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The return of the Arab Spring? – riots in Tunisia, January 2021

“The whole system must go”

Whilst the world’s media is mostly, and conveniently, silent about this, concentrating on the very dubious vaccination programmes going on all over the place, what seems like the beginnings of a national uprising against misery is hitting the streets of Tunisia.

26/1/21:

Tunis: further clashes

“Tunisian riot police on Tuesday turned water cannon on protesters outside the heavily barricaded parliament as they tried to quell the largest rally yet since demonstrations began this month over inequality and police abuses. Hundreds of protesters marched from the Ettadhamen district of the capital where young people have clashed nightly with police for more than a week, and were joined by hundreds more near the parliament. Police blocked the march with barricades to prevent protesters approaching the parliament building where legislators were holding a tense debate on a controversial government reshuffle…The session comes a day after protesters clashed with police in the town of Sbeitla, in Tunisia’s marginalised centre, after a young man hit by a tear gas canister during clashes last week died in hospital…mothers in the Tunisian capital have accused authorities of arbitrarily arresting their children in response to the unrest”

See also Tunisia  Resistant for a detailed description of the day

See also:

Clashes break out in Tunisia after protester dies of injuries

23/1/21:

Tunisia: protests continue  More here  and here

“The government on Saturday extended a night-time curfew from 8 p.m. (1900 GMT) to 5 a.m. and banned gatherings until February 14. But protesters took to the streets in several parts of the country, including the capital Tunis and the marginalized interior region of Gafsa, to demand the release of hundreds of young people detained during several nights of unrest since January 14. “Neither police nor Islamists, the people want revolution,” chanted demonstrators in a crowd of several hundred in Tunis, where one person was wounded in brief clashes amid a heavy police presence. Protests were also held in the coastal city of Sfax on Friday. Much of the unrest has been in working class neighborhoods, where anger is boiling over soaring unemployment and a political class accused of having failed to deliver good governance, a decade after the 2011 revolution that toppled long-time dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.”

22/1/21:

Mainstream American political-economic report

“In 2020, the economy contracted by 8 percent, crucial tourism revenues dropped by 65 percent, and thousands of companies were forced to shut down. Meanwhile, unemployment among youths continued to climb well past one-third, and the decade-old trend of declining poverty reversed. The combined effects of the virus and government containment measures also spurred more Tunisians to head for Europe, with nearly 13,000 migrants reaching Italy’s shores in 2020 compared to 2,600 the previous year—a reminder that instability in North Africa carries far-reaching implications for America’s European allies. Indeed, the United States has several strong interests in seeing Tunisia’s democratic experiment succeed. In addition to the substantial symbolic cost of seeing an Arab democracy collapse, instability in Tunisia would invite spillover from the Libyan conflict next door, exacerbate the growing challenge of uncontrolled migration to Europe, and provide an opening for terrorists and other armed groups congregating elsewhere in Tunisia’s neighborhood. In the near term, then, Washington should make clear that it stands ready to assist Tunisia as much as possible. Even low-cost measures would yield strong returns. For example, the new administration can leverage America’s influence with the World Bank, IMF, and other international organizations to bolster emergency assistance, expedite Tunisia’s long-sought Millennium Challenge Corporation compact, and invite the country to attend the global “Summit for Democracy” that President Biden has pledged to hold during his first year in office. More forcefully engaging with European allies on economic and migration challenges will also be key. In any case, Tunisia’s eruption of social unrest suggests that the pandemic will no longer deter people from taking to the streets and voicing grievances over their lack of economic prospects or basic services. And as in 2011, the unrest could be a harbinger of things to come in other countries. Many of Tunisia’s neighbors have suffered similar effects from the pandemic, and as they emerge from the COVID crisis, the economic damage of the past two years could be highly destabilizing if citizens remain unconvinced that their governments will bring them adequate relief. Ten years after the Arab Spring, Tunisia’s predicament suggests that regional economic and political reform may lag indefinitely, so the Biden administration should prepare accordingly. However much the new president may want to focus on his stated priorities, the outburst of protests shows that local events can quickly push their way onto the foreign policy agenda.”

21/1/21:

Report on Tunisia’s misery

Following a brief video of an interview with a young woman in which she says “…either I emigrate clandestinely or I set fire to myself” the report continues:

“The young people you see here are neglected and have no food at home. They go home and have nothing to eat. People are unemployed, there are no wages, there is no money, where is the money? We are being made false promises. The politicians tell us they are going to make us work, they silence us with words “. Like this resident of the popular Ettadhamen district, near the capital Tunis, many Tunisians, many of them young, have taken to the streets to express their anger and weariness in recent days as the country faces an economic crisis. , health and politics. “It happens in a context of a long-standing economic crisis, with soaring unemployment rates. You have   Covid-19 which creates even more frustrations and deprivation … Mini-markets and cash machines have been attacked”

20/1/21:

Despite massive cop presence, clashes continue in Sbeitla following rumours of youth dying  from being hit by teargas grenade (official version is he died of drug overdose)clashes continue in Tunis and Sousseand Sidi BouzidTunisian blogger’s report here

“There are 1,000 people arrested” including many minors, said Bassem Trifi of the Tunisian League for Human Rights, who charged that many arrests had been “arbitrary,” including of people inside their homes. “Some were arrested without having taken part in the demonstrations,” he told a joint press conference of a dozen groups, also including the journalists’ union and young lawyers’ association. Some activists had been detained for voicing support for the protests on Facebook and other sites, and at least one of them now faces six years prison if convicted, the groups said….They warned that “violent security practices would only… aggravate the crisis of the rejection of the state“.

Rulers response to beginnings of movement

“Tunisia’s Ennahda Movement [mildly Islamic “opposition” party] on Tuesday called on the country’s premier to launch investigations into the riots and alleged vandalism on public and private property across the country. In a statement, the party expressed its strong disapproval of hate speech and incitement by unnamed political parties which it described as “speeches outside of national contexts.” Ennahda called on the Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi to “tell the people the truth about last night’s protests, carry out the necessary investigations, protect public and private property and apply the law.” It also strongly condemned “the attacks on private and public property, the looting and sabotage of administrative and commercial institutions,” calling on protesters not to deviate from their demands and to refrain from sabotaging and harming the country, according to the statement.”

19/1/21:

Tunisia: 5th night of riots

“The whole system must go … We will return to the streets and we will regain our rights and our dignity that a corrupt elite seized after the revolution,” said Maher Abid, an unemployed protester. Shortly before last week’s 10th anniversary of the revolution, Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi’s government ordered a four-day lockdown and a tighter night-time curfew against the coronavirus pandemic, as well as a ban on protests. However, in cities across the North African country youths have thrown stones and petrol bombs, burnt tyres and looted shops while police have deployed tear gas and batons, arresting hundreds. In a televised speech on Tuesday, Mechichi said he understood popular anger over the economic situation and the frustration of young people, but that violence was not acceptable. “Your voice is heard and your anger is legitimate… Do not allow saboteurs among you,” he said, addressing protesters…Protesters … chanted “the people want the fall of the regime”, as well as demands for jobs. Tunisia was suffering economically even before the COVID-19 crisis, with high unemployment and declining state services. Earlier, the powerful labour union and other rights groups voiced support for peaceful protests against “policies of marginalisation, impoverishment and starvation”, accusing the state of squandering the revolution’s hopes.”

More here. “In 2020 alone, the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES) recorded 6,500 protests, all of which were motivated by economic, social and environmental demands.” And here“Earlier‮ ‬in the day, protesters rallied in Tunis, reviving the chant that rang a decade ago in a revolution that ushered in democracy: “The people want the fall of the regime.”

18/1/21:

Tunisia: 4th night of riots Video here

“Street clashes between riot police and youths rocked Tunisia for the fourth night in mostly working class neighbourhoods, with calls on social media for more rallies on Tuesday. More than 600 people had been arrested by Monday over the disturbances in which teenagers and adolescents have hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at police who have fired volleys of tear gas at them. The social unrest comes at a time of economic crisis, worsened by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the tourism-reliant North African country, which has deepened poverty and driven up inflation and unemployment. In the latest unrest until the early hours of Tuesday, hundreds of youths in the capital battled police in several districts including the vast Ettadhamen city on the outskirts of Tunis. In Sfax, the second largest city, protesters blockaded roads with burning tyres, an AFP correspondent reported. “

17/1/21:

Tunisia: looting, clashes and riots in 23 towns and cities on 10th anniversary of Ben Ali’s fall

“Arab media broadcast amateur video of crowds of young men setting fires and looting banks and private businesses in a second day of violence in a number of Tunisian cities. “

More here (videos and reports mostly in French)

Sample quotes: Protesters did not formulate clear demands during protests, which authorities described as riots…In the capital Tunis, a dilapidated neighborhood was the scene of clashes between mainly teenage protesters and the police, who used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the crowd after having had stones thrown at them. According to several witnesses, demonstrators looted shops in several cities. “…”the majority of “casseurs” arrested were between 12 and 15-years-old”…”There were reports that a police station in Souk Lahad belonging to the National Guard was set on fire. The information was denied by a security source “…”A decade on from a revolution against poverty, corruption and injustice, Tunisia has progressed towards democracy but its economic problems have worsened, with the country on the verge of bankruptcy and public services in a dire situation. Gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by 9 percent last year, consumer prices have spiralled upwards and one-third of young people are unemployed.”

See also this

16/1/21:

Tunisia: riots and clashes in 4 towns and cities

During the clashes, the youths attempted to ransack the Ettadhamen post office, before being dispersed. As for the ATM  at this office, it was destroyed and looted. The security forces, attacked with stones, responded with tear gas

15/1/21:

Clashes following cop aggression of shepherd (video of which goes viral)

More here in English.

Clashes in 2 areas of Tunis following Covid rules-inspired cop repression of football fans celebrating victory…Video here

13-14/1/21:

Clashes in 3 towns between youths and cops

SamFanto was born, and then he lived a bit but never enough.

