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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

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LA Times and Xi Jinping: A Lesson in Imperialist Rhetoric

In an article in LA Times, 18th of October this year, titled "China is again slowly turning in on itself" by Carl Minzner, we are given this ominous message: China is going backwards, but not to the Deng era, of "openness and economic development", but to the chaotic, "unstable" Mao era. The article is systematically a character assassination on Xi Jinping, China's new General Secretary since 2012. It provides us with some... interesting lessons. It is more than just an article, but a brief caricature of the age-old game of Western narratives surrounding anti-imperialist Great Leaders. While the verdict is still not clear on whether or not Xi Jinping represents the return to the Maoist era of the Mass Line, criticism and self-criticism and the socialist road, we do know that he represents a real threat to the US imperial establishment. The economy in China has surpassed the US, and the US has been more heavily involved with promoting dissident movements in China than before, including Falun Gong, a religiously extremist group that calls for the public execution of homosexuals and views the advanced position of women in China as a sign of the end times. With Russia and China trying to surpass the US dollar, the entire US global dominance of finances and resources is seriously threatened. It is far from surprising that China is once again having their leader targeted, as in the Mao days. While China, since the end of the Deng era, was previously critiqued for merely being corrupt and undemocratic, with the leaders being more or less pawns in the game, the development toward the attack on a leader is a specific tactic that the US media establishment has used whenever it wants to militarily, economically or politically target an undesirable regime. 

The first critique that Minzner levels against Xi is the return to the fabled, totalitarian "isolationism". He praises Deng (hardly a democrat, and hardly someone who didn't construct a personality cult) for his praxis of openness:

Ideologically, Deng decisively broke with Maoist isolationism in the late 1970s. China opened up. Students flowed out; outside influences flowed in. When other party leaders criticized such policies for allowing dangerous foreign influences to circulate, Deng famously responded, “If you open the window for fresh air, you have to expect some flies to blow in.”
It is not mentioned at all what the economic nature of this openness is, it is merely outlined as a form of "cultural" openness. Not mentioned, of course, is the influx of Western investment and industry, which hardly has a good reputation globally. And of course, "outside influences" is codeword for "Western influences" - China has always had cultural influences from all around the world, from, Africa, to Latin America, to Albania and Romania. The big sin of the Chinese restriction of culture was exclusively the fact that that Western culture was restricted.

This is of course, also presented as if China didn't have significant reasons to isolate themselves. The threat of invasion, subversion and infiltration is presented as mere paranoia and not something that they had real reasons to worry about. Imperialism, cultural and economic, is seen as something completely harmless - in fact - opening ones country up to it is seen as synonymous to democratic influences, even if the political structure and state control didn't change qualitatively over the Chinese population. The mere allowing  of "Westerness" into ones cultural sphere is seen as a democratic victory in and of itself.

But dark clouds loom over China, at least according to Carl Minzner.

Now, China is again slowly turning in on itself. New party slogans stress “traditional” culture and values. The language of Confucianism is increasingly being invoked to legitimize a new dynasty of red emperors. Windows are being shut. State researchers are being warned against foreign collaboration. Archives previously open to Western scholars are being closed off. And Beijing is reaching for a fly swatter — or a hammer — to deal with influences it perceives as threats. Liberal public interest lawyers are being subjected to a chilling crackdown; Christian churches in Zhejiang province to a selective demolition campaign; Hong Kong pro-democracy media to increasing intimidation.
There is much to discuss here. First of, if China is returning to Confuscianism, then what is all this fuzz about returning to Maoism? If anything, Deng was more Confuscian than Mao, During the Maoist led Cultural Revolution, Confuscianism was explicitly targeted.

Furthmore, the mention of "Red Emperors" is traditional anti-communist speak: Stalin was a "Red Tsar", Mao was a "Red Emperor". Liberalism, developing as a bourgeois revolutionary tradition against absolutist monarchism, has since then been completely unable to criticize anything outside of the anti-monarchist framework. The leaders of communist, or generally anti-imperialist countries, are viewed as monarchs, despite their social structure deviating significantly from any known monarchist society. Liberal discourse removes these leaders completely from their social structure, to vulgarly twist and turn the leader of any specific anti-imperialist country into a Louis XVI of France, gross unhygienic men who feast on banquets and rule the country to their own subjective whims and wants, and execute anyone who opposes them, or merely annoys them. This, of course, has no basis in reality - it is just a tired old narrative lazily applied to a new threat to bourgeois dominance and rule. It tells us nothing about the actuality of the power-structures in China, or anywhere else.

