• Written by M. C. Forte

American Exceptionalism: A Century of Innocence

American Exceptionalism, American Innocence 

by Maximilian C. Forte - ZeroAnthropology

May 12, 2019 

Review of American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People’s History of Fake News—from the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror. By Roberto Sirvent and Danny Haiphong. Foreword by Ajamu Baraka. Afterword by Glen Ford. 256 pages. Published: April 2, 2019. New York: Skyhorse Publishing Inc. ISBN: 9781510742369. Hardcover, $24.99 US; e-Book, $16.99 US.

 

 


We live in a time which sees the US accelerating its accumulation of conflict worldwide: a trade war with China; sanctions and tariffs on “friends” and “enemies” alike; international treaties torn apart; international law dismissed and violated on an almost daily basis; escalating tensions and provocations that almost seem designed with the premeditated intent of precipitating war with Iran, or Venezuela, or North Korea; a new Cold War with Russia; an enhanced embargo against Cuba; and an ongoing, seemingly permanent occupation in Afghanistan.

Yet, in the midst of that, American leaders react with apparent protest at any consequences or responses—others are blamed for the apparent crime of responding to threats and aggression. How does one bring both of these facets—aggression and victimhood—together into one explanation?

As the US expanded and then inserted itself into the domestic affairs of nations in almost every corner of the planet, what role did the ideology of “American exceptionalism” play? How is “American exceptionalism” constructed, learned, and experienced? How are Americans both exceptional and “innocent”? What are the relationships between American exceptionalism, innocence, and racism and class domination? How is “humanitarian intervention” shaped by American exceptionalism and innocence? How do celebrities, Hollywood, the major news media, and sporting events help to cement American exceptionalism? Do “progressive” social movements of the American left depart from exceptionalism? How relevant is American exceptionalism to debates about immigration and borders? What are the solutions to the problem of American exceptionalism? Should the world be a world without America?

These are some of the questions that are resolutely tackled in a newly released book, which is the subject of this review.

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  • Written by Ramzy Baroud

Fascist Mothers of a Brotherly Persuasion

Why Brazil should shun the Israeli model

by Ramzy Baroud - Arab News


May 12, 2019

Newly inaugurated Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is set to be the arch-enemy of the environment and of indigenous and disadvantaged communities in his country. He also promises to be a friend of like-minded far-right leaders the world over.

It is, therefore, not surprising to see a special kind of friendship blossoming between Bolsonaro and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“We need good brothers like Netanyahu,” Bolsonaro said after receiving him ahead of his inauguration in Brasilia on Jan. 1.

Bolsonaro is, “a great ally; a brother,” the Israeli PM replied.


But, while Bolsonaro sees in Netanyahu a role model — for reasons that should worry many Brazilians — the country certainly does not need “brothers” like the Israeli leader.

Netanyahu’s militancy, oppression of the indigenous Palestinian people, his racially motivated targeting of black African immigrants and his persistent violations of international law are not at all what a country like Brazil needs to escape corruption, bring about communal harmony and usher in an era of regional integration and economic prosperity.

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  • Written by Whitney Webb

Monsanto, Bayer & the Vulture of Venezuela

How GMO Seeds and Monsanto/Bayer’s “RoundUp” are Driving US Policy in Venezuela

by Whitney Webb - MintPress News 

via Aletho

May 6, 2019

 

CARACAS, VENEZUELA — As the political crisis in Venezuela has unfolded, much has been said about the Trump administration’s clear interest in the privatization and exploitation of Venezuela’s oil reserves, the largest in the world, by American oil giants like Chevron and ExxonMobil.

Yet the influence of another notorious American company, Monsanto — now a subsidiary of Bayer — has gone largely unmentioned.

While numerous other Latin American nations have become a “free for all” for the biotech company and its affiliates, Venezuela has been one of the few countries to fight Monsanto and other international agrochemical giants and win.

However, since that victory — which was won under Chavista rule — the U.S.-backed Venezuelan opposition has been working to undo it.

