The looming inauguration of Donald Trump has led many on the “liberal/left” to vow eternal resistance but this fury has obscured the need for self-reflection on how “progressives” have lost their way, as John Pilger explains.
By John Pilger
On the day President Trump is inaugurated, thousands of writers in the United States will express their indignation. “In order for us to heal and move forward …,” say Writers Resist, “we wish to bypass direct political discourse, in favour of an inspired focus on the future, and how we, as writers, can be a unifying force for the protection of democracy.”
And: “We urge local organizers and speakers to avoid using the names of politicians or adopting ‘anti’ language as the focus for their Writers Resist event. It’s important to ensure that nonprofit organizations, which are prohibited from political campaigning, will feel confident participating in and sponsoring these events.”
Thus, real protest is to be avoided, for it is not tax exempt. Compare such drivel with the declarations of the Congress of American Writers, held at Carnegie Hall, New York, in 1935, and again two years later. They were electric events, with writers discussing how they could confront ominous events in Abyssinia, China and Spain. Telegrams from Thomas Mann, C Day Lewis, Upton Sinclair and Albert Einstein were read out, reflecting the fear that great power was now rampant and that it had become impossible to discuss art and literature without politics or, indeed, direct political action.
“A writer,” the journalist Martha Gellhorn told the second congress, “must be a man of action now . . . A man who has given a year of his life to steel strikes, or to the unemployed, or to the problems of racial prejudice, has not lost or wasted time. He is a man who has known where he belonged. If you should survive such action, what you have to say about it afterwards is the truth, is necessary and real, and it will last.”
Her words echo across the unction and violence of the Obama era and the silence of those who colluded with his deceptions. That the menace of rapacious power — rampant long before the rise of Trump — has been accepted by writers, many of them privileged and celebrated, and by those who guard the gates of literary criticism, and culture, including popular culture, is uncontroversial. Not for them the impossibility of writing and promoting literature bereft of politics. Not for them the responsibility to speak out, regardless of who occupies the White House.
Today, false symbolism is all. “Identity” is all. In 2016, Hillary Clinton stigmatized millions of voters as “a basket of deplorables, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it.” Her abuse was handed out at an LGBT rally as part of her cynical campaign to win over minorities by abusing a white, mostly working-class, majority. Divide and rule, this is called; or identity politics in which race and gender conceal class, and allow the waging of class war. Trump understood this.
“When the truth is replaced by silence,” said the Soviet dissident poet Yevtushenko, “the silence is a lie.”
This is not an American phenomenon. A few years ago, Terry Eagleton, then professor of English literature at Manchester University, reckoned that “for the first time in two centuries, there is no eminent British poet, playwright or novelist prepared to question the foundations of the western way of life.”
No Shelley speaks for the poor, no Blake for utopian dreams, no Byron damns the corruption of the ruling class, no Thomas Carlyle and John Ruskin reveal the moral disaster of capitalism. William Morris, Oscar Wilde, HG Wells, George Bernard Shaw have no equivalents today. Harold Pinter was the last to raise his voice. Among today’s insistent voices of consumer-feminism, none echoes Virginia Woolf, who described “the arts of dominating other people … of ruling, of killing, of acquiring land and capital.”
There is something both venal and profoundly stupid about famous writers as they venture outside their cosseted world and embrace an “issue.” Across the Review section of the Guardian on Dec. 10 was a dreamy picture of Barack Obama looking up to the heavens and the words, “Amazing Grace” and “Farewell the Chief.”
The sycophancy ran like a polluted babbling brook through page after page. “He was a vulnerable figure in many ways …. But the grace. The all-encompassing grace: in manner and form, in argument and intellect, with humour and cool ….[He] is a blazing tribute to what has been, and what can be again … He seems ready to keep fighting, and remains a formidable champion to have on our side … … The grace … the almost surreal levels of grace …”
I have conflated these quotes. There are others even more hagiographic and bereft of mitigation. The Guardian’s chief apologist for Obama, Gary Younge, has always been careful to mitigate, to say that his hero “could have done more”: oh, but there were the “calm, measured and consensual solutions …”
None of them, however, could surpass the American writer, Ta-Nehisi Coates, the recipient of a “genius” grant worth $625,000 from a liberal foundation. In an interminable essay for The Atlantic entitled, “My President Was Black,” Coates brought new meaning to prostration. The final “chapter,” entitled “When You Left, You Took All of Me With You,” a line from a Marvin Gaye song, describes seeing the Obamas “rising out of the limo, rising up from fear, smiling, waving, defying despair, defying history, defying gravity.” The Ascension, no less.
One of the persistent strands in American political life is a cultish extremism that approaches fascism. This was given expression and reinforced during the two terms of Barack Obama. “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being,” said Obama, who expanded America’s favorite military pastime, bombing, and death squads (“special operations”) as no other president has done since the Cold War.
According to a Council on Foreign Relations survey, in 2016 alone Obama dropped 26,171 bombs. That is 72 bombs every day. He bombed the poorest people on earth, in Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan.
Every Tuesday — reported The New York Times — he personally selected those who would be murdered by mostly hellfire missiles fired from drones. Weddings, funerals, shepherds were attacked, along with those attempting to collect the body parts festooning the “terrorist target.”
A leading Republican senator, Lindsey Graham, estimated, approvingly, that Obama’s drones killed 4,700 people. “Sometimes you hit innocent people and I hate that,” he said, “but we’ve taken out some very senior members of Al Qaeda.”
Like the fascism of the 1930s, big lies are delivered with the precision of a metronome: thanks to an omnipresent media whose description now fits that of the Nuremberg prosecutor: “Before each major aggression, with some few exceptions based on expediency, they initiated a press campaign calculated to weaken their victims and to prepare the German people psychologically … In the propaganda system … it was the daily press and the radio that were the most important weapons.”