Leftist bollocks from the usual suspects

For a chronological reflection, starting from the present and working backwards,  of aspects of the Covid1984 permanent crisis see this

head in sand

Scroll down to “ADDED 30/12/20” for my response to various crap on libcom distorting most of what I’ve said .

A response to this.

A pathetic crap article, yet another Covidiocy, typical of leftism, even in its “libertarian” forms, which has totally failed to get to grips with the misery of state and capitalist impositions of social control with the pretext of the virus. It’s a reactive article almost as reactionary as the rubbish spewed out by the racist and nationalist millionaire rock stars it condemns.

For example, recent scientific research has shown that masks worn outside are utterly ineffective (see this: https://www.lefigaro.fr/vox/societe/le-masque-en-exterieur-est-il-un-moyen-de-lutte-efficace-contre-l-epidemie-20201211), but because these 2 arseholes, Clapton and Van Morrison, oppose masks this text feels the need to support them, even though they’re not only unnecessary outdoors but intensify dominant separation and the alienation of the streets, and are even unhealthy because you breathe in your own bacteria.

It counterposes “expertise, experience and data from healthcare professionals, epidemiologists, etc.” to conspiracy theories and reactionary talking points, as if the “expertise, experience and data from healthcare professionals, epidemiologists, etc. “ wasn’t itself contradictory and in any case open to questioning regardless of their differences.  In Science We Trust. Nowhere is there a critique of dominant science, as if to suggest, let alone embark on, such a thing would put you in the same camp as Trump and religious anti-Darwinism. The perspective of the realisation and suppression of science is beyond this Leftist ideologue. The notion of using aspects of evidence-based science against a blanket submissive respect for “Science” with a capital S  is a no-go area for people lacking in all curiosity, research and adventure outside of habitually trodden paths. Denunciation of “conspiracy theories” has now become a knee-jerk reaction to anything that dares to question the connection between scientific “experts”, state and capital, the interaction of capitalist interests.

Comrade Motopu’s criticism (one could hardly call it critique) succumbs to the false choice of pro-lockdown against the anti-lockdown positions and of anti-mask v. pro-mask. It even ends up with an uncritical pro-vaccination position. As if the constant vaccinations that will be necessary at least every 6 months because the mutations and variations of the virus will necessitate constant changes in the vaccine (a vaccination available after just 6 or 7 months’ research, when 10 years is the more usual time necessary for a safe vaccine) is the cavalry come to save us all from this shit and not something that will greatly contribute to weakening the body politic, helping to reduce resistance, both internal and external. Nowhere does this leftism point out that it will only be an informed social movement which could begin to confront the ever-tightening interaction between the state, the pharmaceutical companies, the manipulative scientists and other “experts” and the totality of pro and anti ideologies that colonise people like Comrade Motopu and the totalitarianism of present and future developments. No – until the magic wand of a vaccine, it’s “paying people to stay home” (as if various states haven’t done this, admittedly at reduced wages, though some leftists have described these as “socialist” measures) . Why has the state done this? Because going out and socialising doesn’t only mean going out to pay absorbitant wads of cash to listen to rock star millionaires in a claustrophobic atmosphere repeating the same old tunes we long ago got bored with. It also means being able to do things the state does not want us to do – discuss, organise , demonstrate, strike and occupy together. But Comrade Motopu wants us to rely on “the federal institutions … best placed to protect people and mobilize effective measures to fight the spread of the plague”.

When you take the opposite point of view of the Right you end up utterly defined by them and can’t assert a single independent point of view that recognises that “in a world that is upside down the true is a moment of the false”  and the false is a moment of the true. In the current climate, the Right are the prime recuperators of anger, with the Left demanding things some states are imposing with a vengeance. At the beginning of this crisis one could maybe forgive that but 9 months later it’s just an expression of acute laziness, of a total absence of critical vigilance, of submission to classic either/or Manichean choices.

Amongst those who define themselves as class struggle libertarians it’s become  de rigeur to proclaim the need for a total one-size-fits-all lockdown regardless of specific situations.  Daring to question the contradictions and miseries that such a “solution” imposes runs head on into a circle-the-wagons-mentality of everyone self-righteously denouncing you simplistically as an inconsiderate individualist right-wing arsehole that most people in this milieu can’t even begin to unravel, let alone express, their doubts, fearful of becoming a target of strawman arguments that will be too wearing to confront. And yet remaining silent about such doubts just reinforces the whole sense of impotence in the face of this relentless tangled  onslaught of false choices.

– 22/12/20

***

The above was posted to libcom by Nymphalis Antiopa who often contributes to Dialectical Delinquents.  The following is my response to the responses on libcom.

Comrade Motopu gives a good example of what  I said above: “When you take the opposite point of view of the Right you end up utterly defined by them and can’t assert a single independent point of view…”. S/he writes that Le Figaro is “far right”. It’s not – it’s mainstream right, though admittedly yesterday’s far right is now mainstream. But it’s always been standard mainstream right, but hardly worse than mainstream liberal/left-wing media. For example, France’s “Liberation” and “Le Monde”  supported the 1991 Gulf war, the UK’s  Guardian and the US’s  New York Times mostly supported it also, along with supporting the Kosovo war of 1999. Does that automatically negate everything else they say? Does the fact that the link I put to the site about Pfizer is to a Corbynite site negate the value of what the ex-soldier says about Pfizer? Likewise, even if Le Figaro  were nazis  that wouldn’t in itself negate what it says. Hitler’s scientists did research showing the link between smoking cigarettes and cancer, some 10 years or more before the American Cancer Society and thousands of US doctors and scientists reversed their previous notion that smoking was fine. If CM’s stupid reactive logic were consistent, s/he’d be recommending smoking along with all those pre-1953 American scientists and doctors. Even our worst enemies sometimes get it right. For example, the other day Marine Le Pen said the sky was blue.

*

Re. R.Totale’s post, whilst some of it’s pertinent, the notion that masks protect you from CCTV cameras is not necessarily correct. Apparently even those wearing surgical masks can  be identified by the latest in Facial Recognition Cameras ( https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-facial-recognition/even-mask-wearers-can-be-idd-china-facial-recognition-firm-says-idUSKBN20W0WL )

A Chinese company says it has developed the country’s first facial recognition technology that can identify people when they are wearing a mask, as most are these days because of the coronavirus, and help in the fight against the disease.”  The head of the company that has developed this has said, “When wearing a mask, the recognition rate can reach about 95%, which can ensure that most people can be identified”. Sure, the state wants to present itself as all-seeing and all-powerful in order to reinforce our sense of impotence and the phrase “can reach about 95%” already implies that there’s likely to be an element of hype in all this, but that remains to be seen (or, hopefully, not seen). But there’s no reason to be complacent. Iris recognition is the new future. But maybe sunglasses are a protection.

Moreover when he refers to those for whom “mask-wearing frees them of social expectations from the nose down at least” that at least is a choice, but masks have been made compulsory – even in areas where before they were compulsory there were no severe cases of Covid.  Making them legally compulsory, with often a heavy fine for those who don’t conform to this irrationality, is as bad as forbidding foulards (Muslim scarves) for women

However, when I wrote that masks “intensify dominant separation and the alienation of the streets” I meant that you can’t even see people’s smiles or frowns, that you can’t  make funny faces at kids, that it reinforces people being trapped in their heads. This doesn’t matter to those who are already constantly stuck in their heads listening to something on their headphones or glued to the screen on their smartphone but for those who find some consolation in even the most superficial of  non-virtual human contact, it just adds to the weariness of daily life. In addition, you constantly have to raise your  voice to a strained level that doesn’t come naturally or repeat yourself because you haven’t been heard from behind the mask. This in addition to all those people who have no power finding that their masters have suddenly given them a crumb of hierarchical power because now even the lowest of the low can tick someone off for not having covered their nose in the supermarket or library or wherever. All of which gives daily alienation an extra dose of wear-and-tear, intensifying  irritability, adding to a sense of despair with humanity.

*

Re. Red Marriott’s quote – “A global team of public health experts at Learnaboutcovid19 also told Reuters there was “no evidence” to suggest face masks can increase the chance of developing pneumonia, “or any other bacterial, fungal or viral infection in the lungs”. https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-factcheck-pneumonia/fact-check-people-… “ Well, maybe. But others have said the opposite: https://perma.cc/V2UH-DZT3?type=image

The masks on the market do nothing to protect people from the virus. They’re not sterile, unlike the ones you find in hospitals and you shouldn’t wear one for longer than 15 or 20 minutes, otherwise they are transformed into incubators for bacteria. And even worse are the masks made out of material, which are veritable collectors of bacteria because they’re porous.” – Antoine Khoury, microbiologist

There’s also this:

https://jdmichel.blog.tdg.ch/archive/2020/11/24/covid-faut-il-de-confiner-oui-et-en-super-urgence-310935.html

“To give just two examples, the famous long-suspended Danish study has finally been published with the conclusions one might expect: wearing a mask in the general population does not prevent contamination by Covid. The authors have accepted some political contortions in their conclusion, but the fact remains: this measure, which no pandemic plan had ever considered, so absurd that it is, has no justification in terms of the cost / benefit balance and would therefore never have had to be imposed. Another study has just been published in Nature which concludes (based on research carried out in Wuhan) that asymptomatic people are largely not otherwise infectious. “Compared to symptomatic patients, asymptomatic infected individuals generally have a low amount of viral loads and a short duration of viral shedding, which decreases the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 5. In the present study, the culture virus was performed on specimens from asymptomatic positive cases, and found no viable SARS-CoV-2 virus. All close contacts of asymptomatic positive cases tested negative, indicating that asymptomatic positive cases detected in this study were unlikely to be infectious. There were no positive tests among 1,174 close contacts of asymptomatic cases.”