"Vulture" Capitalist, Paul Singer
smelling an opportunity

Now, with Juan Guaidó’s parallel government attempting to take power with the backing of the U.S., it is telling that the top political donors of those in the U.S. most fervently pushing regime change in Venezuela have close ties to Monsanto and major financial stakes in Bayer.

In recent months, Monsanto’s most controversial and notorious product — the pesticide glyphosate, branded as Roundup, and linked to cancer in recent U.S. court rulings — has threatened Bayer’s financial future as never before, with a litany of new court cases barking at Bayer’s door. It appears that many of the forces in the U.S. now seeking to overthrow the Venezuelan government are hoping that a new Guaidó-led government will provide Bayer with a fresh, much-needed market for its agrochemicals and transgenic seeds, particularly those products that now face bans in countries all over the world, including once-defoliated and still-poisoned Vietnam.

 

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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, T. J. Coles, David Rovics, Janine Bandcroft May 9, 2019

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com

May 9, 2019

True to this time of lies, "free" is the name given to the attempt to capture and enslave the people of the World, while the word "trade" serves as a wry misnomer, meant to convince us the artful deals of the masters of capital are both consensual, and somehow mutually beneficial.

Together, 'Free Trade' is a concept Orwell would recognize, and cry laughing at the bitter predictability of.

Dr. T.J. Coles is an Associate Researcher at the Organisation for Propaganda Studies, a columnist for AxisOfLogic.com, and author.

Listen. Hear.

Coles’ articles too appear online at CounterPunch, Truthout and Z Magazine, among other places, and his many book titles include: ‘Real Fake News’, Britain’s Secret Wars’, ‘The Great Brexit Swindle’, ‘Manufacturing Terrorism: When Governments Use Fear to Justify Foreign Wars and Control Society’, and his latest, ‘Privatized Planet: ‘Free Trade’ as a Weapon Against Healthcare, Democracy and the Environment’.

Journalist and filmmaker, John Pilger says, "In this meticulously sourced book, T.J. Coles breaks down the facade of “free trade” and its army of acronyms, spelling out the threat from an extremism that wants your healthcare, wages, pensions and much more. You have been warned."

T.J. Coles in the first half.

And; readers of Marx, Karl not Groucho, remember the term, "Après moi, le déluge!" It was meant by Marx to indicate the contempt in which all capitalists must hold the life of the lowly labourer. How else can captains of industry masticate and disgorge the legions required to maximize profit, and relentlessly grow the economy? But, endless progress demands a certain, strategic short-sightedness, a disregard for the consequences of one's actions. It's a wilful blindness increasingly difficult to maintain today, where King Louis XV's phrase, "After me, the deluge" now belongs to us all and encompasses the whole of the World: "Après nous le déluge!" After US, the flood.

Inveterate American activist and singer/songwriter, David Rovics has for decades toured the World bringing his message of revolution and evolution for and to the masses. He's shared the stage with the greats of the age: Pete Seeger, Anne Feeney, Joan Baez, Chumbawamba, Billy Bragg, Attila the Stockbroker, and countless others. David is too a frequent essayist, and now a regular columnist at Dissident Voice, a podcaster, and Danish barista... Safe to say he's done a lot of things, but now David Rovics is set to enter the least illuminated of all Canada's dark corners, Ottawa, Ontario, (beatless heart of a heartless, beaten nation) for an evening of music, fun, and class struggle.

David Rovics, before the flood in the second half.


And Victoria-based activist and long-time Gorilla Radio contributor, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour with the Left Coast Events Bulletin of some of the good things to be gotten up to in and around our town in the coming week. But first, T. J. Coles and Privatized Planet: Free Trade As a Weapon Against Democracy, Healthcare and the Environment.

 

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/
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  • Written by Ramzy Baroud

Can Palestine's Internecine Divide Be Bridged?