Of course, this notion that China is turning against collaboration, and against outside influence goes directly against the facts. China is opening up - to Russia, to Africa, to India and to other parts of Asia. Since this "opening up" has more to do with going against US interests than supporting them, it is obviously not valid as a process of "opening up"- a truly open society allows US corporations and the "culture" they bring to normalize their hegemony and superiority.

A paragraph later we find this gem:

Economically, the decades of double-digit growth rates that marked the reform period have ended. The infrastructure and real estate booms driving China's economy since the 1990s have peaked. Even the state media now speaks of adjusting to the “new normal.”
Attitudes to foreign investors are shifting as well. Since the early 2000s, the rise of state industrial policies has favored the growth of domestic “national champions.” The announcement in August that China plans to launch a homegrown operating system to replace Windows and Android is simply the latest reflection of these trends. And a spate of state actions — jailing of corporate investigators, aggressive antitrust raids on firms that included Mercedes and Microsoft — have left expat managers nervously seeking transfers.
The "market reform" is of course, uncritically spoken of as positive, even though it has brought an increase of economic inequality and quite frankly, horrid working conditions. That the State-Owned Enterprises in China, and therefore China's national economic independence, has strengthened it's role since the end of the pro-neoliberal Jian Zemin era, is spoken of as if it was synonymous with crackdowns on "pro-democracy" groups. We are led to believe that China's obviously monstrous infringement on the moral and economically superior monopoly control Windows, Apple and Google hold on the software industry is some sort of negative, as if the building of national alternatives to imperialist corporate business models is a crime. And anti-trust laws, such totalitarian things - oh the horror! Here is a quick glance into the mind of a neo-liberal: the idea that China is passing laws that are way beyond the very tiny comfort zones of large mega-corporations like Mercedes and Microsoft is synonymous with Chinas downward spiral!

After this odd comment, Minzner turns his eyes to Xi.
Since 2012, Xi has concentrated an astounding array of power in his hands. Special leadership groups on economic reform, on domestic security, on media propaganda now report to him. A whiff of a personality cult has emerged.
Ah, the cult of personality, that pinnacle of anti-communist critique! Now, while he only senses a "whiff" of a cult of personality, look at this paragraph:

At a deep level, China is experiencing a backlash against many of the economic, ideological and political winners of the reform era. The last three decades saw the world's most rapid accumulation of economic wealth fuse with an unreformed authoritarian political system. The result: a generation of well-heeled “red capitalists,” furiously texting on their iPhones as chauffeur-driven Audis sped their children past migrant shantytowns to English cram schools in preparation for studies overseas. Such things might have seemed the very epitome of success to an earlier generation of Chinese leaders ruling over a country just emerging from crushing poverty and Maoist isolation. But they look very different now.
To a new leader worried about maintaining one-party rule in a nation with a history of revolution, and where just 1% of the population controls one-third of the wealth, this is not just an image problem. It is a latent threat to the stability of his regime. In Xi's eyes, the legacy of the reform era poses other challenges too. Entrenched political and economic interests built up since the 1990s hamper his efforts to solidify personal control over the apparatus of governance. Decades of dependence on foreign software expose China to cyber threats from abroad. Cultural imports — Hollywood films or “The Big Bang Theory” — challenge his dream of nationalist revival. This is precisely why these are all under attack. And it resonates with ordinary citizens, particularly those who feel they missed out on China's go-go years. For them, the sight of cadres who once sped past them in limos being humbled by Xi's disciplinary teams is no small source of pleasure. Unsurprisingly, Xi's popularity has soared.
Can you imagine! That dictator, Xi, is actually promoting policies and reforms that please the ordinary citizens of China! The worst crime of any anti-American leader is never the repression of democracy, the killings of innocents or failed economic policies. The absolute worst crime a dictator can commit is actually having popular support. Promoting a political line that is actually supported by the vast majority of the public - no Western, enlightened, democratic leader would never resort to such cheap tricks as actually implementing politics that people actually like. See, in these totalitarian communist societies, the leaders (often at great cost to themselves), commit the heinous crime of actually conforming to the will of the majority, in contrast to our fair Western system, where we like none of our leaders.

