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MUST WATCH: Top Corporate Media Myths That Perpetuate Income Inequality

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The Real News Network • Inequality Watch


The Top 5 Mainstream Media Myths That Perpetuate Income Inequality

December 27, 2019
 
The Real News takes aim at the top 5 mainstream myths that bolster income inequality and tout the ultra-rich.


Up to You.

^3000US citizens have no real political representation.

We don't live in a democracy. And our freedom is disappearing fast.

I don't want to be ruled by hypocrites, whores, and war criminals.

What about you? Time to push back against the corporate oligarchy.

And its multitude of minions and lackeys.


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Here’s to the Last Philosophes, the Frankfurt School

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Theodor W. Adorno in his study


[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he “Frankfurt School” refers to a group of unorthodox Marxist intellectuals associated with Frankfurt, Germany’s Institute for Social Research. The most famous first-generation members, whose collective work spans from the 1930s into the early 1970s, include Theodor W. Adorno, Max Horkheimer, and Herbert Marcuse. They wondered why advanced capitalist societies were sinking into new forms of barbarism rather than, as Marx envisioned, transitioning to a humane society that uses technological gains to abolish toil and promote human flourishing. To supplement Marx’s theories of ideology and social reproduction, they drew on a wide range of thinkers, including Sigmund Freud and Max Weber, developing a sizeable canon of radical and often pessimistic analyses of a “totally administered society.”

If you’re a far right-winger who stumbled upon this op-ed, you’ve likely heard grumblings about the Frankfurt School as villains in a conspiracy theory, widespread enough to inspire an academic studyon its origins and mutations, which blames “cultural Marxism” or “critical theory” – today, both nearly meaningless umbrella terms used to describe many disparate and even opposing lines of thought – for crimes ranging from pop music and political correctness to the rise of postmodernism and the decline of traditional Western values. Even a non-conspiratorial and otherwise well-read version of the this story tacitly subsumes the Frankfurt School figures with poststructuralists and others under this vague banner of “cultural Marxism” in order to draw lines from critical theory to identity politics, internet mob justice, and the like.

Yet the term “cultural Marxism,” never uttered by the Frankfurt School, was coined in academia to describe the analysis of cultural artifacts like TV (PDF) from a Marxist perspective, not to describe a political strategy. For example, this approach would encourage those worried about the pathologies of contemporary cultural politics to examine the social conditions that brought about these pathologies rather than mistakenly assuming that they sprouted out of books, especially rarely read books whose content opposes, rather than affirms, the belief that one can change the world with, for example, more diverse comic books characters. (For conservative readers who are understandably suspicious of a leftist professor clearing the names of past leftist professors—who knows, I could be in on the treacherous plot to erect the safe spaces decreed by The Communist Manifesto—, it is worth noting that a relatively thoughtful dismissal of the cultural Marxism conspiracy was published in the libertarian magazine Reason and penned by someone who is unimpressed by the Frankfurt School’s ideas.)

It is an ironic conspiracy theory because Adorno-esque thinkersinterpret multiculturalism, one of the alleged offspring of “cultural Marxism,” in the same critical light as Adorno did pluralism, a thin veil “which barely conceals the fact that mankind is beginning to despair of finding a solution to its disagreements,” and many tactics of modern activists as “pseudo-activity.” Even Marcuse’s infamous essay on “repressive tolerance,” the go-to whipping boy of the conservative case against critical theory, is not an implicit defense of, for example, pressuring employees to add preferred gender pronouns to their email signatures or playing into the hands of the far right but, instead, an analysis of how capitalism, by unavoidably concentrating more power into fewer hands, has undermined the necessary preconditions for the free exchange of ideas. While Marcuse didn’t deliver a perfect solution in one of his least notable essays, he asked the right question: How should one stand on the side of truth when a couple of billionaires can undermine human and planetary health by bankrolling outright lies?

