husni al-Za’im. Al-Za’im barely had time to dissolve parliament and approve the American pipeline before his countrymen deposed him, 14 weeks into his regime…..

(CIA agent Rocky) Stone arrived in Damascus in April 1956 with $3 million in Syrian pounds to arm and incite Islamic militants and to bribe Syrian military officers and politicians to overthrow al-Kuwaiti’s democratically elected secularist regime….

But all that CIA money failed to corrupt the Syrian military officers. The soldiers reported the CIA’s bribery attempts to the Ba’athist regime. In response, the Syrian army invaded the American Embassy taking Stone prisoner. Following harsh interrogation, Stone made a televised confession to his roles in the Iranian coup and the CIA’s aborted attempt to overthrow Syria’s legitimate government…(Then) Syria purged all politicians sympathetic to the U.S. and executed them for treason.  (Politico)

See how history is repeating itself? It’s like the CIA was too lazy to even write a new script, they just dusted off the old one and hired new actors.

Fortunately, Assad –with the help of Iran, Hezbollah and the Russian Airforce– has fended off the effort to oust him and install a US stooge. This should not be taken as a ringing endorsement of Assad as a leader, but of the principal that global security depends on basic protections of national sovereignty, and that the cornerstone of international law has to be a rejection of unprovoked aggression whether the hostilities are executed by one’s own military or by armed proxies that are used to achieve the same strategic objectives while invoking  plausible deniability. The fact is, there is no difference between Bush’s invasion of Iraq and Obama’s invasion of Syria. The moral, ethical and legal issues are the same, the only difference is that Obama has been more successful in confusing the American people about what is really going on.

And what’s going on is regime change: “Assad must go”. That’s been the administration’s mantra from the get go. Obama and Co are trying to overthrow a democratically-elected secular regime that refuses to bow to Washington’s demands to provide access to pipeline corridors that will further strengthen US dominance in the region.  That’s what’s really going on behind the ISIS distraction and the “Assad is a brutal dictator” distraction and the “war-weary civilians in Aleppo” distraction. Washington doesn’t care about any of those things. What Washington cares about is oil, power and money. How can anyone be confused about that by now?  Kennedy summed it up like this:

We must recognize the Syrian conflict is a war over control of resources indistinguishable from the myriad clandestine and undeclared oil wars we have been fighting in the Mid-East for 65 years. And only when we see this conflict as a proxy war over a pipeline do events become comprehensible.

That says it all, don’t you think?

Mike Whitney, lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

6 Comments

Filed under Africa, Asia, Cold War, Economics, Europe, Geopolitics, Government, History, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Left, Libya, Marxism, Middle East, North Africa, Radical Islam, Regional, Religion, Saudi Arabia, Shiism, Sunnism, Syria, Turkey, USA

The Hell with the Pentagon

As the agency which enforces US foreign policy at gunpoint, the Pentagon has always blown.

First of all, there is no such thing as the Defense Department. When has the Pentagon ever defended the country? Pearl Harbor? They did a fine job there, huh?

Obviously the task of the Pentagon is not to defend the US mainland, which is all it ever ought to do anyway.

Its task is to running around the world starting wars and killing people in other countries. Leaving aside whether that is sometimes a good idea (and I think it is,) what’s so defensive about that?

The real name of the Pentagon is the War Department.That’s what it was always called until World War 2, which the War Department won. After that in a spate of Orwellian frenzy, we named an army of aggression an army of self-defense and comically renamed its branch the Defense Department.

It’s like calling cops peace officers. You see anything peaceful about what a cop does in a typical day? Neither do I?

There was a brief glimmer of hope there in WW2 when we finally starting killing fascists and rightwingers instead of sleeping with them, but the ink was barely dry on the agreements before we were setting up the Gladio fascists, overthrowing Greek elections and slaughtering Greek peasants like ants.

Meanwhile it was scarcely a year after 1945 when the US once again started a torrid love affair with fascism and rightwing dictators like we have always done. We were smooching it up right quick with Europe’s fascists, in this case the former Nazis of Germany (who became the West German elite), Greek killer colonels, Mussolini’s heirs, actual Nazis in Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, Jew-Nazis in Palestine, Franco (who we never stopped sleeping with anyway), Salazar, the malign Mr. Churchill, the true repulsive Dutch royalty and disgusting European colonists the world over, who we showered with guns and bombs to massacre the colonized.

In 1945, a war against fascism, reaction, Nazism and malign colonialism had ended, and for some reason America had fought against these things instead of supporting them as usual.

1946, and we were back in old style again, hiring Nazis by the busload for the CIA, overthrowing democratic governments and putting in genocidal dictatorships, becoming butt buddies with fascist swine everywhere.

So you see we have always pretty much sucked. World War 1 was fought amidst one of the most dishonest propaganda campaigns the world had ever seen, the Korean War was a Godawful mess where we turned North Korea to flaming rubble with the population cowering in caves while slaughtering 3 million North Koreans.

The horrific catastrophe called the Indochinese Wars, such as the Vietnam War, the Secret War in Laos and the Cambodian Massacre, where we genocided 500,000 Cambodians with bombs, driving the whole place crazy and creating the Khmer Rogue.

Panama and Grenada were pitiful jokes, malign, raw, naked imperialism at its worst.

The Gulf War was a brief return to sanity but turkey shoots are sickening.

Of course that followed on with the most evil war in US history, the Nazi-like war on aggression called The War on the Iraqi People (usually called the Iraq War), the Afghan rabbit hole which started out sensibly enough but turned into another Vietnam style Great Big Mess.

I suppose it is ok that we are killing Al Qaeda guys and I give a shout out to our boys over there fighting ISIS or the Taliban and Al Qaeda in South-Central Asia, Somalia and Yemen. Some people need killing.

But I sure don’t feel that way about their superiors, the US officers who fund and direct ISIS, Al Qaeda, etc. out of an Operations Center in Jordan with Jordanian, Israeli (!), Saudi, UAE, and Qatari officers.

And it was very thoughtful of the Pentagon to cover up the Ukrainian Air Force shootdown of the jetliner which we saw on the radar of our ships in Black Sea.

And it was nice of the US to relay the flight path of the Russian jet to the Turks 24 hours in advance so they could shoot down that Russian jet and kill that pilot.

One hand giveth and the other taketh away. For every good thing we do in Syria and Iraq, we do 10 or 20 bad things. Pretty much the story of the Pentagon.

Sure if you fought in WW2 or one of the few other decent wars, you have something to be proud of, and I can even say, “Thank you for your service,” but the main thing is that you signed up for the rightwing army of the rich that is dead set against the people and popular rule everywhere on Earth. Sure, it’s a great army, professional, super-competent and deadly, but it’s generally tasked with doing lousy things. Why anyone would sign up for that reactionary nightmare of an institution is beyond me. America needs to level the Pentagon and put in a true People’s Army instead. Like that would ever happen.

9 Comments

Filed under Africa, Americas, Asia, Britain, Cambodia, Caribbean, Central America, Cold War, Colonialism, Conservatism, East Africa, Eurasia, Europe, Fascism, Geopolitics, Germany, Government, Greece, History, Imperialism, Iraq War, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Laos, Latin America, Lithuania, Middle East, Military Doctrine, Modern, National Socialism, Nazism, NE Asia, Netherlands, North Korea, Palestine, Panama, Political Science, Radical Islam, Regional, Religion, Russia, Saudi Arabia, SE Asia, Somalia, Spain, Syria, Ukraine, US, US War in Afghanistan, USA, Vietnam, Vietnam War, War, World War 1, World War 2, Yemen

How the Pentagon and the CIA De Facto Created the FARC

Colombia has a very strange political system. There are two main political parties, the Liberals and the Conservatives, who are striking in that there seems to be so little difference between them. They are both parties of the Colombian ruling class, possibly representing a “liberal” versus “conservative” split in the ruling class a long time ago. Just guessing, the split may have had something to do with religion with the conservatives being the more religious party and wanting a bigger role for the Church in the state and the liberals being more modernizing reformers who were more secular and dedicated to more of a church-state split.

Unbelievably, these two ruling class parties who are barely different at all, spent the entire 1950’s murdering each other by the hundreds of thousands in an insane bloodletting called “La Violencia.” A Leftist politican (I think his name was Galan) was elected in the late 1940’s, but he was quickly murdered by the Colombian ruling class, which is what they always do with any Leftist who wins an election down there. This was the first time that Colombia had elected anyone even remotely resembling a progressive reformer, so of course the ruling class murdered him immediately. His killing set off huge riots all over Colombia that raged for a long time and were difficult to put down.

I believe that this set off the Violencia because I think Galan, a Leftist, actually ran on the Liberal ticket. Most of the people slaughtering each other during this idiotic Violencia were just the Colombian urban poor and the poor peasants of the rural areas. The ruling classes formed armies out of these poor people and sent them out to commit mass murder on each other.

After 300,000 deaths caused by the Colombian ruling class in the Violencia, the roots of the Marxist revolution down there took hold. The FARC were the remains of Violencia fighters who said the heck with this war and took refuge at a place called Mariatelia in Colombia in 1964 and set up communal farms there. They were tired of fighting and just wanted to be left alone.

The Colombian media went crazy screaming about the “Communist government” that seceded from the state had formed down there. The CIA was in on this wild propaganda process from the start.

Eventually the Colombian government went down to this area with a large army force and attacked these communes with massive weaponry. The Pentagon and the CIA were involved in the battle. The US and the Colombians even used chemical weapons to try to exterminate these farmers. The farmers fought back, but they were outnumbered. Maybe 90-95% of them were killed, but a few survived.

The survivors realized that there was no way to live in peace with what has always been a genocidal Colombian ruling class, and they took up arms to defend themselves. This is the way that almost all Leftwing guerrilla wars got started in the Cold War. The Left got tired of sitting around waiting for the government to come out and murder them, so they decided that as long as the government was going to come out and try to kill them, they might as well get some guns and try to defend themselves. This is how the FMLN, the URNG, the FARC, the ELN, the Sandinistas and even the MRTA got started.

So this was the beginning of Manuel “Sure Shot” Marulanda and the FARC, essentially created by the mass murders of the Pentagon and the CIA in Colombia.

2 Comments

Filed under Catholicism, Christianity, Cold War, Colombia, Geopolitics, Government, History, Journalism, Latin America, Latin American Right, Left, Maoism, Marxism, Modern, Political Science, Politics, Regional, Religion, Revolution, South America, The Americas, USA

The “Failed Socialism” Lie

A good argument can be made that the Communist economic system failed pretty badly. The capitalist economic system fails pretty badly too in many places, but it fails in a different way, and it seems that many folks prefer a failed capitalist system (as we have in the US right now and in my other countries) to a failed Communist system.

The system that failed was one where the state owned the entire means of production. The economy was a planned economy, often referred to as the Command Economy. It didn’t work very well.

The USSR had something called Gosplan, a huge building in
Moscow that housed that part of the state that planned the economy every year.

For instance, Gosplan would have to decide how many eggs to produce per person per year. They would have to make a wildassed guess of how many eggs the average person would eat in a year, and then they would produce that many eggs. It is almost impossible to plan an economy this way due to the vicissitudes of human nature. Also not pricing things by supply and demand caused all sorts of problems. The prices of things often did not reflect their true cost, so things would be sold for far less than it cost to produce them. This pricing problem caused all manner of problems.

Needless to say, with the collapse of the USSR in 1991 and the subsequent fall of the East Bloc, this system was rejected as a poor model for an economic system.

So when people say “failed socialism” they are referring to the Command Economy like the one that the USSR had. This is the only type of socialism that has failed. There are many other types of socialism, and they still all work just fine.

However, rightwing propagandists and liars have seized on the failure of the Soviet system to wage a disgusting and dishonest campaign against all types of socialism, including those that work just fine. Lately it has been expanded even to social liberalism, which is the leftwing economic model that the US has, since we really do not have a social democracy. I suppose social liberalism can be though of as social democracy light.

They have also expanded “failed socialism” to include all government regulations of business and the entire welfare state including Social Security and Medicare. Anything the government does other than cops or the army is “failed socialism.” What they are really saying is that Social Security and the other welfare state programs and environmental and all other regulations are all Communism.

The right wing has actually been saying this since the end of World War 2 in this country when the Cold War started up. The US government got in on this lie, and the US state has been propagandizing the “failed socialism” model every time some leftwing government shows up in Latin America and tries to raise the minimum wage.

4 Comments

Filed under Capitalism, Cold War, Conservatism, Economics, European, Government, History, Latin America, Left, Liberalism, Political Science, Regional, Socialism, USSR

US Foreign Policy 1946-2016 in a Nutshell: Kill the “Communists”

The US foreign policy line since 1946 with regard to other governments particularly in Latin America, is that anything leftwing in the economy, including government schools, state health care, land reform, labor regulations, labor unions, the minimum wage, and any and all redistribution of wealth programs is all Communism. We have murdered or helped murder millions of people since 1946 after calling them Communists for doing a land reform or raising the minimum wage.

The US has also murdered or helped murder thousands of labor union members and leaders because the US line since 1946 is that labor unions are Communism. Hence all members of unions and especially their leaders are Communists.

The US line since 1946 is that all of these leftwing movements must be suppressed in one way or another, and anyone standing in the way, such as community leaders, labor union members, students, peasants, and native American tribe members are all Communists and are subject to harassment, arrest, beating, firings, torture, imprisonment, and especially murder.

The US, the land of freedom, has murdered or helped murder hundreds of thousands of the people listed above, since according to the US, they were all Communists, and Communists need to be killed. Even with the end of the Cold War, we are still murdering or helping to murder thousands of these people every year after calling them Communists.

This “kill the Communists” campaign is one of thee pillars of US foreign policy for both the Democrats and the Republicans. This project is run out of the Executive Branch, especially the State Department (many of whose employees in embassies are CIA agents), the CIA, the DIA, The National Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute, USAID, the Foundation for US Labor Reform, and especially the Pentagon.

The Pentagon actually has an institute called the School of the Americas in the US South where they teach this “kill the Communists” philosophy to military officers all over the continent. These officers are trained in how to set up and run rightwing death squads to terrorize the people, or excuse me, the Communists. There are also many courses in advanced torture techniques. Almost all of the worst mass murderers in Latin America since 1946 are School of the Americas graduates.

3 Comments

Filed under Americas, Cold War, Democrats, Fascism, Geopolitics, Government, History, Labor, Latin America, Latin American Right, Left, Marxism, Military Doctrine, Political Science, Politics, Regional, Republicans, US Politics, USA

Disconnected in Cuba: Yes, but How Much?

As you now know,Obama has just gone to Cuba, the first US President to go there in many years. There is much to write about that visit including a wild run-up in rightwing outrage, especially over a photo taken of Obama with a painting of Che Guevara in the background.

One thing you will notice is that any article in the US or UK that discusses the Internet in Cuba will usually say that there is hardly any Internet in Cuba, that it is all restricted to the island and that hardly any Cubans have access to it anyway.

All reporting in the US and UK about Cuba is essentially propaganda, Cold War propaganda.

The war against Communism was one of the most serious wars that the capitalist class ever fought. If Communism won, everything they had, all their money, wealth assets and power, would be gone. The Communists and everyone and anyone associated with them, which in practice meant anyone on the Left at all, had to be defeated and not only that but destroyed. Anything was fair game in this fight to the death.

