Gabbard, a low-polling 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, and an outspoken critic of American militarism, is, Clinton said, likely being groomed as a third-party candidate — you know, a spoiler, a total and utter nuisance to the official candidate — by . . . who else? . . . the Russians! And Stein, the Green Party’s presidential candidate in 2016, who therefore grabbed a small percentage of progressive votes that rightfully belonged to Clinton, was a “Russian asset.”
While Clinton has mostly received negative publicity for these stupid assertions, their crowning oversimplification has remained essentially unchallenged. In case you’re not aware of it, let me repeat it for you now: Russia is bad.
We topple democratically elected leaders and wage wars well beyond “the will of the people.” It’s not Russian interests that are the problem here, but domestic corporate and military interests, which could easily see democracy itself as a terrible inconvenience to their plans When antiwar voices begin getting dismissed as Russian assets, this looks like an early step on a pathway to hell.
“Russia plays very little part in the quintessential imperialist activity: the export of capital to the periphery and the extraction of profit from developing countries’ labor and resources.”
Russia is also said to be a non-imperial capitalist state, one still struggling to recover from the crisis of the Soviet collapse and the political and economic catastrophe of the Yeltsin years, when it degenerated into a near neo-colonial client looted by the US.
Russia is not a player in the dominance of monopolies and finance capital, nor does the export of capital play an important role (save the negative effect of on-going capital flight), nor do Russian trusts play any essential role in the division of the world resources.
Russia can be ranked as one of the world’s most powerful states only based on its military strength. Economically it shares the characteristics not of an advanced capitalist state, but of one on the capitalist semi-periphery. It plays very little part in the quintessential imperialist activity: the export of capital to the periphery and the extraction of profit from developing countries’ labor and resources. Russia’s finance capital is small, its exports predominantly raw materials, its industry weak, its multinational corporations minor, its economy plagued by low labor productivity.
Imperialism continues to be the main danger to the life and well-being of the peoples of the world. Our problems, humanity’s problems are rooted in imperialist domination of our nations and our lives. Specifically, this means the rule of the US imperialist boss and the secondary imperial powers in its orbit: Western Europe, Japan, Canada and Australia.
Russia, while a capitalist country, bullied by the US because of its independence (like Venezuela, Iran, Qaddafi’s Libya, Nicaragua) is not part of any imperialist cabal that threatens us. Rather the world powers of Russia and China find they must respond to imperialism’s efforts to subordinate them. Fortunately, their inconsistent resistance does provide openings for other peoples and countries to assert their own national sovereignty.
Make no mistake, the Democrats have been tacking to the right on foreign policy and burgeoning their tough-guy-interventionist credentials for decades now. Terrified of being painted as soft or dovish on martial matters, just about all the “serious” baby-boomer Dems proudly co-opted the militarist line and gladly accepted campaign cash from the corporate arms dealers.
Think about it, any Democrat with serious future presidential aspirations back in 2002 voted for the Iraq War – Hillary, Joe Biden, even former peace activist John Kerry! And, in spite of the party base now moving to the left, all these big name hawks – along with current Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer – are still Democratic stalwarts. Heck, some polls list Biden as the party’s 2020 presidential frontrunner.
More disturbing than the inconsistency of these political hacks is the vacuousness of the supposedly liberal media. After Trump’s announcement of troop withdrawals, just about every MSNBC host slammed the president and suddenly sounded more hawkish than the clowns over at Fox News. Take Rachel Maddow. Whatever you think of her politics, she is – undoubtedly – a brilliant woman. Furthermore, unlike most pundits, she knows a little something about foreign policy.
Enter Donald Trump. Ever since the man won the 2016 election, Maddow’s nightly show has been dominated the hopeless dream of Russia-collusion and a desire for Trump’s subsequent impeachment. Admittedly, Maddow’s anti-Trump rhetoric isn’t completely unfounded – this author, after all, has spent the better part of two years criticizing most of his policies – but her zealousness has clouded her judgment, or worse. Indeed, that Maddow, and her fellow “liberals” at MSNBC have now criticized the troop withdrawals and even paraded a slew of disgraced neoconservatives – like Bill Kristol – on their shows seems final proof of their descent into opportunistic hawkishness.
