Kalundi Serumaga – On Reinventing Europe: An Open Letter to Mr George Soros

Link to an article/letter by Kalundi Serumaga:

“On Reinventing Europe: An Open Letter to Mr George Soros”

 

This pieces raises many excellent points.  But it is also worth pointing out some questionable aspects of its theoretical framework and recommendations.  First, while the article characterizes the essence of Europe as Bonapartism, it does so by applying philosophical standards that originated in Europe, or at least drew from European precedents.  While it may well be fair to call the current hegemonic ideology of Europe (and elsewhere) Bonapartist, to treat all of Europe as monolithic and without counter-currents seems rather reductionist.  Second, the “tasks for EU civil society” include “2. Find out what your countries truly owe, and make them pay it back”  This is basically both a politics of victimhood and an expression of ressentimentFrantz Fanon once wrote, “The colonized man is an envious man.”  That seems accurate in this context, but as a statement of limitation of vision.  The last chapter of Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks explicitly rejected Serumaga’s approach, and that is a big part of why Fanon is a stronger theoretical reference point than what is expressed in Serumaga’s article.  Lastly, the article concludes by saying, “It is time for the North to (once again, after Ancient Egypt) learn from the South.”  This is a dubious offhand assertion of identity politics, yet again in the service of the valorization of victimhood status and ressentiment.  It is problematic mainly because, in a cynical way, “[w]e thus enter a cruel world of brutal power games masked as a noble struggle of victims against oppression.”

Tom Secker & Matthew Alford – Documents Expose How Hollywood Promotes War on Behalf of the Pentagon, CIA and NSA

Link to an article by Tom Secker & Matthew Alford:

“Documents Expose How Hollywood Promotes War on Behalf of the Pentagon, CIA and NSA”

 

Bonus links: Operation Hollywood: How the Pentagon Shapes and Censors the Movies and National Security Cinema: The Shocking New Evidence of Government Control in Hollywood and Hollywood and the CIA: Cinema, Defense and Subversion and Guts and Glory: The Making of the American Military Image in Film and “Modern Art Was CIA ‘Weapon'” and “Booting a Tramp: Charlie Chaplin, the FBI and the Construction of the Subversive Image in Red Scare America”

Frances Stonor Saunders – Modern Art Was CIA “Weapon”

Link to an article by Frances Stonor Saunders:

“Modern Art Was CIA ‘Weapon'”

 

Bonus Links: “How the CIA Secretly Funded Abstract Expressionism During the Cold War” and Who Paid the Piper?: the CIA and the Cultural Cold War and The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters and Archives of Authority: Empire, Culture, and the Cold War and The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America and Satchmo Blows up the World: Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War and Dance for Export: Cultural Diplomacy and the Cold War and Cold War Modernists: Art, Literature, and American Cultural Diplomacy and Music in America’s Cold War Diplomacy and Jazz Diplomacy: Promoting America in the Cold War Era and Fall-Out Shelters for the Human Spirit: American Art and the Cold War

Some of the books above applaud the anti-communist propaganda that the CIA, State Department, and other U.S. institutions were pushing/funding, while others are more critical.

What is sort of most bizarre about all this is that the Soviets took the bait!  That is, many people in the Soviet Union did believe they were falling behind the U.S. and western nations and their abstract art (etc.), as described in Moshe Lewin‘s The Soviet Century.

Ben Norton – Former CIA Director Admits to US Foreign Meddling, Laughs About It

Link to a news video by Ben Norton:

“Former CIA Director Admits to US Foreign Meddling, Laughs About It”

 

Bonus links: “Fake News on Russia and Other Official Enemies” and Killing Hope and “Overthrow: 100 Years of U.S. Meddling & Regime Change, from Iran to Nicaragua to Hawaii to Cuba”

Bonus quote: “Go search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.” Frederick Douglass – July 4, 1852

Mike Beggs – The Keynesian Counterrevolution

Link to a book review by Mike Beggs of In the Long Run We Are All Dead: Keynesianism, Political Economy and Revolution by Geoff Mann:

“The Keynesian Counterrevolution”

 

Bonus links: “The Left in a Foxhole?” (excerpt from Mann’s book) and “Liberalism: An Ideology of Exclusion” (this article rebuts Begg’s discussion of classical and modern liberalism, indicating that the archetype of all forms of liberalism is a politics of exclusion; in this case, merely elevating “the bourgeois and the intelligentsia” above others) and War and Revolution. Rethinking the Twentieth Century and Domenico Losurdo on Two Epidemics and “The Class Struggle on Wall Street” (“The problem [with Keynesianism] is, the rentier doesn’t want to be euthanized. Capital is not going to say, ‘okay, our work here is done, goodbye.’ So to maintain the social position of money-owners, you have to create an artificial shortage of money, and that’s another way of looking at the job of the central bank.”)

 

Bonus quote:

“class struggle is ultimately the struggle for the meaning of society ‘as such’, the struggle for which of the two classes will impose itself as the stand-in for society ‘as such’, thereby degrading its other into the stand-in for the non-Social (the destruction of, the threat to, society).

“To simplify: Does the masses’ struggle for emancipation pose a threat to civilization as such, since civilization can thrive only in a hierarchical social order?  Or is it that the ruling class is a parasite threatening to drag society into self-destruction, so that the only alternative to socialism is barbarism?”  Slavoj Žižek, Afterword to Revolution at the Gates: Selected Writings of Lenin From 1917 (pp. 209-10).