Tag: George Orwell

Oct 19

AC Meetup: In Our Hearts & on the Ground: International Solidarity with the Democrats of Rojava

The most compelling socialist message is how we live our lives. In many places, such as the so-called “free” U.S., repression against socialists often effectively prevents us from coming out of the closet. We know each other by pseudonyms if at all. The credit to our cause for much of our efforts may be lost and actions misunderstood as advancement of one volunteer cause or another, mere do-goodism–not as revolutionary acts intended to promote change from the world neoliberal system that causes unjust conditions to begin with.

Hardly woe is me, however; in Syrian Kurdistan, our sisters and brothers die every day for the crime of living out loving egalitarian solidarity. In truth, woe is “we.” To Islamic State (IS) and its direct enablers in the governments of Turkey and oil-generating Middle East “friends of the U.S.”–making the U.S. in essence the biggest enabler of IS— stateless anarcho-socialism in Rojava is a cause worthy of rape and other torture followed by cruel death.

“We” can come to the aid of the deep democrats of Rojava or watch as our comrades are slaughtered. It is as simple as that.

“We” don’t often get second chances. But we have to be ready. Perhaps once in a great while, we can resurrect our bigger global dreams, move beyond despair to critique honestly “our” mistakes, and then do our best as species-beings. And honor the memory and example of selfless people like Tom Page.

It is a sad tale, the Spanish Civil War. One of the saddest aspects is the left’s disintegration in part from harassing and even killing its own. Almost a sick joke, to the delight of the Fascists and their crypto pals around the capitalist world even to this day: recruited by Comintern, thousands of well-intentioned communists walk into a country to fight Fascists, where they find thousands of well-intentioned Trotskyites and many independent socialists like my dear Eric Arthur Blair also have walked, and a huge and highly successful homegrown anarchist experiment in Catalonia with the living spirit of socialism Blair would never forget; and they are told that they are at war not only with the Fascists but also with their leftist brothers and sisters, whom Stalin’s NKVD proceeds to attack, with the end result of a divided-and-conquered left and the fall of the Republic.

Almost eight decades later, the left has never recovered. But we can still dream, and more importantly act mindfully.

Sometimes I become inspired by a diary published in Anti-Capitalist Meetup to try to work out the practical implications. Such is the case with last week’s excellent diary by NY brit expat. At the end, she calls the hard left to take serious material action in support of Syrian Kurdistan, aka, Rojava. There brave leftist women and men are fighting and dying for stateless deep democracy against all odds–IS and the Syrian regime to the front and sides of them and the government of Turkey to the rear. But, they are not really alone. The more we learn about them, and feel our solidarity with them, the more their fight becomes ours, as we are called to defy boundaries and if necessary laws with our love in action.

The Syrian Kurds are cutoff by Turkey from their brothers and sisters who want to come to their aid. Moreover, Turkey has effectively sided with IS. How else to interpret deeds and words?–ISIS fighter in Kobanê: “Erdoğan has helped us a lot”.

[O]n Tuesday October 7, Kurds across Turkey, but especially in the country’s southeastern region, took to the streets in protest against Turkey’s role in the looming massacre of Kobanê. The size and intensity of the protests were unprecedented (at least since the violence of the 1990s), as was the reaction of the state. The opinion shared by most people I have met over the past few days is that this is the beginning of a new Kurdish uprising.

