I have to say that its not often that a guest speaks in good broad strokes that really sum up the situation. Few have the knack for such astute commentary.
Joaquin Flores does a great job for speaking for democracy and people power, it is interesting to see the contrasting view from team Britain in this Cross Talk.
Living in New Zealand, a very British colony, I can see parallels in the thought process; The notion that politicians – who have demonstrated for decades their dishonesty,debauchery and corruption- are the only way to deliver democracy is astonishing. Kiwis display the same sentiment as well, despite being devastated by their politicians from all parties for 30 years.
Joaquin is spot on when he says that saying that people are incapable of deciding on major issues is akin to being in the same boat as the elite.
However, it must also be acknowledged that Marcus Papadopoulos is also correct in pointing out the hastiness of putting important decisions to vote, lack of information and ill informed decision making by the people. He is also right on the brexit issue being complex and points out the little known realities of working class Liverpool receiving EU funds as torries starved them etc.
The solution, though, needs to be more referendums, more democracy, more transparency and more education of reality and not a curtailing of the right to determine ones own path by handing that right over to the cesspool of politicians.
Every once in a (long) while a book comes out that rips the zeitgeist, shining on like a crazy diamond. Age of Anger, by Pankaj Mishra, author of the also-seminal From the Ruins of Empire, might as well be the latest avatar.
Think of this book as the ultimate (conceptual) lethal weapon in the hearts and minds of a rootless cosmopolitan Teenage Wasteland striving to find its true call as we slouch through the longest – the Pentagon would say infinite – of world wars; a global civil war (which in my 2007 book Globalistan I called “Liquid War”).
Mishra, a sterling product of East-meets-West, essentially argues it’s impossible to understand the present if we don’t acknowledge the subterranean homesick blues contradicting the ideal of cosmopolitan liberalism — the “universal commercial society of self-interested rational individuals” first conceptualized by the Enlightenment via Montesquieu, Adam Smith, Voltaire and Kant.
History’s winner ended up being a sanitized narrative of benevolent Enlightenment. The tradition of rationalism, humanism, universalism and liberal democracy was supposed to have always been the norm. It was “clearly too disconcerting,” Mishra writes, “to acknowledge that totalitarian politics crystallized the ideological currents (scientific racism, jingoistic rationalism, imperalism, technicism, aestheticized politics, utopianism, social engineering)” already convulsing Europe in the late 19th century.
So, evoking T.S. Eliot, to frame “the backward half-look, over the shoulder, towards the primitive terror” that eventually led to The West versus The Rest, we’ve got to look at the precursors.
Smash the Crystal Palace
Enter Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin – “the first of many ‘superflous man’ in Russian fiction,” with his Bolivar hat, clutching a statue of Napoleon and a portrait of Byron, as Russia, trying to catch up with the West, “mass-produced spiritually unmoored youth with a quasi-Byronic conception of freedom, further inflated by German Romanticism.” The best Enlightenment critics had to be Germans and Russians, latecomers to politico-economic modernity.
Two years before publishing the astonishing Notes from the Underground, Dostoyevsky, in his tour of Western Europe, was already seeing a society dominated by the war of all against all in which most were condemned to be losers.
In London, in 1862, at the International Exhibition at the Crystal Palace, Dostoyevsky had an illumination (“You become aware of a colossal idea … that here there is victory and triumph. You even begin vaguely to fear something.”) Amid the stupor, Dostoyevsky was also cunning enough to observe how materialist civilization was enhanced as much by its glamor as by military and maritime domination.
I have been at pains to reconcile my ambivalent feelings on the happenings in our world, alas,I have come to the conclusion that they are a manifestation of what plagues us as human beings rather than a personal identity crisis to resolve. After all, we are talking of a post identity politics reality regardless of the fact that the masses in their pussy hats continue to be dictated about reality via the telly.
As a brown Pakistani Muslim born and raised in Saudi Arabia, it is absolutely surreal to see the world through the eyes of the “me” that once was. It is astonishing. I am the troubled one? I am the pitied one? Am i finally being recognised as the persecuted one? Has the consciousness of the west finally awoken? Really? Am I to rejoice now?
