Soap-Opera Coverage of G-20 Summit Mutes Police Repression of 100k+ Peoples’ Protest

How long was the first handshake between Trump and Putin?

What did they talk about in their secret meeting?

The media coverage of the G-20 summit is embarrassing. While a protest of over 100,000 people is undermining the legitimacy of the very foundation of capitalism which the G-20 is based on, the major news outlets would rather play “will they or won’t they” on Putin and Trump’s on-again-off-again relationship. These are people who really think they are doing their job as the “free press bold enough to speak truth to power.”

In Hamburg this week, Srecko Horvat and other organizers on the left are making moves to bring the populist indignation of the neo-liberal status-quo within the folds of revolutionary class consciousness. However, the two strong arms of the establishment working in tandem; the corporate media is directing coverage away from the mass movement and the police represses the masses themselves.

We are not surprised by the coverage of the protest through outlets like Bloomberg and New York Times which focuses primarily on petty property damage. Such blatant ignorance of critical analysis only re-asserts the fact that the property of the wealthy class is more important than the health of the labour and resources which is exploited through it.

Sure, most of the outlets mentioned the presence of the protesters (they could not get away with ignoring them entirely), but where are the interviews from the organizers and/or participants of the rally? Perhaps relevant interviews were not aired because the ideology infecting the personnel which runs the media establishment would prescribe that their audience tax their gray matter with critical analysis of the economic system they are embedded in.

This sends a clear message that the working masses must not be bothered or distracted from the media’s soap-opera version of global political affairs. Everybody still under the impression that the “free press” in America operates in the interests of the masses who passively consume the products advertised on the major outlets should be alarmed by this discovery.

The anarcho-socialist protest of this year’s G-20 summit is part of a rich history of resistance to global capitalism emanating from the city of Hamburg, Germany where the gathering of world leaders has been taking place these last few days. The habour city was the launching site of the attempted European socialist revolution following the Bolshevik take-over of the post-tsarist provisional government in 1917. One-hundred years later, it has been the location of a counter-G-20 summit led by labour leaders and intellectuals who are building toward a radical international workers’ movement to challenge the hegemony of the ruling class.

Now, whether or not you agree with the anarcho-socialists and their questioning of all of the assumptions underlying the capitalist system which has been unjustifiably conflated with a perverse version of corporate democracy shaping world affairs today, it is important to know about the activity of the leftist masses which coalesced at Hamburg this week. If you work for a living, know that there are people risking their lives to organize society in a way that works for you, your family and the international class of people who are currently being exploited by today’s system.

We will be staying in touch to talk more about the proceedings of the counter-G20 labour summit.

 

Toward a Class Analysis of China’s Radical Belt and Road Initiative [BRI]

The Belt and Road Forum [May 14th-15th, 2017]

As the global forum on China’s Belt and Road Initiative [BRI] concluded yesterday [May 15th, 2017] we begin to process the proceedings of direct collaborative dialogue between twenty-nine heads of state and indirectly to 101 others through their delegations dispatched to the forum.

Belt And

In a nutshell, twenty-nine heads of states and representatives from 130 countries convened to discuss the “project of the century” characterized by technologically advanced infrastructure links [sea-port, high-speed rail, tunnel, etc.] between all the world’s continents. The second Belt and Road Forum [BRF] is expected to be held sometime in 2019.

The initiative, which has been gathering intelligence and capital resourced from over 100 countries puts the United States in a difficult strategic position: BRI is China’s idea and vision and it encompasses their efforts to become the political and economic center of gravity which naturally challenges US post-WWII hegemony. [The United States held half of the world’s wealth after WWII and set concrete measures in place to keep it that way.]

But there are much more important questions at hand than which country is at the steering wheel of world economic organization. As much as ruling classes would have the masses believe, politics is not a March Madness tournament where everybody puts on the same color and cheers for their favorite team. One has to consider, within and between each country, the complex relationships of different classes to each other and to the means of production and exchange.