But there is an even deeper irony in accusing the Frankfurt School of plotting to undermine Western values. Not only were they in conversation with the Judeo-Christian tradition’s loftiest ambitions, Adorno, Horkheimer, and Marcuse were deeply committed to the Enlightenment’s goal of shaping history through reason to realize freedom, justice, and happiness. Like Marx, their program was motivated by the aim to alter social conditions in line with reason, to make freedom and justice more than mere phrases. Consistent with the Enlightenment project is explaining why it has failed to deliver its own promises.

If anything, the Frankfurters can be faulted for demanding too much from reason, asking it to reflect on itself to become more reasonable. In their most famous yet oft-misunderstood book Dialectic of Enlightenment, Horkheimer and Adorno counterintuitively argue that “myth is already enlightenment; and enlightenment reverts to mythology.” By “enlightenment,” they meant the secularization and disenchantment of religious and mythological worldviews, a tendency underlying all human history, not just during the period of the European Enlightenment. “Myth is already enlightenment” because myth is not merely mythical, it is a form of reason itself that classifies aspects of the world to control it. “Enlightenment reverts to mythology” because the quest to master nature for human aims has brought about a paradoxical outcome: humanity too became an instrument. A particular form of instrumental rationality has triumphed that, although proficient in categorizing and selecting the most effective means to a given end, is unable to rationally justify the given end, which is often arbitrarily given by a semi-autonomous economic system.

The inversion of means and ends was assessed by other German philosophers and sociologists, including Husserl, Simmel, Scheler, and Weber. The modern condition was often said to be characterized by a crisis of meaning, where our ability to feel at-home in the world decreases with our technical capacity to control it. The Frankfurt School gave this thesis a Marxist twist: life, both humanity and the environment, is reduced to an instrument due to irrational social conditions that require the elevation of the economy to an end: “Accumulation for accumulation’s sake, production for production’s sake,” as Marx put it. In a social world whose author (humanity) is turned into an instrument to serve its own objects (e.g., “the market”), rationality slips into irrationality.

The concrete meaning of their abstract assessment of reason is experienced in daily life as a cog in a technologically complex society structurally compelled to sacrifice all for continued economic production and consumption, at the expense of the environment, offloading an endless treadmill of commodities, some which make us downright miserable, on one-dimensional men who exchanged their desire for liberation for a Netflix subscription. Our corporate-laced consciousness is stunted and pacified by the culture industry, a term that denotes the control and standardization of cultural products by big business, distracting us from precarities of employment and comforting us from the monotony of our jobs, many known to be pointless by their performers. Although their worst nightmare, the Frankfurt School would not be surprised by the current dystopia of celebrity and online “activism,” video game addiction, and throwaway culture. To use a fitting example from the culture industry, they saw “late capitalism” in a similar light as you see an episode of Black Mirror.

Coupled with the culture industry, authoritarianism is the barbarian twin born of monopoly capitalism. As others have shown, the Frankfurt School’s studies of fascism and the authoritarian personality are more relevant than ever. This includes Leo Löwenthal, another member of the Frankfurt School, and Norbert Guterman’s Prophets of Deceit, an analysis of the rhetorical techniques used by 1940s American fascist agitators. To only provide one example of the book’s contemporary applicability, obvious to anyone who has watched, with an iota of critical distance, any two-minute clip of Fox & Friends: “Seizing on the ‘simple folk’ theme as a pretext for fostering an aggressively anti-intellectual attitude, the agitator describes his American Americans as a people of good instincts and, he is happy to say, little sophistication.” Another pertinent concept is Adorno’s notion of “pseudo-conservativism,” which, in contrast to a “genuine conservativism” supportive of the ghosts of liberal capitalism and traditional American values, is marked by an inarticulate “virtual condemnation of anything that is deemed weak” and seeks, “in the name of upholding traditional American values and institutions and defending them against more or less fictitious dangers, consciously or unconsciously aims at their abolition.”

