Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

April 30, 2018

The DSA and the Democratic Party

Filed under: socialism,two-party system — louisproyect @ 8:07 pm

On April 20th, the N.Y. Times ran a 2000 word article titled “‘Yes, I’m Running as a Socialist.’ Why Candidates Are Embracing the Label in 2018” that was a remarkably savvy take on the close ties between the DSA and the Democratic Party. In keeping with the Gray Lady’s need to have reporters covering this angle that are “in the know”, the story was assigned to Farah Stockman who won the coveted William Brewster Styles Award “for identifying U.S. corporations that were covertly using international relationships and offshore operations to avoid taxes, side-step U.S. laws and deny workers’ rights.” If you are in the business of keeping the one percent alert about developments on the left, it is best to have reporters with a ninety-nine percent mentality even if the editors make sure to keep them safely within the liberal democratic consensus.

The article is a survey of various candidates who are running as socialists in Democratic Party primaries this year, including Franklin Bynum who won an unchallenged nomination to become a criminal court judge in Houston. I am not sure how serving as criminal court judge advances the cause of socialism even though Bynum described himself as a “far left candidate”. Since he followed that up with “What I’m trying to do is be a Democrat who actually stands for something”, you wonder how far to the left he is. In fact, Stockman was sharp enough to summarize such candidates this way:

Many socialist candidates sound less like revolutionaries and more like traditional Democrats who seek a return to policies in the mold of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. They want single-payer health care, a higher minimum wage, and greater protections for unions. But others advocate more extreme changes, such as abolishing the prison system. In the case of Mr. Bynum, he wants an end to a cash bail system that requires people accused of crimes, even minor offenses, to pay money to be released from jail before trial.

Well, of course. These DSA’ers are basically New Deal Democrats. But in a period of economic crisis and a general collapse of the labor movement, the prospects of a new New Deal are rather utopian.

If Stockman’s article had taken the trouble to dig a bit deeper into the background of some of these candidates, the reader might have noticed that one of them was a keynote speaker at a conference on Left/Independent Electoral Action in the United States that I attended in November, 2015. That is Gayle McLaughlin, a former mayor of Richmond, Calif., who is running to be the state’s lieutenant governor but not as a Democrat. If you go to her website, you will see that she is an independent (NPP) Bernie Sanders supporter. NPP stands for No-Party Preference. I do have trouble with her support for Sanders, one that other people at the conference were beginning to manifest.

McLaughlin was also a member of the North Star Network that Peter Camejo formed in the early 80s. Also, like me, she was a member at the time of CISPES, the group that organized solidarity on behalf of the revolution in El Salvador. When she was running for mayor in Richmond, she ran as a Green. I am not sure whether she is still involved with the Greens since her switch to NPP in order to be able to vote for Bernie Sanders in 2016 might be permanent. At least she is not a Democrat.

Furthermore, I have seen no evidence that McLaughlin is a DSA member, Stockman notwithstanding. In a surprisingly useful interview with Platypus, there is a discussion of the relationship between her organization—the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) and the DSA:

Platypus: I noticed that you reached out to the East Bay Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) for an endorsement.[i] I am wondering why did you want their endorsement for your lieutenant governor campaign? What kind alliance do you envision with that organization which seems to be different demographically than the RPA, where it is more so younger activists in their early 30s while the RPA is more seasoned older activists?

GM: The RPA steering committee is very young. We have a 28-person steering committee: It has a majority of people of color, a majority of women, and a majority of people under forty. The progressive mindset of diversity was always a very much a part of our agenda. But still we can use more millennials.

DSA is very youth-driven. They have grown especially since the Bernie campaign. Bernie made the term “socialist” much more common and much more acceptable throughout our nation. I have always had the socialist mindset and I think the whole anti-corporate struggle is a struggle against capitalism and the harm that it causes. So reaching out to DSA was important. They are a part, a very strong part, of our movement for change. I was very excited to get the endorsement of East Bay DSA, San Francisco DSA, and Peninsula DSA. I hope to receive the Los Angles DSA endorsement as well.

Labor Notes provides the background on her decision to run for Lieutenant Governor:

Last year, McLaughlin stepped down as a Richmond city councilor so she could pursue a long-shot campaign for lieutenant governor of California. Her stated goal was less about becoming the next Gavin Newsom (Governor Jerry Brown’s longtime understudy and would-be successor) and more about “encouraging others to build local political power in their own cities” and a “powerful, independent network of progressive forces across the state.”

Despite her working class background and her long record of mayoral activism on behalf of labor causes, only the United Electrical Workers (UE), a small national union with just a handful of California members, has endorsed her. Most big unions have gotten behind state senator Ed Hernandez, a wealthy southern California doctor and corporate Democrat who does favor single-payer health care. Even the California Nurses Association, a reliable past supporter of the RPA and Ralph Nader’s biggest union backer when he ran for president in 2000, fell in line behind Hernandez because of his single-payer stance. Much to the chagrin of rank-and-file nurses who favored McLaughlin, the CNA officials wouldn’t even grant the progressive independent from Richmond a candidate interview.

Returning to Stockman’s article, there is an interesting reference to the budding frictions in the DSA over the Democratic Party:

But others, especially among the influx of new members, want to keep their distance from the Democratic Party, which they see as hopelessly compromised by corporate donations.

“The new, younger people are much more willing to say ‘We’re not going to tie ourselves to the Democratic Party,’” said Frances Reade, 37, an education researcher who joined the East Bay D.S.A. chapter in California on Mr. Trump’s Inauguration Day. “At the same time, we’re nowhere near being able to launch a third party.”

Ms. Reade, who made campaign calls for Hillary Clinton in 2016, said she joined D.S.A. after experiencing a “profound disillusionment with the Democratic Party” in the wake of Mr. Trump’s victory. The organization gave her an outlet to pour her energy into: door-knocking in a “Medicare for All” campaign, and discussing political texts in free evening classes put on by members of the group. The classes, known as socialist school, included readings by Karl Marx and articles in Jacobin, a popular new socialist magazine. Ms. Reade has become a class instructor and vice chairwoman at the East Bay chapter, which has about 1,000 members.

“If, after the election, I had tried to join the Democratic Party, what would I have done?” she asked. “There’s no night school to learn more about ideas. The Democratic Party is essentially a fund-raising apparatus.”

In my view, if the DSA at least projected a path toward launching a third party, I would be much more enthusiastic about its prospects. It appears that Gayle McLaughlin’s campaign is much more about raising issues than getting elected, which is much more in line with Franklin Bynum’s campaign and that of Kaniela Ing, a state representative in Hawaii who is running for Congress. In Ing’s campaign website, there is nothing about capitalism or socialism. For all practical purposes, it could be the website of a liberal Democrat in the Sanders wing of the party that is obviously DSA’s orientation. Unfortunately, despite McLaughlin’s political background, there is not a single word on her website about the need for fundamental social change.

Last Friday night, I went to the opening night of Yale Strom’s documentary on Eugene V. Debs. Among the people he interviewed was Rick Hertzberg of the New Yorker Magazine, whose father was a life-long member of the Socialist Party. He mused about the emergence of a new Debs today. How would he fit into today’s political environment? He answered his own question. Debs would likely be a Roosevelt Democrat and have a show on MSNBC. This was the only false note in a totally winning film about the kind of socialism that Debs stood for and that is worlds away from today’s DSA as this speech indicates:

The Republican and Democratic parties, or, to be more exact, the Republican-Democratic party, represent the capitalist class in the class struggle. They are the political wings of the capitalist system and such differences as arise between them relate to spoils and not to principles.

With either of those parties in power one thing is always certain and that is that the capitalist class is in the saddle and the working class under the saddle.

Under the administration of both these parties the means of production are private property, production is carried forward for capitalist profit purely, markets are glutted and industry paralyzed, workingmen become tramps and criminals while injunctions, soldiers and riot guns are brought into action to preserve “law and order” in the chaotic carnival of capitalistic anarchy.

Will we be able to build such a party? I can only say that since the ruling class is bent on returning us to the days of McKinley, we will likely see a restive working class open to the kind of radical ideas that won Debs 897,000 votes in 1912, which amounted to 6 percent of the voting population prior to woman’s suffrage.

Just take a look at the public school teachers on the march in West Virginia and Arizona. These “fly over” states were bastions of support for the SP when Debs was the party’s leader. One can only hope that more and more people like Francis Reade will pour into the DSA because she is the party’s future and the future of this much aggrieved nation.


