September 27 2022 A Rising Tide of Fascism in Europe

     With the electoral victory of the alt-right in Italy, a rising tide of fascism now threatens all of Europe; Nazi revivalism has a staging ground and launchpad for the reconquest of Europe in Orban’s Hungary, LePen’s Nationalists in France and Vox in Spain are the unquestionable opposition to their governments, Sweden just elected a similar party of Nazi origins, and the new government of England has at best turned back the clock to the ideology and policies of the Thatcher era and at worst displays alarming cues of fascist dog-whistles which portend far worse horrors and depravities to come.

      Such are the times we live in, wherein an enemy we have fought for a century returns to seize its birthplace at the centennial of Mussolini’s March on Rome, as European political and social systems and institutions destabilize and begin transformational change from both the mechanical failures of their internal contradictions as terminal stage capitalism consumes the worlds resources and centralizes wealth and power to hegemonic elites, oligarchs which have become a quasi-aristocracy, and the carceral states of force and control which they create. Civilization itself is falling, but will such change be catastrophic or a rebirth of humankind as a free society of equals wherein democracy and our universal human rights are victorious; comes now an age of tyranny or Liberty? 

     Where do we go from here?

     As I wrote in my post of September 23 2021, When Things Fall Apart and the Center Cannot Hold, Embrace Change; Transformative change and the forces of Chaos lie at the heart of our universe, a reality and medium of being characterized by illusion and impermanence, as its central motive principal.

     Chaos is a forge of creation which endlessly generates contradictions and paradoxes as the forking points of universes, of multiplicities and relative truths, a wellspring of life and the realization of unknowns but also of our darkness born of attachment to externalities and that which is by its nature ephemeral and transitory, and moreover a world filled with falsifications of ourselves, echoes and reflections like the distorted images in funhouse mirrors which multiply into infinity as a theft of our uniqueness and our souls. 

     The trauma of death and of life disruptive change, and our immersion in a sea of grief, despair, and terror; when the anchorages and truths we cling to have shifted and cast us adrift into topologies of the unknown, when we dare to look behind the curtain and the figures of our faith are revealed to be lies and instruments of our subjugation, when these existential threats and crises of hope, trust, and faith combine as they have this past year with the loneliness of our modern pathology of disconnectedness, how shall we answer our nothingness?

      To this I say, how can we not embrace Chaos and transformative change, when it is endless and ongoing, and challenges us to live in the eternal now? Why fix and react wholly to its negative aspects as death and destruction, when it offers us equally possibilities of liberation from order and authority, self-creation, autonomy, and unknowns to explore, and a space of free creative play?

      Here is Yeats great and visionary poem The Second Coming, written in the wake of three successive mechanical failures of civilization as systems of order from their internal contradictions, the First World War, the Easter Rising of 1916, and the Russian Revolution of 1917.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;

Surely the Second Coming is at hand.

The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out

When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi

Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,

A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,

Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it

Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again; but now I know

That twenty centuries of stony sleep

Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

     As I wrote in my post of July 19 2022, Where Do We Go From Here?; There is a saying attributed as a Chinese curse but coined by the father of British Prime Minister Chamberlain in a speech of 1898, possibly a paraphrase of the line “Better to be a dog in times of tranquility than a human in times of chaos” in a short story of 1627 by Feng Menglong, “May you live in interesting times.”

     We are now living in interesting times; whether we make of our time a curse or an opportunity to enact systemic and institutional change rests with us, for the gifts of Chaos as destabilization, fracture, disruption, and systemic collapse from the mechanical failures of our civilization’s internal contradictions include opportunities for reversals of order, seizures of power, the reimagination and transformation of human being, meaning, and value, and the reinvention of our civilization and ourselves among the limitless possibilities of becoming human. 

     Guillermo del Toro, in his magnificent epic of migration and racial equality Carnival Row, episode seven The World to Come, has a scene in which two young successors to leadership of traditionally rival factions find themselves in love and in need of allies in a subplot which reimages Romeo and Juliet; the rebellious hellion Jonah Breakspear asks his Machiavellian lover Sophie Longerbane, “Who is chaos good for?” To which she replies, “Chaos is good for us. Chaos is the great hope of the powerless.”

    Let the forces of fascism find not an America abject in learned helplessness and submission to authority, crippled and dehumanized by the legacies of historical inequalities and injustices and divided by hierarchies of exclusionary otherness, but united in solidarity and refusal to submit to force and control; for in resistance we become unconquerable and free.

      As we are taught with the lyrics of the song Where Do We Go From Here?, in Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode 7 of season 6, Once More With Feeling, possibly the greatest musical episode of any telenovela yet created;

 “Where do we go from here

Where do we go from here

The battle’s done,

And we kinda won.

So we sound our victory cheer.

Where do we go from here.

Why is the path unclear,

When we know home is near.

Understand we’ll go hand in hand,

But we’ll walk alone in fear. (Tell me)

Tell me where do we go from here.

When does the end appear,

When do the trumpets cheer.

The curtains close, on a kiss god knows,

We can tell the end is near…

Where do we go from here

Where do we go from here

Where do we go

from here?”

       Here is an elegy for the Fall of America, a hymn to a dying hope and the lost grandeur of a nation and an idea of humankind as a free society of equals. When in a distant future the artifacts of our civilization begin to puzzle whatever beings arise from our carrion, and they ask who were the Americans, I hope such music as this lamentation remains to guide their questions.

     Yet hope remains when all is lost, and whether it becomes a gift or a curse is in our hands. These lyrics speak of the modern pathology of disconnectedness, of the division and fracture of our Solidarity, of subjugation through learned helplessness and the dominion of fear. But this is not the end of the story, nor of ours.

     Once More With Feeling ends not with abjection, but with The Kiss, between the Slayer and Spike, one of the monsters she hunts. A very particular kind of monster, who is also the hero of the story in its entire seven year arc; one who is made monstrous by his condition of being and forces beyond his control, against which he struggles for liberation and to recreate and define himself as he chooses, a monster who reclaims his humanity and his soul. This is why we continue to watch the show twenty years after its debut; we are all Spike, locked in titanic struggle for the ownership of ourselves with authorized identities and systemic evils, a revolution of truths written in our flesh against imposed conditions of struggle and orders of human being, meaning, and value.

      Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an allegory of Sartrean freedom in a world without inherent value or meaning, of the joy of total freedom versus the terror of our nothingness, and above all a song of the redemptive power of love to return to us our true selves.

      This is how we defeat fascist tyranny in the long game, after we bring a Reckoning for its crimes against humanity and its subversion of democracy; let us answer hate with love, division with solidarity, fear with hope, and bring healing to the flaws of our humanity and the brokenness of the world.  

     As written by  Luke McGee in CNN, in an article entitled The conditions are perfect for a populist resurgence in Europe; “Giorgia Meloni is set to become Italy’s first female prime minister, exit polls suggested on Sunday evening following the country’s parliamentary elections.

       IF confirmed, her victory will be historic not just because of her gender, but because she leads a party that is further to the right than any mainstream political movement Italy has seen since the days of its former fascist leader, Benito Mussolini.

     Her policy platform will be familiar to those who have followed far-right rhetoric in recent years: She’s openly questioned LGBTQ+ and abortion rights, aims to curb immigration, and appears obsessed with the idea that traditional values and ways of life are under attack because of everything from globalization to same sex marriage.

     It should be of little surprise to learn that one of her biggest fans is Steve Bannon, the man who largely created the political ideology of former US President Donald Trump and is credited with giving birth to the American alt-right movement.

    Her likely victory comes off the back of recent triumphs for the far right elsewhere in Europe.

     Despite Marine Le Pen losing the French presidential election to Emmanuel Macron, her supporters across the continent were heartened both at her share of the popular vote and that she shifted France’s political center dramatically to the right.

      In Sweden, the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats are expected to play a major role in the new government after winning the second largest share of seats at a general election earlier this month. The party, now mainstream, initially had roots in neo-Nazism.

     Europe’s conservative right certainly feels like it’s enjoying a revival after a few quiet years.

     “Something is definitely happening. From France and Italy, major European powers, to Sweden … it feels as though a rejection of the manifestly failing pan-European orthodoxy is taking hold among our citizens,” says Gunnar Beck, a Member of the European Parliament representing Alternative for Germany (AfD).

     AfD is a far-right party that became the first to be placed under surveillance by the German government since the Nazi era. At the time, the Central Council of Jews in Germany welcomed the decision, saying: “The AfD’s destructive politics undermine our democratic institutions and discredit democracy among citizens.”

     The AfD sent shockwaves through Europe in 2017 after securing over 12% of the vote in Germany’s federal elections, making it the third largest party and official opposition.

     Where is this momentum coming from?

     “The cost-of-living crisis is undermining governments and European institutions. Of course the war in Ukraine has made things worse, but things like the European Green Deal and monetary policy from the European Central Bank were pushing up inflation before the war. The erosion of living standards means people are naturally becoming dissatisfied with their governments and the political establishment,” Beck adds.

     Crisis always creates opportunities for parties in opposition, whatever their political ideology. But the politics of fear in the context of crisis does tend to lend itself more readily to right-wing populists.