Surveying the flurry of emotions on display, I feel as if I my kin have been heard. Will they finally have a trial for the drone pilot that wiped out a whole wedding celebration in Pakistan? Or will the children maimed receive new prosthetics instead of the used ones from coalition countries? Yes, it is that cynical.
Will someone finally be accountable for the war crimes carried out by the US under Obama? Under Clinton? or Bush?
“No, no, silly boy, heavens be damned, no” a voice tells me in sarcastic laughter. “Have you really gone mad now? Have they finally convinced you that you matter?” it goes on in abject disregard for the “me” that once was.
Here “I” stand, though, having moved, shifted, transformed or rather travelled far afield from the “me” that once was. I do not pray anymore, I do not observe the religious holidays, I do not observe the rituals and I most certainly do not identify as a Muslim. So, am I to be afraid or not ? Once we stop identifying with ideologies the distance allows us to escape a lot of the emotional lures of the narrative being played. I see the truth of my reality; A pawn like the rest of you with your faiths,beliefs,identities and dream-like realities. Identity politics is a mindset that has locked in the participants into a perpetual loop of despair.
Trump or no Trump, US fascism has been alive and well since 1945, accelerated since 1989 and has never been stronger. Fascism permeates our daily lives, it is at our places of learning, our places of exercise, our places of residence, our entertainment spots and in our societal exchange. It is an invisible guest in our daily discourse. It is the alienation of ourselves from our kin, our fellow man and our environment. Everything must be calculated, it must be costed, must be accounted for and prescribed. It must be measured, it must be dictated and legislated.
Somehow the infinite possibility of how existence can manifest itself is not valid. It must be held accountable! We shall do things a certain way, in a certain fashion, with certain rules and consequences. I am talking of the rules in our lives that come from an unknown and manifest through the drones of people who will accept without question what is enforced from the halls of power.
Yet, Trump is the new fascist? Really? It just started 10 days ago apparently! Hallelujah!
These protests have nothing to do with freedom, liberty, recognition of Muslims or of values. When your spokespersons are George Soros and Madeline Albright, you have to look at what you are so upset about. You are being played like a violin.
My Pakistani friends are galvanised, the news papers are dishing out headline after headline. Is Pakistan next on the list is the question on everyone’s mind? The Empire and its mouthpieces are plenty and their blind adherents many. It was “Ok” for the smooth talking black Jesus to bomb 7 Muslim nations, have a global assassination program and arm terrorists. But it is an uproar with pussy hats to have an immigration vetting process from unstable – save Iran, probably on the list to appease some establishment elements – countries.
Do not get me wrong, I am not in anyway condoning anything. I am in no way endorsing Trump. But I am calling a spade a spade. This has nothing to do with values, freedom or respect. This fiasco of immigration has everything to do with the globalist establishment using every card up its sleeve to continue the Military Industrial Complex and its aim of global domination by hook or crook. The Saker has given a good recap on the stakes here, the Deep State is out for blood and it is not backing down. The Attorney General has now come out and challenged the President as well. Edit: Has been fired already. The headlines go too fast these days.
Decades of tyranny was apparently “A-Ok Double Thumbs Up” by the liberal left, as long as it was sugar coated with the right politically corrected vocabulary. And now we are to fear someone who has never held public office, has not been knee deep in the blood of innocents like the entire establishment.
A friend told me of “historic” protests at airports and how he probably should have gone. I replied by saying that they were only “historic” in how they are working towards a colour revolution at home after countless ones abroad and that it is better for him to not get involved. “Colour Revolution? What do you mean?” was the response. A discussion ensued and I did what we all do time to time for the ones we hold dear; Give them an ultra condensed recap of geopolitics, Soros, Deep State and so forth. “You must be listening to Alex Jones and his conspiracies” came back the reply.
Another Muslim friend told me how he cannot trust a president beholden to Putin – the dictator- under threat of sex tapes being released. Yes, he believes that.