Xi Jinpings "personal power" is discussed, but never defined. We never see any definition of what Jinpings "personal power" is meant to be. He cracks down on corrupted politicians and corporations, but it is just assumed by Minzner that this signifies a strengthening of his own power and influence. Obviously, kicking out politicians means precisely that the Party will have a less corrupt political line. The entrenched economic and political interests can't possibly be targeted because these interests run contrary to the general, poor population of Chinas interest, as Minzner himself indicates, but instead, on Xi Jinpings petty attempts at gaining personal power and legitimacy. Of course, that 85% of China's population still like Mao Zedong, and does not share Minzners view of Maoist China as one of poverty and isolation, despite both Western powers and China's own government denouncing and distancing themselves from Mao, is ignored, and would probably be attributed to a "Egyptian pots of Meat" theory. Srećko Horvat and Igor Štiks describe that theory like this in Monthly Review, March 2012:

The politically aseptic Goodbye, Lenin nostalgia is often seen with general sympathy, whereas one opinion poll showing that almost 61 percent of Romanians think that life was better under Ceauşescu is met with strong disapproval and even disappointment by observers. Fervent liberals might point out that it is the “Egyptian pots of meat” story: the “slaves” are always nostalgic about their tyrants instead of being happy to be “free,” even when they are within close reach of the “promised land.” Reading “nostalgia” as the expressed “wish” to return by magic to the state socialist regime—as if anyone offered that alternative—means avoiding the questions that simmer behind these feelings: Why do people feel politically disempowered and economically robbed and enslaved today? Why and when did liberal democracy and the free market economy turn wrong? Was there any other possibility? Why is it not getting any better? - Welcome To The Desert of Transition.

(Another quick note: if Xi Jinping means to crack down on "Big Bang Theory", China deserves our overwhelming support.)

Now, Minzner does not completely trash the efforts of Xi to combat corruption. Not even a blathering neoliberal propagandist such as Minzner can deny that corruption and negative social attitudes are prevalent in China. But:
... in the years since 1989, party leaders have systematically stymied the gradual evolution of positive local experiments with the kinds of institutions — an independent judiciary, meaningful legislatures, bottom-up electoral participation — that might help seriously curtail these problems.
Minzner wants China to combat it's corrupt political leadership, as the democrat that he is, but only if they institute a political system that might seriously threaten China's socioeconomic independence. On paper, Minzners cry for the "rule of law" might seem like the rational, democratic response, but it forgets the real issue facing China: that a foreign government seems more than willing to destroy it's entire political apparatus and replace it with their own. The US seeks to make China into a haven for foreign investors, for Mercedes, Microsoft, Apple and Google. It seeks to put in it's place an obedient, but unmistakably just as corrupt system, under this very banner of "rule of law". The Chinese system, which is overwhelmingly state controlled, where land-grabbing is illegalized for foreign investors through a system of nationalized land, banks and finances are state owned, where a centrally planned poverty alleviation program brought 23 million people out of poverty in 2012, is extremely unfit for US imperial dominance. It is not the "rule of law" which the US wants to get at, it's all these things. As it has done with all it's imperial endeavors, it means to crush nationally sovereign economic systems and infrastructure in order conduct mass privatizations, sell of their lands to foreign investors, introduce US-friendly private banking systems and destroy all the efforts of the Chinese people from destroying poverty. The nihilism of asserting that "China needs the rule of law" in this context, where imperialism is entirely removed from the debate, and any mention of it is painted as the paranoia of totalitarian leaders, is extremely dangerous. Political systems don't exist in an idealized vacuum, removed from all geo-political debates.  Democracy in China will only be a possibility if the very un-democratic threat of foreign subversion is completely removed.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

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Bill Maher, radical Islam and the spectre of Cultural Relativism