Mass propaganda was ubiquitous in the US during the Cold War because the capitalists thought that the threat of Communism was so great that all moral considerations had to go out the window and the ends justified the means. Yes, we say the ends justifies the means is immoral, but this is frankly the way that most humans operate. The ends justifies the means is the manner by which human life occurs and evolves, and it is just as present in modern civilization as it is in any primitive tribe.

“Anything to achieve our goal is ok,” is the human motto. In practice during the Cold War, this meant that an unbelievable amount of lying and distortion was allowed in coverage of the Cold War as long as it helped to defeat the Communists. This mass lying is still with us. No article about Cuba, North Korea, Belarus, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador or Argentina can be expected to tell anything near the truth.

The Cold War never ended because it was not just a war against the USSR. Even with no USSR, the Cold War had to go on. The Cold War needs to continue as long as there is socialism or a Left exists anywhere in the world. The Cold War was never really a war against the USSR. It was just sold to us that way. It was really a war against anything remotely leftwing from social liberalism through socialist all the way to Communism. The Cold War was 100% about economics and 0% about anything else.

Disconnected in Cuba: Yes, but How Much?

By the Cavivache Media Team

The first things that come to mind are the lack of connection and its nonexistence when thinking of this equation. It’s true that a great number of Cubans have never connected to the Internet but in reality it is more nuanced then the (more often heard) statements that say, “there is no Internet in Cuba” or “people have no access to information in Cuba”. From informal networks to compilations that travel on flash drives, and a whole series of other alternatives, Cubans have known how to find solutions despite the economic difficulties and the inefficiencies of the institutions in charge of facilitating Internet connections.

In 2014, according to Cuba’s National Office of Statistics and Information (ONEI), the country had 271 Internet users for every thousand inhabitants, close to 27% of the population. It’s not clear if this percentage includes the users that are connected to the series of national networks that don’t have access to content beyond the .cu domain. The government gives these accounts to doctors, cultural workers and other professionals in diverse sectors. For years, outsmarting the proxies of these local networks became normal to users and there were even moments when there breaches and it was possible to navigate on the Internet.

In contrast to the previous data, other reports indicate that before the surge of navigation halls and Wi-Fi zones, connectivity to Internet on the island reached 5%, which is not a very trustworthy figure.

Regardless of the exactness of the previous data, on June 4, 2013, Cuba took a step towards a mayor access to Internet with the opening of 118 navigation halls in the country at the price of 4.50 CUC an hour (1 CUC is approximately worth 1.15 USD). Two years later on July 1, 2015, 35 Wi-Fi zones were inaugurated in different parts of the country, authorization was granted for Cuban users to connect to Wi-Fi from tourist centers, and the prices of connecting were brought down to 2.00 CUC an hour. All of these measures have helped considerably to increase the presence of Cubans on the Internet, despite not knowing too all of its capacities.

According to Mayra Arevich Marín, an engineer and president of Cuba’s Telecommunication’s Company (ETECSA) at the end of 2015 there were 339 navigation halls with 1,174 computers with which to connect. At the beginning of 2016, there were 65 public areas with Wi-Fi and they hoped to create the infrastructure to open 80 new public Wi-Fi hotspots. Arevich Marín declared that at an average, more the 150 thousand Cubans have access daily to the Internet through these means. She also added that by November 2015, there were 1.2 million Nauta e-mail accounts, an international e-mail service used on phones with data plans that serves as a useful variable because it does not require connecting to the internet.

In any case, the statistics of the number of users that connect using Wi-Fi will never be completely trustworthy since many people share their connection through their cellphones or using apps like Connectify that allow for several users to connect from a single account. It’s a service that is usually resold in Wi-Fi hotspots as the slowest of options, which most people don’t know is also, insecure, but is definitely cheaper.

Apart from this “pure Internet” several national platforms exist in Cuba that have been developed since the 1990s in order to organize and connect prioritized sectors for the country’s development. For example, more than forty thousand doctors connect from their homes to Infomed, a network dedicated to medicine, that is part of Cuba’s intranet that despite its problems makes quite a contribution to their field. Infomed has several services like e-mail, virtual libraries, download of ftp (file transfer protocol) archives, scientific blog platforms, and social participation groups. Overall it’s a community dedicated to medical scientific advancement.

Another web portal is Cubarte, which is focused on sharing cultural information and services by artists and cultural professionals. In 2013, there were eleven thousand accounts on this platform, that among its services, apart from e-mail service it also has websites, bulletins with news articles on culture and a calendar that is updated often and can work by text messages. Like Infomed, it is far from perfect but has been a useful tool, although it hasn’t been used to the fullest in the process of connecting and developing the cultural sector.

Tinkering with the Internet in Cuba

Many people use the IMO app to communicate with family and friends. Photo: Fernando Medina / Cachivache Media

When you visit parks, hotels and other public areas with Wi-Fi hotspots in Cuba, there is a recurring scene: people — many people — talking euphorically into the air, pointing a phone to their face and in the best of cases, connected to a pair of earphones. The cause of all this behavior is IMO, a free app for phones that is used to make video calls and that Cubans use to talk with family and friends abroad. There are no public statistics on the number of Cubans using IMO in our country but the usual scene we described gives an idea of its popularity.

María Isabel Domínguez García in her research on Cuban Youth: Challenges and Opportunities for Current Cuban Society, published in 2013 by the Group on Youth Studies and the Center for Psychological and Sociological Research, did a survey on information technology and communication in which young people in between the ages of 11 and 24 or 88,2% declared having used Facebook at some point.

A less conclusive data but that still demonstrates how familiar Cuban youth are with social media, is the number of likes on the pages of some of the main stars of international football. On a fan map published by Facebook, Cuba is the tenth country in giving likes to Lionel Messi, third for Iker Casillas, eighth for Andrés Iniesta, fourth for Gerard Piqué and twelfth among followers of David Villa. This doesn’t confirm that they are regular users, but does affirm the existence of at least a first contact between Cuban youth and the platform created by Mark Zuckerberg.

Google Trends offers more references to how Cubans use the Internet. For example, from 2011 to 2014, Univision’s reality show Belleza Latina was at the top of search hits for Cuba. The soap operas in season also had an important place as well as the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, The 2012 London Olympics and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. In 2015, the year that navigating the web through the Wi-Fi hotspots exploded, the prize went to IMO, the video call app mentioned previously along with the login and exit pages for the Nauta accounts, which is another sign of the use of the Wi-Fi hotspots.

The Weekly Package

The informal consumption of audiovisuals has become common practice in Cuba. Photo: Fernando Medina / Cachivache Media

The Internet is not the only or even the most important source of information and connection for Cubans. In face of the impossibility of users to connect to the Internet, the development of new technologies in communications and information took a very particular path in Cuba in the field of entertainment. This phenomenon that was born in the era of Betamax and VHS tapes as an informal consumption of audiovisuals has been updated with the arrival of USB’s. In this world of informal consumers, the phenomenon known as the Weekly Package has become one of the most popular and best-structured variants in the country to combat the lack of connectivity.

Very succinctly, the Weekly Package is a compilation of information of 1 Terabyte that is regularly updated. Its distributors “emulate” the universe of content in the web, that just like on the Internet, you will find all types of materials: movies, shows, talent shows, TV series, soap operas from different countries, animated cartoons, YouTube videos, news, web pages that have been saved with national and international news. It comes with cellphone apps (iOS and Android), programs for different operating systems, videogames, documentaries (Cuban and foreign), programs from Cuban television, books, magazines, music, Cuban and foreign music videos, among other things.

The makeup of this content reproduces the usual patterns of diffusion in the entertainment industry: more than 60% of the products in the Weekly Package are from the US, with programs from the leading channels in the US like HBO, CNN, Cinemax, ESPN, Fox, ABC, CBS and Discovery. Despite its mimetic character in terms of cultural diversity, because of its wide scope the Weekly Package, has so many options that its ends up satisfying the needs of amusement for most people.

Access to this is quite simple. In its usual form, the whole terabyte of information cost 2 CUC, although in Havana, 70% of those surveyed for a thesis research project, declared never having paid for it at all. Prices fluctuate due to various factors, such as the distance that distributors must travel, how up to date the materials are, and how much information is bought since most people only have flash drives with capacities of in between 8 and 32 Gigabytes. They then select only the content they want to see.

According to numerous reports, the creation and distribution of the Weekly Package works through a nucleus of people who divide the tasks among themselves and take responsibility for getting the different materials generally downloaded from the Internet or captured through satellite antennas. Later a selection is made and the terabyte is prepared. These providers charge in between 100 and 400 CUC for their services every week. However there isn’t a single model, but several in which many people and music studios include their own content and change accordingly with their interests.

Many of the Weekly Package’s distributors are legally covered under a license for disc vendors, a general patent provided by the Cuban government to those distributing audiovisual materials. Despite being subject to copyright laws, its protection doesn’t seem to be a priority to the Island’s authorities.

According to different researchers, among the main motives for seeing the Weekly Package are the entertainment and the access to information. Even though Cuban television regularly shows movies from the US, many of which are blockbusters that have yet to come out on US channels, the Weekly Package is much faster to get and comes is higher definition. It also works as an offline version of Internet, where users select the materials they want and when they want to see them. A study from 2014 by the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television’s Center for Social Research revealed that less than 40% of people in Havana used the Weekly Package.

As of now, the Cuban government has created other alternatives such as The Backpack or the Educate Yourself, which try to offer alternative models of cultural consumption. Due to several issues that range from problems in the selection design to the presentation of the product itself, the result of these efforts have been a failure.

Mobile devices have become one of the main forms of digital consumption in Cuba. Photo: Fernando Medina / Cachivache Media

Other alternatives to being disconnected

Recently Cachivache Media wrote a piece about the Street Network (SNET), an informal and self-managed network that connects all the municipalities of Havana through wireless or by LAN. It extends itself from the municipalities of Bauta all the way to Cojimar (about 30 miles).

But SNET is not the only network of its kind in Cuba. Outside of Havana, many other municipalities also have informal and self-managed networks where alternative versions of social networks, game platforms, discussion forums, the usual ftp, as well as the Weekly Package and other diverse initiatives like specialized magazines and local information can be found.

Another option used by Cubans to talk and share content is Zapya. It’s an application that has become an offline space where people share contents of all sorts, especially applications that don’t have to be paid for. Zapya is also used to chat, a sort of social network where the user can decide to stay anonymous or not, share photos and talk about any theme. One of its most controversial uses has been its use for sexting and sexual hook-ups, which because of a lack of basic knowledge of cyber security, there have been cases of harassment and abuse.

The panorama just described is part of an increase in the last few years of a series of projects that focus on offering services and satisfying the need to take advantage of new technologies, adapted to the lack of connection on the Cuban scene. There are leading examples by Cuban entrepreneurs like Vistar and Play Off, magazines that are respectively dedicated to culture and sports. Suenacubano is a platform for sharing Cuban music and then there are mobile apps like ConoceCuba, a compilation of cultural interests, EcuMovil, a mobile version of the online Cuban encyclopedia Ecured. There is also AlaMesa, a restaurant guide and Ké hay pa’ hoy? Which is a cultural guide (these last two are available on Google Play).

Finally, are we connected or not?

Cuba has a sui generis reality where the lack of connection is not synonymous of the neither cultural nor informative isolation. Despite the scarce penetration of the internet, that keeps us isolated from important economic, scientific and cultural processes, Cubans have known how to find solutions in order to somehow stay connected to the world. Either through the Internet provided by the government or the different initiatives of several Cuban entrepreneurs, it has allowed for Cubans to stay in tune with what happens “abroad”.

As a result, the tastes of consumers on the Island aren’t very different from the rest of western culture. All the rumors, records and news from European football, whose games are shown frequently on Cuban TV, are lived with the same emotion as in any home on the Old Continent. In any cafeteria or taxi, the top hits from Billboard can be heard. Only five days after House of Cards 4th season came out on Netflix, it was already being shared on flash drives in Havana.

Yet there is much to be to done in making full use of the Internet’s tools and to domesticate or Cubanize this network of networks. In matters of culture and information, we have only a short delay, but just that. The idea of a blind and deaf Cuba, a sort of El Dorado that is waiting to be discovered and discovering of the world is very much far from reality.

7 Comments

Filed under Americas, Capitalism, Caribbean, Cold War, Cuba, Culture, Economics, Geopolitics, Government, History, Journalism, Latin America, Left, Marxism, Modern, North America, Regional, Socialism, Sociology, The Americas, USA, USSR

Understanding False Flag Operations In Our Time

Great piece. There is so much here that I do not have enough time to go into all of this.

I do not agree with some things below:

I do not agree that 9-11 was a false flag.
I am not sure if one of the 9-11 planes was shot down over Pennsylvania.
I do not agree that San Bernardino was a false flag.
I do not agree that Charlie Hebdo was a false flag.
I do not agree that the Paris Shootings was a false flag.
I do not agree that the Sony North Korean hack was a false flag.
I do not agree that the Boston Bombings was a false flag.
I do not agree that the Oklahoma City Bombing was a false flag.
I do not agree that the LAX shooting was a false flag.

However, there is a ton of good information below, and much of it is straight up true, and not only that, but you will never, ever, ever hear any of these things discussed in the corporate news media. Not once, not ever. Why? Because they are part of the very system that they would have to be uncovering!

If you want to know why things are as they seem in the world today, if you want to truly begin to understand how the world operates, start by reading this transcript. Just read the whole thing. Just do it. Then go discuss it in the comments below if you wish.

Understanding False Flag Operations In Our Time

By Bonnie Faulkner
Global Research, February 06, 2016
Guns and Butter 20 January 2016

We have 9/11 in which the hammer comes down and beats you over the head for the rest of your life with a big national security stick so that people learn to duck their head and not speak up, because … bad idea now. You know, we now have, I think 20% of the American population is 15 or younger. I think that’s the number. These are people who grew up – they don’t know anything other than post-9/11 America.

And actually, let’s say that anyone who’s under 25 doesn’t, really. They were kids. That’s probably, what, a third or more of the population. It’s all going away. The whole past of the United States, the whole idea of rule by the people, of privacy. We have an entire new generation who are growing up without any of that. It’s all gone.

I’m Bonnie Faulkner. Today on Guns and Butter, Richard Dolan. Today’s show: Understanding False Flag Operations in Our Time. Richard Dolan is an author and historian. He is nearing completion of a groundbreaking book, A History of False Flag Operations, which will explain one of the most pernicious developments of our time: how clandestine agencies secretly engage in violence and destruction in order to promote their agendas.

He has published four books and numerous articles on anomalous phenomena, suppressed science, secret space programs, breakaway civilizations, the intelligence community and similar subjects. He is best known as the author of two volumes of history, UFOs and The National Security State. He studied US Cold War strategy, Soviet history and international diplomacy. Today’s presentation, Understanding False Flag Operations In Our Time, is from the Architects of the New Paradigm Conference in San Rafael, California, January 16th, 2016.