There is a chasm of knowledge omitted from the discourse that the vast majority of Americans are being actively engaged in. Without knowing how politics, manipulation, propaganda and Deep State works, they are hopelessly lost. They are ripe for the picking. This is a grass roots movement for them and they are all the more willing to cheer on the “revolution” from their smartphones.
Muslims are an easy recruiting ground for the liberal fake left, they have been traumatised for decades, have been the victims of US aggression, have faced back clashes in their own communities from right wing elements edged on by politicians and now finally they are being told that they are going to be singled out for more persecution. This time they have CNN, Hollywood, Silicon Valley and all the vampires in between giving them a platform. This is not coincidence, this is not by chance but instead by design. They will be used like cannon fodder and discarded once Black Jesus is restored to the throne or civil war ensues.
Imperialists are masters of creating ethical. moral juxtapositions that perplex, that rip apart emotional cords in the masses, drive them to hysteria and in the thick of it they take reins of their emotions and play them to their hearts content.
It is a sad sight to behold.
Can human intellect rise above the machinations of the 0.0001 % ?
Many years ago, Fidel declared: “Men do not shape destiny. Destiny produces the man for the hour.”
It did; destiny shaped them all, los Barbudos, and threw them right into the center of the whirlpool of world history. As they fought for the freedom of Cuba, of Latin America and the entire oppressed world, they actually managed to defy their own words: in the end they irreversibly shaped the fate of our Planet, of the entire humanity.
Fidel stood firmly at the forefront of the struggle, from the very outset to his last breath. As always, when the giants get reunited with mother Earth, the entire world shook and the ground trembled on all continents.
For several moments, everything stopped, got frozen.
I was driving through Central Vietnam when the message of Fidel’s death arrived on my phone screen. For several minutes there was absolute emptiness and silence inside me.
Then, on a wide and beautiful river I spotted several marvelous ships belonging to an ancient Vietnamese fishing fleet, and a boat proudly flying both the Communist red flags with yellow stars, as well as several desolate black flags – symbols of mourning.
In a remote place in Asia, Fidel’s death managed to disturb the calm, to stir the serene surface of the river.
Later everything fell back to where it was supposed to be, and the sounds returned. The emptiness inside me also evaporated. A great man has left, but the revolution has not stopped. It can never stop, as the very existence; the very survival of humanity now depends on it.
What was Fidel’s gift to the world and what did his Cuba achieve?
Results do not always have to be material. Although yes, of course, we could talk for days about the great education, culture, creativity, medical care and equality.
Socialist Cuba gave more, much more than that.
It gave hope, where hope was fading.
It gave strength, where only resignation reigned.
It gave heart to those places where only vulgar mercantile interests were recognized.
It gave optimism to counter the deadly embrace of nihilism.
Once Fidel shouted: “They talk about the failure of socialism but where is the success of capitalism in Africa, Asia and Latin America?”
Cuba, under the leadership of Fidel and his comrades, fought wars of independence in the most devastated parts of Africa; it stood by Vietnam during its most testing moments; and it offered its intellectual and ideological leadership and skills to the latest wave of Latin American revolutions, from Venezuela to Bolivia.
Cuban doctors and teachers were sent to some of the most remote parts of our planet, in order to offer unconditional internationalist help. I saw them in action in places such as Kiribati, Timor Leste, and post-apartheid South Africa. They fought for human lives in the poorest countries, and in those places devastated by natural calamities. They fought with courage and dignity, and also with kindness and respect, learning to communicate in local languages and valuing local cultures.
Fidel’s Cuba never broke down, never surrendered under the pressure. It defended itself when attacked by the mightiest nation on earth. It survived a brutal embargo, ideological propaganda and even biological warfare.
It inspired the world with its determination and its valour, just as it inspired millions worldwide with its music, cinema and poetry.
“Patria no se vende!” – “One does not sell the Fatherland!” This is one of the greatest slogans of this marvellous country: a slogan which brought a clear message to all the countries humiliated and plundered by the Western Empire: ‘Not everything is lost. It is worth standing tall. It is better to die than to lose one’s pride and dignity!’