The only possible use of a mask is for symptomatic people only during the time they are symptomatic. It’s highly probable (since in science it’s always a question of  working with hypotheses, it’s advisable to remain cautious) that everything that has been imposed on us for months – with the force of propaganda – has had no real use, with monstrous costs for individuals and for community.

Besides, Covid can enter the eyes and  be conveyed by touch, so maybe everyone should be compelled to wear goggles and gloves, and then Leftists like Comrade Motopu would probably be thankful that “the federal institutions … best placed to protect people and mobilize effective measures to fight the spread of the plague” were at long last allowed to do their job.

**

I see 3 very general categories of responses to the various “experts” who we are somehow forced to partly rely on if only to get some vague idea about what’s what.

First category is probably the most prevalent, which is that of Greta Thunberg, who said “We can’t solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis and we must unite behind experts and science. This of course goes for all crises.” This is a kind of “Who am I to decide if this or that is true or not?” attitude, the self-effacing avoidance of all striving for autonomy on the part of those who  submit to dominant society even if they don’t necessarily seem to respect it or aspects of it. 

Yet, given the enormous contradictory “facts” spewed out by scientists and other experts, a second stance is almost as common –  each individual, regardless of the precise extent of their precise knowledge, is forced back onto their own opinion, in  much the same way as if what you accept and don’t accept amongst all the questions thrown up by this permanent crisis is just a matter of taste.  In other words, people are cherry-picking information that confirms their previously held opinions, leaving understanding down to a purely arbitrary question of subjective choice or to your own prejudices.  Almost invariably people will find some  “scientific fact” to provide ‘objective’ proof for these tastes and prejudices.

But there’s also a third attitude, a more honest one – acceptance of your own  confusion whilst submitting  to the politics behind this confusion, justified in terms of an inability to decide which  ideas are valid because you can’t  check all the other positions/angles/facts. But this is another expression of resignation.

Whether it be those who accept the apparent objectivity of science, those who  resort to a purely subjective  selection of 57 varieties of facts dependent on whom they happen to read on the internet,  or those who more honestly admit to resigning themselves to the chaos and confusion imposed by dominant society, the imposed madness which seems to be an essential part of of its principle political strategy – all of them seem to have, at best, only one  aim – to make themselves and others as healthy as they think they were before this crisis, health being defined narrowly as being protected against the virus.  This conservative  aim, which is anyway an impossible dream and a nostalgic falsification of the misery of  pre-Covid times, thus wants desperately to believe in the saviour of a vaccine (or, more rationally, but less common in Western societies, other more tried and trusted immune-boosting methods).

Those who want to contribute to the revolutionary destruction of a society hell-bent on destroying all sense and the vast majority of human beings potentially able to destroy this senseless society, will have to pit themselves against these false choices. As part of this they will need to unravel aspects of the medical science surrounding Covid with the aim of subverting dominant discourse, past, present and future. Accepting science without filtering it through critical vigilance means acquiescence to developments that’ll be even worse than, though very different from,  the Industrial Revolution was for the peasantry. Selection of facts is inevitable, but selection that achieves progress towards clarity has to look at contradictory ‘facts’ as well as strive to unravel the reasons for these contradictions rather than be based on notions of objectivity or prejudiced taste or fatalistic resignation to confusion.  Questioning everything is a major aspect of the struggle to free oneself of received ideas,  unconscious taste, and the fog of contradictory information. It’s a major aspect of  breaking with excessive reliance on experts and science as well as  the domination of the past over the present, a major aspect of developing a genuine health – the  health of an attack on the totality of unhealthy conditions.

 

ADDED 30/12/20 (slightly modified 31/12):

This is my response to the latest distortions from libcom:

Nymphalis Antiopa on Libcom, in response to a mixture of quotes from me and things he said himself, got this reply from Red Marriot (RM):

“having co-ordinated a global conspiracy to securely falsify the scientific evidence; with all their resources they’ve used that to – MAKE US WEAR MASKS WHEN WE GO SHOPPING AND FOR MANY TO NOT WORK. If that’s all they have in their repressive arsenal we have little to worry about.”

In fact what I wrote, which NA quoted, doesn’t say anything of the sort – it says “For example, recent scientific research has shown that masks worn outside are utterly ineffective (see this: https://www.lefigaro.fr/vox/societe/le-masque-en-exterieur-est-il-un-moyen-de-lutte-efficace-contre-l-epidemie-20201211), but because these 2 arseholes, Clapton and Van Morrison, oppose masks this text feels the need to support them, even though they’re not only unnecessary outdoors but intensify dominant separation and the alienation of the streets, and are even unhealthy because you breathe in your own bacteria.”

I emphasise OUTSIDE – therefore not a reference to wearing them in shops or for whatever he means by “AND FOR MANY TO NOT WORK“. So almost all the rest of the discussion about masks is irrelevant to what I (and NA) have said. Now I may have got it wrong and perhaps been over-reactive to dominant discourse and state-imposed restrictions, as research has been contradictory, but there’s nothing in what I’ve said that says there’s a conspiracy. Far easier to have a pseudo-riposte to a caricature, a strawman, a jokey parody of someone’s position to make readers smile and warm to you than with what someone in fact says. Crude demagogy – gets all those upped votes from the libcommers eager to be manipulated by some politico because that’s what so many of them are used to doing themselves that they’re blind to it from others except when it’s directed at them.

RM virtually never concedes anything – regarding such concessions as weakness. Accepting anything from someone he dislikes would burst his ego. So, regardless of the accuracy of his “critiques” he invariably digs his heels in, whilst indulging in head-banging arguments that falsify those with whom he argues with. A politician mentality without any desire for state power but clearly with a desire to maintain his “theoretician”-type credibility on libcom, where he gets up votes for his gross distortions of someone who’s publicly an enemy of libcom. The recognition that RM has misrepresented what I have said is ignored because almost no-one on libcom likes me, and in dominant social relations what you accept from someone is unfortunately directly related to whether you like them or not, ignoring the fact that affection or repulsion or their absence  are also subject to the contradictions of this world.

The bacteria thing was a side issue mentioned because there’s anecdotal evidence from where I live (South West France) that people have had increased coughs and sneezes without it being diagnosed as Covid. Not important really and RM may even be right. But…

In France,  Spain and Israel (and other countries) wearing masks outside is compulsory. In France since the end of July, though not everywhere. The amount of deaths in the 5 months since August, when it became compulsory almost everywhere, is considerably greater than the period before when it wasn’t compulsory. In my small town (pop. 6000) up until the imposition of compulsory mask-wearing, non-compliance with which can get you fined 130 euros, there was not one single severe case of Covid. Not exactly a study that conforms to “scientific protocol” but it should make people question things a bit more than RM’s convenient and opportunist reliance on “consensus” (see earlier posts by him), as if he conforms to the consensus on almost any other subject.

In fact, despite RM’s and others recourse to “the consensus”, there is no consensus on the efficacy of masks (moreover consensus itself is being manipulated by state repression – and not just in China.; in France, doctors are fearful of disagreeing with the consensus because of various sackings and the threat of a trial against the most well-known of the dissidents – Didier Raoult).  The Danish study – https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M20-6817 – is usually seen as inconclusive, though it says, amongst all the mathematical calculations, that wearing them outside is useless. It emphasises the uselessness of surgical masks outside, but other studies have said surgical masks are better than cloth masks. It does not demonstrate the uselessness of the mask when it comes to a sick person who is in prolonged contact with others in a confined environment, which is obvious. Other reports say that they’re not useful:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343399832_Face_masks_lies_damn_lies_and_public_health_officials_A_growing_body_of_evidence

– which is then apparently debunked by this: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343263629_A_Complete_Debunking_of_Denis_Rancourt%27s_Mask_Don%27t_Work

But these are interesting:

https://www.kairospresse.be/article/port-du-masque-systematique/

Google translate:

While the measures taken in Belgium making it compulsory to wear a mask in many public places seem to go without saying for some, many doubts remain as to their real effectiveness. At Kairos, we are in contact with doctors who have opinions contrasting with the official voice. We relay their analyzes and concerns.

The mask saga has kept us busy all spring and continues to do so. Tragicomic or shameful depending on the reading that each citizen was kind enough to give it. Useless to compulsory in all places and all circumstances, the reversal of politicians’ jackets has been well known to us since Jacques Dutronc’s song. The inconstancy of those we call experts is, on the other hand, a new phenomenon which surprises and is obviously likely to encourage politicians to vary their messages over time and to destabilize citizens who, more often than not, come down to following their judgment. own or that of his next door neighbor. Can this versatility in the scientific world be explained? To issue a scientific opinion on the risk-benefit of a medical intervention, whether it is a drug, a medical device (prostheses, pace-maker, implant, etc.) or a preventive gesture, requires a structured approach: appointment of experts, evaluation procedure and consensus opinion. Are these 3 essential elements met in the case of wearing a mask as an element in the fight against Covid-19?
Procedures and conflicts of interest? Move along, there’s nothing to see !

The Prime Minister formed her group of experts on April 6, called the GEES [the group of experts preparing Belgium’s exit strategy from the coronavirus lockdown] on the basis of a deep belief in collective intelligence. Contrary to what one might think, it is not only a question of scientists since we also find Johnny Thijs, director of companies such as Electrabel and Pierre Wunsch, governor of the National Bank of Belgium and a long-time Reyndersian. A mixed composition cleverly designed to qualify the opinions of scientific experts. The Prime Minister’s website also says nothing about the procedure for appointing this group or any conflicts of interest of its members, which does not bode well in terms of transparency. One of the missions of the GEES is to “provide analyzes and recommendations”. This therefore implies a description of the evaluation procedures used as each time this type of work is carried out within, for example, scientific societies or the drug reimbursement commission. Here again, the Première’s site is silent.

