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Neo-Liberalism and the Defanging of Feminism

Speaking Fees, Selfies, Sucking Up to Power: How BLM Lost its Mojo

Mint Press

April 17, 2018

By Jon Jetter

 

The Black Panther Party remains beloved in the African-American community 52 years after its founding — revered for its nutrition and health programs, fearless defense of the people, and self-sacrifice. The BLM leadership, on the other hand, poses for fashion magazine photo spreads.

Wearing Christian Siriano, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement Patrisse Cullors attends the 90th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 4, 2018 in Hollywood.

 

CINCINNATI, OHIO — In a stinging rebuke of Black Lives Matter (BLM), the organization’s local affiliate here last month announced that it was severing all ties to a movement it characterized as opportunistic, too invested in liberal, electoral politics and the Democratic party, and ultimately ineffective in fighting state-sanctioned violence against African-Americans.

Black Lives Matter Cincinnati (BLMC) explained its decision to change its name to Mass Action for Black Liberation in a tersely-worded letter, published March 30 on its website. With an organizational structure similar to the anarchist-influenced Occupy Movement, BLM and the Movement for Black Lives Matter network is a loose-knit — often unwieldy – confederation of chapters, affiliates, and spinoffs with broad autonomy and varying degrees of collaboration with the national leadership. Despite their initial reservations, activists in Cincinnati decided to adopt the BLM moniker early in 2015 out of a sense of urgency following a series of highly publicized police murders in 2014 — including those of Eric Garner on a Staten Island street, 12-year-old Tamir Rice at a Cleveland playground, and 18-year-old Michael Brown Jr. on a suburban St. Louis street.

The Cincinnati group wrote:

BLM did not create or build this new grassroots movement against police brutality and racism; they capitalized off a nameless groundswell of resistance sweeping the nation, branded it as their own, and profited from the deaths of Black men and women around the country without seriously engaging, as a national formation, in getting justice for fighting families. All the while raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars from high-end speaking engagements and donations from foundations that support the Black struggle (or want to co-opt it).

 

They have gained access to high profile associations, including invitations to the White House and celebrity events; have been on magazine covers; are on the way to profiting as authors and subjects of books; and have accepted numerous awards and accolades as so-called founders of the movement — while families struggle, unassisted, to keep their fights going. So many people on the ground have shared a similar experience: when the reporters leave and the bright lights are gone, so are they [BLM].”

Outgoing Planned Parenthood (premiere partner of the 2017 Women’s March campaign) president Cecile Richards attended the Oscars Sunday evening with Patrisse Cullors-Brignac, one of the co-founders of Black Lives Matter. Richards arrived at the Oscars with Cullors-Brignac and Bryan Stevenson, initiative director for Equal Justice, and the three posed on the red carpet for photos, reports CNN. [Source]

Cecile Richards with Hillary Clinton. June 10, 2016

A member of the Mass Action for Black Liberation steering committee, Brian Taylor, was even more blunt, characterizing BLM as a “liberal” organization offering solutions that are wholly insufficient to fulfill the ambitions of a radical and restive black working class that is most affected by state terror:

We feel that BLM has not been a champion in any real way in the fight against police brutality. And, by presenting themselves as the creator of something they did not initiate, they have benefitted from the [survivors’] suffering in ways that we feel are inappropriate. Their approach is very reformist, very liberal, and at the end of the day they believe in the institutional structures that are at the heart of our oppression. We see ourselves here as a revolutionary organization.”

Of a campaign to register African American voters at movie theaters showing the popular Black Panther movie based in the mythical African nation of Wakanda, Taylor, 43, told MintPress:

History is not made by the ballot box; it’s made in the streets. With all that’s going on in this country and you want to Wakanda the vote? What?”

Black Lives Matter Cincinnati joins Black Lives Matter New York, which announced in January that it was severing its ties to the Global BLM Network. And, while the letter announcing their departure was not as sharply-worded as the Ohio declaration, New York activists left no doubt that their motivation for withdrawing from BLM was virtually identical to that of their peers in Cincinnati.

The best way for us to move our Black liberation work forward is to be autonomous from the global network. We will take time to build a collective that can realize our power, be accountable to our community, and transformative in our politics. We see this as a continuation of the radical Black liberation and Black power struggle that has spanned centuries around the world.

 

We believe in the right to self-govern and our need to become ungovernable to institutions that do not serve our interest of freedom, autonomy and liberation. We view the struggle for Black liberation as a human rights struggle. Black liberation is necessary and imperative for global liberation and the liberation of all people.”

Representatives for the Global BLM Network did not respond to repeated requests for an interview.

Founded by three African-American women — Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi and Patrisse Khan-Cullors — BLM is widely-praised for challenging state-sanctioned violence against people of color, and expanding the national discussion about the country’s longstanding racial divide, much like the Occupy movement’s success in raising public consciousness about issues of wealth inequality.

Alicia Garza, from left, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, arrive at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards at NeueHouse Hollywood on Monday, Nov. 14, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Alicia Garza, from left, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, arrive at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards at NeueHouse Hollywood, Nov. 14, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

 

But the Cincinnati activists’ critique of the organization is remarkably consistent with those leveled by progressives, generally, and the African-American left specifically. Almost since its inception four years ago, the BLM leadership has come under fire for its lack of a class analysis. This lack has been underscored by BLM’s close ties to multinational corporations such as Google, nonprofit donors like the Ford Foundation, and pro-market strategies that are inconsistent with a radical black polity that has been integral, historically, to the maturation of the modern state, from public education to the New Deal to open admissions at the City University of New York.

African-American writers, such as Black Agenda Report’s Managing Editor Bruce A. Dixon, have been critical of BLM’s collaboration with a black-owned California bank to roll out the official BLM debit card, charging low-income depositors exorbitant fees. One of BLM’s most visible activists, DeRay McKesson, is a vocal advocate for school privatization and charter schools, which often produce worse outcomes than standard public schools. And in a 2016 interview, the one-time chairperson of the Black Panthers, Elaine Brown, said that the BLM organization suffers from a “plantation mentality.”

Perhaps unfairly, BLM invites comparisons to the Black Panther Party, which remains beloved in the African-American community 52 years after its founding, revered for its nutrition and health programs, fearless defense of the people, and self-sacrifice. The BLM leadership, on the other hand, poses for fashion magazine photo spreads.

Said one African-American woman who has worked closely with BLM but asked to remain anonymous because she did not want to foreclose on the possibility of organizational change:

They don’t take on hazard. They showed up in St. Louis and took selfies. They credential themselves with the suffering of others. They don’t come out of that revolutionary nationalist tradition and [they] really represent queer cultural nationalism as much as anything. There’s something about BLM that has always felt a bit precious to me.”

The absence of grit, or a deep connection to poor and working-class communities, Taylor and others say, is exacerbated by a top-down organizational structure that is intended to give BLM satellites autonomy in their decision-making, but actually achieves the reverse. Without an automatic or democratic means to distribute money to its network partners, donations — and therefore decision-making — tend to remain in the hands of a select few.

As an example, the Cincinnati group noted that activists in the St. Louis area had already begun organizing to indict the white police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown Jr. as he surrendered. But BLM parachuted in, stole the thunder from the grassroots local movement, redirected local fundraising efforts and ultimately derailed the movement. Since prosecutors declined to indict in the Brown case, several local activists in Ferguson have been fatally shot and their bodies burned with high-grade accelerant, and yet BLM has neither called for an investigation nor has it devoted any resources to identifying their killers, Taylor said.

Similarly, Taylor’s cohort accused BLM of hijacking the local effort to get justice for Tamir Rice, which was expertly led by the boy’s mother, Samaria Rice.

First, the open phone conferences organized to plan the #YearWithoutTamir action were shut down. BLM national, through a local leader they assigned, set up a new conference call where no one could speak but the moderator. They alienated churches who planned on sending support from the South. They refused to declare a firm day for a mass action, despite repeated requests from BLMC and numerous other groups. This made it impossible for unions and other organizations to zero in on a key day to bus people in. That single action destroyed union, regional and national support.”

Donna Murch, a history professor at Rutgers University and the author of a book on the Black Panthers, told MintPress that it was unsurprising to see BLM affiliates begin to squabble over resources. Ironically, Huey Newton’s allocation of resources to the legal defense of the New York cadre that included Tupac Shakur’s mother, Afeni, was central to the Panthers dissolution.

But Taylor in Cincinnati balked at any such comparison. He said:

It’s foolish to even mention the Black Panthers and Black Lives Matter in the same breath.”

Top Photo | A man wears a hoodie which reads, “Black Lives Matter” as stands on the lawn of the Capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington during a rally to mark the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

 

[Jon Jeter is a published book author and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist with more than 20 years of journalistic experience. He is a former Washington Post bureau chief and award-winning foreign correspondent on two continents, as well as a former radio and television producer for Chicago Public Media’s “This American Life.”]

The New Humanitarianism: The Imperative to ‘Act’ and to ‘Act Now’

April 14, 2018

 

An Excerpt from the book Celebrity Humanitarianism – The Ideology of Global Charity by Ilan KapoorFirst [2013]

 

‘Ilan Kapoor’s stunning new book exposes the most appealing – and thus most dangerous – sacred cows of contemporary ideology: the humanitarian actor, the billionaire philanthropist, and the NGO. Kapoor shows that it is precisely where we feel most emotionally satisfied that we must be most suspicious. Celebrity Humanitarianism represents a landmark in the critique of ideology and a decisive blow in the struggle against apolitical ethics.’ — Todd McGowan, University of Vermont, USA

 

Since the end of the Cold War, there has been an explosion of international NGOs, particularly development and humanitarian ones, leading to the rise of what is termed ‘global civil society’. In large measure, this is due to the ascendancy of neoliberalism, which has seen NGOs fill the many gaps created by government cutbacks and privatization. But in part, it is also the result of the intensification of globalization and the information economy, which has opened up possibilities for greater  borderlessness’. Not content with doing only aid and development work, NGOs have carved out an increasingly more activist and interventionist role for themselves in the global arena. This trend is what has been called ‘the new humanitarianism’.

Central to the new humanitarianism is a security discourse, which divides the world, not so much along the lines of wealth vs. poverty as it used to, but more in terms of stability vs. threat. Mark Duffield argues that the security discourse is constructed on the basis of the metaphor of the ‘borderlands’ (i.e. the Third World), an imagined geographic space of instability, excess, and social breakdown, which poses a threat to the metropolitan areas (2001: 309).

The borderlands are depicted as violent and unpredictable, or at least always a  potential danger; they are the source of many of the problems seen to plague global security, including drug trafficking, terrorism, refugee flows, and corrupt/weak/rogue states.

Accordingly, the point of international intervention is to tame and manage instability. In this scenario, poverty, corruption, and refugee flows are to be feared much more than alleviated. Development and humanitarianism are seen not as problems of reducing inequality or protecting the most vulnerable, but as technologies of security, which function ‘to contain and manage underdevelopment’s destabilizing effects’ (Duffield 2007: ix, 24).

The practical outcome of this new humanitarianism is a significant shift away from respecting national sovereignty and towards external intervention in the Third World: it means neglecting international law, or obeying the ‘higher’ moral law of humanitarianism, under the guise of the ‘responsibility to protect’ (cf. Mamdani 2009: 274; Watson 2011: 5). In other words, new humanitarianism has increasingly become neoimperialism, allowing the West to ‘transform conflicts, decrease violence and set the stage for liberal development’ (Duffield et al. 2001: 269). Not just a Third World country’s foreign policy, but now also its domestic economic or human rights situation is seen as a credible threat (Duffield 2001: 311), recalling colonialism’s ‘civilizing mission’ to eradicate ‘barbaric’ Third World cultural practices such as widow-burning or infanticide. More often than not, the form of external intervention is military, that is, armed intervention parading as humanitarian rescue mission. The post- 9/11 War on Terror has only escalated this trend, enabling the possibility of ‘unending war’ to secure the borderlands (e.g. Iraq, Afghanistan) (Duffield 2007: 131). Illustrative of unending war is the following list, compiled by Watson (2011: 4), enumerating the countries for which humanitarianism has been used to justify military intervention in recent years: Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Angola, Mozambique, Kosovo, East Timor, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Zaire, Sudan, Côte d’Ivoire, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

NGOs are firmly enmeshed in this security–humanitarian network. For the past two decades particularly, the private–public linkages between Western states, UN agencies, private firms, militaries, and NGOs has grown. In fact, as Duffield puts it, the securitization of development/humanitarianism ‘has been of central importance for legitimising the growing involvement of non-state actors’ (2001: 312; cf. Watson 2011: 3–4). And NGOs have become not just accomplices in this network, but key players. Mamdani goes so far as to argue that the new humanitarianism is the ‘twin of the War on Terror’ (2009: 274), with groups such as Save Darfur as pivotal facilitators. NGOs have pushed for and capitalized on the vast resources directed at emergency and security operations around the globe. Many such operations (e.g. in Afghanistan, Haiti, Bosnia) have been ambitious and well coordinated, with relief agencies working alongside military or peacekeeping campaigns.

 

Above: Res Publica (Avaaz) calling for a Darfur intervention and criminal indictment. August 3, 2004 screenshot: “Only one thing will stop the killing in Sudan: an immediate international intervention” … “Click here to sign a petition calling for humanitarian intervention Darfur” [WKOG screenshot]

 

The imperative to ‘act’ and to ‘act now’ is central to these NGO campaigns.

To be sure, beginning mainly in the post-World War II era, organizations such as Oxfam, ActionAid, and MSF were created to respond to global crises, ranging from armed conflicts and epidemics to ‘natural’ or man-made disasters. Whether we are talking about the 1949 Palestinian refugee situation, the 1967 Nigerian civil war, the 1984–85 Ethiopian famine, or the more recent 2005 Pakistan earthquake, emergencies have become an opportunity for humanitarian NGOs to function and even expand. Indeed, they have been able to justify and aggrandize themselves based on what Duffield refers to as a ‘permanent emergency regime’ (2007: 25, 47–49, 219). All of them rely on a ‘threaturgency narrative’ to ‘legitimize their functions’ (Watson 2011: 9); it is this narrative that allows them to identify and categorize the disaster (e.g. as an impending famine or a pressing refugee crisis), as well as publicly highlight the humanitarian duty to save lives or assist ‘populations in distress’, as MSF puts it (http://www.msf.org).

One of the most poignant recent examples of the construction of emergency discourse is that of the Save Darfur Coalition, especially during the 2004–7 period. The Coalition relied on highly charged rhetoric to issue its emergency call for international intervention. The first move, as Mamdani underlines (2009: 64–65), was to categorize the conflict in the Darfur region as racially motivated: the government-armed ‘Arab Janjaweed militia’ were reportedly perpetrating violence against ‘black-skinned non-Arabs’. Such stereotyping became pervasive in Western public discourse and was often repeated by the mainstream press, including The Washington Post (Mamdani 2009: 64; cf. Hassan 2010: 98). Mamdani notes (2009: 6) that this ethnicized/racialized framing has its origins in the colonial tradition of racializing the peoples of Sudan for political purposes (i.e. as a divide and rule strategy); it is a framing that, in the contemporary global conjuncture, only served to reinforce the discourse of the War on Terror, demonizing Islam and Arabs, and pressing for immediate counter-terrorist action.

Above: Res Publica (Avaaz) March 8, 2005 screenshot: “Sign a petition below … over 18,000 signatories in the last week!” [WKOG screenshot]

 

The Coalition’s second discursive move was to characterize the Darfur situation as ‘genocide’ (despite evidence to the contrary, as we shall see below). It is the deployment of this culturally and politically charged term that, almost single-handedly, brought together such a large and diverse range of US-based organizations that made up the Coalition (see above), while catching the attention of the media and politicians alike (cf. Save Darfur Coalition 2011). After Save Darfur’s ‘genocide alert’ in 2004, events quickly gathered pace: a student-led divestment campaign was organized, a large Save Darfur Rally To Stop Genocide was held in Washington, DC, and an impassioned plea (by George Clooney) was made to the UN Security Council for international intervention. In 2007, the rhetoric was ratcheted up. The Coalition criticized China for its strong support of the Sudanese government, with a campaign that included taking out full-page advertisements in The New York Times and Mia Farrow denouncing the upcoming Beijing Olympics as the ‘Genocide Olympics’.

The overall effect of this emergency discourse was to exercise tremendous pressure on political leaders in the US and around the world. Secretary of State Colin Powell testified in front of the Senate Relations Committee that genocide was being committed in Darfur. The US Congress agreed, pushing for political and economic sanctions for Sudan. Meanwhile, the UN Security Council referred the Darfur case to the International Criminal Court, sent UN peacekeeping troops to Sudan, and following China’s change of position on the Council in the face of public pressure, established a larger joint UN–African Union peacekeeping mission, with financial support from the US Congress (cf. Flint and de Waal 2008: 181, 280; Haeri 2008: 35–37).

One of the most troubling features of this NGO emergency discourse is its tendency towards militarization and war. The imperative to act ‘now’ tends to provide added impetus and rationale for militarized intervention. We are familiar with NGOs providing relief work in war zones, in which they must sometimes coordinate with warring factions to deliver aid programs. We are also familiar with the use of army troops in non-military crises such as the Asian Tsunami in 2004 or Hurricane Katrina in 2005 (to keep law and order, or help NGOs distribute food aid). Increasingly, as Watson argues, ‘states and the international community have institutionalized a militarized response through the establishment of specialized military entities such as the United States Foreign Disaster Assistance or the Canadian Disaster Assistance Response Team’ (2011: 9).

But what is relatively new and noteworthy is the call by humanitarian NGOs for military intervention – a phenomenon described by the paradoxical concept, ‘humanitarian war’. It is a concept that, as Vanessa Pupavec notes, NGOs themselves helped legitimate, especially through their demands for military intervention in the Balkans during the 1990s (2006: 263). Thus, MSF appealed for military action in Bosnia in the mid-1990s, while Save the Children lobbied Western governments for armed intervention in Kosovo in the late 1990s (Pupavec 2006: 255). Since that time, several other similar calls have been made. Of particular note are Oxfam’s demand, in relation to the Darfur situation, for a broader interpretation of the UN Charter on the principle of non-interference to include intervention, and Save Darfur’s outright plea for a no-fly zone and Western military action. In fact, ‘Out of Iraq and Into Darfur’ became a common Save Darfur slogan. Pupavec points out, in this regard, that NGOs were quick to criticize the failure to obtain UN Security Council authorization for military intervention in Iraq, but were only too willing to ignore such authorization when they demanded military  ntervention in Kosovo and Darfur (2006: 266).

Above: Res Publica (Avaaz): “SUCCESS!! – Humanitarian Intervention in Darfur” … “SUCCESS!! – International Criminal Court to Prosecute Architects of Genocide in Darfur” [February 10, 2006 screenshot]

 

If rhetorical demands for action raise the stakes, resulting in the militarization of the new humanitarianism, so do media demands for spectacle. The mediatization of NGO emergency work – that is, the drive not just to act now, but also to be seen to be acting now – adds greater urgency. NGOs may well be responding to save lives, but they are also playing to the global media and public. MSF’s témoignage (witnessing) after all, is about witnessing not just on behalf of disaster victims, but also for the media/public. This recalls our earlier arguments about the entertainmentization of humanitarianism – the pressures to create ‘megaspectacles’, to satisfy seemingly insatiable appetites for suffering, death, and disaster. The militarization of emergency work only supplies further fuel to this fire, aiding and abetting the spectacularization of violence and war. In this regard, Henry Giroux contends that we are witnessing a new phase in the society of the spectacle, that of the ‘spectacle of terrorism’ (2006: 26).

According to him, a ‘visual culture of shock and awe has emerged’, which celebrates violence in the form of night bombing raids, hostage takings, and beheadings, or the destruction of public buildings (2006: 21, 24).

The pressure to create spectacle, then, means that spectacular NGOs are not simply observers or objective relays in delivering humanitarian aid; they are full-fledged actors, identifying emergencies and constructing them for public consumption (cf. Keenan 2002: 5). Add militarization to this mix, and you move from the imperative to act now and be seen to be acting now, to an imperative to be seen to be acting now, militarily if needs be (or preferably?).