It is fitting that the far right are most attracted to the cultural-Marxist boogeyman tale discussed above, not only because a group of radical Jewish academic refugees of Nazism is an ideal scapegoat for anti-Semitic reactionaries, but also because the Frankfurt School’s research on the fascist’s and “potential fascist” pseudo-conservative’s personality and ideology still depicts the modern authoritarian personality’s character and worldview with eerie accuracy.

Of course, Trump, shining spectacularly atop the nihilistic heap where right-wing populism meets the culture industry, is reason enough for revisiting the Frankfurt School. One Trump supporter attending a rally captured the ethos of current politics in a sentence: “I just want to get a feel for the spectacle.” Glowing from our LCD screens like a cheap comedy horror we passively accept as an unthinking break from our concerns and boredom, embodying the Zeitgeist of entertainment, fear, and unreason, he is our Hegelian world-historical individual blindly Tweeting the way to a future that we know will almost certainly be worse than the present despite the potential for utopia. In the wake of his every stupefying remark, there is a simulation of solidarity that unites the savage glee of postmodern “conservatives” and the sanctimonious pseudo-resistance of the “progressive” neoliberals: amusement, which adds a thrill to a collective foreboding that this will all end in a disaster.

When Mars colonization is deemed a more rational response to impending catastrophe than living with enough, right-wing authoritarianism is resurging globally, and kids and adults spend most of their waking hours consuming entertainment media, take the red pill with the Frankfurt School, not because they conspired to undermine the Western tradition, but because they took it seriously.

Peter Thompson’s readable Guardian series is an admirable free primer, beginning here. Adorno’s Minima Moralia or Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man are captivating and darkly relevant places to begin digging into their challenging yet rewarding primary works.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan Gunderson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Gerontology at Miami University.

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Everyone’s A Conspiracy Theorist, Whether They Know It Or Not

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Caitlin Johnstone



[dropcap]P[/dropcap]lutocratic propaganda outlet MSNBC has just run a spin segment on the breaking news that the medical examiner’s determination of the cause of Jeffrey Epstein’s death is “pending further information”.“Our sources are still saying that it looks like suicide, and this is going to set conspiracy theorists abuzz I fear,” said NBC correspondent Ken Dilanian. “NBC News has been hearing all day long that there are no indications of foul play, and that this looks like a suicide and that he hung himself in his cell.”Dilanian, who stumbled over the phrase “conspiracy theorists” in his haste to get it in the first soundbyte, is a known asset of the Central Intelligence Agency. This is not a conspiracy theory, this is a well-documented fact. A 2014 article in The Intercept titled “The CIA’s Mop-Up Man” reveals email exchanges obtained via Freedom of Information Act request between Dilanian and CIA public affairs officers which “show that Dilanian enjoyed a closely collaborative relationship with the agency, explicitly promising positive news coverage and sometimes sending the press office entire story drafts for review prior to publication.” There is no reason to give Dilanian the benefit of the doubt that this cozy relationship has ended, so anything he puts forward can safely be dismissed as CIA public relations.When I mentioned Dilanian’s CIA ties on MSNBC’s Twitter video, MSNBC deleted their tweet and then re-shared it without mentioning Dilanian’s name. Here is a screenshotof the first tweet followed by an embedded link to their current one (which I’ve archivedjust in case):

 

Up until the news broke that Epstein’s autopsy has been unable to readily confirm suicide, mass media headlines everywhere have been unquestioningly blaring that that was known to have been the cause of the accused sex trafficker’s death. This despite the fact that the FBI’s investigation has been explicitly labeling it an “apparent suicide”, and despite the fact that Epstein is credibly believed to have been involved in an intelligence-tied sexual blackmail operation involving many powerful people, any number of whom stood plenty to gain from his death.

So things are moving in a very weird way, and people are understandably weirded out. The response to this from mass media narrative managers has, of course, been to berate everyone as “conspiracy theorists”.