Therefore, this piece is meant to drive discussion toward a class analysis of the Chinese-led “project of the century” as well as to provide useful background information and contextualization of the planning process of the initiative itself.

Where does the US Establishment Stand?

The United States is keeping its distance closing cultural and political channels to the BRI: While simultaneously keeping their own commentary to a minimum, media outlets like the New York Times is actively trying to undermine China’s efforts to reach its own public by attacking them for “propaganda.” If the picture is looking unclear at the moment, let us take a closer look at the United States’ conservative involvement in the initiative thus far.

Initially the United States loudly self-excluded itself from participation in the BRF. However, it was announced late in the  game that an American delegate would be present in the person of Matt Pottinger, former Marine and expert on Chinese affairs. As important as Pottinger’s presence is, the absence of Donald Trump despite being directly invited by President Xi of China requires careful contextualization.

Instead of cooperating in a Chinese-led initiative, the United States would rather use the N. Korea conflict as a pretext to increasing its military presence in the region to threaten Chinese efforts to lead cooperative international development. Chinese authorities have clearly articulated that the recent deployment of America’s THAAD anti-ballistic system in S. Korea is a direct threat to them rather than to N. Korea. There is a long history of false pretenses being used to justify aggressive military interventions which I will not repeat here.

It does follow, however, the importance of placing all American news stories about N. Korea in the context of China’s efforts to become the new economic center of gravity through the BRI. Recall the destruction of the “Sunshine policy” between N. and S. Korea by the W. Bush administration as well as the undermining of the peaceful nuclear power agreement signed by President Clinton in 1994. Clearly, a Nuclear N. Korea is an indispensable pretext for America’s aggressive military presence in the region.

But this kind of policy is not a new thing under the sun. Remember that when the Soviet Union collapsed back in 1990, the neoconservatives established the Project for the New American Century Doctrine. According to this doctrine, no state or group of states would be allowed to cooperate and surpass the economic or political strength of the United States. This goes hand in hand with the Charter of American States which denies the right of “economic nationalism” [the use of a country’s resources to benefit its own people rather than submit its economy to the structural adjustment programs imposed by global finance institutions like the IMF, World Bank and the WTO] anywhere in the western hemisphere. Indeed, according to these doctrines, the threat of “technological sophistication of third world nations” must be prevented at all costs.

On the other hand, the BRI is gathering the capital of over 100 nations to summon the emergence of new financial institutions to challenge United States economic hegemony. Indeed, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank [AIIB], the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the New Development Bank, the Maritime Silk Road Fund and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. As of now, it is unclear to us if these new economic institutions share the same systemic weakness as the major western banks which lead to successive economic crashes and bail-outs at the population’s expense.

We see now that the United States’ conservative approach to the BRI and the BRF fits cleanly in the type of foreign policy framework it has carried out since the end of WWII. Indeed, were it not for the United States propaganda machine’s strategic lack of informative coverage, there would be no reason for the American masses’ lack of critical awareness surrounding the Chinese-led Belt and Road Initiative [BRI]. The American media would rather keep you worried about Russia’s non-existent influence on last year’s election while Putin himself is giving a keynote address to 28 other heads of state about how to reconstruct the global economy.

Relationship to the Working-Class

Note that if world leaders get what they want out of the BRI, it does not necessarily follow that the working-class would also gain proportionally or even gain at from the outcome. This is why the working-class needs to be focused on wresting democratic control over any new developments linked to the BRI to ensure the well-being of their communities and families and their class as a whole is not undermined for the macro-economic buffering of ruling-class hegemony. 

First, understand and process President Xi’s framing of the project during his keynote address at the BRF.

“We should build the Belt and Road into a road of prosperity. Development holds the master key to solving all problems. In pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative, we should focus on the fundamental issue of development, release the growth potential of various countries and achieve economic integration and interconnected development and deliver benefits to all.”