Take the catastrophe in Libya. In 2011, Obama said Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was planning “genocide” against his own people. “We knew … that if we waited one more day, Benghazi, a city the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.”
This was the known lie of Islamist militias facing defeat by Libyan government forces. It became the media story; and NATO – led by Obama and Hillary Clinton – launched 9,700 “strike sorties” against Libya, of which more than a third were aimed at civilian targets. Uranium warheads were used; the cities of Misurata and Sirte were carpet-bombed. The Red Cross identified mass graves, and Unicef reported that “most [of the children killed] were under the age of ten.”
Under Obama, the U.S. has extended secret “special forces” operations to 138 countries, or 70 per cent of the world’s population. The first African-American president launched what amounted to a full-scale invasion of Africa. Reminiscent of the Scramble for Africa in the late Nineteenth Century, the U.S. African Command (Africom) has built a network of supplicants among collaborative African regimes eager for American bribes and armaments. Africom’s “soldier to soldier” doctrine embeds U.S. officers at every level of command from general to warrant officer. Only pith helmets are missing.
It is as if Africa’s proud history of liberation, from Patrice Lumumba to Nelson Mandela, is consigned to oblivion by a new master’s black colonial elite whose “historic mission,” warned Frantz Fanon half a century ago, is the promotion of “a capitalism rampant though camouflaged.”
It was Obama who, in 2011, announced what became known as the “pivot to Asia”, in which almost two-thirds of U.S. naval forces would be transferred to the Asia-Pacific to “confront China,” in the words of his Defense Secretary. There was no threat from China; the entire enterprise was unnecessary. It was an extreme provocation to keep the Pentagon and its demented brass happy.
In 2014, the Obama’s administration oversaw and paid for a fascist-led coup in Ukraine against the democratically elected government, threatening Russia in the western borderland through which Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, with a loss of 27 million lives. It was Obama who placed missiles in Eastern Europe aimed at Russia, and it was the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize who increased spending on nuclear warheads to a level higher than that of any administration since the Cold War — having promised, in an emotional speech in Prague, to “help rid the world of nuclear weapons”.
Obama, the constitutional lawyer, prosecuted more whistleblowers than any other president in history, even though the U.S. Constitution protects them. He declared Chelsea Manning guilty before the end of a trial that was a travesty. He has refused to pardon Manning who has suffered years of inhumane treatment, which the United Nations says amounts to torture. He has pursued an entirely bogus case against Julian Assange. He promised to close the Guantanamo concentration camp and didn’t.
A Smooth Operator
Following the public relations disaster of George W. Bush, Obama, the smooth operator from Chicago via Harvard, was enlisted to restore what he calls “leadership” throughout the world. The Nobel Prize committee’s decision was part of this: the kind of cloying reverse racism that beatified the man for no reason other than he was attractive to liberal sensibilities and, of course, American power, if not to the children he kills in impoverished, mostly Muslim countries.
This is the Call of Obama. It is not unlike a dog whistle: inaudible to most, irresistible to the besotted and boneheaded, especially “liberal brains pickled in the formaldehyde of identity politics,” as Luciana Bohne put it. “When Obama walks into a room,” gushed George Clooney, “you want to follow him somewhere, anywhere.”
William I. Robinson, professor at the University of California, and one of an uncontaminated group of American strategic thinkers who have retained their independence during the years of intellectual dog-whistling since 9/11, wrote this last week:
“President Barack Obama … may have done more than anyone to assure [Donald] Trump’s victory. While Trump’s election has triggered a rapid expansion of fascist currents in U.S. civil society, a fascist outcome for the political system is far from inevitable …. But that fight back requires clarity as to how we got to such a dangerous precipice. The seeds of 21st century fascism were planted, fertilized and watered by the Obama administration and the politically bankrupt liberal elite.”
Robinson points out that “whether in its 20th or its emerging 21st century variants, fascism is, above all, a response to deep structural crises of capitalism, such as that of the 1930s and the one that began with the financial meltdown in 2008 …. There is a near-straight line here from Obama to Trump … The liberal elite’s refusal to challenge the rapaciousness of transnational capital and its brand of identity politics served to eclipse the language of the working and popular classes … pushing white workers into an ‘identity’ of white nationalism and helping the neo-fascists to organise them”..
The seedbed is Obama’s Weimar Republic, a landscape of endemic poverty, militarized police and barbaric prisons: the consequence of a “market” extremism which, under his presidency, prompted the transfer of $14 trillion in public money to criminal enterprises in Wall Street.
Perhaps his greatest “legacy” is the co-option and disorientation of any real opposition. Bernie Sanders’ specious “revolution” does not apply. Propaganda is his triumph.
The lies about Russia — in whose elections the U.S. has openly intervened — have made the world’s most self-important journalists laughingstocks. In the country with constitutionally the freest press in the world, free journalism now exists only in its honorable exceptions.
The obsession with Trump is a cover for many of those calling themselves “left/liberal”, as if to claim political decency. They are not “left,” neither are they especially “liberal.” Much of America’s aggression towards the rest of humanity has come from so-called liberal Democratic administrations — such as Obama’s. America’s political spectrum extends from the mythical center to the lunar right. The “left” are homeless renegades Martha Gellhorn described as “a rare and wholly admirable fraternity.” She excluded those who confuse politics with a fixation on their navels.
While they “heal” and “move forward”, will the Writers Resist campaigners and other anti-Trumpists reflect upon this? More to the point: when will a genuine movement of opposition arise? Angry, eloquent, all-for-one-and-one-for all. Until real politics return to people’s lives, the enemy is not Trump, it is ourselves.