* * * * *

Richard Dolan: In addition to writing books, I’ve spent many, many years doing private consulting work. Basically I’m an independent writer, and I would meet with individuals one on one, thousands and thousands of them. It was a great experience with me just to sit down and talk with someone about their life, their career, their anxieties and everything else.

What I’ve always noticed is that when you start scratching the surface of someone’s worldview, you find very quickly that they just as you have an understanding that there’s something not right with the world around us. Not everyone has the motivation or the education or the background to  dive into this like a madman obsessed with getting to the truth, but they know. They feel it in their bones. There’s something wrong, desperately wrong, with the state of the world, and it involves a feeling that they’re not in control anymore.

In particular I think we can see this in the last 20 years in the United States where we’ve had severe economic dislocation. I live in the northeastern part of the United States, and I’ve gotten to see really the obliteration of a company that informed the town that I live in. That’s Eastman Kodak in Rochester, New York, and I just watched Kodak go poof over the past decade and a half. But I think you can see this story everywhere, in many places of the US.

It accompanies a kind of loss of hope, a loss of confidence, a feeling like is the future really going to be worth something? In addition to that, those people who try to learn about their world by turning on the television and watching CNN, inevitably what they find is that they’re totally confused about what is happening.

It just seems like one damn thing after another, one terrorist thing doing this, and one national security thing doing that, and these crazy people, why do they hate us…and there’s really no sense of understanding when you plug into the establishment news media. There doesn’t seem to be how do we solve any of this, how do we fix this, how do we really get to a better world, why can’t these people just like freedom and democracy like we do? This is the kind of nonsense that…there doesn’t seem to be a way out of it.

I would say that all of that confusion, all of that hopelessness is by design. I believe this now. I don’t believe, as I might have years past, that the people on top, they’re trying to do their best, but it’s a tough world out there. No. No. No. They want you to feel helpless. They want you to be confused. Let’s talk about why.

One reason why is that the whole planet is being stolen. You’ve got this many people who want to own every single thing that’s worth owning in this planet – all the water, all the genetically modified foods they want to shove down your throat, all the minerals in the ground. They want every single thing. And they’re getting it. They’ve got it, actually, and they just want more. That’s the way it’s happening.

It’s a transnational corporate financial theft of everything. It’s a war. When there’s a war, the people who are running that war really don’t want you to be able to react to it. They don’t want you to be cognizant of what is happening. And they want you to be quiet about it. They want you to obey and be compliant.

Therefore, they must rule by means of deception. Because if they were to out and out say to you, “Yeah, we’re going to steal all your stuff,” you might have a thing or two to say about it. So what must happen is a kind of ideological false flag or an ideological psych on you and me. This is exactly, I think, what we are seeing in the world.

Now, it’s certainly not true to say that this is a new development in a larger sense. Human history has always been informed by intense hierarchy. In that sense you could say mind control has always existed in the sense that elites have typically kind of created worldviews by which the great masses of humanity would look to the authority for guidance and for salvation.

I think the obvious example of this we could see is various religions of the world, but I would also include things like nationalism and other kinds of ideologies that let us say encourage and enforce compliance among the population.

I think we can agree that false problems have, since forever, since throughout human history, been kind of created in order to accommodate a pre-arranged solution to that problem, things that I would call an ideological false flag. What I mean by that is not an instance where a government or an intelligence agency in ancient times would kill people and blame it on another party and scare the heck out of people and enforce their rule. No, but by creating a mindset.

Think of something like the Inquisition. That’s a perfect example of an ideological false flag where back in, I think it was, 1487, a book called Malleus Maleficarum was published. This was a guidebook, really, on how to identify, prosecute and kill witches. That’s what that book really was. As a result of that, over the next century or so about 1 million European women were executed for witchcraft.

It did several things. One is it created a lot of fear among the population. “Oh, my God, witches. Get rid of those people!” It enforced the authority of the ecclesiastical Church at the time, at least for a certain while until there was a reaction against it. And it also got a lot of power and money for the Church.

Families of witches would actually pay through indulgences to minimize the amount of time in Purgatory or get them out of Hell. This actually happened. It also allowed for land grabs by the Church of the families of the witches, very much like the US government does today with people suspected – this is really the truth – of various crimes. They take your property. This is what the Church did. So that I call a false flag. The War on Terror is an ideological false flag.

That’s an old, old part of human history. I would say in our world today there is a manner in which they’re trying to get inside your head, and I call it a propaganda spectrum. There are all kind of forms of control, but they get progressively more pernicious as you go down the list.

The most fundamental method by which you are expected to conform to society would be what we might call cultural values. That’s when you go to school, and you learn to pledge allegiance with your hand over your heart, and you go through the educational system.

Even 100 years ago Bertrand Russell was talking about as a method of conformity. More recently we have really great visionaries like John Taylor Gatto who has talked very much along the same lines, of the educational system as a system of control over your head. Get inside your head and make you obey, make you an obedient worker.

So that’s the cultural values. Not all of it is necessarily evil. We can all recognize that a functioning society would require a kind of cultural consensus, but you can still see how the implementation of certain cultural values could at least provide a foundation of obedience.

Beyond that, though, I think what is a little bit more pernicious is what we might call cultural distractions. This is the phenomenon of the Kardashians and things like Dancing with the Stars or whatever they’ve got on this week or Monday Night Football or all the stupid, meaningless stuff that is poured into everyone’s head every single day – truly, literally meaningless information that just goes right in.

And we all like entertainment. I’m watching back episodes of The Sopranos, so I’m just as guilty as anyone else. Those are my people. I’m from the Northeast. “You know what I’m talking about? Yeah, I know what you’re talking about.”

But I think when you get into a level of distraction that is so mindless as what we obviously see around us, this is a signal. It’s a signal for you to look over here, don’t look over there. There’s something important going on over here, so look at this shiny little trinket. It goes on and on and on and on, and it never stops, and it never will stop as long as this system is in place as it is.

Beyond that though, there are still always people even in what we would call the ordinary, out-there society, all the other people in this country, who still want to feel like they’re being informed, and that’s when they turn on the TV, and they watch CNN or Fox or NPR. Hey, why not? Because look, NPR was run for years and years by a man who was running CIA propaganda, and that’s a fact, so NPR’s really no different. Yeah. It’s really true. People think, “Oh, I’m so educated. Fox sucks. I’m going to listen to NPR because they’re intelligent.

Well, you know, here’s the thing about that, I’ll just say as an aside. Our whole narrative these days, our whole discourse in politics seems to me to be on nothing more than cultural issues. Not that they don’t matter, but it’s like if you’re a liberal that means “I support transgender rights.” If you’re a conservative, “I don’t support transgender rights.” “I do support Black Lives Matter.” “I don’t support Black Lives Matter.” “I do support smoking weed in Colorado.” “I don’t support smoking” …

If this is what we’ve come down to in our politics, we’re done. It’s over – over, over. Stick a fork in us, we’re done because as I say, there’s a serious war happening. It is a war of corporate cultural control and imposition of a global police state over you and your children and grandchildren for all of time. That’s the war. If we’re not talking about that, then we’re just wasting our time. That’s my view.

Anyway, for that third level of control and spin there’s the news media, people who want to be informed, so they’ll turn on CNN and become confused forever because really, that’s a system that is all about censorship, spin, propaganda, and control. CNN…Why is it that CNN is on at every single gate at every single airport in the United States? Why? Is it like every airport manager in the country is like, “Oh, wow. I totally love CNN. I want to inform…” I don’t think so.

They’re a private company owned by Time Warner – clearly there’s a nice sweetheart deal – and because they are the propaganda voice of the US State Department and CIA. That’s the only reason they’re on. That’s the only reason you see them at every gate. So that’s the third level. I would say those first three levels of propaganda account for probably 95% of the control mechanisms in place to keep you in your place. Most probably.

But then, every now and then you need a little bit more something, and that’s when we’re talking about psy-ops, psychological operations, covert ops, color revolutions, regime change down to the “Shock Doctrine” type of events, if anyone’s read Naomi Klein. I’m a big fan of that book. And then down to false flags, which I think is the most pernicious of those. I’ll talk a little bit about these in a little more detail.

With psy-ops, psychological operations, the US military- this is in their playbook. This is an official thing that our military does, and other militaries do it, too. It’s not just us. It’s interesting that the Defense Department has in its own Psychological Operations Manual three different types of ops. They call them white, grey and black psy-ops.

White psy-ops is pretty straightforward. It’s not really even a psych job on the world. It’s basically an official or a virtually official statement of the United States government just getting their message out to the world. And you know it’s from the US government, and it’s relatively straightforward, even if you don’t agree with it.

Grey psy-ops is a little more interesting and very pervasive in our world today. If you’re familiar with something like Operation Mockingbird, that would be a grey psy-op. That would be something like using journalists or other voices that are not officially part of the US government but basically having them give the US government perspective, pretending it’s coming from some other voice. That’s a grey psy-op, and that’s a very, very widespread phenomenon.

The Pentagon, for example, which spends billions of dollars every single year managing their social image – they do – that includes things like not simply having close relationships with professional journalists who spin the news in their favor, but it also includes paid trolls, which I call sock puppets. This is true.

Let’s say you read news articles, and you look at all the comments below, and you see these real whackjobs out there. Some of them literally are sock puppets. That means you’d be a Pentagon employee, and you’d be in charge of X number of profiles on the social media and on the message boards. That’s what you would do. You would disrupt, persuade, cajole, but in fact, you’re a paid employee. That would be a grey psy-op as well.

Then there’s black psy-ops, and this is where we’re really getting into some serious stuff. This is according to the US Psychological Operations Manual: A black psy-op is something that comes from a US government source but “appears to emanate from a source hostile in nature. US government would deny responsibility.” That’s a false flag. I don’t know how else you can describe it. Something that the US government does but seems to come from one of the “bad guys.”

One of the things about black psy-ops in the manual is that – at least they state – this is not actually a function of the United States military but actually that black psy-ops are a function of the US intelligence community, and that kind of makes sense. I guess the point is that false flag black psy-ops are in the playbook of the United States. It’s just worth keeping in mind.

Something like regime change or the so-called color revolutions, these can include false flags, which I’m going to get into a false flag in just a moment in case you’re still wondering, “What the heck is a false flag?” Regime change is something that the United States has truly perfected to the extent possible over many decades.

They did it back in 1953 in Iran. Essentially what that was was a CIA operation to overthrow an elected government that had the temerity to nationalize its oil, and you can’t do that, so the CIA, Kermit Roosevelt, a grandson of T.R., ran an operation for the CIA to pay off people to pretend they were Communists to do horrible things to discredit that group and to organize crowds that pushed for regime change. And it was quite successful. This was a model that has been followed ever since.

Primarily now what you find is the US does this through NGOs, non-governmental organizations, and this has been a very, very major topic of study. So again, it’s all ruled by indirection.

There’s one group known as Avaaz – it’s called The Voice in many languages – and many others as well, but this one has been heavily involved in supporting efforts to destabilize and topple the governments of Libya. They were really gleeful about that one and calling for NATO intervention, which ended up essentially destroying that nation, which it is still to this day, and they’re trying to do the same in Syria today.

So in other words, the US works through these and many other NGOs to push for regime change where ordinary citizens, people around the world that don’t know any better think, “Oh, well they’re a non-governmental organization. They’re obviously detached, objective, etc.” No. They’re not. They’re working for the United States government and intelligence community. And this is very, very common. That’s an image of the color revolution in Ukraine back in ’04, and it’s a model that’s been done tried and true many times now.

Another aspect of the covert ops, getting toward false flag in cases we might call provocations, and this has happened everywhere, we’re talking about agents provocateur.

We probably are all familiar with the old COINTELPRO operations of the FBI from the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s in which the FBI would infiltrate organizations that were pushing for positive social change, I would say – Students for Democratic Society, the Black Panthers. What they would do then is have their guys inside the organization fomenting violence and doing things to discredit those organizations. That’s provocation.

This is, again, a highly effective tool used within the US, Canada, and the UK. It’s used all through Europe. It was used very much in Ukraine in 2014, and in Iraq after the invasion in ’03, through ’04, ’05, ’06. There are a lot of provocations that we know about – I’ll be writing about them in my new book – in Syria, elsewhere. And it happened in the Occupy movement, without a doubt.

So you have covert operatives infiltrating movements for progressive change with a view to discredit them. I suspect most of you may be familiar with this or on board with it, but if you doubt it, this is a great deal of research and really excellent journalism that has gone into this and has, I think proven – not suggested, not hinted, but has proven that provocations are standard operating procedure. Some of these guys get found out.

Another important means by which I think propaganda is used to dominate your mind and to kind of impose a corporate control kind of global revolution is what we might call the “Shock Doctrine” technique, and this was the contribution of Naomi Klein.

Really, what she argues is that neoliberalism, or let’s call it globalism, is a fundamentally anti-human process, her argument is that it can only be imposed via trauma, I guess we could say. She came up with the phrase “shock doctrine” through the US military’s phrase of “shock and awe.” The military goes into a nation, we’re going to “shock and awe” them. Think about, oh, wow… what a thing to say about another group of people. You pound them into submission and traumatize them, and that’s precisely US military doctrine.

What occurred to her was that this is actually how they rule, not just abroad but they rule at home through shock. She was thinking of Katrina; she was thinking of 9/11. When some horrible, terrible thing happens in which people are just bereft and no one’s thinking clearly…often after these horrific things happen, and that is exactly when, she says, contingency plans which had been in place since forever are rolled out and people just accept it because they’re looking for help – corporate control over New Orleans after Katrina or the whole national security apparatus rolled in after 9/11 and so on and so on.

What she suggests is that these catastrophes and the anxiety that comes about as a result of them that is played up by authorities results in what she calls learned helplessness. We’ve done science studies of rats, and you create so much anxiety and loss of control, they learn helplessness, and it’s the same with people. And her argument is that this is a key method by which global control is achieved. I would totally agree with that, and I would say, let’s go one step further. There are instances in which crises aren’t simply happening, and then groups opportunistically take advantage of it.

I would argue that there are a number of events in our contemporary world in which those catastrophes are intentionally created, and that is what we call a false flag.

It is an instance in which a group, an intelligence agency usually, does something truly horrible – killing people, blowing up buildings, some other kind of horrific act that is then blamed on another party by which to justify things that could never otherwise be justified, whether it’s dastardly pernicious laws of control over a population or wars that could never have otherwise be justified to justify theft of natural resources of other countries and so on. That’s a false flag. There’s a lot of that going on around in the world these days.

I think it’s probably the single most powerful form of propaganda. I can’t think of anything that has more emotional impact than a false flag. And I also think there’s not much more that I can think of that’s more risky or audacious or bold to undertake than a true false flag. It’s not something for everyone. I think it’s something that only a very few organizations truly have the wherewithal and the power to implement. I’ll get into that in a moment.

If you scroll through the Web on the phenomenon of false flags, you’ll find a lot of sites that will say that this is an ancient phenomenon going back. Some will site things like Nero burning down Rome and blaming it on the Christians to implement certain things. And when I started researching this about a year ago, I was certainly inclined to accept that line of reasoning, but my own research has told me otherwise.