The systemic and symbolic violence of spectacular NGOs

Three friends are having a drink at the bar. The first one says, ‘A horrible thing  happened to me. At my travel agency, I wanted to say “A ticket to Pittsburgh!” and I said “A ticket to Pissburgh!”’ The second one replies, ‘That’s nothing. At breakfast, I wanted to say to my partner “Could you pass the sugar, honey?” and what I said was “You dirty fool, you ruined my life!”’ The third one concludes, ‘Wait till you hear what happened to me. After gathering the courage all night, I decided to say to my spouse at breakfast exactly what you said to yours, and I ended up saying “Could you pass me the sugar, honey?”’

(adapted from Žižek 2004b: 61)

Often, the most traumatic situations are not necessarily the outwardly perceptible ones (i.e. the gaffes of the first and second interlocutors in the joke), but the less obvious ones (i.e. the repressed content in the outward politeness of the third). As Paul Taylor suggests, telling are the moments ‘in which nothing of substance is said… in that non-utterance resides all manner of psychologically destructive forces’ (2010: 93).

And so it is with spectacular (humanitarian) NGOs: it is most often in these organizations’ non-utterances that ideological violence is to be found. The spectacle of NGO humanitarianism is revealing not simply for what it shows, but more importantly for the violence it often ignores, takes for granted, or disavows. Žižek distinguishes two types of violence: (i) ‘subjective violence’, which is directly visible and identifiable (e.g. emaciated babies, physical destruction in the wake of a hurricane); and (ii) ‘objective violence’, which is less immediately perceptible (2008a: 1–2). Objective violence is itself made up of ‘systemic violence’, which refers to our often slow yet steady social oppressions  (e.g. gender exclusion, wage discrimination, the daily grind of alienating work), and ‘symbolic violence’, the violence inherent in our systems of representation (e.g. the way in which an image of a starving child can hide as much as it reveals). The crucial point for Žižek is that objective violence is what is required for the ‘normal’ functioning of our social and economic systems. In other words, systemic and symbolic violence is the background against which subjective violence happens: objective violence ‘may be invisible, but it has to be taken into account if one is to make sense of what otherwise seem to be “irrational” explosions of subjective violence’ (Žižek 2008a: 2). Accordingly, I’d like to highlight the systemic and symbolic violence of humanitarian NGOs, violence which serves as backdrop to their spectacle.

The systemic violence of humanitarian NGOs stems, at least in part, from the very nature of their work – short-term emergency operations that attempt to rescue people from immediate danger, but make no attempt to address the broader or underlying causes of such danger. As MSF’s James Orbinsky readily admits, MSF action ‘takes place in the short term’ with limited objectives in the wake of a crisis, ‘but does not itself attempt to solve the crisis’ (2000: 10). The problem is that such an approach is premised on what was earlier denoted as a ‘permanent emergency regime’: rather than working themselves out of a job, NGOs depend (and count) on more and more crises.

They have every interest in global neoliberal capitalism’s continued production of emergencies, which enables and legitimizes their spectacular humanitarianism. In this sense, the NGO-ization of humanitarianism (and development) may have less to do with finding effective solutions to problems than a way of keeping the humanitarian business in business.

True, some humanitarian NGOs do carry out broader ‘development’ programming, alongside their short-term relief and advocacy work. For example, MSF organizes a campaign to make cheaper generic drugs more readily available to Third World countries (cf. http://www.msfaccess.org), and Oxfam runs a host of projects in gender equality, health, and education around the world (cf. Oxfam UK 2011). But as pointed out in Chapters 1 and 2, most of these initiatives are depoliticized; they steer clear of, say, anti-capitalist/anti-racist critique, or unionization of workers (or women), in favour of tamer and nonthreatening areas such as mainstream human/gender rights and education. As Issa Shivji contends, in Sub-Saharan Africa issues of equality and equity are banished to the ‘realm of rights, not development’; that is, rights are a question of NGO ‘advocacy’, ‘not a terrain of people’s struggle’ (2006: 35). Moreover, many NGO development projects (e.g. job training, micro-credit) are ultimately an attempt at integrating subaltern groups into global capital; as James Petras puts it (1999: 432), they help corner ‘a new segment of the poor’ (e.g. young people, marginalized women, landless farmers, the urban poor), binding them to market entrepreneurialism. The result once again is a reaffirmation of the status quo, whose systemic violence is the basis for humanitarianism. And so the cycle continues … (I am not, of course, suggesting that humanitarian advocacy/relief and development should not happen, or that people must not be assisted in disasters; the problem is the significant institutional interests in people’s ongoing suffering or dispossession, and the enormous investments made in addressing the symptoms rather than the cure.)

This myopic and status quo approach is integral to the symbolic politics of humanitarian NGOs, too. The spectacularization of their relief and advocacy work is notable for what it includes as much as what it excludes. There is, first, the tendency (underlined earlier) to ‘sell’ stories and images that are visually and sound-byte friendly. Spectacles involving celebrities, poverty-stricken people, crying   mothers/children, gun-toting soldiers, or war-ravaged landscapes tend to be given priority. Most often, the resulting sensationalized images/stories are serialized and repeated to achieve maximum public and media spread and exposure. As one NGO media person puts it, ‘the misery of the victims of famine, flood, war, and plague must be underlined, perhaps even exaggerated, if [the organization] is to attract sufficient public attention’ (quoted in DeChaine 2002: 361). In this regard, MSF has been criticized for its sensationalized stories, causing some to pejoratively characterize the organization’s press officers as ‘catastrophe babes’, ‘whose motives are said to be driven more by the market than by the crises’ (DeChaine 2002: 360). Such tendencies  illustrate well the symbolic violence noted above, fetishizing and commodifying the outwardly visible (i.e. ‘subjective violence’) in the service of the society of the spectacle.

More often than not, the stories and commodity-images produced by NGOs resort to classic hero narratives, in which the NGO-as-hero/celebrity overcomes adversity (obstacles, enemies, crises) to save hapless victims. All the characters are clearly identifiable: the saviour-heroes are the aid workers, human rights advocates, and volunteer doctors/nurses; the enemies/adversaries are ‘natural’ disasters, or corrupt and authoritarian governments/leaders (e.g. the Janjaweed militia and President Al-Bashir, in the case of the Save Darfur narrative); and the victims are women, children, and dispossessed communities. Robert DeChaine states, for instance, that MSF’s credibility as a humanitarian agency hinges at least in part on ‘its ability to establish a perception of its volunteers as courageous, ideologically pure, morally committed agents of change. They are saviors, champions of the voiceless, who knowingly and willfully face the morally unrighteous enemies of humanity’ (2002: 362).

The creation of victims is key, and the humanitarian spectacle manages to never run out of them. Debrix argues that what transnational humanitarian NGOs such as MSF create when they intervene across state boundaries are ‘spaces of victimhood’, both spatial and symbolic: ‘Under the guise of reaching “victims” the world over, MSF constructs new spaces – humanitarian zones – inside which individuals in distress are identified as “victims”, are sorted out, and become recognisable as generalised examples of human drama’ (1998: 827).  The establishment of refugee camps, famine sanctuaries, and the like, are meant to clearly demarcate these spaces, so that the victims can be triaged, categorized, treated, managed.

The people shepherded into these zones tend to be constructed as passive beneficiaries. Rarely do they have a voice; most often, it is the NGOs that speak and ‘witness’ for them. In the Darfur debacle, for example, there was a notable absence of any articulate Sudanese or indeed Darfurian voices; as Salah Hassan points out, the discourse was dominated by ‘Western celebrity activists, aid workers, and other self-appointed experts and spokespersons, thus reconfiguring the “white man’s burden” in a significant way’ (2010: 97). Faced with such persistent victimization, it should hardly be surprising that NGO saviourheroes have sometimes been received by disaster ‘victims’ with hostility rather than thanks, as in the case, for example, of Somalia in 1992 or Iraq after the 2003 invasion (Watson 2011: 14).

Kate Manzo (2008) underlines how often humanitarian NGOs resort to the use of child iconography (usually close-ups of single children’s faces). Think of the 1960s ‘Biafra child’, the 1980s ‘Ethiopia child’, or the current-day Plan/World Vision/Save the Children poster child. Child imagery has become the face and brand of NGO humanitarianism (cf. Chapter 1). Here too, the child tends to be depicted as victim, with children’s commodity-images deployed to evoke innocence, dependence, suffering (Manzo 2008: 636). Frequently, the child is meant to stand for the Third World, crying out to be helped and saved.  Such paternalism only reproduces colonial tropes of infantalization of the colonies to rationalize Europe’s ‘civilizing mission’.

The production of these black-and-white stories and images, with plainly identifiable heroes, adversaries, and victims, makes for the ideal humanitarian morality tale. Drama and sensationalism permit clear and simplified messaging, enabling the audience to take sides, claim moral indignation at the situation, and feel good about its support for NGO humanitarianism. Mamdani likens this to a kind of pornography, which in the case of Save Darfur yielded a highly moral movement that appealed to people’s self-righteousness rather than political analysis (2009: 56–57; cf. Flint and de Waal 2008; DeChaine 2002: 358–59). Moral campaigns tend towards depoliticization, opting (as we have seen) for short-term, managerial, and emergency/militarized solutions. Pupavec contends that moral advocacy avoids ‘the stresses and  responsibilities of implementing assistance programmes on the ground … In other words, advocacy can in some cases represent a disingenuous flight from responsibility for social problems, rather than deeper engagement with them’ (2006: 266).

The problem with the moral spectacle is precisely that it is less concerned with analysis and understanding than with taking sides and issuing calls to action. Manichean tales simplify, mystify, and ignore the often highly complex politics of emergencies. The focus on the outwardly visible and the spectacular, on special effects and sound-bytes, avoids layered, substantive, and mediaunfriendly investigation. Sensationalized media reports tend to decontextualize and homogenize, telling the story for its universal message, not its specific content: thus, for instance, earthquake ‘victims’ stand as ‘global victims’, so that the disaster ‘is made into the general condition of humankind’ (Debrix 1998: 841, 843). Media/NGO stories tend to linger on the photogenic, privileging physical destruction. In the case of the 2004 Asian Tsunami, Watson finds that the disaster was presented in the media as ‘natural’, ‘unpreventable’, ‘indiscriminate’, or ‘random’, when in fact the physical destruction and human suffering had as much to do with human activity and social systems (e.g. use of poor building materials, especially in poorer neighbourhoods): ‘the physical evidence is used to tell a particular story – one that, in essence, speaks for itself in a way that is de-historical and de-political’ (2011: 14–15).

 

Above image from the Avaaz website: “Libya No-Fly Zone: As Libyan government jets drop bombs on the civilian population, the UN Security Council will decide in 48 hours whether to impose a no-fly zone to keep Qaddafi’s warplanes on the ground.” [Emphasis in original]

 

What is left out of the NGO/media stories are the un-photogenic details, the ‘boring’ particulars of the daily grind of people’s lives, the recurring patterns of alienation or marginalization. Historical knowledge is a no-no: ‘spectacular time’ militates against ‘historical time’, because the former must organize information ‘through the media as dramatic events that are quickly displaced and forgotten’ (Stevenson 2010: 162). When there is interest in details, the media usually home in on the personal (i.e. issues of identity, individual tragedy, etc.) or the gory (i.e. violence), rather than broader politics. In the 2004 Asian Tsunami, Watson finds that the media tended to fetishize human-interest stories (e.g. personal and family tragedies), devoid of any social or political context, and to sometimes suggest that ‘victims’ were responsible for their own plight (2011: 14). Moreover, all tsunami ‘victims’ were treated the same, ignoring the fact that local residents and Western tourists were differently impacted, and that local women and children, in particular, were the worst affected: the ‘human-tragedy component served to tie all the human victims together: Westerners and locally affected populations … [thus obliterating] the different sources of vulnerability for the two groups’ (Watson 2011: 14–15). Similarly, in the Hurricane Katrina crisis, Tierney et al. (2006) find that the media focused almost exclusively on issues of looting, poverty, and racial tensions, and had almost nothing to say about recurring state cuts for infrastructure and social services in the worst affected, low-lying, and mainly poor black neighbourhoods. Concentrating on ‘secondary malfunctions’ and ‘subjective violence’ – poverty, crime, corruption, individual trauma – as opposed to the ‘objective violence’ of, say, inequality and broader political economy, is a recurring ideological strategy that we have observed before. ‘Under the guise of exposing global trauma and injustice in spectacular detail, genuine consideration of the key political and economic causes is displaced’ (Taylor 2010: 131).

 

Such tendencies to ignore key details or broader contexts are integral to the types of photos or films produced by NGOs. Invariably, these are either largescale images (i.e. aerial or wide-angle shots) of landscapes and neighbourhoods, or close-ups of individuals and faces. This toggling between the bird’s eye view and the shrunk/miniaturized view, as Jim Igoe argues,

allows for the simultaneous presentation of problems that are so large they demand the attention of the whole of humanity, while identifying specific groups of people who are their perpetrators … Missing from these presentations are the complex and messy connections and relationships that are invisible in both the open-ended vastness of spectacular [landscapes] and the compelling specificity of prosperous villagers. (2010: 382)

It is not just the broader contexts of emergencies that spectacular humanitarianism ignores; it is also that some emergencies tend to be neglected altogether. During the Asian Tsunami, for example, the Western press focused almost exclusively on known tourist locations across the region, overlooking the devastation in ‘lesser-known countries and localities’ (Cottle and Nolan 2007: 879). The other, more telling recent example here is the Congo, where over four million people have died over the last decade, but which has received little attention from the press. Žižek writes in this regard that:

The Congo today has effectively re-emerged as a Conradian ‘heart of darkness’. No one dares to confront it head on. The death of a West Bank Palestinian child, not to mention an Israeli or American, is mediatically worth thousands of times more than the death of a nameless Congolese. (2008a: 3; cf. Mamdani 2009: 63)

The various manifestations of symbolic and systemic violence outlined above are revealing of the ideology of spectacular NGOs. For what is ideology, in the Žižekian sense that we mean it, other than the production of spectacular images and smooth spaces (i.e. humanitarian zones) to cover up the Real (broader political economy, long-term political alternatives, Western complicity)? The glossy photos and sensational headlines help create pure, untarnished, and moral humanitarian fantasies to be commodified and sold. The smooth spaces (refugee camps, etc.) help manufacture artificial humanitarian sanctuaries where ‘victims’ are categorized, controlled, and ultimately served up as advertisements for the likes of MSF, Save Darfur, or Save the Children (cf. Debrix 1998). The NGO/media spectacle helps to unify and stabilize reality, disavowing anything that disturbs the humanitarian dream-fantasy, is discomforting to the public, or threatens the neoliberal global order. Outwardly visible, subjective violence may well be shown, or even fetishized, but that it is symptomatic of a dirty underside, a broader underlying objective violence, is glossed over.

Of course, spectacular NGOs hide behind their faux objectivity and nonpartisan humanitarianism to repudiate any accusations of political ideology. Yet, as we have seen, their very presentation of reality through their stories and images is already an ideological construction of it (cf. Taylor 2010: 83). They create (the public view of ) emergencies and disasters in advance, so that ‘reality’ and the audience’s perception of it are one and the same (cf. Žižek 1994b: 15). Thus, Debord writes, ‘For what is communicated are orders: and with perfect harmony, those who give them are also those who tell us what they think of them’ (1990: 6).

 

[Ilan Kapoor is a Professor of Critical Development Studies at the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University. He teaches in the area of global development and environmental politics, and his research focuses on postcolonial theory and politics, participatory development and democracy, and more recently, ideology critique. He is the author of The Postcolonial Politics of Development (Routledge 2008), and more recently, Celebrity Humanitarianism: The Ideology of Global Charity (Routledge 2013). He is currently writing a book on psychoanalysis and development.”]

+++

 

WATCH: The Ideology of Celebrity Humanitarianism

 

Kapuscinski Development Lecture

May 12, 2015

UNHCR Special Envoy actor Angelina Jolie takes part in a news conference at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, January 31, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman

 

“Celebrity charity work is deeply tainted and ideological. Its altruistic pretensions are belied by several accompaniments: its tendency to promote both the celebrity’s brand and the image of the ‘caring’ (Western) nation; its entrenchment in a marketing and promotion machine that helps advance corporate capitalism and rationalizes the very global inequality it seeks to redress; its support to a ‘postdemocratic’ liberal political system that is outwardly democratic and populist, yet, for all intents and purposes, conducted by unaccountable elites; and its use and abuse of the ‘Third World’, making Africa, in particular, a background for First World hero-worship and a dumping ground for humanitarian ideals and fantasies. But what about our own complicity in this ideological work? As audience members and fans, or indeed even as detractors or critics, we too easily carry on our lives, consoled that someone is doing the charity work for us, just as long as we don’t have to.” [Source: Kapuscinski]

Excerpt from “The production and Construction of Celebrity Advocacy in International Development
by Dan Brockington:

“Within British development ngos there has been a questioning of the values promoted by relying on celebrity. Within the academe there is a flourishing body of criticism of the role of celebrity in recreating and reproducing hegemonic capitalist inequality. Kapoor adopts the most radical position, arguing that celebrity is part of the forces which create and produce inequality, and that celebrities might in fact be ‘sadists’ delighting in their position at the top of the pyramid. He further suggests that the only way out of this dilemma is through a Marxist revolution and that following conventional means of tackling poverty (such as supporting ngos) is no solution – it is better to do nothing.”

 

 

[Ilan Kapoor is a Professor of Critical Development Studies at the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University. He teaches in the area of global development and environmental politics, and his research focuses on postcolonial theory and politics, participatory development and democracy, and more recently, ideology critique. He is the author of The Postcolonial Politics of Development (Routledge 2008), and more recently, Celebrity Humanitarianism: The Ideology of Global Charity (Routledge 2013). He is currently writing a book on psychoanalysis and development.”]

 

March for Eight Billion Lives: An Interview with Riva Enteen

 

An Interview with Riva Enteen

March 28, 2018

by Ann Garrison 

March for Eight Billion Lives: An Interview with Riva Enteen
 
“Of course we support the cause of protecting lives, but there is an exceptionalism to believing it only applies to American lives and especially white lives.”

Organizers of the upcoming Women’s March on the Pentagon are calling on the Democratic Party-sponsored Women’s March and March for Our Lives to expand their message to include the eight billion lives on the planet, all of which are imperiled by US weapons and wars. I spoke to Riva Enteen, a former National Lawyers Guild Program Director and a member of the steering committee for the October Women’s March on the Pentagon.

Ann Garrison: Riva, how would you like to see the March for Our Lives message expanded?

Riva Enteen: We must expand the message in two ways. First, we must acknowledge that US wars and domestic gun violence are intertwined. Our military budget is obscene, and the majority of Democrats voted with Republicans to give both Trump and the Pentagon more money than they asked for this year. Three Republican Senators joined the five Democratic Senators who voted against the $700 billion 2018 military budget. This has normalized carrying and using guns, which now include military-grade weapons on our streets. ?

“Gun control should begin at the Pentagon.”

Secondly, we have to be concerned with all lives, from Florida’s Stoneman Douglas High School to Yemen. The US military is by far the largest arms dealer in the world, and it’s common knowledge that much of its weaponry ends up with those that our government calls “terrorists” and claims to be fighting. The US calls the terrorists it arms “rebels,” as in Syria, or “friends and allies,” as in Israel and Saudi Arabia. Gun control should begin at the Pentagon.

The endless “War on Terror” emerged after 9-11, which became the excuse for war as a constant, not an aberration. Until we rein in the US’s determination to exert hegemony over the whole world, we will continue to see blood spilled here while, at the same time, our missiles rain down on innocents in the name of specious “humanitarian intervention” and stopping terrorism. There is an irony to the US invoking the term “humanitarian intervention,” as it publicly abandons and scorns international law, bombing civilians and even hospitals.

AG: I counted ninety geographically distinct manifestations of the Democratic Party promoting their participation in the March for Our Lives, and all the march and voter registration logos and banners were blue. Your thoughts on that?

RE: The Democratic Party contained the message and excluded the call for peace, just as they did with the two Women’s Marches. It is counter-intuitive that a women’s march and a students’ march wouldn’t talk about peace, with the US at war in at least seven countries and no end in sight. But the Democrats, who promoted the Women’s Marches and the March for Our Lives, are a pro-war party. Peace is not on their agenda. War is a bi-partisan policy because, according to Wall Street, war is good for business, and that’s who controls our government.

At the beginning of his second term, after the December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Obama said that he would address gun control and sounded convincing. A year earlier, in 2011 he had bragged, “In fact, my administration has not curtailed the rights of gun owners—it has expanded them, including allowing people to carry their guns in national parks and wildlife refuges.”