Let us come to the masks and the successive recommendations. On January 28, the Soir-titre: “wearing a mask is useless and ineffective according to the Belgian health authorities”. Marc Van Ranst, future member of the GEES and Steven Van Gucht, spokesperson for the government express that “it is useless and is even potentially dangerous”. On April 5, the day before the constitution of the GEES, the Minister of Health Maggie De Block communicated that “wearing a mask scientifically does not make sense”. Other scientists will gradually argue against his positions. On April 24, the GEES issues a strategic report for the deconfinement. Wearing a mask is strongly recommended in public spaces from the age of 12, but not yet compulsory. The scientific basis for this recommendation is not disclosed. At the end of April, Erika Vlieghe, who chairs the GEES, says in the Morgen that “the mask is a layer of varnish”. Finally, on July 17, a new report recommends wearing masks even indoors when spaces bring many people together for extended periods of time and social distancing cannot be respected. This new report tells us that could last until after winter, with the arrival of a vaccine.

It does not seem that opinions are necessarily unanimous or the subject of a consensus within the GEES, which is not surprising given its composition. Is there a scientific basis for these changes in opinion? Traditionally, for decades, we have relied on making scientific recommendations on what is called evidence-based medicine. The highest level of evidence which allows a strong level of recommendation is obtained by obtaining multiple studies of high methodological quality comparing an option A to an option B and which allows the recommendation that a treatment or a procedure is beneficial, useful and efficient, this which means that it presents a favorable cost-benefit. The lowest level of evidence is obtained on the basis of expert opinion or small, non-comparative studies.

What about wearing the generalized mask in a Covid-19 situation and what justifies the change in position of the GEES? On March 3, the Cochrane research group, the pope of evidence-based medicine, a non-profit association of 28,000 scientists in more than 100 countries, published that “if certain gestures such as washing your hands or wearing gloves or a mask can perhaps reducing the spread of respiratory viruses the evidence is very low ”. Another systematic study published this year by Marasinghe of the University of Waterloo in Canada also concludes that there is no evidence of the benefit of compulsory mask wearing. Since then, only a German publication using a model comparing several regions where the compulsory wearing of the mask has been introduced goes in a different direction, but here again the level of evidence is insufficient.
What should we conclude from this?

1. There is no sufficiently established scientific argument today to impose the wearing of a mask on the entire population.

2. Recommendations issued to the public by a group of experts must be justified by proven and strong scientific evidence. This is not the case with the GEES.

3. These recommendations must be transparent and the evidence on which they are based must be accessible to all. In their absence, the recommendations are likely to confuse the population, inducing rebellious behavior linked to a strong loss of confidence. The risk of accelerated spread of the virus is significant. There is also a great risk of seeing scientists who are not part of the GEES express divergent opinions in the media, further accentuating the public’s unease. This is what is happening today.

4. The current strategic option goes totally against the evolution of modern medicine: the concept of “one size fits all” is completely outdated. Different recommendations must be given to subgroups of society: health professionals, frail people, asymptomatic carriers and relatives of infected patients.

5. Experts need to provide a precise risk-benefit analysis of the systematic wearing of the mask for each of these groups.

6. The opinions issued must be in consultation with neighboring countries in view of the easy access to the media of these countries by citizens. A cacophony of recommendations also has an extremely detrimental effect on compliance with them. This is what we can observe with France in particular.

7. Finally, we may be surprised that no study has been initiated at European level on the usefulness of wearing a mask in view of the lack of scientific evidence and the particularly high cost of this strategy. The virulent criticism of Professor Raoult’s essays, imperfect though they were, contrasts sharply with a strategy based on the scientific vacuum with regard to the wearing of the mask. It is far from certain that such a study would come out positive, but at least we would be fixed. As if we already considered that only a vaccine can save us all and that it is necessary to maintain the anxiety of the wider population in order to guarantee mass vaccination of the carpet bombing type, in view of the colossal investments to which the European community has largely contributed.

– Cardiologist, anonymous

and this from the same site:

https://www.kairospresse.be/article/politique-du-masque/

“The mask: a great opportunity to argue, to divide us, and to leave the field even more open to the power of experts and States. Because while some talk about health, others think about politics. Basically, is it so incompatible?

It would be easy to begin this article with the beautiful “inversion of the genitive” which has so much more to Marx and Engels: from the philosophy of misery to the misery of philosophy, and so on, to the Situationists who have used it. to satiety. However, if the policy of the mask is indeed a way of masking politics, it is not just any policy that masks the mask, but a specific policy. Unveiling what, in our opinion, wears the mask and which is hidden behind can only have the first consequence of separating us from a few comrades who will wear, or not, the mask, and will have, on the mask again and again, a practical position. different from ours.

This is the first success of the mask policy: far from being primarily a health barrier, it is above all a subject of discussion, and even better (for the authorities): of disputes. And these disputes, in the climate of chaos and inconsistencies and fears that is that of this year 2020 – and which is likely to intensify even further in the future since it has been at least half a century since the Fear is the basis of politics – of these disputes, therefore, it is very likely that discordances will appear such that they will amplify to divisions or even schism.

Therein lies the master stroke: if some think that the health policy of social distancing is so crucial that it must transcend the divisions between us to somehow reconstitute a human species fighting all in concert for its own preservation, and this even if the price to pay is called precisely social distancing – and in reality the rupture of a number of social ties -, then we can without much risk prophesy that those who will think “on the margins” and will not believe in the virtues of the mask as a tool of reconstruction of humanity will find themselves even more on the margins: stigmatized as enemies. Not class enemies, because it has been a long time since the recomposition of the (proletarian) class was abandoned by its very singers. The stigmatized-marginalized will be referred to simply as enemies of mankind. Even life.

In the politics of the mask, we see above all the mask of a certain policy, that which brandishes health fear, which creates fear through inconsistency, and therefore a real politics of fear. It is of course the fear of health that justifies the measures, but it is easy to show that the health policy itself is inconsistent. We wear a mask, and we have to wear it in some closed places, but some closed places are more prone to virus exchange than others. Trains, for example, usually group together travelers who share a route or a portion of a route, but before arriving at the station of departure? and after exiting the arrival station? These travelers may be carriers of viruses from afar, or take viruses contracted on the train with them when they get off the train, far from their place of origin. However, and to limit the commercial abyss of the railways in 2020, travelers are not subjected, on the trains, to measures of social distancing as rigorous as in other places which are sometimes less closed. Everyone will be able to complete the list of inconsistencies at their leisure, and possibly be satisfied with a basic banality: even if the mask is not used very much, this is never a reason not to do everything possible where we can in the goal of avoiding spreading the epidemic. Certainly, but this is where the bottom line of the mask policy comes into play: it only aims to increase the level of fear even further, at a time when the epidemic itself seems to be stalling, at least in Europe. It is not the mask itself that increases the level of fear, since it would, conversely, calm some people; what is scary is to see, all around us, all these masked people, while our imagination, and even our simple condition of living beings, invites us from eternity not to mask ourselves. If carnival offers us this possibility, it is precisely because carnival is a reversal of the usual order of norms. Could it be that the standards of our society are being overthrown? Especially not: the power of experts remains very strong, and that of States does not waver …

But if the mask is first of all the mask of a policy, the question is necessarily: was the mask imposed for health reasons, or to increase the level of fear? The second option will necessarily be qualified as “conspiratorial”, a term whose success has not been denied since September 11, 2001. Once again, the division is shaping up between us, who are to varying degrees opponents of the politics of the fear – in the absence, precisely, of being all of them to the politics of the mask. To free ourselves from this sort of semantic and political trap, let’s offer another point of view.

Among the front-line supporters of the mask, some are driven by simple health considerations, others by the banal idea that it is better to take all precautions regardless of the cost in terms of freedoms; a few others, genuinely cynical, try to stay in power by increasing fear. Let us note first of all that, in this last square, there can be both politicians and scientists, without forgetting of course the pharmaceutical trusts which also have everything to gain from this pandemic anyway. But the most important thing is that, finally, the compulsory wearing of the mask brings together these three main categories of people, all favorable to the mask, and that it is thus, whatever we may think of its health utility, a good tool to expand the policy of profiling, population control. And it does not matter, it does not even matter at all whether those who make the final decisions do so out of health concerns, out of a desire to cover themselves up a priori or out of outright political cynicism. The result is there: the end justifies the means.

In this case, we believe that no end can justify abject means, but it is an indisputable fact that “in the face”, this kind of questioning does not exist. So we are not fighting on exactly the same ground, and not at all with the same weapons.

How, then, to counter the control policy that the mask embodies? We could “over mask” ourselves, and wear for example, over the regulatory mask, that of Anonymous, Guy Fawkes (“V for Vendetta”). The answer sounds pretty consistent, doesn’t it? But this is strictly forbidden, in France at least (it is forbidden to hide the whole face, says the law). Above all, we could decide that since wearing a mask is anti-human, we might as well develop our human activities, properly human, all those that do not imply compulsory compliance with the ban.

And finally overturn the ban like a glove: we refuse the obligation to wear a mask and we will do everything possible to do without “closed places” where it is compulsory to wear it. Thus, we will no longer go to the theater but will do theater in the street; we will no longer go to the cinema but will screen films outdoors. And since we have to go to the supermarket to feed ourselves, we might as well develop collective market gardening, collective orchards, and so on.

As for the much thornier problem of the school, why not create our own schools? Because the laws absolutely do not prohibit it, and in France for example, there are very few legal constraints to create a school.

Of course, these few avenues are still very broad, even vague or difficult to implement. But the object of this text, more practical than theoretical, was to show the coherence of the ecological project, based on the refusal to achieve, decreasing, slow in the sense that this word has acquired in recent years, marked by voluntary simplicity, the ” small is beautiful ”by Schumacher.

The state, by the inconsistency of its decisions, does not disqualify what we are fighting for. And that’s a great thing because in the final analysis it’s simple proof that we’re right. As someone who may not have bought into these words once said, “History will absolve us.” Magnificent perspective!

Philippe godard
Author”

Whereas this: https://www.livescience.com/face-mask-new-coronavirus.html says “yes “ and “no”.

But let’s look at the logic of all this.