John Pilger is an Australian-British journalist based in London. Pilger’s Web site is: www.johnpilger.com.
” A liberal is someone one step to the left in good times, and two steps to the right when it effects them personally” Phil Oches (RIP) an aside to his song Love me I am a liberal
Wapo nyt don’t get a pass from me. But why does raising a daughter earn anyone a pass? (Personally I find such apparent perfection thoroughly creepy, but that’s a matter of taste. As for powerful, can’t see how having to conform to any norm can lend itself to empowerment – isn’t it in itself enslavement?) I don’t disagree with anything you say – except for your take on the marchers. Trump brought that on himself. Presstitutes and the war Hawks didn’t orchestrate that. Not all of them were women or walking for the so-called “women’s issues” either. Sure there are women like my neighbor – a grandma who figured after they let a half-black guy in the WH, a woman in a pantsuit should get a turn next. These are only natural human tendencies. Moms and grandmas whose generational aspirations have been dashed deserve a pass before president idontremberanydavidduke. Many people who marched decided to do so before this Putin wiki leaks storyline. They were reacting to Trump. Trump’s inflamed rhetoric scared a lot of people. Some people – the so-called minorities turned up cos they were so sick of being scared they decided they’d confront the A-bird, to borrow your mom’s term. (Surely she’d approve of the stand-up-to-the-bully approach?) A whole different set of people – white people – marched out of white shame. These people wanted to say to the world that what this whitest of orange persons is spewing – that’s not me. It was the most decent of instincts that motivated these folk. A lot of what took to the streets was white male guilt. And really, even a cursory review of human history will suffice to show that there can never be too much of that commodity on this earth. You can equate this category of marcher to that gesture those vets made in kneeling in cavalry uniform to the Lakota at standing rock. It’s just the weight of past karma at work here, not deep state manipulation. But what interests me is the masses of people out there who marched because they’re just fed up; because they’re hurting and they are completely frustrated by their elected officials not getting it, not caring that they’re this close to the edge every day while there’s all this crap about living in the greatest country in the world floating about. It’s no different from the old ussr. You wait in lines for cigarettes and rations, have zero prospects, while massive posters of Marx Engels and Lenin loom over you as they strike up the band for a goddamn parade. You love your country, but come on, this is crap.
Look, the American people aren’t going to overthrow trump’s regime. They know deep down inside that everyone plays them. They know despite the chance to go to the ballot, they’re basically powerless but this arrogant bozo keeps rubbing it in. At the end of the day, the conscience of democracy is the mob. When the mob stays disciplined after taking so much crap for so long, it’s not a bad thing. No doubt the party establishment will try to exploit it. They’ll probably succeed. But it’s still not a bad thing. Best case they’ll neutralize Ryan and push trump to behave a tad better, move on relief for the masses. Schumer and his ilk will be flummoxed. Worst case: it’s an empty gesture and the roulette wheel keeps turning.
While I completely agree with the disillusionment anyone paying attention must feel for Obama, along with every president occupying the wh in my lifetime along with the very premise of western world leadership as a force for good having utterly shattered, I’m not sure I understand why or how writers on this site are able to overlook the shortcomings of Trump as a leader. You make much of his conciliatory tone towards Russia as a positive, but ignore his bellicosity towards China, Iran and the Arab world. What about the risk of warmongering in thise theaters?
I think the dissent is very real. Indeed the election of trump, the anemic participation with a Pop vote for Clinton, the dissent are all part of the same phenomenon. While the citizenry has never cared much about foreign policy and the rest of the world as long. As their government has the biggest bombs, while it’s poorly informed, politically apathetic and insular, it is finally losing fundamental faith in the system. That loss of faith, were it not completely frittered in empty first amendment exercises – could, once and for all, disrupt this inevitably corrupt government. That, along with the tremors of dissension amongst the elite,taken at the flood, could lead to an upending of the system as a whole. This is where the need for intellectuals arises. But we have too few intellectuals and far too many ideologues. And by the way, it isn’t the government that censors intellectuals; it’s their own neighbors, their employers, their schools.
Trump is certainly not about to create positive change, rather restructure the status quo for personal gain. He will be easily neutralized. His rhetoric means nothing. Once they find a way to block him, or appease him, they’ll just ride him out. The game will be back afoot.
Sangy Trump has just become the leader today. Trump and his son in law have good relations with Chinese Billionaires including Jack Ma and business dealings with several large Chinese banks. Trump appointed a personal friend of President Xi as US Ambassador to China. Do not believe what you read about imminent conflict in the South China Sea or about rapprochement with Russia. Trump may not be an effective President we will see. Populism is the flavor of the day and the Republican and Democratic Parties are the problem here. Not Trump. The parties need to reconnect with their bases and quit selling their constituents out to billionaires , banks and multi national corporations. . How this will all play out is not at all clear. The Press is no longer Free in the United States it is locked in with the Government Policies and the Deep State. This is another problem. Not Trum’s fault p who won in spite of the Deep State’s overt attempt to stifle the Populist up swell which is what elected Trump. ..
So do we take it the Donald’s rhetoric on China is just red meat for the Rust belt machine workers who are tired of paying the price of globalization after exacting it on hundreds of cottage industries and local enterprises across the world during the early days of Free Trade?
What about the rhetoric on Iran and Zion? Is that just more tablescraps for the bible-thumping crazies who fervently pray for Armageddon & the Second Coming to near? Or does he really mean to derail the deal in Iran?