“It is counter-intuitive that a women’s march and a students’ march wouldn’t talk about peace, with the US at war in at least seven countries and no end in sight.”

Attempts to limit the size of gun magazines, expand background checks of gun buyers, and ban gun sales to buyers on terrorism watch lists all failed to pass under Obama, when he had a Democratic House and Senate, from January 2009 to January 2013, and when he had a Democratic Senate, from January 2013 to January 2017.

Stand-your-ground laws, which George Zimmerman successfully used in his defense for killing unarmed Trayvon Martin, have expanded to more states, even though Obama lamented that if he had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.

AG: The March for Our Lives and the Women’s Marches have enormous corporate and celebrity support as well as the Democratic Party’s. They’re able to hire all kinds of staff to work full time on networking and turning out their huge crowds. Can you imagine getting any of that kind of support for the October Women’s March on the Pentagon?

RE: Of course we imagine getting support from all peace-loving people. Unfortunately, most corporations benefit from war so they would not support the cause of peace. We do believe there are celebrities who will step up to the plate and do the right thing, because the stakes are so high. This march commemorates the 1967 March on the Pentagon, which included celebrities such as Norman Mailer getting arrested.

AG: The Pentagon now admittedly has more money than it can figure out how to spend, so its surplus weapons go to militarize the police who are most aggressive in Black and Brown neighborhoods. Anything you’d like to say about that?

RE: Military grade weapons have no place in domestic neighborhoods, not in the hands of police officers, veterans with PTSD, or civilians. People from other countries are shocked at what we allow on our streets. The normalization of killing includes domestic massacres perpetrated with these military-grade weapons.

As to police killings in Black and Brown neighborhoods, it remains open season, just as it did under Obama, even when Black Lives Matter was at its strongest. I guess we can hope a precedent was set by South Carolina cop Michael Slager’s second degree murder conviction for shooting Walter Scott— an unarmed Black man—in the back.

AG: Some March for Our Lives supporters are likely to get defensive and ask whether you’re refusing to support their cause. What would you say to them?

RE: Of course we support the cause of protecting lives, but there is an exceptionalism to believing it only applies to American lives and especially white lives. In a promotional video that Democracy Now played repeatedly during their broadcast of the Washington, DC March for Our Lives, former US soldiers said that they’d learned how to put assault rifles to good purpose in US wars, but didn’t want them aimed at US citizens.

Isn’t it time to stop aiming those guns—and our missiles, fighter jets, and drones—at the rest of the world? My mother was a member of Women Strike for Peace, founded in 1961 with the slogan “Stop the Arms Race, Not the Human Race,” and that has never been more true.

Women, the givers of life, are confronting the Pentagon in Washington, DC, October 20-21. We hope that all peace-loving people will consider this a chance to make a stand for peace. There will be local antiwar actions springing up, as they did during Occupy, so keep your ear to the ground, and watch for updates on our website and our Facebook page .

 

[Riva Enteen is a former Program Director of the National Lawyer’s Guild, and a current member of the steering committee for the Women’s March on the Pentagon, who lives in South Lake Tahoe. She was also chair of the first KPFA Local Station Board. She can be reached at rivaenteen@gmail.com .]

[Ann Garrison is an independent journalist living in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2014, she received the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for her reporting on conflict in the African Great Lakes Region. She can be reached at @AnnGarrison or ann@kpfa.org .]

LISTEN: Colonialism and Gender Today

kpfa.org

March 27, 2018

Against the Grain

 

 

Can we understand gender relations in today’s neoliberal world without understanding colonialism? As Raka Ray points out, colonialism put in place new understandings about gender and gender relations, many of which continue to affect how people in countries like India think and interact and are governed. Colonialism and its legacies have also influenced how feminists in the Global South and their counterparts in the Global North view and treat each other.

 

 

Looking Down That Deep Hole: Parasitic Intersectionality and Toxic Afro-Pessimism, Part 2

Black Agenda Report

February 1, 2018

By Bruce Dixon

 

This week we take a longer look down the deep hole that is the most popular flavor of intersectionality.

When I took a swipe at intersectionality last week, declaring that it was a hole, that afro-pessimism was a shovel and it was high time to stop digging, some friends and comrades were displeased. As far as they were concerned, questioning intersectionality amounted to a frontal attack on the place of women in the struggle against capital, patriarchy, white supremacy and empire, utterly inconsistent with my own politics and that of Black Agenda Report. I also threw some rocks at afro-pessimism, which I labeled the nappy headed step child of intersectionality, to the disappointment of its defenders, some of them friends and comrades too. Additionally neither group admits to understanding why I lumped them together, so I’m taking this opportunity to clarify both critiques and what joins them.“The second intersectionality according to Smith, is rooted in post-structuralism which categorically rejects socialism and class analysis…”

Intersectionality is a termed coined by California law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989 in her attempt to convince her fellow officers of the court to refine anti-discrimination law by incorporating the recognition of multiple overlapping oppressions into anti-discrimination law. While the term hasn’t made much headway the last three decades in the arguments of lawyers or the decisions of judges, it’s become a pervasive buzzword with multiple meanings in the realms of politics and the nonprofit industrial complex.

Nowadays, and perhaps from the start, as Sharon Smith explains in an indispensable August 2017 Socialist Worker article titled “A Marxist Case for Intersectionality ,” there are two separate, distinct and mutually incompatible intersectionalities. The first, she says is firmly in the camp of the real left, those who oppose and aim to overthrow capitalism, patriarchy, white supremacy and empire – not two or three out of four but all four. This tradition, which puts intersectionality in the context of class analysis and class struggle goes back at least to Claudia Jones in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, and the Cohambee River Collective in the 1970s, although neither of these ever heard or uttered the word “intersectional.” The second intersectionality according to Smith, is rooted in post-structuralism which categorically rejects socialism and class analysis, and either downgrades the importance of class struggle at most to something coequal in importance with ageism, ableism and speciesism. With no anchor in class struggle, and emphasizing the oppressed experience of individuals and non-class groups this kind of intersectionalism acts to perpetuate the division of the US left and wannabe left into squabbling constituency groups vying for attention, funding and acknowledgement of whose cause is the most righteous. With neither the means nor the inclination to contend for power, this intersectionalist emphasis on individual experience and deeds has given rise to atrocities like callout culture .

Unfortunately this second version of intersectionality is nearly hegemonic among self defined radicals and even liberals in the academy. Since it’s vigorously promoted by sectors of corporate media and the funders of the nonprofit industrial complex , it’s likely to remain so for the forseeable future. Worse still, since class conscious and class oriented formations neither dominate or even figure prominently in the US left, the class struggle intersectionalists are seriously handicapped at playing the game they say they want to play. Add top this the fact that some left feminists doggedly insist on using the same name for themselves as the anti-socialist, anti-class struggle intersectionalists who have a far broader reach and bigger microphones, and we have what can only be described as a hot mess.

“…the term intersectionality has become a kind of brood parasite. It mimics just enough of left feminist rhetoric to deceive the unwary…”

Zoologists identify about a hundred species of birds they call brood parasites . A brood parasite lays its egg in the nest of a host species, and it counts on fooling the host mom into hatching, feeding and raising the hostile alien offspring. Evolution has engineered the parasite chick to out-eat, out-compete or simply butcher its nest mates. The parasite chicks often grow bigger than both parents put together while still being fed in the nest. In the context of the real left, the community of those aiming to overthrow capital, patriarchy, white supremacy and empire – not two or three out of four but all four, the term intersectionality has become a kind of brood parasite. It mimics just enough of left feminist rhetoric and branding to deceive the unwary and ensnare many bright, serious and sincere leftists into defending and promoting its fundamentally hostile project.

Melissa Harris-Perry was lauded as a leading intersectionlist at the same time she aggressively defended the government’s right to intercept and record every email, text message, phone call and electronic brain fart on the planet and store them for future inspection. Democracy Now, which has given more air time to intersectionality than perhaps anybody refused to cover the lynching and ethnic cleansing of black Libyans during Obama’s 2012 war on that unhappy country even though they had a correspondent on the ground. To this day DemocracyNow dependably spouts US propaganda justifying Obama’s and Trump’s war on Syria. Angela Davis gets credit for being a leading proponent of intersectionality too, even though like hordes of other intersectionalists, she lost her mindover Barack Obama. All these people are examples of intersectionalists, with bigger audiences and far more visibility than left feminists are likely to achieve any time soon. When bona fide left feminists defend the word intersectionality and call themselves intersectional they confuse the lazy, the naive or unwary, they surrender their own credibility to the anti-socialist intersectionalists, and they provide protective cover to the eggs of these brood parasites. It doesn’t have to work that way.

In the natural world brood parasites have been around for millions of years, long enough for hosts to evolve defenses against them. Birds defensively mark their eggs and their chicks to distinguish them from hostile parasites. Sometimes they stand watch to sound the alarm at the presence of intruders and strange eggs, and more. These are lessons left feminists might do well to emulate. You defeat a brood parasite not by adopting its name, but by making it easier, not harder to distinguish the parasite from the real thing. Real left feminists will never get as many professorships, grants, media outlets and TED Talks as the anti-socialist intersectionalists. They invented the term anyway, for their own reasons not yours. Get over it. The real left can’t get intersectionality back and there was never a time when they had exclusive possession of it anyhow. Claudia Jones and the Cohambee comrades made themselves perfectly well understood without it.

There’s no shortage of sharp, erudite left feminists who can if they want, come up with some new terminology that will allow ordinary people to distinguish between the anti-socialist intersectionalist project and authentic left feminism without a six paragraph discourse on postmoderism and post-structuralism. We cannot wait on natural selection to take care of this for us. At the risk of being that cis het guy who offers unsolicited advice to woman comrades, I respectfully suggest this is something that needs to happen real soon.

“Like the dominant version of intersectionality afro-pessimism is pretty explicitly anti-socialist and anti-class struggle…”

I said last week that afro pessimism was a stepchild of intersectionality. Like the dominant version of intersectionality afro-pessimism is pretty explicitly anti-socialist and anti-class struggle. It’s about centering (the woke intersectional word for putting something first and last and ignoring all else) the totality of anti-blackness, the permanent war against black bodies, black aspirations, black lives, black livelihoods and black dreams. Sounds a lot like Ta-Nehisi Coates. Like intersectionality afro-pessimism is not a theory. Like intersectionality, it only describes and does not explain. Like the prevailing flavor of intersectionality, it enjoys considerable support in the academy and mimics enough “woke” rhetoric to deceive the unwary into imagining afro-pessimism is some new kind of emancipatory project, that it prescribes or informs solutions and strategies to tackle real world stuff, even though its foremost proponent Frank Wilderson says it does not.

The only instance where afro pessimism seems to have anything prescriptive to say about how struggle ought to be conducted in the real world is afro-pessisms’s consistent disparagement of the possibility of achieving anything in coalition with anybody who ain’t black. It’s never worked before, the afro-pessimists say, trotting out a long historical list of times and places white “allies” turned tail and defected from the cause of their black compatriots. But since in just about every instance neither the fickle white allies nor the black formations in question were class-based, class oriented or led by the working class it’s hard to see how things could have turned out differently. It’s a problem the Green Party, which I’m part of, has to this day. If the state, the media and the so-called economy are contraptions a particular class uses to rule the rest of us, how do you contend for power when you don’t have a class analysis, or even recognize the importance of class? Nobody can be a dependable ally, a steady rock on either side of an alliance contending for power without a class analysis and an understanding of how power is exercised.

Clearly, the afro-pessimist injunction against working with non-blacks is a prescription for impotence. People of African descent are 13% of the US population. Slavery didn’t end until the political moment when a plurality of white people sided with blacks to end it. Reconstruction folded only when that plurality was shrunken, disarmed and shattered. Jim Crow also ended at the political moment that a plurality of whites took the same side as blacks to kill it. But afro-pessimists, even the ones who talk about reparations, rule coalitions off the table period exclamation point. How they plan to achieve that without cultivating and working with non-black political partners is anybody’s guess. But I misspoke– Afro-pessimists do not plan. They engage, they propose, they put on a show making the point that nobody is or ever was as oppressed as they are, all in the same self-involved spirit of post structuralist intersectionality. Their shtick isn’t even unique; there’s a queer pessimist discourse that sounds a lot like Frank Wilderson or Ta-Nehisi Coates on whatever drug is the opposite of speed.

Tellingly there was no queer pessimism in the early 1980s, when gay men (and even greater numbers of straight black women) were dying like flies from then untreatable HIV-AIDS. People were too busy fighting for their lives then, just as our own ancestors in the 1950s, the 40s, and prior decades had no time for anything like afro-pessimism when Africans in America could be lynched with impunity and Jim Crow was an everyday reality. Queer pessimism only emerged after drug therapies enabled people to live decades with HIV-AIDS. Similarly afro-pessimism only surfaced after enough black faces got comfy spots in the academy.

A few years ago a young comrade in school somewhere told me his professor was insisting that Europeans colonized Africa and maybe the Americas too not because they wanted land, slaves, gold and empire, but because they feared and/or envied the sexual potency of all those outa control black bodies. After I stopped laughing, I assured my young friend this was errant nonsense and I didn’t think about it any more. Now I know this is part of a concept Jared Sexton and Frank Wilderson and other afro-pessimist academics call, presumably with straight faces, “libidinal economy .”

Ta Nehisi Coates has fashioned a lucrative and prestigious career out of that stuff, although I doubt he would call himself an afro-pessimist. Nice work if you can get it. I really believe the afro-pessimist shtick is about one-upping Coates. It’s working well for him, maybe it will work for them too.

 

Listen to the podcast on This is Hell!: : https://soundcloud.com/this-is-hell/989brucedixon

 

[Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and co-chair of the GA Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon(at)georgiagreenparty.org. He has to be reminded to answer Twitter messages @brucedixon, but he’s getting better at it.]

SlutWalk Toronto & Vancouver Dyke March Announce Official Partnership with Sex Trade Lobby

Feminist Current

August 1 2017

By Meghan Murphy

 

“It is concerning that two events aimed primarily at women (that purport a connection to feminism) have partnered with lobby groups promoting prostitution as an empowered choice.”

 

Image: Facebook/Maggie’s: Toronto Sex Workers Action Project

 

 

Two Canadian events, supposedly feminist in nature, have announced they will be partnering with the sex trade lobby. SlutWalk Toronto, which held its first march in April 2011 after police officer Michael Sanguinetti told students that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized,” will be holding their seventh annual march on August 12th. In an email, march organizers announced that they planned to center “sex worker rights” this year and, as such, were partnering with Maggie’s: Toronto Sex Workers Action Project, a lobby group that advocates to fully decriminalize brothels and the purchase of sex.

From early on, SlutWalk has expressed a capitalist, libertarian approach to the sex trade that refused to criticize its misogynist and racist foundation, instead presenting prostitution as gender neutral, empowering for women, and “a job like any other.” But to explicitly partner with an organization that exists primarily to promote sex work as work, to the point that they endorse “youth sex work” and have argued that consent laws harm prostituted children, takes this pro-prostitution position to another level.

In their 2011 “Youth at Work” issue, Shameless magazine published an article by Phoenix Anne McKee, who was working with Maggie’s Toronto to create a guide for “youth sex workers.” She positioned child prostitution as a viable “choice” and argued that men who buy sex from exploited children should be decriminalized, writing, “age of consent laws pose a risk to the safety of youth aged 14 and 15 who decide to engage in sex work.” McKee, who was prostituted at the age of 14, also argued that the sex trade “helped [her] out in [her] life.” She points to Maggie’s as the organization that helped her understand that prostitution is not a bad thing, but an empowering thing.

Considering SlutWalk has particular appeal to young women, it is extremely concerning that this upcoming march is partnering with an organization that promotes prostitution as an empowered choice, not just for women, but for girls.

Beyond this, Maggie’s has worked to silence and smear feminists who criticize the sex trade. In 2015, the organization launched a petition to have me fired and no-platformed, due in large part to my writing (published then at rabble.ca, a Canadian progressive online magazine) in opposition to the sex trade. The petition authors made numerous libelous statements about my words and my work, labeling me as “racist,” a “bigot,” “transmisogynistic,” and “whorephobic.” While, ultimately, I was not fired from my job, the petition and willingness of this organization to publish lies about and work to silence women who make feminist arguments against objectification and male violence against women further cemented their anti-feminist and anti-democratic politics.

On July 29th, the Vancouver Dyke March, an annual event that works toward “greater visibility, pride, and community engagement for queer women and their allies” announced that the Grand Marshal for the 14th Annual Vancouver Dyke March was Sex Workers United Against Violence (SWUAV).

Like Maggie’s, SWUAV is a lobby group that advocates for the full decriminalization of pimps, johns, and brothel-owners. In 2007, the non-profit group filed a constitutional challenge to Canada’s prostitution laws, and has worked with Pivot since then to fight for the decriminalization of johns.

In 2014, SWUAV and Pivot co-published a report called, “Criminalization of Clients: Reproducing Vulnerabilities for Violence and Poor Health among Street-Based Sex Workers in Canada,” which argued against the “criminalization and policing of sex buyers.” In 2016, SWUAV and Pivot partnered with Maggie’s, as well as a number of other pro-sex industry lobby groups, on a submission to the UN Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which argued it was the criminalization of johns — not the men themselves — that endangered prostituted women. The submission presents prostitution as a source of “economic empowerment” for women and attacks Canada’s new, hard fought for feminist legislation (the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, also known as Bill C-36), which decriminalized prostituted people and criminalized exploitative men, demanding the new laws be repealed. Shockingly, the submission also goes to great lengths to downplay trafficking, saying there is “little evidence of trafficking in Canada,” that numbers are exaggerated, reports sensationalized, and that trafficking is not a pressing problem in Canada, despite numerous reports showing otherwise. Indeed, there is ample evidence connecting the trafficking of Asian women to “massage parlours” across Canada; and Indigenous girls and women, in particular, are trafficked within Canada’s borders. Yet the submission states, “In the vast majority of situations, Indigenous women do sex work independently and voluntarily.”

To imply that marginalized women and girls are voluntarily choosing prostitution of their own free will, that it empowers them, and that men should not be held accountable for exploiting these women and girls is deeply unethical. To deny the problem of trafficking in order to advocate towards the full decriminalization of prostitution, when it is common knowledge that trafficking increases in countries that legalize prostitution, is similarly unconscionable. Both Maggie’s and SWUAV have shown themselves to be working in the interests of capitalism, white supremacy, and patriarchy in their efforts to normalize and expand the sex trade. They have also demonstrated opposition to feminists and women’s rights. That two events purporting to center women and women’s empowerment have officially partnered with such demonstrably unethical and anti-feminist groups is deeply troubling.

 

[MEGHAN MURPHY IS A FREELANCE WRITER/JOURNALIST AND FOUNDER/EDITOR OF FEMINIST CURRENT. SHE HAS BEEN PODCASTING AND WRITING ABOUT FEMINISM SINCE 2010 AND HAS PUBLISHED WORK IN NUMEROUS NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL PUBLICATIONS, INCLUDING NEW STATESMAN, VICE, AL JAZEERA, THE GLOBE AND MAIL, I-D, TRUTHDIG, AND MORE. MEGHAN COMPLETED A MASTERS DEGREE IN THE DEPARTMENT OF GENDER, SEXUALITY AND WOMEN’S STUDIES AT SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY IN 2012 AND LIVES IN VANCOUVER, B.C. WITH HER DOG.]

This Reconciliation is for the Colonizer

Indigenous Motherhood

June 13, 2017

By Andrea Landry

 

“Indigenous based child-rearing in today’s generation resides in watching the restoration of unfaltering kinship in our Indigenous family systems unfold and allowing that to reside in the raising of our children with the knowing of who they are, and where they come from, wildly and unapologetically.”

 

Artwork by: Votan Henriquez 

 

This reconciliation is for the colonizer.

This settler-colonial reconciliation branded by the government is artificially sweetened with handshake photo-ops and small pockets of money buying out silence on real issues.

The fad and conversation of reconciliation that our people are playing a role in is immobilizing “leadership” and converting indigenous peoples into colonially operated marionettes.

This type of reconciliation is a distraction.

Instead of being idle no more, we are “reconciling some more” with present day Indian act agents whose hands are choking out our voices for land, water, and our children’s minds.

This type of reconciliation is for the ones who want to be “friends” with the Indians for land commodification reasoning, for the ones who whisper the words “im sorry” as they watched the priests and nuns rape our children, for the ones who shut their eyes and turned away when genocide was bleeding into their forts, for the ones who defy Treaty daily- without remorse, and it’s for the ones who beat you, apologize, and beat your daughter and their daughters in the coming years.

