Saturday, April 9, 2022

Engaging With a Former Russiagater


Nick Pemberton over at CounterPunch wrote something on March 23rd that I remember wanting to engage with.  As of this writing, I don't remember what it was that I wanted to say, but perhaps it will come back to me as I get on with it.  The piece is called "What To Do With Russiagate in 2022?"

So, let's get into it:

Now that a significant portion of the American population is willing to risk mutual nuclear annihilation because they dislike Russia I might owe some of the anti-Russiagate people an apology.

Indeed.  As Caitlin Johnstone has argued many, many times, the constant demonization of Vladimir Putin and sometimes Russia itself over the past twenty years was intended to produce precisely that effect.

Such an attitude about risking nuclear war may seem surprising until we remember that most of us have been asleep at the wheel even when we know climate change will take most of us down within a generation or two.

Yeah.  It's crazy isn't it?  I look at the stupid shit written by liberals lately, and even some leftists, and I think: Maybe there's no point to following politics.  What's produced by so-called "informed" people is such destructive nonsense.

Bringing in our collective death a generation earlier, especially when one is an older person who watches cable news, doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility. Saying this out loud gives me the shivers. But it’s even worse that no one is talking about this death cult. So let’s just call it what it is. The ruling class is not afraid to end all of life on earth. Preferably not today, but yes, within the century.

Yes.  I think the ruling class is that sick.  Many of them are shallow, deranged, deluded idiots.  But there's no doubt that there's clever psychopaths amongst them with massively evil, fucked-up agenda. I'll skip Pemberton's next paragraph and deal with the one that follows:

Let’s revisit Russiagate. This was the number one story for both liberals and many leftists for a number of years after Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump in 2016. Looking back at it the most depressing thing about the whole ordeal was that the Bernie Sanders movement, such as it was, really wasn’t seen as a big enough threat to the status quo for the liberals to spend too much time blaming it.

There was hatred for Bernie.  The ingrate Hillary Clinton blamed him by FALSELY claiming that he didn't campaign for her after she cheated him.  (Goddamn but she is one entitled psychopath!)  But Pemberton is correct to say that Putin was made the big villain.  Perhaps because Clinton saw herself as a Mistress of Planetary Domination and domestic concerns were trivial compared to destroying countries and other exercises of the USA's superpower status, she decided to make a foreign president her chief nemesis.  But I'm speculating.  Anyway, let's continue:

They rather chose to conjure up ghosts of Cold War past and turn Trump-Putin into some sort of Red-Brown alliance when neither were communists or close to it. We should be disheartened that the New Cold War was not fought against insurgent socialism at home but rather against imaginary socialism abroad.

Bernie Sanders and others who claimed to be socialists were absorbed into the Democratic Party and were enlisted in the war against this fascism. Finding no place else to go I admit that I became one of the many people who thought of themselves as left who enlisted in this battle.

That was a fucked-up thing to do.  You wanted to fight against fascism, so you joined the Democratic Party's campaign against Trump wanting better relations with Russia?  First of all: Improved relations between nuclear powers is generally a good thing.  Regardless of Trump's motives, reducing tensions between the USA and Russia would have been infinitley preferable to the provocations that got us where we are today with a bloody confrontation in the Ukraine and idiots like Glen Pearson (some mediocrity that Owen Gray over at "Northern Reflections" thinks worthy of quoting) musing about whether nuclear war might be necessary to restore justice to the world.  Forget about Glen Pearson!  The White House Press Corp spends most of its time trying to goad Biden into escalating the conflict with Putin!  This is insanity!  

Also, a major cause of the rise in fascist sentiments is the bipartisan enforcement of neo-liberal, oligarchic policies screwing over ordinary people.  Tough economic times make people more conservative and they make stupid people angry which makes them fascist.  So attaching yourself to a shit-for-brains narrative like the Democrats' Russiagate is an entirely useless thing to do it you really want to fight fascism.

This was in part because the only alternative appeared to be forces even worse. Rather than oppose Trump and Clinton many jumped ship straight to Trump. Then came the virus and I found myself again taking up reactionary positions in reaction to the reactionary anti-liberalism of the left. I regret all of that because it felt like a war against the left which is exactly what both sides were brought into. Sure I regret bashing those who bashed Russiagate. But I still have to ask where were they taking us. Was it a place any better?