If you’re asymptomatic as opposed to pre-symptomatic (ie temporarily not having symptoms but developing them later on) you do not infect others. People who test positive form a minority of the population and symptomatic people form a minority of that minority, and the pre-symptomatic phase of the latter is quite short. A small portion of these symptomatic people will develop severe forms, some of which will be fatal. On the basis of a minority of a minority of a minority, is it necessary to mask the whole population, starting with children over 10, who almost only develop asymptomatic forms of the disease? Steven, on libcom says “the general projection now in the US [is] that universal mask wearing help save around 50,000 lives in the next few months.” On the one hand he doesn’t bother to say whether it’s a question of masks worn outside or not, on the other hand, it’s a projection, an abstract hypothesis . Macron said they’d already saved 400,000 lives with their Covid policies. But this is just propaganda based on fuck-all. To paraphrase a friend, we now find ourselves in a scenario like “Minority Report”: just as the power described by P.K.Dick claims to punish criminals even before they have acted, so the various states impose measures on people before they even have a problem on the basis of the minority of those who die, who are a minority of those who have symptoms, who are a minority of those who get Covid, who are a minority of the general population. This is even worse than P.K.Dick’s Minority Report since here it is the entire population which is the target and not simply a minority of potential patients.

My friend continued: “If we absolutely want to treat people who to a very small extent are sick and to apply a principle of absolute precaution, if we absolutely want to treat the problem upstream and cut off at the source any possibility of disease among human beings, the best is still to avoid being born because to be born is to take the risk of being sick and it is, inevitably, to end up dying: you might as well not live at all! As the Silenus of Greek mythology said: “It is best for man not to be born and if this misfortune happens to him the best is to die as soon as possible.”

There seems to be a massive disconnect in people’s general attitude towards the various states during this crisis (of which RedM’s is an example): almost everyone agrees that the various governments’ responses have largely been clueless in different ways, but when it comes to things like masks or vaccines or anything deemed “scientific” cluelessness is often  the last thing people attribute to such policies. As if the ruling class haven’t hidden behind the pretense of objectivity of the constantly contradictory scientific “experts” ever since the start of all this madness.

The most repulsive aspect of the dominant libcom discourse is caricaturing anyone who criticises what they have deemed is the consensus as a “conspiracy theorist”.  RM says “some always make profits from any crisis but that doesn’t prove that this is a preferred or chosen strategy for the ruling class instituted to aid more repression” as if  I had said that they chose this situation rather than they’re using it, and using it very obviously as a pretext for various forms of repression – eg in France in some departments there’s going to be a 6pm curfew from January 2nd onwards, and almost everywhere there’s an 8pm curfew. You’d have to be a fool not to realise that there’s no health logic to this measure. Saying this is no more an assertion of  “conspiracy theory” than saying imprisoning poor people for petty theft, whilst letting the big thieves thrive, is talking like a conspiracy theorist. But nowadays this so-called “libertarian” left is so utterly complicit with the dominant ideology that it conveniently jumps on all criticism of, say, suspicion towards the various vaccines, the one-size-fits-all lockdowns regardless of local conditions, or the obligation to wear masks even in virtually empty streets, as “conspiracy theory”, a sickening way of parodying and dismissing the most basic recognition of the heavy illogical measures imposed by various states as the ramblings of a lunatic. It’s basic to even the most banal of critiques that  capital and the state use such events and use them in order to attack the most applicable aspect of P.K.Dick’s story – repressing in advance what for the rulers is the crime that contains all crimes – the explosion of a class opposition that surely would have happened with the economic crisis that was predicted well before the advent of Covid. And in not focusing on that,  the  pseudo-revolutionaries at libcom and elsewhere can do nothing to oppose it except shit on all those who try, despite making mistakes, to attack the very obvious repressive uses that capital and the state have made of this situation, to contemptuously humiliate  and parody them  as “conspiracy theorists”.

How to protect yourself and others


For something on the politics of libcom from 8 years ago, see this.

 

SamFanto was born, and then he lived a bit but never enough.

Egypt, september – october 2020

6/10/20:

Protests continue whilst hundreds of thousands of Egyptians are threatened with homelessness as state destroys “illegal” buildings

“The government has stipulated residents must pay a down payment for reconciliation if their houses are constructed “illegally”, to prevent them from being demolished under the Reconciliation Law on Building Violations. They say it is part of a crackdown on illegal buildings that violate safety standards, whilst critics accuse them of raising funds and being part of a plan to gentrify the country. The settlement fee is between 50 Egyptian pounds ($3.18) and 2,000 Egyptian pounds ($127.16) per square metre. According to Reuters, authorities had collected roughly seven billion Egyptian pounds ($445.1 million) in fees by mid-September. Egyptians protested outside government buildings demanding compensation for their losses after thousands found themselves homeless and sleeping in tents where their houses once stood. Others challenged and blocked authorities entering their towns and villages to demolish their homes…Thousands of residential buildings have been demolished over the past several weeks. Since 20 September Egyptians have been demonstrating against the ruling regime because soaring living costs have made the country uninhabitable. Facing the threat of having your house demolished compounds an already dire situation following years of economic austerity, high prices and the effects of the global coronavirus pandemic.”

4/10/20:

Egypt, Luxur: clashes on 3rd anti-government demo in 2 weeks after “security forces” kill brother of suspect .  See also this Wikipedia entry and this Guardian report

30/9/20:

 Egypt: 164 protests over last  days against cop killings and high cost of “living” over 1000 media sites blocked in order to censor information about anti-government demos

25/9/20:

Egypt: man killed on 6th demonstration day in a row as protests flare throughout country.

“The rare protests – dubbed by demonstrators as a “Friday of rage” – took place across cities, towns and rural areas in Egypt after noon prayers, including in the capital, Cairo, and the governorates of Giza, Damietta on the Nile Delta and Luxor in southern Egypt.”

21/9/20:

Minya: armoured cop vehicle pushed into canal

“Protesters in Egypt have seized an armoured police vehicle in the Badrasheen Centre in Giza. According to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, another group of protesters in Al-Hawarta village in Minya Governorate pushed a security vehicle into a canal. The action was in response to security forces firing tear gas canisters and bullets at demonstrators. Protests in Egypt against the rule of Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi continued yesterday for the second day in a row…protests broke out in Shubra Al-Khaimah in Qalyubia governorate, Warraq in Giza, Dar Al-Salam in Fayoum Governorate, Al-Ayyat in Giza. They also reached Suez, Kafr El Dawwar on the Nile Delta, Cairo, Alexandria and Aswan, where reports circulated online that the presidential residence had been set fire to.”

20/9/20:

Egypt, Aswan: presidential building torched after cops attack demonstrators; demos in lots of different part of country as state launches attacks on informal illegally constructed buildings

“People in Kadiya in Giza Governorate, angry at the demolitions of buildings claimed by the government to have been illegally built, turned over a police truck. Protests continued on 21 and 22 September. Protest locations on 22 September included Giza, Faiyum, Minya, Luxor and Aswan. In the village of al-Kadaya in Atfih, protestors refused a police objection to the holding of a protest by overturning a police car and setting it on fire. In al-Hawarta in Minya Governorate, protestors pushed a police vehicle into a canal.”

demonstrations in several part of country against high cost of living

Google translate:

Limited demonstrations took place at night during the past few days in some areas of Cairo and the governorates to protest the high cost of living. Egyptian security sources said that ten people had been arrested for “inciting to block the highway,” east of Cairo….On the other hand, four people were arrested in possession of Molotov cocktails in Luxor Governorate, in southern Egypt, according to what security sources said….
These sources added that the arrested “were preparing to use these bottles to stir up riots” in Luxor….Limited night demonstrations took place for several days against President Sisi. The Egyptian Public Prosecutor’s Office releases 68 children who participated in demonstrations against Sisi…The security authorities managed to control the protests. This comes in light of a state of security alert in Cairo and a number of Egyptian governorates, after the Egyptian contractor residing in Spain, Muhammad Ali, called on citizens to demonstrate. During the past few days, the country witnessed limited night demonstrations in a number of villages calling on Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to leave power….The Egyptian security forces have arrested dozens of people over the past week on charges of joining a banned group and assaulting the police. The Supreme State Security Prosecution ordered the detention of more than 100 people pending investigations…According to news reports, the marches covered several areas, including the governorates of Cairo, Giza, Suez, Mahalla, Fayoum, Minya, Sohag, Luxor and Aswan. In some of them, clashes erupted between demonstrators and security forces who fired tear gas canisters in an attempt to disperse them….It also comes in light of mounting anger among a sector of Egyptians over government decisions that decided to demolish a large number of homes, which the authorities say were built without a permit on state land, and statements by President Al-Sisi threatening to use the army in demolitions if necessary. It is noted that the number of violators is in the millions, and most of them are in the countryside, which makes this issue extremely important to many Egyptians. But Sisi’s supporters spoke of exaggerated coverage of the demonstrations, saying that those behind them failed to mobilize citizens.”

 

SamFanto was born, and then he lived a bit but never enough.

Venezuela: massive movement, September 2020

“All you need is love class consciousness!”

…not all you need but a good beginning.

 

The bits quoted below are from Google Translate (my Spanish is very rusty).

28/9/20:

Venezuela: riots in 19 of the country’s 23 states100 protests throughout country

In the south of San Carlos, Cojedes, protests continue. At 7:30 pm  citizens who were on Rómulo Betancourt Avenue, burned a vehicle due to the absence of electric service in the state….Likewise, residents of La Herrereña burned rubber due to lack of domestic gas. They register 17 protests due to lack of gasoline this Monday in Nueva Esparta. At least 76 protests have been registered this Monday in various regions of Venezuela due to failures in the supply of services such as: electricity, drinking water, domestic gas and gasoline, a situation that has unleashed numerous demonstrations in recent days . Through social networks, riots have been reported in 19 of the 23 states of the country, some of which have involved the use of tear gas and pellets by security forces…Since Friday, the Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict has counted nearly 100 demonstrations in almost all regions of the country….Venezuela closed August with 748 protests motivated by the precariousness of services, especially due to the shortage of gasoline, but also due to the difficulty in accessing medicine and food and the “pulverization of wages”. The president in charge of the Republic, Juan Guaidó on Sunday urged Venezuelans to join the protests, especially one called by the teachers for next October 5.