Trump is being derailed by the same populism that put him in power based in part on his personal odiousness and in another part on his hollowing out of his vague but grandiose campaign promises on domestic policy. No, I don’t think the populist uprising against Trump is one bit in favor of interventionism. They may even be finally tired of the bankrupt doctrine of exceptionalism. Do we need intellectuals and journalists to fuel this process? Absolutely. But not by defending Trump. What’s needed is to remind how tainted the Establishment in both the parties and the Military-commercial complex is. Trump’s rejection is about as inevitable as Louis xvi’s. What people need reminding (imho) is the establishment is an unpalatable alternative. Then there can be the ground for real change.
Sanjay, . GRIST FOR THE MILL. Obama wanted to pass the same kind of Infrastructure package that the Congress and Senate will now bestow on Trump. He wanted to pass real Health Care reform ( maybe). He then realized he would he an ineffective President regarding Domestic policy and then he took the route of what was possible. fracking, QE3 , Regime Change, a new Cold War and increased exports of military hardware to NATO Saudi Arabia Qatar , etc. If you want to see one of the handful of Domestic Policy Bills he was able to pass i suggest you search the picture of him signing the ” Jobs Act” with the patented Obama grim in full force and Eric Cantor beaming at his shoulder, (Talk about bad jobs, let’s talk Amazon. and lets hope Alibaba is batter, HAHA) Democrats , by the way, in deference to the upcoming elections and their need so patronize LABOR , boycotted the signing of the Jobs Bill Act although a few of them still supported the TPTP and Euro Scam also. Trump is what my mother once labelled an ” Egotistical Ass Bird”. Will he be ineffectual? Aren’t they all? The Big Orange, President Tweety Bird, is drunk on his ego and he believes he is going to change the world. They all do. What comes next in the Chain of causation is not inevitable. I give you this Trump sees himself as a Great American. He wants to do the right thing because He is ego driven and wants to advance his own personal mythology. In a perfect world I believe he would do the right thing, Possibly even on global warming. But this is not a perfect world.. Look, These women protesting ignore that he has raised a powerful practically perfect daughter and his ex-wives prosper. None of the women he has been with claim they were raped or abused like the women in Bill Clinton’s past. NHe isn’t smart enough to be a Hitler and he doesn’t have popular support. So why is the Deep Stae vis-a-vis the NYTimes, Wasdhiongton Post, Yahoo News Google News, and the Networks piling it on against him and trying to invalidate his Administration before it is even in place, This is Crap AND i AM WAY TO SMART AND COOL TO BE AN INTELLECTUAL. YOU SHOULD BE TOO..
Pilger is one of the great independent journalists that still exist. Its a dying breed though just as he says in opening paragraph.
I think I’m done with ever looking at the comments on this site again. The articles have value; the crowd that comments on them, not so much.
It’s as if no one sees the peril before us.
Ta Ta, folks.
Your responses are not bad, but you may be letting yourself become too annoyed with dissent. Many comments show good intent and observations, and as always in debate, may need tempering with a contrary reflection. It is best to respond with a respectful difference or clarification, rather than getting upset at what a particular view might lead toward.
For example, getting annoyed with comments less critical of Trump, when nearly all commenters here see very well the impending disasters, and merely saw an even more dangerous future under Hillary.
Dude, as you called me, the peril before “us” is people thinking like you. Brainwashed. You should read the Philosopher Hobbes. Leviathan or whatever. At times like these, when the government is spying on it’s people like they used to do in the USSR and East Germany, like in the 50’s with McCarthyism and like we do in the USA now then people need to be wary of what this writer, John Pilger refers to as Fascism. Might is Right? The Press needs to report not disseminate propaganda . On the other hand, Might is Right Go Packers. Remember Deflategate!
It’s Not About Trump, But Us…
question; How will Trump build a wall and make Mexico pay?
What Is an Emolument?
Donald Trump Has People Talking About This Part of the Constitution
Trump and Emoluments
Emolument has been in use in English since the late 15th century, and is defined as “the returns arising from office or employment usually in the form of compensation or perquisites.” There is an additional sense of the word, now obsolete, which is “advantage, benefit.”
The word comes from the Latin word emolumentum, which means “profit” or “gain”; the literal meaning of the word is “sum paid to have grain ground up,” as it comes from the word emolere (“to grind up”).
The emoluments clause of the United States Constitution (Article 1, section 9) reads as follows: “No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
Great article on Global Research.ca . It’s probably still up. It mentioned that Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State took donations for the Clinton Foundation from 19 governments that saw their Defense Imports increased under the Obama Administration . This was of course off company time only on the private server . I wonder would these direct donations to the Clinton Foundation qualify as emolumentum or is that not a problem because she was Hillary Clinton. Quid pro quo?
It’s Not About Trump, But Us…
question; How will Trump build a wall and make Mexico pay?
What Is an Emolument?
Donald Trump Has People Talking About This Part of the Constitution
Let it out John, you will feel better. I agree with Pilger almost in total. ONE POINT, Obama owes the entire world PUBLIC PENANCE for unleashing fracking and Pilger didn’t mention that or QE3 or the abuse of the entire international monetary order through monetary sanctions. And how about the petty abuse of the Olympic Committee to attack Russian athletes , did you see who won the Eurovision song contest this year and what they sang by the way?, guess Obama can’t be blamed for that. , Obama even wanted to strip the Russians of the World Cup in 2018 but this proved impossible. All in all Obama covered himself well but you can see in his actions that he is not the Cool Cat that he is portrayed to be. He has done some bad stuff in the last MONTH worse than petty by ten times. . The Manning pardon was really a no brainer. PR . Too bad Jeffery Sterling won’t be so lucky. Obama loved power . 4 times as many US troops killed in Afghanistan under Obama that under G W Bush. Who knows?
“4 times as many US troops killed in Afghanistan under Obama that under G W Bush. Who knows?”
And who started the frickin’ wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? Any accountability there, dude?