The corporate media paid only scant attention to recent protests in Russia led by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. It was reported that tens of thousands of Russians took to the streets in late July to protest a proposed raise in the pension retirement age for both men and women.
One would have suspected that Russiagate crusaders s would have jumped at the opportunity to exploit the protests as an opportunity to denounce “Putin’s Russia.” However, the corporate media did no such thing. That’s because the leaders of Russiagate in the US and Western ruling class don’t give a damn about democracy or the people. Their main objectives are war and austerity.
Furthermore, protests gave little for Russiagate loyalists to exploit. Protesters were not besieged by the state as would be expected from an “authoritarian” regime. Instead, Putin announced that he would listen to “all sides” of the issue. The Duma’s proposal to raise the retirement age for men to sixty-five and women to sixty-three comes amid several contradictions that have been developing in Russia for some time now. On the one hand, Russia has spent the last decade and a half crawling back from the disaster that was the fall of the Soviet Union. Over this period, Russia has raised the life expectancy and standard of living for millions of people to make up for the steep decline in living conditions that characterized the “shock therapy” austerity reforms of the Yeltsin era.
“The US ruling class’ addiction to Russiagate is not the product of some concern for ‘democracy’ or the condition of workers in Russia.” However, Russia is no socialist paradise. Capitalism remains the dominant system in Russia despite the very real progress that has been made under Putin. But the US ruling class’ addiction to Russiagate is not the product of some concern for “democracy” or the condition of workers in Russia. Russiagate is the ideological bedrock of US imperialist aggression toward Russia. Putin has become the scapegoat that masks the insidious interests of US finance capital and the Deep State. These forces desperately want to intimidate Russian leaders into reviving the wholesale theft of the country that took place from 1991-2000.
Russia-gate is a manifestation of American exceptionalism. American exceptionalism posits that the American way of life is the most superior way of life. It is the white man’s burden personified in the nation-state. The ideology burdens Americans, defined as white and preferably capitalist, with the duty to civilize those outside of their class and racial affiliation. The twin evils of white rule and capitalist plunder reign supreme and are expanded and protected by a third evil: militarism. American exceptionalism says that war redeems the uncivilized from the perils of ungovernability, capitalist plunder leads the uncivilized to prosperity, and white rule bestows humanity itself upon the non-white world.
Russia-gate is another myth of American exceptionalism made for and by the American oligarchy. It follows a long history of the American oligarchy’s need to create an “enemy” to vanquish as proof of its racial and economic superiority. Russian meddling in the 2016 elections has not been proven and will never be proven. The mental gymnastics that the US ruling class has performed to prove their own lie are truly astounding to watch.
Russia-gate has buried all truth underneath the lie that the US is under attack from Russia. Putin is under every bed and in every wireless router in America. Untold numbers of Russians are hacking into social media accounts and turning the “alt-left” into Russian trolls. Russia has been conveniently positioned as the most dangerous and heinous nation in the world to instill fear and pro-American chauvinism into the minds of struggling workers and poor people. Who better to promote the lies of American exceptionalism than the spooks in the American intelligence services that have been at the vanguard of Russia-gate since day one?
All seventeen intelligence agencies led by the likes of James Clapper and John Brennan coalesced with Hillary Clinton and her big tent of Wall Street donors to spread the Russia-gate lie back in 2016. Russia-gate’s intelligence objectives were always numerous. The first objective was to make Trump’s campaign promise to ease relations with Russia a political impossibility regardless of the orange billionaire’s actual intentions. The second was to politically neuter the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party in the aftermath of the DNC’s theft of the primary. And the third was to demonize radical and revolutionary forces capable of moving struggling workers and poor people, especially Black people, in the United States away from the two-party system and toward efforts to imagine independent political alternatives. These goals ultimately explain why publications like yours truly have been labeled dupes of Russia and subsequently censored on social media and why the Green Party’s Jill Stein was subject to federal investigation for ties to Russia.