     “In the case of Meloni and her party, she was able to criticize both the establishment figure of Mario Draghi, an unelected technocrat installed as Prime Minister, and the populists that had propped up his coalition government,” says Marianna Griffini, lecturer in the Department of European and International Studies at King’s College London.

     Griffini says that Italy’s recent woes have made it particularly susceptible to anti-establishments ideas. “We suffered as a country very badly in the pandemic, especially very early on. Lots of people died, lots of businesses shut down. We had a difficult time getting support from the rest of the EU. Ever since, the establishment and governments of both Conte and Draghi have been easy targets to throw rocks at.”

     Why does crisis create such a unique opportunity for right-wing populists?       

     “Most research shows that conservative voters have a greater need for certainty and stability. When our society changes, conservatives are psychologically tuned to see this as a threat. So it’s far easier to unite those people against real changes or perceived threats, like energy crisis, inflation, food shortage, or immigrants,” says Alice Stollmeyer, executive director of Defend Democracy.

     And there are plenty of perceived threats for the populists to point fingers at right now.

     “Rising food and fuel prices, falling trust in democratic institutions, growing inequality, declining class mobility, and concerns over migration have created a sense of desperation that unscrupulous leaders can easily exploit,” says Nic Cheeseman, professor of democracy at the University of Birmingham, in central England.

     He believes the current combination of crisis is a “perfect storm for liberal democracy – and it will take far greater efforts from those who believe in inclusion, responsible government and human rights to weather it.”

     The fact that we are talking about this most recent wave of populism means that, by definition, we have seen right-wing populists reach power before and we have seen them defeated. Why, then, is the prospect of another wave so alarming to those who oppose it?

     “The paradox of populism is that it often identifies real problems but seeks to replace them with something worse,” says Federico Finchelstein, a leading expert in populism and author of the book “From Fascism to Populism in History.”

     “The failures of political elites an institutions, they seek to replace with powerful, cult-like leadership. Trump was a natural at it and he encouraged others like Erdogan, Bolsonaro and even Orban to go even further,” Finchelstein adds, referring to the authoritarian leaders of Turkey, Brazil and Hungary, where democratic norms have been seriously undermined in recent years.

     He also points out that populists are “on the whole very bad at running governments, as we saw with Trump and others during the pandemic.”

     That, in a nutshell is the potential danger of this populist wave. At a time of severe crisis, those claiming to have solutions might make everything a lot worse for the citizens they end up serving. And if things get worse, more crises are inevitable, which means more fear is inevitable, along with further opportunities for the populists.

     In Italy, it’s worth nothing that Meloni is just the latest – if the most extreme – in a long list of successful populist politicians. Those who succeeded before her and entered government became her targets in opposition.

     If Europe’s crisis cycle continues, then it’s plausible that in a few years from now we will be discussing the rise of another extreme populist exploiting the fears of citizens. And anyone who follows European politics closely knows only too well that hundreds of such people are waiting in the wings, emboldened and encouraged each time one of their tribe takes on the establishment and wins.”

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 6 episode 7- Once More, with Feeling – Where Do We Go From Here?

Kurosawa’s Rashomon

Guillermo del Toro’s Carnival Row

Feng Menglong’s Treasury of Laughs, by Feng Menglong, Hsu Pi-ching (Translator), Paolo Santangelo (Editor)

Escher’s Drawing Hands film by National Geographic

The Big Red Book, by Rumi, Coleman Barks (Translator)

The Glass Bead Game, by Hermann Hesse

The Master of Go, by Yasunari Kawabata, Edward G. Seidensticker (Translator)

The Birth of Tragedy, by Friedrich Nietzsche


27 settembre 2022 Una marea crescente di fascismo in Europa

     Con la vittoria elettorale dell’alt-right in Italia, una marea crescente di fascismo minaccia ormai tutta l’Europa; Il revivalismo nazista ha una base di partenza e un trampolino di lancio per la riconquista dell’Europa nell’Ungheria di Orban, i nazionalisti di LePen in Francia e Vox in Spagna sono l’opposizione indiscutibile ai loro governi, la Svezia ha appena eletto un partito simile di origini naziste e il nuovo governo d’Inghilterra ha nel migliore dei casi riporta indietro l’orologio all’ideologia e alle politiche dell’era Thatcher e nel peggiore mostra segnali allarmanti di fischietti fascisti che fanno presagire orrori e depravazioni ben peggiori a venire.

      Questi sono i tempi in cui viviamo, in cui un nemico che abbiamo combattuto per un secolo torna a impossessarsi del suo luogo di nascita al centenario della marcia di Mussolini su Roma, mentre i sistemi e le istituzioni politiche e sociali europee si destabilizzano e iniziano il cambiamento trasformativo sia dai fallimenti meccanici di le loro contraddizioni interne in quanto il capitalismo allo stadio terminale consuma le risorse mondiali e centralizza ricchezza e potere alle élite egemoniche, agli oligarchi che sono diventati una quasi aristocrazia e agli stati carcerari di forza e controllo che creano. La stessa civiltà sta cadendo, ma tale cambiamento sarà catastrofico o una rinascita dell’umanità come società libera di eguali in cui la democrazia ei nostri diritti umani universali saranno vittoriosi; arriva ora un’epoca di tirannia o libertà?

     Dove andiamo da qui?

     Come ho scritto nel mio post del 23 settembre 2021, When Things Fall Apart and the Center Cannot Hold, Embrace Change; Il cambiamento trasformativo e le forze del Caos si trovano al centro del nostro universo, una realtà e un mezzo di essere caratterizzato da illusione e impermanenza, come principale motivo principale.

     Il caos è una fucina di creazione che genera incessantemente contraddizioni e paradossi come punti di biforcazione di universi, molteplicità e verità relative, sorgente di vita e realizzazione di incognite ma anche della nostra oscurità nata dall’attaccamento alle esternalità e a ciò che è per sua natura effimera e transitoria, e inoltre un mondo pieno di falsificazioni di noi stessi, echi e riflessi come le immagini distorte negli specchi delle case dei divertimenti che si moltiplicano all’infinito come un furto della nostra unicità e delle nostre anime.

     Il trauma della morte e del cambiamento dirompente della vita e la nostra immersione in un mare di dolore, disperazione e terrore; quando gli ancoraggi e le verità a cui ci aggrappiamo si sono spostati e ci hanno gettato alla deriva in topologie dell’ignoto, quando osiamo guardare dietro le quinte e le figure della nostra fede si rivelano bugie e strumenti della nostra sottomissione, quando queste minacce esistenziali e le crisi di speranza, fiducia e fede si combinano come hanno fatto lo scorso anno con la solitudine della nostra moderna patologia della discontinuità, come risponderemo al nostro nulla?

      A questo dico, come possiamo non abbracciare il caos e il cambiamento trasformativo, quando è infinito e in corso, e ci sfida a vivere nell’eterno ora? Perché fissare e reagire totalmente ai suoi aspetti negativi come morte e distruzione, quando ci offre ugualmente possibilità di liberazione dall’ordine e dall’autorità, autocreazione, autonomia e incognite da esplorare e uno spazio di libero gioco creativo?

      Ecco la grande e visionaria poesia di Yeats The Second Coming, scritta sulla scia di tre successivi fallimenti meccanici della civiltà come sistemi di ordine dalle loro contraddizioni interne, la prima guerra mondiale, l’insurrezione di Pasqua del 1916 e la rivoluzione russa del 1917.

Girare e girare nel vortice in espansione

Il falco non può sentire il falconiere;

Le cose non andarono a buon fine; il centro non può reggere;

La mera anarchia si scatena sul mondo,

La marea oscurata dal sangue è sciolta, e ovunque

La cerimonia dell’innocenza è annegata;

I migliori mancano di ogni convinzione, mentre i peggiori

Sono pieni di intensità appassionata.

Sicuramente qualche rivelazione è a portata di mano;

Sicuramente la Seconda Venuta è vicina.

La seconda venuta! Difficilmente quelle parole sono fuori

Quando una vasta immagine di Spiritus Mundi

Mi disturba la vista: da qualche parte nelle sabbie del deserto

Una forma con corpo di leone e testa di uomo,

Uno sguardo vuoto e spietato come il sole,

Sta muovendo le sue cosce lente, mentre tutto su di esso

Avvolgi le ombre degli indignati uccelli del deserto.

L’oscurità scende di nuovo; ma ora lo so

Quei venti secoli di sonno di pietra

furono irritati fino all’incubo da una culla a dondolo,

E quale bestia feroce, la sua ora è giunta finalmente,

Slouches verso Betlemme per nascere?

     Come ho scritto nel mio post del 19 luglio 2022, Where Do We Go From Here?; C’è un detto attribuito come una maledizione cinese ma coniato dal padre del primo ministro britannico Chamberlain in un discorso del 1898, forse una parafrasi del verso “Meglio essere un cane in tempi di tranquillità che un essere umano in tempi di caos” in un racconto del 1627 di Feng Menglong, “Che tu possa vivere in tempi interessanti”.

     Ora stiamo vivendo tempi interessanti; se facciamo del nostro tempo una maledizione o un’opportunità per mettere in atto un’an d il cambiamento istituzionale dipende da noi, poiché i doni del Caos come destabilizzazione, frattura, interruzione e collasso sistemico derivanti dai fallimenti meccanici delle contraddizioni interne della nostra civiltà includono opportunità di capovolgimenti dell’ordine, prese di potere, reimmaginazione e trasformazione dell’essere umano, significato e valore, e la reinvenzione della nostra civiltà e di noi stessi tra le possibilità illimitate di diventare umani.

