by Patrice Greanville
Western publics, especially in the US, are acutely disinformed. Courtesy of their ruling elites, Americans are easily the most brainwashed people in history. The result is a culture in which, besides ignorance and plenty of antisocial values paraded as normal, a thick fog of confusion permeates every nook and cranny of a person's consciousness. As in other nations where the ruling cliques have also advanced self-flattering narratives to cement their legitimacy, the official US narcissistic canon has some recognizable features, most of them encapsulated in the alarmingly chauvinist creed defined as American exceptionalism. Exceptionalism simply declares that Americans are the kindest, most democratic, freest and —the cornerstone of the whole ideology—most dedicated people to economic freedom (a habitual euphemism for capitalism). They're the best, the highest exponents of the enlightenment, their generosity knows no bounds, and the world needs them. Heck, they literally beg the Americans for their leadership. This belief system, a vast superiority complex which still seems unshakeable among most Americans, has made the US smug, self-righteous, impossibly arrogant, and completely immune to honest introspection. What is that old quip about the Gods blinding those they wish to destroy?
This is where the self-assigned missionary aspect of US exceptionalism enters history to shape the "indispensable" nation's foreign policy. Still, after a historically stingy period extending for no more than 250 years the great project that Time magazine once confidently baptised as the Pax Americana, is clearly unravelling. The God-chosen nation is crippled by a growing number of self-inflicted pathologies, all issuing from its fanatical embrace of unfettered capitalism, against which its ruling cliques (quite logically) refuse effective treatment since the only cure for the national disease would require their own elimination. It's becoming evident that for the ruling elites the situation in the first decades of the 21st century has taken a decidedly menacing turn. Global capitalism 1 and its malignant spawn, imperialism, are being increasingly challenged by three great destabilizing forces:
- the emergence of highly resilient, non-hegemonist powers such as Russia, China, Iran, Vietnam, North Korea, Venezuela, and non-state actors such as Hezbollah,
- the implacable structural effects of the "4th Industrial Revolution". 2
- the incalculable geopolitical effects of capitalogenic climate change. 4
The existence of rival centers of global power, and of a virtually intractable ecological crisis of unmeasurable dimensions is concerning enough, but it is precisely the stunning progress in computer science, of which the Internet remains the most society-altering technology, on which the capitalists had put so much stock, that is now the most ironic threat, promising at once great progress and havoc in the system's fundamental property relations. (For more on this, see note #2 below). The political implications of this "trifecta" of dangers are probably clear to the empire's managers, but what possible "solutions" can this largely deluded, sclerotic neoliberal oligarchy come up with?
There is little doubt that short of a suicidal nuclear war against the multilateralist powers —in which case any "victory" would be an oxymoron—the US has absolutely no chance of defeating the coalescing Eurasian alliance. 3 Despite the pervasive braggadoccio typical of the empire's apologists, sober analysts like The Saker and [Martinov] consider the US empire incapable of prevailing in an all-out kinetic exchange with either Russia or China, not to mention with both powers
acting in tandem.
Granted, if Eurasia goes—something which is still very much in the balance—the Western billionaires would lose influence in an immensely rich and important zone, one they have long coveted, but they would still control significant real estate in other areas, from the Middle East to Africa and Latin America. Of course, nothing is static, so these areas, too, are being increasingly contested by the "uppity powers" (already designated as "national security threats" by the US Neocon establishment, itself a natural offshoot of the Anglo-American oligarchy), along with brave nations struggling to gain and maintain their sovereignty. In the Middle East, Syria, with help from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, at enormous cost, has managed to survive and turn the tide on a vicious jihadist invasion unleashed on that nation by the empire with the usual object of regime changing. A similar story of heroic independence and steadfastness in the face of brutal assault has been written by rebel Yemen, whose material poverty is apparently no detriment to its valor. Similar gallant victories over imperialism have been won in Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua, not to mention Cuba, resisting the empire for more than half a century.
