The Tory chickens come home to roost By William Bowles

24 June 2016

Ask yourself this: Why has immigration been made the pole around which, this entire referendum ‘debate’, has revolved? Why has the closet Nazi Nigel Farage of UKIP been given so much airtime?

Could it be the masses, hammering at the doors of Fortress Europe after we, that is the US-EU-NATO axis of pure barbarism, destroyed their countries, have something to do with it?

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Russia Today: A new kind of media? By William Bowles

2 July 2011

Is Russia Today a sign of things to come in the world media order?

A global, digital media cuts both ways or as they say ‘what’s good for the goose is also good for the gander’. The arrival of The Real News Network, Democracy Now! and grtv for example demonstrates what can be done, even on a shoestring budget. But to get onto the global media circuit still requires big bucks in spite of all the talk about ‘convergence’ and ‘citizen journalism’.

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The Capitalist Shakedown By William Bowles

12 October 2008

Marx Revisited“It is only in these dire circumstances that the United States, where private property is more sacrosanct probably than anywhere else in the world, is talking about some kind of nationalization of banks, if only limited. In financial circles they are now calling this ‘regime change,’ borrowing the term of course from a different context. But it is clear what it means: the end of neoliberalism, and the rise of aggressive government interventions into the economy. It represents a clear recognition that this is not a liquidity crisis that can be solved by pouring more money into financial markets or by lowering interest rates.” — Interview with John Bellamy Foster, “Can the Financial Crisis Be Reversed?

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Is it the 1930s all over again? By William Bowles

6 September 2008

The parallels with the situation in Europe prior to the outbreak of WWII surely cannot be avoided, for not only do we have an economic crisis that closely resembles the ‘29 Crash in its magnitude, the US-engineered invasion of South Ossetia could very well be a prelude to more dangerous provocations on the part of the US, in much the same way that German support for the fascist coup in Spain served as a testing ground not only for Hitler’s military machine but also to sew chaos and to test the reactions of two of the leading imperialist powers of the time, Britain and France. For what they all shared was a hatred of Bolshevism and ultimately, that’s what WWII was really all about, the destruction of the Soviet Union.

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Aprés la deluge — wracking up the fear quotient By William Bowles

20 August 2008

Russia is following a course “horrifyingly similar to that taken by Stalin and Hitler in the 1930s.” — Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s former national security adviser

The other night I went to a meeting on the situation in Georgia organized by the Stop the War Coalition at which one of the speakers was Boris Kargalitsky, a Russian leftie of long-standing, who made some interesting observations on the Russian government’s actions and reactions to the Georgian attack on Southern Ossetia. There are two, if not three, distinct stories to tell about the events that unfolded from 7 August. On the one hand there is the central role played by the US in orchestrating the attack and subsequent destabilization of the situation in the Caucasus, a part of the US strategy of “full spectrum dominance” of key resources and regions around the planet. And on the other there is the Russian response to ‘Darth Vader’ directly inserting itself into Russia’s backyard via its proxy, Georgia.  Thirdly, there is the role played by the Western media in orchestrating the events for public consumption, a campaign that tapped into generations of anti-Soviet, anti-Russion propaganda, utilizing all the usual stereotypes; the ‘Russian bear’, Russian expansionism, all of it dosed with the predictable racist sub-text.

“Neoconservative commentator Robert Kagan compared the Russian attack on Georgia with the Nazi grab of the Sudetenland in 1938.”

Predictable neo-Cold War rhetoric no doubt from the neo-con camp and largely meaningless but it does reveal just how surprised the US was by the Russian response. After all, Russia is seen as a has-been, dependent on Western largesse and not in any kind of position to challenge US hegemony. However, ‘the best laid plans of mice and men gang astray’ as they say. Russia has a powerful military equipped with nuclear weapons, it’s no defenceless, developing country and in all likelihood, the Russian response was not the one the US/NATO expected.

Everything is in flux
It’s less than twenty years since the Soviet Union fell apart and for much of that time the Western powers, led by the US and the UK/EU have largely determined the nature of the ‘new’ Russia, at least they have tried to, trusting that once the Russians got a taste of the ‘free market’ they’d be easy pickings for the pirates. The principle US objectives can be summed up as follows:

1) To open up the vast Russian market to foreign capital and products;

2) Remove Russia as an economic competitor to the US by neutralizing its ability to compete in the world’s markets, in other words reduce it to a third world country;

3) Remove and/or neutralize Russia as a military power to rival its own;

4) Destabilize the situation in the Caucasus/West Asian region as it attempts to extend its control eastwards — onwards and upwards toward China.

Unlike Kargalitsky’s English counterparts, who focused pretty much on telling us what we already knew (as well as the usual exhortations as to what we should do), Kargalitsky gave us an insight into how the Russian leadership responded to the US-engineered crisis and also how the Russians themselves reacted. He pointed out that to describe the Russian response as one of “intra-imperialist rivalries” was a complete misreading of the situation. This is not a war over markets but over strategic assets, of which Georgia is but the latest acquisition by the US. But at the same time Kargalitsky is under no illusions about the Russian response, it’s no move leftward. That said, it nevertheless represents a watershed in post-Soviet US-Russian relations, a throwing down of the gauntlet by the Russian state, a move not without its risks to be sure, but one that the US and NATO can do little about except make a lot of threatening noises about ‘repercussions’. Indeed, the members of NATO can’t even agree what the ‘repercussions’ should consist of.