I am not sure who has invented those rumors that Cuba is now facing a mortal danger, that it has lost its bearings, and that it could collapse at any moment, after just one lethal visit by US President Barack Obama. The rumors and speculations are snowballing, and in some circles of the North American and European Left, they are already being confused with reality.
I know, admire and love Cuba. It is an exceptionally strong, determined and resilient nation. Reading all the alarming reports, I decided to return and to speak to the Cuban people directly.
I visited Cuba again. This time in between my work in war-torn Middle East and South America, a continent suffering vicious assaults by toxic counter-revolutionary cliques loyal to Washington and Europe.
This time I decided to drive, to visit remote villages and historic revolutionary sites, as well as the area surrounding the territory stolen from Cuba by Western imperialism – Guantanamo Bay. I drove for over 1,000 kilometers, in the East and West of the country. I worked in Santiago de Cuba, Guantanamo, Havana, Bay of Pigs, Playa Giron and in one of the most remote (and before the Revolution the poorest) areas of the country – Cienaga de Zapata.
I visited Prensa Latina and ICAIC in Havana, but this time my main goal was simply to listen to the Cuban people.
Were they aware of that mortal danger coming from the North? Were they ready to forge compromises? Was their revolutionary spirit getting diluted?
My conclusion is clear and decisive: “No! Cuba is not falling. Cuban people know; they are well aware of what is most likely behind the sweet talk of the US President. They will not yield, and they will not betray the Revolution.”
The danger from the West is real; it is there. It is always there, as it is real. Coercions, tricks, Machiavellian politics – all will be used in attempt to derail, even to destroy the Cuban Revolution. But do not think for one second that the Cuban people don’t see what the Empire is trying to achieve.
Cuba is standing, where it has been for decades. It is doing better than before. It is also stronger than ever. I’m convinced that it is going to prevail.
Before I continue, I have one suggestion to make to those who are thinking otherwise and who are genuinely worried: go to Cuba and help if you think that the country is now facing unprecedented danger. Travel there, talk to people, work, write, film, photograph. Support Cuba abroad. Buy its products, listen to its music, watch films, read books. Spend money there, instead of in Thailand, the Virgin Islands or Egypt, if you need some sun. Do something real, something concrete.
Cuba is the most internationalist country on Earth. It has been showing solidarity with dozens of oppressed and needy countries. It has already done so much for the others – the rest of the world. Now do something for Cuba, instead of prophesying its collapse! Do it if you worry about its future, and do it even if you don’t.
Santiago de Cuba is known to be a brave and strong-minded city. This is where the Cuban Revolution began on July 26, 1953. This is where a great poet, writer, and a national hero, José Martí is buried.
And this is where, on January 1, 1959, Fidel Castro proclaimed the victory of the Revolution from a balcony in Santiago’s city hall.
Like Salvador Bahia in Brazil, Santiago de Cuba gave the world some of the finest musicians. Now, in legendary Casa de la Trova and in many other clubs, cabarets and music halls of the city, mixed couples of all races are dancing to the upbeat rhythms of son and salsa. In Cuba, racism is a foreign unknown factor.
During my visit, on the second floor of Casa de la Trova, a young Chinese man was exchanging love notes with a black girl, while several local mixed couples were dancing cheek-to-cheek on an old parquet floor right in front of a brilliant, euphoric band.
Here, no ‘political correctness’ is needed. Nothing is forced. Racial and gender equality come naturally, instinctively, as a logical ‘by-product’ of the Revolution.
Countless Cuban people fought and died liberating African nations from Western imperialism. Thousands of Cuban doctors and teachers are still deployed in some of the poorest and remote parts of the world. Cuban Revolution fights for humanism. It struggles; it stands on the side of the oppressed, be they men, women or children. The color of the skin matters nothing. To all Cubans, one thing is clear: each person, each race deserves to live with dignity.
This is “my Communism”. Cuba is my “mother country”.
And that is why Western imperialism hates Cuba. That is why it is using its vitriolic propaganda to discredit the Cuban Revolution. That is why it tries to derail the country from the Communist course by all means at its disposal: through direct attacks, embargo, and now, through a new Machiavellian chapter of ‘normalization’.