     Guillermo del Toro, nella sua magnifica epopea di migrazione e uguaglianza razziale Carnival Row, episodio sette The World to Come, ha una scena in cui due giovani successori alla guida di fazioni tradizionalmente rivali si trovano innamorati e hanno bisogno di alleati in una sottotrama che rievoca Romeo e Giulietta; l’inferno ribelle Jonah Breakspear chiede alla sua amante machiavellica Sophie Longerbane: “A chi serve il caos?” Al che lei risponde: “Il caos ci fa bene. Il caos è la grande speranza degli impotenti”.

    Che le forze del fascismo trovino non un’America abietta nella dotta impotenza e sottomissione all’autorità, paralizzata e disumanizzata dall’eredità delle disuguaglianze e ingiustizie storiche e divisa da gerarchie di alterità escludente, ma unita nella solidarietà e nel rifiuto di sottomettersi alla forza e al controllo; poiché nella resistenza diventiamo invincibili e liberi.

      Come ci viene insegnato dal testo della canzone Where Do We Go From Here?, nell’episodio 7 di Buffy l’ammazzavampiri della stagione 6, Once More With Feeling, forse il più grande episodio musicale di qualsiasi telenovela mai creato;

 “Dove andiamo da qui

Dove andiamo da qui

La battaglia è finita,

E abbiamo vinto.

Quindi suoniamo il nostro applauso alla vittoria.

Dove andiamo da qui.

Perché il percorso non è chiaro,

Quando sappiamo che casa è vicina.

Capisci che andremo mano nella mano,

Ma cammineremo da soli nella paura. (Dimmi)

Dimmi dove andiamo da qui.

Quando appare la fine,

Quando esultano le trombe.

Le tende si chiudono, su un bacio dio lo sa,

Possiamo dire che la fine è vicina…

Dove andiamo da qui

Dove andiamo da qui

Dove andiamo

da qui?”

       Ecco un’elegia per la caduta dell’America, un inno a una speranza morente e alla grandezza perduta di una nazione e un’idea dell’umanità come società libera di eguali. Quando in un lontano futuro i manufatti della nostra civiltà iniziano a confondere qualunque essere sorga dalle nostre carogne, e chiedono chi fossero gli americani, spero che una musica come questo lamento resti a guidare le loro domande.

     Eppure la speranza rimane quando tutto è perduto e se diventa un dono o una maledizione è nelle nostre mani. Questi testi parlano della moderna patologia della discontinuità, della divisione e frattura della nostra Solidarietà, dell’assoggettamento attraverso l’impotenza appresa e il dominio della paura. Ma questa non è la fine della storia, né della nostra.

     Once More With Feeling si conclude non con l’abiezione, ma con The Kiss, tra la cacciatrice e Spike, uno dei mostri a cui dà la caccia. Un tipo di mostro molto particolare, che è anche l’eroe della storia in tutti i suoi sette anni di arco; uno che è reso mostruoso dalla sua condizione di essere e dalle forze al di fuori del suo controllo, contro le quali lotta per la liberazione e per ricreare e definirsi a suo piacimento, un mostro che reclama la sua umanità e la sua anima. Per questo continuiamo a guardare lo spettacolo a vent’anni dal suo debutto; siamo tutti Spike, bloccati in una lotta titanica per il possesso di noi stessi con identità autorizzate e mali sistemici, una rivoluzione di verità scritte nella nostra carne contro condizioni di lotta e ordini di essere umano, significato e valore imposti.

      Buffy l’ammazzavampiri è un’allegoria della libertà sartriana in un mondo senza valore o significato intrinseco, della gioia della libertà totale contro il terrore del nostro nulla, e soprattutto una canzone del potere redentore dell’amore per restituire a noi il nostro vero io .

      È così che sconfiggiamo la tirannia fascista nel lungo gioco, dopo aver portato alla resa dei conti i suoi crimini contro l’umanità e la sua sovversione della democrazia; rispondiamo all’odio con amore, alla divisione con solidarietà, alla paura con speranza e portiamo guarigione ai difetti della nostra umanità e alla fragilità del mondo.

     Come ha scritto Luke McGee sulla CNN, in un articolo intitolato Le condizioni sono perfette per una rinascita populista in Europa; Giorgia Meloni è destinata a diventare la prima donna premier italiana, secondo gli exit poll suggeriti domenica sera dopo le elezioni parlamentari del Paese.

       Se confermata, la sua vittoria sarà storica non solo per il suo genere, ma perché guida un partito più a destra di qualsiasi movimento politico tradizionale che l’Italia abbia visto dai tempi del suo ex leader fascista, Benito Mussolini.

     La sua piattaforma politica sarà familiare a coloro che hanno seguito la retorica di estrema destra negli ultimi anni: è apertamente in discussione LGBTQ+ e diritti all’aborto, mira a frenare l’immigrazione e sembra ossessionata dall’idea che i valori e gli stili di vita tradizionali siano sotto attacco a causa di tutto, dalla globalizzazione allo stesso sesso dership. Trump è stato naturale e ha incoraggiato altri come Erdogan, Bolsonaro e persino Orban ad andare ancora oltre”, aggiunge Finchelstein, riferendosi ai leader autoritari di Turchia, Brasile e Ungheria, dove le norme democratiche sono state gravemente minate negli ultimi anni.

     Sottolinea anche che i populisti sono “nel complesso molto pessimi nel gestire i governi, come abbiamo visto con Trump e altri durante la pandemia”.

     Questo, in poche parole, è il potenziale pericolo di questa ondata populista. In un momento di grave crisi, coloro che affermano di avere soluzioni potrebbero peggiorare tutto molto per i cittadini che finiscono per servire. E se le cose peggiorano, sono inevitabili più crisi, il che significa che è inevitabile più paura, insieme a ulteriori opportunità per i populisti.

     In Italia, non vale niente che Meloni sia solo l’ultimo, anche se il più estremo, di una lunga lista di politici populisti di successo. Coloro che hanno avuto successo prima di lei ed sono entrati nel governo sono diventati i suoi bersagli all’opposizione.

     Se il ciclo di crisi dell’Europa continua, è plausibile che tra qualche anno discuteremo dell’ascesa di un altro populista estremo che sfrutta le paure dei cittadini. E chiunque segua da vicino la politica europea sa fin troppo bene che centinaia di queste persone aspettano dietro le quinte, incoraggiate e incoraggiate ogni volta che una delle loro tribù assume l’establishment e vince”.

September 26 2022 Iran Awakens and Resists: State of the Revolution

For those now wakening to the revolt against patriarchy and theocracy in Iran, which has engulfed the entire nation in a public reckoning for a tyranny of Gideonite fundamentalism and medieval values authorized and enforced by a brutal Inquisition, herein is a witness of history on the state of the Revolution.

     We should find interesting the fact that our own fundamentalists who captured the Republican Party in 1980 and launched the Mayan Genocide in Guatemala as part of their imperial conquest of Central America which weaponized Protestant faith in service to capitalism and power, and who now wage counter revolution against democracy in America in the theft of women’s rights of bodily autonomy and the vote as well as crimes of vote suppression against Black citizens which attack the idea of citizenship  as well as equality, are near-indistinguishable from the regime of Iran’s mullahs. In Iran we are confronted by a future America, should we regress to a premodern civilization and abandon the values of the Enlightenment on which democracy is founded.

     I am also interested in how news of this fabulous revolution is reported, interpreted, and given useful context by our Fifth Estate. Useful to whom?

    First is a briefing by The New York Times, which prioritizes facts well but  recasts their meaning unrecognizably to promote Our Clown of Treason, Traitor Trump, as a visionary architect of the fall of the mullah’s regime in Iran, when the reverse is true;  Trump’s goal in sabotaging nuclear disarmament and provoking confrontation by assassinating the national heroes of both Iran and Iraq was to stop the regional democracy movement by tainting it as a foreign colonial intervention.      

     As written by David Leonhardt in The New York Times newsletter, in an article entitled Good morning. Iran is aflame with protests. Times reporters help you understand what’s happening;

“Ferocious dissent

Few independent journalists are working inside Iran today. But videos, emails and other information coming from inside the country suggest that Iran is experiencing its most significant protests in more than a decade.

The demonstrations began after a 22-year-old, Mahsa Amini, died in police custody on Sept. 16, having been arrested for violating Iran’s law requiring women to wear head scarves fully hiding their hair. This weekend, the protests spread to at least 80 cities, and demonstrators briefly seized control of a city in northwestern Iran. In response, the country’s security forces have opened fire on crowds.

In today’s newsletter, I’ll try to help you make sense of what’s going on.

Five main points

1. Iran’s government is again run by hard-liners.

In last year’s presidential election, the clerics who hold behind-the-scenes power in Iran disqualified nearly every candidate except for a hard-liner named Ebrahim Raisi. Since becoming president, Raisi has set out to reverse the legacy of his reformist predecessor, Hassan Rouhani.