This is the same kind of rhetoric that has been spouted out by political representatives of the 1% for decades. In the words of Bereket Simon, Chairman of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia and Adviser to Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, any semblance of economic success in his country has came from opposing the kind economic “advise” of the IMF and other giants of globalization:

“Against the misgivings of neoliberal establishment, our initial answer to the daunting task of fighting poverty lay in the state-directed, agriculture-led development policy and strategy aimed at poverty reduction. This is because agriculture, and specifically that of the small-holding farmers, is the backbone of our economy on which depends the livelihood of the overwhelming majority of our people.”

However, by also endorsing Ethiopia’s investment in the BRI, Simon seems to contradict himself. By attaching himself to macro-economic figures like a rising GDP, he overlooks the plight of his country’s working class whose labour is exploited to develop major infrastructure projects. Mr. Simon, if your economy depends on state-protected small-holding farmer families, how do you expect them to benefit by coming off the fields and placing themselves under the heel of global capital?

A “Master Key to Solve all Problems”?

The BRI itself, also called the New Silk Road Initiative, was first announced by President Xi of China back in 2013. It is a multi-trillion dollar plan to reconstruct the world capitalist economy through ambitious infrastructure development along with the concomitant “renaissance” of new cities centered around terrestrial and maritime trading routes. To illustrate, when it is all said and done, a passenger rail-road trip from London to Beijing would take only two days.

Whether or not it is supposed to result in “win-win” economic development as the Chinese president claims, it is important to be aware of the massive movement of intelligence and capital currently directed at achieving this ambitious endeavor. To express this, parts of Xi’s keynote address are worth quoting at length:

“Industries are the foundation of economy. We should deepen industrial cooperation so that industrial development plans of different countries will complement and reinforce each other. Focus should be put on launching major projects. We should strengthen international cooperation on production capacity and equipment manufacturing, and seize new development opportunities presented by the new industrial revolution to foster new businesses and maintain dynamic growth.

“Finance is the lifeblood of modern economy. Only when the blood circulates smoothly can one grow. We should establish a stable and sustainable financial safeguard system that keeps risks under control, create new models of investment and financing, encourage greater cooperation between government and private capital and build a diversified financing system and a multi-tiered capital market. We should also develop inclusive finance and improve financial services networks.

“Infrastructure connectivity is the foundation of development through cooperation. We should promote land, maritime, air and cyberspace connectivity, concentrate our efforts on key passageways, cities and projects and connect networks of highways, railways and sea ports. The goal of building six major economic corridors under the Belt and Road Initiative has been set, and we should endeavor to meet it.”

Before concluding, let us take another look at a few objective elements of this story. First, keep in mind that twenty-nine heads of state just met to discuss the BRI and America’s president was not there. Realize that the BRI is not just a proposal — It is already happening. For instance, in June 2016, heads of state from Mongolia, China and Russia signed a trilateral partnership consisting of 32 concrete project proposals. Today, over 100 countries are already investing and thousands of high-speed rail lines have already been laid down in different parts of the world. America’s dis-investment in the BRI is significant and also helps to clarify some of its recent foreign policy and PR campaigns against countries like Russia, Syria and the N. Korea.

We think  that many of the world leaders likely genuinely believe that the BRI will be a literal road to global peace and prosperity. However, as we develop our own class analysis of this burgeoning development, it seems clear that these hopes are lofty and unrealistic. We cannot see how the working-class masses can be liberated by a shift in economic hegemony from the West to the East or by the introduction of new infrastructure which can only make more efficient the exploitation of resources and labour.

Conclusion

We conclude that in order for the dream of “peace and prosperity” to become a reality, the working–class needs to be made keenly aware of these plans to alter the economic order. Following their rise is critical consciousness around these developments, citizens of the world would subsequently apply pressure on their leaders to ensure the safe-guards to prevent the exploitation of environment and the undermining of communities’ community economic self-sufficiency. We want you to take away that you have been selectively kept our of the loop of informative coverage of the BRI and other centers of power and control over the affairs that govern your relationship to capital. 

Remember that power is in the hands off the governed if only they would chose to wield it. Your apathy is an indispensable resource of ruling-class.

More on this as the coming days reveal new information.