Jeffrey Epstein: How conspiracy theories spread after financier’s death” reads a BBC headline. “Epstein Suicide Conspiracies Show How Our Information System Is Poisoned” reads one from the New York Times. “Conspiracy Theories Fly Online in Wake of Epstein Death” warns The Wall Street Journal. “Financier Epstein’s Death Disappoints Victims, Launches Conspiracy Theories” reads the headline from US government-funded Voice of America.

These outlets generally match Dilanian’s tone in branding anyone who questions the official story about Epstein’s death as a raving lunatic. Meanwhile, normal human beings all across the political spectrum are expressing skepticism on social media about the “suicide” narrative we’re all being force-fed by the establishment narrative managers, many of them prefacing their skepticism with some variation on the phrase “I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but…”

“I’m not a conspiracy theorist but there are an awful lot of very powerful people who would like to see this Epstein thing go away. Is anyone investigating the guard on duty?” tweeted actor Patricia Heaton.

I am not into conspiracy theories. But Epstein had destructive information on an extraordinary number of extraordinarily powerful people. It is not easy to commit suicide in prison. Especially after being placed on suicide watch. Especially after already allegedly trying,” tweeted public defender Scott Hechinger.

 

Journalist Abi Wilkinson summed up the silliness of this widespread preface very nicely, tweeting, “‘”I’m not a conspiracy theorist’ is such a weird assertion when you think about it, the idea there’s a binary between believing all conspiracies and flat out rejecting the very concept of conspiracy in all circumstances.”

Indeed, I think it’s fair to say that everyone is a conspiracy theorist if they’re really honest with themselves. Not everyone believes that the official stories about 9/11 and the JFK assassination are riddled with plot holes or what have you, but I doubt that anyone who really sat down and sincerely grappled with the question “Do powerful people conspire?” would honestly deny it. Some are just more self-aware than others about the self-evident reality that powerful people conspire all the time, and it’s only a question of how and with whom and to what extent.

The word “conspire” is defined by Merriam-Webster as “to join in a secret agreement to do an unlawful or wrongful act or an act which becomes unlawful as a result of the secret agreement”. No sane person would deny that this is a thing that happens, nor that this is likely a thing that happens to some extent among the powerful in their own nation. This by itself is a theory about conspiracy per definition, and it accurately applies to pretty much everyone. Since it applies to pretty much everyone, the label is essentially meaningless, either as a pejorative or as anything else.

The meaningless of the term has been clearly illustrated by Russiagate, whose adherents react with sputtering outrage whenever anyone points out that they’re engaged in a conspiracy theory, despite the self-evident fact that that’s exactly what it is: a theory about a band of powerful Russian conspirators conspiring with the highest levels of the US government. Their objection is not due to a belief that they’re not theorizing about a conspiracy, their objection is due to the fact that a highly stigmatized label that they’re accustomed to applying to other people has been applied to them. The label is rejected because its actual definition is ignored to the point of meaninglessness.

 

The problem has never been with the actual term “conspiracy theory”; the problem has been with its deliberate and completely meaningless use as a pejorative. The best way to address this would be a populist move to de-stigmatize the label by taking ownership of it. Last month Cornell University professor Dave Callum tweeted, “I am a ‘conspiracy theorist’. I believe men and women of wealth and power conspire. If you don’t think so, then you are what is called ‘an idiot’. If you believe stuff but fear the label, you are what is called ‘a coward’.” This is what we all must do. The debate must be forcibly moved from the absurd question of whether or not conspiracies are a thing to the important question of which conspiracy theories are valid and to what degree.

And we should probably hurry. Yahoo News reported earlier this month (1) that the FBI recently published an intelligence bulletin describing “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists” as a growing threat, and this was before the recent spate of US shootings got establishment narrative-makers pushing for new domestic terrorism laws. This combined with the fact that we can’t even ask questions about extremely suspicious events like Jeffrey Epstein’s death without being tarred with this meaningless pejorative by the mass media thought police means we’re at extreme risk of being shoved into something far more Orwellian in the near future.

