In The Time of Covid-19, this time is different?


In The Time of Covid-19, ‘lockdown’, ‘social (physical) distancing’, quarantine is the reality for tens of millions, and with that the deprivation of the distraction of corporate sports compelled into a similar condition and with substantial loss in profits, once dormant critical thinking skills did become alert, and active, and did impel action for more than token redress, even reparations. And with the ascendance of independent, uncompromised media comes The Great Awakening.

The oh-so-long obvious widening of the chasm of social and economic inequality becomes evident, and with one callous, infuriating murder of a black man in the US, normally quickly ‘buried’ by corporate media, there is that spark, that catalyst for action. The most visible signs of oppression, those ubiquitous statues, start to fall, then more quickly – despite very anti-social, aggressive, highly militarised police – not just in the US, but in other countries, especially those former colonisers of The Grab for Africa infamy.

What better time then than to revisit the craft of independent, investigative journalism, a journalism that would be confronted by two words, economic sanction.

Quite apt, indeed timely, is this sample of Abby Martin’s body of work, and further incentive to make history by repudiating brutal, profiteering history, with statues the visible reminder, and making the message, with consequent expectations, pellucidly clear to policy makers. A brief retrospective,

Empire Files: From 1776 to Trump – White Mobs, Racist Heroes & Hidden History

An Ocean of Lies on Venezuela: Abby Martin & UN Rapporteur Expose Coup

The Empire Files: Empires Feed on Congo’s Treasure

The Empire Files: Native American Genocide with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

These are lively and informative presentations, and references that can banish any boredom from the sudden isolation from customary social interaction.

The imposition of brutal, sadistic US sanctions against Venezuela among other countries that seek an independent path would achieve much of its intended social, economic, and human destruction, a destruction which extended as far as to the drastic slowing of the momentum and wide exposure the independent current affairs programme had been enjoying as it was then forced to seek another platform.

Such cynical actions expose how US politicians, of either corporate political party, can capriciously and ruthlessly deploy policy destructive to another country’s citizens with the aim of attracting sizable political ‘contributions’, winning elections in states such as Florida in particular, in the process securing political favours and power and wealth in the US. Erratic or not, in this the incumbent US president with refreshing honesty discards any pretence of generosity or nobleness, as had his predecessors.

Ms Martin’s former platform, teleSUR, though much weakened, continues to fulfill its mandate to provide news and analysis relevant to the region Latin America and the Caribbean, and uninfluenced by foreign and domestic corporate interests, as evidenced in a recent broadcast. Independent media, as exemplified here, are in the ascendancy as traditional corporate media continue to pay the cost, and well deserved, of routinely failing to adhere to even the most basic of journalistic standards.

Inescapable from current epochal events is the insistent contention that, for untrammeled Imperial Hubris, Covid-19 will leave in its wake its legacy, Nemesis. Time to reach for a chair and a cup of coffee, and watch the dénouement? This time is different.

Statues fall among the colonisers, as some colonised temporise


And to think that it would take the sadistic murder in a US city of a US black man, handcuffed and restrained, to unleash decades of pent up frustrations. With Covid-19 and The Great Lockdown, tens and tens of millions of people would find themselves confined to home; loss of job or income, with mounting and intensifying debt and stress.

Worse for such quarantined was the compelled absence of the season for corporate sports. This applied more so to the US, where a clever distraction of jingoism – flag and national anthem for US sports played in the US between US teams – was de rigueur, reinforcing distraction from their increasingly dire social and economic plight, and distraction from imperial US foreign policy. George Floyd’s daughter would prove prophetic when she had said her murdered father would change the world.

There would be spontaneous protests worldwide by the afflicted and their supporters as the rampage of neo-liberal looting continued unabashed and unabated, not just in the traditional victim countries but at home of former and still aspiring colonisers, thus sparing few. Noteworthy, as these monuments to genocide, slavery and oppression fell, is the torrent of expert views, especially in complicit countries, to justify and support The Great Awakening, views that delinquent corporate media find themselves forced to acknowledge in the anxious expectation that this fever will quickly subside. That old saying of Humpty Dumpty. A sampling of the support and outrage.

At the New Statesman Prof Richard J Evans opines. Couple excerpts,

The history wars

‘When I was a child, in the early 1950s, much of the world map displayed on the classroom wall was still painted pink, depicting the “British empire, on which the sun never sets”. I learned to read from a primer called Little Black Sambo about a Tamil boy and his parents, Black Mumbo and Black Jumbo…[…]

‘When my mother’s home-made marmalade ran out, usually in August, we bought Robinson’s Golden Shred, which came with a free miniature “golliwog” figure.’

Respectable journalist Jonathan Cook joins the ranks of the unaccepting of the new narrative that statues are just badly misunderstood monuments of slavery and conquest that can explain the wealth of nations.