People may find “everything” too abstract to be motivating, and they may suspect alarmist hyperbole in writers claiming “the whole of human civilization” is at stake. However, when we consider that climate crisis is, from here on, a much more accurate description than climate change , and that climate is the central formative feature of humanity’s (and every other species’) habitat, claiming the whole of civilization is now at stake seems hardly overblown.
But “everything” remains too big and abstract to wrap one’s mind around. And “mainstream” media (better called “corporate, state-capitalist, or imperialist media” ) has so grievously abdicated its responsibility of informing U.S. citizens about humanity’s impending climate peril that no brief summary of current science, no matter how impeccably documented, is likely to shake most Americans from their cozy, if dangerous, climate complacency. If climate change were really such an emergency, they must think, wouldn’t our politicians and media be screaming about it daily?
The chief coalition partners by the acronym RPEC (pronounced AR-pec), which stands for Race, Peace, Economics, and Climate. The proposed “movement of movements” (to some extent already in existence, based on ever-growing awareness of intersectionality ) would be called the RPEC Justice Movement. What the RPEC acronym lacks in verbal elegance, it makes up for in clearly designating the major movement partners—almost completely orphaned from “mainstream” political discourse—who have a compelling stake in uniting to fight the systemic injustice that so orphans them.
Like Dr. King, we see the urgency of racial, peace, and economic justice activists—along with the new contingent of climate activists—uniting in a powerful, timely intersectional movement. Climate justice or RPEC justice, any comprehensible, mutually acceptable name will do. But we do not think such a movement will succeed as long as it lets its voice be crowded out by the lying Russiagate narrative, where never-substantiated “Kremlin” hacks of the DNC are irresponsibly declared “acts of war.”
Does any RPEC issues activist seriously think we’ll remedy poverty and build the gargantuan new infrastructure required to address our climate crisis while maintaining a global military presence and footing the virtually limitless bills of a new Cold War?
One can only hope movements like the current Poor People’s Campaign , leaning so wisely toward an intersectionality like Dr. King’s, will step up and denounce the Russiagate narrative for the virtually endless harm it does our RPEC cause.
Nearly two years into the #Russiagate scandal, accusing people of being in league with Putin has become an almost daily feature of news coverage.
“Is it possible that we actually have a Russian agent running the House Intel Committee on the Republican side?” MSNBC anchor John Heilmann posited not long ago, referring to California congressman Devin Nunes.
The main source of the questions about Nunes was Hamilton 68, a website purporting to track the work of Russian social media bots in real time. An offshoot of the German Marshall Fund, the site represents an unpleasantly unsurprising union of neoconservative Iraq war cheerleaders like Bill Kristol and Beltway Democrats like would-be Clinton CIA chief Michael Morell.
Their Hamilton 68 “dashboard,” easily accessible online to civilians and journalists alike, supposedly tells us what the enemy wants us to think at any given moment. Citing a secret methodology, it claims to track 600 Twitter accounts for their “relationship to Russia-sponsored influence,” and regularly spits out mysterious conclusions about Putin’s preferences in the American political scene. More and more often now, the site’s pronouncements turn into front-page headlines.
If you don’t think that the endgame to all of this lunacy is a world where every America-critical movement from Black Lives Matter to Our Revolution to the Green Party is ultimately swept up in the collusion narrative along with Donald Trump and his alt-right minions, you haven’t been paying attention.
That’s because #Russiagate, from the start, was framed as an indictment not just of one potentially traitorous Trump, but all alternative politics in general. The story has evolved to seem less like a single focused investigation and more like the broad institutional response to a spate of shocking election results, targeting the beliefs of discontented Americans across the political spectrum.
