Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Path to War

Here’s the unfinished post I was composing when I heard the news about Russian "military action" in Ukraine. 

In my previous post on the subject, I said that Russian actions in recognizing the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics (LDNR) had placed the U.S./NATO bloc in a lose-lose situation. I maintain that, but I also realize that the United States has developed quite a propensity to lose in a way that destroys everybody’s chance of “winning” any positive outcome. Think Libya, Syria, Iraq, etc. Further details that have emerged about the Russian-LDNR position indicate how their way forward can be turned into a path toward war and generalized destruction.

In a brief press conference last night, Vladimir Putin clarified the Russian position. First, and of most immediate significance, he confirmed that Russia is recognizing the LDNR republics within their administrative borders, as defined before the conflict broke out in 2014. This includes territory now controlled by Kiev forces, including the port city of Mariupol. He also stated that Ukraine should recognize Crimea as Russian territory, should explicitly renounce any intention of joining NATO, and should “demilitarize”—that is, give up “advanced weaponry.”

While he put no timetable on achieving these goals (“It is impossible to predict the scenario that will unfold”), he also, when asked, did not abjure the use of force (“good should be able to defend itself”). The Russian posture now is on the offensive and impatient. As he keeps saying, Putin feels that Russia has been strung along on Ukraine for eight years, it has amassed the necessary forces, and is in no mood to stand down without definitively resolving the major issues.

The question of LDNR territory poses a significant political quandary for Russia. Russia recognizing and intervening to “protect” the LDNR republics in the territory under they currently control, in order to defend them from the Kiev siege has different political valence than Russia intervening to support an LDNR offensive to capture more territory.

Whether Russia and LDNR are right or wrong in their construal of the new legal status of the republics and their territory, and no matter that it actually fixes limits of military advance, such specifically offensive action will be more easily turned to the political benefit of Kiev/US/NATO.  US/NATO would, of course, pour weapons into the defense of the Kiev lines, and, if it were capable (which it’s not), Kiev could help itself by immediately making the people in those areas the most pampered of its subjects.

And there will be pressure from LDNR militias and from Russian military and political circles to take that offensive action. It’s the logical result of the recognition, and there will never be a better time to do it. If this territorial issue is not resolved, and those limits set, now, for how long will it fester? Precisely, why allow any time for US/NATO weaponry and Kiev social seduction to come in?

My sense is that Russia/LDNR will act very soon. Russia cares a lot more about resolving the situation than avoiding somewhat more of a political attack that it will get anyway. This means an offensive, initiated by them against Kiev forces. This will result in tremendous pressure for US/NATO to join in the defense of Kiev, and if they do—even in the guise of undeclared, not-really-there special forces or stand-off missile attacks—that will result in European and/or American casualties and attacks on any launching platforms, anywhere. If necessary, in such a fight, Russia will strike behind the lines, including at Kiev itself—not to take over the country, but to disrupt the leadership and create a crisis that forces withdrawal from the LDNR territories. If it doesn’t force direct US/NATO attack on Russian territory. The danger of war is real and imminent, and no one can be sure how bad it will get.

This is only in relation to the territorial issue. The other issues—renouncing NATO membership, restricting advanced weaponry, etc.—are at least as imperative for Russia, and can easily lead down the same path to war.

Russia knows very well the hurt it will suffer. The Europeans should. The Americans do not.

It is important for Americans to realize that Russia is not bluffing, and will not back down. The card of escalation dominance that the United States has played for decades no longer intimidates Russia, which, certainly in this theater, has a better version of it in its own hand. There will be peace when there is a political resolution that satisfies Russia’s concerns—before or after a deadly military conflict.

—-interrupted by news of Russian military action in Ukraine—

Related articles: The Battle of Ukraine and the War It’s Part Of New World Order. The US Lost.  From 2014: Charge of the Right Brigade: Ukraine and the Dynamics of Capitalist InsurrectionGood for the Gander: Ukraine's Demise Accelerates. From 2018: The Warm War: Russiamania At The Boiling Point.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

New World Order. The U.S. Lost.

Let’s realize how profoundly the game has changed. Russia’s recognition of, and immediate activation of military support for, the Donetsk and Luagansk People’s Republics (DPR/LDR) has created a situation in which the United States (and its cat’s paw, NATO) can do nothing but lose. Indeed, it has already lost. The present situation, as of yesterday, created by Russian action, demonstrates that the US/NATO unipolar control of the world is over. It has nothing but threats that are ignored, the hollow bluffs of a bully who is losing control of the schoolyard and can do nothing that won’t hurt him more than anyone he threatens. 

Something enormous just ended. Let’s go to the videotape to see what that is.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Shallow Marxist Trashing of Truckers

Mao Zedong quote: As for people who are politically backward, Communists  should not...

There’s a talking point being passed around by certain self-identified marxists and socialists, dismissing the truckers who are resisting vaccine mandates because they are not “workers” but “owner-operators” who, since they “own” their own trucks are actually small capitalists and therefore not worthy of class solidarity. Indeed, they can be treated as class enemies.

It’s hard to conjure up a shallower, more self-defeating use of marxist language.