What a confusing paragraph.  So, "rather than oppose Trump and Clinton" Pemberton jumped straight to Clinton.  He admitted it.  He saw no where else to go.  Seeing two piles of dog-shit on the sidewalk in front of him he decided he had to step on one of them.  Personally, I chose to remain aloof from both Trump and Clinton.  I just made it my part to point out the inconsistencies of Russiagate and how the focus on an elite-manufactured conspiracy theory for three fucking years, attacking Trump for something he DIDN'T DO, was worse than a waste of time and only made his fans see him as being unjustly persecuted by corrupt liberal elites. With regards to the dizzying "reactionary positions in reaction to the reactionary anti-liberalism of the left" that Pemberton speaks of on the issue of the pandemic, I saw from his CounterPunch page that he was in favour of vaccine mandates.  I intend to go into a recent pro-virus screed from Christian Parenti at the GrayZone soon.  I'll leave it at that.  But what does he mean by "where were [Russiagate bashers] taking us?  Was it a place any better?"  

Did everyone who bashed the bullshit Russiagate conspiracy theory have a similar place we all wanted to take you?  For my part, a country that focused on Trump's racism, his actual crimes, and the continuities of his oligarch-serving policies with any of his predecessors, Republican and Democratic, and which didn't debase itself with stupid lies and outright fabrications, and which didn't get gullible liberals baying for Russian blood, would have been a better place than the place we are now.  For sure.

Here's an image to break-up the text:


Now for the first time since I became interested in the left I am seeing a unity amongst the left starting to emerge. It is no surprise that this unity comes from peace itself. Finding peace in the world is helping the left find peace with itself.

Where is this unity starting to emerge?  I see us as divided as we ever were.  Left-of-centre types continue to fellate neo-liberals and demand that we nuke Moscow.  And, obviously, we're divided about how to respond to a pandemic.

But now there is unity on the left and it’s very exciting. I am not seeing leftists trying to out each other as Kremlin robots. Nor am I seeing leftists trying to out each other as American nationalists. Rather I am seeing leftists joining hands and saying no to war. No to war between leftists and no to war against the working class.

I'm seeing both of these things.

There is no fog of war. To the contrary, the left is finding a space where neither ruling class propaganda machine dares to go. The propaganda machines of the ruling class have attempted to divide us. They have tried and they have failed.

It would probably be fun to smoke whatever it is he's smoking.

The ruling class has revealed itself as a class with false opposition within its ranks. Both sides claim to have an independent interest that represents a certain segment of the population. But we are seeing that all of this is a cover for more war against the working class and the ecology that sustains us. We are told that sanctions are within our interest and against the other side when we know while it may hurt our sisters and brothers more than us, it hurts us too.

This wouldn't have been a revelation to me twenty years ago.  Thirty years ago.  But whatever.

In times of war I see how the conservative left would question identity politics which was first adopted by the ruling class in order to expand the war effort, propagandize the marginalized and save the privileged from battle. I can see how the conservative left now detested the liberal left’s attempt to mobilize the state against the people, be it with coronavirus restrictions or protections for marginalized communities.

I have no idea what he's trying to say here.  Who is this "conservative left" that he has summoned?  Are they anti-Russiagaters?  Are they Marxists?  Are they (whoever they are) only now questioning identity politics because of the war in the Ukraine?  Most anti-Russiagaters/Marxists have long rejected identity politics or the cynical manipulation of identity politics/intersectionality.  He can see how they "now detested" [WHAT?!?] state imposition of "coronavirus restrictions [and] protections for marginalized communities."  What?  The anti-vax left never decried liberal defenses of oppressed minorities because liberals never genuinely defended oppressed minorities.  And I don't see how the war has changed these attitudes or even how Pemberton sees the war as having changed these attitudes.  The whole passage is incoherent.

Likewise, I hope the conservative left sees how their war against liberals had collateral damage against the most marginalized and how the freedom they advocated for was itself a divisive identity weaponization of privilege. I hope they recognize that the freedom they advocated for was just libertarianism that granted private benefits and grievance fulfillment to certain classes while leaving the poor they claimed to be representing far behind.

Is he talking about Russiagate or the pandemic???  Because the title of the piece refers to Russiagate.

Within my heart, I am still hostile towards the conservative left. I see them as advocating for damaging positions. How does one get over that? It’s difficult because the conservative left seemed to be against solidarity with many people. There is no sense in being stuck in a deadlock. We all have our preferences. We can call out the conservative left and stand with them. It’s possible.

What the fuck is Pemberton babbling about?  Are the debunkers of the Russiagate conspiracy theory the "conservative left"?  If so, why?  What IS the "conservative left"???  What did they do, specifically, that damaged the struggle?  How did Pemberton siding with the idiotic Hillary-inspired "Russiagate" conspiracy theory NOT hurt the left?  How did signing-on with that stupid, ridiculous distraction help the left?

So yes I was wrong to bash the left who bashed Russiagate. Maybe I still am. I can’t help it. But I am just as wrong as they were. The only mistake now is to be at war with any other living being on earth.