This type of reconciliation is for the professors at universities who are pro-Trudeau and believe “decolonizing” universities looks like mandatory Indigenous studies classes yet those very same professors still belittle, marginalize, and see themselves better than, smarter than, and superior to every indigenous student in their classes, shaming them for their brown skin and indigenous minds.

This type of reconciliation is for the professionals in work-spaces who want to aid in repairing the settler-Indigenous relationship in their work places but when an Indigenous women brings her children into that space because her sitter didn’t show up that morning, the mother will be told that her children need to leave because they’re laughter doesn’t line up with colonial workplace standards.

This type of reconciliation helps elderly white woman carry their groceries to their vehicle, but later follows a single indigenous woman with 3 children in the store, aisle after aisle, under the suspicion that she will shoplift.

This type of reconciliation will have dollars for moccasin making and small “cultural” events, but those accounts will be “out of money” the moment those events begin to engage in conversations and action around indigenous liberation, sovereignty, and nationhood.

This type of reconciliation sponsors powwows through companies like Potash and Shell, hoping the 1000 first place special will buy out a few hundred acres of indigenous land more easily.

This type of reconciliation claims residential schools are over but maintains a superior and oppressive power dynamic between settler adults and indigenous children at its own convenience.

This type of reconciliation declares “no foul play” to the bodies of young indigenous youth found in the riverbanks in this country’s most racist cities but later claims they celebrate the lives of indigenous peoples.

This type of reconciliation organizes a national inquiry for missing and murdered indigenous women but neglects to do any actual work by configuring the timeframe to benefit the colonizer and showing that bringing justice to murdered indigenous women is something that can go on summer vacation.

This type of reconciliation invents a “new nation to nation relationship” and teaches our people that the only way we can access our treaty rights is if we have a status card, completely negating from the truth that we, as indigenous peoples, do not need a new “nation to nation relationship,” as ours is with the crown “as long as the sun shines, grass grows, and water flows,” and those status cards have nothing to do with our treaty rights.

This type of reconciliation was born by the colonizer’s TRC and will die on the very same shelves as those documents in the halls and walls of colonial buildings. For their benefit.

This type of reconciliation claims they are not racist but makes degrading comments about the braids on your sons and the skin of your daughters in public spaces.

This type of reconciliation will say it wants to bring justice to our women but is raping the very land our mothers were birthed on for generations.

This type of reconciliation will say there are no funds for following through with Jordan’s principle, none for the lack of clean drinking water in communities, zero for decreasing the price of food in northern communities, and nothing for the mouldy housing and schools that indigenous children must learn in everyday, but will spend half a billion dollars on Canada 150 – a birthday party founded and based upon genocide.

This type of reconciliation claims to “love” indigenous peoples but expects your indigenous child to sing “oh Canada” in their classroom every morning, standing up.

This type of reconciliation is “making space” for indigenous peoples in writing and editorials but later compiles money together to create an appropriation prize.

This type of reconciliation is “putting an end” to indigenous young people killing themselves but only provides enough money for communities to bring in guest speakers and concerts rather than full time therapists equipped with all the tools needed to aid young people in full-blown crisis.

This type of reconciliation “seeks” to decrease the numbers of indigenous peoples in the criminal justice system but will place a young indigenous male in solitary confinement for 4 years for no real reason other than being an Indian in “Canada.”

This type of reconciliation wants to build better relationships with indigenous peoples but is building better ways to commit treason, genocide, colonization, and prejudice with nice hair and a smile of lies.

This reconciliation is for the colonizers.

This is a time of pseudo-reconciliation for continued colonization.

This reconciliation is colonization, disguised with dollar signs and white-skinned handshakes.

This reconciliation is not our reconciliation.

Because.

The only reconciliation that exists for us, as Indigenous nations, is the reconciliation we need to find within ourselves and our communities, for agreeing and complying to this madness for so long.

The only reconciliation that exists for us, is the reconciliation needed to forgive our families, our loved ones, for acting like the colonizer.

The only reconciliation we need. Is a reconciliation that doesn’t involve white skinned handshakes and five dollar handouts for our lands.

The only reconciliation we need is indigenous reconciliation. Free of money. Handshakes. Photo-ops. Inquiries with summer vacations. The continued rape of our women, our girls, our lands, and our babies. Highway of tears and roadways of fears. The continued murder of our women, our girls, our lands, and our babies. Free of shaming our boys out for being indigenous boys with indigenous hair. Free of shaming our girls for being indigenous girls with indigenous skin. Free of support for the colonizer’s version of indigenous “culture,” yet no support money for liberation. Free of supremacy. Trickery. Fake it til you make it syndrome. Indian agents. Sir John A Macdonald governments disguised as Trudeau. Colonial chiefs. Free of the continued manipulation, colonization, degradation, and humiliation of Indigenous people. Free of colonially written documents claiming to “save” us, viewing us always, as victims. Free of the lyrics of Oh Canada for breakfast for our children.

Instead of us living in times of reconciliation, we are living in times of recolonization.

And it will only happen if we allow it.

This reconciliation is for the colonizer. And we need to leave this conversation.

We need to reconcile with ourselves. With our families. With our nations.

For our babies.

Because I want our children to to learn about our own liberation, rather than the colonizer’s reconciliation.

And I want our children to know that
Indigenous liberation will always overthrow colonial reconciliation.

Because having our homelands is more important to me than a photo-op and handshake with government officials named Trudeau.

 

[Andrea Landry is Anishinaabe from Pawgwasheeng (Pays Plat First Nation) but currently resides on Treaty Six territory in Poundmaker Cree Nation. She holds a Masters in Communications and Social Justice from the University of Windsor. Full bio.]

HOW U2’S 2017 JOSHUA TREE TOUR ACCLIMATES AMERICAN THEOCRATIC FASCISM

HOW U2’S 2017 JOSHUA TREE TOUR ACCLIMATES AMERICAN THEOCRATIC FASCISM

#U2TheJoshuaTreeTour2017 Tampa

The Raydiant Labyrinth

November 1 2017

This essay is intended to deal with two elements: it delineates the political agenda of the latest U2 tour, and highlights that there are socio-religious roots introduced in conjunction with that political agenda, which actually present the doctrinal basis for theocratic fascism in the United States as “good”, -and both of these elements are absorbed by the sum audience as “good”. This geopolitical juggernaut was not only put forth to “entertain” the US buying public, but introduced abroad.
Here is Frank Zappa discussing what he viewed to be the greatest existential danger to the United States, -“theocratic fascism”. I’d like to offer this distinction: what Zappa is describing, -when theocratic doctrine becomes legally codified for a nation as its version of morality, is not theocratic fascism. That is the first and most fundamental signifier of a functioning theocracy. Theocratic fascism is when theocratic ideology integrates itself so fully into the prevailing culture (mainly by way of its leadership) that it begins implementing itself in foreign and domestic policy through that leadership, with the domestic public acculturated enough to its tenets and dictates that they are either unconcerned or full believers themselves. The way to innoculate the public is through culture. Below is a more extended clip of the exchange with Frank Zappa that led to this quote:

And now, onto our essay.

Part I: I Never Saw a U2 Tour That I Didn’t Like

Maybe I should have been happy to see U2 do #Canada150 (our 150th birthday). -Nope. And by “do”, I mean the pejorative.

“I like the PR implications of the framing of this performance for impact domestically in Canada even less than I like its intended framework of effect as per the US audience. ONE was a wee bit too deliberate a song selection and this whole intro in that context was tooled as a PR gift to our PM personally to help him domestically, in the light of sanctioning a certain pipeline [and then some] and tacitly supporting military presence to force its construction if need be. We do know how U2’s ONE/RED billionaire sponsors do loathe their indigenous pipeline protests against their investments. It was called #NoDAPL. #askU2 #U2 TheJoshuaTreeTour 2017” – Pamela Williams

Blame it on the Rain“ Bono’s gifted intro to our PM and our country (which was more of a calculated gift to our PM than it was to our country), that was turned into an American political football in the same light, purely in terms of a contrast in leadership (given Bono’s disturbing depiction of Trump the entire #U2TheJoshuaTreeTour2017 for “Exit” every night) is to be found here, segueing at 0:45. That in its own right might not be too much of a problem. But this is #Canada150, -right? And Bono calculated it for all of this effect, in light of his equally calculated effect with the present tour. Given the population ratio, you might say he calculated it for its partisan effect on his American audience by a proportionate population ratio of about 10 to 1. Sounds about right. And its calculated effect domestically? -That I have a bigger problem with. We’re getting the exact same tour in Canada that Americans are getting in the USA, btw, so the calculated effect was equally intended on both sides of the border.

-That’s right folks. U2 and Co. took their partisan-ly political US framed tour cross border complete with all its ode to Americana (with the expected cornucopia of American neuroses), and performed it in full as if it were fully applicable and appreciable to a Canadian audience. Makes perfect sense now. Even the PR inbuilt into #Canada150 was informed by this lexicon and designed to play and convey to both audiences of the paying faithful cross-border. And, -that’s right folks. This is U2?s present current notion of creating an international show based on universal appeal, basically proselytizing America to the world. The Pentagon (or military brass Bono is now thanking live in concert for attending and for their service abroad) must be absolutely jizzing themselves. This is where U2 have ended up to commemorate their 30 years.

I have pulled out the aspects of U2’s #U2TheJoshuaTreeTour2017 that play into the aspects of the Canada150 performance and put them here as a summary dealing solely with that (for the repeat intro I apologise in advance). -Seeing U2 “do” #Canada150 was leavened by the fact that I just saw what they do for the USA every day by seeing them in Tampa. On the scale of patriotic patronage, if you will, this diminishes Bono’s and Edge’s personal effort by appearing in this one-off to commemorate a different country in orders of magnitude of hundreds to one. Having seen the tour in the US, and being aware that it’s being performed this same way in Canada due to the screen montage always being the same, as well as the general formula, (though Bono’s personal touches and twists do doll up the entire thing as an American homage from start to finish when performed in the States), greatly alters your perspective.

This got its start as a comment on U2’s #Canada150 appearance that got waaay out of hand, as it really became all about what it was like to witness them in Tampa. Despite all this negative analysis that I’ll put down to political (and some religious) awareness (I’m in no way remiss to possess), let me state outright that despite having this aspect of awareness, I still really did enjoy the show throughout, and not even this could sink it for me. There’s just no way on earth I would have paid for it. -And then reality began to sink in. To quote the comment:

“So, first flavor of FB censorship is that in viewing this, all negative comments on U2 have been filtered out. I can’t see them for this reason. Bono is a major, invitation only Facebook investor. Facebook’s working overtime for him.

I may appreciate that they showed up and did this, but then I have seen #U2TheJoshuaTree2017 despite boycotting it, (as in friend of a friend got gifted), which throws it into a very different form of relief. -Having seen them perform this tour in the USA is enlightening, semi-automatic machine guns on law enforcement aside. Basically the entire concert is one giant PR BJ for the USA.”

“Sunday Bloody Sunday” which began existence about The Troubles now commemorates the blowback (shout-out for Manchester, London (and Kabul) @3:15)  from Obama and Hillary’s excellent Libyan adventure, but utterly disassociated from the adventure, solidarity evacuated of all culpability. Thus are our military war crimes expiated as opener, the sole lens being that of shared victimhood.

Unsurprisingly, “One Tree Hill” was dedicated to the Orlando Pulse Night Club massacre, again, without any attendant context of how that transpired. –You don’t say.

A Syrian refugee infant washed to shore on the Mediterranean in ‘Pride” (@1:11) who represented hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of refugees, was equally rendered a non sequitur. U2, having so offended the nation that would vote for Trump and having been so offensive as to tell them to vote for the losing side, turn “Pride”, the ode to civil disobedience, MLK’s martyrdom and the Civil Rights movement, into a bread sop bipartisan embrace of the American right and left (sacrificed to polarization to divide a nation election 2016) starting at 2:30, going on to exhort the audience that the Dream (MLK’s, or the American one that executed him?) -is still alive and kicking. [Stuff like this makes me wonder if he might even possibly be right, doubly so as this take-back of the flag will have to be bipartisan.]

U2 have bent over backwards to create a non-stop homage to all things America to woo all those sensitive snowflake consumers back post election, seeing as it was the first time ever they took a side during an election. (‘Pride” opens with “all come, to look for America” ), -can’t upset the money cart. It covers every banality and subverts the band’s spirituality to make it an unadulterated homage to the American golden calf (which they’re actually proselytizing in Canada itself as well as every country).

Above: U2 concert montage featuring Morleigh Steinberg

-The above (hyperlinked) video for the song “Trip Through Your Wires” doesn’t give you this implication sufficiently so let me explain. This song was Bono’s first foray into the notion of a feminine Holy Spirit, but it was nascent rather than articulate at the time; -he delineated this with subsequent releases (proven in my book from public record, –namely the songs themselves). Instead of an open spirituality for this song what we have is an entire big screen video montage dedicated to Edge’s wife Morleigh alternating between her American flag bikini and painting the American flag to provide an object as per the song’s lyrics, -thus the spiritual rescuer is personified not as something Godly/spiritual redemption, but rather, -the band’s rescuer is portrayed as being America in the feminine.

[This is not trying to imply the song wasn’t originally broad enough in its intention that this doesn’t work. It has a scope; like arriving at a rung up or down on a ladder it can go anywhere on, and the idea was merely potential at the time. The Divine Feminine did not become part of this song’s possible scope until Bono indeed wrote songs that were incontrovertibly referencing a feminine Holy Spirit, based on how he cross referenced the Bible to do it. He arrived not at an angel or devil in the end, but the Holy Spirit Feminine, and said so.]

On the other hand there is a word for this type of staged formulation wherein the sacred is substituted for the non-sacred as object as the sum of performance art. It is called sacrilege, but the audience are far too infantilized to be aware of the nature of the merger, which I’m only asserting as being the case because this wasn’t about one song, but was vested by the concert’s entire content, as interspersed with the unending obeisance to America, Bono had the audacity to simultaneously claim that attending the concert was the same as going to Church (at 2:30). That’s only true if God is your object. The sum of the show in no way has God as object. It has America as its object. Basically the waters are so deliberately muddied there is no difference to be had at this point, which is the essence of the problem. In the Old Testament, the substitution of any object in the place of God as an object of veneration or worship is idolatry, and God put it in the top 10 commandments of sins not to commit.

“In God’s Country” is deftly turned into a personification of the United States with one line shift to “she thinks her only gift is gold” at 1:45. The elimination of ambiguity (or inverted shift, depending on your take) is the elimination of all meaning, except the one option to be taken in the literal, -and that’s a problem. God’s country is Heaven, -or God’s Creation, depending on your angle. The lyric shift deftly designates America as God’s country. This belief that America is uniquely God’s country on earth is rooted in its self conception going back to Plymouth; “Manifest Destiny” and American “exceptionalism” are founded on the assertion, which means the invocation is not something akin to asserting the nation as perhaps, uniquely Godly or virtuous, it is accessing a loaded interpretation with a vast body of thought and consequences that lie at the very root of the American psyche.

Americans generally have no clue “exceptionalism’s” present secular incarnation formed its roots in “one nation under God”. Exceptionalism first had to arrive at a religious justification for itself (that was the doctrine of “manifest destiny”). “As originally used in the US, Manifest Destiny was the idea that God had given the United States a mission to expand their territory throughout North America. Three basic ideas underlie the concept of manifest destiny. First is a belief in the righteousness and superiority of the Christian moral values and institutions of the United States. The second is a belief in the responsibility of the U.S. to spread these for the benefit of the world and to fulfill God’s wishes. The third is the faith that God has blessed the country to succeed and every success confirms that blessing. The term Manifest Destiny was revived in the 1890s as a justification for US international expansion.”

For Bono to invoke America as God’s country puts him squarely in the mindset of both the neocon (G. W. Bush -who resurrected manifest destiny, the religious brand of American exceptionalism to invade Iraq) and neoliberal camps of ideological thought (“Obama is likely the most strenuous advocate of American exceptionalism on the left today” (see review that has interview with the author of “American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion”, John Wilsey) and “city on a hill” Hillary). Note that this author has two views of American exceptionalism, with the theological version being the (euphemistic in the extreme) “closed” (dark, supremacist and dangerous) version, which, however lightly he’s treading, is what Bono is invoking. It’s so interesting what territory you have to range in order to be bipartisan in the USA. Both sides believe in American exceptionalism, the question is simply at what latitude. Witnessing the fruits, it appears the differentiation between “closed” (theological) exceptionalism and “open” (secular) exceptionalism are virtually indistinguishable in terms of foreign policy as bloodbath. And when Hillary on the campaign trail invoked American exceptionalism with “shining city on a hill”, it was the equivalent of a wet kiss campaign smack to the “closed” (theological) voter-ship, the true believers. (Bono flirts with the best.)

It has interesting roots: “manifest destiny” doctrine was a reference point for Hitler to formulate an existent justification for “Lebensraum”; -basically, if they can justify illegal land expropriation of other sovereign nations by claiming God destined the land for them and making the mandate essentially unlimited, then why on earth can’t we? (This was not the only ideological justification where the Nazis resorted to the USA as a templatethey also studied and sourced its race and immigration laws, as well as its reservation system in devising concentration camps.) Manifest Destiny was the ideological justification the United States used to genocidally cleanse the West. It went beyond, as it was quoted as justification for the annexation of the Phillipines (loverly -still cluelessly referenced as an outstanding figure in history), as well as to illegally annex Hawaii. It was used to threaten Canada more than once (“54:40 or Fight”), in the argument that the colony had no right to exist in the face of America’s Godly dispensation as the conquistador of democratic ideals for the entire North American continent. While fundamentalist, it is a uniquely American condition, and would by and large otherwise be regarded as (again) sacrilegious in any Protestant reformist movement’s antipathy to the material -apart from those migrating spawn of the Puritans who were, thanks to the evolution of manifest destiny doctrine from their unique “New Israel” Calvinism, more than prone to dispensationalism (and look where that got us).

Now what’s interesting is that the countermanding Old Testament refutations that repeal present day Zionism (which is sanctioned in Christian minds by the doctrine of dispensationalism, and such repeals in the Bible do likewise to Divine mandated American exceptionalism) lie primarily in the female testaments, particularly those of Rahab and Ruth (the above “look where that got us” link references both Rahab and Ruth for the Biblical doctrinal refutation of dispensationalism, but in addition in my refutation there’s Esther and other elements). Even within Zionism itself it is Biblically (Talmud) refuted, as in the manner in which Zionism may have God’s mandate to fulfill itself has been hotly contested, meaning “this country [Israel] is ours by God’s decree because we alone are God’s people” could have moral constraints in its attainment, -and by the argument the Rabbi is alluding to in the above link, -could only be obtained morally.

I’m speculating that perhaps the only nations fundamentalist enough to come up with an equivalent notion to America’s religious version of Manifest Destiny (if more virulently) might be the ISIS Caliphate, the present Jewish State, the Taliban, the Saudi monarchy (if it considers itself a Divine Monarchy) and Iranian theocracy. Hopefully now that I have laid out some of the US’s own doctrinal background and pointed out some of the other entities that presently hold this same brand of belief, -you can begin to register what is actually being accessed by Bono’s invocation of America as “God’s Country”, otherwise put as, just how perilously Bono is flirting when it comes to how he’s defined his ultimate object for this present tour. Present doctrinal implementations of “God’s nation”, namely American dispensationalist doctrine conferring this to Israel, is how you’ve arrived at unconditional support for a form of Zionism that attacks your First Amendment rights; obviously US support for Israel is geo-strategic, but that’s not the basis for the delusion feeding the religious aspect of Christian support, which tips US support. Not exactly good bedfellows to keep with this sort of domestic influence. As for their international influenceprepare to dig your own grave, make that sooner rather than later.

Why would it be considered healthy to unconsciously invoke this sort of underlying doctrine in performance art in the collective psyche of your receptive audience (you could not find a more passively receptive audience in terms of band trust), -when this is their historical (and present -as in NYT bestsellers make their bread and butter on this s***) -resonance? This allegation is made, of course, on the basis that we are dealing with a professing Christian believer, so the question is simply -in the context of this presentation, what sort of belief is he presenting? As you can see the answer has disturbing undertones. Ironically, the doctrine of dispensationalism was conceived by an Irishman, and so by and large were Sheela na Gigs. Bono seems to have a difficulty choosing between the two (pretending to proffer both), -when they are mutually exclusive. This I find even more disturbing about it.

