Category: Food for Thought

Donald Trump, Fascism, and the Doctrine of American Mythology

Two scholars of fascism, NYU’s Ruth Ben-Ghiat and Yale’s Jason Stanley discuss Trump’s brand of authoritarianism and dissect the similarities and differences between Trump and fascist leaders Mussolini and Hitler. Actor Ty Jones, producing artistic director at the Classical Theatre of Harlem, perform’s Langston Hughes’s poem “Let America Be America Again.” Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting’s Adam Johnson breaks down how white supremacy and fascism are discussed in U.S. media, hypocrisy on Saudi Arabia, and the false both-sides paradigm on radical right-wing violence and terrorism. And hardcore punk musician Julian Cashwan Pratt of the band Show Me the Body talks about “Work Sets You Free,” a silent visual essay juxtaposing federal prisons in America with the band’s own footage of visits to concentration camps while touring Europe. Info on the screening of the film can be found here.

via Donald Trump, Fascism, and the Doctrine of American Mythology

Scum vs. Scum

We live on the precipice, the eve of the deluge. Past civilizations have crumbled in the same way, although as Hegel understood, the only thing we learn from history is “that people and governments never have learned anything from history.” We will not arrest the decline if the Democrats regain control of the House. At best we will briefly slow it. The corporate engines of pillage, oppression, ecocide and endless war are untouchable. Corporate power will do its dirty work regardless of which face—the friendly fascist face of the Democrats or the demented visage of the Trump Republicans—is pushed out front. If you want real change, change that means something, then mobilize, mobilize, mobilize, not for one of the two political parties but to rise up and destroy the corporate structures that ensure our doom.

via Scum vs. Scum

‘Think in the national language’ and other assimilationist proverbs | Overland literary journal

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But the mantra of ‘getting kids to school’ is a familiar one from Abbott. His government spent $80 million on the Remote School Attendance Strategy (RSAS), which produced no improvement: in fact, attendance slightly declined over the time the RSAS was in place. Regardless, there is little evidence that simply boosting attendance improves educational outcomes. Abbott might crave ‘structure, discipline, repetition’ for Aboriginal students, as he told 2GB, but that seems to reflect a zeal for behaviourist punishment more than any evidence in educational research (because, quite simply, attending school is not the same as getting an education).

In the context of the NT Intervention, school attendance was linked with new policing of Aboriginal lives in remote communities. The School Enrolment and Attendance Through Welfare Reform (SEAM) trial, rolled out in twelve predominantly Aboriginal communities in the NT and Queensland between 2009 and 2017, threatened parents’ welfare payments if their children had ‘unauthorised absences’. As the government’s review notes, ‘no statistically significant effect from the SEAM trial was detected on reducing students’ average rate of unauthorised absences throughout the trial.’ Yet 161 parents in the NT, and 180 parents in Queensland, were cut off their payments – and presumably, their ability to pay for essentials like housing and rent – at some point during the trail.

‘Think in the national language’ and other assimilationist proverbs | Overland literary journal

The breaking of Australian politics: why and how we got here

The BBC has long called Australia “the coup capital of the democratic world”.

Short-termism and political expediency is trumping long-term policy development in the interest of the country.

“… it is especially dismaying when science-denying hacks and self-serving industries block action that is in the obvious and urgent interest of all humanity. That should not be happening in Australia,” the Times’ editorial board tartly opined.

“Fundamentally the rise of right-wing populism is because of the rampant wealth and income inequality and the right exploiting race and gender politics to camouflage their wealth-concentration agenda,” he says.

“They use the politics of division to override their trickle-down agenda.”

via The breaking of Australian politics: why and how we got here

Historian on comparing Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler: “My resistance … is being overcome” | Salon.com

Why it’s not unreasonable to consider a comparison of Trump to Hitler and in Australia the right-wing conservative elite the IPA, politicians, News Corp and Sky News after Dark his agents down under, fighting to colonize Australia and have it another American puppet. Afterall we are inviting a wider military presance into the country. (ODT)

President Donald Trump is a symptom of a much larger problem. New research suggests that Trump’s supporters are so motivated by racism and bigotry that they may be willing to overturn American democracy so that white right-wing Christians like themselves can maintain continued power over our society.

Ultimately, history teaches many lessons. The question then becomes whether we are willing to learn them. How is Donald Trump similar to, or different from, authoritarians and fascists such as Adolf Hitler? In what ways are “regular people” and Trump’s “average” supporters implicated and responsible for his assault on democracy and campaign of cruelty? To what extend does the cruelty of Trump and his enablers toward immigrant children and other groups channel the evils of the Nazi regime? Do individuals working together have a chance to slow down Donald Trump and the Republican Party’s assault on American democracy?

What are some things that give you hope? What are some things that scare you and cause you concern and worry?

What gives me hope is the public resistance. I think that awareness is putting some obstacles in Trump’s path and has slowed down what otherwise might have been.