Michelle Wolf full performance

Filed under: comedy,Trump — louisproyect @ 1:22 pm

April 29, 2018

Palestine and Israel

Filed under: Brian A. Mitchell,Palestine,zionism — louisproyect @ 10:44 pm

Palestinians fleeing their homes during the 1948 Nakba – ‘the great catastrophe’

A Brian A. Mitchell guest post.

The power and importance of original quotes cannot be stressed enough. It is most revealing and undeniable, especially to the incredulous, to let Presidents, Prime Ministers and military leaders speak for themselves. Through tutoring, speaking, articles, debates and general argument, I have always found that original quoted statements have the most powerful impact; far more than any dialogue from me or any journalist or academic could ever have; and were an integral part of my political education. Many of these quotes are not widely known, some not at all. So please do spread them widely so that many more people can know what really goes on in this troubled world in our name. Although some of the quotes may be dated, the ideology of capitalism remains more inhuman, predatory, warlike, not only murderous but more genocidal every day.

Why You Will Not Find Israel On Any Pre 1948 Map: How the US Stole Palestine.

Ever wondered how Palestine became Israel? If a religion can claim a homeland, a state; I am atheist but was brought up and educated a Roman Catholic, so where is my homeland? Perhaps Rome or the southern half of Italy? And what about Buddhists, Hindus, Moslems, Baptists, Anglicans, Confucians or Rosicrucians, where are their homelands or states? If a foreign peoples came to occupy your country with “proof” of ownership from ancient papyrus scrolls, wouldn’t you resist them with all means at your disposal? As for the Bible: (the Red Sea parting so the Jews could return to their homeland, not mentioning how they crossed in the first place): if in thousands of years time, archaeologists digging in what was Hollywood find Walt Disney’s manuscripts, is that proof that Mickey Mouse existed?

Zionists considered settling various countries as a Jewish homeland or state since the first Zionist Congress in Basle in 1897, including British East Africa, Madagascar, British Guiana and Birobijan. Palestine was chosen under US pressure and is undoubtedly less a state, more a large piece of US military real estate (Israel has nuclear weapons) on the edge of all the oil of the Middle East and North Africa, and that is why Israel was created. After all, look who consumes the largest amount of the world’s oil resources.

Isreal was then settled by millions of Jews from all over the world, mainly the US, USSR and Europe. Israel’s Right of Return law (aliya) permits any Jew or anybody who becomes a Jew anywhere in the world Israeli citizenship. This is remarkably similar to Nazi Germany’s Blood Law permitting anyone in the world regardless of nationality German citizenship. Isreal ignores UN Resolution 194 which stipulates that refugees can return to their land and compensation for loss or damage of property to those choosing not to return. But Palestinians who were expelled from their land do not have any right of return. Israel has only to declare any Palestinian land a closed military zone and confiscates the land. It is a demand of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Palestinians recognise Israel as a “State of the Jewish People.”)

NOTE that it is essential to be aware that any support for the Palestinians and anything said against Zionism (the creation of Israel) is erroneously claimed to be anti-Semitic (meaning only anti Jewish) by over defensive Zionist apologists, ignorant or more likely deliberately distortive of history, anthropology, palaeontology, ethnology, languages and culture. Anti Zionism is not anti Jewish or anti Semitic. For a start, the Semitic peoples included Caucasians, Arabs, Sumerians (Iraq), Hebrews, Assyrians, Phoenicians (Lebanon, then part of Turkey and previously the former Ottoman Empire), Syrians, Persians, Jordanians, Ethiopians, Egyptians and other Middle Eastern and Northern African peoples. The Semitic languages are part of the Afro-Asiatic group of languages. In some cases the Semitic peoples and languages even precede the Bible, Christianity, the Torah and any Jewish religion.

Elected to my college Student Union because I was popular with foreign students, among them Palestinians, Israelis, Jews, non-Jews and atheists; who worked together in an anti Zionist organisation, all agreed that Israel was created for US geo-political-military purposes to control Middle Eastern oil resources. These quotes are all thoroughly verified and almost all are from Zionist, Israeli or Jewish politicians and authors.

See especially:

“Israeli Apartheid. A Beginner’s Guide.”
(Ben White. Pluto Press, London and New York.)

“Against Our Better Judgement. The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel.”
(Alison Weir. Published by If Americans Knew )

“The Invention of the Land of Israel.”
(Tel Aviv University Israeli Emeritus Professor Shlomo Sand. Verso. London and New York.)

How to Steal A State: First Find “God’s Promised Land” in an Ancient Manuscript, Then Occupy It as Quickly as Possible and Eliminate the Existing Arab Population.

“This country exists as the fulfillment of a promise made by God Himself. It would be ridiculous to ask it to account for its legitimacy.”

(Golda Meir, Le Monde, 15 October 1971,)

“The Oslo agreement is very important for the Palestinians since it is the only official agreed-upon document they got. We have another document, a much older one … the Bible.”

(Ariel Sharon, speaking at a Washington symposium, 8 May 1998.)

“When we occupy the land, we shall bring immediate benefits to the state that received us. We must expropriate gently the private property on the estates assigned to us. We shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it any employment in our country. … Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly. Let the owners of immovable property believe that they are cheating us, selling us something far more than they are worth. But we are not going to sell them anything back.”

(Hungary born World Zionist founder Theodor Herzl, in his diary June 12 1895.)

“Palestine is a country without a people, the Jews are a people without a country. … If you wish to give a country to a people without a country, it is utter foolishness to allow it to be the country of two peoples. … The Jews will suffer and so will their neighbours. One of the two: a different place must be found either for the Jews or for their neighbours. … We must be prepared either to drive out by sword the Arab tribes in possession as our fathers did or to grapple with the problem of a large alien population, mostly Mohammedans [Muslims].”

(British Zionist leader Israel Zangwill.)

“The settlement of the Land of Israel is the essence of Zionism. Without settlement, we will not fulfil Zionism. It’s that simple.”

(Israeli Prime minister Yitzhak Shamir.)

“At Basle, I founded the Jewish state… If not in five years, then certainly in fifty, everyone will realize it.”

(Hungary born World Zionist founder Theodor Herzl, in his diary September 3 1897.)

“His Majesty’s Government views with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which shall prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by the Jews in any other country.”

(British Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur Balfour, in a letter called the Balfour Declaration, (not to be mistaken for the Balfour Memorandum, below) to billionaire Lord Walter Rothschild and the Zionist Federation of Great Britain, November 2 1917; supporting Zionism – the creation of Israel as a state in Palestinian land.)

“For in Palestine we do not propose even to go throught the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country… Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, for far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land.”

(British Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur Balfour in a private memo to Lord Curzon (called the Balfour Memorandum, not to be mistaken for the Balfour Declaration, above), August 11 1919; supporting Zionism. What part of humanity is it that can support something seen as “right or wrong,” “good or bad,” just because it is “rooted in age long traditions,”?)

“Accept my congratulations on this splendid conquest… We are all proud of the excellent leadership and the fighting spirit in this great attack… you have made history in Israel … Continue thus until victory. As in Dier Yassin, so everywhere, we will attack and smite the enemy. God, God, Thou hast chosen us for conquest.”

(Zionist terrorist group leader and first Prime Minister of Israel David Ben Gurion. The Irgun under its leader Menachem Begin bombed the King David hotel in Jerusalem which was the British army headquarters in 1946. Over 200 Arabs were massacred in Deir Yassin in 1948.)

“The past leaders of our movement left us a clear message to keep Eretz [Biblical] Israel from the Sea to the River Jordan for future generations, for the mass aliya [Jewish immigration], and for the Jewish people, all of whom will be gathered into this country.”

(Former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, November 1990.)

“The Promised Land extends from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates. It includes parts of Syria and Lebanon.”

(Jewish Agency for Palestine member Rabbi Fischmann to UN, 1947.)

“For thousands of years, we Jews have been nourished and sustained by a yearning for our historic land… I believed and to this day still believe in our people’s eternal and historic right to this entire land.”

(British Mandate Palestine born Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.)

“If I were an Arab leader, I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country. It is true God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? Our God is not theirs. There has been Anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?”

(Zionist terrorist group leader and first Prime Minister of Israel David Ben Gurion.)

“Jerusalem was and will for ever be our capital. Eretz Israel will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And for Ever.”

(Menachem Begin, on the UN vote to partition Palestine.)