Bill Maher is a decidedly tasteful man. After discussing the controversy over a kid sexually defiling a a statue of Jesus, he draws a very interesting conclusion: "[It] speaks volumes about why liberal Western culture is not just different, but better!" After this, he goes into what is implicitly a diatribe of a presumed liberal "politically correct" tendency toward cultural relativism. Bitterly critiquing Obama's "insistence" on ISIS not being Islamic, he goes into the standard knee-jerk islamophobic talking points, taken straight out of the New Atheist handbook. They are obviously all fanatics, he says, ready to kill anyone who draws a cartoon of Mohammed or having sex with the wrong person. He even directly lies, claiming female genital mutilation is somehow inherent to Islam, even though these practices precede Islam in the regions where it's prevalent. "Cultures are different", he claims, "it's ok to judge that rule of law is better than theocracy."

And indeed, if one were to honestly believe that "culture" is this product of the inherent magical nature of the ideals, values and beliefs of different groups of people in different geographical locations developing in complete independence of other cultures and values, maybe this isn't such a far-fetched idea. We, in the West, believe in democracy and freedom, and according to this thesis, the comforts, benefits and protection we have emanate directly from our adherence to these principles. The Muslim world, on the other hand, believe in religious intolerance and the Koran, and the suffering, injustice and insecurity in these countries are a direct product of the faulty ideas of this group of people.

The truth is this narrative of different, competing "cultures" relies not only on a faulty sociological and philosophical basis, but also omits the real history of the growth of Islamic extremism in the Middle East and elsewhere. The extremist Islamic foes the warmongers have frothed their mouths over for the past decades, curiously have a similar connection.

The story never told about Islamic extremism. 

In 1979, the US government begins Operation Cyclone, a covert operation in  Afghanistan, in response to the take-over by the Democratic People's Party of Afghanistan after the Saur Revolution. These terrifying reds had pushed dangerous policies, like friendliness toward the Soviet Union, land reform and the end of forced marriages in Afghanistan. Obviously, the enlightened liberal Western culture had to do something about this. The CIA armed the Mujaheddin, a religiously extremist group, with millions of dollars. Although the official story is the US only got involved after the Soviet invasion, in reality, CIA was in it before that war even broke out. This comment by Zbigniew Brzezinski, security adviser of Jimmy Carter, in an interview with the French newspaper Le Nouvel Observateur, in 1998, illustrates the reasons for this:

Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn’t believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don’t regret anything today?

Brzezinski: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

For this reason, violent, religious extremists that used sexual assault as a means of control, who forced people to grow opium for them, took control. In total, between 1980 and 1984, the US government had given the Mujaheddin  $2,49 billion dollars from the American taxpayer. These Mujaheddin fighters for "Afghan independence" turn out to have come from all around the world, mainly Pakistan, but other places as well. When they returned home, they took their guns and their US taxmoney with them.

"Hundreds of them returned home to Algeria, Chechnya, Kosovo, and Kashmir to carry on terrorist attacks in Allah’s name against the purveyors of secular “corruption." - Michael Parenti
In December 1993, Robert Fisk interviewed a "Saudi businessman" who had helped recruit fighters for Mujaheddin. Hailed as an "anti-Soviet warrior", he was making great progress in trying to establish peace in Afghanistan. His Taliban party was to overcome to factionalism and infighting, and produce a truly peaceful Islamic order. We all know how that went.

History repeats itself - ISIS and the FSA. 

The history of Islamic extremism and it's connection to the West does, of course, not end there. A couple of years ago the US declared it was funding "moderate rebels" against that tyrant and Hitlerite Assad in Syria. Very quickly, these moderate rebels turned out to be something else entirely, when reports of US and the Gulf States trained rebels appeared in media. The notion that the Free Syrian Army represented "moderate rebels" against the Assad regime was quickly shown to be on very shaky grounds, The NYT reported as early as 2012:
Most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster, according to American officials and Middle Eastern diplomats.
ISIS The FSA wasn't the shining story of moderate, pro-democratic anti-Assadists the Western media had portrayed them as. The connections to religiously fundamentalist Islam popped up everywhere. Abu Yusaf, a high level security commando for ISIS, puts the myth of the FSA to rest:
“In the East of Syria, there is no Free Syrian Army any longer. All Free Syrian Army people [there] have joined the Islamic State,” - Washington Post, 18/10/2014
As ISIS beheads, tortures and terrorizes it's way through Iraq, Kurdistan and Syria, the connections to US funded covert action grows clearer and clearer. In his great piece, How The West Created ISIS, Nafeez Ahmed goes through all the Western meddling and covert action that led to the monster now known as ISIS. ISIS, and terror, it seems, are very useful when Empire needs to destroy and divide nations to protect it's interests and dominance.