__________________

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This is a dispatch from our ongoing series by Caitlin Johnstone

Appendix

Reaction to Yahoo News report


(1)  A brief look at the threads commenting on this news item shows that while (as we might expect given that Yahoo, itself part of the frequently fake news corporate communications system, attracts a lot of older conservative/establishment-believing folks, and that there also paid or volunteer trolls seeding the discussion in favor of the FBI), many people do not agree and are probably prepared to oppose the FBI/Intel power grab to silence independent thinking in America. The discussion is also somewhat muddled by the presence and slants representing liberals who hate Trump, and Trumpites defending the president, both sticking to their positions dogmatically.

Below some examples picked for quality, at random:

12 days ago

The "powers that be" are desperate to discredit the alternative media that is finally providing large sections of the general public with accurate information to counter the propaganda that comes out of the corporate media. The goal is to portray so-called "conspiracy theorists" as mentally-unhinged people who are potentially prone to violence or who will recklessly spread false information in a way that is akin to yelling "fire" in a crowded theater. This will provide the "cover" for more aggressive government crackdowns against purveyors of information who don't toe the line with regard to official government narratives. Documentation that has come to light through freedom-of-information requests, has confirmed that “conspiracy theory” is a pejorative term that was cooked up by the CIA way back in the 60s after the JFK assassination. It is used to try to stigmatize people and deter them, by fear of ridicule, from using their reasoning abilities to see through government propaganda. Among the millions of people who became aware that JFK was not killed by a lone gunman, are the late Jackie Onassis and RFK junior. The House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded in 1976 that "Kennedy was probably killed as a result of a conspiracy”. People are convicted of criminal conspiracy all the time. One of the tactics of the government propagandists is to mix nonsense like Elvis still being alive and alien abductions with very real conspiracies like 9/11 which was carried out by traitors within the US government. The “powers that be” are becoming increasingly worried because they know that the internet has exposed their complicity in crimes like 9/11 to millions of people worldwide and the calls to bring the real perpetrators to justice are growing louder every day.

  • 12 days ago
    I don't trust my government. Does that make me a conspiracy theorist??
  • Scruff McGruff

    12 days ago

    Tons of conspiracy theories have come true, and a lot of the time it's parts of the government (like the FBI and CIA) that are involved in it. Now they want to inform you on how bad it might be? Lol.
    It's okay to question things and keep an open mind.
    I feel like these types of articles are designed to suppress independent thought and label and dismiss an entire group of people. Can't be using critical thought when you're supposed to eat up everything the corporate media tells you.
12 days ago
Pointing out FBI's conspiracy theories is now an act of subversion ?
12 days ago
people are getting more accurate with their theories. so now of course the FBI is involved.
  • 12 days ago
    "The document specifically mentions QAnon, a shadowy network that believes in a deep state conspiracy against President Trump"... Then what do you call it when you have a group of FBI agents, CIA operatives, former FBI and CIA directors working on an "insurance plan" if Trump won the election?
  • jini g

    11 days ago

    The so called conspiracy theory are not real "conspiracy theory" because there is no official and convincing explanation. So every theory is a theory, not conspiracy.
    FBI is still largely controlled by deep state.
    BTW, there is not evidence, not quote from FBI document that called Q as domestic terrorist threat. NO EVIDENCE, NO actually link, NO actual document image.

About the Author
Caitlin Johnstone is a brave journalist, political junkie, relentless feminist, champion of the 99 percent. And a powerful counter-propaganda tactician. 


 Creative Commons License  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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Agents provocateurs and the manipulation of the radical left

Another important dispatch from The Greanville Post. Be sure to share it widely.

BY EMILE SCHEPERS • People's World


A burning police car in Toronto's financial district during the G20 Summit, June 26, 2010. Black bloc provocations played a major role in demonstrations at the summit.