The scary part is the enablers and those other people who are in a position to stop Trump or otherwise restrict him but either aren’t doing anything or are actually making the situation worse. There are, of course, people in the Republican Party in both houses of Congress who are complete cowards.

Again, Hitler couldn’t do anything without people who helped him … and those people were not all Nazis.

via Historian on comparing Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler: “My resistance … is being overcome” | Salon.com

Myth of benevolent ‘Western democracies’ stoking aggression abroad, quelling dissent at home — RT Op-ed

© Dinendra Haria

‘Western-style democracy’ has become a play thing in the hands of Western policymakers, used to initiate regime-change operations abroad, while tamping down ‘unpopular’, public-supported initiatives at home. The charade needs to end.

via Myth of benevolent ‘Western democracies’ stoking aggression abroad, quelling dissent at home — RT Op-ed

Neoliberal Fascism and the Echoes of History

Long and Deep Food For Thought

Since the 1970s, American society has lived with the curse of neoliberalism, or what can be called the latest and most extreme stage of predatory capitalism. As part of a broader comprehensive design, neoliberalism’s overriding goal is to consolidate power in the hands of the financial elite. As a mode of rationality, it functions pedagogically in multiple cultural sites to ensure no alternatives to its mode of governance can be imagined or constructed.

Central to its philosophy is the assumption the market drives not just the economy but all of social life. It construes profit-making as the essence of democracy and consuming as the only operable form of agency. It redefines identities, desires and values through a market logic that favors self-interest, a survival-of-the-fittest ethos and unchecked individualism. Under neoliberalism, life-draining and unending competition is a central concept for defining human freedom.

At work here is a neoliberal project to reduce people to human capital and redefine human agency beyond the bonds of sociality, equality, belonging and obligation. All problems and their solutions are now defined exclusively within the purview of the individual. This is a depoliticizing discourse that champions mythic notions of self-reliance and individual character to promote the tearing up of social solidarities and the public spheres that support them.

 

 

 

via Neoliberal Fascism and the Echoes of History

The Lord of the Lies: Donald Trump’s uncivil war

Anti-politics is most evident in his emphasis on deregulation. The deregulatory clock defines the Trump presidency. With other presidencies, legislation matters. With Trump, the repeal of legislation matters. It is not just the repeal of Obamacare. It is the repeal of many constraints on economic and social behaviour. The deregulation model is simple: not to make regulations more efficient, just take a sledgehammer to them.

Three revocations are illustrative. The repeal of a requirement for oil and gas companies to report methane emissions; the repeal of an executive order protecting ocean, coastal and Great Lakes waters; and the revocation of flood standards for infrastructure projects. There have been more than seventy major environmental regulation rollbacks, and there will be more. It is the same for financial deregulation. The rollbacks of the Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank Acts are proceeding. Future risks are priced to zero; the lessons from previous crises forgotten. It is deregulation without foresight.

The irony of the Trump presidency is that he is pushing us towards self-regulation when he has never regulated himself. He has failed to honour commitments to employees, to contractors, to students, to tenants, to other taxpayers and to the truth. He has failed to regulate himself. It is failure against which we should regulate.

 

via The Lord of the Lies: Donald Trump’s uncivil war

Something is Rotten – » The Australian Independent Media Network

 

There is a foul stench emanating from planet earth. The noxious smell emanates from a single destructive paradigm. That festering greed is known as capitalism. On a single planet with finite resources, the philosophy of capitalism is terminal for the planet and all who reside on it.

Something is Rotten – » The Australian Independent Media Network

The end of civilisation? | The Monthly

Above is yet another example of Tony Abbott’s approach to ‘expert respectability’ $500,000 for ‘no advice’ in 2 years. Perception is all that counts. (ODT)

It was, declared The Australian’s resident theologian Greg Sheridan, “a pivotal moment in modern Australian history”. Was Sheridan referring to the arrival of the First Fleet, perhaps? The end of transportation? The celebration of federation? The landing at Gallipoli? The victory in the Coral Sea?

No, none of the above – something far more important: the Australian National University’s decision to end negotiations to establish a partnership with the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation. According to Sheridan, the university’s decision means that intellectual freedom at our universities is now imperilled.

This is hyperbole beyond the wildest imagination of even Gerard Henderson, but it shows just how seriously our national newspaper and its right-wing commentariat is fighting its culture wars. What was originally a minor controversy in academia has been blown up into a crisis of apocalyptic proportions. The Monthly

Western Civilization IS being taught at ANU, however, donor bribery such as the Ramsay Centre’s attempt isn’t being given the privilege to run its own tertiary course under the auspices of the ANU.  The Ramsay Centre is trying to buy interloper rights to their own specifications taking them outside the bounds of what it is the ANU represents. Tony Abbott is on the board of the Ramsay Centre trying to do what he did with Dr Bjorn Lomborg’s Copenhagen Center (which has nothing to do with Denmark)  to try to bribe Australian Universities to take on board and give legitimacy to his personal political bias on anti- Climate Change. All he was trying to do is provide respectability for a failing argument that was already being debated anyway. He failed and here he is repeating the same stunt. (ODT)

When one of his carefully selected directors, Tony Abbott, said the Ramsay Centre would be not only about Western civilisation but in favour of it and would have a say over curriculum design and staff appointments, he was merely following the script.