Actually, I would argue that false flags are not an ancient phenomenon. Now, I talked about the ideological false flags, a kind of mind control system in place, like the Inquisition and other things, but that’s different. I mean false flags as a covert op. I don’t think that’s an ancient phenomenon at all. I think it’s a distinctively modern phenomenon and, in fact, I think that’s an important thing to understand about them so that we realize why they are happening today, and I will be talking about that now.

I think to have a false flag what you need, because a false flag is a big psych job on the population, so one thing that is necessary is you have to have a kind of ostensibly – and I say ostensibly – democratic type of system. It doesn’t have to be truly democratic.

The United States is not a truly democratic society. In fact, Yale university – I think it was Yale – did a study a couple of years ago that actually quantitatively I would say proved that what we have is an oligarchy.

What they did is they looked at public policy and legislation that was implemented and looking at public opinion and the like, and really, I think, proving beyond the shadow of a doubt that the wishes of the great masses of the population have zero impact on public policy, and that public policy is, on the contrary, put into place on the wishes of those who have power and money and influence. It’s no surprise. That’s an oligarchy, and that’s what we have.

But we also have an ostensive democratic system where people still believe and we still have the remnants, let’s say, of that kind of rule of the people. It’s not just the United States. It’s in much of the world now.

Kim Jong Un of North Korea doesn’t need to do false flags. Really, why? Because he’s got the people terrified. He just controls them through fear – and lies, yes, but a lie is not the same as a false flag. In fact, he can’t really do easily, in my view, a false flag against South Korea, either, because he doesn’t have control over major media globally.

That’s the next thing. For a false flag you need an ostensibly democratic system because you have to corral the people into a particular point of view, and then you need control over major media. You have to have the ability to effectively propagandize without competition from other narratives – at least significant competition of that. So you dominate the narrative.

On top of that, you need decent covert op teams, people who know what they’re doing. Again, this is not the type of thing that you would really find in the ancient world. You need a lot of money to do that, and there’s a few nations in the world today who have much more money and means than others to do this.

And you need motive and the capability, obviously, for what I would call geopolitical, financial or national political change. There’s got to be groups that are pushing to revolutionize their society in ways that they believe it should be. They realize they can’t do it along legal means, and so they use these other means.

The other one thing I would say why false flags are not a truly ancient phenomenon is in the ancient world – and I’m an avid student of ancient history, very much so. What you find in ancient history is lots of bloodshed. I mean massacres and horrific…We think it’s bad today, but in the ancient world armies would go in and just completely kill every single inhabitant in a town, my God. So there’s no shortage of bloodshed. There’s no shortage of lies that nations would tell each other, absolutely.

But the idea of doing something like a false flag in the ancient world, when you look at most of the cultural values that existed in most of the societies back then, it really would be pernicious to them. As bloody-minded as most of the ancient militaries were, there was a sort of code. Let’s call it a code among thieves or a code of honor, in which the deception really would be considered a pernicious and a horrible thing to do.

Also, I think it would be much more difficult to do a true false flag for those reasons and due to the lack of communication, just a harder thing to do. I think a false flag is, again, a distinctively modern phenomenon.

To do a false flag internationally or even domestically and have it fly internationally, you need power in the world today. You’ve got to be able, especially for something international, to dominate global media, at least sufficiently so that you can sort of push aside alternative narratives and explanations. You also have to have the ability to intimidate other nations into silence if you’re going to do this, and there are very few nations that have that ability in the world today.

I’m going to do a little bit, and there’s no way that I’m going to be able to go over every single thing that I think has been a false flag in the last 100 years – there’s a lot of things – but I do want to give a sense of how the phenomenon has evolved. False flags have evolved.

My own research at this point is telling me that the true phenomenon really takes off following the First World War. Again, there are isolated events possibly, maybe probably, from prior to World War I but not many.

Even talking about the sinking of the Maine, I’ve looked into that, and I’m not really sure that I would classify that as a true false flag. It can go either way. But we start seeing them now for sure in the 1930’s and, really, the main nations that were doing them, Japan, Germany, Soviet Union. They did some very prominent ones, and I think many of us are familiar with some of these.

Everyone’s heard of the Reichstag Fire. The German invasion of Poland is maybe one of the classic international false flags of all time. Essentially, Germans took a bunch of political prisoners who were rotting away in their prison system, dressed them in Polish military uniforms, took over a radio station at the border, shot all of the prisoners, posed one of them at a microphone and then went on the air and pretended that Poland had attacked Germany and was inciting Poles in Germany to resist Hitler. This was an absolute false flag.

The German people, as far as we can tell, more or less accepted it. International politicians were not particularly impressed by it, to say the least, but it worked enough for the Germans to justify to themselves that they invaded. False flag. That’s the Reichstag, by the way, burning. That’s their 9/11.

The thing that they all have in common, those false flags of that decade, is that those were nations with state control over the media. That’s a very important thing to keep in mind. And they also had very sophisticated military intelligence groups for their time, without a doubt.

So they had the control over the media, and they had the teams. They were militarized, and this is, I think, is why after World War I, we start seeing it. World War I militarized all of Europe and the United States, and really transformed those cultures to that extent so that there was a very strong militarization in the aftermath of that, and I think that was part of it.

What you find after the Cold War is that the United States wins the False Flag Olympics hands down, and it’s really been ever since. I would say that the US and its vassal states essentially run the false flag universe. It’s basically the US, Israel, and the UK, I would say are the big three. There are certainly other nations that have been involved in this, without a doubt. Particularly since 9/11 a lot of nations have jumped on board.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, a lot of them did it in order to get US terror funding. There was a case I think in ’02 that was found out, this one, the nation of Macedonia – found out that they had murdered seven illegal immigrants from Pakistan and said that these are al Qaeda terrorists. They were not al Qaeda terrorists. They were illegals, but they were innocent people. They were killed, and Macedonian authorities played it up as al Qaeda specifically in order to get US funding, and they aren’t the only example of that type of shenanigans, kind of a piling-on effect after 9/11.

But back to the Cold War, what you see is a transformation of the false flags in the sense that they start becoming domestic. There are still international incidents that are false flags, absolutely.

There was one that was found out by the Israelis in 1954 where Mossad was basically finding Egyptian Jews who were going to blow up certain buildings and blame it on the Muslim Brotherhood, and it was found out. It was called the Lavon Affair after the Israeli Defense Minister. The parties involved confessed and all that. That was an international type of false flag. They did that, incidentally, to encourage the British not to leave and abandon the Suez Canal.

But primarily what you see are domestic false flags specifically for political control. COINTELPRO in the US is maybe a classic example of that, the FBI doing what they call black-bag jobs and the like, to dirty tricks, smearing people, doing events and blaming it on other organizations and so on.

In Europe, probably the most pernicious was known as Operation Gladio, which was a NATO/CIA operation. Essentially, when World War II concluded, there was the fear among Allied nations that the Russians would roll over Europe, and so there were teams put in place in Europe to act as kind of a resistance if this were to happen. Well, the Russians did not roll over Western Europe, and these teams are still sitting there.

In Italy, they got the bright idea of killing people and blowing up buildings and train stations and blaming it on the Communists, which they did for years – years and years. This has been found out.

And in fact, one of the Gladio operatives, Vincenzo Vinciguerra, who is serving life in prison for his part in Gladio, in an interview was very specific. He said, “The point of what we were doing was to force these people” the Italian people in this case, “to turn to the state and ask for greater security.” They’re very up-front about it. These were NATO operatives, with the knowledge of the higher-up authorities, and they were just doing this and blamed their murders on the Red Brigades and other leftwing groups.

There’s a long proven history. This is another list of the ‘60s, and in the ‘70s and ‘80s and I’m not going to go over all of it. It includes the Gulf of Tonkin, it includes some really nasty Mossad operations, some of which looked exactly like Charlie Hebdo, one of which occurred in 1982, a bombing of a Jewish delicatessen in Paris. Sound familiar? But it was in 1982. When French intelligence investigated far enough, they kind of ran into a brick wall and everything stopped, and it did get some very good international analysis at the time.

One of the more pernicious ones would be during the ramp-up to the Persian Gulf War. Do you remember this? I bet some of you do. The Incubator Hoax. This woman was actually the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States, but she was pretending to be a nurse on TV and to Congress.

What she said was that the Iraqi troops, once they had gone into Kuwait – Remember that? – were looting incubators from a Kuwaiti hospital, leaving the premature babies to die on the floor. And it was such a horrific image, this went on all the news. Everyone promoted this from NPR to Fox and everyone in between. It was a total lie, and she was a total lie, but this is how it works. In fact, by the ‘80s and ‘90s, the United States military was officially hiring public relations firms in a very effective way. The Persian Gulf War was kind of a watershed in that effort.

Let’s keep going here. Through the ‘90s you’ve got quite a few of these. The Oklahoma City bombings probably the most prominent one there. I’ll talk about some of the problems of how to identify these types of false flags when I close.

As we get to the 21st century, I think we hit the era of true false flags. I’m not going to go into the specifics; there’s just too much. I want to talk about the geopolitics and help us understand why this is happening. I think one of the key things has to do with globalization. With globalization you get economic disruption and the loss of jobs. This is Seattle 1999. I think Seattle is a great indicator. These are the WTO riots, or protests, November 30th. This went for four days, into early December. This is significant.

Back in 1999 Americans still believed they had rights. I remember those days. The WTO, the World Trade organization, was convening in Seattle at that time, and for several months protesters planned this out, and when that convention happened these protesters, at minimum 40,000, probably much more – shut that city down.

They shut it down. They were so effective the delegates were not able to enter the premises for the longest time. Police teargas didn’t work; pepper spray didn’t work. The police were overwhelmed by an incredibly powerful public reaction, and this is what happens when the public feels empowered. The WTO was really initiating some very nasty decisions that, in fact, they ended up doing, that just accelerated the process of the deindustrialization of the United States.

This is when people were saying, “No. Were not going to put up with it.” Of course, 18 months later we have 9/11, in which the hammer comes down and beats you over your head for the rest of your life with a big national security stick, so that people learn to duck their head and not speak up because…bad idea now.

You know, we now have, I think, 20% of the American population is 15 or younger. I think that’s the number. These are people who grew up – they don’t know anything other than post-9/11 America. And actually, let’s say that anyone who’s under 25 really doesn’t. They were kids. So that’s, what, a third or more of the population. It’s all going away. The whole past of the United States, the whole idea of rule by the people, of privacy. We have an entire new generation who are growing up without any of that. It’s all gone.

For some of these young people, I hate to say it, but it almost seems meaningless. I have two brilliant young teenagers, 19 and 17, and I know a lot of their friends. They’re a little different; they’re kind of plugged in, but I know about a lot of young people, and they just live, post their stuff on Facebook…They don’t care about privacy. They don’t expect it. It’s a different world. I think this type of thing is a threat to the globalist process and is a trigger for false flags.

The other major geopolitical thing behind false flags, I would suggest to you, is the petrodollar system. I can’t go over the whole thing here but essentially, this is the deal worked out between Henry Kissinger and the king of Saudi Arabia in the early-‘70s to keep the dollar in place as the world reserve currency.

The dollar had just gone off the gold standard – whole story behind that – and now they wanted to hook the dollar to petroleum. And really, what Kissinger was able to agree was to have all the OPEC nations sell their oil only in dollars, and that’s the foundation of American policy to this day. All of the nations would get their oil pegged in dollars.

It’s great for the US because it allows that there’s a global demand for our currency, which allows for all kinds of things that the US can do printing up trillions of dollars and basically holding the world hostage as a result.

No other nation could afford to do what the US is doing, to prosecute all of its wars and the like, because of the petrodollar system. And it is a foundation of America’s empire. It’s really never discussed, never, ever discussed in mainstream media. But the petrodollar system forces, these geopolitics force US neoconservatives – which is simply another world for empire-builder – neoconservative to act the way that they do.

Think about that word. Old conservative. What would be an old conservative? Someone who I would think would want to conserve the traditional republican values and institutions of this country. That’s not the worst thing in the world.

A neoconservative is the new conservative. They’re preserving not the republic, my friends; they’re conserving the empire. That’s what a neoconservative is. They are building and conserving empire. You can be a Republican like Dick Cheney, and you can be a Democrat like Hillary Clinton, and you can be a neoconservative. They’re twins. They’re brother and sister twins, politically, in my opinion. They both are as equally intent on domination and preservation of the United States empire.

That forces the neocons, the whole petrodollar system, to demonize any of these people who are not on board with that system. This is why Saddam went away – because he started selling his oil in euros in 2000. And Qaddafi, with the gold-based dinar system he was about to introduce which was a threat to the dollar. And Putin, of course, who is simply…Well, long story about Vlad. We’ll have to skip that for another time. I’m fascinated by Russian politics, always have been.

It forces the United States to feel the need to physically control the sources of energy that exist, basically the hydrocarbons that go from Western Africa across the continent to the Middle East and to western Asia. That’s two-thirds of the world’s oil and natural gas right there, and the US wants it all. They want to control it physically.

These are the geopolitical reasons, I would argue, that are directly behind 9/11. To steal, say, $30 trillion worth of oil under the ground in Iraq, which they did and then sold off to multinationals, and to steal all the nice mineral wealth under the ground in Afghanistan as a nice little bonus. So theft, of course, is always important for this, and then to control the population.

I would suggest, too, that the petrodollar and all of this is all part of a hierarchical-based and scarcity-driven system. That is, energy scarcity – energy in our world today is based on physical control over a particular commodity, oil and natural gas primarily, and if you control those locations, you control the distribution, you have the power.

That’s a strength and a power of the system, but it’s also the weakness of the system because if we develop an alternative energy paradigm, this is very much in danger. And that’s a good thing. So this whole system is vulnerable to emerging technologies, and that means that the false flag phenomenon itself would be vulnerable to that.

I’m going to give you a quick profile. You know how we talk about racial profiling by the police; let’s talk about false flag profiling. There are certain things that by themselves or even collectively don’t prove that something is a false flag, but they give you an idea that you want to look carefully at it. The only way to prove one thing or another is through good investigative journalism, but nonetheless, let’s just take a quick look at some of these things.

One thing to look for is that it’s a sensational event that gets a lot of major media attention, boom, immediately. That’s pretty obvious. But what you really want to look for are changing narratives. In other words, particularly in the beginning, in the first day or two of an event, you will always find competing narratives of what exactly happened. You really want to look for that because after a few days, that goes away and the major media particularly are on board with, boom, this story, and this is the only story.

San Bernardino’s a great case. This happened not long ago, and there were several witnesses – several – who said, “I saw three big white guys come in with guns.” Now, I don’t know if that’s the case or not, but that’s a fact. These witnesses said this. That’s just one example.

With 9/11, there are all kinds of alternative narratives. You have the case of Rumsfeld talking about the plane that got shot down over Pennsylvania. Woops, maybe I didn’t mean to say that. And on and on and on. There are all of these competing different statements that get leaked out and then just go away. You want to look for that.

You also want to look for the fact that the case is quickly closed, that a patsy or the “evildoer” is quickly found and usually is either killed immediately, or if he’s not killed, he just disappears, and then the trial is always a kangaroo court, and you’ll never even hear what’s going on. Boston was a great example of that.

Another thing you want to look for is that these suspects are connected to intelligence groups whether US or non-US but frequently US. I would say this. If you are approached by the FBI ever in your life and your skin color’s maybe a shade or two darker than mine, you’d better run far and fast. I’m not kidding.