[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he far-right surge arising in the wake of the election of Donald Trump includes various shades of fascism. This is being abetted by the president and other major political leaders. It has led to a many-fronted crisis to which we need to prioritize effective resistance.

To be effective such resistance must do two things. First, it must aim to protect the sections of our society which are being targeted by the right-wing surge. African Americans, other minorities, immigrants, women, LGBTQ people, the poor, and the natural environment are all in the crosshairs of the right. Total solidarity of all with all is essential.

Second, effective resistance has to turn the politics of the situation around so that there is a truly massive, society-wide rejection of fascism and the right in the country, in the elections, in the legislative field, on the cultural front, and in every other possible arena. The 2017 and 2018 elections are thus tremendously important.

Right now, there is considerable discussion going on about the best way to do all these things. Tactics that make us feel good because they are exhilarating are not necessarily the same as effective tactics. They can, in fact, be precisely the opposite.

History teaches us is that the ruling class, the state and non-state institutions it controls, as well as the right have learned the political judo whereby the left’s actions may be turned around and used to strengthen the right and weaken the left.

Specifically, we should learn from the history of the agent provocateur, a specialist in manipulating conflict so as to benefit our enemies. Agents provocateurs are not merely enemy spies within the people’s movement. The provocateur has an even more sinister mission, which sometimes has deadly results.

What the provocateur frequently provokes is actions that either discredit the left or the people’s movement in the eyes of large numbers of people, or which entrap the unwary into acts that will allow police to pounce, accuse activists of plotting violent or other anti-social acts, and then lock them up.

Agents provocateurs have been known for well over a century, in many countries; the breed was especially rife in tsarist Russia in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In the United States, agents provocateurs often targeted labor union organizing efforts. Since the end of the Second World War and the beginning of the Cold War, there are many accounts of the FBI, other police bodies, the military, and private right-wing vigilante groups sending agents provocateurs into people’s organizations with the purpose of dividing, disrupting, and discrediting them and then laying them open to arrest and prosecution, or worse.

More radical than thou

In the 1960s and 1970s, there was a great outpouring of grassroots rejection of the policies, domestic and international, of the Cold War. The Civil Rights Movement, plus the movement against the Vietnam War, brought millions into the streets protesting courageously against the many injustices of our society.

The Cold Warriors and the ruling class did not like this, as they saw their interests threatened. So they developed open and covert strategies for undermining the new radicalism as well as the “old left” (communists and socialists). The idea was to make sure that the left did not continue to win over the support of the mass of the people of the United States to progressive and ultimately, revolutionary, socialist ideas.

The “new left” tendencies that arose at this time included many positive features but had some dangerous flaws also.

One flaw was that too often, a fetish was made of the absolute right of anybody involved in an organization to express his or her opinion no matter how divergent from the main goals of the organization, or to engage in any activity which was “radical” regardless of whether it helped or harmed the cause. This extreme liberalism laid many organizations open to manipulation of some of their weakest elements by agents provocateurs.

There was also a tendency to compete to see who was most radical. The competition for revolutionary “cred” was a godsend for agents provocateurs, who actively encouraged such competition. The lack of connections, especially among campus-based white radicals, to the working class and its politics exacerbated this trend by eliminating an important reality check.

Picking off leaders and undermining public support

There also tended to be a cult of leadership within many radical organizations which put their leaders into a vulnerable position in which they could be targeted for neutralization so as to undermine the whole movement. J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, for instance, put a huge amount of effort into neutralizing leaders.

The agents provocateurs were deployed in such a way as to discredit the leaders and their organizations, to create splits in the movement, and in some cases to provoke violence which would lead to physical elimination of leaders plus a societal repudiation of the movement.

The 1960s campus-based movement against the Vietnam War was a top target for agents provocateurs.  There were several at work, but one, known as “Tommy the Traveler” was particularly memorable. He, too, concentrated on enticing impressionable young would-be “revolutionaries” to commit acts that would divide the movement while landing them in jail.