But of course the influence was supposed to be covert, not trumpeted in Quadrant – the idea was that the proposed centre could be justified within the umbrella of academic independence and autonomy, when in fact it could not. The Monthly

The end of civilisation? | The Monthly

immorality neoliberalism

The Immorality of Neoliberalism. 62457.jpeg

If we speak of liberalism, or neoliberalism, in today’s society, it’s usually in a negative sense. And that is remarkable, because liberalism was originally intended to ‘liberalize’ the citizen, that is, to free him from the ruling elite. How then did modern liberalism become a new instrument of oppression? And why is it time to take a new look at this prevailing system?

via immorality neoliberalism

On US Imperialism, Capitalism and Fascism

On US Imperialism, Capitalism and Fascism. 62476.jpeg

For centuries the U.S. has preached that it believes in democracy, freedom and self-determination, but its actions towards other countries speak louder than words. Internationally the U.S. is a predator and a bully. It subjugates small countries, corrupts them by backing right-wing dictators, and enables death squads to commit mass murder of all suspected dissidents. During the First Cold War leftists, anti-colonialists, nationalists and intellectuals were called “communists” and imprisoned, tortured and executed. Now they are called “terrorists”.

via On US Imperialism, Capitalism and Fascism

Seven signs of the neoliberal apocalypse | Van Badham | Opinion | The Guardian

Is the political zeitgeist an old spectre up for some new haunting? Or are the times more like a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “the combination of inequality and low wage growth is fuelling discontent. Time to sing a new song.”

In days gone past, they used to slice open an animal’s belly and study the shape of its spilled entrails to find out. But we could just keep an eye on the news.

Here are my seven signs of the neoliberal apocalypse:

via Seven signs of the neoliberal apocalypse | Van Badham | Opinion | The Guardian

Cultural Marxism – the ultimate post-factual dog whistle

An alt-right meme referencing 'cultural Marxism', a debunked concept that flourishes online. The wording co-opts fears ...

“They label movements for LGBT rights as ‘Marxist’ in the hopes that this will frighten people into voting against things like gay marriage,” McCarthy says.

A still image from a YouTube video that falsely claims that concepts such as social justice and feminism, among others, …
A still image from a YouTube video that falsely claims that concepts such as social justice and feminism, among others, are “cultural Marxism.” Photo: Youtube/EuropeanUnity565

“This is a clever rhetorical strategy, if dishonest or, charitably, simply deeply confused.”

McCarthy makes a firm distinction between Marxist theorists originating in the 20th century and today’s concept of “cultural Marxism”.

An alt-right meme referencing ‘cultural Marxism’, a debunked concept that flourishes online. The wording co-opts fears …
An alt-right meme referencing ‘cultural Marxism’, a debunked concept that flourishes online. The wording co-opts fears about demographic change in the world today. Photo: Supplied

via Cultural Marxism – the ultimate post-factual dog whistle

Where is our democracy heading? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

By Kyran O’Dwyer In terms of the changes facing modern society, the process of change by erosion presents as the greatest threat, in my opinion. We have had an erosion of trust in our public officials, caused by their all too frequent abuses of the very trust upon which they are reliant. We have had…

Source: Where is our democracy heading? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Does writing matter?: Richard Flanagan delivers the inaugural Boisbouvier Lecture | The Monthly

Every day we hear grim and grimmer news that suggests we are passing through the winter of the world. Everywhere man is tormented, the globe reels from multitudes of suffering and horror, and, worst, we no longer know with confidence what our answer might be. And yet we understand that the time approaches when an answer must be made or a terrible reckoning will be ours. Perhaps this is what BuzzFeed meant when it featured an article with the title ‘Ten Shitty Alternatives to Drinking Yourself to Death’.

Source: Does writing matter?: Richard Flanagan delivers the inaugural Boisbouvier Lecture | The Monthly

War: The Islamic State and Western Politicians Against the Rest of Us

On July 28, London’s Central Criminal Court of England and Wales, aka “the Old Bailey,” announced the conviction of Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary on charges of “inviting …

Source: War: The Islamic State and Western Politicians Against the Rest of Us

Israeli War Crimes: ‘In An Endless War On Terror, We Are All Doomed To Become Palestinians’ | Cognitive Liberty

Review of Jeff Halper’s Book Halper’s new book sheds light on the arms industry, arguing that Israel is now the go-to nation for armies and police forces around the world. For 18 years Jeff H…

Source: Israeli War Crimes: ‘In An Endless War On Terror, We Are All Doomed To Become Palestinians’ | Cognitive Liberty