Because what they do, the FBI goes after foreign nationals who look foreign – that is, i.e., they’re a little darker – and they love to set these people up. More than half of all the terrorist arrests post-9/11 that have to do with federal terrorism charges – they’re FBI set-up jobs.

So the FBI will approach you, they’ll convince you, “Oh, yeah, the US government, they suck. Let’s go get them.” And in particular, if you’re not that bright, if you’re very easily impressionable…This happened in my town of Rochester just a couple weeks ago. They got another one there. They will bring you to the store to get your terrorist equipment, like a knife or a ski mask – I’m serious – and then they’ll arrest you, and you’ll never see daylight ever again.

These people on their own would almost never have committed any of these crimes, so this is provocation. This is what our government does to us. So if the FBI comes up to you, no matter what you look like, run. Go away from these people. What you find is that these suspects, there’s often a connection to intelligence organizations.

Typically the suspects that are promoted in the media have some kind of connection, sociologically, demographically, to whatever group is to be demonized. Back in the ‘90s it was typically rightwing militias, gun nuts, that type of thing. Timothy McVeigh comes to mind. In our century it’s more Muslims. They seem to be the group they’re going after, but there are others. The LAX shooting was a so-called rightwing conspiracy theorist. That’s how he was portrayed in the media. And so on and so on, so look for these.

One thing you really want to look for are unanswered questions and  problems associated with the official explanation of the event. There are often gaping holes in these things, that the media – the establishment media, that is – never ask, how did these guys get out of Charlie Hebdo shooting so easily? There’s a car, no one bothered them.

How is it they talked about a pristine passport being found after 9/11 and then also after the Paris murders just a few months ago? Really? A pristine passport? In the case of the Paris shooting, this perfect Syrian passport was left behind. What? Really? Then that story kind of went away and is not talked about…changing narratives. These are very suspicious things and whatever the truth is behind these – maybe we’ll never find the truth to some of these incidents because – who knows why? But we certainly ought to be asking the questions.

Multiple drills is important. This is a key thing. When the events happen you typically find there are multiple drills happening that portray the exact same thing. With 9/11, there was a drill going on that day to protect America against the attack by terrorists using airplanes to crash into us. I’m not kidding. And there are a number of these multiple drills with the shootings and other things.

Why would that be? Here’s why. In the intelligence community, when you’re planning this thing out, there are always people who are not in with the in crowd. They’re not on board. The idea of the multiple drills is to provide cover, so if someone sees that this is happening, the answer is, “Oh, no, no, no, no. We’re doing a drill. We’re doing a drill.” But then it happens. The other thing is that the existence of the drills also provides confusion during the day when the false flag occurs, and that is very helpful for the operation.

The other thing you just see is a media narrative that jumps right on top because there’s intimate collaboration. The discussions inevitably focus on do we need more police protection, greater police state measures? What about our privacy? Yeah, but we have to have security. That whole discussion just goes on and on, and so the public conversation inevitably creeps toward fascism, always does, and war – fascism and war.

Finally, you find the government taking action and doing things, again, that could never be justified, whether it’s invading Iraq or rolling out the naked-body scanners owned by Michael Chertoff’s company after the Underwear Bomber – Ooh…Underwear! Bomber! – and sweetheart deals that happened that would never have happened otherwise.

Now it’s true. Some of these events may not be always false flags. They might be devious, evil opportunism run amok. Would not rule that out, but a lot of these I think are indeed false flags absolutely, and we need to look at it.

Finally, in concluding, I would say that a lot of these false flags are not necessarily going to be military operations, especially moving forward.

I think we need to look for corporate and financial false flags.

In fact, there have been financial false flags in the past. I’ll write about the 1907 financial crisis that led to the establishment of the Federal Reserve, and I think that we have financial false flags that are going on in our own era.

We have corporate false flags, if everyone remembers the Sony North Korea hack – absolute corporate/intel false flag – the flu scares, the pharmaceutical scares. All of these I think are a big part of our world today.

Keep in mind, too, not every false flag – in fact, no false flag, likely, is going to be on the magnitude of something like 9/11. That’s the granddaddy, the big one. Most other false flags will have varying levels of impact on the world. Think of them as different types of different-sized weapons to target different types of things that they want to get done.

I just want to wrap up. I think there is a way out. What we’re seeing, the false flag phenomenon is important right now because you have groups that are trying right now to establish a global totalitarian system, and they are trying very, very hard using false flags as a way to psych us out, terrify us, make us feel helpless so that we run to the state for protection. You can see it happening. This is exactly what they’re moving towards, and they’re being very successful at it right now.

In that war, we have to expect all forms of propaganda to be ramped up and to be in place, including the false flags but not exclusively false flags. All the tricks of the trade are coming out.

The way out for us, obviously, is to educate ourselves. Be unafraid to be an activist. I keep thinking, find out what you’re willing to go to jail for. Think about this. What are the things that you personally are willing, would be willing, to be arrested for? Because we’re getting to that point, what will we support? Organizations like WikiLeaks, which technically do things that are illegal, but we need them because we’re not living in a democratic system. We’re living in an authoritarian system masking as a democratic system.

Fascism today is not going to look like Hitler. That was 80 years ago. This isn’t the world of the 1930’s. Fascism’s not going to look like Brownshirts raising their right hand. That’s not how it is.

Fascism’s going to look a lot sexier. It’ll look like Monday Night Football, and it’ll look like Dancing with the Stars, and it’ll look like all those nice things that people like to look at, the glitter. And it’ll call itself democracy. But it’s not going to call itself fascism. Of course it won’t. So we have to be aware.

The other thing that researchers should be doing, and they are doing this, we’re seeing this with the Web – is they’re calling out false flag opportunities now when they happen. This was not the case 20 years ago. It’s happening now. When any big event happens you see it. Now, sometimes people just jump on and say “False flag!” and maybe not always with evidence, but researchers are very, very aware now, and so it’s becoming a little more difficult.

The main thing I feel we need to do, though, is to break out of this hierarchical control system. I was talking about energy earlier. I think there are ways for us moving forward technologically, and in terms of our own thinking, to break ourselves out of this system of energy control. We’re talking about things like energy harvesting devices, free energy and the like. I think this is important.

The other thing, I do write about UFO’s, and let’s call it the ET phenomenon. I do consider that probably the greatest and most deep, dark secret that we have in our world today.

It represents an infrastructure that is so vastly beyond the infrastructure we’re looking at here, and I do think that the opening of that secret as well as other secrets would cause an effect for people to be peering into the structures of power and allow them to take or at least begin the process of taking back the power, taking back our own sovereignty so that we can live actually as we always wanted to – as free, independent citizens of a society that believes in rule by the people.

You’ve been listening to Richard Dolan. Today’s show has been: Understanding False Flag Operations In Our Time.

Richard Dolan is an author and historian. He is nearing completion of a groundbreaking book, A History of False Flag Operations, which will explain one of the most pernicious developments of our time: how clandestine agencies secretly engage in violence and destruction in order to promote their agendas.

He is best known as the author of two volumes of history, UFOs and the National Security State. He is widely regarded as a leading researcher and historian on the topic of the UFO cover-up. He studied US Cold War strategy, Soviet history and international diplomacy. Since 2012, he has hosted The Richard Dolan Show, airing on KGRA Radio every Monday evening, from 8-10 pm Eastern. In addition to his research, his company, Richard Dolan Press, actively publishes innovative books by authors from around the world. Visit his website at richarddolanpress.com.

Guns and Butter is produced by Bonnie Faulkner, Yarrow Mahko and Tony Rango. To leave comments or order copies of shows, email us at faulkner@gunsandbutter.org.

Visit our website at gunsandbutter.org to sign up for our email list and receive our newsletter. Follow us at #gandbradio.

6 Comments

Filed under Afghanistan, Asia, Britain, Catholicism, Christianity, Cold War, Conservatism, Conspiracy Theories, Culture, Democrats, Economics, Education, Eurasia, Europe, Fascism, France, Geopolitics, Germany, Government, History, Hurricane Katrina, Iran, Iraq War, Islam, Israel, Journalism, Left, Liberalism, Libya, Macedonia, Middle East, Military Doctrine, Neoconservatism, Neoliberalism, North Africa, North Korea, Poland, Political Science, Politics, Pop Culture, Psychology, Radical Islam, Regional, Religion, Republicans, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sociology, South Asia, Syria, Terrorism, Ukraine, US Politics, USA, USSR, War, World War 1, World War 2

The Real Reason the Viet Cong Won in the Vietnam War

EPGAH writes:

The Russians gave the revolt guns and bombs, without which, they would’ve lost.

Bottom line is that the Russians and Chinese funded and armed Commie rebellions all over the world. Most of them failed. If you do not have the objective conditions for a revolution, it’s going to fail. You have to have a really lousy rightwing regime in power for a Commie revolution to succeed. Anywhere there is a halfway decent or progressive regime in place that treats people well, you never get a successful Left revolution.

Bottom line is the Viet Cong won because they always had mass support. They had the support of the majority from the very start until the very end. In particular, they had mass support in the countryside. Hardly anyone in the countryside supported the landlords. The VC had less support in the cities, but even there, none of the South Vietnamese regimes had much support from the people.

Also the South Vietnamese regimes were seen as puppets of the US. The US was seen as a colonist who only replaced the French. So the South Vietnamese regimes were seen as puppets of the US colonists. The South Vietnamese regimes were always for the rich and against everyone else. Mostly they were for the rich feudal landlords in the countryside, and had no interest in helping anyone else.

The ARVN did not fight very well, probably because their heart was not in it. Further, the ARVN was completely infiltrated by the Viet Cong. For that matter, the South Vietnamese state was completely infiltrated by the VC also.

Commie revolutions failed everywhere they did not have mass support no matter how much money and guns they had from outside. And if the objective conditions were not correct (a crappy rightwing government), then no revolution usually got started, or if it did, it never went anywhere.

Russians and Chinese only funded and armed rebellions that were already underway anyways. These revolts only succeeded where they had mass support of the majority, and the Western client/puppet regime had almost no support.

14 Comments

Filed under Asia, China, Cold War, Colonialism, Conservatism, Eurasia, History, Left, Marxism, Political Science, Regional, Revolution, Russia, SE Asia, USA, USSR, Vietnam, Vietnam War, War

“Democratic Capitalism in the Last Stages? Capital as Agency in Wolfgang Streeck’s Analysis of the Crisis,” by Kees van der Pijl

This is an excellent paper discussing Wolfgang Streek’s latest and popular book, Buying Time. People like to bash Marxism, but as a tool for analysis of capitalism it is unsurpassed. But no capitalist will ever admit that. Everything in this paper is 100% true (except for the suggesting that the Charlie Hebdo attack was a false flag) but no US newspaper, newsmagazine, TV News or radio news will ever tell you this true story. Instead they will recycle an endless series of lies from the capitalists.

The capitalists do not want you to know what they are doing, and this is why they operate in secret, lie constantly and use codewords and memes. This is because the capitalist project is not good for the vast majority of Americans. Only perhaps the top 20% benefit from the capitalist project in the US. As the paper shows, Western capitalists have been trying to get out from under the Social Contract that they made with labor and society as a whole after World War 2 as a measure to head off Communism.

This project hays been operating in stages since  the 1960’s, and we are now near the final stage. Every one of these stages has been good for the capitalists and bad for wage labor, society, and I would argue democracy.

This is because the capitalist project lately is a profoundly antidemocratic one. Any project that redistributes wealth from the bottom 80% to the top 20% is hardly democratic.

Further if your project is to redistribute wealth from the bottom 80% to the top 20%, it would make sense to lie about your project and not admit that you are doing that. Instead of harming the bottom 80%, you say you are helping them. The capitalists also argue that those who seek to redistribute wealth from the top 20% to the bottom 80% (the Left) are actually harming the bottom 80%! As the capitalists own all the media in the West, there is no contrary narrative to this wild lie.

Any project that seeks to harm the majority at the expense of a minority must disguise its aims. As this is generally the project of capitalists and conservatives in general, both capitalist and conservative discourse is typically profoundly dishonest as they both seek to convince the bottom 80% that an elite project to harm them is actually going to help them.

What would happen if the capitalists and conservatives were simply honest about their redistributive aims? They would have to say that they were pushing a project to redistribute wealth upwards from the bottom 80% to the top 20%. Further they would have to say that their project is going to harm wage labor every step of the say.

What is the likelihood that such an elite reverse Robin Hood Project would fly? Never estimate the American voter’s tendency towards conservative masochism and supporting their class enemies economically. Nevertheless, I doubt that even the hyper-masochistic American working and middle classes would go along with a project to take from the bottom 80% and give to the top 20%.

Since conservative and capitalist projects are always designed to take harm the masses and help an elite through upward wealth redistribution, conservatism all down through history has typically been extremely dishonest. If you are running an elitist project, you can’t exactly come out and say so.

This is perhaps my biggest beef against conservatives – their extreme and continuous dishonesty in public discourse. The extreme and near continuous lying of conservatives only confuses the masses and poisons the well of public discourse.

Talking with a conservative is like trying to have a conversation with a psychopath. How can you possibly have a productive conversation with a pathologically lying sociopath? This is what political discourse in the West has boiled down to in he last 35 years.

Furthermore, when one side is lying constantly, this makes a mockery out of claims of freedom of the press and freedom of speech. What good is freedom of the press if the press is all owned by pathologically lying sociopathic capitalists? How can alternative or dissident voices even make themselves heard if the only way to talk to the public is to be rich enough to own a printing press, TV station or radio station?

Democratic Capitalism in the Last Stages?
Capital as Agency in Wolfgang Streeck’s Analysis of the Crisis

Paper for the 5th EU experts’ Discussion, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, Berlin, 11-13 December 2015

Kees van der Pijl
Centre for Global Political Economy
University of Sussex

Abstract

Wolfgang Streeck’s Gekaufte Zeit/ Buying Time contains a compelling analysis that points to the origins of the current crisis in the wave of strikes of 1968-69. It caused the capitalist class to try and wrest free from the post-war social (-democratic) contract forced on it by labor.

However, not only does Streeck not pay attention to imperialism and war, he also tends to assume that capital-as-agency governed the entire period since, attempting to postpone the full social impact of the crisis in three different ways, restricting democracy as it went along. However, the three periods he distinguishes (inflation, state debt and private debt) were directed by changing coalitions of capitalist interests uniting behind a different concept of control – corporate liberalization and two versions of neoliberalism.

This highlights that in 2008, when these remedies all had exhausted themselves, capital-as-agency in command was the bloc of forces led by speculative money-dealing capital, which in the 1990’s had captured the states of the West and steered them onto a path of high-risk, high-reward policies both in the economy proper and in international affairs. This explains why after 2008, solutions to the crisis followed this particular political-economic orientation, with more risk-taking in all areas on the agenda.

The debate on the crisis of 2008 continues to produce significant works, often concentrating on the fact that although the crisis was caused by neoliberalism, tackling it has not included a clean-up of the worst features of that particular form of capitalism such as off-shore, financialization, or the flexibilization of labor(e.g. Mirowski 2013).