“On multiple fronts, Raisi has ferociously swung the pendulum back to the kind of xenophobic policies and tone-deaf rhetoric witnessed during the Revolution’s early days,” Robin Wright wrote this weekend in The New Yorker. Among Raisi’s moves: calling for the police to strictly enforce the head scarf law, in a reversal of Rouhani’s policy.

Raisi has also taken a tougher line toward the U.S. In meetings connected with the United Nations gathering last week, for instance, he scoffed at the notion that Iran’s police were overly violent. “How many times in the United States, men and women are killed every day at the hands of law enforcement personnel,” he told journalists on Thursday.

As Wright described, “His voice rose so loudly and so often that it was frequently hard to hear the English translation through our headsets.”

2. The rise of hard-liners has contributed to growing desperation among young Iranians.

“The reason the younger generation is taking this kind of risk is because they feel they have nothing to lose, they have no hope for the future,” Ali Vaez, Iran director for the International Crisis Group, told The Times. (My colleagues Vivian Yee and Farnaz Fassihi went into more detail in this recent story.) Many Iranians understand they are taking existential risks by protesting, given the regime’s history of responding to past protests with mass arrests.

“I’m struck by the bravery of these young Iranians,” my colleague David Sanger, who has been covering Iran for decades, said. “And by the ferocity of their desire to get out from under the rule of this government.”

3. The economy plays a big role in the dissatisfaction.

In 2018, Donald Trump decided to pursue a high-risk, high-reward policy toward Iran. He exited a nuclear deal that Barack Obama had negotiated three years earlier, which had lifted many sanctions in exchange for Iran’s taking steps away from being able to build a nuclear weapon. Trump reimposed those sanctions and added new ones, betting that doing so would force Iran to accept a tougher deal and maybe even destabilize the government.

Over time, the sanctions — combined with Iran’s pre-existing economic problems — plunged the country into an economic crisis. “Many Iranians are struggling to make ends meet, thanks to an economy decimated by mismanagement, corruption and sanctions,” Vivian, who is The Times’s Cairo bureau chief, told me. “Some are even offering to sell their organs.”

She added:

In the past — say, when Rouhani first got elected, in 2013 — lots of Iranians felt genuinely optimistic that things would turn around, because Rouhani promised that the nuclear deal with the U.S. would help open up the economy and boost trade, along with getting the sanctions lifted. But the mood darkened when those benefits failed to materialize before President Trump scuttled the deal.

With the election of Raisi, a hard-liner who has spoken against returning to the deal and whose government hasn’t shown much flexibility in negotiations with Western powers over the last year, Iranians who had hoped for a recovery felt like there was no way things would improve.

Does all this mean Trump’s policy is succeeding? Many experts say it’s too soon to make that judgment. The policy has sharply raised the risk that Iran will soon have a nuclear weapon. And a week or so of protests does not mean Iran’s regime will collapse. If the regime does collapse, however, it will be fair to revisit Trump’s Iran legacy.

4. Biden is taking a tougher approach toward Iran than Obama did.

In 2009, during the last major wave of protests, Obama did relatively little to support them, out of a concern that Iran’s government could then portray the demonstrations as the work of foreign agitators.

This time, Biden is pursuing a more confrontational policy. “Part of the reason that there was a different kind of approach in 2009 was the belief that somehow if America spoke out, it would undermine the protesters, not aid them,” Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, who also served in the Obama administration, said on “Meet the Press” yesterday. “What we learned in the aftermath of that is that you can overthink these things, that the most important thing for the United States to do is to be firm and clear and principled in response to citizens of any country demanding their rights and dignity.”

One example: To combat Iran’s government’s attempts to shut down large parts of the internet and prevent protesters from communicating with each other, the Biden administration has authorized some technology companies to offer services inside Iran without risk of violating U.S. sanctions. The administration also allowed SpaceX — one of Elon Musk’s companies, which offers the Starlink communication service — to send satellite equipment into Iran.

“The technology available today makes it easier for Iranians to communicate in secret than ever before,” David Sanger said. “That’s why the Iranians are trying to bring down the whole internet inside Iran. That’s real desperation.”

5. In the short term, Iran’s government seems likely to prevail. Then again, revolutions are rarely predictable.

David put it this way: “History would suggest that since the state holds all the guns, this isn’t likely to last. But sometimes it’s a mistake to be a slave to past events. The successful Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 led many of us — me included — to suspect that Ukraine would shatter in a few days back in February.”

    So for the lies and illusions of our enemies and those who would enslave us. In part the failure of understanding of the elites for whom The New York Times serves as an apologetics of unequal wealth, power, and privilege is a sign of the fragility of their hegemony and the limits of their ideology; an equal part of this inability to bridge gulfs of meaning between bounded realms is the fact that elites do not see outsiders are fellow humans but only as pawns of their own interests, in a universe of nihilistic amorality in which only power has meaning and is real, a universe of psychopathic masters and dehumanized and commodified slaves.

     If you truly wish to see the world through the eyes of others, you must become one of them and fully inhabit the roles in which they are cast. If you are going to write about peoples and places and the great events of our time, go and look. This is why I travel to places which intrigue me enough to interrogate and write about; to disrupt my own preconceptions and to think in terms of real human beings and the conditions in which they must live.

     To make an idea about a kind of people is an act of violence.

     Now I must balance the falsifications of elites with the voices of Islamic women who are members of the culture involved here and speak as witnesses of history in the sacred calling to pursue the truth, relevant to the symbolic value of the hijab. Here I look to Balsam Mustafa writing in The Conversation, in an article entitled Iran protest at enforced hijab sparks online debate and feminist calls for action across Arab world; “Iranian authorities have cracked down on protests which erupted after the death in custody of a 22-year-old woman who was arrested by the morality police for not wearing the hijab appropriately. The death of Mahsa Amini who was reportedly beaten after being arrested for wearing her hijab “improperly” sparked street protests.

     Unrest has spread across the country as women burned their headscarves to protest laws that force women to wear the hijab. Seven people are reported to have been killed, and the government has almost completely shut down the internet.

     But in the Arab world – including in Iraq, where I was brought up – the protests have attracted attention and women are gathering online to offer solidarity to Iranian women struggling under the country’s harsh theocratic regime.

The enforcement of the hijab and, by extension, guardianship over women’s bodies and minds, are not exclusive to Iran. They manifest in different forms and degrees in many countries.

     In Iraq, and unlike the case of Iran, forced wearing of the hijab is unconstitutional. However, the ambiguity and contradictions of much of the constitution, particularly Article 2 about Islam being the primary source of legislation, has enabled the condition of forced hijab.

     Since the 1990s, when Saddam Hussein launched his Faith Campaign in response to economic sanctions imposed by the UN security council, pressure on women to wear the hijab has become widespread. Following the US-led invasion of the country, the situation worsened under the rule of Islamist parties, many of whom have close ties to Iran.

      Contrary to the claim in 2004 by US president George W. Bush that Iraqi people were “now learning the blessings of freedom”, women have been enduring the heavy hand of patriarchy perpetuated by Islamism, militarisation and tribalism, and exacerbated by the influence of Iran.

     Going out without a hijab in Baghdad became a daily struggle for me after 2003. I had to put on a headscarf to protect myself wherever I entered a conservative neighbourhood, especially during the years of sectarian violence.

     Flashbacks of pro-hijab posters and banners hanging around my university in central Baghdad have always haunted me. The situation has remained unchanged over two decades, with the hijab reportedly imposed on children and little girls in primary and secondary schools.

     A new campaign against the enforced wearing of the hijab in Iraqi public schools has surfaced on social media. Natheer Isaa, a leading activist in the Women for Women group, which is leading the campaign, told me that hijab is cherished by many conservative or tribal members of society and that backlashes are predictable.

     Similar campaigns were suspended due to threats and online attacks. Women posting on social media with the campaign hashtag #notocompulsoryhijab, have attracted reactionary tweets accusing them of being anti-Islam and anti-society.

     Similar accusations are levelled at Iranian women who defy the regime by taking off or burning their headscarves. Iraqi Shia cleric, Ayad Jamal al-Dinn lashed out against the protests on his Twitter account, labelling the protesting Iranian women “anti-hijab whores” who are seeking to destroy Islam and culture.

     Cyberfeminists and reactionary men

     In my digital ethnographic work on cyberfeminism in Iraq and other countries, I have encountered numerous similar reactions to women who question the hijab or decide to remove it. Women who use their social media accounts to reject the hijab are often met with sexist attacks and threats that attempt to shame and silence them.

     Those who openly speak about their decision to take off the hijab receive the harshest reaction. The hijab is linked to women’s honour and chastity, so removing it is seen as defiance.

     Women’s struggle with the forced hijab and the backlash against them challenges the prevailing cultural narrative that says wearing the hijab is a free choice. While many women freely decide whether to wear it or not, others are obliged to wear it.

     So academics need to revisit the discourse around the hijab and the conditions perpetuating the mandatory wearing of it. In doing so it is important to move away from the false dichotomies of culture versus religion, or the local versus the western, which obscure rather than illuminate the root causes of forced hijab.

     In her academic research on gender-based violence in the context of the Middle East, feminist academic Nadje al-Ali emphasises the need to break away from these binaries and recognise the various complex power dynamics involved – both locally and internationally.

     The issue of forcing women to wear the hijab in conservative societies should be at the heart of any discussion about women’s broader fight for freedom and social justice.

