Frederick Douglass

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them..." Frederick Douglass

Sunday, February 27, 2011

WorldCantWait 's Philadelphia March In Support Of Planned Parenthood

CNN's War

"Do you want him dead?" This was the last query Ze'ev Barak, better known to viewers of cable news broadcaster CNN as Wolf Blitzer, demanded of his guest Muhammed Shalgan, former Libyan Foreign Minister. The deepening coarseness of the reportage one hears from CNN and the rest of the media wolfpack is a measure of how alarmed the Lords of Capital are with the groundswell of rebellion sweeping across the Maghreb. There are revolts all over the Islamic world, but it is upon oil-laden Libya and its embattled "Brother-leader", Colonel Moammar Gaddafi, that the media has compressed the world's attention.

As with Tunisia and Egypt, the anti-imperialist, anti-neoliberal ethos of the protests are being camouflaged and the uprisings attributed to the smug indifference and craven corruption of the head of state. What makes this revolution different is the dictator in question is seen as an enemy of the West. The media slant, accordingly, has been merciless from the start.

The rats are abandoning Libya's sinking ship of state to appear in broadcast studios. The very same functionaries who administered Gaddafi's oil fiefdom, like Shalgan, are now renouncing their lucrative sinecures to condemn the man who elevated them to wealth, power, and international prestige. In addition to the usual harangues against Gaddafi--megalomaniac, authoritarian, sponsor of terror, martinet-- we now hear junkie, freak, senile. Most scandalous of all, we are informed that he consorts with a woman who is (brace yourselves ladies and gentlemen) Ukrainian! A non-white man and a fair-haired, fair-skinned girl from the home continent of the fair-gened? Jim Crow has found a home in the Twenty-first Century, and it is CNN.

In a moment when all pretense to journalistic objectivity and integrity were left behind like a lame camel, and the subinfeudation of media to ruling class interests was laid bare, CNN confided that they had "reports" that Gaddafi was headed to Venezuela. Both nations denied the story and Venezuela, through its state radio, issued unequivocal support for the insurgents. Yet CNN continued to broadcast this absurdity saying that their "sources" were from high inside the Gaddafi government. The attempt to link the maverick statesmen and portray the Bolivarian republic as a haven for state criminals splices most conveniently two veins of imperial censure. The better informed will observe that the premise is also specious as both Gaddafi and Chavez have an all-too-cozy relationship with international finance capital.

Reporters were there to greet the ferry carrying American evacuees from Tripoli as it docked in Valletta, Malta. They tried valiantly to dramatize the event, but the banality of bored, luggage-toting travelers trying to find their way proved too great an obstacle even for CNN's accomplished infotainers. They did manage to bring two young women before their cameras. They did not tell their viewers that Yusra Tekbali, an American of Libyan descent, was a journalist who had written for, among others, CNN. In fact, this bit of essential information was recorded on tape but was edited from the version which aired. The wordsmith-cum-evacuee trained her eyes on the camera as she described a rapidly deteriorating environment: "Libyans have always known what this regime is capable of, now for the first time the world is seeing it." Ms. Tekbali was followed by Joan Polaschik, Charge d'affaires from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli. She testified to "very serious gunfire" and a "fluid and dangerous situation". "We were lucky to get out" she added.

I leave it to you, dear reader, to divine what, if anything, it suggests that the only two people to get off that ferry and be interviewed on camera were a journalist and a diplomat, a CNN contributor and an employee of the U.S. government, both of whom were quite comfortable in the role. In any case, no American has been injured during the revolution.

In an interview with the Islamphobe Pete Hoekstra, the former ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Wolf Blitzer called for the Libyan leader's murder: "Couldn't we assassinate him with a drone or something like that before he kills thousands of people?" A noble thought perhaps, but the former AIPACer has never issued a fatwa against any Israeli leader despite the countless thousands of Palestinians who have been killed by Zion. It must be confusing being binational. Whatever his motive, it is clear that he has no regard for journalism or justice, nor do his employers who seem undisturbed by their host's dystopian cry for extrajudicial blood.

Between segments detailing Gaddafi's nefarious history, CNN's viewers have been treated to reports suggesting that the revolution in Libya is going to cost Americans a lot of money. Gas may reach $5/gallon if it goes on much longer, we are told. Prices of foodstuffs and other essential commodities are going to skyrocket as the cost of transport will increase with the price of a barrel of oil. And there are mysterious "reports" that Gaddafi plans to set his oil wells ablaze as Saddam Hussein did in Kuwait. The implication is one of dire consequences if a "humanitarian intervention", as Blitzer termed it, does not occur soon.