Hoover, a crusading anti-communist and paranoid racist, paid particular attention to disrupting the highly-effective African American people’s movement, often employing agents provocateurs to create friction within and between liberation organizations. This led to several murders.

In 1967, for example, agents provocateurs, especially a certain William O’Neal, described in a Nation article as “infatuated with weapons,” played a role in the police murder of Illinois Black Panther Party leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark. Hampton had been suspicious of O’Neal because of his violent talk, but others did not see through him, with tragic results. O’Neal’s promotion of crackpot violent schemes should have been a giveaway. When O’Neal set up Hampton and Clark for a brutal murder by police acting under the orders of Cook County State’s Attorney Ed Hanrahan, the perpetrators were able to convince sectors of the public that the Panthers were prone to violence and shot first, which was untrue.

Another example was the crime of Cerro Maravilla, in Puerto Rico, on July 25, 1978.

An agent provocateur, Alejandro González Malavé, working undercover for the Puerto Rican police, enticed two idealistic young supporters of independence for Puerto Rico into a reckless act that cost them their lives. One was Carlos Enrique Soto Areví, the son of one of Puerto Rico’s most important literary figures, the novelist Pedro Juan Soto. The second was a self-taught worker, Arnaldo Dario Rosado. Both were on fire with indignation at the colonialist treatment that Puerto Rico received at the hands of the United States (treatment which continues today). They wanted to demonstrate this indignation in some dramatic way.

Their lack of practical political experience made them easy prey for González Malavé. He persuaded them that a noble act for their homeland would be to destroy some communications towers on the top of a hill called “Cerro Maravilla.” This was supposed to express solidarity with some imprisoned Puerto Rican independence fighters.

The three kidnapped a taxi driver and forced him to drive them up to Cerro Maravilla. But when they arrived, they found they had been led into a police ambush. As the armed police approached, González Malavé identified himself as an agent, but Soto and Rosado were killed, and the “official” story was put out that they had been shot in a firefight with the cops.

The right-wing, pro-statehood governor at the time, Carlos Romero Barceló, hailed the police as heroes, and the FBI helpfully pitched in to support the Puerto Rican Justice Department with the cover-up.

However, the police had left a “loose end,” namely the taxi driver, who spoke to the press and revealed that in fact González Malavé was a police agent and that the two young men were still alive when he left the place. The police had entrapped the two men, then murdered them after they surrendered.

This became a big scandal, and eventually led to prosecutions and the defeat of Romero Barceló’s party in the next elections. But the use of agents provocateurs to divide and isolate the Puerto Rican left has been unrelenting, both before and after that incident.

Disrupting today’s movements

Such agent provocateur tactics surfaced again during the protests against the Iraq War, and in the “Occupy” movement. In each case, glib charismatic strangers wormed their way into protest organizations, and then entrapped inexperienced young radicals to get involved in plans, which were sometimes really just talk, to engage in violence. A typical case is that of the “Cleveland bomb plot” of 2012. Another is the San Francisco Mission District riot of May 2012, when a mysterious black-clad contingent hijacked part of a peaceful “Occupy” demonstration and turned it toward random violence. In both cases, the purpose of the provocateurs was to discredit the movement in the eyes of the public, which otherwise might have been receptive to Occupy’s “99 percent versus one percent” message.

This kind of manipulation still continues by all accounts. As before, the purpose is to discredit the movement, divide it, deprive it of allies, and set up leaders and organizations for repressive action while making sure that this repression will not produce a wave of public indignation, as happened with the Cerro Maravilla case.

The right and the ruling class always try to portray these people’s movements as violent, because this is the alchemy best suited to turn public opinion against them. This is the main lesson to be learned from the agent provocateur experiences of the past.