The Two Narratives of Palestine: The People Are United, the Factions Are Not

by Ramzy Baroud - PalestineChronicle.com


May 8, 2019

The International Conference on Palestine held in Istanbul between April 27-29 brought together many speakers and hundreds of academics, journalists, activists and students from Turkey and all over the world. The Conference was a rare opportunity aimed at articulating a discourse of international solidarity that is both inclusive and forward thinking. There was near consensus that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement must be supported, that Donald Trump’s so-called ‘Deal of the Century’ must be defeated and that normalization must be shunned. When it came to articulating the objectives of the Palestinian struggle, however, the narrative became indecisive and unclear.

Although none of the speakers made a case for a two-state solution, our call for a one democratic state from Istanbul - or any other place outside Palestine - seemed partially irrelevant. For the one state solution to become the overriding objective of the pro-Palestine movement worldwide, the call has to come from a Palestinian leadership that reflects the true aspirations of the Palestinian people. One speaker after the other called for Palestinian unity, imploring Palestinians for guidance and for articulating a national discourse. Many in the audience concurred with that assessment as well. One audience member even blurted out the cliched question: “Where is the Palestinian Mandela?”

Luckily, the grandson of Nelson Mandela, Zwelivelile "Mandla" Mandela, was himself a speaker. He answered forcefully that Mandela was only the face of the movement, which encompassed millions of ordinary men and women, whose struggles and sacrifices ultimately defeated apartheid. Following my speech at the Conference, I met with several freed Palestinian prisoners as part of my research for my forthcoming book on the subject. Some of the freed prisoners identified as Hamas and others as Fatah. Their narrative seemed largely free from the disgraced factional language we are bombarded with in the media, but also liberated from the dry and detached narratives of politics and academia.

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  • Written by David Rovics

Remembering Pete Seeger, Movement Musician

Pete Seeger Was A Movement Musician

by David Rovics - Dissident Voice


May 1st, 2019

If Pete Seeger were still with us, how would he be celebrating his 100th birthday? Probably by chopping wood.

 

On May 3rd, 1919, Pete Seeger was born. Many people in the more musical regions of my social circles are currently celebrating his life, for the occasion of what would have been his 100th birthday, had he lived past the age of 94.

Among people I know, so much has already been said about Pete, that I’m hesitant to say any more. But on fairly obsessive reflection around the subject of Pete Seeger myself in recent days, I realize I do have thoughts that might be worth sharing, despite the quantity of verbiage already cluttering the web.

So much has been said and written about him over the course of the past 83 years or so, it’s very easy to blend fact with fiction.

This is perhaps especially true for people who knew him, but only a little.

Does reading a book and having a short conversation with the author give you much more insight into the subject of the book than you would have had without that conversation? Probably not. But it’s been six years since Pete died, and I’m six years older. And I’ll just say up front here that it’s not my deeply intimate familiarity with Pete that makes me feel like I have something to say here — I barely knew the guy. But we had a lot of mutual friends and acquaintances, and most importantly, we shared the same profession — I am, and he was, a musician, among other things, but specifically a musician with deep social movement roots. He was a fish swimming in a sea of social movements throughout his life, and he navigated the waters as best he could, to be a helpful, musical part of those movements.

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  • Written by Tom Engelhardt

Strains of Another Arab Spring

Spring Stirrings and Misgivings: Of Autocrats and Uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa

by Rebecca Gordon - TomDispatch

May 2, 2019  
 
“Al-Shebab,” said my student Jerry early in the fall 2010 semester. “We’re calling our small group al-Shebab. It means ‘The Youth.’” From his name alone, I wouldn’t have guessed his background, but he was proud of his family’s Egyptian roots and had convinced his classmates to give their group an Arabic name.

As usually happens when the semester ends and my dozens of students scatter, Jerry and I lost touch. The following April, however, we ran into each other at a rally organized by students at my university to support the Arab Spring. 
 Like many others around the world, I’d watched transfixed as brave unarmed civilians faced down riot police on the bridges leading to Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
 I’d celebrated on February 11, 2011, when the corrupt and authoritarian Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak resigned as the military took control of that country.

Jerry’s eyes sparkled when he saw me. “Isn’t it amazing?” he shouted. Yes, it was amazing... until it wasn’t.

This spring, eight years later, there has been a new set of popular uprisings in northern Africa, from Algeria to Morocco, to Sudan. Let’s hope they have more lasting success than Egypt’s Arab Spring. 
 