In recent years, and perhaps for quite longer, Gaddafi has shamelessly done the bidding of Western imperial interests, enriching himself drinking from their trough in the process. His posturings to the contrary are nothing more than empty words. Capital doesn't want to remove him, not now that he conforms to their wishes, but as in Tunisia and Egypt, the people are interfering with their plans. The efforts of the oligarchy to quell the burgeoning discontent, thus far, have been ineffective. Imagine the fear as control slips from their hands, as the institutions of oppression in which they have straight-jacketed the working people of the world now crumble before their eyes. Their man in Tripoli falters, barely holds on. The old lies are not working anymore, the old admonitions fall on deaf ears. The ploy of fomenting internecine conflict likewise surrenders to the fellowship of shared subjugation, of common cause and conviction. The servants have overcome their ancient prejudices and now focus their anger on their masters. That which enriched the few has galvanized the many. They now choke the streets with their indignation and roil the sweet desert air with their demands. The palaver of the empire's advocates rings shrill and desperate, and is quickly overwhelmed by the clamor rising from the multitudes. Imagine the anxiety as our overlords look down from their commanding heights, down across the Mediterranean and see the rebel campfires growing in number evening after evening, growing and growing, proliferating across the Maghreb and beyond, until their glow merges with the first rays of a new day.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Struggle In Indiana

The Struggle In Montana

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wisconsin Update

General strike planned if union-busting bill passes:

Transcript of Governor Walker's phone call with blogger impersonating David Koch. When asked about the prank at a press conference, he said that he routinely takes lots of phone calls. This absurd lie reveals the extent to which Wisconsin, like all the other states, is controlled by capital.

Wi-Fi access to opposition websites blocked at Wisconsin's Capitol

Opposition Leader's Rebuttal To Governor Walker

Wisconsin Protest Slideshow

Voices Of Wisconsin

The Great Tariq Ali On Egypt, Suleiman, And Modern Arab History

Fox News Reverses Poll Results

The first rule of propaganda: Assert the opposite.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

From Cairo To Madison

First the Middle East, now the Midwest? The imposition of austerity measures on public-sector employees has loosed a wave of resistance now cascading across the nation's heartland. Wisconsin's ambitious governor, Scott Walker, is championing a bill which would strip public workers (save the police and fire unions, which supported his campaign) of the right to collective bargaining. Without this right, unions would cease to exist in any meaningful way.

Federal public employees won the right to organize with the Lloyd-LaFollette Act of 1912. President T. Roosevelt placed a gag order on postal workers which prohibited any communication with Congress. The latter, then brimming with progressive spirits, most notably Robert "Fighting Bob" la Follette, Sr. (of Wisconsin), passed the pro-union legislation in response.

Private-sector employees won the right of collective bargaining in 1935 when FDR signed the National Labor Relations Act (aka Wagner Act). However this legislation made it clear that such rights did not extend to employees of the federal government. That right was won in 1962 when JFK issued Executive Order 10,988 thereby extending to federal employees the same rights as private-sector employees.

While it is impossible to predict how the standoff between the public-sector employees and the government will end, so far it appears that the Republican Governor has his work cut out for him. Some of Wisconsin's Democratic legislators have left the state thereby denying a quorum and effectively blocking passage of the union-busting bill. Protesters, including representatives of the same police and fire unions which supported Walker's gubernatorial candidacy, have occupied the statehouse attracting a good deal of national and international media attention. Worse still for the embattled governor, the revolt is spreading to other states. Indiana Democrats, taking a page from the Wisconsin playbook, have fled their state thus making the passage of similar legislation impossible in that state. In Ohio, demonstrators marched on the statehouse in Columbus and tried to occupy it but were prevented by the authorities. Smaller protests are happening in other capitals around the country.

What we see unfolding before our eyes is aggressive class war waged by an agent of the plutocracy, and a groundswell of burgeoning popular opposition. Walker has the usual allies at his side. The media, which is owned by the ruling class in the same way that you own the socks you are wearing, has been bending over backwards to be "fair" in its reporting of the conflict. The major cable news programs have given equal time to anti- and pro-Walker factions. Commendable except when one considers that the opposition outnumbers supporters of this bill at a ratio of about twenty to one. One would get a very different impression watching CNN or MSNBC. As one protester was complaining about exactly how much money she would lose per month if the bill were enacted, across the crawler at the bottom of the screen came "protesters compare Governor Walker to Adolf Hitler." Indulging the absurd for a moment, even if somebody did make such a comparison, and further that said person wasn't a plant of some kind sent to discredit the protesters, one can only wonder as to relevance. Does the public-employee worker's case have less validity because some unidentified person made an attenuated analogy?

