Although I couldn’t bring myself to vote for Trump last November, I did not disguise my hope for his victory. His presence provided an imperfectly powerful impetus to critical and skeptical political analysis, one with which the establishment was visibly eager to dispense. Accordingly, the Biden Administration would be, and has since been, tasked with suppressing and discrediting such analysis. Under this technocratic regime, we are presented with the establishment’s singularly narrow vision of what human life can and ought to be, and we are instructed to dismiss every dissenting interpretation as the psychic outcropping of stupidity and bigotry, which might or might not be the same thing. Either you support the American government in its mission or you are “the enemy”, formed in a most contemptible crucible.
Perhaps the most important element of this mission is the program of American imperialism. While the masses are still heavily influenced by the mindless ideology of jingoistic pride, an increasingly large number of people, most of whom are struggling financially, are beginning to question why their taxed income is being spent on foreign military conflicts. Why, for example, do we have to finance the Israeli military? The libertarians have been asking that question for years, but now the progressives have emerged to ask a different question: what is the moral justification of our support for the Israeli military? Does the Israeli military behave in an ethically acceptable manner? What does the Israeli military do, anyway?
All of these questions, if pursued with diligence, lead to the same conclusion: namely, that the Israeli military is pursuing an imperialist project of its own, one which comes at a violently tragic price. Our patronage is indispensable to this project’s “success”, for lack of better term, and if we are to pursue an upright mode of living, then we must abandon the project immediately and commence to atone for our history of wrongdoing. This is very straightforward, but the Biden Administration must obscure it and seek to justify the project through dishonest, pseudointellectual means.
As the authoritarian state expands its dominion within American domestic life, the bourgeoisie are being taught to regard the empowerment of the state, and the disempowerment of the citizenry, as part of the welcome development of a virtuous political system. This miseducation has begun with the identification and publicized prosecution of certain unsympathetic criminals, the purpose of which is to persuade the masses that the authoritarian system is not only righteous, but effective. A collective lust for punishment is fostered among the subjects of the state, though it must never be sated, lest the authoritarian state undermine its own active raison d’être.
In the past week, we have encountered two especially provocative examples of this psychological phenomenon: the imprisonment of Derek Chauvin and the release of Bill Cosby. One could write an entire book on the psychic implications of either of these cases, but suffice to say they tantalize the agitated masses with the possibility of the righteous punishment of the wicked. The masses are eager to see Chauvin and Cosby, two villainous celebrities, vanquished on the global stage. The authoritarian state, which must continually assert its own omnipotence and infallibility, promotes public interest in these cases with the promise of the execution of justice. Alas, this promise was empty in both instances, as the vengeful public has been deliberately disappointed by the all-too-predictable outcomes.
In the case of Chauvin, the authoritarian state organized public demonstrations and encouraged public participation therein by presenting the protests as the fruits of grassroots activism. The mass media provided the gullible citizenry with incessant coverage of Chauvin’s trial and teased them with the hope and the expectation of retribution. It seemed as if a very large number of American adults, including those who were the most vocal about the need for retribution, sincerely believed that Chauvin could be sentenced to life imprisonment, if not capital punishment, for the crime of killing George Floyd. However, as we explained in a video released three months ago, neither verdict was possible, even theoretically, because Chauvin was ineligible for such a sentence, and the prosecution never pursued it.
In the last several decades, summer has become the season of Hollywood. It is during the warmest months of the year that the American film industry traditionally releases a barrage of blockbusters, most of them depicting a militaristic or pseudo-militaristic battle between easily identifiable forces for good and even more readily recognizable emissaries of evil. Alas, the perpetual pandemic has brought this practice to a partial halt, and in the absence of more familiar entertainment, the masses are being treated to something equally inconsequential but much more pretentious: a conversation between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin.
The conversation, which the mass media has advertised as assiduously as it may have promoted a Marvel movie, is the latest development in America’s fictitious moral crusade against the Russian Federation. The American campaign to depict Russia as the nucleus of contemporary evil extends several decades, at least, but the most recent variation pertains to murky allegations of “electoral interference”. The charge, one forged in political partisanship, is that Russian military intelligence agents have conspired to “interfere” in American elections to assist the Republican Party. We have yet to receive a coherent definition of this “interference” nearly five years after it was first proposed by the Obama Administration, but the ominous suggestion is that Russia is somehow attempting to effect the worst possible outcome of the American democratic process.