“Here, in the Land of Israel, we returned and built a nation. Here, in the Land of Israel, we established a State. The Land of the prophets, which bequeathed to the world the values of morality, law and justice, was after two thousand years, restored to its lawful owner, the members of the Jewish People. … we have built an exceptional national Home and State.”

(British Mandate Palestine born Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. So before the “prophets” humanity had no values or morality, law or justice?)

“Jordan is a part from Eretz Israel in history.”

(Israeli Prime minister Ariel Sharon, 2000.)

“We should prepare to go over to the offensive. Our aim is to smash Lebanon, Trans-Jordan, and Syria. The weak point is Lebanon, for the Moslem regime is artificial and easy for us to undermine. We shall establish a Christian state there, and then we will smash the Arab Legion, eliminate Trans-Jordan; Syria will fall to us. We then bomb and move on and take Port Said, Alexandria and Sinai.”

(Zionist terrorist group leader and first Prime Minister of Israel David Ben Gurion, May 1948. So the Moslem regime is artificial but the Israeli regime is not?!)

”The present map of Palestine was drawn by the British mandate. The Jewish people have another map which our youth and adults should strive to fulfill – From the Nile to the Euphrates.”

(Ben Gurion.)


Occupying the Palestinian Land.

“A partial Jewish State is not the end, but only the beginning. I am certain that we can not be prevented from settling in the other parts of the country and the region.

(First Prime Minister of Israel David Ben Gurion, in a letter to his son, 1937.)

“…there can be no stable and strong Jewish state so long as it has a Jewish majority of only 60 per cent.”

(Irgun terrorist group leader and first Prime Minister of Israel David Ben Gurion, speech, December 3 1947, in his book “As Israel Fights.”)

“If the Arabs in Israel form 40 per cent of the population, this is the end of the Jewish state. But 20 per cent is also a problem… If the relationship with these 20 per cent becomes problematic, the [Israeli] state is entitled to employ extreme measures.”

(Tel Aviv born Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, December 17 2003.)

“During the last 100 years our people have been in a process of building up the country and the nation, of expansion, of getting additional Jews and additional settlements in order to expand the borders here. Let no Jew say that the process has ended. Let no Jew say that we are near the end of the road.”

(Ottoman Empire born Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Dayan.)

“If there are other inhabitants there, they must be transferred to some other place. We must take over the land.”

(Russia born Zionist leader and Jewish National Fund chairman Abraham Ussishkin, 1930.)

“I don’t mind if after the job is done you put me in front of a Nuremberg Trial and then jail me for life. Hang me if you want, as a war criminal. What you don’t understand is that the dirty work of Zionism is not finished yet, far from it.”

(Ariel Sharon to Amos Oz, editor of Davar, Dec. 17 1982.)

“One certain truth is that there is no Zionist settlement and there is no Jewish State without displacing Arabs and without confiscating lands and fencing them off.”

(Israeli journalist Ben Porat, in Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, July 14 1972.)

“after we become a strong force, as a result of the creation of a state, we shall abolish partition and expand into the whole of Palestine.”

(Irgun Zionist terrorist group leader and first Prime Minister of Israel David Ben Gurion, 1938.)

“Ben Gurion was right … Without the uprooting of the Palestinians, a Jewish state would not have arisen here.”

(Israeli historian in Ben Gurion University Benny Morris, in Israeli newspaper Haaretz, January 9 2004.)

“This is only a stage in the realisation of Zionism and it should prepare the ground for our expansion throughout the country … The state, however, must enforce order and security and it will do this not by moralising and preaching ‘sermons on the mount’ but by machine guns, which we will need. … If we will receive in time the arms we have already purchased, and maybe even receive some of that promised by the UN [US dominated], we will be able not only to defend but also to inflict death blows on the Syrians in their own country, and take over Palestine as a whole.”

(Irgun terrorist group leader and first Prime Minister of Israel David Ben Gurion, 1938. The arms were supplied largely by Britain and the US.)

“The transfer of the Arab population from the area of the Jewish state does not serve only one aim, to diminish the Arab population. It also serves a second, no less important aim, which is to evacuate land presently held and cultivated by the Arabs and thus to release it for the Jewish inhabitants.”

(Jewish National Fund director Joseph Weitz, to the Committee for Population Transfer, 1937.)

“Everybody has to move, run and grab as many (Palestinian) hilltops as they can to enlarge the
(Jewish) settlements because everything we take now will stay ours… Everything we don’t grab will go to them.”

(Israeli Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon, to a meeting of the Tsomet Party, Agence France Presse, Nov. 15, 1998.)

“If I were a Palestinian, I would be a terrorist.”

(Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.)

“Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves … we are the aggressors and they defend themselves… The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country.”

(Zionist terrorist group leader and first Prime Minister of Israel David Ben Gurion. [Only in their view?!])

“Israel is the Jews’ land… It was never the Arabs’ land, even when virtually all of its inhabitants were Arab. Israel belongs to four million Russian Jews despite the fact that they were not born here. It is the land of nine million other Jews throughout the world, even if they have no present plans to live in it.”

(British Mandated Palestine Zionist Israel Eldad.)

“Before (the Palestinians) very eyes we are possessing the land and the villages where they and their ancestors have lived. We are the generation of colonizers and without the steel helmet and the gun barrel we cannot plant a tree and build a house.”

(Ottoman Empire Palestine born Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Dayan.)

“By a Jewish national home, I mean the creation of such conditions that as a country is developed, we can pour in a considerable number of immigrants and finally establish such a society in Palestine that Palestine shall be as Jewish as England is English…”

(Zionist leader and first President of Israel Chaim Weizmann. Ignoring the obvious fact that the word Jewish refers to a religion, not a nationality, that English is a nationality, not a religion, nor is a country a race, and if England is English, then the nation Palestine is therefore Palestinian.)

“Jews have been entitled to simply show up and declare themselves to be Israeli citizens … Essentially all Jews everywhere are Israeli citizens by right.”

(Israel’s Law of Return (Aliyah), Jewish Agency, July 1950.)


An Israeli Genocide: Eliminating the Existing Palestinian Population.

“Between ourselves it must be clear that there is no room for both people in this country. We shall not achieve our goal if the Arabs are in this small country. There is no other way than to transfer the Arabs from here to the neighbouring countries, to transfer all of them; not one village, not one tribe should be left.”

(Director of the Jewish National Fund, head of the Jewish Agency’s Colonization Department, the Zionist agency charged with acquiring Palestinian land, Yosef Weitz in his diary, 1940.)

“It is the duty of Israeli leaders to explain to public opinion, clearly and courageously, a certain number of facts that are forgotten with time. The first of these is that there is no Zionism, colonialization or Jewish State without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands.”

(Yoram Bar Porath, Yedioth Ahronoth, July 14 1972.)

“Our thought is that the colonization of Palestine has to go in two directions: Jewish settlement in Eretz Israel and the resettlement of the Arabs of Eretz Israel in areas outside the country. The transfer of so many Arabs may seem at first unacceptable economically, but is nonetheless practical. It does not require too much money to resettle a Palestinian village on another land.”

(Ukraine born World Zionist Congress leader Leo Motzkin, 1917. Eretz Israel is loosely the region of Jordan, Palestine, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, and part of Sinai. Zionists claim it is Biblical Israel, that is if you believe the Dead Sea Scrolls
(the Bible), written by several people over many ancient historical periods, and which was never the title deeds to Palestine.)

“The most spectacular event in the contemporary history of Palestine – more spectacular in a sense than the creation of the Jewish state – is the wholesale evacuation of its Arab population which has swept with it also thousands of Arabs from areas threatened and/or occupied by us outside our boundaries.”

(Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Shertok, in a letter to Chairnam of the World Jewish Congress Nahun Goldmann, June 15 1948.)

“There is a need now for strong and brutal reaction. We need to be accurate about timing, place and those we hit. If we accuse a family, we need to harm them without mercy, women and children included. … there is no need to distinguish between guilty and not guilty.”

(Zionist terrorist group leader and first Prime Minister of Israel David Ben Gurion, in his diary, January 1 1948.)

“I don’t know something called International Principles. I vow that I’ll burn every Palestinian child
(that) will be born in this area. The Palestinian woman and child is more dangerous than the man, because the Palestinian child’s existence infers that generations will go on, but the man causes limited danger.”

(British Mandate Palestine born Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.)