 
  • Written by Press Release

A Call for Aid: Unist'ot'en Healing Lodge Work Camp Begins

Work Camp at the Unist'ot'en Village begins

by Unist'ot'en Healing Lodge


May 6, 2019
Work Camp at the Unist'ot'en Village begins in one week. People and materials are already heading to the Village. Meanwhile Coastal GasLink and the RCMP continue to flaunt the limits of their interim injunction, abusing the land and abusing the people. 
 
 

But the resolve of the Unist'ot'en, along with the whole Wet'suwet'en Nation, remains strong. Please stand with these brave land defenders. Funds and allies are always appreciated.

The Unist'ot'en Village has stood for 10 years now as a bastion of resistance to fossil fuel pipelines and as an assertion of Indigenous sovereignty. It is the physical embodiment of the Unist'ot'en dedication to Healing the Land and Healing the People.

With the combined support of the BC and federal governments and overwhelming force employed by the RCMP, Coastal GasLink has been enabled to temporarily carry out work on its fracked gas pipeline through Wet'suwet'en Territory. This is pursuant to an Interim Court Injunction issued by the BC Supreme Court. 

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Andy Worthington, Pablo Ouziel, Janine Bandcroft May 2nd, 2019

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com

May 2, 2019

Last week marked the eighth anniversary of the WikiLeaks release of 'The Guantánamo Files'. A lot has changed since their original airing, and a lot hasn't.

Obama has come and gone, the immediate closure of "Gitmo" now just another of his hoped for but unkept promises, while both the publisher of the files revealing the horrors of the camp, and the person Obama pardoned for leaking them are themselves now imprisoned; Julian Assange held in solitary at London's infamous Belmarsh Prison, and Chelsea Manning, after a month of solitary confinement, facing "indefinite detention" for refusing a Virginia Grand Jury's subpoena to testify in its investigation of Assange and WikiLeaks.

Andy Worthington is an investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. A recognized authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror”, Andy is co-founder of the Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker campaigns, both dedicated to bringing justice for inmates of that place past and present.

Listen. Hear.

The London-based Worthington is also a singer, songwriter, founding member of the band, The Four Fathers, (currently searching for a new bass player) and urban photographer whose State of London series is a seven years-long daily chronicle of that great city.

Andy Worthington in the first half.

And; despite the rightward trend in European politics, Spain's Socialist Party, the PSOE, held power in Sunday's elections there, though again with a minority. While the government's renewal, and seat increase gives Pedro Sánchez' party a strong mandate to govern, the admission to Parliament of 24 members of the ultra-right VOX party is grabbing the headlines. It's the first far-right party to gain seats since democracy replaced the dictatorship of Generalissimo Francisco Franco more than 40 years ago.

Dr. Pablo Ouziel is Postdoctoral fellow at the University of Victoria’s Political Science Department and Centre for Global Studies. He’s a native of Barcelona, and his Post-Doctoral Fellowship project at UVic is, ‘Democracy Here and Now: The Exemplary Case of Spain’.

Pablo Ouziel and political breathing space for Spain's left in the second half.

And; Victoria-based activist and long-time Gorilla Radio contributor, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour with the Left Coast Events Bulletin of some of the good things to be gotten up to in and around our town in the coming week. But first, Andy Worthington and eight years later, the Guantánamo Files then and now.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/
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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Susan Power, Maximilian C. Forte, Janine Bandcroft April 25th, 2019

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com

April 25, 2019

After a year and a month of bloody conflict at the barriers separating Gaza from the World, The Great Return March continues yet.

Every Friday Palestinians demanding an end to their dispossession and forced isolation have faced Israel's military, for the most peaceably, and suffered mightily for it.

And though hundreds have been killed, shot down bare-handed by soldiers with sniper rifles, and thousands more gassed and wounded in other ways, the "international community" of nations has largely remained silent.

Listen. Hear.