UPRISING: Symbols are Invested With Power; Don’t Dismiss the Importance of Toppling a Statue

‘But also the toppling of statues has clearly been very effective in sparking a debate about the crimes of empire – the stolen wealth that built today’s Britain – in ways that have rarely been possible before. The media has been full of discussions about the merits or otherwise of such direct action, what motivates the protesters, and what should be done with these disturbing relics of our ugly colonial past. It has put into question what “philanthropy” really means – a topic of current relevance given that a global elite, from Bill Gates to Richard Branson, now shape public policy. And it has given a rare voice to the black community to say how they feel about people who committed horrific crimes against their ancestors still lording over them in public spaces.’

From Ameya Tripathi, PhD candidate at Columbia U writing at Novara Media (NM),

Colston Should Have Stayed at the Bottom of the Harbour

To have bestowed respect on it, and using taxpayer’s money to do so, is further incriminating.

From NM’s Aaron Bastani, and to the point, one major coloniser,

No, Britain Hasn’t Been a ‘Force for Good’ in the World

(Telling is this. On July 4, Britain, former ruler of its 13 US colonies, permits reopening of many institutions that cater to social activities.)

Still at NM, an academic, Dalia Gebrial, addresses the obvious,

Pull Them All Down

‘It is inaccurate to view colonialism and slavery as simply a matter of legacy. Many of the injustices of today – of massive wealth inequality, climate breakdown and extreme labour exploitation – are rooted in these histories. The displacement and dispossession of poor, racialised people continues, and our global economy is actively driven by coloniality. Our relationship to historical figures like Colston is important because these figures wrote the blueprint for the world we exist in today.’

Margaret Kimberley of the Black Agenda Report has her insights posted at Consortium News. Two snippets of a sobering article,

Goodbye, Columbus

The perpetrators of crimes against humanity are often elevated to positions of respect and admiration. It all depends on who did the killing, and who was killed. Now the murderers are being called to account. […]

‘There is no statute of limitations for murder nor should there be for calling out people who have the blood of millions on their hands.’

The chilling reality, as depicted in graphic evidence that should have stirred the consciences of such colonisers and prompted some twinge of humanity, but failed to do so, merely confirms the lack thereof, an incorrigible proclivity to plunder with the more than commensurate brutality to assert dominion.

The above, a sampling of views from the UK and the US, where highly militarised armies of police, conditioned to treat citizens, to whom their duty is to protect and serve, as ‘the enemy’, were unleashed to deliver brutality on protesters, and even bystanders. Despite that scores of statues did come ‘atumbling down’.

Curiously, in some countries of Latin America, there was nary a ripple. For example, just a few years ago, the statue of Columbus was dethroned from its perch in the proximity to the Casa Rosada and condemned to a relocation elsewhere in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and replaced by one in honour of Arzuduy, an indigenous freedom fighter.

In Venezuela, such awakening was similarly unnecessary, leading to action earlier as local heroes replaced symbols of colonialism and brutal oppression. As visible symbols of national pride, dignity, were statues such as of Cacique Tamanaco, Cacique Guaicaipuro, and Juana Ramírez, ‘La Avanzadora’, freed slave and freedom fighter.

Venezuela, we will recall, was deemed ‘exceptional threat’ to the US by the Obama regime, launching the murderous sanctions, and subversion, that continues with ever greater ferocity today. The irony is that more, far more has been done there, and successfully, to improve the quality of life of its voiceless than by any US regime, present or prior. Telling.

Still a contrast can be found in many former colonies of Britain (or, derisively, Perfidious Albion) former colonies where ignorance of local history seems to be an endemic consequence of colonial policy, as many descendants, highly visible evidence of the introduction of a heinous social order into the world, find their sense of identity, and national pride, undermined.

One example. Some eight miles to east of Venezuela, an island that once formed geological, historic and cultural part, there occurred insistent protests against such symbols of slavery and extractive colonialism. While there is indeed a statue, one that honours Hyarima, cacique of a nation of The First Peoples, the capital city would instead have one of Columbus, and erected in 1881 by, of all people, a former slave-owner. And its pride of place? Of all places, an area named Independence Square.

Entreaties, incessant, by academics of which, activists, and even an incisive analysis by a newspaper columnist notable for a much earlier and still relevant observation, and even by a descendant of that very former slave-owner, all to no avail. The impasse would serve to prompt the sardonic observation that official inaction, temporising is due more to the paradoxical sense of prestige and self-affirmation attached to securing coveted invitations to mingle among the international diplomatic class (a class that might have fit the category in author JJ Thomas’ Froudacity), thereby attaining validation.

As if to confirm and reinforce the point came a highly undiplomatic intervention by, of all people, a Spanish Embassy official, who had what many consider the effrontery to caution local officials of an independent country, ‘Once again, and aware as I am, that this is up to local authorities, I think it would be wise to think twice about the consequences of our actions.’ Recommendation for ‘knowing their place’? Or to wait, as conditioned, for the now-gone Colonial Office of colonial days to decide on … imperial inaction? Curious. In the year 2020.