Wolfgang Streeck’s Buying Time (here cited from the German original, Gekaufte Zeit, Streeck 2013) in this connection claims that the options for a democratic capitalism to find a way out of the crisis after three attempts to postpone its effects have been exhausted. It is the argument of Buying Time that will serve as a framework for organizing my reflections here.

Streeck’s conversions, first from and then back to a historical material position, are best left for the gossip column. Yet whilst it is a laudable step to pick up where he left off as a Marxist, the readings back from his earlier days are not sufficient to cover all aspects of the current situation.

More particularly, his argument that we must conceive of capital as agency, a self-conscious social force, remains incomplete. It misses the dimension of capital/class fractions as moments/components in the process of class formation, their different abilities to weld class compromises with forces outside their own ranks, and the successive concepts of control (German, Herrschaftskonzepte) that guide them and society at large along a path of a certain necessarily limited rationality.

Corporate liberalism and neoliberalism are such concepts. Since these different concepts have very different implications in the sphere of, say, whether or not violence plays a role in the formulation of policy, we must pinpoint their precise composition in terms of ruling blocs. That this shortcoming is not immediately evident in Buying Time is also because Streeck does not really deal with imperialism, war and repression as aspects of a capitalism in crisis.

Fractions, Class Compromises, Concepts of Control

Streeck begins by taking his distance from the structuralist premise of Theodor Adorno (in whose honor the lectures brought together in Buying Time were delivered) and the Frankfurt School theorists. They employed a notion of capital as apparatus, not as agency; as means of production instead of class.

Thus difficult class-theoretical questions, e.g., concerning the difference between managers and property-owning capitalists, small and large capital, and so on, could be avoided. But a theory of capitalism from which capital as agency is absent, remains anemic (Streeck 2013: 43-4, 44 n., 47).

This is indeed the beginning of all wisdom, but it is not enough. To understand capital as agency we must realize that capital as such, as a totality, is never a given. When we look at it in class terms, we will see different axes of capitalist class formation, contesting the terrain among each other as they seek to build coalitions of interest casting their nets beyond the immediate concerns of firms/sectors from the process emanates – fractions of capital.

Forming from vantage points such as productive versus money capital, international, national, or sub-national/regional, and the like, fractions of capital in the process of class formation seek to transcend the initial principles which they must uphold to survive by developing a tentative, broader concept of control, a program for managing a broad range of political-economic terrains.

Such a program requires the political-ideological talents of organic intellectuals who arise in the same process and who earn the patronage of powerful interests expecting to gain from it.

These ‘intellectuals’ (professional politicians, corporate executives, participants in private planning groups, writers) may in fact be the first to see an opportunity and start the process. But they always are the ones who take the initial project forward into the sphere of politics, where it either blossoms out into a comprehensive concept of control, or not.

For as Gramsci writes, politics is an immediate impulse to action which is born on the “permanent and organic” terrain of economic life but which transcends it, bringing into play emotions and aspirations in whose incandescent atmosphere even calculations involving the individual human life itself obey different laws from those of individual profit, etc. (Gramsci 1971: 140).

Hence groups that do not obtain any material reward, but only symbolic concessions, may yet become part of the constellation of forces supporting a particular concept of control: say, an armaments policy that benefits the military-industrial complex in real terms also satisfies the chauvinism of people who stand to lose from a warlike stance in terms of income, life-chances etc.

In that sense, a political-economic fraction profiting from a specific conjuncture will succeed in making their particular interests appear as the interest of the entire capitalist class or even society at large (Hickel 1975). We can think of export-oriented capital when foreign trade opportunities are on the rise, finance in a period of restructuring when fixed capital is being liquidated, and so on.

A successful process of class formation culminates in a stage where so many real and symbolic concessions have been made (‘symbolic’ generally referring to political aesthetics, often by conjuring up a threat that feeds into bellicose chauvinism) that no rival concept of control can hope to cover all these fields.

One concept of control thus becomes truly comprehensive in that all political efficiency and success is premised on it and all social forces, even those from whom the whole process emanated to begin with, must subordinate their immediate, short-term interests to this program (Bode 1979).

At the heart of each such constellation of forces, then, we must assume there are key class compromises that lend coherence to the starting point from which a concept of control can be developed before it merges with the conjunctural conditions under which other interests will be inclined to sign on – at a diminishing rate of actually inflecting the final result (which by the way, as a formula of the general interest, is never spelled out but is experienced as self-evident ‘common sense’).

Only when a concept loses its comprehensiveness and unravels will it be recognized as the particular project of special interests and lose this common sense quality.
So when Streeck proposes to enlarge the notion of a legitimization crisis (originally formulated by Adorno’s student, Jürgen Habermas) by substituting the two actors identified in that theory, the state and the citizen (Habermas 1973) by three (the state, capital, and the wage-dependent population), what is still lacking is which fraction is providing the capitalist class interest with a specific thrust.

Also, closely related, we must know whether or not and to which extent the ‘wage-dependent population’ is either part of the initial class compromise, a later entrant, or not rewarded at all except perhaps with symbolic gestures or sentiment.

Why is this important? Streeck’s argument is that the crisis of a capitalism seeking to liberate itself from the democracy imposed on it after 1945 really dates from 1968-69. Since then, ‘capital’ (acting through the state) has tried three methods of postponing its full impact – inflation, state debt, and private debt – until in 2008, the entire edifice came crashing down.

That suggests four crises of restructuring in which ‘capital as agency’ acted under different concepts of control, reflecting different fractional vantage points based on entirely different class compromises, a different balance between material and symbolic rewards, etc.

Thus in the last crisis of 2008, ‘capital’ was the capitalist coalition formed (as I will explain) by speculative, money-dealing capital, immersed in high-risk operations both economically and politically, connected to the apparatuses of covert action and violent power projection that must compensate for the fact that it hardly makes any real concessions any longer outside the oligarchies in command.

The environment too is only seen as an object of speculative gain, with an emissions exchange the typical (and useless) form of dealing with the crisis of the biosphere. Other ‘solutions’ too will carry the stamp of this particular coalition and the concept it operates under, and it was the same for the previous crises of restructuring. In each case, a different ‘anthropology’ is involved as well – from the responsible, ‘embedded’ citizen-worker of the 1950’s to the atomized, ‘elementary human particle’ of today.

From this perspective, the immediate future, bar a political landslide away from capitalism altogether, may be much bleaker than Streeck envisages. Even his (already bleak) prediction that democracy may be abolished altogether under the factual directorate of high-risk, covert operators will exclude any negotiated reduction of democracy and instead involve provocation and war, covert action-induced emergencies and a suspension of rights.

This is what is happening before our eyes. So whilst for capital as a whole we cannot be sure where it will be heading in seeking a way out of certain profitability constraints from a fractional viewpoint in combination with the tendency in the conjuncture of profit distribution, the degree of probability in fact increases.

Even if we follow Streeck’s understanding of a legitimization crisis as arising from the dissatisfaction of capital with democracy and the obligations imposed by it and his thesis that the functioning of the capitalist economy is not a technical but a political issue as are growth and full employment, we should again specify this for the separate, fraction-to-‘imagined totality’ trajectories of each post-war concept of control.

Crises indeed are not technical malfunctions but follow from legitimization crises of a special kind (Streeck 2013: 49), but these can be understood in a much more specific sense. In fact he says a lot that enriches our understanding of a concept of control and its inherent class compromises, as when he writes about capitalism presuming a social contract in which legitimate mutual expectations are laid down formally or informally (Streeck 2013: 51).

Again a differentiation in terms of fractions works to enhance this understanding of capitalism as a time-bound, historically specific social order in need of legitimization, which crystallizes in different forms in space and time; forms that are negotiable and are negotiated anew once the malfunction of a particular format of the social contract, that is, the comprehensive concept of control, becomes evident.

I begin with the post-war concept of corporate liberalism (my terminology) because it was the crisis of this form of capitalism in 1968-69 of which the full impact according to Streeck was postponed several times until it exploded in 2008.

Corporate Liberalism after the War

Corporate liberalism is the liberalism governing relations between bodies internally organized along their own principles, so ‘sovereign’ in their own domains. It was based on the class compromise forced on capital by organized labor with the strengthened Soviet bloc adding its weight to the balance of forces and decolonization announcing potential further shifts to the detriment of the West’s pre-eminence in the global political economy.

Economically it rested on Keynesian countercyclical state intervention, capital controls (allowing the Bretton Woods system of a gold-dollar standard with fixed exchange rates to function), and the spread of demand-led, Fordist mass production.

This was what Streeck calls the ‘very specific settlement’ in which capital had to make an effort to prolong and renew its social license, whilst allowing politically determined social goals to govern the profit economy and yet avoid a spillback to fascism or yield to the temptations of the Soviet-type planned economy (Streeck 2013: 51).

In the terms introduced above, the fraction of capital positioned centrally in this set of intersecting influences and lending substance to the original New Deal and post-war Marshall Plan projections of a corporate liberal capitalist social contract was productive capital.

The class compromise at the heart of the corporate liberal concept of control was that between capital and organized labor in production. In this sense we can speak of an epoch of democratic capitalism, at least for the North Atlantic political economy – not for Vietnam, or Indonesia, and other areas for which no parallel Yalta compromise (which in Europe included the legitimate presence of large communist parties outside the Soviet bloc) had been agreed.

As such it is the strongest corroboration of the thesis that in capitalism, democracy does not depend on the bourgeoisie but on the presence in force (including, in the state apparatus) of organized labor (Rueschemeyer et al. 1992). Streeck notes that in the course of the 1950’s and 60’s, election turnout increased everywhere (2013: 87).

The global wave of wildcat strikes in 1968 and ’69 then signaled to the capitalist class that social protection and countercyclical crisis management had lasted too long, and capital found that its maneuvering space for further concessions had been closed (Streeck 2013: 53). As full employment was undermining workplace discipline, managers were reminded of Kalecki’s 1943 thesis concerning the need to maintain a certain level of unemployment to cushion labor militancy.

Capitalists now began to prepare for evacuating the post-war social contract, abandoning their erstwhile passivity and restoring their capacity to act and actively shape social relations instead of being ‘planned in’ by democratic politics (Streeck 2013: 54). As noted, the capitalist crisis that we are experiencing today according to Streeck has its origins at that juncture.

For since that time, the state postponed the full social impact of the crisis by throwing money into the breaches in order to neutralize and defuse potential social conflicts – inflation, state indebtedness, expansion of private credit markets and finally, in 2008, buying up state and bank debt by central banks; through these phases, capital has wrested free from the post-war democratic compact with labor by steadily reducing democracy and citizen’s rights.

Thus a phased unfolding of the fundamental tension between capitalism and democracy through a progressive liberation of the capitalist economy from democratic intervention, indeed a removal of democracy from capitalism by removing the economy from the sphere of democracy. What awaits us now is possibly the suspension of the remaining democracy itself.

This is the Streeck thesis. I will now go through these different phases, beginning with inflation. Like the New Deal prefiguring comprehensive, North Atlantic corporate liberalism, all these changes were initiated by the United States, although sometimes the rise to pre-eminence of different fractions occurred in or via other component parts of the English-speaking West, or as I call it, the ‘Lockean heartland’.

‘Europe’, that is, the expanding Franco-West German compromise out of which today’s European Union evolved, followed the trend. It also necessarily suffered from the successive crises/transitions, because the continental European economies are structurally far less amenable to the neoliberal departure(s) from corporate liberalism – the further to the south (beginning with France relative to Germany), the less.

The Decade of Inflation and Its Architects

The first instance of ‘buying time’ following the crisis of 1968-’69, the decade of inflation, was not neoliberal, it was charted by productive capital under its compromise with labor – indeed deepening the compromises on which post-war capitalism had been built in the first place. ‘The inflationary money policy of the decade following the strike wave around 1968 secured social peace in the context of a rapidly expanding consumer society’ (Streeck 2013: 62).

Inflation enlarged, at least seemingly, the ‘cake’ to be distributed without really making it larger. Inflation not only prolonged the class compromise with organized labor but also brought out the underlying compromise on which the stand-off with the Soviet bloc, agreed at Yalta in 1944 (again, the division of Europe), had been based.

Détente resulted from the eroding bloc discipline in the two zones of limited sovereignty. The Atlantic ruling class had to deal with a Gaullist rebellion leading elements of the European capitalist class to explore economic opportunities in the east, and with Greek pressures for democracy (which were only kept in check by a NATO-supported military dictatorship from 1967 to ’74).

In the 1970’s the West also came up against a ‘Eurocommunist’ challenge, respectful of Yalta but not necessarily of corporate liberal capitalism. The Soviet state class in turn faced the 1968 Czechoslovak ‘spring’, likewise a politically hybrid development it feared it might not control, Romania’s explorations beyond the Yalta divide, and so on. The United States also ran up large deficits in order to continue its doomed war in Vietnam, a costly disaster that in August 1971 forced it to cut the dollar from gold.

The point here is that this decision, which opened the decade of inflation, was essentially an action following the logic of the corporate liberal concept of control and its core class compromise with labor. So it was not just ‘capital’ which ‘bought time’ but to a particular fraction of capital and its organic intellectuals (politicians, economists, and so on) doing it for capital, in this case, productive capital first.

The decision to end the (already restricted) exchange of dollars for gold had mercantilist overtones, with the ten percent import duty the clearest sign of the interests of productive capital dictating it. Likewise, abandoning the fixed exchange rates of Bretton Woods was not originally conceived as a step towards a liberalized financial regime, on the contrary.

In the Nixon administration only George Shultz, and at a further remove, Charles Kindleberger among economists, thought along the lines of making US deficits a foreign investment proposition. The others were still corporate liberals focused on Keynesian deficit spending having to be recouped later in the business cycle (Bassosi 2006: 34).

Productive capital concerns also expressed themselves in the incomes policy advocated by the head of the Federal Reserve, Arthur Burns, a hard Rightist no doubt, who was irate about the wave of strikes and who, to quote the New York Fed’s own report, was strongly opposed to any attempt ‘to “buy” low levels of unemployment by tolerating inflation’ (cited in Panitch and Gindin 2012: 141 – note the terminology, the opposite of the Streeck thesis).

Even so, the authoritarian undertow of the incomes policy was aimed at enforcing the corporate liberal class compromise on the terms prior to the 1971 turnabout. Even more ominously for the still marginal neoliberal tendency, the productive perspective was echoed in the 1975 proposal for a national economic planning body (Panitch and Gindin 2012: 143).

Elsewhere I have documented the autonomization of the managerial cadre in the context of the crisis of the 1970’s, and their role in the ‘planned interdependence’ of the period – the credit-financing of the industrialization aspirations of the Third World coalition for a New International Economic Order as well as Soviet bloc modernization with inflationary dollars accumulated in the London Eurodollar and Eurocapital markets.

In Europe, too, the productive capital perspective and its inbuilt class compromise with organized labor were still guiding policy, not only via the rise of the Left in southern European and Social Democratic governments or majority coalitions in the north. Even in Britain, a Tory prime minister, Edward Heath, after a visit to West Germany returned with the idea of fostering ‘finance capital’ combinations modeled on the continental model whilst attempting to rein in labor militancy by (mildly) authoritarian legislation.