While Bono and U2 made the whole set of #U2TheJoshuaTreeTour2017 climax in the third act on feminism and #herstory, and Bono introduced the tour by stating that we are dealing with the rise of universal feminine consciousness in all of humankind and thus the show is deliberately celebrating that (in this Rolling Stone interview), -his embrace of the notion of “God’s Country” as a nation that exists on earth is utterly in opposition to the feminist elements that appear in the Old Testament itself, whose existence in the Bible provide a direct antithesis to precisely this brand of fundamentalism. (I demonstrate how this exists under my above self-referenced hyperlink.) It’s like he’s literally betraying his own belief system right in front of you, -in the name of America. It’s like inverting the element of feminism found in the two monotheisms (Judaism and Christianity) to force it to embrace its very opposite (literally the opposite of what he himself is professing his combined belief system to be, if his feminism is at all grounded in Christianity) and substituting the Whore of Babylon, not as an removed object, but rather sold to the receptive audience as an internalized self-image that is utterly false. The idol/image exists in terms of themselves as a form of self-worship. Adoration of their false perception of their country is adoration of themselves in terms of their self-regard for what that country is, by the simple fact that their internal perception of their country simply has no bearing on reality.

In fact the show is providing a deliberate substitute for reality. As such, it is purely a figment of their own perception that receives their veneration, -a self created image designed to buttress the self in terms of providing them with a good perception of themselves. In this manner the object of veneration Bono and the band have designed for this tour is not external but interior and purely self serving, for what Bono presented them with as the subject of honour was not God, but America as “God’s Country”, -namely themselves. Moreover feminism in the Bible introduced the very opposite of the notion of any nation on earth asserting itself to be “God’s Country”. The Book of Esther introduced the very concept of secularism, the separation of Church and State, and Rahab introduced the elemental idea of individuals joining God’s people via faith as opposed to being designated by ethnic tribalism, -namely who they descended from or their nationality. The idea of “we and we alone are God’s nation on earth, and it is this earthly nation, and it gives us this dispensation” is of course the ultimate merger of Church and State.

I have one last additional point to make on this, and it is purely anecdotal. The only other place I have witnessed this deliberate muddying of arch-types in order foster a somewhat religious emotional attachment to nationhood (namely the deliberate cross over between Church, State (being by default the US in this instance), and Christ-like Hero mash-ups relayed in terms of Sacrifice (with a healthy dollop of Mother thrown in) is in present Hollywood movie incarnations I would frame as propaganda, and speculate are tooled if not by the Pentagon as such then definitely by someone else at the level of psy-ops. There’s no doubt the Pentagon tools Hollywood movies, and I would speculate heavily on many incarnations of Marvel (I’m referring here to a DC Comics movie), as Marvel script modifications are explicitly referenced in the promotion of this book, by authors that have documented the minutiae management of scripts and production on over 1800 Hollywood films by the Pentagon (not surprised at all).

Part II: Just What, Exactly, are you Hijacking Feminism For?

Wonder Woman is a hero only the military-industrial complex could create – Jonathon Cook

“Is it any surprise that in the Hollywood-Pentagon world of Wonder Woman, the values of a female superhero sound exactly like those of the military men who run the West’s wars?

Now roll on “Wonder Woman 2: Time to Intervene (Humanely).”

That DC Comics productions also provide a platform of this nature is getting obvious, -especially when it comes to co-opting feminism as a platform in presenting “humanitarian intervention“. This is exactly what just happened with Wonder Woman, and is what is being presented for this U2 Joshua Tree Tour, -as the climax of the entire show is the track “Ultraviolet” as a video montage to feminist figures (inaugurated by the #herstory hashtag which featured in Hillary Clinton’s campaign), and featuring Hillary ClintonMichelle Obama, Condoleezza Rice, Laura Bush and both her daughters, and Madeleine Albright (“the price is worth it” “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other“) as some of these leading lights, – not to mention the vicechair of (RED sponsor) Bank of America, Melinda Gates (from whom ONE and RED obtain the bulk of their sponsorship), and Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook on ONE’s Board of Directors). Then there’s (climate deaf) Oprah. Basically we’re dealing with the interspersal of neocon and neoliberal politburo figures and First Ladies (banging a war criminal makes you a leading feminist), all of whom exist in tacit sanction of the perpetual war time state under the premise of the “war on terror“, with actual feminists and female activists.

Maybe if I provide an even balder sample of “cred appropriation” al la feminism for Hillary, leading architect in the destruction of Libya, using the exact same concept, it will begin to dawn on you why this is a bad employ of art. (-As in it really is just a bald faced attempt at credibility appropriation, which just happens to serve very well as propaganda; if you don’t think art is utilized for such, you’re daft.) The use of all these leading feminists’ names to form a portrait of Hillary (the above “balder” hyperlink) subsumes these women’s entire legacy as feminists responsible for change as if it has culminated in one individual and they provide her source; they become nothing more than merely a device wholly suborned in service to her in terms of her image. This is especially laughable when you consider Hillary’s latest attempt to blame everyone and anyone over herself for her election loss was to state that her failure to obtain white women’s vote was their fault, in a manner that was deeply sexist. (It’s even more laughable as Hillary stated it was Sheryl Sandberg (one of Hillary’s election campaignenabling prospects for Treasury Secretary) who told her this was the cause; -basically calculus to get away with using sexism, by cred appropriating the author of “Lean In” feminism. (Sheryl couldn’t be sexist!) Sheryl, btw, doesn’t have a clue when Facebook’s advertising is illegally racist.) If you want to know why lauding the philanthropically connected as leading feminists is equally dubious, I’ve provided a decidedly unpleasant list as to why ONE/RED and the largesse they depend upon is deeply problematic (scroll down). Multiplying this concept as providing equivalency for multiple women (for an aggregate that tacitly sanction and/or promulgate the war on terror ideology, to boot), as well as having the audacity to promote members and financiers of your own lobby group/consumer activism charity in the same token (“Lean In” authorship does not a feminist activist/ theoretician who changed society make), in no way improves the situation. It’s the same cred appropriation, just more broadly applied, making the appropriation that much worse. It got decidedly sicker depending on what country you happen to inhabit.

Above: Chrystia Freeland and Mary Robinson (of the Richard Branson and Purpose B Team)  highlighted in U2 montage. Women who serve empire are interwoven with radical feminists in order to reframe what constitutes feminism. Venues such as this serve as unique functions for achieving conformity and acquiescence utilizing the psychology of crowds. #SoftPower

For “Ultraviolet” video montage performances in Canada, U2 featured Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who is responsible for these sorts of policies. Stepping up Canada’s defense spending by 70% was lauded as a personal coup for her and Defence Minister Harjit Sanjian, when it was a reflex genuflection to Trump’s public demand that NATO members up their military spending a week earlier. Incidentally this is the same woman who will helm our NAFTA renegotiation with the United States, so perhaps ass-kissing is just how you do business post reality TV presidency. NAFTA’s most fascist aspect is of course, already off the table. Not that this bothers her (nor do the specific resource issues to do with our water and oil that abrogate Canada’s sovereignty; namely the dangers of the proportionality clause Mexico was wise enough to reject, which destroys our energy sovereignty).

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, greets Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde during arrivals of G-7 leaders and Outreach guests at the G-7 summit at Schloss Elmau hotel near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, southern Germany, Monday, June 8, 2015. G-7 leaders, in a second and final day of the conference, were set to tackle the difficult issue of climate change and fighting terrorism. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)/VLM102/741893071685/1506081055

 

It is clear that the resounding silence by Canadian Jewry on her Nazi heritage is a tacit trade off for her unconditional support of Israel, as well as her active policy record mirroring their desires for the Middle East via Canada’s foreign policy, including her absurd public announcement with respects to the arms increase that Canada must make its foray into world stage “humanitarian interventionism”, due to the advent of “isolationist” Trump. Our Prime Minister has been rendered unable to differentiate when he’s using Nazi slogans to greet national leaders (Ukraine’s, so maybe he isn’t).

Chrystia Freeland visited Ukraine to attend the Euromaidan protests, speaking publicly there in March 2014. She continued her unremitting journalistic support for the Ukraine revolution, utterly immune to what happened in both the Maidan and Odessa. Her control of Canadian foreign policy emulates these consequences in terms of utter servility to American interests, to the point of selling out our country (while literally scare-mongering NAFTA negotiators with the historical preludes to WWII to coerce ratifying the deal). As for the results in the Ukraine, they are decidedly predictable.

-Half of Trudeau’s cabinet is women. This was U2’s #herstory political pick for Canada, the biggest militarist to ever hit the post. A better shoe horn to inaugurate Cold War II/WW III could not have been contemplated, and that’s due to her Nazi heritage. In light of the fact that Bono as Mac Phisto used to call Mussolini’s grand daughter while touring Italy (then a party member of the MRI), declaring “I’m back [as in the Devil’s back]”, in much the same vein of antagonism he was calling Bush Sr. at the White House every night in North America (1992/93), -you’ve come a long way, baby.

Jonathon Cook presents the segue way that when Wonder Woman was scripted, it was probably deliberately tooled to parallel and create additional feminist confluence and credo for that incumbent humanitarian interventionist, Hillary Clinton, for whom the presidency appeared assured. Such surety certainly put Trudeau adrift. Not only is the similitude between the ideologically platformed (propaganda scripted) “Wonder Woman” and U2’s set a little too close for comfort, the developments in Hollywood/Marvel/DC Comics show this attempted management of the public psyche via “art” is already a program. The question then becomes, why have U2 lent their entire artistic trajectory to the self-same program for this tour?

The difference between what looked like a DC Comics foray into sublimating arch-types, and Bono’s present foray is that with DC’s apparent effort these notions were being somewhat toyed with, while simultaneously cracking deep insecurities you might call population touch stones that make the audience susceptible and accessible. Bono, on the other hand, has been tooling this operation on America’s crowd-mind as high art for three decades, and has now presented them with their golden calf in full form, -themselves. DC Comics/Pentagon may have absolutely nothing on him but it likewise appeared on cue in almost perfect prep form. Like I said, they must be jizzing themselves. Hollywood’s comparative effort toying with such notions, (if it could be a considered notion, and I don’t know), is child’s play. Bono’s is a perfectly calibrated collective release that follows the redemptive/worship cycle without an iota of culpability, repentance, sacrifice or depth of faith. U2 accesses those collective insecurities about themselves on the plateau of national id at a level of somnolence that is practically unconscious, basing it on a completely false sense of honesty, substituting a panacea for the kind of relief you’re supposed to get from truthful introspection that jars you awake.

To make the point of just how complete this is, near the end of the concert in Tampa Bono pointedly thanked US military servicemen in attendance for their work and service abroad after broadcasting a Syrian refugee, -in the same week American white phosphorus was used on civilians in Raqqa  and civilian deaths due to US intervention there peakedThere’s US bases in a country where no war has been declared in violation of international law. When “humanitarion intervention” was first conceived and began its faulty legal tread, U2 were broadcasting live out of Sarajevo civilian’s eye-witness accounts of NATO bombing during their POP Tour. They were warned to cease in no uncertain terms, and complied. What a reversal in twenty years.

Above: “Jo Cox, an ambitious Labour MP who had fervently lobbied the U.K. Parliament for further British intervention in Syria” [source] highlighted in U2 montage.

Every use of the sublime and sentiment for #U2TheJoshuaTreeTour2017 was banality imbued by what should have been glaring hypocrisy, some were just more lethal than others. Bono claimed that hearing this Syrian refugee espouse America as “civilised”, as her wish of where to live, the American Dream, is some sort of velvet delivered “kick in the balls” for the American audience. So utterly kid gloves he made it completely disassociated by his obeisance to the American military in attendance in the same token, and completely defanged the framed intent of “Bullet the Blue Sky” with this offering to boot, which was presented as being about the militarization of the US population (again, America complete with all of its neuroses was proselytized in Canada, -as if this somehow is our thing or our shared introspection).

-Let’s take a tour tooled solely to and about America on the road and have other nations pay for the privilege of listening to an entire album as an ode to one country that’s completely overbearing on their existence regardless. I mean, it only attains a measure of relevance because America truly is this overbearing upon the world. And gains full tilt irony if not absurdity given U2 lauded Canada’s lockstep foreign minister, (the one who’s completely aping US foreign policy -reliably weighing in on Venezuela; with Canada now implementing sanctions against Venezuela at her behest) as their #herstory political figure for Canada, -with the additional audacity to label a proponent of a Ukrainian nationalist (neoNazitakeover of a democracy “feminist”. (Basically Trump is elected so even those Nazi military supporters have a way to look good, if not be praised for taking control, which they already have. You can condemn Nazism at home and attend their independence day celebration abroad, -and even arm themall in the same week, and no one even blinks. If you don’t think glorification of Nazism was a problem for Ukraine’s government, remember this vote. Yes, it is a problem for them, with national heroes like these. You’d also deserve to be served with the reminder that this s*** is not new, and has more than a little to do with the US being forced to bear Wall Street’sconsequences, which had the usual contrivance of domestic support. It is a salient point that the consequence brought about no correction.)

The support of Neo-Nazis in Ukraine is part of a longstanding relationship.” – Michel Chussodovsky

What is this celebration of independence if you have other people’s troops on your main square?” -apres le parade, the bases.

That Canada’s soldier’s are leading this parade in front of Mattis has a great deal to do with Chrystia Freeland. (US Secretary of Defence Mattis‘s military nick name as a general was “Mad Dog” for a reason (Fallujah war crimes). CIA contractingWaPo owning neoliberal plutocrats have no problem consorting with un-prosecuted war criminals promoted to Secretaries of Defence, effectively normalizing this precedent.) Her position in providing these troops has even more to do with the United States, as it was USA’s orchestration of the Ukrainian coup under the tenure of the Democrats that even puts a Nazi Ukrainian nationalist descendent in the universe of having a “useful” resume for attaining a Foreign Affairs post in a purported Liberal government (with no prior political or diplomatic experience whatsoever; she was a journalist with a stratospheric rise, winning a Liberal nomination in 2013, attaining a Ministerial post in 2015, assigned Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2017). As for Freeland’s adjunct’s counter threats as per Russian disinformation providing her background and the danger of ever airing such speciously sourced information (the obeisant press gave her a lot more than that), it pays to look at the source.

Again, the USA’s ability to leap off the lemming cliff into unreality rather than come to terms with what its own democratic process means about itself is unleashing untold damages across the diplomatic world, which includes, in this instance, a Foreign Affairs Minister with Nazi heritage getting blanket avoidance of any consideration or examination of how her past might be implementing itself through Canada’s present. US machinations abroad affect the entire world. The convenience of U2’s world tour as performance art as ode to the USA abroad at this moment, and that they’d consider it valid to publicly laud Chrystia Freeland as part of that package, cannot be understated, given the Obama/Clinton administration’s involvement in Ukraine. U2 are enabling rather than challenging. They arrived in Canada and tacitly implied we bow to these masters of the universe on foreign policy, -that this is not bowing, -that behaving in this manner on the world stage, surrendering your foreign policy dictates to a foreign power, accepting Nazi backgrounds into your cabinet who provide unconditional tactical support for regimes more virulently racist than the white supremacists who rallied in Charlottesville, is leading “feminism”. Chrystia Freeland represents unconditional support “for a [Ukraine] government that outlawed its country’s third largest political party and that has made it illegal to be critical of Nazi collaborator ‘nationalists’ in its past.”

The Story of Charlottesville was Written in the Blood of Ukraine” – Counterpunch

America’s Ukraine Hypocrisy” – Strategic Culture

Wonder what Omaima (U2’s big screened representative Syrian refugee) would have thought of all this? Bono thanking the US military for their participation while American white phosphorus rained down on Raqqa and over 500 civilians were killed by US forces there and in Mosul in the same period? Could there be a worse euphemism I can use, than “overbearing”? That’s Bono’s notion of a velvet touch that works like a kick in the balls, right there, her outright love of those delivering phosphorus and killing her people -rest assured not one audience member felt it, and it’s framed so they never would. They are viewing it through the optic of “humanitarian intervention”, -viewing her admiration as originating in her recognition they bring salvation via their military, and all introspection stops there. After all he thanked them himself while they were killing her countrymen.

U2 also big screened a token Native American (starts at 1:14). No mention, of course that their ONE/RED billionaire sponsors are majorly invested in the Dakota Access Pipeline and thus invested in the mass use of rubber bullets and tear gas on those Americans throughout 2016. #NoDAPL They certainly weren’t on the side of right with this one. Bear in mind Bono took the opportunity of #Canada150 to bald-facedly brand promote his lobbying organization, ONE, whose financial backbone is provided by these DAPL investors. That is the only purpose the song “One” now serves in being in the #U2TheJoshuaTreeTour2017 set, it’s there to provide a chance for Bono to segue this lobby organization. That connection was lost on no one who’s been watching the band, or indeed our Prime Minister. That was the reason for its choice, a calculated little piece of brand synergy bromance for the faithful.

Call it a win-win, between our PM wearing ONE t-shirts, -and Bono promoting him on the band’s Facebook page for responding financially to ONE. I suppose those with mutual interests in state suppression of pipeline protests bed well together, considering ONE’s financing and our PM’s position towards First Nations is to bring in the Canadian military to enforce pipelines for Texas multinationals shat out of Enron’s carcass (Kinder Morgan, whereas another of these offshootsis responsible for helping to bankrupt our public utility BC Hydro) if their construction is blockaded, -blockades that will be spear-headed by those who’ve inhabited Canada for tens of thousands of years. Welcome to #Canada150.

To have U2 open this “Native American” video montage with the feminine-ly and Revelation-ally loaded red moon as a symbol is just doubly insulting. It’s like a cue signal: we’re going to enter a “spiritual” interlude in this concert, and present you with American Native spirituality to signify our “deep moment” is inclusion and includes one-ness with the Earth; -when this is precisely the element subject to complete and total erasure with this tour. Native Americans “present” in apparent homage whilst U2’s ONE/RED sponsors were in actuality having them brutalized to force through their investment, the Dakota Access Pipeline, when the pipeline has been adjudicated as illegal, -a point I was very clear on (not that this stopped Trumptopia from counter-suing over it, claiming water protectors are terrorists). -I’m not claiming U2’s DAPL investor sponsors were direct orchestrators of this state violence  (nor the adjunct unleashing of the private “surveillance industrial complex“, using private mercenary security contractors outsourced from the occupation of Iraq); -they were merely silent investors who controlled even the #NoDAPL protest itself to protect their financial interest. Who finances your lobby group makes it performance art as lie perpetrating the lie to hide the bodies underneath it all. (U2 usedto know about those, and brought them to light. Now they hide them for their sponsors.)

Both the use of the Syrian refugee and this usage of a Native American are in fact performed inversions that perform no other exercise than to betray the truth in the collective minds of the audience by hiding it utterly, and giving them a feel good substitute in evasion of the existent barbarism being exacted upon these peoples in the name of “America”. America has no place for Native American spirituality invoking protection of an earthly place, they just exacted retribution for the sake of U2’s sponsor’s investments (investments RED and ONE in turn are dependent upon financially) to the tune of over 700 arrests, many of whom they kenneled like dogs, many of whom were injured (as well as being subject to hours of water jets in sub-zero temperatures), to terminate their resistance on this very notion, namely their integrated belief in the sacredness and health of their land and water. (Specifically this was the substance of the court case launched by the Yankton Sioux, that the pipeline’s implementation was a violation of their religion. Of course this was rejected by the court. The issues of endangerment to the tribes’ drinking water and lack of a environmental impact study did stand up in court.)

Having watched U2 fellate America with these bromides for ticket sales sort of blows any national commendation they might make, since they do this in such a spirit of flaming hypocrisy and their obeisance is inversely related, it appears, to the level of of the lie required.

U2 are doing patriotism for the money. Not only will they sell you your self image for the money it’ll make them (when it is this far divorced from reality and the performance is in fact tooled to divorce you this far from its realities, what you are in fact being sold is not patriotism, but your own self-image of patriotism), they’ll do it while utterly immunizing you to your real sins; -their trade on mutual idolatry apparently inversely commensurate to how much you manage to consume the world. And it costs their target market more than it would to purchase either a therapist or a hooker, whereas attending Church is free.