“But the leaders … had foreseen this difficulty at the outset of the Zionist project in Palestine. The solution as they saw it was the enforced transfer of the indigenous population, so that a pure Jewish state could be established. On 10 March 1948, the Zionist leadership adopted the infamous Plan Dalet, which resulted in the ethnic cleansing of the areas regarded as the future Jewish state in Palestine.”

(Israeli historian Professor Ilan Pappe. Dalet was the Israeli equivalent of the Nazi holocaust.)

“We walked outside, Ben-Gurion accompanying us. Allon repeated his question, ‘What is to be done with the Palestinian population; Ben-Gurion waved his hand in a gesture which said ‘Drive them out!’?

(Yitzhak Rabin, New York Times October 23 1979.)

“Israel should have exploited the repression of the demonstrations in [Tiananmen Square] China, when world attention focused on that country, to carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the territories.”

(Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, in Israeli magazine Hotam, November 24 1989.)

“We declare openly that the Arabs have no right to settle on even one centimeter of Eretz Israel… Force is all they do or ever will understand. We shall use the ultimate force until the Palestinians come crawling to us on all fours.”

(Chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces Rafael Eitan, in Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, April 13, 1983, and New York Times, April 14 1983.)

“We must expel Arabs and take their places and if we have to use force, to guarantee our own right to settle in those places – then we have force at our disposal.”

(First Prime Minister of Israel David Ben Gurion, 1937.)

“Even today I am willing to volunteer to do the dirty work for Israel, to kill as many Arabs as necessary, to deport them, to expel and burn them…”

(British Mandate Palestine born Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.)

“We must do everything to insure they (the Palestinians) never do return. … The old will die and the young will forget.”

(First Prime Minister of Israel David Ben Gurion, in his diary, July 18 1948.)

“There is no such thing as a Palestinian people… It is not as if we came and threw them out and took their country. They didn’t exist.”

(Ukraine born Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, Sunday Times June 15 1969.)

“There is no more Palestine. Finished.”

(Ottoman Empire Palestine born Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Dayan.)

“What cause have we to complain about their fierce hatred for us? For eight years now they sit in their refugee camps in Gaza, and before their eyes we turn into our homestead the land and villages in which they and their forefathers have lived.”

(Ottoman Empire Palestine born Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Dayan, 1955.)

“We are obliged to remove the Arabic names for reasons of state. Just as we do not recognise the Arab’s proprietorship of the land, so also do we not recognise their spiritual proprietorship and their names.”

(Zionist terrorist group leader and first Prime Minister of Israel David Ben Gurion, 1949. An Israeli government department Naming Committee has the sole purpose of “Judaising”
(renaming or Biblifying) Arab land and villages in order to hide their Arab origins.)

“We came here to a country that was populated by Arabs and we are building here a Hebrew, a Jewish state; instead of the Arab villages, Jewish villages were established. Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. … There is not a single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.”

(Ottoman Palestine born Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Dayan, to Technion University March 19 1969, in Israeli newspaper Haaretz, April 4 1969.)

“200 ARABS KILLED, STRONGHOLD TAKEN. Irgun and Stern [terrorist] Groups Unite to Win Deir Yassin …Jerusalem. April 9. A combined force of Irgun Zvai Leumi and the Stern group, Jewish extremist underground forces captured the Arab village of Dier Yassin on the western outskirts of Jerusalem today. In house to house fighting the Jews killed more than 200 Arabs, half of them women and children.”

(New York Times, April 10 1948.)

“[Israeli] terrorist bands attacked this peaceful village [Dier Yassin], which was not a military objective in the fighting, killed most of its inhabitants, 240 men, women and children, and kept a few of them alive to parade as captives through the streets of Jerusalem. Most of the Jewish community was horrified at the deed… But the terrorists, far from being ashamed of their act, were proud of this massacre, publicised it widely, and invited all the foreign correspondents in the country to view the heaped corpses and the general havok of Dier Yassin.”

(Letter from Albert Einstein and 27 other Jews, in New York Times, December 4 1948.)

“How can we return the occupied territories? There is nobody to return them to.”

(Ukraine born Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, March 8 1969.)

“Israel’s policy – in the last 60 years – stems from a racist hegemonic ideology called Zionism, shielded by endless layers of righteous fury. Despite the predictable accusation of anti-Semitism … it is time to associate in the public mind the Zionist ideology with the by now familiar historical landmarks of the ethnic cleansing of 1948, the oppression of the Palestinians in Israel during the days of the military rule, the brutal occupation of the West Bank and now the massacre of Gaza.”

(Israeli historian Professor Ilan Pappe.)

“A voluntary reconciliation with the Arabs is out of the question either now or in the future. If you wish to colonize a land in which people are already living, you must provide a garrison … for without an armed force … colonization is impossible, … Zionism is a colonization adventure and therefore it stands or falls by the question of armed force. … The Islamic soul must be broomed [swept] out of Eretz Yisrael. … it is even more important to be able to shoot … This is our policy towards the Arabs.”

(Russian born Zionist leader, Haganah founder and Irgun leader Vladimir Jabotinsky, 1923. The Irgun and Haganah were both Zionist terrorist organisations.)

“The state… must see the sword as the main if not the only, instrument with which to keep its morale high and to retain its moral tension. Toward this end it may know it must invent dangers, and to do this it must adopt the method of provocation and revenge… And above all, let us hope for a new war with the Arab countries so that we may finally get rid of our troubles and acquire our space.”

(First Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett in his diary,)

“It lies upon the people’s shoulders to prepare for the war, but it lies upon the Israeli army to carry out the fight with the ultimate object of erecting the Israeli Empire.”

(Moshe Dayan (Israel Defense and Foreign Minister), Radio Israel, February 12 1952.)

Israeli Racism Against the Arabs – No Different From Nazism and Apartheid.
“Zionism [the creation of the Israeli state] is a form of racism and racial discrimination.”

(United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379, November 1975. In 1991 Israel threatened non-participation in the Israel Palestine Peace Conference and under severe US pressure, the UN revoked Resolution 3379.)

“Hitler’s legal power was based upon the ‘Enabling Act’, which was passed quite legally by the Reichstag and which allowed the Fuehrer and his representatives, in plain language, to be what they wanted, or in legal language, to issue regulations having the force of law. Exactly the same type of act was passed by the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) immediately after the 1967 conquest granting the Israeli governor and his representatives the power of Hitler, which they use in Hitlerian manner.”

(Dr. Israel Shahak, Chairperson of the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights, and a survivor of the Bergen Belsen concentration camp, Commenting on the Israeli military’s Emergency Regulations following the 1967 War. Palestine, vol. 12, December 1983.)

“The Palestinians are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they want more.”

(Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, August 28 2000, in the Jerusalem Post August 30 2000.)

“When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle.”

(Chief of Staff of Israeli Defence Forces Raphael Eitan, New York Times April 14 1983.)

”We say to them from the heights of this mountain and from the perspective of thousands of years of history that they are like grasshoppers compared to us.”

(Isreali Prime Minister Yitshak Shamir to Jewish settlers, New York Times April 1, 1988.)

“We shall reduce the Arab population to a community of woodcutters and waiters.”

(Israeli Prime Minister Ben-Gurion’s special adviser on Arab Affairs Uri Lubrani, 1960.)

“Israeli lives are worth more than Palestinian ones.”

(British Mandate Palestine born Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.)

“The difference between a Jewish soul and souls of non-Jews … is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle.”

(First Chief Rabbi of British Mandatory Palestine Abraham Kook.)

“The killing by a Jew of a non-Jew, i.e. a Palestinian, is considered essentially a good deed, and Jews should therefore have no compunction about it.”

(American born Israeli Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg.)

“There is a huge gap between us [Jews] and our enemies – not just in ability but in morality, culture, sanctity of life, and conscience. They are our neighbours here, but it seems as if at a distance of a few hundred meters away, there are people who do not belong to our continent, to our world, but actually belong to a different galaxy.”

(Israeli president Moshe Katsav. The Jerusalem Post, May 10, 2001.)

“Jewish blood and a goy’s (gentile’s) blood are not the same.”

(Israeli Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg, Inferring that killing isn’t murder if the victim is Gentile. Jerusalem Post, June 19,1989.
(Goy: Goyim, Gentile Christian or non Jew.))

“Israel may have the right to put others on trial, but certainly no one has the right to put the Jewish people and the State of Israel on trial.”

(British Mandate Palestine born Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.)