It constitutes a superhuman effort to lead any people in times of crisis. Without them, the changes would be impossible. In a meeting such as this, which brings together more than a thousand representatives chosen by the revolutionary people themselves, who delegated their authority to them, for all it represents the greatest honor they have received in their lives, to which is added the privilege of being a revolutionary which is the product of our own consciousness
Why did I become a socialist, or more plainly, why did I become a communist? That word that expresses the most distorted and maligned concept in history by those who have the privilege of exploiting the poor, dispossessed ever since they were deprived of all the material wealth that work, talent and human energy provide. Since when does man live in this dilemma, throughout time without limit. I know you do not need this explanation but perhaps some listeners do.
I speak simply so it is better understood that I am not ignorant, extremist, or blind, nor did I acquire my ideology of my own accord studying economics.
I did not have a tutor when I was a law and political sciences student, subjects in which they have a great influence. Of course then I was around 20 years old and was fond of sports and mountain climbing. Without a tutor to help me in the study of Marxism-Leninism; I was no more than a theorist and, of course, had total confidence in the Soviet Union. Lenin’s work violated after 70 years of Revolution. What a history lesson! It can be affirmed that it should not take another 70 years before another event like the Russian Revolution occurs, in order that humanity have another example of a magnificent social revolution that marked a huge step in the struggle against colonialism and its inseparable companion, imperialism.
Perhaps, however, the greatest danger hanging over the earth today derives from the destructive power of modern weaponry which could undermine the peace of the planet and make human life on earth’s surface impossible.
The species would disappear like the dinosaurs disappeared, perhaps there will be time for new forms of intelligent life or maybe the sun’s heat will grow until it melts all the planets of the solar system and its satellites, as a large number of scientists recognize. If the theories of several of them are true, which we laypeople are not unaware of, the practical man must learn more and adapt to reality. If the species survives a much longer space of time the future generations will know much more than we do, but first they will have to solve a huge problem. How to feed the billions of human beings whose realities are inevitably at odds with the limited drinking water and natural resources they need?
Some or perhaps many of you are wondering where are the politics in this speech. Believe me I am sad to say it, but the politics are here in these moderate words. If only numerous human beings would concern ourselves with these realities and not continue as in the times of Adam and Eve eating forbidden apples. Who will feed the thirsty people of Africa with no technology at their disposal, no rain, no reservoirs, no more underground aquifers than those covered by sands? We will see what the governments, which almost all signed the climate commitments, say.
We must constantly hammer away at these issues and I do not want to elaborate beyond the essentials.
I shall soon turn 90, such an idea would never have occurred to me and it was never the result of an effort, it was sheer chance. I will soon be like everyone else. We all reach our turn, but the ideas of the Cuban communists will remain as proof that on this planet, working with fervor and dignity, can produce the material and cultural wealth that humans need, and we must fight relentlessly to obtain these. To our brothers in Latin America and the world we must convey that the Cuban people will overcome.
This may be one of the last times that I speak in this room. I voted for all the candidates submitted for election by Congress and I appreciate the invitation and the honor of your listening to me. I congratulate you all, and firstly, compañero Raúl Castro for his magnificent effort.
We will set forth on the march forward and we will perfect what we should perfect, with the utmost loyalty and united force, just as Martí, Maceo and Gómez, in an unstoppable march.
Remarks by the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, during the closing of the 7th Party Congress
Philosophers have been muzzled by the Western global regime; most of great modern philosophy concealed from the masses. What has been left of it, allowed to float on the surface is toothless, irrelevant and incomprehensible: a foolish outdated theoretical field for those few remaining intellectual snobs.
Philosophy used to be the most precious crown jewel of human intellectual achievement. It stood at the vanguard of almost all fights for a better world. Gramsci was a philosopher, and so were Lenin, Mao Tse-tung, Ho-Chi-Minh, Guevara, Castro, Frantz Fanon, Senghors, Cabral, Nyerere and Lumumba, to name just a few.
To be a thinker, a philosopher, in ancient China, Japan or even in some parts of the West, was the most respected human ‘occupation’.
In all ‘normally’ developing societies, knowledge has been valued much higher than material possessions or naked power.