25/9/20:

Venezuela Yaracuy: clashes in 3 towns due to lack of everything (water, gas, electricity, food); mayor forced to leave  town

The security forces could not cope trying to  suppress the protest …The street protest took place in the municipalities Bruzual, José Vicente Peña, Cocorote, San Felipe and Independencia, where a sea of ​​people came out to demand from the government in power a better distribution of gas, food, equitable sale of fuel and better services of toilet, water and electricity….Abuses of power by representatives of Poliyaracuy were one of the most frequent complaints; The uniformed men openly entered the houses located on Avenues 4 and 5 of the Bruzual municipality to arrest the protesters, whom they mounted on their motorcycles with physical violence. This same irregular situation was seen in the municipalities of Peña and San Felipe, where neighbors reported to El Pitazo the arbitrary apprehension of a 16-year-old teenager and an athlete from the Yaracuy state cycling team for recording street activities….Likewise, State Police officials attacked a group of journalists who were covering the events of social protest in the municipality of Independencia, after throwing a tear gas at their feet….One of the most critical moments on the third day of the protests that shook the Yaracuy state was when an angry mob smashed the glass of doors and windows of the Mayor’s Office of the Bruzual municipality with stones and beat four military personnel guarding the headquarters with sticks …These actions of social discontent motivated the governor, Julio León Heredia, to move in the afternoon to the jurisdiction of Bruzual, guarded by a strong security cordon to assess the damage caused to state buildings by the social outbreak…The assistance centers located in the municipalities where there were street disturbances were not able to cope with the number of people who entered due to suffocation due to the inhalation of smoke from tear gas, as well as those injured by blunt objects.Unofficially, it was learned that of the 12 people who were injured in these street protests, eight are military personnel and four are civilians…

More hereThe municipality of Bruzual, in the Yaracuy state, in western Venezuela, turned into a nightmare. There has been no gas for four months, electricity is out several times a day and the water supply is constantly cut off. Fed up and desperate, the neighbors took to the streets. An unknown number of people were detained and at least one public building was damaged after a series of anti-government protests in the state…”Repression of special forces of the GNB (Bolivarian National Guard, militarized Police) was responded by demonstrators with stones and fire at the headquarters of the Mayor of Chivacoa, Bruzual municipality, (state of) Yaracuy,” said OVCS on Twitter. In the same message, the NGO attached a video in which around fifty people can be seen confronting riot police, who leave a sector after being overwhelmed. Later, the protesters set fire to the ground floor of the building where the Mayor’s Office operates, which also suffered serious structural damage caused by stones. …The protests in this state of the interior of Venezuela, punished by the severe crisis that the country is going through, began 4 days ago to demand the regularization of the supply of fuel, scarce like other goods, and of the electricity service, which presents failures throughout the country . According to the OVCS, this Saturday there were protests in at least 7 of the 14 municipalities of the entity, most of them dissolved by the police forces with the use of tear gas and pellets.”

23/9/20:

Venezuela, Yaracuy: massive protests

Five days of protests leave at least 18 people injured and about twenty detained for demanding water, electricity, gas and gasoline…The constant failures of public services caused Venezuelans to return to the streets. Such is the case of the inhabitants of Yaracuy state, who since Tuesday, September 22, have not stopped protesting demanding water, electricity, gas and gasoline, receiving in return repression from state security officials. The citizens of the Urachiche community expressed their feelings through a demonstration to denounce the shortage of fuel, the collapse of all public services and the lack of public transportation in the region….The inhabitants who were stationed in the surroundings of the Plaza Bolívar, expressed that they will complete four months without receiving gas service, apart from the constant power cuts. Minutes later, the local security forces dispersed the demonstrators with tear gas canisters and detained at least eight people who were placed under the order of the Prosecutor 4 of the Public Ministry for the alleged crimes: disorderly conduct, terrorism and incitement to hatred. .
…The mayor of the Bruzual municipality, Carmen Victoria Suárez, indicated that street demonstrations are “prohibited” and that people who go out to “create” disturbances “do not have permission to concentrate on public roads.”

See also this.

A few incidents from the last 6 months

26/7/20:

Anzoategui: cops kill man during riot over fuel shortages

This is the second death in a month in protests against fuel shortages in Venezuela – on July 17 an 18-year-old man died of a gunshot wound on an island in the state of Zulia, in the west of the country.
Since the beginning of the year, the OVCS has identified more than 4,000 events organized in the country to demand in particular an increase in salaries or the improvement of public services. Dozens of people were injured and four people were killed – including the two deaths on Sunday – during these demonstrations
“.
Should be pointed out that this article doesn’t seem to be entirely accurate: 1 death was on the 26th, the other on the 17th.

9/5/20:

Venezuela, Monagas: riots and looting during food distribution day

8/5/20:

Tachira: riot over electricity cuts

1/5/20:

Venezuela,  Guanare: “Socialist” state celebrates mayday by  murdering 17 during prison mutiny

“Public order disturbances” took place in the Los Llanos prison center in Guanare (west), when detainees broke down “the security fencing around the perimeter” outside the prison, “in a mass escape attempt”…Prison staff, guarded by soldiers, attempted mediation with the chief of the mutineers. But the inmates attacked them violently, injuring the prison warden “on the shoulder with a sharp object.”…”The conflict is underway,” said Carolina Giron of the Venezuelan Prison Observatory, an NGO that defends the rights of detainees, to AFP. According to her, the detainees rose up because they were victims of violence and “because they are not allowed any visit and they have no bread or water”. According to her, 2,500 prisoners are crowded in an establishment with a capacity of 750 places. Due to the coronavirus pandemic which is also raging in Venezuela, visits to detainees of families and relatives have been interrupted. However, prisoners often receive food and medicine through these visits. According to the Observatory, some 97 detainees died behind bars last year, 70% of them from illnesses such as tuberculosis, due to lack of medicines and medical care. Another detainee advocacy organization, Una Ventana a la libertad (A Window to Liberty), said that some 192 people died last year in police station cells due to lack of space in prisons. Venezuelan authorities say there have been no cases of coronavirus in prisons in the country.”

26/4/20:

Venezuela, Margarita: hotel looted

a group of vandals looted the tourist Hotel Portofino located in the Manzanillo sector, Nueva Esparta. Photos and videos published on the Twitter platform demonstrate the theft of mattresses, furniture, chairs and even washing machines … at least 35 people who participated in the robbery were captured by REDI officials, including women, men and minors. Mattresses, furniture, beds, air conditioners, kitchen implements, plastic chairs, televisions, among others, was part of what the security forces were able to recover.

25/4/20:

Venezuela, Miranda: looting in 2 areas as scarcity bites during lockdownMore about other looting in April

24/4/20:

Venezuela: looting in several areas of  2 towns

SamFanto was born, and then he lived a bit but never enough.

US head of “health” & “human” services warns of post-election insurrection

“The top communications official at the powerful cabinet department in charge of combating the coronavirus made outlandish and false accusations on Sunday that career government scientists were engaging in “sedition” in their handling of the pandemic and that left-wing hit squads were preparing for armed insurrection after the election.

Michael R. Caputo, the assistant secretary of public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, accused the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of harboring a “resistance unit” determined to undermine President Trump, even if that opposition bolsters the Covid-19 death toll.

Mr. Caputo, who has faced intense criticism for leading efforts to warp C.D.C. weekly bulletins to fit Mr. Trump’s pandemic narrative, suggested that he personally could be in danger from opponents of the administration. “If you carry guns, buy ammunition, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s going to be hard to get,” he urged his followers.

He went further, saying his physical health was in question, and his “mental health has definitely failed.”” – https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/14/us/politics/caputo-virus.html

SamFanto was born, and then he lived a bit but never enough.

Democrats take up Trump’s ideology

US: on the Democrats taking up Trump’s ideology

X writes:

The analysis offered here is a joint project of IGD and Crimethinc. The critical points it makes about the Democrats adopting Trump’s talking points and making the demand that “anarchists are prosecuted” echoes the prescient comment of the comrade who said more than a fortnight ago that the election was going to be “the party of law and order vs. the party of law and order.”

The additional point that the Democrats, in their increasing anxiety that Trump may actually thumb his nose at them and stay in office if the outcome of the election doesn’t suit him, will  have to depend on the very forces of BLM and antifa they are presently using as their scapegoats, the only entity with the chance of effectively counteracting what will amount to a right-wing coup d’ etat, is well taken. What is missing from this, or insufficiently pursued it seems, is what the anti-authoritarians and and anti-racists are going to do right now to make themselves strong enough that the natural evolution after a coup is thwarted – namely the suppression of the ‘unruly elements’ that will have allowed the parliamentary pseudo-opposition to Trump to crawl back out of the ashcan of history – is thwarted as well. That is where the real discussion now must begin.

Trump endorses summary execution

““That’s the way it has to be,” Trump said after U.S. marshals killed a man suspected in a deadly shooting in Portland, Oregon, last month….Trump also appeared to suggest that law enforcement officers take similar action against demonstrators suspected of committing violent acts. He made his comments as protesters across the country demonstrate against racism and police brutality amid the police killings of Black Americans. “You can’t throw bricks at guys with shields on them,” he said. Reinoehl’s shooting death came the same day that Trump took to Twitter to call for Reinoehl’s arrest, calling him a “cold blooded killer.”…One witness told The Washington Post that he never saw Reinoehl pull out a gun. Nate Dinguss said he saw officers pull up to Reinoehl in two unmarked police vehicles, get out without identifying themselves and immediately start firing their weapons at him. But two other witnesses told The Olympian that they saw Reinoehl fire what they thought was an assault rifle at the unmarked SUVs after the vehicles pulled up to him…If Reinoehl threatened officers or posed a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to them, they would not need a reason to warn him before opening fire. The American criminal justice system presumes that a suspect is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Taking punitive action against a suspect before then would run counter to that system.”