This hypothesis is predicated on a number of untenable propositions, the first of them being the idea of a functional democracy in the United States. The American masses are woefully misinformed on any number of subjects, but they understand all too well that there is something fundamentally wrong with their political system. Supposedly, the system is meant to serve them, but it obviously does not, and their frustrations with its malignant dysfunction have threatened to boil over. In fact, many people believe those frustrations already have, and that this “boiling over” was manifested in the election of Donald Trump. For all of his flaws, Trump appealed, at least initially, to some of the disaffected and disenfranchised, and it is hardly incidental that the intelligentsia have relentlessly attempted to attribute his electoral victory of 2016 to the Russians and to their alleged electoral interference.
I am doubting very strongly the merit of the work we are doing here in the political underground, or the independent media, or whichever term you prefer to describe the subcultural ecosystem in which this material is published and consumed. In creating a scheduled, even daily, product—the essence of which is an examination of the corporate news—we run a serious risk of replicating the corporate news model. Instead of watching Cuomo Prime Time or reading Jennifer Rubin, we tune in to the latest episode of Overwritten and read the corresponding essay. We become an extension of the corporate news, and although we sincerely attempt to accomplish some good therein, we are still troubled by our symbiotic relationship to that malignant entity.
There is no fundamental, elemental difference between Cuomo Prime Time and the Overwritten YouTube channel, or between the Rachel Maddow Show and the Jimmy Dore Show, or between Real Time with Bill Maher and the Young Turks. There is, we hope, a difference in the intellectual integrity thereof, but each of these programs is predicated on the theme of reactionary dogmatism. The corporate news media releases a report or declaration of some kind and commentators respond to it. It makes no essential difference whether the commentator is employed by that same corporate media apparatus or not: in either case, the result is punditry.
In acknowledging this, we do not intend to suggest that there is no possible benefit to critical analysis of the corporate media. While I am not a fan of the Jimmy Dore Show, I readily acknowledge that the program has helped to disillusion and de-propagandize some of the younger generation. Obviously, we should laud such a feat, but we must also recognize that disillusionment and de-propagandizing from the corporate news should not be a lifelong process: at some point in our viewing of Dore, or Overwritten, or whatever, we should acquire the skills required to interpret the news ourselves. We should not rely on our favorite commentator to think on our behalf or tell us what to think—and if we do, then we cannot truthfully praise the pundit in question for having disillusioned and de-propagandized his audience.
“The revolution will not be livestreamed.” The independent media will not defeat the authoritarian state, but it will continue to pacify many distressed peasants and encourage them to cope with their frustrations by “supporting” public figures who deliver an agreeable message. Perhaps the greatest failing of these public figures, the pundits and the commentators on YouTube and Twitter, is that they do not teach their audience how to think for themselves: they teach them only what to believe about a given issue or topic. They remain susceptible to malicious influence; perhaps not from the mainstream press, but certainly from the independent media, in whom they have placed a decidedly firmer faith.
Of all the public figures in the independent media, I know of none more malicious and destructive than Suzie Dawson, whose entire career, quite literally, is predicated on a cruel exploitation of the gullibility of the political underground. Dawson alleges, without even any circumstantial evidence, that “western intelligence agents” have been pursuing her across thousands of kilometers in three different continents for the past several years with the intention of assassinating her. On the basis of this laughable accusation, she has attempted to become a digital personality, one that she has marketed through ultra-mainstream social media platforms. Periodically, she solicits donations to “support” her as she petitions the Russian government for asylum, or so she claims: again, there is no evidence that she is holed up in Russia, evading those “western intelligence agents”.
Her latest demand for money pertains to Panquake, a proposed social media app for which she has been fundraising for the past couple of months. In the unlikely event that it ever comes to fruition, Panquake will ostensibly be a platform for people to discuss imperialism, surveillance, and similar subjects, but it will really be a forum in which Dawson’s supporters can talk about her, publicize her incredible tales of victimhood, and encourage each other to contribute financially to her latest “cause”. She claims to require more than $150,000 simply to initiate this venture—to say nothing of sustaining it—for which purpose she somehow convinced Jimmy Dore, Chris Hedges, and Lee Camp to make testimonials. We are expected to believe that the project, unrealized as of yet, must be worthwhile if men such as these are endorsing it, but I fail to see how this is any different from LeBron James telling me to drink Powerade.