Forevergate: The Pernicious Persistence of the Russian Collusion Delusion

Published online at Dissident Voice May 20th 2019, Global Research May 21st 2019

The official investigation into Russian collusion is over, after three harrowing, nerve-wracking years. I kid, of course. After endless news cycles, and various non-stories and wild-goose chases disseminated by mainstream media, one would think the country could move on. Yet this hasn’t been the case. It seems pretty straightforward: delusions about Russia continue because they serve empire.

Most serious people who have not had their brains parasitized by the ridiculous hand-wringing and caterwauling of mainstream media pundits understood Russiagate for what it was: a bunch of half-baked allegations against obviously corrupt yet incompetent stooges of the Trump campaign and administration, cobbled together to appear as some sinister, shadowy plot against America. That does not mean that Donald Trump is not a repugnant, amoral, serial liar who would do anything within his power to engage in damage control in regards to the behavior of his corrupt and incompetent lackeys, as well as himself. It simply means, in regards to collusion, there is no there, there.

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Interview with Balkans Post on Yemen

Below is my interview published today (March 3rd 2019) with The Balkans Post on the war in Yemen. Here is the link to the original:

http://www.balkanspost.com/article/795/saudi-led-coalition-failed-to-achieve-goals-in-yemen

Balkans Post: It is almost four years since the Saudi-led coalition began its aggression against Yemen with the support of Western countries. How do you assess their current level of support? Has it changed since the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi by the kingdom?

William Hawes: The support seems to be dropping. Germany has recently cut off arm sales. In the U.S. Congress bills will shortly be voted on to end arms sales and support to Saudi Arabia. Pressure is building in the UK to cut off arming the Kingdom as well. Definitely, it was the murder of Khashoggi that caused a shift in perception in the U.S. and the UK. What is revealing is how the death of one journalist somehow is more important than the U.S.-backed mass killings, drone warfare, starvation, and outbreak of preventable diseases, most significantly cholera.

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The Green Old Deal

There are a lot of things to like about the recent resolution for the Green New Deal. The commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the acknowledgment of the catastrophic events that will occur if the world does not act soon- these are all healthy signs. Like Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign which removed many stigmas about socialism, raising public consciousness about the structural changes needed to lessen the impacts of global warming are to be commended.

However, there are very serious problems with the language of the resolution, as well as the underlying assumptions, biases, and ideology which pervades the text.

Starting with an obvious problem, the “Green New Deal” is based on the political and economic mobilization of FDR’s New Deal. It was the New Deal, essentially, which saved capitalism from collapse in the US in the 1930s. If the Green New Deal is saying anything, it is offering cover to the ruling class- here is your propaganda model out of this mess you’ve created; here is another chance to save capitalism from itself. It’s a false promise of course, as no purely technological scheme based in a capitalist economy will be able to fix what’s coming, but it’s a very convenient narrative for capitalist elites to cling to.

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Discipline Will Remain…or Will It?

Last October, Philip Hammond, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the annual federal budget speech to the UK Parliament, said this: “Austerity is coming to an end, but discipline will remain.”

Talk about Orwellian doublespeak. The truth about austerity is that it is a means of social control, or as Hammond put it, discipline. Hammond’s recent comment is completely illogical. Austerity is economic discipline. Really, it’s just a way of making the poor suffer more, while continuing to bail out the rich every time they implode the economy.

It’s rare that the titans of finance slip up so well, and so egregiously with their language, but it happens, this being an excellent case study. Now we know, straight from the source, just what economic experts, being mouthpieces of multinational corporations, really want, just as much or even more than “austerity”: discipline! Or, another way of putting it, they want austerity, except we aren’t supposed to realize that we live in austerity anymore…or at least don’t try and resist. These people want a normalization of austerity, until we just accept that this is the way it is.

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Baselines for Activism: Brecht’s Stance, the New Science, and Planting Seeds

Published online at Countercurrents, Dissident Voice, Counterpunch, Nov. 15-16, 2018.

I’ve often wondered about the limits of activist’s reach and the lack of coherent, organized progressive social movements in the US. Does it come down to the precarious nature of our jobs, the stress, strain, and exhaustion caused by the realization of being a paycheck away from penury? Or is it all the fault of our monopolistic media, with the puppet strings controlled by their advertisers, the corporate giants and multinationals? Is it geographic distance from Europe where socialism advanced far broader and deeper into society? Could it be the anti-communist Red Scare that dominated the binary and delusional cold war mindset? Was it the very real threat and use of violence via Cointelpro, and overseas with Operations Gladio, Condor, etc? Is it deeper psychological issues stemming from the trauma of having to grow up in a cold capitalist world which leads to false consciousness?