Before anything else, what has to be made absolutely clear is that the Kurds are not protesting to demand a military intervention by Turkey, as has been presented in several mainstream media outlets. Instead, the protesters – Kurds and sympathizers alike – demand an end to Turkey’s covert support for ISIS and for the border at Kobanê to be opened in order to let refugees out, and humanitarian aid and weapons in. Every single person I spoke to in Diyarbakır, Urfa, Suruç and in the villages at the border agree about one thing: ISIS could never have grown as big as it did, and conquer as much of Rojava as it has done, were it not for the material, financial and logistical support the extremists received from the Turkish state.

http://roarmag.org/2014/10/kur…

Before discussing practical ways to aid the Syrian Kurds, a theoretical dynamic is worth noting. As deep democrats eschewing the sound bites fed to us by capitalism, we grapple with root causes in the Middle East and everywhere, which Geminijen did well here just two weeks ago. Carrying this analysis to its logical conclusions, we grapple for ways to supercede national boundaries, which as Rosa Luxemburg observed was necessary to establish lasting justice in a material world controlled by and for capitalists. It is therefore ironic that a one-time “nationalist struggle” in part of Kurdistan would now serve as a teachable moment. The reformation of the dream for Kurdistan from a nation state to a stateless deep democracy is remarkable in and of itself. But as a symbol of the means for unifying the human species, the truth lies right in front of us: WE CAN UNITE AS PEOPLE OF THE WORLD no matter what the nation states, which are largely governmental slaves to neoliberalism, tell us. If Syrian Kurds can work to build socialist autonomy in a Middle Eastern war zone with so many obstacles, we see that we too can be part of a stateless deep democratic whole. But not if we won’t fight for it, and do so mindfully.

Oct 13

The Normalization of Political Depravity

It was a bright, cold day on the campaign trail, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

In The Lyin’ King, Denis Campbell observes that Mitt Romney has repeatedly told more than 700 lies since he began campaigning for president in 2011 . . .

Mitt Romney is nearly to China with his digging now.  When even National Public Radio, the mildest, least controversial of any network leads with “Romney Goes On Offense, Pays For It In First Wave Of Fact Checks,” you know you are in trouble.

But Romney was right out of trouble again when the media shifted rapidly from exposing his lies to characterizing his deceit-saturated debate performance as “strong” and “commanding.”  The Romney/Ryan campaign’s calculated decision to blatantly lie their way to Election Day and the media’s subsequent abandonment of all journalistic responsibility are only the latest examples of how political depravity has been normalized by the politicians complicit in it and the “journalists” who cover political campaigns.    

Political depravity is the new normal.  Bush v. Gore legalized it, the Patriot Act compels submission to it, Citizen’s United. makes it permanent.  Americans are being subjected to blatant voter suppression, massive surveillance, a vast expansion of police power, and relentless government violations of the Bill of Rights. Obama is further to the right than Nixon was, the Wall Street/corporate establishment has absolute control over Congress and the courts, journalism is dead, unions are dying, and we’re all on a one-way ride to serfdom on the Austerity Express.    

One would think that Republicans would be satisfied.

They’re not.

Jul 29

Part II – “!No Pasaran!” – The Abraham Lincoln Brigade and the Fight against Fascism in Spain

Crossposted at Daily Kos

What You Missed in Part I of This Diary


Spain has been etched in the hearts of our generation… and carried around like a terrible wound.  Spain gave us our first taste of defeat, and because of her we discovered with an enduring shock that one can be right and still be defeated, that sheer force can trample the human spirit underfoot, and that there are times when courage goes unrewarded.  Without a doubt, this explains why so many people the world over have experienced the Spanish drama as their own personal tragedy.

Albert Camus, Algerian-French philosopher and author, Source: Honoring Fascism’s Forgotten Fighters. Sketch Source: Existential Primer.

“!No Pasaran!” – The Abraham Lincoln Brigade and the Spanish Civil War, Part I introduces you to the beginnings of the civil war between the Republicans and the Nationalists; a poignant letter written by Abraham Lincoln Brigade (ALB) volunteer Bill Bailey to his mother in New Jersey; the tense political, economic, and social conditions that existed in pre-war Spain; the response by the American government and its insistence upon assuming a neutral position in this conflict; the personal stories of a few Americans caught between economic depression at home and alarming developments on the international level; what eventually motivated them to secretly travel to and fight in Spain; and the ALB volunteers’ battlefield exploits in Spain.