The run-up to Israel's recent elections occasioned harder lines on the "Palestine Problem" in Gaza by politicians on all sides, while one prominent among them even promised, should he be elected, he would too annex the settlements, bringing a Gaza of sorts to the West Bank.

Dr. Susan Power is Head of the Legal Research and Advocacy Department at Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights NGO based in Ramallah. Established in 1979, Al-Haq's mission is to protect human rights and promote the rule of law in the Occupied Territories both individually and collectively, while seeking to end breaches of international law "irrespective of the identity of the perpetrator."

Susan Power in the first half.

And; April 11th, a date that will for many live in infamy, Ecuador's president, Lenin Moreno delivered from its embassy in London into the hands of the British government, political asylee and WikiLeaks publisher, Julian Assange. Miles of newsprint, and terabytes of misinformation has been produced regarding Assange and the nature of the case manufactured against him, but at its heart are some basic facts vital for both his just treatment and the future fairness of the planet the rest of us will inhabit.

Dr. Maximilian C. Forte is a scholar, educator, author, and creator of the Zero Anthropology Project, a "Canadian anthropological approach to the study of empire and the human condition" and its website, ZeroAnthropology.net.

Max Forte teaches full time in Anthropology and Sociology at Concordia University in Montréal, at the rank of full Professor, and is a member of the Concordia University Faculty Association, the trade union body for full-time faculty, and the Canadian Association of University Teachers.

Forte also publishes The New Imperialism series, which features research by students in his advanced seminar in the field, and his own research. Max is too a past finalist for the Quebec Writers Federation Mavis Gallant Prize for Nonfiction, and his book titles include: 'Ruins of Absence, Presence of Caribs: (Post)Colonial Representations of Aboriginality in Trinidad and Tobago', and 'Slouching Towards Sirte: NATO’s War on Libya and Africa'.

Max Forte and untying the media tangle to find a coherent explanation of what the Assange arrest says about the state of the Empire and fate of democracy in the second half.

And; Victoria-based activist and long-time Gorilla Radio contributor, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour with the Left Coast Events Bulletin of some of the good things to be gotten up to in and around our town in the coming week. But first, Susan Power and Palestine's prospects in an extended Netanyahu era.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/
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  • Written by Andre Vltchek

Resistance in Queen City: A Prairie Protest for Peace

In the Small Canadian City of Regina, Resistance is Brewing

by Andre Vltchek - NEO

April 22, 2019

Ed Lehman is a Canadian Communist,and a comrade of mine. I don’t say such things often or lightly, especially about Westerners. But he became my comrade, and we struggled shoulder to shoulder, for five days. Not in the South American wilderness, not in Afghanistan or Syria, but in Regina, a small Canadian city, the capital of the province of Saskatchewan.

I admit, before being invited there, I knew close to nothing about Regina. I did not even know how to pronounce it, correctly. But one day, an email arrived, and I was invited to become a keynote speaker at the Peace Conference there – in Regina. Spontaneously, I accepted.

The peace conference was called “Yes to Peace and Progress – No to NATO and War!”

I usually do not speak at peace conferences. I have always believed that oppressed and colonized countries have to fight for their independence and freedom, and that peace as it is propagated in the West is something that basically upholds the status quo. It is, as I mentioned in Canada, “when the bombs are not falling on Paris or Toronto”. It is when the wretched of the earth are dying quietly and obediently, far away from camera lenses, in their looted countries and continents.

Actually, many peace movements in the West annoy me to the extreme. Their lack of sensitivity, as well as ignorance, are maddening.The desire of their members to ‘do good’ and ‘feel good’, is often self-serving, and has absolutely nothing to do with the struggle for justice in dozens of colonized, and plundered ‘client’ states.

But there was something very different in what I detected while reading the invitation from Regina. The organizers were actually talking about justice, not just about stopping conflict. They were full-heartedly defending Venezuela. And their main goal was to dismantle NATO, or ‘at least’ to convince Canadians that their country should not participate in the bloodstained ‘adventures’ which are ruining the lives of hundreds of millions of people all over the world. I felt that I was being approached by the real and solid Left. And therefore, without much hesitation, I accepted.

***
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