The strategic problem of containing extremely capable nations such as China and Russia is compounded by the second challenge we mentioned earlier, the threat of grave sociopolitical disorder on the home front and across the capitalist "periphery", as the digital revolution dramatically exacerbates the contradictions inherent in the neoliberal model's non-negotiable "property relations"2. and as enormous social turmoil follows the imposition of what is widely perceived as "decadent liberal values" on essentially conservative populations. India, [falsely] billed as the world's largest "democracy", is already in the grip of history's biggest labour strike, comprising more than 350 million people, a mass of humanity that includes many of that nation's farmers, industrial workers, white collar employes and other occupations. As we write these lines the issues are still very much unresolved.
Under such circumstances, with regimes characterised by widespread and incurable unemployment and general economic precarity; with a social landscape punctuated by an expanding obscene inequality and constant wars; regimes that time and again solve none of the most obvious social ills at home, the bankruptcy of capitalist "democratic" rule is liable to become clear to hundreds of millions of people in the "developed world", precisely the citadel of global corporatism. Over time, this realisation —further aggravated by the unpredictable and incalculable effects of climate change— can only translate into a major global crisis of legitimacy and representation.
Fake democracy's fathers and children
While in theory the Western ruling class appears powerful and unassailable—their systems of repression are certainly extensive—in actuality the choices they confront are few and problematic. Heavy, old-fashioned preemptive repression can only buy so much time, since the conditions in the 21st century are sharply different from those in the 1960s or '70s. What's more, such measures can only accelerate the radicalisation of previously dormant sectors, and make the leaders that back such policies subject to retaliation for human rights crimes once the tables turn, and the way things are going, they will, sooner than probably most people expect. Furthermore, recreating the conditions for a new, "stabilizing" middle class based on the postwar "aristocracy of labour" model prevalent in the first world for a couple of generations is no longer possible. Such phenomenon, especially in the US, was grounded in specific historical circumstances, namely the existence of a large manufacturing footprint, that no longer exist.
We know for a fact that the Western ruling class, headed by the Anglo-Americans, has been weighing for years if not decades its tactical and strategic options against almost every conceivable eventuality. Its vast ' ecosystem of "advisors", all dedicated to the perpetuation and primacy of the US empire, encompasses not just a multitude of publicly and privately funded "national security" think tanks; it also boasts a huge swath of Ivy League academia. Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, MIT, and other leading universities proudly harbor important centers for the study and "detection" of threats to the established order, while also providing suitably "qualified" personnel to staff sensitive posts in the foreign policy and political architecture of the system. This universe of This is the subculture that gave us Henry Kissinger, Zbig. Brzezinski, John Bolton, Samantha Power, Susan Rice, Tony Blinken, Condoleezza Rice, and a multitude of mostly Zionist neocons of demonstrable malignancy.
This crowd, who is not really wise in the old philosophical sense of attaining moral wisdom, but is instead thoroughly unprincipled and cunning, operates in close cordination with America's gigantic "intelligence" bureaucracy, by now an alphabet soup comprising no less than 17 officially known outfits, of which the CIA is surely the most famous and probably most diversified and sophisticated component. It is quite probable that, through interactions between prominent concerned politicians (ie., the DNC gang), leading oligarchs, intelligence operatives, and a possible top tier of media owners and executives, a consensus was recently formed to embrace a policy of gradual suffocation of free speech and the stamping out of Internet independent voices, fortified with a "pro-active" regimen of psyops [false flags] to insure "topical control". (The "national agenda", what society is talking about at any given moment). As many people on the left saw this coming, and said so (including this writer), this thinly-veiled program is now being aggressively implemented by the Biden administration, to the misguided appause of the fake left.
For most of our readers, I am certain, this is hardly shocking. The US oligarchy has been anti-democratic from the nation's inception. Despite its unrelenting propaganda as a historical bastion of democracy, the US has never been a true democracy, starting its life (and remaining to this day) an intentionally deficient representational aristocratic republic. This is why the US Constitution, when examined closely, is not a document that facilitates democracy but impedes it. Telltale signs abound. For one thing Americans do NOT vote directly for President. They vote for intermediaries sitting in an "electoral college" who may or may not follow their mandate. Universal suffrage did not exist until well into the 20th century. And the founding fathers put another trammel in the way of the people's voice: the Senate. Bicameral assemblies are notorious for their aristocratic bias. Senators, usually a select group representing "the more mature and property-invested citizens", tend to be far more conservative than their counterparts in the lower chamber. This is why the French revolutionists, rejecting the British model of "lords and commoners", chose a unicameral national assembly. The threat of real demoracy has always scared the privileged few.