This is what U2 have deliberately reduced themselves to in the effort to maintain their target market, offering them their own brand of personal idolatry in exchange for payment. Idolatry is not an arcane concept in this light. Without it, how would we have arrived at conceptualization that gave us the distinction between love, and love of a false image? Would you recognize that what you’re being sold, and in fact directing your homage to, is your notion of what America means, as opposed to reality, which is the equivalent of having your own self-image, as it attaches and defines itself via your sense of patriotism, -sold to you? That this fake conscience wash is the sum of your purchase? -The worship of a false image is in the top ten commandments of worst sins to commit. In terms of the delusions and complacency being enabled in the minds of literally millions of people with this (deliberately) conflated performance art, this is not a small issue. In other words my perspective on what the commandment may have been meant for has to do with the psycho-social inferences I’d develop from witnessing this; -analysing it in terms of self identity and its manipulation.

U2’s stances are not principled, but rather a sanctioned neoliberal branding process of how many ego strokes they’ll provide -that are in turn a commensurate win-win for the band financially, if not philanthropically. They rewarded Trudeau handsomely with a politically loaded #Canada150 performance for handsomely stepping up Canada’s aid on ONE’s prompt, -and of his own volition, stepping up on Syrian refugees, -curiously a campaign promise he managed to keep. Canada just got officially endorsed for voting the “right” sort of identity politicking, militarist, pipeline/tar sands sanctioning neoliberal to the helm, –a public-private partnership idealogue (-a must), -who’s already inveighed he’ll arrest First Nations’ Chiefs if they dare to engage in civil disobedience against the Trans Mountain pipeline sought by a Texas based foreign multinational (that’s documented in Part IV), you know, the kind that gets a pass despite lying on every significant domestic election platform he ever made (you can scroll to the bottom of this page for a list). You know, the kind perfectly willing to be Trump’s b****. A bit of ONE PR surely helps on that count, -at least if you’re Liberal. So does the cover of the Rolling Stone, -and they’re using precisely the same juxtaposition Bono framed for Trudeau for #Canada150 in announcing “One” (the article, while appearing in the August issue, was actually published online June 26th, five days before #Canada150). -Just in case you remain skeptical that this messaging is being framed across media in concert when it comes to retention of neoliberal power.

Stop swooning over Justin Trudeau. The man is a disaster for the planet.” – Bill McKibben

Canada isn’t the sole target. The target is the EU, at precisely this moment, to gloss over the irreparable harm The United States is committing against their allies economically. The target is Macron’s France. (Astonishingly the exact same young neoliberals produce the exact same talking points to destroy western civil liberties that are the product of the sum of our entire history for the sake of nations who choose to define themselves by ethnic tribalism as grounds for brutality, occupation and indigenous displacement, and when their approval ratings are not so sound because they are utter failures as progressives (being the true neoliberals that they are), Bono is there, like magic.) Take a look at the timing of Bono’s visit with Macron with respects to the latest Russian sanctions ratified by Congress with the express neutering of the President, sanctions so severe for the energy sector they could easily be taken as grounds for war (nor were they appreciated by NATO allies -Germany announced they were illegal). The timing of U2’s “ode to America” Joshua Tree European tour, complete with schmoozing the “right” neoliberal heads of state (right when their popularity in the polls was at an all time low), was truly impeccable. Again, NATO/Pentagon could not have asked for a better US PR platform in light of their terrible destabilization of the EU given the flood of refugees out of Syria and their deliberate destabilization of North Africa (Libya, on the EU’s doorstep), not to mention the costs to the EU of their sanctions regime. How opportune to have a entire set that climaxes with the “Miss Sarajevo” appeal to take these refugees in, without any attribution of responsibility for why they’ve come (and therefore who should be providing refuge), but rather an entire setlist dedicated to honouring rather than challenging the architect of such suffering in the global Great Game, at exactly the moment they punish the EU economically to sever energy ties to their dependency, -Russia.

Hillary Clinton poses with members of the anti-Vladimir Putin punk rock group Pussy Riot, 2014.

The greatest target, however, is Americans themselves in the cultivation of complacency; -in light of the social engineering exercises being undertaken by U2’s billionaire sponsors under the guise of philanthropy (scroll down to the questions), -not to mention U2’s philanthrowashing provides cover and avoidance of the (continuedfraud and other nefarious outcomes of their billionaire sponsors’ investments. (The miscreant, Wells Fargo’s shares are a nest egg for RED/ONE due to Gates Foundation’s being 55% bankrolled by Berkshire Hathaway shares.) Who needs to penalize or replace executives when the philanthrowash media fix is already in by direct funding? (ONE/RED funder Warren Buffett has majority control of Wells Fargo at over $28 billion. He could vote for it.) Nor is the financial dependency of ONE/RED to be taken lightly considering the buckets of cash (literally over $100 billion) Warren Buffett has at his disposal to lobby say, for this Republican piece of legislation, considered “the equivalent of Republicans handing out a get-out-of-jail-free card to Wells Fargo and to Equifax”. Wells Fargo was culpable enough in the mortgage fraud that precipitated teh 2008 financial crisis, to have been hit with a consequent fine of $1 billion.

But the graduation here is witnessing U2 embrace not just philanthrowashing for the US elite, but actively enabling its military ambitions as well by conditioning acceptance of “humanitarian intervention”, and acculturating acceptance of the consequent refugee and terrorism crisis. They did this employing a religious ideological root: stealth assimilating George W. Bush’s “Manifest Destiny” brand of faith into their concert and proselytizing it en masse, in inverse and utter violation of their prior presentation of their own professed faith. No wonder Bush is handing Bono awards.

Part III: How to Dog Whistle US Theocratic Supremacy to Millions -And Get Away With It

No one would have dreamed this would be the end of U2’s Joshua Tree trajectory, given “Bullet the Blue Sky” has conveyed opposition precisely to Reagan’s dispatch of US military support to prop up military dictatorships in central America (despite the fact that they were engaged in massacres prior to receiving aid), and the use of domestic military proxies abroad in civil wars that were in fact funded and deployed by the US (the Contras against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua – which begat the Iran-Contra scandal), -a brand of South American intervention neither Obama nor Hillary really graduated from; Canada’s been on board since Aristide. Bono wrote the song based on being in El Salvador at the time of Reagan’s terror campaign by military aid in Central America (again, see this Rolling Stone article, conveniently bereft of any details, like the fact that when Bono conceived the man peeling off dollar bills, he envisioned Reagan). Now he praises the presider in chief, Ronald Reagan, in contrast to Trump, relating his “open door” allusion of America as the city of light on a hill (barf-blat 101 @ 22:40 for those with a memory, or any sense of historical continuity). -If that’s not a direct betrayal of one’s own world view, then what is?

“I have a kind of love-hate relationship with America. I love the place, I love the people. One of the things I hate is that such a trusting people could have put their trust in a guy like Ronald Reagan,” Bono said in a 1987 radio interview. “There is no question in my mind that the people of America, through their taxes, are paying for the equipment that is used to torture people in El Salvador. In my trip… I met with mothers of children who had disappeared. They have never found their children went or where their bodies were buried. They are presumed dead.”

World views of course can change. But when it comes to artistic integrity, the song’s very essence as testament to lives lost all these decades has been utterly inverted in the obfuscation of why, which is a total betrayal of its incarnation. It was born to bear witness; re-contextualizing the song in a setlist framed on total obeisance to America thirty years later is a direct artistic betrayal to the loss of life expressed in it, and so is commending Ronald Reagan for a quote. Ronald Reagan’s policies were directly responsible for that loss of life. How cheapening is it, for example, to reframe this song in terms of who to vote for in an election when it’s about people being murdered by their own governments with American military assistance; -as if who’s at the presidential helm of the United States in any way alters their world wide blood mongering? Doesn’t retooling the song to reflect on the militarization of the US domestic populationeffectively erase the bloodshed being carried out covertly in their name, when that was what the song was about? The song is no longer about those murdered in El Salvador with the aid of US military equipment. It has now been officially Trumpified. By giving the song a villain in the context of a US election, Bono has evacuated the evils committed abroad by the United States in the minds of his collective audience, as well as giving them the misperception they can resist merely by checking a ballot. Were the song shifted in the interest of retaining its relevancy in terms of the bloodshed it actually signifies, it might have been re-tooled to address Libya or Syria (which can’t happen, of course, if your morality compass is now possessed of a partisan filter).

The implications of Bono’s public appreciation of Ronald Reagan’s statement are far worse for someone with the working Biblical knowledge he possesses. Ronald Reagan’s “city on a hill” imagery with all its gates open was a dog whistle to his religious constituents with their fascist religious belief in American exceptionalism, namely manifest destiny. It originates from a speech by Puritan (soon to be Governor of New England (and founder of Boston)) John Winthrop (remember that’s where the Calvinist trajectory that gave us Manifest Destiny took root and disseminated to the rest of the colonies). While it is easy to see that the speech has been turned into a political football by manifest destiny adherents (witness our NYT besteller), it is imbued with the seeds to take it there, as both Matthew 5:14 and Psalm 48 are recognized as the Biblical source of the phrase “city on a hill” (as in, it’s obvious Jesus Himself was self-referencing his own Torah). Psalm 48 invokes Jerusalem (on Mount Zion – very loaded term).

Those with religious knowledge duly take note that the political re-invocation of the phrase is, depending on whether your brand of American exceptionalism is “open” (secular) or “closed” (religious), also deliberately designed to imbue the United States with overtones from Revelations that invoke the New Jerusalem, basically invoking Manifest Destiny for those who read their bible and know how Jerusalem was strategically situated, -and anyone who took the time to bible study with the Shalom group (Bono) knows that. Did the Puritans arriving in the New World believe this about themselves (that they were the “New Israel” or “New Jerusalem”)? –Yes. Yes they did. For the religious manifest destiny American exceptionalist, this is a veiled way of invoking that the “New Jerusalem” of the End Times (i.e., God’s Country) is in fact America. There’s no doubt which side of the exceptionalism coin Ronald Reagan was catering to with this statement. Reagan came to power on the constituency he targeted (then labelled the “new Christian right”, -as if they had gone anywhere, in fact his core base might be better labelled End Times Evangelists), -the exact same constituency that endorsed and gave us Donald Trump, -and tells him his pugilist approach (he’s the first sample for the word’s definition) to North Korea is endorsed by God. It was the exact same constituency that formed GW Bush’s real time Presidential Prayer Team, who were fed topics over an e-mail mailing list to pray for on Bush’s behalf every few weeks.

This deserves a reckoning for Bono, firstly because the pretension of there being such a difference between Reagan and Trump when they targeted the exact same voting base (and Reagan’s ascendancy was integrally related to its political resurgence), is wholly deceptive and puts it in a facetious light (Trump Trumpifies everything, trivializing origins, either by his clownish adoption or by making the originators look so much better), -plus, Bono the Biblical knows full damned well how religiously and politically weighted the phrase actually is, as he’s used it precisely in terms of its religious coinage in his own lyrics. (-Um, a song where Bono uses God’s Old Testament name that’s never supposed to be uttered has the lyric, “Take this city, A city should be shining on a hill”, which means he has explicitly used the exact same phrase in its Jerusalem-Zion religious framework, namely, he’s using the allusion for the ascendency of God’s people in the End Times as a rebirth. In the Christian interpretation, this is the Church restored in the End Times.) Ascribing “shining city of a hill” to the United States is a veiled way of signifying that the true latter day Church on earth is in actuality the United States. This is as far as you can ultimately go in the belief in Manifest Destiny.

Yet in quoting Reagan’s use of it, Bono deliberately treats the “city on a hill” as just being wonderfully transracial (-seriously(?!)), which is true deception of the woefully ignorant, when manifest destiny was the ideological device to expedite an exceedingly brutal form of nationalized white supremacy, and that’s what the phrase was expressly pulled out to cater to in Reagan’s employ (!), -namely its existing adherents.

“In the 1980 presidential election, Falwell’s moral majority helped propel Ronald Reagan into the White House. Reagan knew what his God-fearing demographic really wanted, which is why he kicked off his campaign with a stump speech supporting states’ rights at a fair in rural Mississippi. ‘States’ rights’ had been a rallying cry for Southern segregationists for decades, and in case anyone missed the coded message, Reagan delivered that speech just 7 miles from where three civil rights workers had been murdered in the 1960s. On the campaign trail, and many times while he was in the White House, Reagan also did a lot of grousing about ‘welfare queens.’” – “Does God Believe in Trump?” – Newsweek -What Newsweek found unfit to print when it came to H. W. Bush.

-Yup. In fact what Reagan was doing by explicitly making the statement a transracial one was avoiding how racist it was in its implementation throughout America’s history; he was forced to do so or he’d have no possibility of ever resurrecting it. He had to try and take it back to its first utterance by John Winthrop, detach it from its legacy. This was actually Reagan’s strategy for retaining American exceptionalism (namely if we pretend it was transracial or make it so, perhaps we can manage to justify its use for further bloodletting, and promptly headed for Central America and the Iran-Contra scandal). It’s a have your cake and eat it too win-win, because in doing so he was appealing to and picking up all those fundamentalist religious believers for whom the concept never evolved in the first place. This is the same strategy as attempting to secularize it, when it is simply impossible to whitewash a legacy that bloody, -except of course that it worked. Indeed Ronald Reagan proved serviceable in white-washing and transitioning a great many things, presiding over the transition from covert operations for regime change (which had fallen out of favour due to public opprobrium) to much the same manipulation of the domestic affairs of other nations via foreign aid. (Which is why Bono to this day proves exceedingly useful.)

“Under Obama, the US has extended secret ‘special forces’ operations to 138 countries, or 70 per cent of the world’s population. The first African-American president launched what amounted to a full-scale invasion of Africa. Reminiscent of the Scramble for Africa in the late 19th century, the US African Command (Africom) has built a network of supplicants among collaborative African regimes eager for American bribes and armaments. Africom’s ‘soldier to soldier’ doctrine embeds US officers at every level of command from general to warrant officer. Only pith helmets are missing.” – “This Week the Issue is not Trump. It is Ourselves” – John PIlger

Secondly, Bono deserves remonstrance because by quoting Reagan to Trump’s religious far right constituency, with their knowledge of Bono’s Biblical awareness, Bono is in fact doing the exact same dog whistle Reagan performed for the “new right”, -namely he’s catering directly to Trump’s Christian (so fundamentalist they’re fascist) constituency himself (the proof of this is how he’s presently tweaking the lyrics live on tour in the US). Beyond that, his lyrics catalogue is public knowledge; -in other words, the problem lies in the fact that with “Yahweh” he used this exact same phrase religiously, -and already transferred something very similar to the city of New York, so the religiously literate can see that he’s actively made this transfer himself by arriving at Reagan’s ascription of this phrase to the United States and agreeing with it, whether the secular audience is too religiously illiterate to notice this or not. I can assure you, the Biblical are not. The evangelical fundamentalists who brought Reagan to power (who Bono used to use the song “Bullet the Blue Sky” to castigate for their appeals for money from their flockare Trump’s fundamentalists. But  today Bono’s hawking the most extreme range of fundamentalism (flirting with graduation into theocracy) those fundamentalists could ever possibly hope to achieve in subverting the nation on tour every night in the US. He considers this bipartisan behaviour, when his public rehabilitation of Reagan (in full knowledge of his deeds, which he used to sing against every night of the original 1987 Joshua Tree Tour) is in fact part of a political media program to justify the current neocon/neoliberal alliance. Not to mention the fact that for Bono this “bipartisanship” is his effort to maintain ticket sales.

This is how you’ll naturally transmogrify if you begin inhabiting the same hemispheres as “Manifest Destiny” George W. Bush in your laudable but wholly hogwash belief that your behaviour is somehow bipartisan bridgemanship. Bono’s now philanthropy smarming “shock and awe” war criminals to rehabilitate their image (participation in the same media project) for inflicting a permanent climate of genetic deformaties in countless women’s wombs, the result of a war whose proponents were directed to lie to get us there, who is culpable in the death of perhaps a million people and responsible for the geo-strategic collapse of the Middle East into ISIS. No matter, his wife is canonized in U2’s current incarnation of “Ultraviolet” as a leading feminist (what the hell did she do for feminism is a fair question -?), and so are his daughters, an especial irony when you consider that regression into such deep fundamentalism means retrenchment of the sexual repression and suppression inbuilt by design into all three monotheistic faiths, the Abrahamic religions. Anyone in service to fundamentalism that transgressive at the top of leadership, whether they uptake its attendant baggage in its entirety (or not), is still serving to regress the entire nation by normalizing such fundamentalism (something Bono should take to heart, especially since its normalization under Bush has now handed us over to the Drumpf).

-You care about feminism? Then you don’t normalize fundamentalism by letting it offer you awards for humanitarianism. I don’t think there could be a more obvious indicator of the consequences of fundamentalism’s normalization than Trump’s subsequent (more like consequent) election as the next Republican victor after Bush. Sexism came out of the closet. The exact same concern can be said about racism: you don’t like it? -Then don’t normalize fundamentalist ideology that historically deliberately muddled religion and nationhood together in a manner that institutionalized white supremacy internationally as a pretext for annexation and colonial enterprise. And bloody hell, don’t attempt to secularize it in the pretension that American “exceptionalism” has somehow transformed itself into something good. Better yet, U2, you don’t take the most basic tenet that historically has been (and would be) used to define US theocratic statehood on a national tour and turn it into a concert experience for your facile paying audience. How’s them apples? (You might think these conclusions aren’t supported yet, bear with me, we have yet to reach the end.)

Yes, and the Clintonistas think Bono’s on their side because he told them to vote for her twice, and Trumpifies “Exit” on tour every night. They should take note that U2’s entire setlist for this tour was tuned to Reagan’s “shining city of a hill” dog whistle to woo the biggest, most extreme religious alt-right sector in Trump’s constituency for the whole #U2TheJoshuaTree2017 tour. Basically Bono’s choice quote of Reagan (who used it more often than that) more or less cinches the deal. How he’s tooling the present setlist shows he knows exactly what he’s doing with this and fully understands the religious/supremacist undertone -he’s employing it himself, -to take money from their pockets. -Clinton adherents should be looking to their pockets likewise. They are only on the same side in the sense that Clinton herself is fully willing to go there, for votes (aka acquisition of power), whereas Bono does it for the money, and the power base manifest destiny/American exceptionalism ideology provides amounts to no more or less at present and throughout history than an exercise in self-deception to exonerate the consequence of wholesale wanton international bloodshed via the dispensation “we’re special”. It is possible Bono is so fully into self-deception he thinks this adoption is a benign one, and holy purposed, -they all do, after all. They all did, even when it was their grounds for embracing genocide via starvation in the name of progress. (And you’d have thought U2 knew all about that one too. Priceless.)

I am not here to argue the point of whether or not the settling of the West amounted, at times, to genocide (think of the big picture). I think the fact that this starvation programme (perhaps more luridly) took place concurrently in Canada (also) for the sake of a railroad (completed in 1885) takes a lot of wind out of US sails in debate, -especially given US foreign influence/intervention with Canada at the time on behalf of Mr. Starvation himself, Sir John A. Macdonald, -who took US military assistance to stop any attempt at integrational parity for the peoples of the West in suppressing the Northwest Rebellion (1885), meaning it was the United States who helped bring to fruition his execution of Riel with their gatling gun invention’s first ever usage on a population. -In all probably this just means that the US is better as a nation at self-deception. (I have yet to see any airing of the recognition that the same policies taking place cross border concurrently heftily increases the probability of genocidal intent since it was done in concert.) Better yet, when it comes to complicity in genocide, the US provided the (first ever) machine gun the size of a small cannon (via US naval support) that put a swift and short end to the Rebellion, which made Macdonald’s western pogrom of starvation assured. -That was why the US supplied military support.

“The more Indians we can kill this year the fewer we will have to kill the next, because the more I see of the Indians the more convinced I become that they must all be killed or be maintained as a species of pauper. Their attempts at civilization are ridiculous…” General William Tecumseh Sherman (-Yes, he was named after a Chief who fought against the United States during the war of 1812, and the above attitude, his value to the US in cleansing the West (as well as in the Civil War), was why the USA named the largest tree in the world (by volume) after him.)

This was not simply a one-off for the sake of settlement/displacement, the United States fully believed manifest destiny meant graduating internationally to water torture. One has only to examine American frolics on the international stage with respects to the PhillipinesPuerto Rico, and Guam (how the US handled the acquisition of Spain’s colonies in war, 1889), Korea (1882), and Japan (1905) to realize the USA’s domestic ambitions of expansion and intervention in that period were in all probability hardly benign either.