“Let us not be too familiar with the Arab Fellahin lest our children adopt their ways and learn from their ugly deeds. Let all those who are loyal to the Torah [Jewish scripture] avoid ugliness and that which resembles it and keep their distance from the fellahin and their base attributes.”

Haganah (Zionist terrorist group) commander Moshe Smilansky. Fellahin is a derogatory name for the original Palestinian inhabitants, meaning labourers or peasants, who collectively owned and farmed the land.)

“If I knew that it was possible to save all the children of Germany by transporting them to England, and only half by transferring them to the Land of Israel, I would choose the latter, for before us lies not only the numbers of these children but the historical reckoning of the people of Israel.”

(David Ben-Gurion.)

”If the General Assembly were to vote by 121 votes to 1 in favor of “Israel” returning to the armistice lines–
(pre June 1967 borders) Israel would refuse to comply with the decision.”

(Israeli Foreign Minister Aba Eban, New York Times June 19, 1967.)

“Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our time is the emergence in the newly created State of Israel of the Freedom Party (Herut), a political party closely akin in its organization, method, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties.”

(Albert Einstein and other well known Jewish Americans, New York Times, December 1948.)

“Israel and South Africa have one thing above all else in common: they are both situated in a predominantly hostile world inhabited by dark peoples.”

(Republic of South Africa Year Book, 1977, during apartheid.)

“The Jews took Israel from the Arabs after the Arabs had lived here for a thousand years. Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state.”

(South African Prime Minister Hendrick Verwoerd, 1960s.)

“The Intifada is the Palestinian’s people’s war of national liberation. We [Israel] enthusiastically chose to become a colonialist society, ignoring international treaties, expropriating lands, transferring settlers from Israel to the Occupied Territories, engaging in theft … we established an apartheid regime.”

(Attorney General of Israel Michael Ben-Yair.)

Brian was born in the bombed out wartime East End of London and developed an interest in political books early on. He worked in various technical fields for 20 years, all of which thoroughly bored him. He entered academic life (History and Classical Economics) and became an independent journalist, worked for the ANC (secret at the time) until the end of apartheid, and was a trade union representative in a large hospital. He is now retired and still works (when able) as an independent journalist.


April 28, 2018

The shifting sands of Assadist propaganda

Filed under: Syria — louisproyect @ 7:08 pm

Two days ago, RT.com published an article based on the testimony of 17 Syrians that no chemical attack took place in Douma. Basically, they are defending the position of Robert Fisk:

The hospital received people who suffered from smoke and dust asphyxiation on the day of the alleged attack, Muwaffak Nasrim, a paramedic who was working in emergency care, said. The panic seen in footage provided by the White Helmets was caused mainly by people shouting about the alleged use of chemical weapons, Nasrim, who witnessed the chaotic scenes, added. No patients, however, displayed symptoms of chemical weapons exposure, he said.

If that story doesn’t have the desired result of fingering the White Helmets for a “false flag”, RT.com offers an alternative version so you have multiple choices like between brown rice or white rice at your favorite Chinese restaurant.

Just two days prior to the article cited above, RT.com offered up an article titled “‘Whole story was staged’: Germany’s ZDF reporter says Douma incident was false flag attack”. Well, it might have been staged but the script had a different plot line entirely:

The scene of the attack, which allegedly took place on April 7, was in fact the “command post” of a local Islamist group, the reporter said, citing the witnesses he was able to speak to at the refugee camp.

He went on to say that, according to the locals, the militants brought canisters containing chlorine to the area and “actually waited for the Syrian Air Force to bomb the place, which was of particular interest for them.”

As the Syrian forces eventually struck the place, which was apparently a high-priority military target, the chlorine canisters exploded. The locals also told Gack that it is not the first such provocation in Douma that was staged by the militants.

You get a Douma resident named Khaled Mahmoud Nuseir backing up ZDF’s reporting on this AP video. He states that his wife and children were killed by chlorine gas but blamed the jihadis. I should hasten to add that the interviewee was being watched by the Syrian military as he spoke to AP but why should that matter? They would never threaten anybody with dire consequences, even the 11-year old boy they interrogated in military headquarters and who has become noted for his claim that nothing happened in Douma except being splashed with water in a hospital. Why would he ever feel intimidated? Everybody knows how scrupulous the regime is about respecting the right of peaceful dissent.

So, which is it? Chlorine canisters exploding or a dust storm? In warning about the perfidy of the mainstream media, Max Blumenthal found both Fisk and Khaled Mahmoud Nuseir convincing even though their stories clashed. Par for the course, I suppose.

There’s nothing new about this. Every time there has been a major story developing about a chemical attack in Syria, Putin and Assad’s propaganda brigade has put out multiple and contradictory accounts, all hinging on the false flag narrative.

On August 21, 2013, East Ghouta was subjected to a sarin gas attack that left hundreds killed. One of the first defenders of the regime was Mint Press, an online newspaper based in Minneapolis edited by Mnar Muhawesh, an Iranian-American. She published an article under the byline of Dale Gavlak and Yahya Ababneh that claimed that local rebels had mishandled sarin gas supplies—maybe like the Three Stooges or Laurel and Hardy. Sarin leaked out of broken bottles and killed a bunch of rebel supporters. This was not a “false flag” story but good enough to be picked up by all the usual suspects and spun that way, including Consortium News.

Among those giving credit to the Mint Press account was Jim Naureckas of FAIR, a leftist media watchdog that has disgraced itself through its servile transmission of Assadist propaganda. Not long after Naureckas’s piece appeared, FAIR had to issue a correction since Dale Gavrak, a long-time and respected member of the press, issued a statement that the article had nothing to do with her. Her name had been attached to it without her permission.

Eventually, the Assadist left lined up with the version put forward by Theodore Postol and Richard Lloyd. They did not specifically identify what happened as a false flag but concluded that the villages that suffered the attack were out of range from regime rocket launchers. So, draw your own conclusion even if this involves a failure to account for the failure of these nihilistic, medieval-minded terrorists to ever turn their guns around–to use the Leninist formulation–and aim them at the Syrian military. Evidently, they prefer to kill their own children.

Postol would figure once again in a chemical attack incident that garnered front page attention. As it happens, people like Postol, Blumenthal, et al generally don’t pay attention to chemical attacks that are beneath the media radar. For example, there were 3 chlorine gas attacks in Douma prior to the one that got Trump’s attention but our Assadists did not bother to mount a “false flag” propaganda campaign.

On April 4, 2017, Khan Sheikhoun suffered a sarin gas attack that led Trump to launch a missile attack, which like the latest one killed not a single Syrian and also prompted an advance phone call to the Kremlin.

Postol offered clashing versions of what took place in Khan Sheikhoun, with each one superseding the previous one and lapped up eagerly by the Assadist left. In his final report, he refers to a French intelligence report that supposedly falsifies the White House allegation that it was a fixed-wing jet that dropped a sarin-laden bomb. The French named a helicopter as the culprit. Subsequently, it was discovered that Postol had confused a French report from 2013  rather than the one about Khan Sheikhoun 4 years later that took place on April 29th rather than April 4th. Well, I guess we can be thankful that Theodore Postol has not gone near hazardous substances in MIT’s labs given his failing intellectual powers. The prestigious university might have gone up in smoke ages ago.

There were also clashing versions over what caused the fatalities. Some like Postol made the case for rebels detonating a ground-level bomb that sprayed sarin gas while others like Gareth Porter argued that it was the accidental bombing of a warehouse that contained phosphine-producing smoke munitions. This accident produced a toxic cloud that killed a bunch of locals supposedly. Seymour Hersh, addled as ever, theorized that the toxic cloud probably came from a bomb dropped on organophosphate-based fertilizer used by local farmers or chlorine used to clean corpses prior to Islamic burial (they use soap and water instead.) He likely meant to say pesticides rather than fertilizers, as other “experts” claimed, since this is generally where you will find organophosphates in a farm belt. That bombing fertilizer is incapable of generating toxic fumes hardly mattered to Hersh, whose investigations of such incidents is as preposterous as Postol’s. Additionally, even when pesticides explode, you don’t find such a lethal outcome as I pointed out here.