Link to Part I of This Diary

The story continues below the fold…  

Jul 05

George Orwell and Howard Zinn on Nationalism

Crossposted at Daily Kos

Writing in 1945 in his remarkable essay Notes on Nationalism, author George Orwell noted the following distinction between patriotism and nationalism

Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism.  Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved.  By “patriotism” I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people.  Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power.  The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.

Author and journalist George Orwell

Apr 17

George Orwell, Time Travel, and Dinner Companions

Crossposted at Daily Kos

We’ve all, at some point or another in our lives, had this fantasy.  Whether we perceive modern life as too hurried, unsatisfying, devoid of meaning, or we see ourselves as slaves to the demands of technology, some of us yearn for a simpler time when many of the great political, ideological, and literary debates of decades gone by had yet to be settled.  Conflicts or movements of the past in which we picture ourselves an integral part of.  For we are confident that our presence would have resulted in an outcome to our liking.  Great ideas that we wish we’d thought of.  Music that we know we should have recorded.  Inventions we know we were destined to be associated with.  It is the inevitable ‘what if’ question we often think of.  It is the restless explorer in all of us.



RJ Matson, New York Observer, Buy this cartoon

Allow me to indulge in my fantasy below the fold.

Feb 17

I DEMAND media coverage of America’s wars NOW!

Crossposted at Daily Kos

    This will be, in the proper blogotoobz vernacular, a short diary.

    Simply put, I DEMAND media coverage of America’s wars NOW!

    If these wars are NOT worth media coverage, they are not worth fighting. If the threat America faces from it’s enemies is so great that it is absolutely necessary that we go to war, than it is absolutely necessary that the “free” press gives it ample coverage.

    Since the Presidential Primaries back in the Spring of 2008 coverage of America’s wars have almost entirely disappeared from the traditional media. With the exception of a few intrepid journalists the traditional media has given us NOTHING as far as details of what is happening in Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan except for the times when Dick Cheney emerges from his crypt, when President Obama sent more troops to Afghanistan, when an Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at George Bush’s idiot of a son and when Rudy “9/11,9/11,9/11” shows up to collect his royalty fee.

   In short, I want DETAILS, and if you’re not in the mood you better GET IN THE MOOD, Mister.

More below the fold

Aug 10

About my screen name and sig

    I have had many questions asked about my screen name and sig. Some people have accused me of being a Right Wing troll. Others have doubted my sincerity because of the meaning of my screen name. I thought I might explain my choice and point out a few facts, for those who may be interested.

    We have replaced the two minutes hate with the 24/7 hate/lie cycle.

    My hope is to challenge that, and to bring truth to light as best as I can.

    One of the first books I read as a young man was George Orwell’s 1984. Politically it opened my eyes and unplugged me from the matrix. I re-read the book once a year and every year since then. It serves as a reminder for what is at stake.

   But many would like to tell us that Government is always evil. They fail to recognize that the same can be said of Big Business.

   Big Business can be Big Brother too.

   In fact, Big Business may be worse than Big Government sometimes. Good Government can check Bad Business. Good Business has not once stopped Bad Government, and both Good/Good and Bad/Bad can exists as well.

   The question is how we keep both accountable. If we kill good government to save Big Business, Big Business will become Big Brother. That is the heart of true Mussolini Fascism, a combination of Big Business and Bad Government.

   And the wall between the reality of that and the reality they would sell us can be called the Ministry Of Truth.

The Ministry of Truth – Minitrue, in Newspeak – was startlingly different from any other object in sight. It was an enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete, soaring up, terrace after terrace, three hundred meters into the air. From where Winston stood it was just possible to read, picked out on its white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party:

WAR IS PEACE

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

The Ministry of Truth contained, it was said, three thousand rooms above ground level, and corresponding ramifications below. Scattered about London there were just three other buildings of similar appearance and size. So completely did they dwarf the surrounding architecture that from the roof of Victory Mansions you could see all four of them simultaneously. The were the homes of the four Ministries between which the entire apparatus of government was divided: the Ministry of Truth, which concerned itself with news, entertainment, education, and the fine arts; the Ministry of Love, which maintained law and order; and the Ministry of Plenty, which was responsible for economic affairs. Their names, in Newspeak: Minitrue, Minipax, Miniluv, and Miniplenty.