Wm.Boyce, Obama was elected as the anti-Bush and yet he kept Bush’s Secretary of Defense Gates. He anointed Hillary as SOS . One of Hillary’s first acts was to hire the wife of Robert Kagan , Victoria Nuland ..Remember her?,, she’s been out of the news cycle for a year now but you should still recall.. Hillary Clinton as a Senator lasted Robert Kagan, a leading Neoconservative and the co-author of The Project for a New American Century as her main foreign policy adviser. Obama BY DEED was a Neo Con , a willing Liberal Interventionist, Can you remember R2P? That must be what Obama was doing when he signed 3 Presidential Orders waiving existing law to allow the transfer of advanced weapons to known terrorists in Syria, This is all fact. You need to put on your big boy pants and quit pointing fingers. Obama was not better than Bush, furthermore Obama approved the summary execution of American citizens by drone without due process. Bush wouldn’t even have done that. Obama could have “Ended IT”, the war in Afghanistan like he was elected to do. He chose not to.. Instead we have a permanent Air Base now at Bagarm Airfield. THANKLS OBAMA. Now GOODBYE LOSER.
Wm. Boyce, Sorry, fact checked myself, Victoria Nuland was in the press today now called Toria Nuland. One of Three ranking Obama Officials (Assistant Secretary of State in Charge of European Affairs) who turned down Trump’s request that she stay on in her present role in His Administration. Her position in refusing his request I would have to say is consistent. Trump’s is more difficult to understand if he is actually interested in a new start with Russia which appears to be more doubtful by the minute. Hillary hired Nuland but not as one of her first acts. She was initially hired as a State Department spokesman in about 2010 I think. I know she was handling Press releases in the early stages of the Syrian fiasco during the “Arab Spring” Nobody is paying attention but I shouldn’t have embellished my comment with dubious info and bombast, the truth was sufficient.
Nuland had previously worked for Cheney, an fitting mentor.
“If we aim to build a movement that cannot be co-opted by Democrats again and again, our hashtags, memes and messages have to educate our people, not just eviscerate Trump. Sure denouncing and hitting the streets to make fun of Big Cheeto is just that. It’s fun, and maybe therapeutic too. But as good as they make us feel, storms of ridicule failed to drive Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush from office, and our scorn of Reagan didn’t prevent two presidents Bush or Clinton either. Our mocking of ‘W’ didn’t hold Obama accountable either.
“Big protests, especially the permitted kind that take place on weekends, marching through canyons of empty office buildings, sometime with hilarious puppets, some of us being chased by police are routine, almost traditional pageantry by now. Mass protests don’t have magical powers. Ten million people hit the streets the weeks before Bush unleashed bombs over Baghdad, and those bombs still fell. Even street actions without permits are not going to trigger anything like general strikes and uprisings. We just are not there yet. And even Hillary Clinton has learned how to use the word ‘intersectionality’ in a sentence.
“These are the limitations of #StopHateDumpTrump and a hundred other hashtags, petitions and meme stashes. Donald Trump is already the most unpopular president in US history, and he hasn’t even been sworn in. Fixating on Trump’s despicable statements and personal history doesn’t help us target the system that produced him and the next ones after him.
“Worst of all are Democrat stooges, especially black ones like John Lewis and Donna Brazile, who claim without need of any proof, that the Russians hacked the presidential election to install the Donald. These folks are clearly fronting for another, equally reprehensible faction of the US ruling elite, one that knows it can make a lot more money off a cold or hot war with Russia than they do off the shadowy ‘war against terror.’
“It’s crystal clear that Democrats need us to limit ourselves to throwing figurative and personalized rocks at Big Cheeto. When Democrats focus on impeachable offenses they trot out his conflicts of interest, but not the mass surveillance state, the drone wars and the many other offenses he will share in common with Democratic occupants of the White House.
“So while mocking Donald Trump is big fun, just like it was with Reagan and ‘Dubya’ Bush, we gotta go deeper. If we aim to change the system and not just the personalities, our hashtags, memes, activism and messaging must do more than just mock the persons and selected stands Trump and his minions. We have to attack the positions he shares with Democrats. Ridicule is indispensable, but targeting persons doesn’t change systems. We need to educate while we eviscerate. If we can’t do that, we’re just warming up crowds for Corey Booker or the next Democrat.”
Mocking, Marching, Stopping the Hate and Dumping Trump Are Not Enough
By Bruce A. Dixon
““Worst of all are Democrat stooges, especially black ones like John Lewis and Donna Brazile, who claim without need of any proof, that the Russians hacked the presidential election to install the Donald. ”
Another ignorant comment. When Congressman Lewis was interviewed, he talked about voter suppression, which was why Trump was able to steal the election. But the media only quoted his anti-Russian comments. So score another one for the MSM, they furthered ignorance and concealed a truthteller’s knowledge.
There was no “truthteller’s knowledge” involved when Lewis repeatedly promoted the mainstream media and government conspiracy theory about the presidential election. Lewis did not conceal his position in the recent Meet the Press interview.
U.S. Representative John Lewis: “I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president.”
Chuck Todd of NBC’s Meet the Press: “You do not consider him a legitimate president?”
Todd: “Why is that?”
Lewis: “I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected, and they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. I don’t plan to attend the inauguration. It will be the first one that I miss since I’ve been in the Congress. You cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong.”
Todd: “That’s going to send a… that’s going to send a big message to a lot of people in this country, that you don’t believe he’s a legitimate president.”
Lewis: “I think there was a conspiracy on the part of the Russians and others to help him get elected. That’s not right. That’s not fair. That’s not the open, democratic process.”
Voter suppression is an entirely separate issue. Minority voter suppression obviously has influenced numerous elections in favor of Republican party. But eight years of the Obama administration did nothing to address the issue of voter suppression.
