Nov 122012
 

By Thomas Riggins, Countercurrents.org

Editor’s Note: The US, in particular, abounds in anti-communist leftists who are uncomfortable not only with the idea of Marxism (which they usually know nothing about and declare obsolete and irrelevant), nor revolution, but with the “party principle” advocated by the likes of Lenin, Castro, Mao, Che, Hoh Chi Minh, etc. The reason why these leaders advocated and fought using a highly disciplined vanguard party as their main instrument to prevail against the formidable force of the bourgeois state and its enormous repressive and ideological apparatuses, is because the party signifies two essential components in this difficult struggle: unity and experience. In an atmosphere of all-out confrontation with the capitalist state, anarchists and hyper-individualists always end up doing the bidding of the enemy. They create endless factionalism and divisions within the people’s ranks, and in that manner weaken the impact and support required by the vanguard elements of society to resist the inevitable push-back of the entrenched order. The fact bears repeating: without unity, experience and discipline, no formation has a prayer against the forces of the status quo. —PG

Lenin in 1920 made an analysis of the political conditions in Germany after the failure of the Communist (Spartacus League) uprising in 1918. The Communists had split into two rival factions. The issues facing the German Marxists were somewhat analogous to those facing the Marxist movements today especially in the industrial world.

This fact makes many of Lenin’s observations of the conditions in Germany relevant to the struggles of today both in advanced capitalist countries such as the U.S. (where Marxist political groupings barely make a blip on the radar screen), Europe (where Marxist parties offer viable alternatives to the status quo and have elected representatives in parliaments, local government, and sometimes as ministers in bourgeois governments (perhaps a dubious tactic), and other areas of the world as well; there is a world Marxist presence that is growing and maturing in face of the continuing decline and slow collapse of global capitalism. Continue reading »

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Nov 122012
 

Robert W. McChesney, Monthly Review

On the brink of the 2012 presidential election, and without considering that electoral contest itself, it is useful to comment on the state of U.S. democracy. The most striking lesson from contemporary U.S. election campaigns is how vast and growing the distance is between the rhetoric and pronouncements of the politicians and pundits and the actual deepening, immense, and largely ignored problems that afflict the people of the United States. The trillion dollars spent annually on militarism and war is off-limits to public review and debate.1 Likewise the corporate control of the economy, and the government itself, gets barely a nod. Stagnation, the class structure, growing poverty, and collapsing social services are mostly a given, except for the usual meaningless drivel candidates say to get votes. The billions spent (often by billionaires) on dubious and manipulative advertisements—rivaled for idiocy only by what remains of “news” media campaign coverage—serve primarily to insult the intelligence of sentient beings. Mainstream politics seem increasingly irrelevant to the real problems the nation faces; or, perhaps more accurately, mainstream politics is a major contributing factor to the real problems the nation faces. Continue reading »

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Nov 122012
 
Paula-Broadwell

By Stephen Lendman

Some observers call Washington a city of scandals. Lots of intrigue reflects daily life in the nation’s capital. Elected and appointed officials come and go.  Most often it’s uneventful. Other times once powerful figures fell from grace or scandals affecting them rose to the level of affixing a “gate” suffix on what happened.

Watergate, Whitewatergate, Iran/Contragate, Koreagate, Travelgate, and Troopergate among others come to mind. Perhaps Petraeusgate will enter the lexicon of political scandals. You read it here first.

Forget resignation over extramarital sex nonsense unless state secrets were compromised. Lots of elected and appointed Washington officials had affairs. Many likely have current ones.  Resignations don’t generally follow. Newt Gingrich survived sex and ethics scandals. He resigned as House Speaker after the Republicans faired poorly in 1998 off-year elections. Continue reading »

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Nov 122012
 

Book Reviews—
Maximilian C. Forte, Slouching Towards Sirte: NATO’s War on Libya and Africa, Baraka Books, Montreal, ISBN 978-1-926824-52-9. Available November 20, 2012. http://www.barakabooks.com/

The next time that empire comes calling in the name of human rights, please be found standing idly by

By Stephen Gowans, What’s Left

Maximilian C. Forte’s new book Slouching Towards Sirte: NATO’s War on Libya and Africa (released November 20) is a searing indictment of NATO’s 2011 military intervention in Libya, and of the North American and European left that supported it. He argues that NATO powers, with the help of the Western left who “played a supporting role by making substantial room for the dominant U.S. narrative and its military policies,” marshalled support for their intervention by creating a fiction that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was about to carry out a massacre against a popular, pro-democracy uprising, and that the world could not stand idly by and watch a genocide unfold. Continue reading »

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Nov 122012
 

By Chris Hedges
Crossposted w. Truthdig

The liberal class…fights for nothing. It stands for nothing. It is a useless appendage to the corporate state. It exists not to make possible incremental or piecemeal reform, as it originally did in a functional capitalist democracy; instead it has devolved into an instrument of personal vanity, burnishing the hollow morality of its adherents…”

The presidential election exposed the liberal class as a corpse. It fights for nothing. It stands for nothing. It is a useless appendage to the corporate state. It exists not to make possible incremental or piecemeal reform, as it originally did in a functional capitalist democracy; instead it has devolved into an instrument of personal vanity, burnishing the hollow morality of its adherents. Liberals, by voting for Barack Obama, betrayed the core values they use to define themselves—the rule of law, the safeguarding of civil liberties, the protection of unions, the preservation of social welfare programs, environmental accords, financial regulation, a defiance of unjust war and torture, and the abolition of drone wars. The liberal class clung desperately during the long nightmare of this political campaign to one or two issues, such as protecting a woman’s right to choose and gender equality, to justify its complicity in a monstrous evil. This moral fragmentation—using an isolated act of justice to define one’s self while ignoring the vast corporate assault on the nation and the ecosystem along with the pre-emptive violence of the imperial state—is moral and political capitulation. It fails to confront the evil we have become. Continue reading »

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