The same can be said of aiding and abetting the only Prime Minister who used “aryan” in the Canadian House of Commons in debate as a member during that period, the longest running Prime Minister (who was also the longest running Aboriginal Affairs Minister, and laid the groundwork for basically every institution now blamed for the horrid state of Ottawa-aboriginal relations: The Indian Act, Indian Residential Schools and an over-bureaucratized Department of Indian Affairs”), -with a gatling gun in suppression of a (mixed race and religion, predominantly Catholic) indigenous rebellion, -to force the conditions of the West’s incorporation into Canada along fault lines of religious and ethnic dominance, namely WASP supremacy, -as if this was a good thing.

In terms of land divestment and control this had massive ramifications with respects to Native American disenfranchisement, which had been approached quite differently in terms of Francophone/Catholic -> Metis integration in Canada historically, -as opposed to proceeding in the framework of British property law (the only point of reference in the US), -meaning land ownership was modelled on the architects of “the highland clearances” (which resulted in half of the privately owned acreage in Scotland being owned by 0.008% of the population), -plus Britain’s personal (and brutal, with antiheroes like Kett and Winstanley (the Levellers)) several hundred years campaign of enclosure of the commons (the outcome being that half the country is owned 0.06% of the population), -not to mention they set the colonial trend of genocidal responsibility in both the Irish and Indian famines. -Now check out what land ownership means in Canada thanks to the British, -who’s #1 and why. “Queen Elizabeth II the largest landowner on Earth.” –Canada is by far the biggest reason. Disenfranchisement never lived this large in the history of the planet, and what that’s meant for the hinterland under provincial administration is unhindered continual resource rape carnage so vast it is viewable from space. -And yes, you would think that might make the Crown vulnerable as Canada ratifies UN DRIP. After all, the Crown claims 94% of the Province of British Columbia is public Crown Land, yet the Crown only negotiated Treaties for parts of Vancouver Island and the Peace River Valley – Treaty 8, which is the basis of the court case against the Site C dam. This means the vast bulk of BC Crown land is unceded territory for which there were and are no Treaties ever negotiated with the people who first lived on the land. -Seems like a problem…. -A Treaty negotiations process was initiated in the 1970’s; -only one treaty negotiation has reached conclusion so far. Settling this discrepancy has barely begun.

-A tad more relevant to Canadian existence than who the USA elects in a given election year…. colonization, and what it means for the land to be held in this form of trust (namely the office of Queen, and an interesting bit of legal fiction, namely the Queen not of Great Britain, but of Canada): “Crown land, in its Canadian legal conception, belongs to the Canadian Crown [over 86% of the country]. The Queen of the United Kingdom has had no legal relationship whatsoever to land situated within Canada’s borders for many decades, although the Queen of Canada has, and does. When the Crown sells Crown land, it does not require the Monarch’s signature to effect the conveyance, but instead that of one of her Canadian Ministers, or their designate.” -Talk about the biggest heist of the land from those that lived on it, that the world has perhaps ever witnessed. It bears mention that this form of land monopoly is exceedingly effective for resource extraction in the form of wholesale resource rape, and exceedingly easy to control. –How ironic, but the reason she’s “Governor” of the Church rather than “Head” is because English theologians were not stupid enough to attempt a manifest destiny hijack of the Church where they equated England’s monarch with either Christ or the Pope; -they merely claimed ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the nation itself, rather than the Pope. America in proclaiming its personal Godly dispensation offered no such distinction. In doing so, they led by example.

“We’ll take away its character of an Asiatic steppe, we’ll Europeanize it. … As for the two or three million men whom we need to accomplish this task, we’ll find them quicker than we think. They’ll come from Germany, Scandinavia, the Western countries and America. …There’s only one duty: to Germanize this country by the immigration of Germans, and to look upon the natives as Redskins. If these people had defeated us, Heaven have mercy! But we don’t hate them. That sentiment is unknown to us. We are guided only by reason. …All those who have the feeling for Europe can join in our work.” – Adolf Hitler’s optimistic prospectus on the invasion of Russia, 1941 –  “Columbus Day is the Most Important Day of Every Year” – The Intercept -Compared to the Crown’s, Hitler’s campaigns of land disenfranchisement were not so very different in scope. And he took his tips, and expected accord, because of how the West was won under the auspices of Manifest Destiny, not to mention how the Queen’s colony come Dominion carried it out, and where it stood at the time. It’s not looking very different at present, is it? What does “europeanize” mean, exactly?

I don’t have to haul up history to point out American “exceptionalism” when it trolloped about the globe as an ideological crutch in doctrinal form for these aspirations wasn’t exactly benign. Whenever it was aired, it spoke for itself. Here’s the thing, the very conflation Bono is employing in performance art right now, (invoking America as God’s country) was and is theology so bastardized it beggars contemplation. Bono can offer no excuse that he is simply referencing John Winthrop in a benign idealization of the country as a beacon of Christian virtue that must hold itself to account. That is not what he’s presenting live in concert right now. The man who carried out the conflation of America as the Church to perfection historically (you guessed it, O’Sullivan), was the very man who coined the term “manifest destiny”, setting the stage for the war with Mexico one year later (1846). Check out their national anthem at the time: it sounds no different than a Psalm. It was tooled, literally, to equate “[e]xpanding the territorial domain of the United States [as] an act of homage to the King of Kings [God]”. (The American anthem that came into permanent adoption was not without a racist couplet that is conveniently omitted, and was composed during a battle initiated by a US attack on the colony of Canada, -the war of 1812.)

“Without the slightest apparent sense of incongruity, O’Sullivan adopted language given by Christ to conceptualize the church, and used it to convey divine approval for the territorial expansion of the United States.” (O’Sullivan did this by invoking the United States exclusively as the national manifestation the God’s holy Church on earth, by robbing language by, for and about the Church and using it to personify to America instead. This conflation is the same as believing the entire worldwide Church does not exist. It’s either that or you’re again engaging in another strain of doctrinal BS, on top of what it takes to justify that your nation is actually the true Church on earth manifesting God’s Divine purpose through “democracy” implemented by overwhelming physical force.)

-Bono is invoking his collective, receptive American audience as the Church every evening he performs in the US on this tour, –by virtue of their being American. Not by virtue of their being the Church. It is the exact same act of substitution performed by O’Sullivan and others, with the active potency of applying that live to audiences of tens of thousands where they participate in this as an experience. The substitution takes place in their minds. It is this very act of designating America as the Church, that one simple shift, that shifts the framework and orientation from perceiving the nation as a functioning democracy to orienting it on theocratic fascism. Very participation in that perception is participation in the ultimate merger between Church and State, as an assimilated perception. Yet millions upon millions of adoring US fans identify this tour as a wonderful experience. If any surveys were conducted and you discovered just how high of a quotient of U2’s fan base identify attending their concerts as being a religious experience at times, you’d find this conflation terrifying. Face it, the only way there is to have fascist theocracy doctrine be assimilated (if not quite consciously, and yes, the only rational root for such is an existent doctrine, no matter how screwed up it may happen to be) is through millions of people experiencing it as a good thing. The Devil could not have designed this stealth introduction any better. No one gives a rat-fink if you tell people how to vote when you’re serving the deeper level of proselytizing their ideology so that it’s assimilated by those exact same voters. Call it an end run in an end game. The purpose is better served overall. What better success could you have than to have the most basic tenet of theocratic fascism assimilated as an experience by a bipartisan, irreligious audience, -with the audience being none the wiser? It’s an attempt to baptize those fundamentalist fundamentals in the minds of the younger Democrat voter-ship, using the rejection of Trump to enshrine them at the bipartisan level, thereby retaining them as the Republican party implodes on its own absurdity and the Empire’s nakedness becomes apparent. Again this is active participation in a concerted propaganda campaign to invert what it means to be a Democrat.

To treat the receptive audience as the Church on tour (by saying so, literally, by personifying America as object in repurposed religious oriented songs, and making America the sum object of the performance), is to cross the line between invoking American exceptionalism (the belief that America’s special attainment springs from its inclusive, trans-racial republic and democratic ideals) to invoking manifest destiny (God-given dispensation to the Church as America). The conflation and impact in the minds of his audience is the same and done with intention. When they are not distinguishing the import religiously, they are distinguishing it patriotically, which is the ultimate intention/substitution that manifest destiny set out to perform to begin with. The very intention is to substitute Godhood with the United States as the ultimate interlocutor, in order to sanction “exceptionalism”. If you integrate God with the US by claiming the US is God’s nation exclusively on earth with a Divine mandate to expand globally in the name of God’s purpose, you are not going to God. You have no distinguishable differentiation of purpose. America First. This is literally the last thing the planet needs, and indeed Americans need to see in concert. And exactly like Reagan, this is an all inclusive exercise of having your cake and eating it too where you divest nothing that was previously poisonous in the dispensation, but deliberately take that with you in order to increase the potency and give it strength to buttress the utter faultiness of its conception.

To succeed in secularizing manifest destiny has been the agenda for a long time, namely to arrive at the pretext that their mandate to intervene militarily across the earth is based in their inception as an inclusive democratic republic. To have a concert that elicits what is in fact a religious sourced emotional experience in terms of American exceptionalism in the minds of literally millions of Americans, with the secular audience being none the wiser that this is what they indeed experienced, successfully transfers that emotional power to a secular belief framework for American exceptionalism. Since it must justify itself on the legacy of deeds, secular American exceptionalism has no rational basis. This performance art successfully transfers the plane of experience to being an emotionally based belief precisely when it can no longer succeed morally or rationally in secular form. (It was a doctrinal failure to begin with. They can’t acknowledge the original doctrine was BS, because they’d be forced to question whether it ever had grounds to be evolved rather than rejected.) This is perhaps the pinnacle of what propaganda could ever hope to achieve in terms of disassociating emotion from its idealogical source or framework even while exacting it, putting it at greatest utility. Those conscious of the experience for what it is are nigh in their entirety believers (either the religious or secular varietal) for whom the performance simply provides massive emotional reinforcement of their failed ideologies. The beauty of this ploy is you’re going to assimilate American exceptionalism via U2’s performance art whether you believe it religiously, or secularly, or none of the above. It takes all comers. It was even proselytized internationally (probably in stealth mode, i.e., only the secular varietal of American exceptionalism was readily apparent outside America’s own borders, which is what you’d witness if Bono himself is not doctoring his own lyrics; -yes, this is all subject to what Bono feels empowered to sing on any given night and how he moderates the show in the moment; -ego tripping never had it so good).

Even more disturbing is that Bono is proselytizing the religious mindset of the present leadership, -namely Trump’s cabinet choices of the generals (with the (WaPo) liberals openly advocating for military control of the executive through what are supposed to be civilian cabinet choices to control the military). Bear in mind that we’ve now entered the generation where the furthest career experience embarks on Gulf War I. We’ve entered the generation that has never participated in a legitimate war, and on this foundation of illegitimacy is merely self-perpetuating, assuming daylight robbery of over 50% of the American tax base annually must by all means be increased. As of Gulf War II, these generals were participating in a war initiated by a President due to his belief that the war was Divinely purposed, i.e., his predication was mixed and from his vantage, based primarily on theocratic fascism, -and these generals themselves believed in this war. The three generals’ collective religious/ideological mindset is so analogous that these self-same observations were made at the outset:

“In the process, one radical idea will be pitted against another: American exceptionalism, armed to the teeth and empowered by war-lovers (some deeply involved in an evangelizing Christianity) against Islamic jihadist extremism. Rather than a “clash of civilizations,” it’s a clash of warring creeds, of what should essentially be seen as fundamentalist cults. Both embrace their own exceptionalism, both see themselves as righteous warriors, both represent ways of thinking steeped in patriarchy and saturated with violence, and both are remarkably resistant to any thought of compromise.

Put another way, under Trump’s team of “civilian” warrior-generals [we’ve had the substitution of McMaster for Flynn since this was written], it looks like the crusades may be back — with a vengeance.” – William J. Astore:  “The Crusades Are Back, With a Vengeance

Would the Clintonista, liberal audience be thrilled to learn they were being soft-peddled these religious values, those values resplendent in the soft coup? Trump did not arrive here by choice, but in the effort to prevent an intra-governmental insurrection against his presidency. (How priceless, we have arrived at the killer of democracy’s true face; -it’s the exact same bipartisanface. ) If you think “soft coup” is hyperbole, consider this choice quote by Japan’s Defence Minister: “I think Washington has not decided … The final decision-maker is [US Defence Secretary] Mr Mattis … Not the president.” That’s right, it’s Mad Dog who decides if America goes to war with North Korea. There, you see, #fixedit! By the time of his first speech to the UN, Trump had transformed into a raving interventionist. Magic!

With U2 presently at the pulpit, ticket purchasing liberals are not only openly advocating and supporting the soft soup because U2 have presently equated evil in America with the incarnation of President Trump, they’re assimilating the soft coup’s most extreme brand of religious fundamentalism without knowing it, which they absolutely adore so long as it castigates Trump on tour every night. America got a partisan Democrat token slap on the wrist in terms of a re-tooled Trumpian version of “Exit”, (which again, U2 have the nerve to proselytize, as if America’s problems are our problems), -the re-tool of a song that was originally about a suicide. This is spine-snapping in its illogic, in light of catering to the religious fascist aspects of the Trumpian voter-ship (together with the Trumpian leadership), -unless you’re in have your cake and eat it too territory, namely the money to be had in executing a “bipartisan” performance, and you’ve found the perfect solution in exemplifying the infinitely permutating superiority complex, aka American exceptionalism, which is really the trojan horse for American fascism, with the religious variant inarguably existing as theocratic fascism. The liberal Democrat ticket buying public was incapable of registering that the doctrine Bono was flirting with the entire tour in the US (equivocating America as the Church) is more extreme than either G. W. Bush or Trump’s most evangelical generals (or indeed, any of these evangelical ministers, who do not get into what their notion of a return to a being a Godly nation actually means), -could ever dream to dare to air. Even Paula White (who compares Trump to Queen Esther and says Trump is president due to God) could not go that far, and her belief system is considered laughable and subject to mockery by purported liberals, -liberals who had no problem attending this concert.

It is one thing to declare God gave you the presidency, or that God has ordained your war in Iraq (because you happen to believe in Armageddon, (just like Reagan did -see 6); -bear in mind that if you implement a war on the basis of this belief as opposed to moral/geo-strategic necessity for the sake of defence, you have already succeeded in implementing theocratic fascism in terms of international warfare), or to have a pastor endorsing your bluster and asserting God is condoning your destruction of North Korea. We are now opining the values of theocratic fascism in public because enough of a critical mass in the voter-ship are perceived to believe in it; they have the same values enough that the press is not afraid to quote these values, as it was this value system represented that won the presidency. It’s not like these individuals don’t exist when a Democrat happens to win the presidency; -the Democrats are enabling by virtue signaling the same constituency. -Can’t win an election without being an exceptionalist.

“One of the persistent strands in American political life is a cultish extremism that approaches fascism. This was given expression and reinforced during the two terms of Barack Obama. ‘I believe in American exceptionalism with every fibre of my being,’ said Obama”.

“According to a Council on Foreign Relations survey, in 2016 alone Obama dropped 26,171 bombs. That is 72 bombs every day. He bombed the poorest people on earth, in Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan.” – “This Week the Issue is not Trump. It is Ourselves” – John PIlger -not to mention he handed Israel the largest military aid deal in US history.

It is another graduation entirely to make the indistinguishable implication of treating America as if it’s God’s implementation of the Church on earth (God’s country on this earth, in substitution of the existing Church). Bono is presenting the final ascendency, the existential basis of theocratic fascism, -literally how the state itself would create its definition and ascribe its powers as a theocratic fascist Christian state. He has hijacked feminism, which is absolutely antithetical to this within the faith to the extent of dismantling it doctrinally, to this end. As per my opening definition, U2 have hijacked feminism in service to theocratic fascism, its very biblical antithesis.

The question should be raised, at the very least, what exactly did Bono himself intend with these deliberate iconic mergers and this ode to America international tour? He should have been duly obligated to clarify his position, and offered the opportunity to tacitly divorce himself from these historical and present realities, were this not a society of somnambulists. It is worthy of scrutiny. Letting this tour pass unnoticed and un-noted puts him in the position of serving as enabler to ideology and policies loathed by bulk of U2’s fanbase. It is a worthy question who appreciates that more, but I doubt the band does in comparison to the powers serviced by what now passes unobserved as perhaps the most effective propaganda art hijack every accomplished. He should at least be offered a last chance to save his own soul.

In other words, Bono would not be performing as a useful tool to this doctrine if anyone had the awareness to take note and question this merger, which would surely put him in the position of articulating his intentions and disavowing it using the path provided by John Winthrop, if people were broadly aware enough to have addressed it in social media. Were it a matter of public record, Bono would have no choice. It is our choice what we adhere to and what does not pass muster. This does not deserve to and it beggars belief that U2 got away with it. That is your greatest indicator of inculcation into the prevailing culture that theocratic fascism has already accomplished. It is already so culturally inoculated that this tour, tooled in this manner, passed without a single eyebrow cock. It may be that U2 themselves are so culturally inoculated they were themselves this foolish, but somehow I doubt it. Bono should be obliged to restore the phrase back to its origin and divorce its attendant baggage, if he’s going to honour it with the sum of a tour. I hope this essay has thrown into adequate relief that the machinations of the right wing are not your sole danger in the US, if such so called Democrat electioneers are getting a pass when the theme for their entire tour can be effectively analysed as active advocacy for the doctrinal foundation of theocratic fascism, which had no problem passing muster providing it identify itself as art to the American public.

U2’s Bono promoting the United Nations “Global Goals” – which in reality is the financialization and privatization of nature, global in scale via payments for ecosystem services. #NaturalCapital #PES

 

Why do you think these litmus tests are performed on the population? Their success, namely that they pass without incident, provides a green light to proceed further over the brink, because they show this level of theocratic fasicm is already tacitly embraced by a paying audience; -whether that’s due to awareness or ignorance does not matter. In the case of U2’s foray, this litmus test as tour was inflicted on the Western world (North America and Europe, and now South America), -and no one blinked. -At least not out loud, an indicator they’re sufficiently cowed and by and large deluded. Europeans should duly take note when they’re attached militarily to a nation so possessed of grandiose delusions en masse. It’s either that or they’re too stupid to notice them played out right in front of their faces when the auteur is a rock band. Instead, the U2 ticket buying fan base in Europe were all too happy to see a setlist dedicated to another country’s “exceptionalism” performed inside their borders, -as if this was perfectly normal, -if it was fed to them by the same rock band.

In the context of their evasions and invasions, for “Exit” U2 might as well have hung an effigy in a ritualized personification of evil within the banal confines the audience was barely prepared to tolerate, let alone contemplate, purely as an exercise of avoiding the real evil, which arguably could be the reason Trump’s in power in the first place, a convenient effigy at which to hurl spite that utterly avoids any culpability for the mechanisms that would deign to give him power, namely how infantilized does a voter-ship have to become to choose a reality TV president (or even better yet, believe that he’s attained this position due to God).

(Paula White was forced to walk that back by saying the same about bipartisan and recent presidential candidates (an option generously provided by WaPo), -which in actuality just broadens the premise to bona fide theocratic fascism, -with “Where do you draw the line on world leaders being assignated by God?”, being the fair question. -Consider the range of answers that are possible here: 1) Godly dispensation of the presidency only applies to America, i.e., she believes in America as a theocratic fascist state, -it’s either that or her answer could be 2) to restrict this Divine dispensation to only what we regard as the Christian West or all Christianized states (Israel is a given, as in Israel First for the bulk of the evangelicals who espouse dispensationalism, with Eastern Orthodox exclusion, naturally, God forbid she have to say the same about Putin), -i.e., the answer is racially bifurcated but only to the extent it is politically expedient, and would actually mirror what the doctrine of dispensationalsm permits as Christian or, 3) does she truly believe globalized theocratic fascism is already in place and applies to every despot on this earth, as in every leader put above us rules by God? -Welcome back to the premise of Divine Monarchy. This theological imbecilism receives hundreds of milllions in donations and meets weekly with the current president. It’s reasonable to surmise not one of the answers she could possibly provide would be sound, but no one asks.)