Knowing the nature of the document he had helped to craft, James Madison expected the Constitution to be resisted and perhaps not even ratified in various states. He therefore set out to persuade his colleagues of the need to throw the hoi polloi a bone, some assurances that their rights and will would be respected. That was the birth of the Bill of Rights—without which the US Constitution would be little known and hardly revered.
The systematic universalization of false consciousness
By the turn of the 20th century the situation had not improved much. Under Southern Democrat Woodrow Wilson, one of America's early imperialists (along with Teddy Roosevelt), a mean-spirited bigot mythologised into the image of a great statesman, the country was practically dragged into the Great War. His administration —a glaring example of anti-democratic behaviour—commited all sorts of civil rights abuses against antiwar resisters, and launched the first "red scare" witch-hunt against radicals, many of whom Wilson imprisoned and deported en masse. But the "war to end all wars" needed more than just naked repression to be imposed on a suspicious population, and this was the opportunity that unscrupulous "hidden persuaders" like Ed Bernays, Freud's nephew and a born elitist, widely seen as the father of "public relations", used to climb to prominence.
“Throughout his career, Bernays was utterly cynical in his manipulation of the masses. In complete disregard of the personal importance of their sincerely held values, aspirations, emotions, and beliefs, he saw them as having no significance beyond their use as tools in the furtherance of whatever were the commercial and political ends of his hirers.”
In his book ‘Propaganda’, (3) (3a)(4) Bernays wrote, “It was, of course, the astounding success of propaganda during the war that opened the eyes of the intelligent few in all departments of life to the possibilities of regimenting the public mind. It was only natural, after the war ended, that intelligent persons should ask themselves whether it was not possible to apply a similar technique to the problems of peace. The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”
Bernays’ original project was to ensure US entry into the European war, but later he primarily concerned himself with the entrenchment of the twin systems of electoral democracy and unrestricted capitalism the elites had created for their benefit, and with their defense in the face of increased unrest, resistance, and ideological opposition. 5
Bernays' successful ministrations 100 years ago opened the gates to a veritable industry of professional manipulators. Their sordid skills were soon incorporated into the regular functioning of the American state, from spin doctors managing electoral campaigns, to the day-to-day operations of the US presidency, the object always to neutralise the specter of real democracy.
Given this huge arsenal of manipulational tools, it was inevitable that the ruling circles in the West would "play to their strengths" during the latest crisis. Looking for a formula to 'freeze time', to "suspend history", as it were, (something many ruling classes have dreamed of in the past), as they can neither move forward nor retreat, they looked for ways to roll out a vast pacification program of the home front incorporating many hybrid war techniques perfected in our adventures abroad and a drastic weeding out of "subversive" discourse. And why not? Bathed in the oil of expediency afforded by stunning hypocrisy, ruling classes everywhere have usually preached morality and respect for the law while practicing none. Isn't that precisely what we are witnessing now with the Dems-spearheaded campaign to "normalize censorship", as Jimmy Dore's aptly calls it? And the much ballyhooed Great Reset? Isn't the WEF talking openly about a complete reshuffle of the American way of life (to worsen dramatically for ordinary folks but surely not for the oligarchs at the top)?
After all, the devious marketing of ideas and ideologies is America's strong suit. The Anglo-American establishment still controls the world's most developed "soft power" apparatus, a capability allowing for tremendously influential hybrid war campaigns magnified by the abject collaboration of Washington's vassals and eager "partners", such as Britain, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, and frequently even France. Just think for a moment the colossal damage done (and still being done) to peace and international relations by the neoliberal oligarchy's unchecked power to disseminate monstrous fake news: Russiagate hoax, the Skripal and Navalny "novichok poisonings"; the downing of MH17 (immediately imputed to Russia); and scores of regime change ops —"color revolutions"—in which massive Orwellian propaganda played a crucial role. Meantime, Russia and China are still far from producing truly global cultural exports, and Hollywood has no peer, although China is making a creditable effort to gain traction in this field.