     Iranian women’s rage against compulsory hijab wearing, despite the security crackdown, is part of a wider women’s struggle against autocratic conservative regimes and societies that deny them agency. The collective outrage in Iran and Iraq invites us to challenge the compulsory hijab and those imposing it on women or perpetuating the conditions enabling it.

     As one Iraqi female activist told me: “For many of us, hijab is like the gates of a jail, and we are the invisible prisoners.” It is important for the international media and activists to bring their struggle to light, without subscribing to the narrative that Muslim women need saving by the international community.”

     As written by Vajed Rouhani in Iranwire, in an article entitled Destroy Their Palaces’: Afghan Women’s Solidarity With Iranian Protesters; “Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman who fell into a coma after being arrested by Tehran’s morality patrol, died in hospital on Friday September 16. The horrific incident has sparked mass protests across Iran that showed no signs of abating 10 nights later.

     But the catastrophic injuries this innocent young woman suffered at the hands of state agents, due to nothing more than a policy of misogyny and control, have also drawn the sympathy and anger of women in other countries. These include Afghan women, to whom her case is all too familiar.

     Afghan women’s rights activists have seen all their worst predictions come true since the Taliban came back to power last year. In that country, the Ministry for Women’s Affairs has been renamed the Ministry of Enjoining Good and Prohibiting Vice, and like other branches of government is run by fanatics.

     Employees of the ministry are deployed to the streets just like Iran’s so-called “morality police” and ask women to dress according to their norms. Afghan women had enjoyed relative freedom for the previous two decades, and are now more aware of their rights than before. They are also now standing by their sisters in Iran.

     Madineh Darvazi is one of them. She joined protests after Kabul fell to the Taliban last summer and was shot at and arrested by the occupiers, who forced her to give a scripted “confession” – following the example set by the Islamic Republic of Iran – and released her only after obtaining a written guarantee.

     After the death of Mahsa Amin, she published a video on her Facebook account in which she declared: “Dear Mahsa, today your name is a symbol for freedom and struggle. Today the people of Iran have bravely occupied the streets for your blood. Other people in every corner of the world who are under the rule of cruel and expropriating regimes will take up and raise the flag of freedom. We are with you, from Tehran to Kabul.”

     Arefeh Khatami, a human rights activist and fellow protester against the Taliban, echoed these sentiments in a video she posted online. “We, the women of Afghanistan, praise you and support your extraordinary struggle and resistance,” she said. “You are a step away from victory. Don’t give up. Destroy the palaces of oppression and tyranny. All those who believe in the justice of human rights and freedoms are with you.”

     The Afghan journalist Marzieh Farhad Ebrahimi also reacted to the killing of Mahsa Amini. She published a song by Aryana Sayeed, one of Afghanistan’s most famous singers, in which part of the lyrics state: “The breeze is blowing, keep your hair waving… To keep your faith you must be stoned. Get up, scream, shout, raise your hands up for your rights.”

     Farhanaz Fortun, another Afghan journalist, published a photo of protesting women in Iran on Facebook and wrote: “This history is the glorious history of women’s revolution in Afghanistan and Iran. Our identity is our femininity. Our land is wherever a woman stands with a firm fist raised against oppression.”

     Solidarity with the family of Mahsa Amini and with demonstrators on the streets of Iran is at unprecedented levels in Afghanistan. Many Afghans have changed their profile pictures online to images of Mahsa. At probably no other time have so many citizens of two countries that speak practically the same language been so fervently in accord with each other.

     The MP Nahid Farid has described Iranian citizens’ protests as a fight to get out of “captivity”. He wrote on Twitter: “Freedom is in the essence of humanity. The spontaneous uprising of the Iranian people to free themselves from captivity is inspiring and thrilling. Nations do not always remain under the curtain of false policies. A spark like Mahsa_Amini’s falling to the ground may be enough for men and women to raise a cry for freedom, and to stir the soul of every human being who wants justice.”

     Famous Afghan cartoonist Atiq Shahid produced an image of Mahsa’s face and head on the body of a dove, breaking the instruments of state violence. He told IranWire: “At present the conditions of Afghan and Iranian women are almost the same, though sadly the burden is greatest on Afghan women. It will be difficult to fight with empty hands. The point of commonality between Tehran and the Taliban is their abuse of religion to suppress the women of both countries.”

     In Afghanistan, women and girls have been banned from work and education for more than a year now. In the past two weeks some woman have expressed solidarity with protesting women in Iran by removing their headscarves in videos posted online, despite the risk this carries for them.

     One women did so with her face darkened in order to protect her identity. “My Iranian sister,” she said, “your sin and mine is that when men see our hair, they are provoked. You were sentenced to death in Tehran by the Morality Police, and I am sentenced to death in Kabul by the Taliban’s Ministry. No to mandatory hijab. No to misogynist Islamic governments.”

     Ali Saghi, an Afghan singer, has dedicated a cover he recorded – of the Iranian singer Googoosh’s Lalaei Kon – to Mahsa Amini at a concert in Sweden on September 18. In the accompanying post on Facebook, he wrote: “Dedicated to the girl whose life was sacrificed for a single strand of her hair.

     “This sadness is familiar to us. Every day these past forty years we have cried in the bitter hours of hearing the news. Mahsa, Farkhunda, Tabassum and Rakhshaneh are all victims of the “religious” thoughts of a few people who believe they have been sent by God to take others to heaven by force. I’m sick of this heaven. To reach it, one has to become a vampire.”

    What kinds of patriarchal sexual terror, dehumanization, enslavement, and chasms of evil does the hijab symbolize?

     As I wrote in my post of December 2 2019, Battle of Shiraz: the democratic revolution against theocracy in Iran is now an open war; For two weeks beginning Friday November 15 through Monday December 2, Iran’s major city of Shiraz was engulfed in open war as the democracy revolution against the theocratic rule of the mullahs moves into the stage of direct challenge of its military and other tools of state control.

     As reported in The Guardian by Michael Safi, “The petrol-price hike would trigger what may have been the largest-scale unrest in the 40-year history of the Islamic Republic. Iranian officials this week estimated 200,000 people were involved in the protests and riots which led to 7,000 arrests and, by some estimates, the regime’s deadliest-ever response to demonstrations. Amnesty International have confirmed 15 deaths in Shiraz; those on the ground say the toll is much higher.”

     By the count of the neighborhood militia leaders who have now organized themselves into a kind of rebel government, there are 52 or 53 dead among the citizens killed by the police and military throughout Shiraz, plus nine killed in the intense fighting in the Sadra district in which an elite revolutionary unit directly attacked the fortress of the region’s chief mullah on Sunday November 17.

     What began as a peaceful protest and a shutdown of the city by abandoning cars in the streets turned quickly to open battle after police shot and killed  Mehdi Nekouyee, a 20 year old activist, without cause. Soon armed bands of laborers stormed the police station he was killed in front of, leaving it in flames and marching on other government strongpoints as their ranks swelled.

     Throughout the next three days the luxury shopping district on Maliabad Boulevard was largely destroyed, some 80 bank branches and several gas stations set on fire. The Qashqai minority of Turkic nomads and weavers who in Shiraz are an important mercantile polity declared independence and repelled successive waves of attacks by heavy weapons units and helicopter assault cavalry against their outlying district of Golshan. As they are a people virtually unknown to the outside world, I’ve included some pictures.

     But the most important revolutionary action of November in Iran was the seizure of the chief mullah of Shiraz and his palace-fortress. An action whose meaning is central to the motives and binding purpose of the secularists who are fighting for democracy and to liberate Iran from the autocratic regime of the mullahs, this was a glorious victory which exposes the hollowness of theocratic rule.

     Widely regarded as corrupt, nepotistic, and xenophobic patriarchs, the mullahs, like Catholic priests, were once sacrosanct from personal responsibility and protected by a perceived mantle of piety; so the primary mission of the revolution is to expose their venality and the perversion and injustice of their rule. A task made hideously easy in this case by the pervasive network of pedophile sex trafficking authorized by the mullahs and a major source of trackable income in the form of licenses they sell for temporary “pleasure marriages” in which consent is an imprecise concept. And that’s just one visible part of the vast iceberg of greed and immorality of their regime.   

     In Iran, the fight for democracy and freedom is also a fight against the patriarchy.

     To learn more about this historic revolution, check out the site of the National Council of Resistance of Iran here:


26 سپتامبر 2022 ایران بیدار می شود و مقاومت می کند: وضعیت انقلاب

      برای کسانی که اکنون با شورش علیه پدرسالاری و حکومت دینی در ایران بیدار شده‌اند، که تمام ملت را در یک حسابرسی عمومی برای ظلم بنیادگرایی گیدونیتی و ارزش‌های قرون وسطایی مجاز و اعمال‌شده توسط تفتیش عقاید وحشیانه فراگرفته است، در اینجا شاهد تاریخ بر دولت هستیم. از انقلاب

     ما باید این واقعیت را جالب بدانیم که بنیادگرایان خودمان که در سال 1980 حزب جمهوری‌خواه را به تصرف خود درآوردند و نسل‌کشی مایاها را در گواتمالا به عنوان بخشی از تسخیر امپراتوری آمریکای مرکزی به راه انداختند که ایمان پروتستان‌ها را در خدمت به سرمایه‌داری و قدرت مسلح کرد و اکنون ضد انقلاب به راه انداخته است. علیه دموکراسی در آمریکا در دزدی حقوق زنان از خودمختاری بدنی و رای و همچنین جنایات سرکوب رأی علیه شهروندان سیاه پوست که به ایده شهروندی و برابری حمله می کند، تقریباً از رژیم آخوندهای ایران قابل تشخیص نیست. در ایران ما با آمریکای آینده روبه رو هستیم، اگر به تمدن پیشامدرن عقب نشینی کنیم و ارزش های روشنگری را که دموکراسی بر آن بنا شده است کنار بگذاریم.