Yet this drew the fire of the employers’ organization CBI for …spoiling the relations with organized labor (cited in Overbeek 1990: 160; on Heath and capital groups, Ramsay 2002: 12-13). The key step was of course British entry into the European Community in 1973, a step again motivated by Heath’s expectation it would stimulate Britain’s industrial modernization (Overbeek 1990 157).

In sum, Stephen Gill writes, ‘the dangers in Nixon’s policies… were the way they nurtured “domestic” forces, and, by undercutting the welfare of key allies, undermined the international consensus which was needed to manage the system effectively’ (Gill 1990: 136, emphasis added).

In the second half of the 1970’s when the capitalist economies were hit by a marked decline in the growth rate in spite of rising inflation, a period of stagflation set in that eventually, in 1979, led the US Federal Reserve to intervene and raise interest rates to around 20 percent, thus terminating inflation until the present day (Streeck 2013: 63; see the statistics in Panitch and Gindin 2012: 142, table 6.2).

Thus the proliferation of the class and international compromises of the corporate liberal epoch, bolstering the forces opposed to the operation of liberal capitalism nationally and internationally, provoked a counteroffensive, not from capital per se but specifically from money capital. This explains why such a sharp turn was made after the inflationary prolongation of the post-war compromises.

The Turn to Systemic Neoliberalism

From Wolfgang Streeck’s perspective, capital in the late 1970’s ‘withdrew its consent from the postwar social contract by denying it the necessary investment funds,’ and the history of the system since the 1970’s can be understood as the struggle to free capital from social regulation forced on it after the war.

Capital no longer trusted a state which almost everywhere had fallen into the hands of Social Democratic governments or coalitions (Streeck 2013: 54-5, cf. 45). What was in order was to end the inflationary prolongation of the post-war social contract with organized labor, a high-risk operation given the resistance that was to be expected on the part of the trade unions and which had to be broken at all costs (Streeck 2013: 64).

However, it was not capital as such acting here but a different fraction leading capital and imbuing society as a whole with its particular perspective. In other words, the capitalist class and the managerial cadre and all other auxiliary and subordinate social forces switched the pursuit of their interests and expectations to a concept no longer formulated from the vantage point of productive capital.

Instead it was formulated from the vantage point of what ‘was needed to manage the system effectively’ (as above). It is as important to recognize the internal struggles within the capitalist class as to see the struggles with labor, in international relations etc., if we want to be able to predict the shelf-life of a particular format of capitalist development and especially, to see the political crisis moments in the transition phase from one concept of control to another, as the ‘outgoing’ leading fraction continues to pursue solutions typical of the concept unraveling.

So the head of the CBI protesting that anti-strike legislation was spoiling relations with organized labor, cited above, was simply arriving late at the party.

Now the fraction perspective available to ‘manage the system effectively’ can be any one. But in the conditions of capital abrogating the post-war class and international compromises and intent on shifting production to locations outside these compromises and hence, liquidate previous positions including breaking the mold of the national state compartmentalization in order to establish a global political economy, in the circumstances was money capital as the embodiment of capital in general.

For production to take place, the cycle of industrial capital must ‘land’ in what David Harvey calls, ‘human resource complexes… to which capital must, to some degree, adapt’ (Harvey 2006: 399); after which it resumes its ‘circulation’ in the form of commodities for sale.

Under the compulsion of competition, capital in money form is then reinvested, not mechanically in the same type of activity but only after a survey of all productive opportunities, which implies a comparison of all ‘human resource complexes’ in relation to markets, transport costs, and the like.

Under the compromise with organized labor, and various ramifications such as capital controls, state countercyclical policy, etc., the human resource complexes were very much fixed in national spaces, but this was now to be opened up.
If the ‘moment’ of liquidation of fixed assets and the attendant relations of production assumes the quality of a systemic correction, as it did between the crisis of 1974-75 and the early 1980’s, the commanding heights of the cycle as a whole, money capital, must be given the maneuvering space in which it can perform this reordering.

This then was the juncture at which the revocation of the post-war social contract ushered in the epoch of neoliberal capitalism, but with the emphasis (initially) on the systemic aspect, not the predatory neoliberalism that would follow. It was intended, first of all, to bring back the income share of the capitalist class to the pre-war level and everywhere produced rapidly increasing inequalities (Streeck 2013: 58; Piketty 2014).

For the core Lockean heartland, 1979 was the cut-off date in which the entire set of compromises on which the previous era of corporate liberalism had been based, was called into question. Besides the abrogation of the class compromise with organized labor in production, it also was the year of the NATO missile decision, intended to scuttle détente and launch a new round of confrontation with socialist forces as around the globe obstacles to the restructuring production were to be removed.

This time the new Cold War was really ‘waged’, not as a posture on the basis of an (incomplete) international compromise as at Yalta, but as a fight to the end. 1979 was also the year of the Volcker Shock, which squeezed inflation from the system by raising real interest rates to around 20 percent and thus kicked the world into the debt crisis.

This was the crisis of sovereign debt, Streeck’s second instance of ‘buying time’. It worked to cut the classes and states profiting from inflation down to size economically just at the time when a violent crusade (announced already by the fascist coups in Chile, Argentina, and other Latin American countries, as well as the ‘Strategy of Tension’ in Europe) was launched against them.

The new posture of the capitalist class, formulated from the vantage point of systemic money capital, entailed a class compromise with asset-owning middle classes. Propertied middle classes had been mobilizing against the corporate liberal consensus and exploiting its ‘legitimacy crisis’ from the late 1970’s, but they were only a subordinate force in the transition.

At such a juncture alternative concepts are being formulated, all striving for comprehensiveness. Yet only one will triumph in the end – for as long as it lasts. It then also captures and reorganizes the state. Streeck mentions that the taxpayer movement resisting levies, and agitating under the banner of ‘starving the beast’ (the state), no longer trusted as the embodiment of the general interest (Streeck 2013: 103).

One is reminded of the fact that this class compromise and hence the ascendant concept of control is shaped by class struggle as was the case with corporate liberalism in the 1930’s.

However, the neoliberal concept that took the place of corporate liberalism in the transition period necessarily came to rely on ‘the beast’ again (a strong state), because every concept of control finds its ultimate expression in the state/group of states in the sense of the specific format of class relations condensing at that level (Poulantzas 2008: 307). As with changing capitalist fraction roles, we are looking at changing forms and orientations of states.

The tax revolt as a process of class formation fed into a form of state relaxing the tax burden on the upper income groups; governments reduced taxation and then borrowed from those it no longer taxed, obviously aggravating the public debt (Chesnais 2011: 113).

Privatization policies also gave asset-owning middle classes a chance to profit from booming stock markets, whilst rising asset prices, notably of real estate, allowed middle classes to borrow against the value of their (mortgaged) property.
However, as Streeck highlights, after the restrictions on democracy by rolling back trade union power and blunting the ability to strike, the contraction of debt and reduction of public services to pay for it to middle classes no longer taxed at former rates also further reduces democracy.

Democracy, he writes, is about the identity between the population as the principal and government as the agent, which should be sufficiently strong to make the former subscribe to the debt obligations incurred by the latter – irrespective whom they voted for and whether the credit was ever destined for them (Streeck 2013: 138). Of course as public provision withers, the readiness to pay taxes can only further decrease (Ibid.: 176).

In addition to the compromise with asset-owning middle classes, there also evolved a subordinate compromise in production with new groups entering the labor market such as women and the young and other hitherto marginalized categories of workers, in the sense that flexibilization of labor to some extent corresponded to their individualized lifestyles (Streeck 2013: 60).

Here the role of postmodern culture with its rejection of hierarchies and established rights also contributed to shaping a popular base for attacking organized labor in the name of ‘combating rigidities’, a notion spreading with the new volatility of finance (Harvey 1995).

All this of course does not compensate for the momentous loss of influence of labor, ‘the wage-dependent population’, which would double in size once China as well as the Soviet bloc and its outliers were thrown open for investment in the late 1980’s.

In the Anglophone Lockean heartland the systemic neoliberal concept crystallized first; outside it, Streeck argues, the neoliberal orientation of the European integration process too dates from the 1980’s, when the de-democratization of the economy and the bracketing of democracy from the economy began (Streeck 2013: 147-8).

He cites a 1939 article by Hayek which argues that moving decisions to a supranational level already implies a neoliberal tendency (Streeck 2013: 144-5). In Europe, the newly founded European Round Table of Industrialists after a brief flirtation with protectionism reflecting the outgoing corporate liberalism (notably in France under Mitterrand, the 1980-83 period), became the spearhead of making continental Europe conform to the ascendant concept of systemic neoliberalism.

It fell in line with abrogating the class compromise with organized labor as it identified inflexible labor markets as hampering ‘competitiveness’, which in a sense was true, coming after the defeats of the labor movement in the United States and Britain and other Anglophone heartland countries (van Apeldoorn 2002: 67-8).

The transition was accompanied by Delors’ move from the helm of Mitterrand’s failed Keynesian experiment to the European Commission, supposedly for a second try at the appropriate level (the level at which, as Streeck cites Hayek, the odds are against any sort of compromise with labor).
In fact therefore he managed the neoliberal wave by announcing the completion of the European internal market and modeling European policy along the lines of the German high productivity/low inflation export strategy (van der Pijl et al. 2011: 392).

In the course of the 1990’s, governments began to worry about the share of debt service in their budgets whilst creditors starting worrying about the ability of the states to pay back their debts. Once again the United States took the initiative to curtail social spending and restore a balanced budget under Clinton (Streeck 2013: 66).

O’Connor did not yet recognize in 1973 that the growing burden of debt service itself would be a major factor in the fiscal crisis (Streeck 2013: 109; O’Connor 1973). One can look at the debt state in light of ‘buying time,’ but one can also see it as the emergence of a new political formation.
The privatization of state assets in the process reduced the state role in the sphere of social protection, tasks which were now delegated to the market (Streeck 2013: 110). Also states resorted to forms of advanced financing in order to avoid breaking constitutionalized limits on public debt.

Public-Private Partnerships are such a form, in that states ask private firms to provide credit for public works (building hospitals etc.) that are then paid back over decades, usually at very unfavorable rates for the public purse given the relative incompetence of governments faced with international lawyers assisting the companies in drawing up PPP contracts (Streeck 2013: 174n.).

Here I would add the element of criminal complicity given the ease with which ministers move from public office to the private sector they had been dealing with when in office, as in the case of the British NHS (Pollock 2004).

The Final Round: Privatizing Debt under the Auspices of the ‘Financial Services’

As a result of the assault on social spending, a new legitimization deficit threatened, which was responded to by a new round of liberalizing capital markets to provide further means of payment, in this case by creating private debt, or ‘privatized Keynesianism’ (C. Crouch). This is the third way in which the fund of disposable resources is increased and purchasing power is created to try to close the gap with the promises made in the post-war period (Streeck 2013: 68-9).

Again I would argue that we must specify the forces involved in this third phase of buying time in order to know who was in charge when it collapsed in 2008 and who wrote the script for dealing with that collapse and its aftermath.

Here the fact that the restructuring away from nationally compartmentalized, compromise-rich corporate liberalism to a globalizing capitalism under a neoliberal concept required lifting the restrictions imposed on money capital in the 1930’s plays the crucial role.

For if money capital in the sense of quasi-social capital necessarily had to guide this process if it was to bring about a restoration of capitalist class power relative to the forces ranged against it nationally and internationally, all aspects of that regime had to be loosened.

The financial repression achieved by the New Deal’s centerpiece, the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, separated high-risk, speculative international financial operations from low-risk, national deposit banking; only thus was productive capital able to accommodate to the militancy of the labor movement at the time.

The Volcker Shock of 1979 inevitably enabled a resurgence of this commercial form of money operations too. Here the abandoning of the fixed exchange rate regime in 1971 did play a role even if it occurred under the auspices of a productive-capital bloc (interestingly also including Paul Volcker in a key role as a Treasury official).

Inflation expanded the amount of US dollars circulating across the globe and accumulated outside the reach of the US financial authorities notably in the city of London, especially after the OPEC cartel and others demanded an inflation correction beginning in 1973. Their dollar holdings caused the offshore Eurodollar and Eurocapital markets to balloon and served as a key source for borrowing by the Soviet bloc and the Third World coalition (Burn 2006).

Capital in money form, ‘finance’ thus got back in its stride across a broad front, step by step undermining the separation between speculation and deposit money (Glass-Steagall was formally revoked in 1999). This is best understood by looking once again at how money functions as a means of market exchange first, symbolized as the M (money) in between two forms of goods or services, C (commodities), so C – M – C.
This includes what Marx calls ‘money-dealing capital’, say, trade in currencies or commercial paper. The profit that is made here is commercial profit, buying cheap and selling dear. Once money becomes capital, and is invested in production, the cycle assumes a different form, M – C (..P..) C’ – M’, and profit is based on surplus value obtained as unpaid labor in production (..P.. , and denoted by ’, the value increment).

In developed capitalism, money-dealing capital, ‘trade in financial services’, remains operative. Unlike investment money with its ‘systemic’ view of the whole cycle, it is only marginally connected to the production of surplus value; it preys on it from the outside, via the profit distribution process, not directly (in the Institutionalist tradition of Thorstein Veblen, all forms of capital prey on production in this sense).

Peter Gowan captures the shift with finance that occurred in the 1990’s when he writes about the rise of proprietary trading and financial arbitrage that ‘trading activity here does not mean long-term investment…in this or that security, but buying and selling financial and real assets to exploit – not least by generating- price differences and price shifts’ (‘speculative arbitrage’, Gowan 2009: 9, emphasis added).

Here we are looking at money capital with a completely different, in fact ‘irresponsible,’ attitude even from a capitalist point of view, hence the label ‘predatory’ neoliberalism. The financial operators driving it forward by exploiting new accounting rules and legal loopholes after the definitive collapse of state socialism in 1989-91 assembled allies among politicians and (‘micro’-)economists into a rapidly widening array of forces eager to share in the bonanza.

Streeck highlights how this frenzy was underpinned by a new theory of capital markets; which were now considered able to self-regulate rather than remain under state supervision (the ‘efficient market hypothesis’) (Streeck 2013: 69). Amidst the high-velocity movement of funds flowing through offshore jurisdictions, asset bubbles became a regular feature of 1990’s capitalism, culminating the predatory raid on Asian economies in 1997-98.

Just as corporate liberalism had produced the responsible citizen-worker and systemic neoliberalism the heroic late-20th-century bourgeois, predatory neoliberalism shaped an anthropology of its own in the form of the postmodern homo economicus, nervously finding his/her way in a jungle of potentially fatal choices in which all certainties have been suspended.

Across the spectrum, predatory neoliberalism fueled an attitude of anti-politics, since as Streeck emphasizes, its ideological mantra is that markets distribute wealth through general rules, whereas politics brings into play power and connections.

Once the idea has settled that the market is natural condition, its ‘decisions’ can be presented as falling from the sky and all politics dismissed as driven by ‘interests’ (Streeck 2013: 97). Organizing for anything becomes suspect as interest-driven power-play, ultimately entailing new Auschwitzes or gulags.