None of this mattered to the Assadist left. Google “Gareth Porter” and “Khan Sheikhoun” and you will end up with 8,700 results. Ironically, for at least one Assadist, his analysis is a bridge too far. When Tim Hayward wrote a massive article accusing the rebels of being responsible for all of these chemical attacks, a commenter named Adrian, who trolled my blog a week ago, reminded him of Porter’s phosphine speculations. This led Hayward’s fellow conspiracy theorist Paul McKeigue to offer his own comment to Adrian warning against taking Porter seriously: “Unfortunately the article by Gareth Porter that you link to contains serious scientific errors. Porter appears to think that positive results in lab tests for sarin exposure could be caused by phosphine.” Well, of course. Anybody who read my post on this would have understood this. As googling “Louis Proyect” and “Khan Sheikhoun” only returns 342 results, naturally Porter’s propaganda has the inside track.

Most of the time, however, atrocities in Syria do not involve chemical weapons and thus do not require pseudo-scientific conjectures from the likes of Postol and Porter. Dropping barrel bombs can hardly avoid being recorded on an iPhone, after all. A search for “barrel bombs” on Youtube will turn up 89,300 results.

But, no worry. The democratically elected president of Syria, who enjoyed 98 percent of the vote in 2007, denied that a single barrel bomb had ever been dropped in an February 10, 2015 BBC interview:

Q: What about barrel bombs, you don’t deny that your forces use them?

A: I know about the army, they use bullets, missiles, and bombs. I haven’t heard of the army using barrels, or maybe, cooking pots.

Q: Large barrels full of explosives and projectiles which are dropped from helicopters and explode with devastating effect. There’s been a lot of testimony about these things.

A: They’re called bombs. We have bombs, missiles and bullets… There is [are] no barrel bombs, we don’t have barrels.

If Assad can get away with such brazen lies, what makes you think that he wouldn’t dragoon 17 pour souls from Douma, including an 11-year old boy, into backing him up on the Douma chemical attack?


This was a comment on the post by Greg Gelembluk, a FB friend:

There’s remarkable similarity between the disinformation tactics used by the Assad regime/Russia and that used by Franco’s Nationalists/Germany during the Spanish Civil War.

After the infamous bombing of Guernica, the Nationalists/Germany:

1. Made false flag claims (asserted that they hadn’t bombed the town – that, instead, Republican forces set the town on fire to generate international sympathy/intervention).

2. Trotted a group of Nationalist-accredited journalists through Guernica (e.g. William Carney, Georges Botto, and James Holburn), to generate articles absolving the Nationalists – directly analogous to Assad regime/Russian tactics with Robert Fisk, Pearson Sharp, etc.

3. Offered “witnesses” (prisoners taken by the Nationalists) to testify that Republican forces set the town on fire.

4. Franco set up a fake commission to determine the cause of the destruction of Guernica.

5. Claimed that other nations were ignoring Hitler’s sincere humanitarian diplomatic efforts.

It’s all incredibly analogous to what we’re seeing now in Syria.

Here are several news articles that were a product of the Nationalists/Germany disinformation offensive:


April 27, 2018

Racism and Eugenics, American-Style

Filed under: Counterpunch,Film — louisproyect @ 2:36 pm

As the Trump administration’s openly racist policies become ever more pronounced, two timely documentaries serve as an anti-toxin. Available exclusively from its distributor Bullfrog Films, “A Dangerous Idea: Eugenics, Genetics and the American Dream” takes on the bogus science that underpins Trump’s complaint about too many people from “shithole countries” like Haiti and not enough from Norway. In September 2016, the Independent reported that Donald Trump’s biographer Michael D’Antonio accused him of subscribing to the “racehorse theory” of genetics taught to him by his Fred Trump, who was arrested at a KKK riot in 1927. D’Antonio wrote that “They believe that there are superior people and that if you put together the genes of a superior woman and a superior man, you get a superior offspring.”

Under Trump, police terror continues unabated with the most recent occurrence being the killing of Stephon Clark in Sacramento in his grandmother’s backyard. The cops thought that the cell phone he was holding in his hand was a gun just like the wallet that Amadou Diallo removed from his pocket to identify himself to trigger-happy cops who poured bullets into him. In reality, the fear of a cell phone and a wallet was lubricated by a racism that has been the high-octane fuel behind all these incidents. For most activists, it was the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri that propelled Black Lives Matter into a mass movement. Although I am probably like most CounterPunch readers in keeping up with Michael Brown’s death and the aftermath, I was stunned by the investigative reporting manifested in “Stranger Fruit” that can be rented on Youtube, Amazon and iTunes. It will also have a broadcast premiere in June on Starz.

Continue reading

April 25, 2018

The Permutations of Assadism

Filed under: Uncategorized — louisproyect @ 8:06 pm

Excellent critique of the Assadist left

Splintered Eye

The history of the past century is littered with episodes of anthropogenic evil: Armenia, the Holocaust, Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur. In their aftermaths, reverberated the collective riposte of “never again.” Only to be followed by Syria, awaiting its eventual transcription into modernity’s catalog of barbarism.

Seven years in the making, the internecine conflict has mutated into nothing short of a global catastrophe: culminating in the worst humanitarian tragedy of the postwar period, spawning a refugee crisis of unparalleled proportions, and fermenting a belligerent sectarianism where ‘disaster Islamism’ wound up thriving. As the world looked on in horror and outrage, it simultaneously resigned itself to the conclusion that the Syrian byzantine precluded any objective extrapolation; that it is far too “complicated” to acquire neutral information is invoked with almost chronic exhortation.

A sub-thread to this sophism of withdrawal is a rancid Assadist discourse that has colonized debate in radical circles…

View original post 4,126 more words

New Yorkers: all out for the Eugene V. Debs documentary!

Filed under: Film,socialism — louisproyect @ 3:33 pm

In March 2017, I attended a screening of Yale Strom’s documentary “American Socialist: The Life and Times of Eugene Victor Debs” at the Socially Relevant Film Festival. A blizzard prevented Yale from doing a Q&A in NY that evening but excluding another blizzard (this has been an unusually cold April), I will be joining him at the opening night screening of the film at the Cinema Village this Friday night for a Q&A.

(Los Angelenos can also see the film between May 4 – 10 at the Laemmle Monica and Playhouse Theaters.)

This is an extraordinary film on a number of levels. To begin with, it sheds light on the kind of party we need today. When the “Leninist” model became universal after October 1917, it helped to weaken Debs’s party and strengthen sectarian tendencies that we have been paying dearly for about a century. I say that as someone who went up the blind alley of Trotskyism and learned from my mistakes. Nearly 20 years ago, I came into contact with Sol Dollinger, the husband of Genora Dollinger of the Flint Women’s Auxiliary sit-down strike fame, and learned about the project the two were involved with in the 1950s around the magazine American Socialist co-edited by Bert Cochran and Harry Braverman, who had broken with Trotskyist sectarianism.

The American Socialist magazine was replete with tributes to Eugene V. Debs, including the special issue of November 1955 that contained an article by Bert Cochran titled “The Eugene V. Debs Heritage”. Bert wrote:

It was one of Debs’ important achievements that the Socialist Party, from the time of its formation in 1901 up to the first World War, was an American movement. By that is meant that it was a genuine expression of indigenous radicalism. It was the Left continuation of the big Populist rebellion, and the natural socialist evolution of its best contingents after the promise of Populism was destroyed in 1896. Debs Socialism rose on the crest of the wave of the progressivism and widespread rebelliousness that was sweeping America up to 1914, because it was part and parcel of this movement. This was a new departure for socialism in this country, because before Debs, socialism was primarily a German proposition, with little contact and less appeal outside of its own community.

Indigenous radicalism, indeed. Our task remains the same as it was a century ago, to transform American society as well as the rest of the world along rational and humane lines. It is encouraging that the American left, including the DSA and the Sanders campaign, to look toward the example of Debs’s party. New York DSA’ers and Sanderistas should put this film on their calendar and spread the word about it. It is a film that matches documentarian skills to a subject of deep relevance to the left today, especially since the heartland of Debs’s party in places like Oklahoma and West Virginia are on the move today.

My review of “American Socialist: The Life and Times of Eugene Victor Debs”  in CounterPunch.

April 23, 2018

Petrified Assadism

Filed under: Syria — louisproyect @ 8:00 pm

Petrified wood (wood that has turned into stone)

If you’ve been following Assadist propaganda as closely as me, you’re probably aware that it divides into two fairly distinct approaches: hard and soft.