     من همچنین علاقه مندم که چگونه اخبار مربوط به این انقلاب افسانه ای گزارش شده، تفسیر می شود، و زمینه مفیدی توسط اداره پنجم ما ارائه می شود. برای چه کسی مفید است؟

    اول گزارشی از نیویورک تایمز است که حقایق را به خوبی در اولویت قرار می دهد، اما معنای آنها را به شکلی غیرقابل تشخیص بازگو می کند تا دلقک خیانت ما، ترامپ خائن، را به عنوان یک معمار رویا سقوط رژیم آخوند در ایران معرفی کند، در حالی که برعکس آن صادق است. هدف ترامپ از کارشکنی در خلع سلاح هسته‌ای و برانگیختن رویارویی با ترور قهرمانان ملی ایران و عراق، توقف جنبش دموکراسی منطقه‌ای از طریق آلوده کردن آن به عنوان یک مداخله استعماری خارجی بود.

     همانطور که دیوید لئونهارت در خبرنامه نیویورک تایمز در مقاله ای با عنوان صبح بخیر نوشته است. ایران از اعتراضات شعله ور شده است. خبرنگاران Times به شما کمک می کنند تا بفهمید چه اتفاقی دارد می افتد.

«اختلاف وحشیانه

تعداد کمی از روزنامه نگاران مستقل در داخل ایران کار می کنند. اما ویدئوها، ایمیل‌ها و سایر اطلاعاتی که از داخل کشور می‌آیند نشان می‌دهد که ایران در حال تجربه مهم‌ترین اعتراضات خود در بیش از یک دهه گذشته است.

تظاهرات پس از آن آغاز شد که مهسا امینی 22 ساله در 16 سپتامبر در بازداشت پلیس جان باخت که به دلیل نقض قانون ایران مبنی بر الزام زنان به پوشیدن روسری و پنهان کردن موهای خود دستگیر شده بود. این آخر هفته، اعتراضات به حداقل 80 شهر گسترش یافت و تظاهرکنندگان برای مدت کوتاهی کنترل یک شهر در شمال غرب ایران را به دست گرفتند. در پاسخ، نیروهای امنیتی کشور به سوی جمعیت تیراندازی کردند.

در خبرنامه امروز، سعی خواهم کرد به شما کمک کنم تا بفهمید چه اتفاقی در حال رخ دادن است.

پنج نکته اصلی

1- دولت ایران دوباره توسط تندروها اداره می شود.

در انتخابات ریاست جمهوری سال گذشته، روحانیونی که قدرت پشت پرده در ایران را در دست دارند، تقریباً همه نامزدها را رد صلاحیت کردند، به جز یک تندرو به نام ابراهیم رئیسی. رئیسی از زمانی که رئیس جمهور شد، تصمیم گرفته است تا میراث سلف اصلاح طلب خود، حسن روحانی را برعکس کند.

رابین رایت این آخر هفته در نیویورکر نوشت: «در چند جبهه، رئیسی به طرز وحشیانه‌ای آونگ را به سمت نوع سیاست‌های بیگانه‌هراسی و لحن‌های لحن ناشنوایی که در روزهای اولیه انقلاب شاهد بودیم، برگردانده است. از جمله اقدامات رئیسی: درخواست از پلیس برای اجرای دقیق قانون روسری، در جهت وارونه کردن سیاست روحانی.

رئیسی همچنین در دیدارهای مرتبط با گردهمایی سازمان ملل در هفته گذشته، موضع سخت تری را در قبال ایالات متحده اتخاذ کرده است، به عنوان مثال، او این تصور را که پلیس ایران بیش از حد خشن بوده است مورد تمسخر قرار داد. او روز پنجشنبه به خبرنگاران گفت: “چند بار در ایالات متحده، مردان و زنان هر روز به دست نیروهای مجری قانون کشته می شوند.”

همانطور که رایت توضیح داد، “صدای او آنقدر بلند و آنقدر بلند می شد که شنیدن ترجمه انگلیسی از طریق هدست ما اغلب سخت بود.”

2. ظهور تندروها به ناامیدی فزاینده در میان جوانان ایرانی کمک کرده است.

علی واعظ، مدیر گروه بین‌المللی بحران ایران، به تایمز گفت: «دلیل اینکه نسل جوان این نوع ریسک را می‌پذیرد این است که آنها احساس می‌کنند چیزی برای از دست دادن ندارند، هیچ امیدی به آینده ندارند. (همکاران من ویویان یی و فرناز فصیحی در این داستان اخیر به جزئیات بیشتری پرداختند).

همکارم دیوید سنگر که دهه هاست ایران را پوشش می دهد، گفت: «من از شجاعت این جوانان ایرانی متاثر شدم. و به وحشیانه میل آنها برای خارج شدن از زیر سلطه این دولت.»

3. اقتصاد نقش زیادی در نارضایتی دارد.

در سال 2018، دونالد ترامپ تصمیم گرفت سیاستی با ریسک بالا و پاداش بالا در قبال ایران دنبال کند. او از توافق هسته‌ای خارج شد که باراک اوباما سه سال پیش از آن مذاکره کرده بود، توافقی که بسیاری از تحریم‌ها را در ازای برداشتن گام‌هایی که ایران از توانایی ساخت سلاح هسته‌ای برداشته بود، لغو کرده بود.

با گذشت زمان، تحریم ها – همراه با مشکلات اقتصادی از قبل موجود ایران – کشور را در یک بحران اقتصادی فرو برد. ویویان که رئیس دفتر روزنامه تایمز در قاهره است، به من گفت: «بسیاری از ایرانی‌ها به لطف اقتصادی که توسط سوء مدیریت، فساد و تحریم‌ها ویران شده است، در تلاش هستند تا زندگی خود را تامین کنند. برخی حتی پیشنهاد فروش اعضای بدن خود را می دهند.

او افزود:

در گذشته – مثلاً وقتی روحانی برای اولین بار در سال 2013 انتخاب شد – بسیاری از ایرانی‌ها واقعاً خوش‌بین بودند که اوضاع تغییر خواهد کرد، زیرا روحانی وعده داده بود که توافق هسته‌ای با ایالات متحده به گشایش اقتصاد و رونق تجارت و همراهی با موفقیت کمک می‌کند. تحریم ها برداشته شد اما زمانی که این مزایا قبل از اینکه رئیس جمهور ترامپ توافق را خنثی کند، محقق نشد، روحیه تیره شد.

با انتخاب رئیسی، یک تندرو که مخالف بازگشت به توافق است و دولتش در مذاکرات با قدرت‌های غربی در سال گذشته انعطاف‌پذیری زیادی از خود نشان نداده است، ایرانی‌هایی که امیدوار به بهبود بودند، احساس کردند راهی وجود ندارد. همه چیز بهبود می یابد.

آیا همه اینها به معنای موفقیت سیاست ترامپ است؟ بسیاری از کارشناسان می گویند که برای این قضاوت خیلی زود است. این سیاست خطر دستیابی ایران به زودی به سلاح هسته ای را به شدت افزایش داده است. و یک هفته یا بیشتر اعتراضات به معنای فروپاشی رژیم ایران نیست. با این حال، اگر رژیم سقوط کند، بازنگری میراث ترامپ در ایران منصفانه خواهد بود.

4. بایدن رویکرد سخت گیرانه تری نسبت به اوباما در قبال ایران دارد.

در سال 2009، در جریان آخرین موج بزرگ اعتراضات، اوباما به دلیل نگرانی از اینکه دولت ایران می‌تواند تظاهرات را کار اغتشاشگران خارجی نشان دهد، نسبتاً کمی از آنها حمایت کرد.

بایدن این بار سیاست تقابلی تری را دنبال می کند. جیک سالیوان، مشاور امنیت ملی بایدن که در اوباما نیز خدمت می کرد، گفت: «بخشی از دلیل اینکه رویکرد متفاوتی در سال 2009 وجود داشت، این باور بود که اگر آمریکا به نوعی صحبت کند، معترضان را تضعیف می کند، نه به آنها کمک می کند. دولت، دیروز در “ملاقات با مطبوعات” گفت. آنچه پس از آن آموختیم این است که شما می توانید بیش از حد به این چیزها فکر کنید، که مهم ترین کاری که ایالات متحده باید انجام دهد این است که در پاسخ به شهروندان هر کشوری که خواهان حقوق و کرامت خود هستند، قاطعانه، واضح و اصولی باشد.