X writes:

Keeping in mind the statement of Trump ally Stone that Trump impose martial law if he is not elected, we can see an increasingly clear profile of one section of the US ruling class that has left bourgeois legality completely behind, is not effectively challenged by the proponents of legality (principally because they must support a law enforcement that is already heavily disposed toward extra-judicial measures and composed largely of fascist sympathizers) in government or civil society, and is increasingly committed to an eventually unsustainable rule by means of state and vigilante/Freikorps terror. Trump’s speech here amounts to open advocacy of political murder of anyone who manifests a public physical opposition to the regime and who advocates self-defense against the state-sponsored domestic terrorism presently taking shape.

WWII 2.0 is looking like it’s going to be a planet-wide civil war, with the anti-fascists starting in a considerably more dire situation than they did in 1918-1937, when they were effectively defeated before the war moved on to become a conflict between imperialist powers. Those expecting the Democratic Party or the US military to provide a bulwark against this accelerating movement towards fascism are to be sorely disappointed.

Trump does not always endorse summary execution

Cops sadly not executed

“A handful of protesters gathered outside the hospital where the injured deputies were being treated. The protesters tried to provoke deputies stationed outside and at one point were prevented from entering the emergency room…Videos from the scene recorded at least one person in the crowd yelling, “I hope they … die.” A radio reporter who was near the protest scene was taken into custody. The sheriff’s department later tweeted that the reporter interfered with the arrest of a male protester.”

More here

“…ambush on two deputies ‘was a revenge attack against officers for recent police shootings against black men in LA’…the neighborhood had been ‘plagued by deputy gangs that inflict fear and violence in the community’. ‘These deputies murdered, framed and stole from the community just because they could…Good deputies never turned on bad deputies for fear of retaliation and when caught most of these bad deputies kept their jobs and continued on their criminal career.’ “

A study in contrasts:

Heavily armed federally-deputized gunmen murder an antifascist whose only crime was to defend a friend of color against a fascist with a knife, and “that’s the way it has to be,” says Trump. “There has to be retribution” so that fascist trash can invade and terrorize communities with impunity and not have to worry that someone will get the idea to finally finish off all fascists, in and out of uniform. Meanwhile, the notion that we have a right to defend our communities against neo-nazi filth who invade them and inflict violence upon us is a topic on which Joe Biden, and the rest of the Democratic Party pseudo-opposition, remain silent. Now there’s a surprise!…But a single person (with perhaps a lookout) and a single pistol shoots two members of the notoriously brutal LA County Sheriff’s Department, and it’s a “cold-blooded shooting” which is “unconscionable,” and whose perpetrator must be brought to “justice.” (see this) Now there’s another surprise! Even at the scene of the shooting, LA law enforcement found themselves incapable of restraining their proclivity for unprovoked violence as they beat up and arrested a member of the press. About that attack Biden was silent again. A night of surprises! The Democratic Party’s attitude toward the struggle against the ultra-right in the US is at “best” one of passive obstruction. This is the “practical alternative” neo-liberalism presents as its tepid alternative to Trump’s aggressive and increasingly overt neo-fascism. On such a frail and rotting reed depends bourgeois democracy (the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie) in our time. But then the bourgeoisie and its allies have always played with  fascism &/or let it develop if they feel threatened – from the Freikorps of 1918 to the present day via Churchill’s admiration for Mussolini. The uprising  in the US following George Floyd’s murder threatened the multi-millionaire Biden as much as it did the more obvious advocates of dictatorship. The election poses a clear choice: the party of law and order versus the party of order and law. “Order” here  being a synonym for the chaos and constant disorder imposed on the majority of people’s lives by the constant  “anarchy of the market” system, which just as you think you’ve got some sense of stability pulls the rug from right under you.

SamFanto was born, and then he lived a bit but never enough.

Some articles on Coronavirus vaccines

Posted 17th September 2020

This, from a Green EU politician,  states that the European Union, on 10th July 2020, gave the go-ahead for the production of Genetically Modified vaccines without verifying, through experiments, any environmental or health safeguard!!! This means the whole world – or at least EU countries –  have  been explicitly transformed into involuntary guinea pigs. Meanwhile, this story that hit the headlines for 5 minutes before being buried under endless pictures of people not maintaining social distancing,  reports “The Oxford coronavirus vaccine trial is facing a “challenge”, the health secretary has admitted, after it was put on hold due to a suspected serious adverse reaction in one of its volunteers…The nature of the adverse reaction and when it happened are not currently known.” However, after 4 days the trials were resumed without  any official indication of what had gone wrong. But the New York Times reported that the just mentioned volunteer in the UK trial had been diagnosed with transverse myelitis: “Symptoms include weakness and numbness of the limbs, deficits in sensation and motor skills, dysfunctional urethral and anal sphincter activities, and dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system that can lead to episodes of high blood pressure….sensation to pain or light touch is impaired. Motor weakness…mainly affects the muscles that flex the legs and extend the arms…Back pain can occur at the level of any inflamed segment of the spinal cord…all four limbs may be affected and there is risk of respiratory failure Lesions of the lower cervical region (C5–T1) will cause a combination of upper and lower motor neuron signs in the upper limbs, and exclusively upper motor neuron signs in the lower limbs. Cervical lesions account for about 20% of cases…A lesion of the lumbar segment, the lower part of the spinal cord (L1S5) often produces a combination of upper and lower motor neuron signs in the lower limbs. Lumbar lesions account for about 10% of cases.”

Not hard to recognise what might happen if GM vaccines are permitted without even standard trials which are not even a guarantee of much safety anyway (eg the hundred thousand or so people each year who die in the US from totally “safe” – ho ho – drugs, drugs that have passed these standard tests). And these scum complain Dr.Raoult’s specific mix of hydroxychloraquine and the antibiotic azithromycine has not been subjected to any “scientific” health experiments . Certainly further proof that this crisis is an opportunity for the maniacs who  rule us to do things that they think they could not do before. Whilst anti-vaxxers can often be simplistic and dogmatic, there’s a fundamental basis for such fears.

And now there’s this: Scientists are working on vaccines that spread like a disease. What could possibly go wrong?

“Self-spreading vaccines could indeed entail serious risks, and the prospect of using them raises challenging questions. Who decides, for instance, where and when a vaccine should be released? Once released, scientists will no longer be in control of the virus. It could mutate, as viruses naturally do. It may jump species. It will cross borders. There will be unexpected outcomes and unintended consequences. There always are. While it may turn out to be technically feasible to fight emerging infectious diseases like COVID-19, AIDS, Ebola, and Zika with self-spreading viruses, and while the benefits may be significant, how does one weigh those benefits against what may be even greater risks?”

Second coronavirus vaccine volunteer suffers rare neurological condition 

“A 37-year-old woman suffered a rare neurological condition that left her struggling to walk…”
Marvelous the way they say “the two cases were unlikely to be associated with the vaccine…” A rare disease amongst 2 people volunteering for the trial of the vaccine. Pure coincidence! Like the melting of the icecaps being just something that happens naturally every few thousand years – nothing to do with commodity-induced rich-man-made climate change, nothing to do with the car economy and capitalist industry in general.
This article also says that only one third make a full or near full recovery from this ‘transverse myelitis’ “with most of their symptoms gone” after 2 years. Nothing to worry about then.

Cons like snake oil at least had the advantage of not usually having an adverse effect on those seeking a quick cure

On the 19th of September in London there were  clashes with cops on an anti-mask anti-vaccination demo. The demo was a mix of right-wingers, left-wingers, anarchists and unalligned, symptomatic of this crazy confused epoch. Pertinent critiques mixed with excessively simplistic stuff by terribly muddle-headed weirdos. Some of these people believe  in the absurdity of vaccines being the state’s or private interests’ method of injecting microchips into people’s bodies. Which distracts and distorts the very good reasons to be against vaccinations (though not dogmatically – there are some situations where they may have some uses). Even if some of these ideologies fall into  fantasy conspiracy theories , there’s still a great deal of validity to a critique of vaccinations being developed by the powers-that-be, as the horrific implications of what’s above show.

For a long chronological list of aspects of things relevant to the Coronavirus crisis see this

SamFanto was born, and then he lived a bit but never enough.

“Extremist watch” group says “Anarcho-Socialists” are  responsible for riots

US: “Extremist watch” group says “Anarcho-Socialists” are  responsible for riots, partly by preaching hate crimes against whole groups (ie cops etc.)

Original report here

X writes:

This, linked through a Voice of America “extremist watch” segment, notes that the people who put this together, “affiliated with Rutgers University” ultimately are to be considered part of the “Contagion Network research Institute, an independent non-profit that tracks hate on social media. The group lists the United Nations, the Anti-Defamation League and the liberal billionaire George Soros’ Open Society foundation as its affiliated patrons.

Effectively then, this amounts to liberal counter-insurgency’s attempt to understand (their characterization, “anarcho-socialist” suggests they have a rather long way to go) the anti-authoritarian anti-capitalist movement and its allies, something it clearly sees as a threat. One notable feature evident from a superficial glance: the report considers that it is dehumanizing “hate” if one sees individual members of a group of people who are part of an organization whose actions are structually determined to undertake repression of spontaneous social movements (against captalism, the state and the reactionary constellation of beliefs – racism, sexism, patriarchy, authoritarianism, etc. – that reinforce them) and act uniformly as per their organizational discipline, such as the police, FBI, etc., as enemies to be uniformly detested and opposed. Would George Soros think it were “hate” to uniformly detest those in the SS? And if not what are the unspoken and underlying values that would account for this apparent inconsistency?