The soft approach goes something like this. In 2011, Syrians rose up with legitimate grievances but before long (ranging between 6 months and 2 years approximately), the revolt was commandeered by jihadists. It is not unusual for people in this camp to be very critical of Assad, to refer to his neoliberalism, his repression, etc. The only solution to the country’s problems is to convene an international conference that can resolve the crisis through peaceful means. This requires allowing the dictatorship to remain in place since attempts to remove it will only prolong the misery. Vijay Prashad, Phyllis Bennis and the Stop the War Coalition in England are fairly representative of this trend.

The hardies view Assad as the head of a “developmental” state like Gaddafi’s Libya. Attention is paid to the Baathist past when state ownership was central to the economy and when social welfare measures were generous. There is a tendency to characterize the rebellion as illegitimate from the start, with claims that it initiated the violence and was Islamist from the outset. Much of the narrative has a conspiracist quality, with frequent references to Wikileaks and the infamous document on the Judicial Watch website that supposedly proves that the West favored groups like ISIS when in fact, it concludes that this would be the worst possible outcome. Typifying this camp are Stephen Gowans, The Partisan Girl, Vanessa Beeley and the Party for Socialism and Liberation.

If you had asked me a year ago how the Grayzone people fit into this spectrum, I would have placed them either in the soft group or in between the two. For example, in a Real News interview in 2017, Max Blumenthal put forward a fairly “soft” position:

In my opinion, they [the media] have abrogated their mission, which should be to challenge mainstream narratives and particularly imperial narratives on issues like Syria. I understand there are massive human rights abuses by the Syrian government, but that’s not reason enough to not explore what the West’s agenda, the Gulf agenda is for that country, what the consequences are, to actually get into the geopolitical issues. [emphasis added]

However, more recently it appears that Blumenthal and his gang are firmly in the hard zone, if not reaching the point where they will be creating a new group that might be called Petrified Assadism. The evidence can be found in recent tweets by Blumenthal that reflect a surprising affinity with deranged propagandists like Stephen Gowans.

Yesterday, Blumenthal linked to a Gowans attack on Medhi Hasan with this preface: “Stephen Gowans on @mehdirhasan’s moral posturing and his attempt to discipline the consequential left”. Here’s the background on this. The chemical attack on Douma has provoked a number articles criticizing the Assadist left for its “false flag” trolling. Among them is Medhi Hasan’s (@mehdirhasan) one on the Intercept titled “Dear Bashar al-Assad Apologists: Your Hero Is a War Criminal Even If He Didn’t Gas Syrians”. Hasan must have irked people like Blumenthal who has endorsed the “false flag” narrative:

Now, I totally understand why those of you on the MAGA-supporting far right [Make America Great Again] who cheer for barrel bombs don’t give a damn about any of this. But to those of you on the anti-war far left who have a soft spot for the dictator in Damascus: Have you lost your minds? Or have you no shame?

Remember: Whether Assad used chemical weapons in Douma is irrelevant to the moral case against him. What about the rest of his crimes? Was Assad any less of a war criminal when his “indiscriminate bombardments,” according to the U.N., were destroying “homes, medical facilities, schools, water and electrical facilities, bakeries and crops,” without the aid of sarin or chlorine? When he was dropping barrel bombs (68,000 since 2012, according to one count) on defenseless civilians? Or cluster bombs? Or good ol’-fashioned shells?

In a tweet responding to Hasan, Blumenthal endorsed the reporting of Robert Fisk, the go-to guy for all things Assadist:

Now here is @mehdirhasan reinforcing the official msm/Guardian narrative that if you accept the credibility of Robert Fisk’s reporting from Douma or question the credibility of the insurgent-allied, US-funded White Helmets, you’re a crazy conspiracist…

Since Blumenthal is on record as a supporter of the truthiness of Russian media, I hope he can explain the latest report on RT.com that is sharply opposed to Fisk’s. It relies on coverage by ZDF television in Germany. At first blush, the article’s title appears to be consistent with the tale told by the Kremlin: “’Whole story was staged’: Germany’s ZDF reporter says Douma incident was false flag attack”. However, when you read a bit further, it veers off in an entirely another direction:

The scene of the attack, which allegedly took place on April 7, was in fact the “command post” of a local Islamist group, the [ZDF] reporter said, citing the witnesses he was able to speak to at the refugee camp.

He went on to say that, according to the locals, the militants brought canisters containing chlorine to the area and “actually waited for the Syrian Air Force to bomb the place, which was of particular interest for them.”

As the Syrian forces eventually struck the place, which was apparently a high-priority military target, the chlorine canisters exploded. The locals also told Gack that it is not the first such provocation in Douma that was staged by the militants. [emphasis added]

According to other witness accounts, the militants deliberately exposed people to chemical agents during what they called “training exercises” then filmed it and later presented as an “evidence” of the alleged chemical attack in Douma.

So RT.com publishes an article that states “chlorine canisters exploded” during a helicopter bombing. These innocent helicopter crews had no intention of gassing people. The dear hearts only wanted to blast them to kingdom come with nice, little barrel bombs.

A good prosecutor would put RT.com in the witness stand and ask which story was right. Was it a totally staged Mission Apollo hoax in which a nonprofessional cast pretended to be dead with artificial foam on their mouths? Or were there dead people whose relatives only had the jihadis to blame? If they hadn’t devilishly been putting chlorine canisters under the direct aim of helicopters, everybody in Douma would have lived happily ever after. Maybe with some amputated limbs and a few killed here and there but all’s fair in love and war.

This is not to speak of how absurd Fisk’s story now appears. If he was put in the witness stand, the prosecutor would ask why he was circulating a false report. What dust storm? Did you cover up the ZDF report? All these stories contradicting each other are typical of Assadist propaganda and those promoting them should all be found guilty of perjury and given stiff sentences.

Turning to Gowans’s article, you enter the domain of really unabashed propaganda. Titled “Mehdi Hasan, beautiful soul, and his diatribe against the consequential Left”, it states in the first paragraph that Fisk’s reporting has “demolished” the “ridiculously thin” allegations of a chemical attack. Well, one gathers that Gowans won’t be following on up on RT.com’s version 3.0. Maybe it was a combination dust storm and jihadi chlorine gas provocation organized by the Mossad and funded by the Rothschild Bank. And have intrepid journalists also looked into the possibility of chemtrails?

Basically, Gowans defends Assad’s mass murder along the same lines as the wretched John Wight who once wrote a defense of barrel bombing on the basis that the allies firebombed Dresden so what’s the big deal? Both wars were against fascism and hence required a no holds barred strategy. Obviously, people like Wight and Gowans have little use for weak tea liberals like Howard Zinn who viewed both the firebombing of Dresden and Hiroshima/Nagasaki as “terror bombing”.

Like Wight, Gowans defends “extraordinary measures” to defeat Islamofascism. Assad found himself in the same position as FDR or Churchill:

It would be wrong to denounce the anti-fascist war as deplorable because some, or indeed many, of its methods, were distasteful–from the virtual dictatorships exercised in Britain and the United States, to the abuse, torture and summary executions of Axis prisoners of war, to sieges and the starving of civilians. And was the Allied countries’ refusal to guarantee the rights of assembly and free expression of Nazi and fascist supporters to be condemned as a human rights violation? Every accusation Hasan makes against Assad he can equally make against Roosevelt’s and Churchill’s conduct in WWII. Curiously (or predictably) he doesn’t, choosing instead to direct his venom at the duo’s ally, Stalin, the only one of the three whose goals were authentically leftist.

So based on this, Assad did everything that could defend his socialist state against “jihadis” backed by Washington, Saudi Arabia and Israel: barrel bombing, starvation sieges, chemical attacks, 13,000 prisoners executed in Saydnaya prison, rape, torture, and all the rest.

For this argument to succeed, Gowans has to sweep the class character of the Syrian war under the rug. An examination of the plight of Syrian farmers would make comparisons with German and Japanese big business laughable. In my review of Gowans’s ludicrous book on Syria, I pointed out:

You can search in vain for any reference to economic data in Gowans’s book. Since his goal is to portray the conflict purely as one involving a socialist government’s attempt to suppress an extremist threat to the idyllic status quo, he needs to sweep countervailing data under the rug. In all likelihood, Gowans has never read a single article or book about the class divisions that grew apace in Syria since the early 2000s so perhaps he is off the hook.