Walker has let the genie out of the bottle. It remains to be seen whether the ruling class can contain the rebellion they have precipitated with their remorseless war on working-class families. As I write the revolt that began in Wisconsin is spreading across the Midwest and beyond. Expressions of solidarity are rolling in from all over the globe. Some of the protesters in Madison have cited the revolt in Egypt as inspiration, and from Liberation Square the favor is returned:

"We Stand With You as You Stood With Us": Statement to Workers of Wisconsin by Kamal Abbas of Egypt's Centre for Trade Unions and Workers Services.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Balm Of Hope

"How beautiful the revolution. Even in its most barbarous aspects it is beautiful." Mariano Azuela

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Counterrevolution 101


The counterrevolution has begun. The carefully stage-managed anti-Mubarak palliative has reached its climax and is quickly declining into denoument. American media are describing the transfer of power to the Army as a "people-power revolution." Major broadcast media are in agreement, "now that the revolution is over," it's time for the military to step in and "restore order." Democracy has been won, the Army is in charge. Long live the Army! It's time for the demonstrators to return to their two-dollars-a-day misery.

The masters of criminal statecraft know how to do counterrevolution. It's essential for their survival. First, they have their marketing wing, the mass media, define the goals of popular uprisings in such a narrow way as to make them compatible with their commercial interests. This was done quite successfully vis-a-vis Tunisia and Egypt as viewers of cable news broadcasts, where most get their information, heard that these rebellions were prompted by the corruption of the respective ruling families. These men, Ben Ali and Mubarak, are expendable. They were highly paid CEO's who will continue to be well compensated for their service to capital as they live out their days enjoying the largesse of their corporate patrons. Identifying them as the problem makes their removal the solution. As Orwell wrote: "People believe what they are told that they believe." Keep telling the people in the streets ( and watching around the world ) that what they will be satisfied by Mubarak's ouster, maybe they will believe it.

From the moment Obama announced that he supported the demonstrators, his media assets began to describe Mubarak as a tyrant. Not a single "analyst" or think tank "expert" deviated from the script. For twenty-four hours a day we heard nothing but criticism. However well deserved it was, the demonization of the reigning factotum focused attention on him and his recalcitrance. The rebellion became a personal narrative, the Hosni Mubarak saga.

CNN reported that the "anti-terror" squad of the U.S. Marine Corps had arrived at the embassy in Cairo and the following day the pro-Mubarak forces emerge. From the minute they appear they are described as "hired thugs" and "goons." In an astonishing stroke of luck for American broadcasters, they seem to target English-speaking Egyptians. Many of whom would later appear adorned in bloody bandages to tell their tales for the benefit of Anglophone media.

We also received a report of pro-Mubarak forces "firing automatic weapons indiscriminately" into anti-Mubarak forces amassed in Liberation Square. MSNBC host, Tamara Hall, then added parenthetically that there was one fatality. These hired thugs are not good shots.

Most peculiar of all was the attack on CNN reporter Anderson Cooper. One would think that these pro-Mubarak goons would have been instructed to leave journalists alone for fear of a bad press. Yet they not only pummeled the celebrity broadcaster but did so on camera ( or rather, slightly off ). Cooper himself told us that he was punched in the head ten times. He was unmarked though. Mubarak's hooligan's are not very good punchers either.

Later that day Cooper broadcast from "a secret location." The battered reporter informed us that he had to keep the lights off for security's sake. He no doubt hoped we wouldn't notice that he was illuminated by flood lights. Apparently Mubarak's goons will not fire into hotel rooms from which live news feeds are being broadcast, even hired thugs have their etiquette.

Another curiosity is how pollsters managed their business in the middle of a revolution. In recent days "experts" from the Council on Foreign Relations, the Heritage foundation and other rightist think tanks have appeared on our television screens offering the results of "scientific" surveys. It is all the more remarkable when one considers that nearly ninety percent of Egyptians have no access to the internet, and more than half have no phones. How did they conduct these polls, and how accurate could they be? None of the "journalists" interviewing these experts saw fit to ask. The quoted numbers passed unchallenged.