WHY WERE YOU WRONG PEMBERTON???  Because Russiagate produced the bloodthirsty Russophobia that has so many progressives actually considering whether the human race should be incinerated to thwart Putin's goals in the Ukraine?  Or because Russiagate was based on lies and distracted millions of US progressives and revealed them to be gullible, partisan hacks?  Why are you NOW, just as wrong as they were??  What are you wrong about???  There's only one mistake being made now though, and that's to be at war with anyone else.  So call off the class war then?  Live and let live with fascists?  What is this man trying to say???

I remember starting Pemberton's article now and not finishing it.  I think that I was having to leave for work but thinking it would be an interesting opinion piece to debate with.  I'm starting to think this is a waste of time.  Sigh.  Let's see if he says anything coherent coming up ...

Maybe I’m not speaking in the past tense. Maybe this war amongst the left is still happening and it is still necessary. Why? Because this is a war for peace that isn’t violent. Maybe the conservative left wins. Maybe compromise with them is so awful that it hurts lots of people. We would have to oppose such peace. At the same time, we’re aiming for peace. For everything. For absolute peace.

Now I’ve complicated things. I just said end war within the left and yet I’m still on the battlefield. However, what I’m attempting to do is recognize the worth of my opponent as a fellow traveler on earth. I will attempt to recognize this, forgive the person, understand the person and wish the best for them. I wish them no harm. I wish them no actual war. But a non-violent war between the left isn’t over and it will never be. Peace is not an endpoint but rather a willful war to maintain peace at all times. We will not rest until we achieve peace. When we achieve peace there is no end because the world is constantly changing and the peace must be maintained in a new way continually.

Nope.  Nothing so far ...

The wars fought now are called fifth-generation wars. This means massive propaganda efforts aided by technology. This was Russiagate and the fog it created that geared us up for this conflict. This too was Trump, a master of propaganda who fooled many leftists I am offering an olive branch to now.

What was needed was an explanation as to why Russiagate was wrong.  Then a description of who the Russiagate bashers were.  This description would link them to the anti-vaccine/lockdown/mask people.  Because I assume that's what Pemberton is getting at.  Jimmy Dore debunked Russiagate and is opposed to vaccine mandates.  So is Max Blumenthal.  And Christian Parenti and Michael Wolff oppose vaccine mandates and both of them are featured either at The GrayZone or the Jimmy Dore Show.  But I don't think everyone who debunked the eminently debunkable Russiagate is against vaccine mandates.  (I'm certainly not.)  They're not inherently related topics. I don't think any of those individuals were fooled by Trump.  Despite the fact that Dore's necessary pummeling of the disgusting Democrats attracts him a lot of Trump fan-boys, his political positions on immigration and welfare and police violence are the diametric oppostie of theirs. Pemberton needed to explain what he means by "the conservative left."  He hasn't defined his terms or even his argument.  This whole thing is a mess.

Is it this simple? A real war can bring an end to fake ones? No. Even comparing the leftist battles to real ones feels like a fantasy that dismisses the tragic loss of life. One day we can live in a world where the skirmishes between leftists matter. One day these skirmishes won’t just be tailing real wars the people have no agency in. One day peace will rule the day and conflict will he settled through debates like the left is having now rather than violence that erases dissent.

There is no competing with the modern weaponry of today. There is no war that can be won and therefore no war that should be fought. Our last weapon is peace. Let’s use it.

So we’re defining these terms. Left, liberal, conservative. The liberal and conservative positions represent those in power. The left is not in power. Therefore the left is forced to choose between being a liberal leftist, a conservative leftist, or a person without power. Is there peace in power? No. Is there power in peace? Yes.

So, confusing drivel, followed by a laughable statement about "defining terms" and ending with some hippy dipshit statement about the awesome strength of our weakness.  The sort of less-than-useless garbage that leftists use to comfort themselves in the face of their consistent failure.  Okay.  I really did read Pemberton's piece and respond to it in real-time as you saw here.  (If anybody read this thing.)  Obviously I didn't expect it to be so unrelentingly stupid.  Make of it what you will.


Anonymous said...

I think your fights with Montreal Simon are far more entertaining.

thwap said...

Trying to be a shit disturber? I hardly read him anymore. I agree with him that the Cons are awful. I just don't think that should be his single focus.

Anonymous said...

He called you ‘insane’ and Jackie Blue said you were ‘scum’.

I think don’t you should let that stand, because you are most honest and open minded than those two hacks.

thwap said...

Dear Anonymous,

As an anonymous commenter, you could very well be the anonymous troll who pesters me. So I'm sorry if you're not that person.

I'm well aware of what those two are capable of. But I'm pretty sure they haven't mentioned me since the last time I spoke of them. If they even did then.

It's not that big a deal.