SF write: Surely this, by its own logic,  is a hate crime against “Anarcho-Socialists” (whatever that is) – dehumanising them by bunching them up all together.

T writes:

These type of articles or police reports reminded me of a part in W. Reich’s account of treating a schizophrenic patient, where he wrote:

“It was soon after the FBI had mistaken orgone research for German (or
Russian?) spy activity and had taken me into custody (as an ‘enemy
alien’) at the entry of the United States into World War II. The fact
that I was soon released unconditionally after a hearing did not matter
much to the patient. What mattered was the fact that I had been
suspected of subversive activity, and this, of course, was in harmony
with the general attitude of neurotics as well as psychotics to distrust
everything, especially their own inner feelings. Our patient wanted to
be able to trust me because, as she said plainly, she needed my help in
her fight against the ‘forces’. I assured her that I was not a German
or, for that matter, any other type of spy and never had been. Thereupon
she said that everybody thinks only in terms of his own nature or
character structure and that hence the FBI could not think of anything
but spy activity when they could not understand what I was doing. I had
to agree with this statement, and I found my liking of the schizoid mind
again justified. Schizophrenics are able in their lucid periods to see
through individual and social matters intelligently, as no other
character type can. Later we shall see that this lucidity of
intelligence in the schizophrenic is one of the major dangers which
threaten his existence in present-day society.”

SamFanto was born, and then he lived a bit but never enough.

Fascism, Nazism and the USA

 

Nazis have not disappeared – they have simply said they are not Nazis: On Kenosha and the difficulty of recognising Nazism in the US

This says a lot of  dubious stuff, such as this: “As many have laboured to remind this society, Hitler’s genocidal project was inspired by (if not a tribute to) the American colony. Contrary to the racist claim that racism is un-American, it is more accurate to say that the Third Reich was a type of Americanism. European innovation and efficiency were added to the blood quantum laws, Black codes, eugenics,  forced relocation, work camps, and killing fields of rugged America. Slave ships to cattle cars, Tuskegee experiments to Josef Mengele, the Nazi project was less an otherworldly “radical evil”that came out of nowhere than it was a facsimile of the white supremacist order of the colonies.Devotees of a death-cult to pink pigmentation, responsible for murders from Goa to Gambia, are given more benefit of the doubt than a Black boy in a convenience store.”

X’s critique of this:

This article by Yannick Giovanni Marshall  is irritatingly simplistic and typical of identity politicians  (who as a group are mainly to be credited with having elevated narcissism to the level of a political principle) who reduce a phenomenon to the level of their own single narrow concern, oblivious of whether the phenomenon they attack historically preceded the object of their monomania or not. The idea that “the charge of fascism conveniently leaves out or makes subordinate that race hatred that fuels, enables and is the primary reason for the support of this burgeoning authoritarianism [in the US today, not to mention the world]” is the idea of someone who does not know what fascism is, and cannot distinguish the part from the whole. Racism was baked into fascism from the beginning and is not the only thing that comprises it, nor the only thing that makes it what it is. One could say with equal reason that hatred of women and the notion they have equal rights, hatred of anti-militarism and hatred of anti-capitalism were the sole components of fascism and, unsurprisingly, be equally wrong.

One can detect these components of “hatred” to one degree or another in the different varieties of fascism to be found historically, around the world, whether the Marxism-Leninism of the Bolsheviks, Maoists or Ho Chi Minh (despite their spurious support of “national liberation” – tell it to the Tatars, or the Tibetans, or the ethnic Chinese Vietnamese – or their equally fake support of “women’s liberation,” or equality as a principle itself – in the light of “one-man management” for instance, or the number of pockets on cadres’ uniforms, or if one likes, the corpses of Lev Chernyi or Wang Shiwei), or Peronism, Putinism or Trumpism, Obanism or Bolsonarism, but they are always there, because these regimes always need to mobilize their populations against someone demonstrably else, lest they mobilize themselves against them, the ones who are truly responsible for their misery. Depending on conditions, the modus operandi, the road to power, was either the usurpation of the workers’ and peasants’ movements (Bolshevism, Maoism), or their suppression (Italian, German and Spanish fascism), but its fundamental object was the same. The centrality of fascism as first and foremost a reaction to the movements against class society is totally outside Marshall’s comprehension. He sees colonialism everywhere and class-struggle nowhere.

The uniqueness of fascism and the ultimate determinant of its character lies in its ontology. It is the cutting edge, the most toxic, product of the reaction against the workers’ movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was the joint project of the petty-nobility (von der Goltz, Lenin), bourgeoisie, and, above all, the bureaucratic stratum (this includes the army, the police and the civil service) of the European states most threatened by these movements and at the same time threatened by the most developed capitalist states around them. It is, most of all, authoritarian and developmentalist. Workers, peasants, women and minorities were, first of all, impediments to modernization and/or entities ripe for suppression, by way of super-exploitation, and those who resisted or stood out as poles of opposition, were the perfect scapegoats. These states, established in part through the mobilization of hatred for “what was in the way” of “modernization,” were “poor man’s empires” and they had to make up for lost time through a more ferocious exploitation of labor and resources than their more developed competitors (who also had empires abroad that they had already super-exploited as part of their process of capital accumulation). No wonder that the unrestrained looting and colonisation that attended the “birth of a nation” in the United States, along with the modernity of its mass-production techniques (this to both Stalin and Hitler) were so attractive.

Marshall also writes “A leftist that comes away from reading a history of Nazi Germany denouncing first, the Third Reich’s subversion of political norms should be suspected of anti-Semitism.” The leftist who does that should be more than just suspected of not understanding what happened at all. The Third Reich did not subvert political norms, it restored them with a vengeance, and for that job, anti-semitism was an extremely useful instrument, one that any perceptive opportunist would have likely neglected at the price of success. Turning the entire working class into an “other” was beyond reach; it was vital therefore to make the leading and most outspoken members of the German Revolution deviant foreigners. The relatively high proportion of Jewish (Luxemburg, Landauer, Leviné, etc.) and female members of the radical intelligentsia and radical working class made the misogyny and racism already embedded by Christian patriarchy and anti-Jewish bigotry easy to mobilize in the service of the fatherland, as did the fact that the apparent “success” of the revolutionary movement then underway had started in “oriental” and “barbaric” Russia. Finding a population grouped as “other” was an enormous advantage to the reaction, and a tool that was largely unavailable to the other side (this did not prevent certain social-democrats before the first World War, and the “National Bolsheviks” afterward, from trying). This was equally true in the US suppression of the workers movement, especially the IWW, during the same period.

To continue with the main point here: The Third Reich was a radical restoration of Wilhelmine capitalism that the social democrats had undertaken, but at which they had failed, despite, and because of, their oversight of the destruction of the workers’ movement on whose back they rose to power. The destruction of that movement was the basis for this restoration, but the social democrats, having destroyed at the same time their own base of power in a now demoralized working class, were afterwards no longer capable of holding on to authority – particularly in the face of the right-wing militias, the Freikorps, they had created, and the strength of the political base of the Freikorps in the old military hierarchy and industrial capitalist class which had always disdained and distrusted the social democrats anyway. Under the social democrats, all the old institutions and norms were back, above all, the special status of the military outside the jurisdiction and control of the institutions of civil society, but they were only able to come out into the sun again after the Nazis had been put at their head. Marshall is dazzled into incoherence by superficial appearances.

He says that “…Hitler’s genocidal project was inspired (if not a tribute to) the American colony. Contrary to the racist claim that that racism is un-American, it is more accurate to say that the Third Reich was a type of Americanism.” Yannick Giovanni Marshall, despite his cosmopolitan-sounding name (which could just as easily be an American-sounding name), is as fervent a believer in American exceptionalism as any right-wing American politician, and seems to think in his presentation of social reality that the nature of the American Experience positions it in the center of the world and at the center of history. All he seems to want is to do is paint it black. Marshall’s obsession with the Black experience in America leads him to minimize the experience and crimes committed against Native America, the real “original sin” of the American colonial project (but not even the real “original sin” that got the imperial expansion started in the first place). Never mind the work farms, they were preceded by a rolling genocide which remains, even today, more proportionally murderous than the current, egregious oppression against Black people. The dispossession of Hispanic occupants of the immense territory of Mexico, seized in a deliberately provoked imperialist war, is also completely unmentioned, as is their continued marginalization. Yet these are all essential parts of the fabric of the American imperial project, as is the story of its overseas adventures, whose fruits were not only in all the material and cultural things looted and accumulated for the Empire, but the techniques of surveillance and repression that were brought back home to destroy the workers’ movement in the early 20th century here, a movement that included all the ethnic groups and the genders that make up this country. Not only these things, but most importantly of all, it is the class struggle that is invisible to Marshall and debilitates his critical vision.

Women and their subjection don’t even turn up on his radar, and yet their post-bubonic subordination and that of the peasantry (1381) laid the behavioral and institutional foundations for the merchantile/imperial expansion of what would become capitalism abroad, along with the later suppression of the Levellers’ movement of resistance to the dictatorship of Parliament and its Lord Protector, and the subsequent Restoration, which evolved into the continuously expanding expropriationist domestic policy of the Crown. This seizure of the commons from the ordinary people of England and the war of subjugation waged aganst the Irish and the Scottish highlanders was the dress rehearsal for so many of the instrumentalities that would be more masssively and genocidally employed in the theft of Native America and the kidnapping, murder and super-exploitation of the slave trade, but it just doesn’t rate in Marshall’s narrow vision. It all begins with America for him. But it doesn’t, and it never did.

 

Another research project reducing everything to racism

Same kind of shit … with an even less sophisticated spin. If it isn’t (relatively non-violent) economic conservatism, it must be racism…so are the wild rumors about people setting fires in Oregon about Black people doing it? No, they’re about antifa. An expensive study done at Vanderbilt University by expensive people, and the result is cheap intellectual bullshit.

SamFanto was born, and then he lived a bit but never enough.