Culturally relative?

In this context, Maher's ideological war against the "culturally relative" is thrown into a different light. "Cultures are different," he claims, as if "culture" is this context-free, inherent quality of a society. I submit, that instead of the Western, "enlightened", liberal and tolerant culture and the oppressive, Islamic, intolerant society being radically "different", they are in fact the same culture. What the United States, this bastion of tolerance and liberal values, did to bolster Jihadist groups everywhere, not just through covert funding, but through fueling anti-Western attitudes that make easy recruitment propaganda for the different factions of extremists, is unprecedented. Had it not been involved in these, and so many other of the Middle Easts political turmoil, the notion that extremist Islam would have anywhere close to the hegemony it has now is ludicrous. Without denying that extreme elements of Islam could exist, we can pretty confidently say that it would've looked very radically differently. The reason this form of rhetoric from Bill Maher - the West is Best - is so insidious is that the West became the "Best" through decades of covert warfare, direct invasion and funding coup-d'etats. It became an enlightened, free democracy on the backs of it's imperial subjects, who supplied it with cheap oil, gas, minerals, opium and cheap labor. We can say "eh, whatever" to the kid simulating a blowjob with a statue of Jesus because the imperial surplus gives us enough convenient distractions to not care. What Bill Maher does is directly analogous to the White Supremacist narrative that developed post-WWII: that the material reality of a society is a product of an inherent geographical "culture" that possesses inherent virtues or vices, and when they clash, the purest one must stride toward victory. This is exactly the danger of ignoring imperialism.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Waltzing Imperialism - on NED, Hong Kong and the Cynicism of Empire

 Edward C. K. Chin, Banker for Democracy
And here we go again. "Tech-savy students" are demanding democracy in Hong Kong - a former British colony, long lauded as a "free market paradise" by neoliberals everywhere, before it reunified with CPC-led China as a "Special Administrative Region" - and almost immediately the links to American imperialism start to appear. The American government funded tool of imperialism independent pro-democratic NGO known as the National Endowment for Democracy directly funded and organised this protest. The New York Times reports that bankers are funding the protest - but of course our freedom-loving neoliberal priesthood in the New York Times have zero problem with that. The influx of pro-Western bankers, and the development of a bourgeois means of production alongside the socialist - or at least non-capitalist - mode of production has, as expected, given the forces of reaction in China new fuel to the flame. The irony of all this is that it's called #OccupyCentral, copied of the Occupy Wall Street movement, a movement which had it's own share of populist anti-Banker sloganeering. But alas, such information is only a footnote when the West faces the spectacle of mass revolt in it's own service. Both the traditional and the social media in the West are now suddenly asking if Axl Rose was right after all.
Audrey Eu Yuet-mee and Biden

And to the surprise of nobody, images of Biden meeting with one of the founders of Occupy Central, or the "Umbrella revolution", Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, earlier this year surged on the internet. And the man who proposed the Occupy Central project, Benny Tai, was as late as 2013 listed and being funded by the National Democratic Institute (NDI, a NED sponsored organisation) through the organization CCPL.

And the NED did what the NED does best: it stirred up huge media buzz about a supposed "organic revolt". Out of nowhere, people who had no idea about the political system in China, about the social forces driving dissent in China, and about the history of these types of "revolutions", get carried away by the mass spirit, feel intense human compassion to the protesters, attacked by tear gas and police batons. Do we blame them?

The nature of the NED 

There's a new business. A business the US, with it's right-wing culture, with it's disdain for popular movements, with it's socially enforced hatred of radical transformations of society hardly would've been associated with in the past. It is the business of revolution. In the highly informative documentary by the Journeyman Pictures, "Does the USA sponsor Revolutions", things are made very clear: The USA openly funds and trains organizations around the world that subvert regimes that act against it's interests.