Fortunately, humanity still can see, and genuine progressives (accept no substitutes!) are not being fooled. Just in recent days we have published remarkably cogent exposés and analyses by Caity Johnstone, The Grayzone (a formidable crew that includes Max Blumenthal, Ben Norton, Anya Parampil, and Aaron Maté), and of course Glenn Greenwald. For an even more in-depth global view, be sure to check the work of our senior editor Paul Edwards, and the equally estimable Caleb Maupin.
I suggest you give them a read, as a matter of self-preservation, and, of course, self-respect.
1 When we say "global capitalism" we mean the US led bloc consisting of the NATO powers, plus Japan, South Korea, Sweden, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and other normally Washington-friendly states.
2 Capitalist private property constitutes the economic base of the capitalist state, which, in turn, determines the political and social content of this property. The digital revolution in production has increased exponentially the productivity of labor, presenting the bourgeoisie of the late 20th and 21st century with its most difficult sociopolitical challenge. A factory that previously needed 1000 workers now needs 10, or even fewer. In China, Japan and Germany, for example, completely automated production lines with a handful of "overseers" are already operating. The capitalist system, given its profoundly unequal property relations, wherein the capitalist takes the lion's share of the income produced, has no solution to the resulting massive unemployment. What is the business class to do with this (from their viewpoint) superfluous humanity? This is the reason why the capitalists are already talking about a "Great Reset", the need to reduce consumption, and finding ways to stop the "population bomb" (whose expansion should probably be stopped for ecological reasons, not to safeguard the survival of the global oligarchy). The following excerpt from a Wiki page dedicated to explaining Marx's process of "socialization" (the transfer of the forces and assets of production—factories, banks, land, animals, etc., held in private hands to society at large) shows why this is both inexorable and necessary for society itself to go on functioning:
In the theoretical works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and subsequent Marxist writers, socialization (or the socialization of production) is the process of transforming the act of producing and distributing goods and services from a solitary to a social relationship and collective endeavor. With the development of capitalism, production becomes centralized in firms and increasingly mechanized in contrast to the pre-capitalist modes of production where the act of production was a largely solitary act performed by individuals. Socialization occurs due to centralization of capital in industries where there are increasing returns to scaleand a deepening of the division of labor and the specialization in skills necessary for increasingly complex forms of production and value creation. Progressive socialization of the forces of production under capitalism eventually comes into conflict with the persistence of relations of production based on private property; this contradiction between socialized production and private appropriation of the social product forms the impetus for the socialization of property relations (socialism).
In Marx's critique of political economy, as capitalism develops a contradiction emerges between the increasingly socialized act of production and the private ownership and appropriation of surplus value. Classical Marxist theory posits that this contradiction will intensify to a point where socialization of surplus value appropriation in the form of social ownership of the means of production will be necessitated, resulting in a transition from capitalism to socialism.
3 This terrible fact does not seem to completely dissuade the US elites from seeking and plotting a first strike against Russia, China or both, the long-sought "decapitation strike" dreamed of by deranged political and military cabals.
4 We use "capitalogenic" instead of androgenic, since it is chiefly the capitalist mode of production —also temporarily adopted by socialist nations—that laid the foundations for humanity's current collision with nature.
5 Bernays & Propaganda—Democracy Control, Larry Romanoff, Vineyard of the Saker, 21 February 2021
^5000The mainstream imperialist media lie CONSTANTLY. Literally 24/7. And it's getting worse.
All of them do it: radio, tv, the newspapers, the movies. The internet. No exceptions.
The corporate Big Lie is pervasive and totalitarian. CBS does it. NBC does it. ABC does it.
CNN does it. FOX does it. NPR does it. And of course the NYTimes and WaPo do it.
Thousands of "diverse" voices telling you the same lies. Enough to convince anyone.
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