The Origin of Working-Class Apathy and What We Can do to Change it

Perhaps the person sitting next to you on the bus is facing a serious challenge for which you know the perfect solution, but because of the dissolution of community and its replacement with a culture of staunch individualism, you fail to connect with or even contact the eyes of her nor any of the other conscious beings who populate your direct environment. Individuals as such fail to identify and act upon shared challenges and enrich the common living space with an atmosphere of respect and solidarity.

Despite the fact that this situation describes a radical departure from the conditions selected for by biological and cultural evolution, individualism and concomitant apathy have become part of the assumed nature of the operations of urban society. Anthropologists have historically analyzed cultured as if it existed in suspended animation. Instead, we would like to link individualism and apathy to specific elements of economic class structure which we identify as their beneficiary and source.

Having been lost into centers of unaccountable private bodies, the organs of community control over their own affairs have left the masses in a state of powerlessness and apathy. Sentiments expressing the desire for a better society are uttered in isolation and gain little of the traction they need to trigger the reward-centers in the minds of the people and motivate them to continue carrying out a protracted struggle against their oppressors.

At least in the American cities of the Northeast, the intentional disengagement from basic grassroots social engagements are publicly displayed badges of honor. Ironically, both the individual and the scattered working class are harmed by carrying out this ethic.

Internalizing the Oppressor

By adopting a social disposition which benefits the ruling class, the workers have internalized the interests of their oppressors. As one carries out self-analysis, they may observe the ways in which their emotions are rendered through the lens of society to nourishment or detriment of certain sectors of that society. Having internalized the interests of the ruling class, we subconsciously leverage our vulnerabilities against one another. The individuals consume and waste products thus maximizing the re-absorbition of the exchange they receive for their labour back into the coffers of the ruling class.

Rather than sharing something they no longer need, working class people would rather sell out their natural allies telling them to “go buy their own.” Every time members of the same community fail to engage and collaborate on their identical challenges, they facilitate the power and control Wall Street has over their lives. We refer to this phenomenon as the hijacking the human faculties to facilitate the subconscious self-reproduction of a oppressive capitalist domination.

The Youth

If children reared in an atmosphere of lawlessness and oppression, children whose potency has been frustrated, do not manage during their youth to take the path of authentic rebellion, they will either drift into total indifference, alienated from reality by the authorities and the myths the latter have used to shape them or they may engage in forms of destructive action.” – Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

The future we are afraid of is already burgeoning within the hearts and minds of the kids. Anybody working in the schools is aware of the constant struggle trying to battle the system from within. We need people with critical consciousness working in schools and other public sectors of societies. Tell children the truth and give them the tools they need to build solidarity and literal class consciousness. Increase the agency of childhood by encouraging cross-grade socialization and collaboration on projects. If we give the youth a genuine sense of pride, step back and watch what they do with it, they will exceed our expectations.

Whereas alienation has been cultivated within the minds of the passing generations during the process of their education and socialization,  social dis-engagement has become an unquestioned aspect of our waking existence. It is time that we identify the source and beneficiaries of our apathy and judge our daily interactions on their efficacy in raising the social awareness of the working class.

What we can do?

There are plenty of opportunities. Apathy is not a natural condition but rather has been forced on us by social conditions designed by the ruling class. Ultimately we are working toward fundamental changes in the social structure and the relation of classes of people to the means of production etc. Of course there is no easy answer, but we know we need a diverse array of tactics within dynamic strategies.

As you aim to resolve the contradictions embedded in society,

1) Objectify and discard apathy

2) Use the commons as the commons. Reclaim any and all public spaces to develop the social consciousness of the masses

3) Encourage existing civil society groups like churches to denounce escapism and use them like they have in the past as centers for organizing and carrying out political action. Remind the congregations that the old testament prophets were all people who spoke truth to power and pointed out corruption wherever it was found. (“Is there no balm in Gilead?”)

4) Interact with people in an unexpected way that makes them think.

5) Allow connections to form and be a humble mediator of differing parties.

6) Mention to the workers that they ought to own the factories they toil in. Let them know that wage-labour is little different than slavery. Even if they don’t get it at first, it’s important to repeat and expose the people to key messages.