The Ministry of Love was the really frightening one. There were no windows in it at all. Winston had never been inside the Ministry of Love, nor within a half a kilometer of it. It was a place impossible to enter except on official business, and then only by penetrating through a maze of barbed-wire entanglements, steel doors, and hidden machine-gun nests. Even the streets leading up to its outer barriers were roamed by gorilla-faced guards in black uniforms, armed with jointed truncheons.

The Orwell Reader.com

   Each day we see a precept from 1984 personified before our eyes. Part of my purpose in writing is to educate people to the real truth, as I perceive it from my progressive liberal perspective. Many may not agree with my views. I do not place a premium on agreement. Rather, the importance I place is on the FACT. That is where the truth shall be found.

   No one in their right mind who is not a fool can look at our Corporate controlled media and not see a similarity to Orwell’s Ministry Of Truth. The Right Wing Noise Machine is fully aware that their policies are not in the interest of the Average citizen of Earth. In order to convince the poor that they want free market fiscal conservative economic policies they have created a place that can be best described as the debate between fact and false. To deny fact, science and reality and equate it with falsity and lies. This is an important part of their agenda.

  Thus

  Ignorance = Strength

 The issue is whether you will make your own decisions, do you own research and form your own opinions, or if you will allow programmers to pre-program you.

  If we remain ignorant, we give strength to those who would exercise total power over us, whether they are Business or Politically oriented

May 27

Meme Over: Jose Padilla in the Ministry Of Love, USA

     Fact: Of the 3 people who the Bush/Cheney Regime admits to waterboarding, American citizen Jose Padilla, who is accused of planning to obtain and detonate a dirty nuclear bomb in the USA has been imprisoned on American soil since May 8, 2002. They even put him on trial here. His case was heard by the Supreme Court, the highest court in the empire.

    The strange thing is, the WMD that Padilla was accused of seeking was never found, have yet to surface and can not be proven through evidence.

    That whole evidence thing isn’t such a big deal though since we have denied American citizen Jose Padilla his Constitutional rights to a trial by jury.

    Oh. About Jose Padilla. Did I mention he is almost certainly insane by now? 7 years of solitary confinement, torture and long periods of induced sensory deprivation will do that to a person over time, give or take a few years.

Feb 03

The Spy Factory

Last night, 2.03.09, the PBS News Hour had a preview of what could be an eye opening report on the National Security Agency that might just answer some of the many questions about what has been going on in the previous administration, and before, and may continue from now on!

The preview was of a show to air tonight, 2.04.09, on PBS NOVA NOVA Examines Spying in Post-9/11 World

This is what was on the News Hour:

May 26

A Few Thoughts On Orwell, Kipling, Hillary, and Gore

(crossposted from Daily Kos)

George Orwell once referred to Rudyard Kipling as the “prophet of British imperialism.”  That he unquestionably was.  

Which is not to suggest that Kipling wasn’t a great writer.  He was that too.  

As Orwell wrote in this brilliant essay

Kipling is the only English writer of our time who has added phrases to the language.  The phrases and neologisms which we take over and use without remembering their origin do not always come from writers we admire.

One of Kipling’s most famous poems offers lessons to Hillary Clinton on how she ought to conduct herself as this marathon, bruising fight for the 2008 Democratic nomination draws to a close.  And the need for party unity becomes paramount to coalesce behind a once-in-a-generation candidate who is poised to succeed in the General Election in November.

The choice is obvious: either we succeed collectively or fail individually — only to see a continuation of the most destructive domestic and foreign policies in the post-WW II era.

That is simply what is at stake in this election.