This isn't a grand conspiracy behind closed doors - the NED publicly advertises this.  It isn't shy about the fact that it is using NGOs (and I use that term very lightly) to promote regime change in sovereign nations. If we forget for one second that the NED receives almost all it's funding directly from the US tax payers - what is wrong with this type of activity?

The Colour revolutions, the Arab Spring, the EuroMaidan, the Venezuelan riots, all these "great organic revolutions for democracy", rallied thousands, not only in the countries they happened in, but around the world. Twitter and other social media are now filled with images of huge crowds protesting, horrific police brutality and reports of governmental corruption. They all had their own unavoidably catchy hash-tags, had their uncountable amount of sock-puppet accounts that targeted those who questioned the nature of these revolutions and who was behind them. As expected, the vast majority of social media users, as well as those who mostly consume their news via mainstream channels, latched on to these protests with heart and compassion.

Those of us on the left who had a hard time latching onto these debacles, regardless of the horror some of us felt upon seeing the police brutality and repression in these places, were and are routinely ridiculed. If it's not the knee-jerk anti-intellectual response of accusing us of being conspiracy theorists, it is the notion of the "cynical authoritarian left." These arm-chair leftists and their theories, we are told, harbor an authoritarian attitude towards the masses and their collective subjectivity and aspirations when we feel they deviate from our dogmatic view of the world. These cynical authoritarians, who despise the masses, do not even have the heart to back a democratic movement as they are being teargassed and illegally arrested by the police.

I could go on for hours about the hypocrisy of the very nature of this argument. I am sure the Ferguson protesters would love an NED-grant to help them in their struggle against a tear-gassing hypermilitarized police force, and that the political prisoners in Guantanamo Bay would like NDI to help them against a government that tortures them without trial. But the notion of the cynic is still a very powerful one. Are we the cynics? Do we hate people? I believe there is another answer. Let us take a closer look around the ideological narrative surrounding these protests, and their realities, to see if there isn't in fact a bigger cynic to be tackled.

The Myth of the Organic

The central narratives surrounding the nature of these protests play into the liberal conception of the "organic" - a social organization, movement, mode of economy or politics, that exists onto itself as a sort of state of nature. Liberal capitalist Western democracy as an organic state of nature is liberalism's most powerful self-legitimizing tool. You can clearly see this in the narrative surrounding the Communist and Fascist movements of the 20th century: Communism and fascism deviated from liberalism's Garden of Eden. They were not products of material reality or class struggle, or social relations formed within liberal capitalism itself, but "experiments" that failed to properly abide the inherent iron laws of human nature, which has achieved it's full realization in organic capitalist society. Of course, when fascism reared it's face in Latin America, instead of the rational enlightened West, the reason to fund, train and arm these right-wing juntas were found in the notion of preserving an organic "order" in the third world. Dangerous democratically elected left-wingers where attempting to thwart this order with their wholly inorganic form of government which pushed prices and costs of living down from their "natural" and "organic" market cost.
Tahir Square, 2011

A quick glance at the liberal ideological tradition will confirm that such an attitude does exist: Hayek's theories about local and dispersed systems of knowledge, against the arbitrariness and irrationality of the central planner. The notion of an "organic politics" where parties of a bourgeois parliament are a complete reflection of the organic will of the masses is another example. Yet another one is "civil society", the free and organic sphere of life separated from the ideologically assumed arbitrariness and unnatural impulses of the political sector. This theory of the "organic" life under liberalism, or the "organic" move toward liberalism, it being a state of nature, becomes a powerful legitimization of these protesters. They organized "organically" - they sprung up out of nowhere, just being genuinely upset with the status quo, all at once. Clearly articulated ideals about longing for a Western liberal democracy seem to be second nature to these people, even if they live in what we are told are horrifically totalitarian societies where such knowledge couldn't possibly exist on a mass scale. They dance, they sing, they turn bloody murdering soldiers soldiers and cops into newborn pacifists with flowers in their hair and smiles on their faces. A mass movement - coming out of seemingly nowhere, born seemingly overnight, spreading over multiple countries - do we dare say they are not organic?