7) Take care of your physical, mental and spiritual health so we can be there for comrades in need.

8) Respect the youth as well as our elders.

9) Make time to spend time with like-minded people pre-figuring the world through the changes you each would like to see take place.

10) Organize yourselves in action committees, but don’t neglect guerrilla politics — In whichever institutions you happen to be a part of, strive to gain as much political influence as possible as individuals and maintain regular communication with your covert network of activists throughout the concrete jungles

We are in for a long protracted struggle. Meditate. Remind yourself always that the truth will prevail. And “most of all,” without being too hard on yourself about the concessions you need to make from time to time, “see to it that you do not lend yourself to the evils you condemn.”
Peace
Anthroblocc

The Creator of Capitalism and his 240-Year-Old Warning on the Danger of Corporations

You can leave Marx, Bakunin and Chomsky alone for now: One of the most clear reproaches of the power of corporations comes from the person credited with creating the theory of modern [capitalist] economics. Contrary to popular understanding, In 1776 Adam Smith clearly argued that incorporated industry is a danger to the people and a cancer to the “wealth of nations.”

Most high school and college students are familiar with first paragraphs of Adam Smith’s classic “The Wealth of Nations” in which he extols division of labour, but conveniently left out of the curriculum is his idea that it forces people into work that makes them “as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become.” The contrast between the two Adam Smiths; the dumbed-down mascot of capitalism and the true economist, is reified by the absence of his scathing condemnation of corporations from popular curriculum and consciousness.

“They are silent with regard to the pernicious effects of their own gains.”

The 18th century champion of capitalism vehemently warns that the unique qualities of incorporated industries would threaten the balance of civil society. The “exclusive privileges” of corporations warp the “natural” distribution of capital between the wages of labour, rent of land and the profit of stock. Here are a few points he makes to explain how and why this works…

“The masters, being fewer in number, can combine much more easily [than] the workmen.”

  1. “The monopolists, by keeping the market constantly under-stocked, by never fully supplying the effectual demand, sell their commodities much above the natural price, and raise their emoluments (profits) greatly above the natural rate.
    1. But what kind of capitalist despises excessive profit, you ask? Smith explains that “in reality, high profits tend much more to raise the price of work than high wages … [in that] the rise of wages operates in the same manner as a simple interest does in the accumulation of debt [whereas] the rise of profit operates like a compound interest. Corporations, says Smith, like to “complain much of the bad effects of high waged in raising the price, and thereby lessening the sale of their goods at both home and abroad. They say nothing concerning the bad effects of high profits. They are silent with regard to the pernicious effects of their own gains.”
  2. “Corporation laws enable the inhabitants of towns to raise their prices, without fearing to be undersold by the free competition of their own countrymen.”
    1. Thus a corporation also prevents the free flow of labour from one industry to another which would have occurred naturally in the absence of its by-laws.
  3. “In all disputes [between masters and workers] the masters can hold out much longer” by subsisting off of the stock they have already accumulated.
  4. The interests of corporations, unlike those of labourers, landlords and unincorporated merchants, is not strictly tied to the wealth of the nation.
    1. “…to widen the market and to narrow the competition is always in the interest of the dealers. To widen the market may frequently be agreeable enough to the interests of the public, but to narrow the competition must always be against it, and can serve only to enable the dealers, by raising their profit above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit, an absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow-citizens.”

“…they have become formidable to the government, and upon many occasions intimidate the legislature.”

So we see that by manipulating what Smith calls the “natural” relationship between the price of goods, labour and the rent of land, corporations acting in their own interest (as stated which, unlike those of labourers, are partially de-coupled from the interests of society as a whole) threaten the health of the different arms society and thereby threaten also the sustainable growth of the economy itself. In this system, the labourers and land-lords are stretched more thin than they would be in their “natural” state while the expanding corporations slowly overtake the wealth of the international market. The blood of the market begins to flow more and more exclusively through the heart of the burgeoning corporations while anemia spreads through the shrinking veins of the labour upon which parasite gains its sustenance.

