“A civilization reveals itself as fruitful by its ability to incite others to imitate it: when it no longer dazzles them it is reduced to a mere collection of odds and ends and vestiges of former worldly greatness. The successive attempts of Napoleon and Hitler to create a world empire failed, as the United States of North America has failed in our time because any initial attraction they might have exerted on the conquered transformed into resistance and hate as a result of their genocidal policies or military occupation and/or exploitation of the resources of the conquered lands instead of gradual absorption and acceptance of different peoples and the furthering of local cultures.” (Paraphrased from Cioran’s Histoire et Utopie)
“When Lenin came back from exile to Russia that was in its revolutionary crisis, he urged the Bolsheviks to stop calling themselves Socialists and Social Democrats because he didn’t want them to be confused with the sellout parties of the Second International. The parties that had supported World War I and sold out the revolution. So the Bolsheviks started calling themselves Communists to distinguish themselves from the parties of the Second International.” — Caleb Maupin
In February 2019 Germany opened a brand new intelligence complex in the city of Berlin. The new headquarters of the BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst or Federal Intelligence Service) occupies a huge space—by the way, much as STASI or State Security Service once did in East Berlin the former German Democratic Republic—and supposedly employs a total of over six thousand persons. The move from its former secret location in the Munich suburb of Pullach reflects both the centralization in Berlin of federal institutions that after World War Two were widely dispersed throughout Germany and importantly, European Union-NATO leader Germany’s efforts to get away from the nation’s Nazi past. The new BND location in Germany’s capital city seems also a giant step away from the former obsessive secrecy of its location in Munich, hidden away in that obscure suburb and operating under a cover name and, above all, until the late 1950s an affiliate of the CIA. The move to Berlin can be interpreted as the BND’s declaration of sovereignty.
Albert Camus in his essay “L’Exil d’Hélène” discusses contemporary disregard for the Greek value of limits. Camus writes that only the artist by his nature recognizes his limits, limits which the historic spirit disregards. The very idea of a super-secret organization like Gladio to remake the world in its own image reflects that same disregard for the Greek values that Camus so cherished.
The capitalist class doesn’t hate communism out of concern for mass murder. The accounts of the mass deaths that communism has supposedly caused are exaggerated or fabricated, and capitalist governments have caused hundreds of times more deaths than can be attributed to communist ones. Anti-communism isn’t about human rights, at least not human rights as a socialist would define them. Capitalists and imperialists vilify countries like China because they don’t like that these countries have challenged the “rights” to exploit and oppress.
with Chris Hedges
RT America on Nov 2, 2019
Journalist Chris Hedges talks to Joshua Freeman, Professor of History at City University of New York, about his book Behemoth: The History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World.
[DS reposted the introduction to these interviews.]
I recently interviewed an Afghanistan veteran about his transition from US Army soldier to Revolutionary Communist. Mason Bliss deployed twice to Afghanistan, in 2011 and in 2013. Since separating from the US Army in 2015, he has been organizing as a communist, raising the consciousness of the masses and fighting back against the system he once defended, US imperialism.
Historical fiction is a special and important genre. It can bring history to life, but more importantly it can allow us to put ourselves in the lives of those of another time, another context. There is a strong tendency in the United States toward historical amnesia. This is perhaps one of the biggest character flaws of the country. Floating in a constant now there is a complex, but highly malleable, context that disappears in the moment. This can drain the richness from our lives, set us on paths both personally and societally destructive, and perhaps most importantly, totally erode the concept of free will replacing it with faux will.
In addition to all of the propaganda pieces that anti-communists use to legitimize their position, they often utilize a more general rhetorical tool, which is the denunciations of communism that have come from two of the last century’s most prominent intellectuals: George Orwell and Christopher Hitchens. These figures maintain large cult followings and are widely seen as moral authorities for their crusades against civilization’s evil and hypocritical aspects, which for Orwell was a crusade against totalitarianism and for Hitchens was a crusade against organized religion. Yet the cultural and ideological makeup of both of these men caused them to infuse their works with the anti-communist agenda, and to give this agenda’s followers the sense that they’re righteous upholders of honesty and virtue.
A century ago, Lenin led the world’s first revolution against capitalism that successfully established a new and different government and society, the USSR. Lenin’s work before, during and shortly after that revolution left a legacy of insights, strategies, and programs. This panel aims to highlight and discuss some of the most pertinent aspects for today of Lenin’s life and work. We intend to include time for audience participation and discussion.
“Socialism is all about grit and struggle and sacrifice but it’s about building up, and building up your community, building up your world but doing it in a way that doesn’t come at the expense of somebody else!”
I have wondered if the German Field-Marshal Friedrich Paulus after his defeat and capture by Russians at Stalingrad in February 1943 really changed when as a prisoner of war in Soviet Russia he joined the National Committee For A Free Germany and the anti-Fascist Union of German Officers. Were his words sincere when he broadcast anti-fascist messages to Germany over Radio Moskau? Did he betray his entire background, his military career and the homeland he had fought for in order to save his life? Was he a traitor to Germany, to his beloved wife and to himself?
Daniel Ellsberg’s new book is The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner. I’ve known the author for years, I’m prouder than ever to say. We have done speaking events and media interviews together. We’ve been arrested together protesting wars. We’ve publicly debated electoral politics. We’ve privately debated the justness of World War II. (Dan approves of U.S. entry into World War II, and it seems into the war on Korea as well, though he has nothing but condemnation for the bombing of civilians that made up so much of what the U.S. did in those wars.) I’ve valued his opinion and he has rather inexplicably asked for mine on all sorts of questions. But this book has just taught me a great deal I had not known about Daniel Ellsberg and about the world.
Lately we have been hearing a great deal about “blowback.” But the real menace we face today is global rollback. The goal of conservative rulers around the world, led by those who occupy the seats of power in Washington, is the systematic rollback of democratic gains, public services, and common living standards around the world.