In ancient Greece and China, people were able to understand the majority of their philosophers. There was nothing “exclusive” in the desire to know and interpret the world. Philosophers spoke to the people, for the people.
Some still do. But that whoring and servile Western academic gang, which has locked philosophy behind the university walls, viciously sidelines such men and women.
Instead of leading people to the barricades, instead of addressing the most urgent issues our world is now facing, official philosophers are fighting amongst themselves for tenures, offering their brains and bodies to the Empire. At best, they are endlessly recycling each other, spoiling millions of pages of paper with footnotes, comparing conclusions made by Derrida and Nietzsche, hopelessly stuck at exhausted ideas of Kant and Hegel.
At worst, they are outrightly evil – making still relevant revolutionary philosophical concepts totally incomprehensible, attacking them, and even disappearing them from the face of the Earth.
Only the official breed, consisting of almost exclusively white/Western ‘thought recyclers’, is now awarded the right to be called ‘philosophers’.
My friends in all corners of the world, some of the brightest people on earth, are never defined as such. The word ‘philosopher’ still carries at least some great theoretical prestige, and god forbid if those who are now fighting against Western terror, for social justice or true freedom of thought, were to be labeled as such!
But they are, of course, all great philosophers! And they don’t recycle – they go forward, advancing brilliant new concepts that can improve life on our Planet. Some have fallen, some are still alive, and some are still relatively young:
With its recent miniscule 2% devaluation of the Yuan, media pundits noted that China had now also entered into the global currency war. What this comment implies is that other countries with the ability to issue or print their own currency, including the U.S., have been participating in a currency war by devaluing their own currency as a hoped for means to increase their country exports and thereby stimulate their economies. As China’s currency has been pegged to the USD, it had recently grown stronger as a byproduct of dollar’s recent dramatic strength. Accordingly, the peg that China used to tie-in to the dollar’s value had increased the Chinese yuan to a level that was hurting their exports. The resulting devaluation was China’s attempt to correct partially this unwelcome currency appreciation.
With FED’s past QE series of money printing, we have been at the forefront attempting to devalue our own currency as a means to improve our exports, reach the FED’s stated goal of increasing inflation which would produce higher GDP figures, allowing government officials to claim that economic growth or recovery is resuming. Not to be outdone, the European Central Bank has been purchasing weak credits from their banks, in order to make member bank financial solidity ratios appear stronger – which also requires substantially increasing its money supply. The largest and most outrageous example of intentional destruction in the value of its currency is Japan, which for nearly two decades has been on a mission to devalue its currency in order to stimulate inflation.
Currency expansion may seem like an ideal, benign solution to a country trying to stimulate its exports, but it does create a financial assault or loss to their trading partners. For example, China’s recent holding in excess of $1.3 trillion assets (until some recent sales of under $200 billion) from accumulated annual trade surpluses, would lose great value in its assets by the amount of such U.S. devaluation. If the U.S. were to expand its currency by 10%, China’s Treasury holdings could be reduced by $100 billion – not an insignificant amount. That is of course why the well known phrase “race to the bottom” stipulates that once one country starts to print currency, other countries, in order to protect themselves against the action of the initiator, have to follow and also devalue their own currency. We are currently witnesses to a race to the bottom in a continuing global currency war.
Definition of Currency War.
Wikipedia defines a currency war as “competitive devaluation where countries compete against each other to achieve a relatively low exchange rate for their own currency. As the price to buy a country’s currency falls so too does the price of exports. Imports to the country become more expensive. So domestic industry, and thus employment, receives a boost in demand from both domestic and foreign markets. The policy can also trigger retaliatory action by other countries which in turn can lead to a general decline in international trade, harming all countries.”
It is arguable that currency wars are not only fairly current affairs, but that they last for relatively brief periods of time not extending beyond a few short years – as highlighted by our FED’s recent QE series. How might our understanding of currency war change if we were to expand slightly the definition of currency war, and by also taking a far longer view – that of going back to the founding of the FED? How would we appraise the big picture of government and FED policy over the years, and its now fully observable results on the populace?