Black Agenda Report managing editor Bruce A. Dixon rightly criticizes Lewis and others’ unprincipled complicity in the Obama administration policies and warmongering:
“John Lewis is in the news now because he called Big Cheeto’s presidency ‘not legitimate.’ But why?
“Is it because Lewis fears Trump will pursue more than 6 bloody wars, that he will deport millions of innocents, expand mass surveillance and militarized policing? Is it because Lewis knows the Donald will help greedy banksters stay out of jail and he’ll enable hedge fund parasites to gentrify, plunder and privatize public education, nature and the commons? Probably not, because these are all Obama policies which Trump is expected to double down on.
“John Lewis’s problem with Trump is that the CIA and FBI, which helped assassinate King and cover it up says that Russia helped elect him, and Lewis believes it. Big Cheeto did a Twitter fight with Lewis the other day and some of his followers called Lewis the n-word.
“So now the Obama/Hillary liberals are flogging John Lewis’s tattered sainthood as hard as they can, to have a # NotMyPresident message that draws attention away from the many matters on which Republicans and the Obama/Hillary liberals agree. The old Civil Rights Hero does not oppose Trump for any reason which might lead to questioning past, present or future Democrats. Lewis is warming up the crowd for Obama’s exit and the entrance of whoever the Democrats run next.”
Is It Time To Revoke John Lewis’s Lifetime Civil Rights Hero Pass?
By Bruce A. Dixon
The Weimar Republic I’ve mentioned before, with its moral contentions and much to explore,
Every frantic delight given birth in its midst, from the seers and knowers and prophets of doom
To sexology studied by nature of tryst, for a Dollar or Pound or a golden Swiss Franc,
One could buy a whole family, take them to bed, with no moral impediment’s threat to deplore.
A favored attraction, a man cased in glass, malnourished and wasted, starvation’s morass
His bones on display for the patrons to heed as they feasted in elegance dining in style,
The finest establishments’ gluttonous creed was to offer the menu’s alternative fate,
An inducement to those who could pay for a meal to elate with emoluments offered by class.
Democracy’s pinnacle penned at Versailles was a liberal masterpiece none could decry.
In throes of depression with freedom to cast, every freedom was proffered and sold for a price,
If only the poverty needed would last, the purveyors of luxury’s whims could prevail-
The waitresses dressed to permit exploration were offered no caution and sought to comply.
No hand was rebuffed and no eye was refused, the servants were selfless, the clients amused.
An invasion of foreign partakers was swift, the anonymous currency carrying hordes
Came to revel in art, entertainment and thrift, any thing could be purchased, the service was fine.
Berlin was a visual cascade of lights, in the darkness of course, there was little recused.
The cabaret divas succumbed to cocaine and the side street cafes catered penchants arcane,
The Dadaists, Realists and thinkers profound found a haven embroidered with reasons to leave,
But they stayed contradicting the magical sound of the chaos that finally drove them away,
The transgender ladies attracted the men to the music that hypnotized bathed in champagne.
Tonight in America, shortwaves arrive, Romania’s radio voice is alive,
The tune that they played offered Doppler distortion, compressed and relaxed in the ionic fray-
Words could be followed in fades of contortion, a Weimar refrain in traditional style,
A cabaret tune sung in words too familiar, a trumpet that buzzed with a mute to contrive,
Martini sang Bitty Bop pink and disrupted, the shortwaves distorted but not interrupted,
The Doppler intrusion suggested that time had been warped to reanimate Anita Berber.
Strange though the song sang American rhyme, the mood was intrinsically Weimar demise,
Anita preserved in cocaine and despair, the American gift to a world we corrupted.
Believe it or not, this poem is “awaiting moderation”. Must be some pretty subversive stuff…
I’ve had this happen too, and also without any links in sight. My best guess is that the forum software screens posts for words on a list drawn up by the program’s author.
The only suspects I could find in your post were these: sexology, transgender, and cocaine.
But as I said, it’s only a guess.
True progressives haven’t lost their way. The issue at hand is they don’t have Goldman Sachs & Friends to bankroll them and they won’t feed the hungry war machine.
“There was no threat from China; the entire enterprise was unnecessary. It was an extreme provocation to keep the Pentagon and its demented brass happy.”
In an otherwise good article there is this rather flip remark. The stated policy is and has been “Global full spectrum domination.” that is the goal making all that money just naturally comes with it.
Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo in December 2009. In a 36-minute speech, he discussed the tensions between war and peace and the idea of a “just war” saying, “perhaps the most profound issue surrounding my receipt of this prize is the fact that I am the Commander-in-Chief of the military of a nation in the midst of two wars”.
After two terms and eight years of continuous war under Obama, not-so-smooth operator Trump is clearly jonesing for his own Nobel Prize for Peace. I mean, my God, the man said he “doubts” US Intelligence.
“As far as hacking, I think it was Russia,” Trump said. “But, you know what, it could have been others also.”
Like Obama, Trump mailed in the Nobel Peace Prize coupon from the back of a comic book, and he has absolutely no doubt that he’ll win bigly.
Trump surely will be as “surprised” and “deeply humbled” by the prize as was Obama. But Trump will definitely feel that he deserves the award for not immediately blowing up the planet.
Trump may win the Nobel Peace Prize, but he’ll have to earn it by pulling the planet back from the precipice of nuclear war. No more hedging pledges, a la Obama.
Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo in December 2009. In a 36-minute speech, he discussed the tensions between war and peace and the idea of a “just war” saying, “perhaps the most profound issue surrounding my receipt of this prize is the fact that I am the Commander-in-Chief of the military of a nation in the midst of two wars”.