Much of the spin seemed to involve Cooper. Launching the Pentagon's trial balloon, CNN's superstar reporter asked the shill Mohamed El Baradei, newly annointed by same as "the opposition leader," if he would consider running for President. "Only if it were a fair election" he replied, delivering his line with the required conviction. Who wishes to run for office as an opposition candidate in an unfair election one might wonder, but no matter, mission accomplished. The mere presence of the former IAEA chief as a candidate will now imbue that charade with undeserved authenticity.

The El Baradei psy-op came on the heels of the failed Omar "extraordinary rendition" Suleiman alleviant. It is he whom Those Who Own prefer to see enthroned. Suleiman is the Lavrenty Beria of modern Egypt. His appointment to the Vice Presidency by Mubarak, if indeed that decision was the dictator's, was doomed from the beginning. "I know [him]," former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton, told Fox news. "He's a good man, a solid guy. He's an excellent choice to head up the new government." Unfortunately for Bolton and his bosses, the people of Egypt know Suleiman too. He is universally despised in his homeland. He is the COO of the world's most oppressive security state. It is under his direction that this ancient, sacred land was transformed into the world's torture facility. Whenever civil rights laws become a nuissance for security services around the world, they "render" their more troublesome cases over to Omar and his house of horrors on the Nile. Outsourced torture has become an Egyptian specialty, and Suleiman is hated for it.

Various organs of capital chipped in with timely contributions. The Director of the CIA, in the hours before Mubarak's speech, stated that there was a "strong likelihood" that the capital's puppet would step down. For America's head spook to issue such a statement is quite unusual, and a break with established procedure. The mystery deepened when Mubarak did not resign. Risibly, the egg-faced Director claimed that he had based his prognostication on media reports. The reason for this ruse may have been more than merely heightening the Mubarak drama, clearly he had some ulterior motive as his explanation is an obvious lie.

After Mubarak's departure, Switzerland, in a break with time-honored tradition and the letter of its own law, announced that Mubarak had 3.5 billion dollars in Swiss banks and that his accounts had been frozen. That nation's raison d'etre is to launder money. It exists to safeguard the profits and privacy of the world's criminal rich. Many a prosecution has been stymied by Swiss refusal to provide even the most basic information regarding deposits and depositors. That they were so forthcoming in this case speaks forcefully.

Next to certifying the Pentagon-brokered transfer of power from one military officer to another as a revolution, the biggest deception is the reporting we've been getting on the Egyptian Army. It was apparent that the directors of this made-for-TV melodrama intended that power should remain in the hands of the military. From the very beginning they were lauded. We have been treated to an endless stream of favorable images: soldiers sitting atop their tanks and hangin' with the protesters, soldiers thwarting pro-Mubarak violence, military brass honoring the fallen. We have been told that the institution in Egypt which the people respect most is their Army.

The Army has ruled Egypt since 1952. Since 1970, when Gamal Abdel Nasser died under mysterious circumstances and was succeeded by Anwar Sadat, Egypt has followed the neoliberal path mandated by the forces which put the new head of state in office. From that day to this the efforts of the Egyptian people to free themselves from the ravages of free markets have been obstructed by the military. The army is the institution that has kept Mubarak in power. Egypt has been under martial law for thirty years, this is what has led to the unrest. The Army isn't the solution, it's the problem. For there to be a real revolution, it must be overthrown.

While the plutocrats seem thus far to have held the Egyptian rebellion in check, it has been at some cost. The vile, racist filth to which we are subjected in the West about Arab "backwardness" will henceforth be useless. Middle East "experts" will no longer be able to contend that Arab culture is "tribal," and "primitive," and "pre-Enlightenment," and that without the presence of U.S. military bases in those "unstable" lands the Arab savages would soon kill each other off in an orgy of sectarian violence.

Imperialist elements are already taking credit for the revolution. They claim it is a result of the [George W.] Bush Freedom Agenda; that the invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein is what emboldened the Egyptian masses to revolt. Comical as it is, we'll be hearing it quite often in the next few years. This apparently will be the new canard for continued occupation.

The Owners of our imprisoned planet have selected General Muhamed Hussein Tantawi to be their new viceroy in Egypt. The task of this human prophylactic, much like Barack Obama's here in the U.S., is to create the chimera of change while seeing to it that none occurs. A lot of inspiring rhetoric will ensue; monuments will be built to the martyrs; the non-compliant will quietly disappear; some meaningless reforms will be enacted. The revolution will be foiled not by suppression, but by etiolation.