So, as the predictable counter-attack of deflection (and official savage violence) gets in gear, it is more than obvious that removal of the obnoxious presence, continual and subtle reminder of subjugation, is no deterrent to addressing present inequities, and modern day slavery. Rather it will serve as powerful incentive to root out similar injustices, actual or planned. Covid-19 and The Great Lockdown has allowed for the return and use of some critical thinking skills for very many, and with the realisation that, in good times and in bad, entitlements and wealth have been continuously extracted by the elite class, in the latter case, even at an increasing rate.

There is no alternative but to forcefully demand and monitor implementation of policy sufficient to redress the wrongs of a newer and more insidious form of servitude – those felled statues, with more to follow, should serve as symbolic reminder to all. The other alternative, a bleak future awaits.

Honduras, even deeper into the depths


Those Presidential elections in Honduras of 26Nov17. Were there to be any recount, the robbery would be exposed. Were there to be new elections, there would again have to be robbery to achieve ‘the Northern’ result.

How bad is it? Well, when even The Economist, well-established clarion for Western capitalism, calls out the farce that has been played out in Honduras, a ludicrous farce masquerading as ‘elections’, we know something is awry. We start off with this headline, Is Honduras’s ruling party planning to rig an election?Is Honduras’s ruling party planning to rig an election?, which sets the stage for the predictable dénouement. Read the rest of this entry »

US MSM, and a YouTuber’s opprobrium


For corporate MSM, truly Annus Horriblis. Very likely, Annus Fatalis. For media and legal analyst Lionel, the end could not come sooner. He holds forth on the faulty recollections of the ‘golden era’ of US journalism, an era that was as fake as the ‘news’ being peddled. Lionel tells it in his own irascible yet incisive style,   American News Media Were Never Great Just Better Than The Rancid Egesta We’ve Habituated To

As the saying goes, ‘The genie is out of the bottle’, and ain’t going back in. Alternative media are here, with credibility that has started to eclipse the diminishing, the fading lustre of ‘traditional media’. And in time.

The US MSM, that inexorable march to irrelevance


Prof Edward S Herman passed away in early November. Among his memorable achievements was his joint authorship with Noam Chomsky of that unsparing work of 2005, Manufacturing Consent. In it we would learn the extent to which the corporate media have been in active collusion with state power to sell a reality, no matter how preposterous, concocted to promote its agenda, an agenda inimical to the interests of the general populace, and not just domestic. Read the rest of this entry »

‘…and the weak suffer what they must’?


If we recall that oft-quoted observation attributed to Thucydides, ‘The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must’, the question arises whether that is the ‘natural order’ or whether ‘the weak’, in their increasing abundance in the midst of a surge in obscene wealth, are distracted into acquiescence or indifference. Curiously, that strategy of distraction seems to work mainly in the ‘advanced countries’ – aside the indigenous. Read the rest of this entry »

US Thanksgiving, debunking the myth


Shop till you drop! Black Friday! On the last Thursday in November the US celebrates its Thanksgiving. This farcical yarn cleansed of its bloody origins, sanitised, has been spun for generations of US children who, as parents should be better informed and more responsible, would then continue to perpetuate the myth – not quite using the day for  un-programmed socialising, truly celebrating life among family and friends and even welcomed strangers. Read the rest of this entry »

Economics, and without that cash outlay


Never too late to learn. And gain insights into matters that affect one’s daily life, and be better equipped to make more prudent decisions. Economics is one such discipline.

A recent post, A new paradigm for the introductory course in economics, at Vox has Profs Samuel Bowles and Wendy Carlin introducing a new interactive approach to studying, understanding and applying economics.

The course in economics, CORE Econ, is conducted through registration and an e-book, The Economy.

John Cassidy of the New Yorker did explore the e-book and did give his seal of approval. One observation in his post, A New Way to Learn Economics,

But the CORE material isn’t just for incoming students. It will also reward the attention of general readers and people who think they are already reasonably conversant with economics…

Of note is that the CORE Econ programme is a collaborative effort of a team of economists. The cost of the course? Zero. And the rewards? Judge for yourself.

‘Make the economy scream!’


That immortal statement by the US President Nixon. Back then the intended target was President Salvador Allende of Chile and his government. Unsurprisingly, in today’s environment the corporate MSM is more assiduous in studious avoidance of any mention of that event. Or any similar ones. But thanks to the internet and YouTube – so far – there is easy access to such sordid events and history. Read the rest of this entry »

Corporate MSM and the grab for Venezuela’s resources


The role of corporate media in promoting the conquest and submission of non-compliant nation-states has never been more evident. Indeed, they no longer see the need to feign adherence to any semblance of standards of journalism, especially in the case of a country rich in resources that considers its resources the patrimony of all its citizens. Read the rest of this entry »