That must surely have been the most bizarre of any acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize ever.
Hey Bill check this out…
Glad that Manning will be released.
But considering Obama’s track record of despicable actions, commuting Manning is the “Dug” mainstream media equivalent of “Squirrel!”
Now about that Wikileaks pledge by Assange…
Great news for Chelsea manning and supporters.
However: “But the Justice Department does not plan to bring charges against Assange for publishing classified information, according to The Washington Post.”
So, Assange may walk free, save for issues w/ Swedish govt.
“Trump surely will be as “surprised” and “deeply humbled” by the prize as was Obama. But Trump will definitely feel that he deserves the award for not immediately blowing up the planet.”
Hilarious comment. Mr. Trump is being advised by Eric Prince of Blackwater fame. Mr. Prince is the brother of Education secretary nominee Betsy deVos, a woman who after being identified as vice-president of her mother’s right-wing, gay-hating foundation from tax documents, lied to Congress, saying it was a “clerical error.”
Mr.Prince was a buddy of mass-murderer Dick Cheney, among others in the G.W.Bush administration, proposing a hit squad that would do pretty much what the drones have already been doing, killing “terrorists.” without due process.
Read Jeremy Scahill’s work if you doubt it. Here come’s da new boss, same as da old boss.
Excellent and inspirational. When will Bernie know that Revolution – always occuring from the bottom up – cannot be waged from within the DNP?
When will Bernie know that Revolution – always occuring from the bottom up – cannot be waged from within the DNP?
Excellent question, Nancy. The answer is probably never, and that applies to many others suffering from tribal loyalty to the Democratic (?) party.
Thank you for this excellent article Mr. Pilger.
RE: “ “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being,” said Obama”
“Q (Novosti) : What are your thoughts on the ongoing discussion about American exceptionalism? Do you see most nations subscribing to some form of exceptionalism?
A (Chomsky) : “American exceptionalism” is a quasi-religious doctrine holding that the US is uniquely good and therefore entitled, or even required, to intervene unilaterally for the benefit of all. The doctrine is not really American. Just about every powerful state in history has advanced similar claims, typically leaving a trail of blood and disaster.”
“The recent Obama-Putin tiff over American exceptionalism reignited an ongoing debate over the Obama Doctrine: Is the president veering toward isolationism? Or will he proudly carry the banner of exceptionalism?”…….”One extreme was vigorously defended by President Obama in his Sept. 10 address to the nation: “What makes America different,” he declared, “what makes us exceptional,” is that we are dedicated to act, “with humility, but with resolve,” when we detect violations somewhere.”
As I read this 2013 quote from Chomsky, instead of reading “we detect violations….”, I read “we detonate….”
Howard Zinn at MIT on “the myth of American Exceptionalism”:
Zinn starts at minute 6:11:
“self congratulations” and “superiority”
Chomsky on the Obama Doctrine and “exceptionalism”
I understand these essays must have a limited size, but this one didn’t cover Obama’s dreadful behavior in Syria well enough.
The city of Deir Ezzor (Deir ez-Zur) in east-Syria is on the verge of falling into the hands of the Takfiris of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)
Obama is responsible for this, either (as I suspect) directly or indirectly. The man has an XXL ego and xxs morality. It’s all about him, his “legacy”, and the shekels he hopes to rake in after leaving office. Hey, it worked for the Clintons!
The reason that there are no prominent writers engaged in social criticism is that the oligarchy controls all publishing, advertising, and marketing of all media including books. Publishers know what the chains and Amazon and Google will allow, which is exclusively content-free fluff or propaganda, and they accept nothing else.
Publish a good novel of social criticism, and it will get top reviews but not on Amazon or Google. If it gets many awards, it may sell a few copies at first, but then Amazon and Google results suddenly won’t find it unless searched by exact title and author. If it appears, they will suggest on the same page that viewers buy something else. Then it is suddenly available for free on illegal “subscription” services. Sales drop to zero. Prosecute them and it is suddenly available on scores of retaliation sites just by clicking.
The piracy operations are apparently politically oriented. Amazon and Google provide the pirates new websites faster than they can be forced to remove them. These now amount to censorship operations.
A case in point is my novel The National Memorial, with eight top reviews, no bad reviews, and five book awards. It is available at http://www.JohnBarth.net, and on Google and Amazon and Barnes & Noble. But also for free wherever you search for it. Because it is not merely entertaining, but also contains sharp social criticism, especially of our corrupt judiciary.
So in fact there are plenty of social critics in the arts, but they won’t sell anything, no matter how many awards and top reviews they receive, because the market is now entirely controlled by oligarchy.
I suspected that this was how it was and was why our culture has degenerated into a sort of corrupt miasma. Again, the few remaining real leftists like Pilger are refreshing. This article by Pilger is an excellent one which should be disseminated as widely as possible. It fully exposes the spuriousness of the fascism that is peddled as “progressive” thought in the contemporary west. When the only remaining permissible outlet is rightwing populism, that is what form resistance will take. It is obvious that the power structure has completely jumped the shark in supporting going nuclear on behalf of terrorist thugs.
Much of the Sturm und Drang orchestrated around the Trump inauguration appears to be a “Manufacturing of Dissent”, a diversionary stratagem precisely to prevent any real, organized, effective opposition to the disastrous course of US foreign and domestic policy established under Obama.
Kinda like the Obama inauguration festivities vis-à-vis the policies of the George W. Bush administration.
The recent brouhaha at City Hall in San Francisco provides a case in point:
“The entire fury and desperation can provide the nutrients for a civic revolution in the United States, though much of the anti-Trump protest movement sporadically moves into the dark, visceral matter he is accused of generating.