یک مثال: برای مبارزه با تلاش‌های دولت ایران برای بستن بخش‌های بزرگ اینترنت و جلوگیری از برقراری ارتباط معترضان با یکدیگر، دولت بایدن به برخی شرکت‌های فناوری اجازه ارائه خدمات در داخل ایران را بدون خطر نقض تحریم‌های ایالات متحده داده است. دولت همچنین به SpaceX – یکی از شرکت‌های ایلان ماسک که خدمات ارتباطی Starlink را ارائه می‌کند – اجازه داد تجهیزات ماهواره‌ای را به ایران ارسال کند.

دیوید سنگر گفت: «تکنولوژی موجود امروز، برقراری ارتباط مخفیانه را برای ایرانیان آسان‌تر از همیشه می‌کند. به همین دلیل است که ایرانی‌ها تلاش می‌کنند کل اینترنت را در داخل ایران از بین ببرند. این ناامیدی واقعی است.»

5. به نظر می رسد در کوتاه مدت، دولت ایران پیروز خواهد شد. باز هم، انقلاب ها به ندرت قابل پیش بینی هستند.

دیوید آن را اینگونه بیان می کند: «تاریخ نشان می دهد که از آنجایی که ایالت همه اسلحه ها را در اختیار دارد، این احتمال دوام نخواهد داشت. اما گاهی این اشتباه است که برده رویدادهای گذشته باشید. الحاق موفقیت آمیز کریمه به روسیه در سال 2014 باعث شد بسیاری از ما – از جمله من – مشکوک شویم که اوکراین ظرف چند روز در ماه فوریه متلاشی خواهد شد.

    بنابراین برای دروغ ها و توهمات دشمنان ما و کسانی که ما را به بردگی می گیرند. تا حدی عدم درک نخبگانی که نیویورک تایمز برای آنها به عنوان عذرخواهی از ثروت، قدرت و امتیاز نابرابر عمل می کند، نشانه ای از شکنندگی هژمونی آنها و محدودیت های ایدئولوژی آنها است. بخشی مساوی از این ناتوانی در پل زدن شکاف های معنا بین قلمروهای محدود این واقعیت است که نخبگان در دنیایی از بی اخلاقی پوچ گرایانه که در آن فقط قدرت معنا دارد و واقعی است، بیگانگان را همنوعان خود نمی بینند، بلکه تنها به عنوان پیاده منافع خود می بینند. ، جهانی از اربابان روان پریش و بردگان غیرانسانی و کالایی شده.

     اگر واقعاً می‌خواهید دنیا را از چشم دیگران ببینید، باید یکی از آنها شوید و به طور کامل در نقش‌هایی که آنها نقش‌آفرینی می‌کنند، بمانید. اگر می خواهید در مورد مردم و مکان ها و رویدادهای بزرگ زمان ما بنویسید، بروید و نگاه کنید. به همین دلیل است که من به جاهایی سفر می کنم که به اندازه کافی برای بازجویی و نوشتن در مورد من جذابیت دارند. پیش فرض های خودم را به هم بزنم و به انسان های واقعی و شرایطی که باید در آن زندگی کنند فکر کنم.

     ایجاد ایده در مورد نوعی از مردم یک عمل خشونت آمیز است.

     اکنون باید جعل نخبگان را با صدای زنان اسلامی که عضوی از فرهنگ درگیر در اینجا هستند و به عنوان شاهدان تاریخ در دعوت مقدس برای پیگیری حقیقت و مرتبط با ارزش نمادین حجاب صحبت می کنند، متعادل کنم. در اینجا به بلسام مصطفی نگاه می‌کنم که در گفتگو، در مقاله‌ای با عنوان اعتراض ایران به حجاب اجباری، بحث‌های آنلاین و فراخوان‌های فمینیستی برای اقدام در سراسر اعراب را برانگیخت. جهان؛ «مقامات ایران اعتراضاتی را که پس از مرگ زن 22 ساله ای که توسط پلیس اخلاق به دلیل نداشتن حجاب مناسب دستگیر شده بود، سرکوب کردند. مرگ مهسا امینی که بنا بر گزارش‌ها پس از بازداشت به دلیل داشتن حجاب «نادرست» مورد ضرب و شتم قرار گرفت، اعتراضات خیابانی را برانگیخت.

     ناآرامی در سراسر کشور گسترش یافته است زیرا زنان روسری های خود را در اعتراض به قوانینی که زنان را مجبور به پوشیدن حجاب می کند، سوزانده اند. گزارش شده است که هفت نفر کشته شده اند و دولت تقریباً به طور کامل اینترنت را قطع کرده است.

     اما در جهان عرب – از جمله در عراق، جایی که من در آنجا بزرگ شدم – اعتراضات توجهات را به خود جلب کرده است و زنان در فضای مجازی گرد هم می آیند تا با زنان ایرانی که تحت رژیم تئوکراتیک خشن کشور مبارزه می کنند، همبستگی کنند.

اجرای حجاب و به تبع آن، ولایت بر جسم و روان زنان، منحصر به ایران نیست. آنها در بسیاری از کشورها به اشکال و درجات مختلف ظاهر می شوند.

     در عراق و برخلاف ایران، حجاب اجباری خلاف قانون اساسی است. با این حال، ابهامات و تناقضات بسیاری از قانون اساسی، به ویژه اصل 2 مبنی بر اینکه اسلام منبع اولیه قانون گذاری است، شرط حجاب اجباری را فراهم کرده است.

     از دهه 1990، زمانی که صدام حسین در واکنش به تحریم های اقتصادی اعمال شده توسط شورای امنیت سازمان ملل، کمپین ایمان خود را راه اندازی کرد، فشار بر زنان برای داشتن حجاب گسترده شده است. پس از تهاجم به رهبری ایالات متحده به این کشور، وضعیت تحت حاکمیت احزاب اسلامگرا که بسیاری از آنها روابط نزدیکی با ایران دارند، بدتر شد.

      برخلاف ادعای جورج دبلیو بوش، رئیس جمهور ایالات متحده در سال 2004 مبنی بر اینکه مردم عراق «اکنون نعمت آزادی را می آموزند»، زنان دست سنگین مردسالاری را که توسط اسلام گرایی، نظامی گری و قبیله گرایی تداوم یافته و با نفوذ ایران تشدید شده است، تحمل کرده اند. .

     بیرون رفتن بدون حجاب در بغداد بعد از سال 2003 برای من به یک مبارزه روزمره تبدیل شد. من مجبور بودم برای محافظت از خودم روسری سر کنم تا هر جا وارد یک محله محافظه کار می شدم، به خصوص در سال های خشونت فرقه ای.

     فلاش بک از پوسترها و بنرهای حامی حجاب که در اطراف دانشگاه من در مرکز بغداد آویزان شده است، همیشه مرا آزار می دهد. با اعمال حجاب بر کودکان و دختران کوچک در مدارس ابتدایی و متوسطه، وضعیت طی دو دهه بدون تغییر باقی مانده است.

     کمپین جدیدی علیه پوشش اجباری حجاب در مدارس دولتی عراق در شبکه های اجتماعی منتشر شده است. ناثیر عیسی، یکی از فعالان برجسته در گروه زنان برای زنان، که این کمپین را رهبری می کند، به من گفت که حجاب توسط بسیاری از اعضای محافظه کار یا قبیله ای جامعه گرامی داشته می شود و واکنش های منفی قابل پیش بینی است.

     کمپین های مشابه به دلیل تهدیدات و حملات آنلاین به حالت تعلیق درآمد. زنانی که در شبکه‌های اجتماعی با هشتگ #نه حجاب اجباری پست می‌کنند، توییت‌هایی ارتجاعی را به خود جلب کرده‌اند که آنها را به ضد اسلام و ضد جامعه متهم می‌کنند.

     اتهامات مشابهی به زنان ایرانی وارد می شود که با برداشتن یا سوزاندن روسری از رژیم سرپیچی می کنند. ایاد جمال الدین، روحانی شیعه عراقی در حساب کاربری خود در توییتر به تظاهرات اعتراض کرد و زنان معترض ایرانی را “فاحشه های ضد حجاب” خواند که به دنبال تخریب اسلام و فرهنگ هستند.

     سایبرفمینیست ها و مردان مرتجع

     در کار دیجیتالی قوم نگاری خود در مورد فمینیسم سایبری در عراق و سایر کشورها، با واکنش های مشابه متعددی نسبت به زنانی مواجه شده ام که حجاب را زیر سوال می برند یا تصمیم به حذف آن دارند. زنانی که از حساب‌های رسانه‌های اجتماعی خود برای رد حجاب استفاده می‌کنند، اغلب با حملات و تهدیدهای جنسیتی مواجه می‌شوند که تلاش می‌کند آنها را شرمنده و ساکت کند.

     کسانی که آشکارا از تصمیم خود برای رفع حجاب صحبت می کنند، شدیدترین واکنش را دریافت می کنند. حجاب با آبرو و عفت زن پیوند خورده است، از این رو برداشتن آن سرپیچی تلقی می شود.

     مبارزه زنان با حجاب اجباری و واکنش شدید علیه آنها روایت فرهنگی غالب را به چالش می کشد که می گوید پوشیدن حجاب یک انتخاب آزاد است. در حالی که بسیاری از زنان آزادانه تصمیم می گیرند که آن را بپوشند یا نه، برخی دیگر موظف به پوشیدن آن هستند.