If he had read the two-volume “Syria: from Reform to Revolt” edited by Raymond Hinnebusch and Tina Zintl, he would have learned why those in the Jezira farm belt decided to pick up arms. Unlike the Krupps, who wanted to turn Eastern Europe into a slave labor camp, these were poor people trying to survive as Myrian Ababsa points out in a chapter titled “The End of the World: Drought and Agrarian Transformation in Northeast Syria (2007-2010)”:

The drought put an end to decades of development in the fields of health and education in the Jezira, and the sanitary situation became dramatic. In 2009, 42 percent of Raqqa governorate suffered from anemia owing to a shortage of dairy products, vegetables, and fruit. Malnutrition among pregnant women and children under five doubled between 2007 and 2009. To complicate matters, vegetable and fruit growers in dry northern Syria used polluted river water to irrigate their crops, causing outbreaks of food poisoning among consumers, according to environmental and medical experts. Experts pointed out that the problem stemmed from sewage and chemicals allowed to reach rivers in rural areas near Aleppo, Lattakia, and Raqqa.

Reading through Gowans’s drivel, I was somewhat surprised by the venom he hurled at Eric Draitser in an addendum. I was aware that Draitser, whose podcasts are a regular feature on CounterPunch, had been evolving but until now I didn’t realize how much the Petrified Assadists like Gowans had come to hate him:

The intellectual predecessors of Hasan, Draitser, and their ilk likewise adopted a position of neutrality in the struggle between slave owners and the slave rebellion, deploring the methods of struggle chosen by both sides, but particularly the violence of the slave rebellion, the necessary condition of the slaves’ emancipation. “If only they could work out their disagreements amicably,” they sighed.

In the 1930s, the neutralists, seeking to hover God-like above the fray, refused to side with either the Communists or Nazis, abhorring the deployment of defensive violence by Communists and Jews against the Nazis who would destroy them.

In my view, anybody who can get the execrable Stephen Gowans so worked up deserves the widest hearing. From now on, his podcasts will be up front on my agenda. I had noticed a significant change in Draitser’s approach some time ago and would urge you to look at what I wrote about him in 2016. Showing an integrity that is sadly lacking in the professional Assadist class, he made a clean break with these cynical, lying, venal propagandists:

But what does it mean to oppose the war? Does it mean that we should be opposing just Russian and Syrian bombs being dropped? Does it mean that only US-Saudi-Turkey-Israeli supplied weapons are doing the killing? Sadly, these too are not rhetorical questions as so many on the Left, including many self-described anti-imperialists, have positioned themselves as hawks in a war that has utterly devastated the country. It seems that many, myself included up to a point, have gotten so enveloped in the embrace of partisanship in this war that we have forgotten that our responsibility is to the people of Syria and to peace and justice.

If you’re supportive of Assad then it’s a certainty that you’ve chosen to ignore or downplay the horrific violence of the bombings, the brutality of the torture chambers, and other unspeakable atrocities (I admit that I have often strayed too far into the latter) out of a desire to uphold the nominally anti-imperialist position.

And how about the refugees? I’ve seen the fascist talking points spouted by many fake “anti-imperialists” who with one breath proclaim their commitment to peace and justice, and with another demonize and scapegoat Syrian refugees whose politics don’t align with the pro-Assad position. Words like “traitors,” “cowards,” and “terrorists,” are shamefully applied to ordinary Syrians fleeing to Europe and elsewhere in hopes of saving their families. Indeed, it is precisely this narrative that is at the core of the white supremacist, fascist ideology that underlies a significant amount of the support base for Assad and his allies (see David Duke, David Icke, Alexander Dugin, Brother Nathanel, Alex Jones, Mimi al-Laham, Ken O’Keefe, and on and on and on). I’m sorry to say it, but it’s true, and too many of the pro-Assad camp have willfully ignored this fundamental point.

I ask these questions as someone who took a firmly pro-Assad position from the very beginning, someone who felt (as I, and many others, still do) that Syria, like Libya, was a victim of US-NATO-GCC-Israel imperialism and that, as such, it should be defended. And while I still uphold that resistance, I also have enough humility to know that, in doing so, I abandoned other core beliefs such as defense of ALL oppressed people, including the ones with politics I reject.


April 21, 2018

Assad’s Confused Apologists: Academics in The Times

Filed under: Uncategorized — louisproyect @ 10:37 pm

Michael Barker’s brilliant takedown of Tim Hayward and company.


via Assad’s Confused Apologists: Academics in The Times

The US must have known about Japan’s “surprise” attack on Pearl Harbour

Filed under: Brian A. Mitchell,WWII — louisproyect @ 5:30 pm

A Brian A. Mitchell guest post

The US must have known about Japan’s “surprise” attack on Pearl Harbour.

The US had intercepted and deciphered Japanese communications since 1940. With their surveillance and technology at the time, the US would have known about the “surprise” Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on December 7 1941. With Britain and its empire on its knees; the US wanted to grab the chance to further dominate the world, and Pearl Harbour gave them the excuse they wanted to enter the war by overcoming the “isolationist” policy of the American public and Congress in opposition to involvement in the war. This is not “proof” that the US knew about the attack, but there’s no reason to conclude otherwise.

“If by these [economic, trade and military] means Japan could be led to commit an overt act of war, so much the better.”

(Secret memo from US Naval intelligence officer Lieutenant Commander McCollum to Commodore Knox October 7 1940, detailing options for provoking Japan to attack the US, all of which were carried out. Not declassified until 1994. Many documents on this are still classified.)

“we face the delicate question of the diplomatic fencing to be done so as to be sure Japan is put into the wrong and makes the first bad move – overt move.

(US Secretary of War Henry Stimson in his diary October 16 1941.)

“For a long time I have believed that our best entrance into the war would be by way of Japan.”

(US Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes, in his diary, October 18, 1941.)

“We are preparing an offensive war against Japan.”

(US Army Chief of Staff General Marshall, in a “secret” report, November 15 1941.)

“Eighty percent of the American people in 1940… were against going to war in Europe against Hitler. Roosevelt did the next best thing… He needed something to cause an important trauma and make the Americans’ mind up regarding the war. Therefore, he provoked the Japanese into attacking us at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.”

(US author and political historian Gore Vidal.)

“It may be taken as almost certain that the entry of Japan into the war would be followed by the immediate entry of the United States on our side.”

(Winston Churchill, in a secret directive to the British War Cabinet, April 28 1941.)

“The President had said he would wage war but not declare it. … Everything was to be done to force an incident.”

(Winston Churchill, to the British War Cabinet, August 18 1941.)

“[Roosevelt] brought up the event that we were likely to be attacked perhaps next Monday [December 1], for the Japanese are notorious for making an attack without warning, and the question was what we should do. The question was how we should maneuver them into the position of firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves.”

(US Secretary of War Henry Stimson, in his diary, November 25 1941.)

“The task force, keeping its movement strictly secret and maintaining close guard against submarines and aircraft, shall advance into Hawaiian waters, and upon the very opening of hostilities shall attack the main force of the United States fleet and deal it a mortal blow. The first air raid is planned for the dawn of x-day. Exact date to be given by later order.”

(Japanese Admiral Yamamoto to Japanese Air Fleet, November 26, 1941, decrypted by the US.)

“the news got worse and worse and the atmosphere indicated that something was going to happen.”

(US Secretary of War Henry Stimson, in his diary, December 6 1941, the day before the attack.)

“Prior to December 7, it was evident even to me… that we were pushing Japan into a corner. I believed that it was the desire of President Roosevelt, and Prime Minister Churchill that we get into the war, as they felt the Allies could not win without us and all our efforts to cause the Germans to declare war on us failed; the conditions we imposed upon Japan – to get out of China, for example – were so severe that we knew that nation could not accept them. We were forcing her so severely that we could have known that she would react toward the United States. All her preparations in a military way – and we knew their over-all import – pointed that way.”

(US Rear Admiral Frank Beatty, Aid to Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox.)

“Japan was provoked into attacking the Americans at Pearl Harbor. It is a travesty on history ever to say that America was forced into the war. Everyone knows where American sympathies were. It is incorrect to say that America was ever truly neutral even before America came into the war on a fighting basis.”

(British cabinet Minister of Production Oliver Littleton, June 20 1944.)

Brian was born in the bombed out wartime East End of London and developed an interest in political books early on. He worked in various technical fields for 20 years, all of which thoroughly bored him. He entered academic life (History and Classical Economics) and became an independent journalist, worked for the ANC (secret at the time) until the end of apartheid, and was a trade union representative in a large hospital. He is now retired and still works (when able) as an independent journalist.

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