It is within this context that we must view the vital role of the corporate media in orchestrating events for public consumption of which the timing of the Georgian attack was crucial, when the world’s media was focused on the opening of the Beijing Olympics. The degree to which the media has ignored the unprovoked attack on Southern Ossetia by Georgia is staggering; it simply ceased to exist, to be replaced by “a war between Russia and Georgia” at best and “naked aggression” by Russia at its worst. There can be no clearer indication of the role of the corporate/state media in selling the Empire’s objectives than the way this, the latest disaster has been presented. But it should be pointed out that there is a growing gap between what the public is really concerned about and the all-out propaganda campaign about the ‘aggressive Russian Bear’ rearing its furry shoulders above all those repossessed houses.

Russia: “We’ll nuke Poland!” goes the headline in the Sun on 14 August, 2008. But what the Russian General Nogovitsyn really said was, “Poland, by deploying [the system] is exposing itself to a strike – 100 per cent,” which is nothing less than the truth as Poland has placed itself in the frontline should a war break out. Who knows what the US promised the Poles (or what arms were twisted) but its actions over Georgia should be a lesson to the Polish government that no promise made by the US can be relied upon. And, upon reflection as simplistic as it may appear to be, it occurs to me that the US ‘encouraged’ Saakashvili to invade South Ossetia in order to panic the Poles into accepting the alleged missile defence system.

Georgia is yet another move in a game of chess; strike where you perceive your enemy to have weaknesses. So the Autonomous Region of South Ossetia (to give it its real name) has been simmering since 1994, held in check by the Russian presence, who find themselves sandwiched between Georgian and South Ossetian nationalists. It doesn’t take much to light the fire; make a promise (not kept of course) that you’ll back Saakashvili (or at least give Georgia the ‘nod’). Remember Saddam and Kuwait in 1990? Or, to go back further, US promises to Hungary in 1956. Thus as far as the US is concerned, Georgia is an expendable ‘asset’, a mere pawn in its game of expansion. Thus threat and counter-threat will no doubt flow from the outcome of Saakashvili being sacrificed on the alter of US capital and a world even more destabilized than it is already as a result of US/UK/NATO actions.

‘Chinese Torture’ or what goes around comes around By William Bowles

25 January, 2008

Dumping on China by the usual horde of Western pundits seems to be de riguer these days. Hardly a day goes by without some scary headline that either warns of the dangers of billions of Chinese getting a car, refridgerator, microwave or whatever and hastening on Climate Change and/or ‘swamping’ Western markets with an avalanche of cheap goods.

Amazing that for half a century the Cold War was all about ‘Red China’ rejecting the ‘market’ and the capitalist way of life and now they’ve got it, the self-same pundits are all whinging about the ‘threat’ from Chinese capitalism. Obviously you can’t win if you ain’t a white European or American (well at least that’s what they say for public consumption). The reality however is very different and it goes to the very core of the nature of capitalist economics, ‘expand or die’. The problem for Western Capitalism is that the new boy on the block, China, is just too big to take on and what’s more it now produces most of everything we buy in malls across the land.

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Trying to Square the Climate Circle By William Bowles

16 December 2007

Sink or Swim – The ‘choice’ apparently, is yours, according to Hilary Benn, but only if you can breath under water and swim

Here, in the UK we have a minister for the environment, Hilary Benn is his name, son of doyen of the ‘left’ of the Labour Party, Anthony Wedgwood-Benn, whose swings from right to left are by now legendary (he’s currently stuck somewhere on what passes for the left).

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Crunch time in ‘old’ Europe By William Bowles

24 June 2005

Euro BlairApropos my last piece (’Premature Burial’), although not my favourite commentator, Boris Kargarlitsky, enfant terrible of the late Soviet period has a piece, ‘The EU’s Crisis at the Top’ in the Moscow Times (23/6/05) that points to a very interesting phenomenon (but one largely confined to continental Europe more’s the pity) in which he says in regard to the French and Dutch rejection of the proposed EU ‘constitution’,

“In their initial reaction, the ruling elite seemed to takes [sic] their cues from the immortal words of Bertolt Brecht: Because the people proved unworthy of the government’s confidence, the government was forced to dissolve the people and elect a new one. Even before the results of the referendums in France and the Netherlands were known, the business media were abuzz with articles by the cream of the ideologue crop, stating that important matters should not be trusted to popular votes.

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Betwixt and Between By William Bowles

21 April 2004

“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.”
— Pericles, 430 BC

Much play has been made of Blair’s abrupt turnaround over the referendum on the new constitution for the European Union, with talk about it being a diversion from Iraq and/or the realisation that with the collapse of the Iraq adventure, Blair needs to re-insinuate the UK back into the ‘heart of Europe’. But what are the real issues here?

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Can Cancun? By William Bowles

13 September 2003

As things stand, it looks increasingly likely that either the WTO meeting will end with no decision being reached or the rich world will have to bite the bullet and make deep compromises over subsidies and open up its markets to the products of the poor countries of the world. This is a decisive moment in history for the entire planet that will decide in which direction we head as a species.

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