How ’bout what Bill Clinton did, and the subsequent monopolistic corporate control of private media? Did it actually raise culture? How and why has this been arrived at, if not for the regulatory dismantling of the state for wholesale resource predation and untrammeled pollution, coupled with the rollback of workers’ rights? In other words Trumptopia presents itself as the great external IT (perhaps a juxtaposition of these two images will help throw into relief what he serves to normalize, -yes, see, he normalizes her, the neoliberal who was catering to the exact same constituency as Reagan in the exact same way, the neoliberal who advocated starting WWIII as part of her campaign platform. He normalizes war criminals, and this is because he is tacking foreign policy even further as an Israel first dispensationalist, which is baldly constituency strategic in his case, but this hardly matters; the only hope is that the tail is now out in the open as America embarrasess itself in front of the entire world, but hey, withdrawal from UNESCO was also performed by Reagan. Bear in mind that Trump’s irrational posturingover JCPOA (the joint nuclear accord with Iran, the EU, Russia and China) was emulating Paula White’s personification of Trump as comparable in the present day to Queen Esther, as the dispensationalists are duly serving Israeli foreign policy interests and have hijacked the Biblical story as an analogy for present hostility with Iran. Netanyahu himself used the Biblical history of Queen Esther on Obama in the appeal to have him act the same (framing the attack of Iran by the US as a matter of life or death for state of Israel), literally hijacking the one Bible story that hearkens the development of the first secularized state that allowed more than one faith (Persia). Fundamentalism is now hijacking foreign policy initiatives, though it’s not like this is new (G.W. Bush started an unjustified war on this pretext). It’s just graduating to the level of nuclear.

Trump is literally the best thing that could have ever happened to the neoliberals (who are so little different their alliance is with the neocons, which has including the media effort to whitewash their historic theocratic fundamentalists). Only a raving clown could have diverted from this implacable truth of why they lost, and made them actually look somehow palatable. The pied piper strategy may have failed election 2016, but it gave “Democrats” the capacity to resuscitate themselves for the next grab for power, election 2020, when they should have just crashed and burned. Trump constitutes the perfect Reality TV distraction, conveniently presenting a funnel for a useless array of #resistance (attenuation by anger, russophobia and civil strife), whilst simultaneously providing another complete exorcism of introspection on the nation’s completely bipartisan catalogue of sins (nigh indistinguishable militarism abroad, etc.). Nothing gets done during Hate Week(s). And everyone, it seems, can’t get enough of Hate Week. All this bombast and bluster is so infinitely more important than ecological holocaust.

I’ve always believed in working across the aisle … but there’s a bully on the bully pulpit and silence is not an option” – Bono

Culpability for this state of affairs includes the willingness to adopt a pied piper strategy in order to win; -by an utterly corrupt DNC U2 instructed you to vote for after they deliberately contained and castrated Bernie Sanders. The problem is more rooted in the dual party system’s policy framework at home and abroad’s continuity in either guise, no matter what the cost to national integrity and democracy, -and for what, exactly? Why is it the USA can never, ever have a Corbyn? (Nor Canada, for that matter?)

Why would you continue to ingratiate an audience complacent in a state of affairs that is so patently over the edge it has unhinged itself from reality’s mainframe? When that is the real situation, displacement of culpability can only be achieved in curating a framework of villainy for mass consumption. U2 provides. They do it for no more or less than the money it makes them. This is basically the knee jerk reflex they must now provide indicating they still stand (strongly) with the voting constituency they told how to vote. This is their pass at integrity. Discomfort need not apply.

Happy 4th, oh ye deluded. (This page and the writing were initiated and by and large concluded on the 4th. Silly me, -thought that was it.) U2 now performs to insure you stay that way. This is displacement in totality as art as emotional exorcism, -in a curious way total evacuation of what America meant and what it means to be an American, for theocratic ideology serves in every way and all of its purpose to rob you of your liberties. You might call it the infantilized version passed off as the deep while you’re unconsciously on the brink of losing it forever at the level of ecological suicide, served to you by your very own military. Viva la #resistance! Thirty years ago you attended a U2 show in order to wake up. Now you attend to absorb circumscription of thought. Better yet, without even realizing it, you get a dose of the doctrine behind theocratic fascism that literally desires the End of the World, -and you love the taste. -Maybe it’s time Americans register that when you engage in war within a fundamentalist framework, that single factor above all is what makes you a target of fundamentalist terrorism; -for fundamentalism will identify, correctly, fundamentalism, and inevitably arise more virulenty to embrace combat, for the combat is on those terms. G. W. Bush crossed that threshold. You may have a problem with him, -but this concert is indication that you embrace and enjoy fundamentalism as a religious experience if it means idolizing your own country as a way to feel good about yourself. You will not be aware of the difference; -if fundamentalism’s tenets are introduced to you stealthily in a form you happen to like. If it’s not identifying itself as a raving evangelist you’re too clueless to identify what fundamentalism actually is. And that was the “beauty”, if you will, of this tour’s success.

-With friends like this, who needs enemies -? It is not longer “good” to be in U2’s good books, in other words. Not if you’re aware of the benchmarks of their esteem. But it will always reveal the metrics and calculus of a win-win.

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.” – Noam Chomsky

U2 provides.

 -As tepid as an election campaign. What a reversal on the umbrella in 20 years.

 All those broken Trudeau electoral campaign promises (not even listing the privatization matter and (continued) roll back of Canada Post):

Justin Trudeau Just Broke a Major Campaign Promise (Electoral Reform) – Time

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: 500 Days of Trudeau’s Broken Promises – desmogcanada -lists six, -including failure to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, Liberal pipeline approvals, failure to improve environmental assessments (this was due to Conservative revocation and weakening of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act), granting indigenous nations veto power over resource projects, and adequately addressing climate targets

Why the appointment of Bill Blair is the harbinger of the New Prohibition – Marc Emery (on marijuana legalization)

Bill C-51 Anti-terrorism law: Why the Liberals aren’t amending it – The Globe and Mail (it got a reboot, not revokation as promised. Why?)

Feds leave 99 per cent of lakes, rivers unprotected – The Council of Canadians – not only did the Liberals fail to restore the Navigable Waters Act, but also the Fisheries Act -significant because the two were just about the only legislation protecting freshwater bodies (i.e., if they were fish bearing)

Change the House of Commons Standing Orders to end practice of using inappropriate omnibus bills to reduce scrutiny of legislative measures. – trudeaumeter – This was huge, second only to electoral reform perhaps. It was how Harper took out the Fisheries Act. -Broken.

Trudeau government on defensive after approving “carbon bomb” – Observer – Trudeau approves Pacific Northwest LNG plant in the Great Bear Rainforest, which was so economically dodgy with such a dodgy foreign multinational it collapsed in its own right.

STATEMENT

 

 

August 26, 2017

To all-

It has come to our attention that a respected leader of our small online enclave has betrayed the trust many people have instilled in him over the past years.  We are stunned at these revelations like everyone else.  It was with much internal debate and emotional pain that we decided as a group that we had to release the information to the community.  Although this form of information is not our usual forte as we are collectively concerned about overriding issues, such as leaving some form of a natural world above all else, it was something so stunningly vile that we had no other choice but to present it to the community as our conscience would not allow us to conceal this from the public.

Since this decision, which is something we thoroughly debated due to its seriousness, there is much online discussion regarding to what degree his transgressions can be described as terrible and even if they should be in the public due to the personal nature of the correspondence.  From this perspective, this person and his supporters have pointed to the fact that the behavior between himself and the woman in question was of a consensual, private nature, and should be of no concern to the wider community.  We believe this argument falls short for three critical reasons which should be considered both separately and collectively.

The first reason is one of ethics, which is separate from legality.  The word ethics is defined as “a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct.”  Most professional organizations have codes of ethics, which participants must adhere to in order to remain in good standing.  In regards to its specific ethical standards, the American Psychological Association states “your psychologist shouldn’t also be your friend, client, or sex partner.  That’s because psychologists are supposed to avoid relationships that could impair their professional performance or harm their clients. One type of relationship that’s never acceptable is a sexual relationship with a current client.“

This person has taken on several roles, which in combination provide the framework for producing potentially serious ethical concerns.  As a recognized authority in the field of climate science, this person’s words contain the weight of authority for many.  His carefully worded prognostications of a coming end of human existence on the planet, though backed by his scientific understanding,  nonetheless have the ability to produce a state of anxiety, uncertainty, and despair in those who accept his perspective.  This person acknowledges this on his website, stating that “Because the topics of his presentations sometimes induce despair, Guy became a certified grief-recovery specialist in January 2014.”

The combination of his pursuits, as a climate scientist predicting the end of life as we know it, and grief counselor, puts him in the unique role of both producing or exacerbating the effect of anxiety or despair in an individual, as well as creating the context through which that despair is then addressed.  His audience, of which we have been a part, consists of individuals often marginalized by our larger society that ignores the very real warnings of catastrophic  climate change.  The views shared by many in our numerous and varied Near Term Human Extinction (NTHE) groups have produced not simply a sense of despair about the future, but also a sense of isolation from our immediate communities and families.  Solace is then sought out within the NTHE community, under the banner of this person’s scientific findings.

While in many ways natural responses warranted by our current situation, this combination of despair, confusion, and isolation, none the less set up the potential for the exploitation of those who acutely feel the desperation and disorientation of abrupt climate change, and have nowhere else to turn for answers.

And this is the reason for the need for ethics and ethical boundaries.  This person is in a position of authority with direct influence over the mental, emotional, and in some cases physical and monetary lives, of those who exist in a state of vulnerability.  This is a state which he has helped to facilitate and of which he profits from in his personal life.  To then use that position, as this person has done, to engage in sexualized relations with women by way of administering a self-serving “healing” to individuals who are going such traumatic personal experiences, is a violation of ethical boundaries.  From a purely ethical perspective within a narrowly focused context of a professor/student and grief therapist/client context, the exact content of these relations, which will justifiably elicit revulsion in many by themselves, is not the primary concern.  The mere existence of these relations under such power dynamics, whether consensual or not, is at best ethically compromised, simply because of the potential  for abuse that exists, even if no actual abuse can be conclusively identified.  As the revelations of women who have come forward and expressed their pain with regard to these relationships continues to grow, this strongly indicates that emotional abuse and the abuse of power were at play and their claims should be taken with utmost seriousness. At the most basic level, it is because these abuses could take place that professional boundaries and codes of ethics are established and why we should reject this person‘s behavior.

In that vein, the truth of the matter is that whatever grey area there may potentially be is no longer up for debate due to his repeated and lengthy record of attempting and succeeding in taking advantage of women in a vulnerable position emotionally due to the disheartening mental and social effects of personally accepting the ongoing Sixth Great Extinction (of which humanity will be one of its victims, as well as its singular cause).  As one of the admittedly unfiltered and honest voices concerning this present set of circumstances with few people having the sphere of influence that he has in our small community,  the unethical manner in which he used this trust for nefarious sexual ends repeatedly has left us no other recourse but to do everything in our power to stop him from continuing the same behavior.

This then leads to the second critical point.  While the argument has been made that in regard to his relations with one particular woman, the content is irrelevant because of its consensual nature, this defense rings hollow.  To use an analogy: while living in a free society one may be legally permitted to hold racist beliefs and freely associate with other racists, a member of the NAACP would  nonetheless rightfully oppose its leader if they were later discovered to be a member of the KKK.  Such an association would clearly violate the spirit and mission of an organization promoting racial justice, and in the duplicity of core beliefs in the leadership, it would  also indicate a threat to the structural integrity of the organization and potentially its members.  It would not matter whether the current leader had joined the KKK after being first approached by a klansman, or if the leader started a chapter on his own.  The compromise would be clear.

Similarly, the content of his interactions with one woman in question, no matter how they came about, indicated the willingness of this person to engage in, perhaps initiate, rape fantasies  and other degrading and sexually objectifying dialogues that are not congruous with the core values of a significant number of members of the Near Term Human Extinction Support Group and its associated community.  This incongruity is borne out in the fact that he has spoken out specifically against patriarchy on his regular online radio program and in innumerous public forums and presentations, but has engaged in fantasies of rape and sexual enslavement, which represent the most extreme form of patriarchy, regardless of how that interaction began.   Therefore, the problems surrounding the content of his interactions are twofold.  They are contained in both the degrading, misogynist verbiage itself and the fact that such interactions represent a betrayal of trust relating to the public image of a respect for life and an opposition to patriarchy that he has cultivated in the public eye to his personal benefit.

The destruction of the Earth, the underlying concern of the various NTHE support groups, is the direct result of human and environmental exploitation, a core element of which is the domination of women where females are treated as property to be used  like much of the natural world, mere objects for male gratification.  Thus the move from more egalitarian, hunter gatherer societies into stratified agricultural and industrial societies, which culminated in today’s planet devouring global civilization which this person critiques, entailed the objectification and commodification of women.  To participate in such objectification and fantasies of female subjugation with a potential member of the NTHE community no less, goes beyond hypocrisy.  It signifies that in regard to what this person believes and values, he cannot be trusted.  And given the context, as suggested in the above analogy, this duplicity threatens both group integrity and potentially the safety of its members.

Perhaps some would say that the way in which the information was obtained makes us no better and even worse than the perpetrator, as there are many online accusations of this being the case.  However, we didn’t go out seeking this information, even if we are greatly appreciative of it since it allows us the opportunity to stop any future manipulations by someone in a leadership position.  It was brought to us and we made the difficult decision to use it for the greater good of stopping any further occurrences – our decision superseding any disparaging things said about us individually or collectively.

Ultimately, the fact of the matter is that none of the individuals who became privy to this information have an axe to grind with this person. Actually, this is quite the contrary.  We are all people who had a great amount of respect and admiration of him as a scholar and a person.  It wasn’t until recently that those who possessed such a tremendous amount of respect for this man started questioning his motives outside of the irrefutable science and his singular desire to provide it to the public.  Sadly, this recent incident dispelled any doubts in our minds regarding much of his endeavors.

We are a small community of activists.  Most of what we know to be true in this world in regards to the state of affairs of the planet are things that are not accepted by the mainstream world, even though they are playing out in real time and disaffecting humanity at this very instant and with growing intensity.  As it is difficult to find any sources of solidarity, be it local or globally, once this disparate group of human beings find comrades or leaders (of which there are even less), we tend to cling on to them in great desperation as they are truly few and far between.

As this is the case, the people who come to us and try to find a community of some sort to explain to them what is going on or just commiserate about the ongoing travails of this global society are the picture of vulnerability during their greatest hour of need.  Hence, it is unethical, even predatory, for anyone to take advantage of these people while they are most defenseless.  As some people are trying to construe this as just a single, solitary case,  the fact of the matter is that this has been an ongoing pattern for awhile now and has reached a point where someone must step in and stem the tide of abuse this man is committing on this tiny yet venerable group.

As such, it begs the question how long can people righteously withhold  what they know to be the truth when it comes to this man’s interaction with the members of such a small group, an already victimized sect who find very little acceptance in general society?  Can we, as supposedly moral people, just sit back idly and allow this type of behavior to continue unabated since it is the path of least resistance to stay silent?  As the response from this tight knit community has ranged from outrage to acceptance, the outcome of this revelation is of no real importance as biases abound as to the acceptance of this information.  Since that is the case, the only thing of barometric significance is apprising the people of the truth to keep them from harm, which was our singular reason for the release of this information.

Although we are cognizant that all of us have personal transgressions and no one is perfect, the predatory nature of this individual makes him a threat to both those who may be accepting of his advances and, most importantly, those who are not.  If the interaction is one of consent amongst equals, it is not the business of us as individuals or as a group to intercede at all.  But, when there is a blatant disregard for the welfare of the people  in an attempt to serve the lascivious desires of one man, then that is something that must be addressed by those who are in power to do so by any means necessary.

This brings us to the third and final critical point.  Not only was there a sordid psycho-sexual aspect of what took place that was against everything this man professed to be of a personal nature as a leader of a social movement, he also betrayed the confidence and trust of another intellectual leader and comrade in the movement, where, based on his documented language, it is a legitimate concern as to whether or not he would have been an actual physical threat to her if he had the opportunity.  With this third and final critical piece, his actions go beyond purely professional ethical violations and public misrepresentations of core values which demonstrate a willingness to degrade and objectify women.  His discussion moves into the realm of creating a physical environment that justifiably feels unsafe to core members.  As previously mentioned, there are other cases of women who have begun to voice their own troubling experiences, which at this time we cannot provide further details.

Therefore, even though we have all had an immense amount of respect for this man over the years, the recent events show he isn’t worthy of being in a position of influence and power over others, as he has abused it in the past, is abusing it presently and will assuredly continue this behavior in the future if no one attempts to at least stop him.

Although we are understanding that people will still hold their opinions about the veracity of the evidence against this man and come away absolving him of all guilt in this series of events, the primary thing we hope to accomplish is to warn those who are in the community about the ulterior motives of this man.  Once people are provided all the evidence, it is up to them to make a personal decision if they wish to continue their relationship with this person, be it personal and/or professional.  We aren’t here to tell anyone what to do in any aspect, as freedom of thought and choice is something we believe in and respect.  However, we would be remiss if we didn’t provide people the total knowledge they need to make informed decisions.

As we know that many people will consider our revelation as being divisive and a planned attack for some fantastical reason that has no basis in reality, we can only say we received this information through no attempt on our part and will receive no reward for releasing it.  Once we became aware of it though, there was no other recourse but to bring it to the public sphere, as the ongoing pattern of behavior was spiraling out of control. There will be those who will cast aspersions against our character and accuse us of somehow profiting in some way from this event, even though this is anything but the case.  Still, there will be many people who will consider us turncoats, paid informants, subversives and every other form of accusation as to our motives.  Yet, we will almost assuredly lose more favor and receive heightened scorn through providing this information than any other outcome.  No matter what blowback we receive though, it is worth it to us to receive a mountain of negative response rather than live with the unconscionable act of staying silent in the face of knowing malfeasance.

We welcome all queries about the veracity of the information since the specific evidence is part of the public domain and not under our supervision.  We have nothing to hide and will vociferously defend our decisions in this matter since to be silent in this regard is criminal, if not legally, then definitely morally.

We are greatly appreciative of the support from our online community in bringing this to the fore.

Thank you.

Michael  Sliwa, Host of the radio show Nature Bats Last from August 2014 to May 2017

Derrick Jensen, Deep Green Resistance

Lierre Keith, Deep Green Resistance

Cory Morningstar, Wrong Kind of Green

Forrest Palmer, Wrong Kind of Green

Luke Orsborne, Wrong Kind of Green

 

+++

Psychiatrist, researcher, teacher, and author Judith Herman:

“Authoritarian, secretive, sometimes grandiose, and even paranoid, the perpetrator is nevertheless exquisitely sensitive to the realities of power and to social  norms. Only rarely does he get into difficulties with the law; rather, he seeks out situations where his tyrannical behavior will be tolerated, condoned, or admired. His demeanor provides an excellent camouflage, for few people believe that extraordinary crimes can be committed by men of such conventional appearance.  The perpetrator’s first goal appears to be the enslavement of his victim, and he accomplishes this goal by exercising despotic control over every aspect of the victim’s life. But simple compliance rarely satisfies him; he appears to have a psychological need to justify his crimes, and for this he needs the victim’s affirmation. Thus he relentlessly demands from his victim professions of respect, gratitude, or even love. His ultimate goal appears to be the creation of a willing victim. Hostages, political prisoners, battered women, and slaves have all remarked upon the captor’s curious psychological dependence upon his victim. George Orwell gives voice to the totalitarian mind in the novel 1984: “We are not content with negative obedience, nor even with the most abject submission. When finally you surrender to us, it must be of your own free will. We do not destroy the heretic because he resists us; so long as he resists us we never destroy him. We convert him, we capture his inner mind, we reshape him. We burn all evil and all illusion out of him; we bring him over to our side, not in appearance, but genuinely, heart and soul.”

 The desire for total control over another person is the common denominator of all forms of tyranny. Totalitarian governments demand confession and political conversion of their victims. Slaveholders demand gratitude of their slaves. Religious cults demand ritualized sacrifices as a sign of submission to the divine will of the leader. Perpetrators of domestic battery demand that their victims prove complete obedience and loyalty by sacrificing all other relationships. Sex offenders demand that their victims find sexual fulfillment in submission. Total control over another person is the power dynamic at the heart of pornography. The erotic appeal of this fantasy to millions of terrifyingly normal men fosters an immense industry in which women and children are abused, not in fantasy but in reality.”

FINAL-STATEMENT-AUGUST-26-2017-final-revision