A major target of this idiocy has been Sanders, who is already being pitched to the public as the Kremlin’s next Manchurian Candidate. “When Russia interferes with the 2020 election on behalf of Democratic nominee Bernie Sanders,” the Washington Post unironically asked last November, “how will liberals respond?” Unless you really believe that Bernie Sanders is a Russian agent, it’s incredibly suspicious that a major consequence of the #Russiagate mania has been the disappearance of progressive voices from traditionally blue-state media.
“Russia is one of the largest obstacles in the way of US expansionism, next to China — which should be enough to convince US activists to defend Russia from imperial attack.”
US hatred of Russia dates back to the Soviet period. This November marked the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution that produced the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or the Soviet Union for short. The successful socialist revolution in Russia signaled the end of capitalist hegemony and the beginning of an era where workers, peasants, and all property-less people would rule their respective societies free from exploitation. Bolshevism spurred a fierce response from capitalist profiteers everywhere, especially from the emerging US empire. The Soviet Union was immediately invaded by a coalition of imperial powers. These same imperial powers spread anti-communist fervor far and wide as a means to weaken the Soviet menace.
This same anti-communist sentiment is currently the backdrop for the anti-Russia hysteria that has spread to Washington’s every edifice. Alleged association with Russia or its president, Vladimir Putin, is seen as the highest possible crime to the Democratic and Republican Party establishment. Russian media has been blacklisted and President Trump’s campaign is under a permanent investigation for claims of “colluding” with the Russian government. The investigation has yet to yield any evidence to prove the claims. However, proof is not what the ruling class is seeking.
The new release from Wikileaks shows the CIA has all the tools it needs to leave “Russian” footprints behind its own hacking jobs. The spooks at Langley can pretend to be “Cozy Bear” and “Fancy Bear” at will. Therefore, “the question we ought to ask is, would the CIA frame Russia and hack the DNC?”
There is still no evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election. What substitutes for proof is nothing but an endless loop of corporate media repetition. The Democratic Party has plenty of reason to whip up hysteria in an effort to divert attention from its endless electoral debacles. What no one mentions is that the United States government has a very long history of interfering in elections around the world. Since World War II American presidents have used electoral dirty tricks, fraud and violence to upend the will of people in Italy, Iran, Guatemala, Vietnam and Honduras to name but a few nations. If possible brute force and murder are used to depose elected leaders as in Haiti and Chile. Amid all the hoopla about Russia’s supposed influence in the election or with Donald Trump directly, there is little mention of a successful American effort to intervene in that country. In 1996 American political consultants and the Bill Clinton administration made certain that Boris Yeltsin remained in the Russian presidency. There is no need for conjecture in this case. The story was discussed quite openly at the time and included a Time magazine cover story with the guilty parties going on record about their role in subverting democracy. The collapse of the Soviet Union had created an economic and political catastrophe for the Russian people. Oligarchs openly stole public funds while government workers went without pay. Russians lost the safety net they had enjoyed and the disaster resulted in a precipitous decline in life expectancy and birth rates. The United States didn’t care about the suffering of ordinary Russians. Its only concern was making sure that the once socialist country never turned in that direction again. When Yeltsin looked like a loser the Clinton administration pressed the International Monetary Fund to send quick cash and bolster Yeltsin’s government with a $10 billion loan. Clinton had an even more direct involvement. Led by a team connected to his adviser Dick Morris, a group of political consultants went to work in Moscow but kept their existence a secret. One of the conspirators put the case succinctly. “Everyone realized that if the Communists knew about this before the election, they would attack Yeltsin as an American tool.” Of course, Yeltsin was an American tool, and that was precisely the desired outcome.
The unnecessary and regrettable conflict between the U.S. and Russia over Ukraine brings to mind sad remembrances of important junctures at which I watched – as a citizen and a CIA analyst – chances for genuine peace with Russia frittered away.