In the conditions of our country today, injecting violent tactics into the mass movement of protest undermines that movement and plays the enemy’s game.

Loose talk about violence can be just as dangerous. This danger is multiplied by the development of online communications and social media—there are no secrets now.

Hijacking other people’s protest actions to “move them to a higher level,” meaning toward violent confrontations, is really a dirty kind of pseudo-left politics.

What is needed now is to build the movement into a great wave of rejection against the reactionary policies of the ruling class, the right, and the Trump administration and its allies. Let us work on that basis and avoid tactics that undermine it.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Emile Schepers
Emile Schepers  is a veteran civil and immigrant rights activist. Emile Schepers was born in South Africa and has a doctorate in cultural anthropology from Northwestern University. He has worked as a researcher and activist in urban, working-class communities in Chicago since 1966. He is active in the struggle for immigrant rights, in solidarity with the Cuban Revolution and a number of other issues. He now writes from Northern Virginia.

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THIS WORK IS LICENSED UNDER A Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License


Be sure to get the most unique history of the Russo-American conflict now spanning almost a century!

The book that every American should read.

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Dr. Steve Turley: Analyzing the worldwide blowback against globalization and its secular aristocracy

HELP ENLIGHTEN YOUR FELLOWS. BE SURE TO PASS THIS ON. SURVIVAL DEPENDS ON IT.


AN AGE OF STRANGE BEDFELLOWS?

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World crises often force strange displacements in the tectonic plates separating various political outlooks, and so it is with this turbulent age, in which globalists do their best to dumb down and sow massive confusion among the populace. People opposing this fetid excrescence are coming now from both the right (traditional conservatives) and the genuine left (not the centrist-right addled-brained liberals who normally mass around phony imperialist formations like the Democrats, yea it IS confusing). Many traditional conservatives (and libertarians, like Dr Ron Paul) are found fighting the neoliberal project, and its offshoot of endless wars and inexorable immiseration of the masses. It is in that framework that we find one of them, Dr Steve Turley, who, it should be noted, still very much supports many things that remain anathema to traditional leftists. That said, his critique of the US-led empire is healthy, lucid and spot on, and that's why we we bring it to your attention. The moment requires we focus and prioritise our enemies by their degree of malignancy, we must look at the broader and more important issues that bind us, instead of the less urgent issues that separate us, and which, in terms of practical politics, have no way of being resolved before the planet collapses, and perhaps do not need to be resolved, merely declared part of a wise truce between the disputants. Mental agility and flexibility is a necessary condition to dispose of the chief enemy theatening us all with depraved barbarism.—PG
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Published on Dec 22, 2018

Find out why the Yellow Vest Uprising is spreading all over the world, even Taiwan!!!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steve Turley (Ph.D., Durham University) is an internationally recognized scholar, speaker, and blogger at TurleyTalks.com. He is the author of Awakening Wonder: A Classical Guide to Truth, Goodness, and Beauty and The Ritualized Revelation of the Messianic Age: Washings and Meals in Galatians and 1 Corinthians. Steve is a teacher of Theology and Rhetoric at Tall Oaks Classical School in Newark, DE, and Professor of Fine Arts at Eastern University.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

ALL CAPTIONS AND PULL QUOTES BY THE EDITORS NOT THE AUTHORS

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Revolutionary wisdom

Words from an Irish patriot—

 

“There are three kinds of violence. The first, the mother of all the others, is the institutional violence, the one that legalizes and perpetuates the dominations, the oppressions and the exploitations, the one that crushes and flattens millions of men in its silent and well oiled wheels. The second is revolutionary violence, which arises from the desire to abolish the first. The third is repressive violence, the object of which is to stifle the second by making itself the auxiliary and the accomplice of the first violence, the one that engenders all the others. There is no worse hypocrisy to call violence only the second, by pretending to forget the first, which gives birth to it, and the third which kills it. ”

Dom Helder Camara, Brazilian Archbishop and liberation theologian