Maybe "The Organic", in fact, is a myth. We live under politics, politics in a class society where everything is mediated through the actuality of violence. Arbitrary, inorganic and institutional class violence. It is this arbitrary violence that created the liberal Western market and bourgeois state, often through direct bloody struggle to maintain bourgeois class positions, but also through a legal abstract threat of violence. None of "civil society", or "the free market", or parliamentary electoral politics would ever exist without the threat or the direct use of violence. The entirety of this world is created, made by us, humans in bitter class struggle, and there is no "organic sphere" outside society where this fact can be left out. You cannot even walk on something so simple, ordinary and taken-for granted as a pavement without experiencing the reality of violence. That pavement had to be put there by somebody - and it wasn't the neighborhood Tolstoyan anarchist collective. It was put there, either by private or direct public means, through what in the final analysis can only be described as violence. I do not mean to say that a pavement is somehow the strongest expression of class and violence, but it is there, and wholly embedded into your organic world, as are your coffee shops, your stop signs, your favorite book store and the place you work. Given the fact of violence in political society, shaping the world in the image of the struggle between classes and socially oppressed groups, the notion of "The Organic" needs to be overcome. This is not to say that the wielders of class power are sitting robed in a dark cave somewhere in Bavaria plotting every minute detail of our social and political lives, but it does suggest that even our most spontaneous actions are very arbitrary in their nature, limited by objective realities. They are mediated through violence, it's ruling ideology and class interest, and leaves an imprint on what we do and say.

Unfortunately, many on the left have fallen victim to this kind of thinking with regards to their favorite movements and political projects. This and that revolutionary government came to be through a spontaneous mass uprising, we are told, and not through the relentless, planned and confrontational ideological and political struggle carried out by it's political organisations. That the working class are somehow magically expected to hold organic knowledge about the values of communism without effort is not a Marxist theory, and not what the "Specter of Communism" was about. Spontaneity can feel like a powerful event, but without critical thinking as to the society which gave rise to such a spontaneous eruption of class struggle, it will easily fall into ideological traps.

But are these revolutions funded by the "organic"? Do they represent an exception to prove the rule about the falsehood of organic society? Hardly. As the documentary referenced earlier shows, these "revolutions" are meticulously planned and organized, relying on mass psychological manipulation and arbitrarily enforced social aggravation. The leaders are trained and effective in their use of language, rhetoric, tactic and propaganda. They create mass protests and revolts, it is true, and often they do it in countries which do have a severe problems of political and social oppression where people have legitimate reasons to be upset, but to call them "organic" is a direct falsehood. Worth noting is that a few of the protesters in these "revolutions" got very violent on the side of the protesters, Venezuela and Ukraine being the ones most of us remember.

Ideological Triggers

Our next issue concerns what I like to call "ideological triggers". These are gestures, acts, and more often than not, words, which carry meaning in a historical and social sense, which can trigger people emotionally and socially into ideological support. In these events we have heard that they "struggle for Democracy", which illustrates my point perfectly. Democracy, stripped of all concrete meaning and history, stripped from social realities and class structures, holds in itself an extremely powerful emotional and social aspect. This is true not only for the West, with it's tradition of constitutional multi-party democracy, but all around the world, where propaganda has subconsciously linked the notion of democracy with the notion of imperialism and Western influence. Like a Pavlovian bell, making people drool at the promise of the West and Democracy, it has rung out every single time the USA has supported a "revolution" in it's own economic and political interest. But democracy is never just democracy - it needs content. For who, and for what? Unless we are willing to believe that these people are completely free from any other ideology than "democracy unto itself", something which was never true of any so-called "democratic revolution", we must be ready to ask these questions. For what purpose do these bankers of Hong Kong and mainland China intend to enforce democracy? Why does IMF demand that Ukraine still take over the radical separatist pro-Russian states? In the name of democracy? These questions do not need to be asked - when you've got the ideological triggers of "democracy", "freedom", and "anti-corruption", universalized terms that hold social meaning beyond their literal definition, the narrative for those who aren't seeing the other side of the story becomes irresistible.