The language of the epoch, still widely spoken today, is replete with demagogy, in which ‘our side’ is endowed with an inherent goodness in the confrontation with successive incarnations of evil – from Milosevic to Saddam and on to Putin. This aesthetics of politics takes the place of material compromises for which the space is closing down. Speculators in fact gambled away many of the assets the middle classes had counted on to bolster their wealth and even their social security.

The aesthetics of politics, the invocation of highly emotive themes such as the ‘tsunami’ of foreigners invading our land, civilization in danger, the threat of terrorism and war, thus substitutes for real material concessions, although pockets of compromise, carried over from the earlier phases, remain, both with organized labor and with asset-owning middle classes.

The thrust, then, especially after the turn of the millennium, has been in the direction of unrestrained predatory neoliberalism with no barriers against risk-taking and with demagogy riding high. This is not a general condition of capital as such, but the operation of the system from the vantage point of money-dealing capital, immersed in risk and (often exorbitant) reward and relying on deceit to obtain social consensus.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, and with the international posture both of China and of post-Soviet Russia not able to really challenge the pretensions of the US to lead the ‘international community’, promote ‘good governance’, etc., the risk-taking inherent in predatory neoliberalism has also spilled over into adventurous, high-risk foreign policy maneuvers with an enhanced role for covert action.

At this juncture the European project too switched to predatory neoliberalism with the establishment of the Eurozone. As majorities for social protection became less and less possible as a consequence due to the adhesion of eastern European countries, the European Commission in the 1990’s forced through the privatization of large slices of the public sectors of member states in the name of competition law.

Under EU Commissioner Mario Monti, the German public banking system’s competition rules, long an irritant to the private banks, were finally eliminated (Streeck 2013: 150, 150n.).

Streeck provides some important pointers such as the fact that in the first decade of the 21st century the European Court of Justice became the chief executor of the ‘Hayekization’ of the EU, or the ‘European Union as a liberalization machinery’ (Streeck 2013: 148).

The Court’s rulings concerning the right to strike and codetermination in the name of untrammelled service provision and capital movements turned the EU into a machinery for liberalization. Its high point was the Eurozone, in which the freeing of the capitalist economy from democratic constraints reached its pinnacle (Streeck 2013: 151; an earlier, positive analysis of the Court’s role is in Cohen-Tanugi 1987).

Streeck calls the Eurozone a frivolous experiment as it removed the possibility of highly heterogeneous economies to defend themselves without simultaneously abolishing the national states and national democracy (Streeck 2013: 250).
The euro was indeed a project of and for money-dealing capital. The committee consisting mainly of central bankers that worked out the euro project in 1988-89 could not miss the pre-eminence of this form of capital even if it had wanted to – certainly after the European Exchange Rate Mechanism collapsed under the attacks of speculators in the early 1990’s.

Hence it recommended that the Euro’s role as a means of exchange would remain confined to the Eurozone, making the euro an investment object first of all. To attract short-term money flows, its interest rate (the sole monetary policy instrument of the European Central Bank at the outset), was set just above the US rate (Chesnais 2011: 90, 120; Varoufakis 2013: 198-9).

The mistaken but widely-held assumption that after the crisis of 2008 there existed a sort of pure capitalist vantage point with its anchorage in the states of the West which would be able to see that speculation had gone too far, etc. overlooks that capital as agency only comes about as a result of a build-up of a class coalition around a certain fraction, which thus is able to generalize its particular interest as the general capitalist interest and even the general interest altogether.

The collapse of 2008 happened when the formula of the general interest was predatory neoliberalism advanced by money-dealing capital. There was no other capitalist or popular force that had been able to contest its hegemony.

The idea that a crisis of this magnitude produces a rethink again abstracts from real power relations; the bail-out may briefly have looked like a return to Keynesianism but in fact was about saving the banks with public money and consolidating the capture of the state by a bloc of forces operating under the auspices and with the world-view of high risk/reward money-dealing capital.

This socially irresponsible fraction, relying for social consensus on political aesthetics and demagogy, will not be able to find solutions that are rational even for capital as a whole because its rationality is far narrower. There is no other form of capital waiting in the wings, and this is in fact also argued by Streeck (as when he writes that it has become practically impossible to determine what is state and what is market and whether the states have nationalized the banks or the banks have privatized the state, 2013: 71-2).

However he also appears to assume a sort of commanding heights from which successive episodes of ‘buying time’ have been tried by capital as such, whereas in fact we are looking at never-ending struggles in which money-dealing capital has been able to reap the fruits of privatization, liberalization and flexibilization of labor on a global scale.

A Terminal Crisis of Democracy?

As with capitalism, Streeck also tends to assume that there is a hypothesized ‘democracy’ which ‘failed to recognize’ the counterrevolution against the social capitalism of the post-war era, just as it ‘failed to regulate’ the financial sector in the 1990’s (Streeck 2013: 111-2). Just as he tends to turn capitalism into a spectator witnessing its own corruption by speculation, he presents democracy a witness of its own demise.

I should add immediately that this tendency in Streeck’s argument is contradicted by his own often acute observations concerning the real relations of force (as when he describes the creditors of the indebted states as a second constituency, a sort of shadow citizenry far outstripping the power of the original constituency, the people (Streeck 2013: 118-9).

In fact capitalism, as I have argued above, never exists outside its own momentary constellation of social forces, so it cannot by definition ‘correct’ any supposed aberrations in how it functions. That instance, a sort of independent regulator within the bounds of the system does not exist. The same with democracy: democracy denotes the degree to which the population at large can influence the operation of the forces that govern it, both the formal government and the relations of production.

Here the claim of the Communist Manifesto that all history is the history of class struggle should guide our understanding or Gramsci’s argument about Marxism as absolute historicism, an absolute humanism of history, for that matter (Gramsci 1971: 465).

Only in the context of the real relations of force, in all their complexity, can we discover the ability for change; not by appealing intuitively to the good conscience of a social order. Because ultimately capital as agency appears to stand outside its own field of operation and thus retains an ability to ‘try’ different solutions, the notion of class struggle remains underdeveloped in this otherwise important book.

More particularly absent is how class struggle reverberates in and is relayed through the fraction structure of capital as it strives to establish itself as agency embodying the general interest of capital. Hence the struggles within the capitalist class (nationally and internationally) remain in the dark, and democracy merely registers how in the development of class and fraction struggles, class compromises crystallize.

Here an echo from an earlier period appears to take the place of a developed class analysis when Streeck writes about Marx’s idea of countertendencies as in the case of the falling rate of profit, a familiar trope for the readers of Capital Volume III (Streeck 2013: 15, 15 n.).

The succession of instances of buying time seem to arise from one fundamental malfunction due to the operation of these countertendencies which are conjunctural and necessarily temporary as the incorporation of more spheres of life by capital clashes with the logic of the social life-world (Streeck 2013: 16).

Yet here the author tends to overlook that the analysis of Capital volume III takes the analysis of class struggle of Vol. I and the analysis of fraction struggles in Vol. II to an even more concrete level, and without taking these prior struggles into account more explicitly, the tendencies/countertendencies argument remains superficial, not identifying the real dynamics animating successive constellations of forces.

This again affects the understanding of what awaits us after 2008. Again Streeck’s analysis is highly relevant in its main conclusion. Each of the instances of ‘buying time’ was accompanied by a defeat of the wage dependent population that made it possible to introduce and deepen neoliberalization (Streeck 2013: 76).

The end of inflation, by a secular weakening of the trade unions and the termination of their ability to strike in conditions of durable unemployment; the consolidation of the state budget by cuts in and privatization of social provision and curtailment of social citizenship and a commercialization of many aspects of social security, granting new opportunities to insurance companies stepping in as guarantors of social security. The crash of 2008 then also robbed many of their savings, whilst entailing further cuts and job losses (Streeck 2013: 77).

Since the 1960’s voter participation in elections has fallen substantially; the lower the income group, the steeper this decline has been. It is not a sign of satisfaction but of resignation: ‘The political resignation of the lower strata protects capitalism from democracy and stabilizes the neoliberal turn that is at its origin’ (Streeck 2013: 90, cf. 87-8).

Democracy is slowly being replaced by a pure spectator sport, a form of entertainment for the middle classes, in which emaciated, essentially similar political parties temporarily play as if they are enemies only to conclude Grand Coalitions between them – a strategy that Streeck rightly argues is probably the most appropriate form of government anyway in the era of states having to answer to creditors’ demands first (Streeck 2013: 127-8).

Politics as entertainment and theatre reminds one of the thesis of Guy Debord in one of the signal texts of the 1968 movement (Debord 1967).

Here too a fraction analysis would work to deepen the argument. For the lingering assumption that there remains a conscientious democracy that can intervene as such tends to also assume that this theatre will obey the laws of the theatre in that it is orderly staged, the audience knows its place etc., whereas if predatory neoliberalism runs the show as it does today, there is nothing orderly about the response to the crisis in this respect either.

Indeed whilst economically the system is running aground amidst rampant speculation, the abolition of democracy too obeys the laws of high risk policies, involving covert action and provocation, terror scares to bolster the forces calling for a state of emergency, and military adventures, today in the Middle East and North Africa as well as on the borders of Russia, soon to be enlarged with a more pugnacious policy towards China.

Under such circumstances, the abolition of democracy will not take the form of a peaceful spectacle fooling and entertaining the audience but of repression and war.

Of course in the EU the abolition of democracy has already passed through a phase of high-handed demagogy of which the handling of the Greek Spring and the prevention of a Portuguese one are the key instances (in Portugal the Left was not even allowed to translate its election victory into forming a government).

After all the president of the Bundesbank in mid 2012 already declared that if a country does not meet its EU budget obligations, national sovereignty should be automatically transferred to the European level and consolidation measures will be adopted for which in the national parliament may not exist a majority (Streeck 2013: 155).

After Greece and Portugal, France’s subjection to limited democracy was not a matter of enforcing budget constraints any longer but obtained by a terror scare, the declaration of the state of emergency and the suspension of civil rights.

As the consequences of the wars in the Middle East and North Africa are spreading to Europe via the refugee crisis, fragments from the warring parties in these regions (Turks vs. Kurds, jihadists fighting secular regimes) inevitably link up with destitute, marginalized groups in societies here. In that sense the attacks in Paris in November 2015 (perhaps unlike the Charlie Hebdo attack which still had a strong whiff of a double-agent operation) are certainly a sign of things to come.

In this situation we should certainly heed Streeck’s exhortation that critical intellectuals have a duty not to be primarily concerned with their reputation by repeating the mantra that there is no alternative and not be intimidated by the ruling technique of dismissing opposition as populism (Streeck 2013: 219). At the same time, we need a sharper eye for the actual forces the critics are up against if they want to be effective.

References

Bassosi, Duccio. 2006. Il governo del dollaro. Interdipendenza economica e potere statunitense negli anni di Richard Nixon (1969-1973). Firenze: Edizioni Polistampa.

Bode, Ries. 1979. ‘De Nederlandse bourgeoisie tussen de twee wereldoorlogen’, Cahiers voor de Politieke en Sociale Wetenschappen, 2 (4) 9-50.

Burn, Gary. 2006. The Re-emergence of Global Finance. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Chesnais, François. 2011. Les Dettes Illégitimes. Quand les Banques font Main Basse sur les Politiques Publiques. Paris: Raisons D’agir.

Cohen-Tanugi, Laurent. 1987 [1985]. Le Droit sans L’état. Sur la Démocratie en France et en Amérique, 3rd ed [preface S. Hoffmann]. Paris : Presses Universitaires de France.

Debord, Guy. 1967. La Société du Spectacle. Paris: Buchet/Chastel.

Gill, Stephen. 1990. American Hegemony and the Trilateral Commission. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gowan, Peter. 2009. Crisis in the Heartland: Consequences of the New Wall Street System. New Left Review, 2nd series (55) 5-29.

Gramsci, Antonio. 1971. Selections from the Prison Notebooks [trans. and ed. Q. Hoare and G.N. Smith]. New York: International Publishers [written 1929-’35].

Habermas, Jürgen. 1973. Legitimizationsprobleme im Spätkapitalismus. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.

Harvey, David. 1995 [1990]. The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.

Harvey, David. 2006 [1982]. The Limits to Capital, rev. ed. London: Verso.

Hickel, Rudolf. 1975. ‘Kapitalfraktionen. Thesen zur Analyse der herrschenden Klasse’. Kursbuch, no. 42 (December), pp. 141-154.

Kalecki, Michal. 1972 [1943]. ‘Political Aspects of Full Employment’, in E.K. Hunt and J.G. Schwartz, eds., A Critique of Economic Theory. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Mirowski, Philip. 2013. Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste. How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown. London: Verso.

O’Connor, James. 1973. The Fiscal Crisis of the State. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Overbeek, Henk. 1990. Global Capitalism and National Decline. The Thatcher Decade in Perspective. London: Unwin Hyman.

Panitch, Leo and Gindin, Sam. 2012. The Making of Global Capitalism. The Political Economy of American Empire. London: Verso.

Piketty, Thomas. 2014. Capital in the Twenty-First Century [trans. A. Goldhammer]. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Pollock, Allyson M. 2004. NHS plc. The Privatization of Our Health Care [with C. Leys, D. Price D. Rowland and S. Gnani]. London: Verso.

Poulantzas, Nikos. 2008 [1976]. ‘The Political Crisis and the Crisis of the State’ [trans. J.W. Freiburg], in The Poulantzas Reader. Marxism, Law and the State [ed. J. Martin]. London: Verso.

Ramsay, Robin. 2002. The Rise of New Labor. Harpenden: Pocket Essentials.

Rueschemeyer, Dietrich, Stephens, Evelyne H., and Stephens, John D. 1992. Capitalist Development and Democracy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Streeck, Wolfgang. 2013. Gekaufte Zeit. Die vertagte Krise des demokratischen Kapitalismus [Frankfurter Adorno-Vorlesungen 2012]. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.

Van Apeldoorn, Bastiaan. 2002. Transnational Capitalism and the Struggle over European Integration. London: Routledge.

Van der Pijl, Kees. 1984. The Making of an Atlantic Ruling Class. London: Verso.

Van der Pijl, Kees. 1998. Transnational Classes and International Relations. London: Routledge.

Van der Pijl, Kees. 2006. Global Rivalries from the Cold War to Iraq. London: Pluto; New Delhi: Sage Vistaar.

Van der Pijl, Kees; Holman, Otto; and Raviv, Or. 2011. The Resurgence of German Capital in Europe: EU Integration and the Restructuring of Atlantic Networks of Interlocking Directorates After 1991. Review of International Political Economy, 18 (3) 384-408.

Varoufakis, Yanis. 2013 [2011]. The Global Minotaur. America, Europe and the Future of the Global Economy [rev. ed]. London: Zed Books.

5 Comments

Filed under Africa, Asia, Britain, Capitalism, Capitalists, China, Cold War, Conservatism, Culture, Czechoslovakia, Economics, Europe, Fascism, France, Germany, Government, Greece, History, Journalism, Labor, Latin American Right, Left, Liberalism, Marxism, Middle East, Modern, Neoliberalism, North Africa, Political Science, Politics, Portugal, Radical Islam, Regional, Religion, Republicans, Scum, Terrorism, US Politics, USA, USSR, Vietnam War, War