These truckers “own their own trucks” the way most struggling families own their own homes—they own a debt, which makes them more economically insecure, and places a further burden on them to work harder for the banks and finance companies that are always one step away from depriving them of their livelihood. What kind of self-sabotaging “socialist” political paradigm would dismiss all homeowners as petit-bourgeois class enemies rather than approach them with solidarity, working hard to ally with their concrete struggles and persuade them to ally with the more general socialist project—since they are in fact indispensable to it?

“Owner-operator,” “contractor,” “self-employed”—all these ambiguous class locations are the constructs of neo-liberalism, which has reveled in confusing class relations by hiding the power of big capital behind a sea of socially-weakened, infinitely-at-risk, “entrepreneurs.” The project of neo-liberal capitalism has been to destroy jobs themselves, to dispense with any smattering of job security, and to abolish all concepts of capital’s relation to, let alone responsibility to, labor. It’s precisely neo-liberalism’s wet dream to turn the working-class into a mass of incipient "entrepreneurs," every one dreaming to hit the Shark Tank jackpot in a social economy that dooms most of them to failure. For a non-shallow marxism, it’s should be seen as a reversion to a modern version of piece-work. You know, like the nineteenth-century women sent home to work on their sewing machines. Owner-operators.

So, when a diverse and united group of workers actually stands up in solidarity and collective action to resist an injustice for the whole of society—which is what they (and I) consider these mandates to be (argue that if you want, without the faux-marxist diversions)—it is utterly foolish, and destructive of any chance of developing a class-based revolutionary politics, for judgemental “leftists,” using the shallowest of marxist rhetoric, to reject and shit on them for occupying the social position neo-liberal capitalism has forced them into, for not being the abstract “worker” they are supposed to be.

It is a complete abandonment of marxism/communism 101: A mass, left, working-class movement, which we lack, has to be built with the working-class we have, not the one we wish for.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Campaign to Deplatorm Joe Rogan is Hypocritical, Reactionary, and a Danger to Society

Watch this clip (If it’s not immediately deleted) and read the whole thread from Glenn Greenwald. Then tell me the campaign to deplatform Joe Rogan is not the culmination of a hypocritical, reactionary drive to prevent any scientific or political conversation that strays outside the establishment-approved narrative. It has nothing to do with the purported reasons for outrage, which are a phony crock of shit.

Anyone who goes along with this campaign is a fooal and a danger to society. This crap is literally destroying the possibility of reasonable social exchange.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Pawn Takes Pawn: The Joe Rogan Brouhaha

I've watched a few Joe Rogan episodes, on a range of subjects that are usually not overtly political but almost always interesting—from the CIA connection to the Manson family to possible sites of Atlantis. I don't know that I've watched a single episode the whole way through. They're usually very long! They are precisely long-form conversations in which Rogan allows guests to speak and explain themselves in a way you hardly ever see anywhere else in the media.

Rogan is intellectually curious and intelligently inquisitive, open-minded, fair, and intellectually honest. I do not and would not go to him for my politics, and I don't know how deep his politics are, but the notion that he's some kind of right-wing lunatic is ludicrous. He was a Bernie supporter, ffs! The demand to cancel Rogan, coming from an aging, politically-shallow and inconsistent hippie who did not want the “faggot behind the fuckin’ cash register..handl[ing] your potatoes” in the late 80s, and did want to support the USA/Patriot Act, which meant “we’re going to have to relinquish some of our freedoms for a short period of time” in the 2000s (a “shredding of the constitution” for which, take note, he was called out in Countepunch), is particularly precious.

I doubt Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, or most of the people railing against Rogan now have ever seen more than five minutes of one of his interviews. They are exactly the kinds of conversations that everyone keeps saying we need. I struggle to think of an example of something as silly, capricious, and politically senseless and pernicious as trying to prevent everyone from seeing Joe Rogan’s interviews. Closest I can come: It’s like cancelling Larry King or Phil Donahue. What the fuck have we come to that anybody thinks this is some kind of progressive necessity?

I haven't seen the Robert Malone or Peter McCullough conversations that everybody's so worked up about, but what's upsetting to the powers-that-be is precisely that Rogan allowed scientists like them to explain themselves in their own terms at some length. They are, after all, indisputably qualified scientists who have at least as much authority to speak on Covid vaccines and treatments as the approved mainstream “experts,” who have been wrong about…well, everything. The powers-that-be aren't seeking to deplatform Joe Rogan in order to protect you from "misinformation," but because they don't want you to see and hear alternative explanations that you may find cogent, and might lead you to see how dishonest and incompetent they have been.

Nobody's deplatforming Rogan to protect you; they—people with a lot more power than Rogan, Young, or Mitchell—are doing it to close off scientific and political debate, and to protect themselves. What kind of fool do you have to be not to recognize this?

Fools like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell are really Rockin’ in  the Hedge Fund World, pawns in a game run by players like Blackrock (which actually owns Neil Young’s music), the object of which is to further tighten establishment control of discourse and to destroy the possibility of reasonable scientific and political conversation.

The call to deplatform Rogan is reactionary and ridiculous. If you join in, especially if you've never seen one of his conversations, you are a foolish pawn in a reactionary and ridiculous game that is helping to destroy our society.

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