“Hot-headed extremism, not debate, flickers before a single administrative act has taken place. A few protesters did not shy away from hoping that Trump would literally be ‘erased’ prior to the Inauguration, obliterated before raising his pen to sign a single decree. Trump remains the necessary demon, part of the bogeyman motif so indispensable to the functioning of US politics.
“To work, a genuine reformist drive can hardly be one that will leave the traditional Democrat-Republican axis in tact. The point is to make constructive use of the fury, the indignation, and, importantly, the supposed deplorables.”
Pathological Terror: Health Fears Ahead of Trump’s Inauguration
By Binoy Kampmark
,,, US foreign and domestic policy established under Obama.
Make that “US foreign and domestic policy continued under Obama.
Quite so, Bill.
From my perspective, the “sturm und drang” surrounding the inauguration is real and solidly rooted in the belief that party politics are a farce, including the most recent interation, and reform/revolution most certainly does not rest within any current system. There are many of us out here who are working by any means possible to unseat the status quo and has nothing to do with this stupid Russian hacking rhetoric or the neocon farce surrounding the Middle East. Do avoid the condescension, will you?
How many of “us out here” were “working by any means possible to unseat the status quo” when its faces were Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton?
Reform and revolution most certainly rests within the United States Constitution, the supreme law of the United States of America.
The US Constitution supports revolution made to preserve the Constitution and disallows “rebellion” made to overturn it.
Under the US Constitution, citizens have the right to vote for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof.
Reform and/or constitutional revolution are the right and duty of the people of the United States to replace electors that act against their common interests and/or threaten the safety of the people without probable cause.
The current Democratic and Republican party plutocratic duopoly consistently acts against the common interests and threatens the safety of citizens of the United States.
The duopoly party barnacles, both major (Libertarian and Green) and minor, have demonstrated their inability to protect the interests and safety of US citizens.
However, US citizens are in no way limited to the current party duopoly and its barnacles.
Every possible propaganda ploy continues to be mounted to prevent the emergence of a new majority party of electors dedicated at every level to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Immediate and vigorous efforts to educate the American electorate, organization and financing of a political movement and party genuinely dedicated to lawful government under the US Constitution, and a real revolution (not the fake “revolutions” concocted by the Democratic and Republican party duopoly) that guarantees lawful American politics and elections, are all absolutely necessary.
And “Sturm und Drang” are what the “current system” of plutocratic duopoly offers as a substitute for all of that political effort.
So go march, have fun, feel like you are “part of something”, like you are “making a difference”.
But what happens the day after the march, and the many days, weeks, months, and years of political work required after that, will determine the real difference.
Forget the US Constitution, it never meant anything and still does not mean anything. It is like the Constitution of the Old Soviet Union. A piece of propaganda to fool the people into thinking they had rights. They didn´t and don´t. Toilet paper is put to better use than the US Constitution.
The Constitution and laws of the United States of America must be vigorously supported and defended against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Americans have been deliberately mis-educated to take the laws of the United States for granted, thereby allowing domestic enemies of the Constitution, arbitrary plutocratic power, and corporate criminal anarchy to flourish.
What is needed is a re-invigoration of democratic action in defense of the Constitution.
Sadly, most Americans are content with plentiful circuses and occasional crumbs of bread.
A republic of penwork, if we can keep it. It’s the acts of keeping that make it a viable instrument.
Obama is the Left’s Reagan — or what passes for the American Left and what passes for President Reagan, who was in reality far from his saintly reputation and was, rather, one of the most dangerous and ignorant men ever to occupy the White House. So, okay, now that each political constituency has its saint, perhaps they can come together in their self-pity and nostalgia.
Or they could come together for the purpose of some difficult self-reflection. A good first observation would be that there is no “Left” in America, never has been — at least, not since FDR recognized the formidable power of the Left and rose to meet it halfway through a program of welfare liberalism and support for collective bargaining. A good second observation would be that Obama campaigns from the left and governs from the centre-right (on a good day).
Goddamnit! I wish you Americans would stop refering to the likes of Obama or the Clintons as “Left”. What you have here is the Globalist Right (Obama, Clinton, even Merkel) versus the Nationalist Right (Trump, Farage, LePen). You must learn to stop insulting the fine tradition of Leftist politics by naming any of these people “Left”, they are not and never have been, stop with the flim-flam. American political terminology is fucked-up, inside out and back to front, we the rest of Planet Earth would like you to stop already.
And that is just what delia ruhe said in her clarification.
Here is an article that looks at how the U.S. intelligence community was going to destroy WikiLeaks:
This election cycle’s “leaks” were the only way that voters found out what was really going on behind Washington’s closed doors.
Excellent summation of the obama era and the lying press that covered for his crimes. He was the Manchurian candidate
Somebody’s puppet for certain, and given his background, who fits the bill better?
“THE FAULT IS NOT IN OUR STARS BUT IN OURSELVES”
Hooray for John Pilger’s excellent article. Hear!Hear!
All these superior expressions by the “left/liberal” are
—once more—the quickest road to dusty death
and guaranteed failure.
Incidentally, I have met John Lewis briefly in the 70’s. Along
with others such as MLK, Bob Moses, Fannie Lou Hamer
and others. Lewis’ remark was injudicious to be most kind.
Donald J. Trump will be the “legitimate” President of the US.
I much prefer the remarks of a Minister in N. Carolina (age 67 years)
(here paraphrased as it was heard on radio, a device many will
“We have known adversity before. We will not go away.”
—-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA
Six months into the “Muscovian” candidate’s reign you and lots of others are gonna wish Obama was still president. Even with all of Obama’s flaws, a person with the emotional makeup of a six-year-old just stole the election and is going to be the most powerful man on earth come Friday.
I get the sense that a lot of people in these comments don’t get that, yet.