The use of these "triggers", this one-sided imagery of police and authoritarian abuse on the one side and innocent, neutral citizenry, clinging to an abstraction of an idealized political practice called "democracy", this total removal of class and empire from the debate, this atomization of world-historical conflicts into isolated conflicts over merely differing ideals that can be easily categorized into "dictatorial" or "democratic", is a deeply psychological process. In a class structure, were the real fact of imperialism is completely ignored or overlooked by the ideological apparatus that the general public is acclimated to, these narratives become more believable than the logically more easily believable truth: that the United States has financial interests in subverting China, just like it has financial interests in subverting Russia.

The reality of Nationally Endowed Democracy?

While the promise of democracy, as an ideological trigger, is powerful, what can we say for the actuality of democracy in the countries the NED, and the other NGOist "freedom fighters", has been successful? The people of Donbass have felt the blunt edge of this "endowed democracy", as the NED-sponsored EuroMaidan Kiev junta are deliberately targeting civilian infrastructure to intimidate them. I'm sure the journalists targeted by the Egyptian US Army trained butcher Al-Sisi believe him to be the true heir of the ideals of Tahir Square - just like Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood before him. And didn't our hearts sink, as General Gaddafi was extrajudicially executed by a gang of young rebels, shouting Allāhu Akbar after they beat down and shot an aging man who pleaded - don't shoot! And the results of the funding of the FSA are almost too gruesome to get into here.

I could go on all day. The promise of democracy has either been compromised or abandoned completely. A serious analysis of the true intentions of our new "pro-democrats" can never be so naive as to assume that democracy as thing in itself was ever it's goal. It has been said countless times, but the United States is the number one to fund, arm, train and defend violent, anti-democratic thugs.

The reality of the National Endowment for Democracy, and it's friends, the reality of this new form of ideologically triggered, atomized event, is the reality of imperialism. It is imperialism that manipulates forces on a mass scale to subvert sovereign governments, to get to their oil, their minerals and metals, their natural gas, their agriculture and their cheap labor. Democracy tends to stay out of the equation once the dust of joyous liberator revolt sets and the profits are to be made. We are talking about how Hamas, and now even the Russian separatists in Donbass - have been falsely accused of using children and women as "human shields"... But what then, does the insidious subversion and subjection to repression of these people, these civilians who call themselves democrats, amount too? They are literally using the people of Hong Kong, whom they rallied with their NGO-cash flow and trainee-revolutionaries, as human shields for their own dirty imperialist bidding, in these peoples false belief that they were fighting for a pure, humane ideal. They do not have the courage to go there themselves, the cowards, so they are using it's population, tricking them into believing that the government of the United States, that has the current highest prison population of the world, who repeatedly uses torture and funds militant murderers, has a better ideal to live by than that of their own government. It is for this reason the students of Hong Kong face the tear gas, the police violence, and the threat of arrest. This, I believe, is the true cynicism of the US sponsored revolutions. It places civilians, as a foreground to a battle that they in the end might not fully consent too. The hopes and dreams of these people are nothing but a vehicle of the US. Not just regime change, not just an opening up of society, but a complete opening up of the market for the hungry bourgeoisie, so that the already worrying trend of the growth Chinese capitalism can be exacerbated, so that more children can work in the sweatshops, so the peasants can once again be subjected to the terror of private property, so that all their social and economic securities will once and for all be gone. That is cynicism.

The Waltzing Revolution

Socialist anarchist Emma Goldman famously said that "a revolution without dancing is not worth having!" And if dancing is a demand, then the US-sponsored NGO "pro-democracy fest" sure did fulfill it: people in Tahir, Gezi and Maidan all danced. The Independent reported recently that the people of Hong Kong were dancing a "reggae infuced dance" 200 meter from the center of the happenings.  Dancing was always a part of the strategy of these new Designers of Revolutions - the revolution is not merely a vehicle for class struggle and political ideas, but a party, a mass social event. Not quite a tea party, but a celebration none the less. People sang satirical songs about their government, they danced their folk dances to keep warm, they became friends. I have become rather suspicious of dancing. These people, in revolutionary euphoria, are waltzing into the hands of global capitalism. Maybe we should stop dancing for a while. Maybe our dancing can in fact be used against us. Maybe, somewhere in the our occupation with dancing, we forgot the meaning of our revolution. And a revolution without a revolution, is that worth having? We need to be more careful than ever not to be tricked by the forces that are destroying the world, with greed, war and exploitation. There will be no more waltzing.

- Jakob Pettersson