It would seem to be a mixture of all of the above. Yet millions of citizens still are able to see through the mendacities inherent in our empire, in our collective cultural death-wish, and many millions more would be able to if provided the education, tools, and resources to see through the lies of our global system of capital.

Activists and educators must reconsider their approaches in light of the repeated failures of international progressive organizations. In short, part of the failure lies with the leadership of non-profits, NGOs, community leaders, and the type of worldview they adhere to. For one, unstable vertical hierarchies are reproduced, with not enough feedback from concerned citizens and community-based, small-scale pressure groups. Also, technocrats and lawyers are relied far too heavily upon to perform band-aid, stopgap procedures in the social and environmental justice fields. Endless petitions and protests are planned which do not lead to fundamental change.

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Old Essay: The Reawakening of Tribal Consciousness

(Hey everyone, I thought I’d post this older essay from 2016 on my site for readers who may be unfamiliar with it. It’s included in my ebook as well as the 3rd edition of A Beautiful Resistance, the journal of Gods & Radicals.

The past few months have been busy here in New England, but I should have new content out soon- another long-form essay, as well as upcoming podcasts with Jason from Reason Bowl.)

First published on the website Countercurrents.org, Jan 28th, 2016.

THE REAWAKENING OF TRIBAL CONSCIOUSNESS:

The Spread of Ecological Wisdom and Confronting the Artifice of Capitalism

When we learn to come together we are whole
when we learn to recognize the enemy
we will know what we need to know
to learn to come together
to learn to weave and mend.

— Anne Cameron, Daughters of Copper Woman

I am the guardian of life
and death
all my children come back to me
I call you
conjure you
hide you in my breast
you nourish me with your bones
and live again.
I am your Mother Earth
your dark Mother Earth.
If you insist on destroying me
you will destroy yourselves.
Wake up
my children
listen to my cry.

— Claribel Alegría, “Gaia’s Cry”

Recent world events are playing out a drama unseen since the mid-17th century. When the Treaty of Westphalia was signed in 1648, European borders were drawn so that sovereign states would establish the sole rule of law within their own respective territories. Today, transnational capitalism, huge waves of immigrants from war-torn and poverty-stricken regions, instant globe-spanning internet communication, and the threat of fundamentalist terrorism are dissolving borders at a rapid pace. In its wake, the notions of duty, respect for environmental rights, citizenship, and nations are being reformed to shape this rapidly forming interconnected global culture. Leaders of modern nation-states are proving less and less adept at handling crises and managing world affairs: they turn to various technocrats within the maze of various government ministries, powerful businesspeople whose lobbyists write the laws for the legislature, non-profits and NGOs who carry out needed health and infrastructure projects, and community leaders from civil society who are able to wade through ethnic and tribal antagonisms with ease.

As nations falter due to weak links of shared identity between citizens, new ecologically and culturally conscious groups of people are linking together, as globe-spanning tribes based on tradition, ritual, spirituality, reciprocity, and love of the environment are gathering to create the most important movement of the 21st century. As refugees from the Middle East flee warfare, as Latin Americans leave their homelands due to little or no job security, and as highly educated East and South Asians emigrate to pursue advanced careers in engineering, science, and more, global tribes are forming that transcend the modern nation-state. Millions of people now have dual citizenship and conflicting allegiances between their nation of birth and their new homes.

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Review: American Nightmare: Facing the Challenge of Fascism by Henry Giroux

Published 8/15/2018 at New York Journal of Books.

As one of the greatest dissidents and public intellectuals of our time, Henry Giroux continues to excoriate the declining state of US politics and civic life in this new work. As an academic and leader in the field of critical pedagogy, Giroux is an expert on the United States’ descent into unrestrained economic neoliberalism and political authoritarianism, which he now correctly claims is converging into neo-fascism with the election of Donald Trump.

In this work, Giroux comprehensively documents the Trump regime’s anti-democratic trappings, yet he wisely focuses these proto-fascist tendencies within the framework of US history and political culture. Still, most of the material here documents the changes in US policy since Trump’s election, which while stomach-churning and nauseating, can get repetitive for avid news junkies who have already heard many of these scandals and pay close attention to current events.

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