Intimidating the Legislative Branch

Adam Smith’s connection between the unique power of corporations to their propensity to corruption helps to clarify the rhetoric in this year’s Presidential election surrounding the “power of money in politics.” By following the infringement on free trade by corporate industry to its logical conclusion, it is natural to suggest that such interests would be forced into imposing secondary measures of control to sustain itself against backlash directed against its hegemony.

Adam Smith explains that the opulent minority will naturally respond to any threat to its power by employing part of its stock to lobby governmental bodies to pass measures which preserve their interests. Or in other words, the energy used to attack corporate power will be re-directed toward measures to protect itself. In Smith’s own his own words:

“To expect, indeed, that the freedom of trade should ever be entirely restored in Great Britain, is as absurd as to expect that an Oceana or Utopia should ever be established in it. Not only the prejudices of the public, but what is much more unconquerable, the private interests of many individuals, irresistibly oppose it. Were the officers of the army to oppose with the same zeal and unanimity any reduction in the number of forces, with which master manufacturers set themselves against every law that is likely to increase the number of their rivals in the home market; were the former to animate their soldiers, in the same manner as the latter enflame their workmen, to attack with violence and outrage the proposers of any such regulation; to attempt to reduce the army would be as dangerous as it has now become to attempt to diminish in any respect the monopoly which our manufacturers have obtained against us. This monopoly has so much increased the number of some particular tribes of them, that, like an overgrown standing army, they have become formidable to the government, and upon many occasions intimidate the legislature. The member of parliament who supports every proposal for strengthening this monopoly, is sure to acquire not only the reputation of understanding trade, but great popularity and influence with an order of men whose numbers and wealth render them of great importance. If he opposes them, on the contrary, and still more if he has authority enough to be able to thwart them, neither the most acknowledged probity, nor the highest rank, nor the greatest public services can protect him from the most infamous abuse and detraction, from personal insults, nor sometimes from real danger, arising from the insolent outrage of furious and disappointed monopolists.”

“…to attempt to reduce the army would be as dangerous as it has now become to attempt to diminish in any respect the monopoly which our manufacturers have obtained against us”

Conclusion

The natural consequences of corporate behavior including the systematic exploitation of the working class have been concealed by the myth of generalized neoliberal prosperity. The strength of this lie is limited by the ability of the ruling class to indoctrinate the masses and internalize their values. As always, when the masses answer the demand to rise against their oppressors, the “tyrants will flee like a dream’s dim imagery”*

The most powerful weapon against any centralized power is today the same as it has always been: Organization. It’s no mistake that the culture has replaced for us community for individual competition. Rivers of resources exit ecosystems and rural and local communities and flow into the pockets of transnational corporations which operate in concert to under-cut local procurement and control resources. We have submitted the value of the faculty of our attention to be led into veritable cells fixed to screens which train us to be professional consumers competing for endless commodities like animals fighting over scraps that fall off the table of our gluttonous masters. Focused on our own petty gains against our brethren and neighbors we let them infiltrate our liberty and our democracy like a negligent farmer lets his crops be stifled by the overgrowth of noxious weeds.

In “the land of the free” corporations systematically limit our choices by designing for itself an economic environment in which men and women must perform menial tasks divorced from the meaningful relationship between the nature and fruits of their labour. No witch hunt is required because we can understand that the shift of corporate power from the economy to government fits within the logical frame-work of laissez-faire economics, and it is because these effects are predictable that any policy regulating industry or trade must be examined with the utmost suspicion and by those of us who rent themselves in service to unaccountable private power.

In conclusion, those who argue in favor of corporate industry; the ostensible “job creators” of society, have not only left-wing theorists to contend with: Their beef is with the revered “Father of Capitalism” himself, and he was not in the least bit ambiguous on the matter.

*From Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem “The Masque of Anarchy” composed when in Italy he heard news of fifteen dead and hundreds injured during the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester, England, August 16th, 1988.

Source

Smith, Adam. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 1955. Print.