But yet there is something in the air these days. The contagion of hope is wafting out of Egypt and sweeping across land and sea. I had occasion to be in downtown Seattle this morning. There was an unmistakable feeling of victory. Everyone was talking about revolution. A locally famous beggar sported a flower in her hair, as I reached into my pocket for the usual contribution, I asked about it. "Egypt," she snarled, "of course." Later my girlfriend and I went to our favorite spot in Chinatown for dim sum. Our waitress, who struggles with English, asked me for the latest news from Cairo. "I happy for them. Next maybe Hu Jintao."

For those who work for justice, the people of Egypt have given us the thrill of a lifetime. It is not likely that the new government of Egypt will be much different from its predecessor, but that doesn't mean that the efforts of our Egyptian brothers and sisters have been in vain. The wretched of the Earth have seen what is possible. Power has been shown to be powerless in the face of determined mass opposition. And in every corner of our world the immiserated rejoice, because they know the day of liberation draws near.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pyramid Envy

Don't know about you, but I got it real bad.

Socialist Worker's Party's John Rees

Statement by Revolutionary Socialists of Egypt:

More strikes:

Some background on the revolution:

Call for help from Egyptian Anarchist:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Statement Of The April 6th Movement In Egypt

{On April 6th a large strike took place.)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Extraordinary Rumination On The Tunisian Revolution


Statement From Egypt's Socialists

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Class War Alert: Inflation

When they allude to "money printing" in the video and "asset buying" they are referring to quantitative easing. It might be helpful to read my post on the subject:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Media's Role In The Egyptian Rebellion

{Blogger's note: No time to write but here are my notes if anyone is interested.)

If it's true, as Frank Zappa insisted, that government is the entertainment wing of the military industrial complex, then media is its marketing apparatus. What we are seeing on cable news broadcast is a carefully staged passion play whose goal is to...


been going on for months, no coverage

mubarak's supporters fired shots indiscriminately into crowdbut only killed 1 person. these guys not very good shots

anderson 'vanderbilt' cooper punched ten times in head but unmarked- not good boxers either

"coop'" broadcasting from hotel room [apologizes for it] says been told to keep down and keep lights off. he says this with key and flood light trained on him.

john king says egyptians trust the army. army is the fulcrum of the protests. mubarak is the army. incredible lie! even if king is ignorant and utterly vapid, he has research people who could tell him how ridiculous that is. he was ordered to make this point ands he did. and in preparation for a possible military clampdown. media saying army acting as 'peacemakers.'

american woman tourist played on loop saying they cant get out. planes arrive to take them out but who got off those planes in cairo?

prez barak obusha finally says he supports rebels

american 'antiterror' Marines arrive, violence/terror ensues the next morning

pro-mubarak people immediately described as goons, thugs, paid provocateuers. no doubt they r, but r working for washington and were probably trained by people from the school of the americas etc.

el baradei described as 'opposition leader' then 'the opposition leader.' nobody save perhaps the WAFD accepts him. nobody gets to head IAEA if he's not kosher to capital. muslim brotherhood, the communists, and tarammu [labor party] hate him.

launching the pentagon's trial balloon, vanderbilt asks him if he'd consider running for prez. he says only if it were a fair election. who wants to run as an opposition candidate in an unfair election? this was obviously scripted

mubarak's speech a fraud, he knows he's going but washington hopes that if mubarak resists the protesters might b sated when mubarak does go. there's a chance in a trilion that mubarak is resisting...

nile tv broadcaster interviewed after she allegedly resigns in protest of 'intimidation.' her picture is posted on screen, she's strikingly, exquisitely beautiful--straight from central casting.

news a political product.

meanwhile, tunisian rev being subverted out of public focus.

wikileaks says washington acting clandestinely with opposition groups for years to bring down mubarak. this or king's lie the biggest.

new contender for biggest lie: from fox news, john bolton, responding to question about whether egyptian people will accept veep sulaiman if mu' steps down, 'we donno know really know what the egyptians want, we dont have sufficient polling data.'
dont know what egyptians want?????????????????? a million people gather to ask for regime change and bolton says...

cnn ticker rep0orts 2000 americans have 'fled' egypt. then, a minute later, the ticker says 'americans being beaten in streets of cairo.' heavy spin mode in preparation for possible american intervention.

sulaiman top guy in egyptian espionage underworld. he ran the extraordinary rendition program with torturers reporting directly to him, and he reported directly to washington.

msnbc's 'the ed show' reports white house in negotiations to get rid of mu' and replace him with torturer sulaiman. [story about sulaiman:]