     بنابراین دانشگاهیان باید گفتمان پیرامون حجاب و شرایط تداوم اجباری حجاب را بازبینی کنند. در انجام این کار، دور شدن از دوگانگی های غلط فرهنگ در مقابل مذهب، یا محلی در برابر غربی، که به جای روشن کردن علل اصلی حجاب اجباری مبهم است، مهم است.

     ندجه العلی، آکادمیک فمینیست، در تحقیقات آکادمیک خود در مورد خشونت مبتنی بر جنسیت در زمینه خاورمیانه، بر لزوم جدا شدن از این دوتایی ها و شناخت پویایی های مختلف قدرت پیچیده – چه در سطح محلی و چه در سطح بین المللی- تأکید می کند.

     موضوع اجبار زنان به پوشیدن حجاب در جوامع محافظه‌کار باید در مرکز هر بحثی در مورد مبارزه گسترده‌تر زنان برای آزادی و عدالت اجتماعی باشد.

     خشم زنان ایرانی علیه حجاب اجباری، علیرغم سرکوب های امنیتی، بخشی از خیابان گسترده تر زنان است.

اتحاد تهران و طالبان سوء استفاده آنها از مذهب برای سرکوب زنان هر دو کشور است.

     در افغانستان بیش از یک سال است که زنان و دختران از کار و تحصیل منع شده اند. در دو هفته گذشته برخی از زنان با برداشتن روسری خود با زنان معترض در ایران در ویدئوهای منتشر شده در فضای مجازی اعلام همبستگی کرده اند، علیرغم خطراتی که این امر برای آنها در پی دارد.

     یک زن برای محافظت از هویت خود با چهره ای تیره این کار را انجام داد. او گفت: «خواهر ایرانی من، گناه من و تو این است که وقتی مردها موهای ما را می بینند، تحریک می شوند. شما در تهران توسط پلیس اخلاق به اعدام محکوم شده اید و من در کابل توسط وزارت طالبان به اعدام محکوم شده ام. نه به حجاب اجباری نه به حکومت های اسلامی زن ستیز.»

     علی ساقی، خواننده افغانستانی، در کنسرت 18 سپتامبر در سوئد، کاور ضبط شده خود از آهنگ لالایی کن گوگوش خواننده ایرانی را به مهسا امینی تقدیم کرده است. وی در پست همراه در فیس بوک نوشت: «تقدیم به دختری که زندگی فدای یک تار موی او شد.

     «این غم برای ما آشناست. در این چهل سال هر روز در ساعات تلخ شنیدن این خبر گریه کرده ایم. مهسا، فرخنده، تبسم و رخشانه همگی قربانی افکار «مذهبی» چند نفری هستند که معتقدند از طرف خدا فرستاده شده اند تا دیگران را به زور به بهشت ​​ببرند. حالم از این بهشت ​​بهم میخوره برای رسیدن به آن، باید یک خون آشام شد.»

    حجاب نماد چه نوع وحشت جنسی مردسالارانه، بی‌انسان‌سازی، بردگی و شکاف‌های شیطانی است؟

     همانطور که در پست خود در 2 دسامبر 2019، نبرد شیراز نوشتم: انقلاب دموکراتیک علیه حکومت دینی در ایران اکنون یک جنگ آشکار است. به مدت دو هفته از جمعه 15 نوامبر تا دوشنبه 2 دسامبر، شهر بزرگ ایران شیراز در جنگ علنی غرق شد، زیرا انقلاب دموکراسی علیه حکومت مذهبی آخوندها وارد مرحله چالش مستقیم نظامی و سایر ابزارهای کنترل دولتی خود می شود.

     همانطور که در گاردین توسط مایکل صافی گزارش شده است، «افزایش قیمت بنزین ممکن است بزرگترین ناآرامی در تاریخ 40 ساله جمهوری اسلامی باشد. مقامات ایرانی در این هفته تخمین زدند که 200000 نفر در تظاهرات و شورش‌هایی که منجر به دستگیری 7000 نفر و بر اساس برخی تخمین‌ها مرگبارترین واکنش رژیم به تظاهرات شد، شرکت داشتند. عفو بین‌الملل مرگ 15 نفر در شیراز را تایید کرده است. کسانی که روی زمین هستند می گویند تلفات بسیار بیشتر است.»

     بر اساس شمارش رهبران شبه نظامی محله ای که اکنون خود را به نوعی حکومت شورشی سازماندهی کرده اند، 52 یا 53 کشته در میان شهروندانی که توسط پلیس و ارتش در سراسر شیراز کشته شده اند، به علاوه 9 کشته در درگیری های شدید در منطقه صدرا در سال 2018 وجود دارد. که یک واحد انقلابی زبده در روز یکشنبه 17 نوامبر مستقیماً به قلعه ملای ارشد منطقه حمله کرد.

     آنچه که به عنوان یک اعتراض مسالمت آمیز و تعطیلی شهر با رها کردن خودروها در خیابان ها آغاز شد، پس از تیراندازی پلیس به مهدی نکویی، یک فعال 20 ساله، به سرعت به نبردی علنی تبدیل شد. به زودی گروه‌های مسلح کارگر به پاسگاه پلیسی که او در مقابل آن کشته شد یورش بردند، آن را در شعله‌های آتش رها کردند و با افزایش صفوفشان به سوی دیگر نقاط مستحکم دولت رفتند.

     در طول سه روز بعد، منطقه خرید مجلل در بلوار مالی آباد تا حد زیادی تخریب شد، حدود 80 شعبه بانک و چندین پمپ بنزین به آتش کشیده شد. اقلیت قشقایی از عشایر و بافندگان ترک که در شیراز یک سیاست بازرگانی مهم به شمار می‌روند، اعلام استقلال کردند و امواج پیاپی حملات یگان‌های تسلیحات سنگین و سواره‌نظام هلی‌کوپتر را به منطقه دورافتاده‌شان گلشن دفع کردند. از آنجایی که آنها مردمی هستند که تقریباً برای دنیای بیرون ناشناخته هستند، من تعدادی عکس را اضافه کردم.

     اما مهمترین اقدام انقلابی آبان ماه در ایران، تصرف آخوند اعظم شیراز و قصر قلعه او بود. اقدامی که معنای اصلی آن برای انگیزه ها و هدف الزام آور سکولاریست هایی است که برای دموکراسی و رهایی ایران از رژیم استبدادی آخوندها می جنگند، این پیروزی شکوهمندی بود که پوچی حکومت تئوکراتیک را آشکار می کند.

     آخوندها که به طور گسترده به عنوان پدرسالاران فاسد، خویشاوند و بیگانه هراس تلقی می شدند، مانند کشیشان کاتولیک، زمانی از مسئولیت شخصی مقدس و با پوششی از تقوا محافظت می شدند. پس رسالت اوليه انقلاب افشاي توهين و انحراف و بي عدالتي حكومت آنهاست. کاری که در این مورد توسط شبکه فراگیر قاچاق جنسی پدوفیل که توسط آخوندها مجاز است و منبع اصلی درآمد قابل پیگیری در قالب مجوزهایی که آنها برای “ازدواج های لذت بخش” موقت می فروشند که در آن رضایت مفهومی نادقیق است، به طرز وحشتناکی آسان شده است. و این تنها بخشی قابل مشاهده از کوه یخ وسیع طمع و بی اخلاقی رژیم آنهاست.

     در ایران مبارزه برای دموکراسی و آزادی نیز مبارزه با مردسالاری است.

September 25 2022 Italy Chooses a Future Under the Shadows of Fascist Terror and Tyranny

    On this election day, one hundred years after Mussolini’s March on Rome, Italy chooses a future under the shadows of fascist terror and tyranny and the legacies of a history for which there has never been a national reckoning.

    If democracy in Italy falls today, no one in Europe is safe. Regressive political parties which weaponize national identities of race and faith and capitalize on fear of otherness are now everywhere, but the one about to capture the government of Italy originates in the ur-source of modern fascism as led by Benito Mussolini, and nothing suggests it has disavowed its history.

     As in the Nazi revivalist state of Orban’s Hungary, launchpad for the reconquest of Europe, in Italy we may soon face an unreconstructed fascist state. Together with Vox in Spain and Le Pen’s Nationalists in France, a grim image of our future emerges as they share resources to leverage ideologies and policies in Europe.

    Yet every force creates its own counterforce, and in Italy as throughout Europe histories of Resistance balance those of fascism. Here we must look for alliances and models to answer fear with hope and division with solidarity.

    As I wrote in my post of August 30 2022, Centenary of the Barricades of Parma and the Antifascist Resistance of Guido Picelli and L’Ardito del Popolo;

 One hundred years ago this August, the antifascist resistance of Guido Picelli and L’Ardito del Popolo fought a glorious battle for the soul of humankind and the fate of the world against the tide of fascism and Mussolini’s blackshirts in Parma, prelude to the March on Rome which opened the door to the Holocaust and World War Two, so very like our own January 6 Insurrection which threatens us still with the return of fascism as the Fourth Reich.

    Now as then, and in every generation of humankind, we are defined by how we face those who would enslave us and the darkness within ourselves which threatens to consume us, the flaws of our humanity and the brokenness of the world; in solidarity as a band of brothers and a United Humankind, or subjugated through hierarchies and divisions of elite belonging and exclusionary otherness, as a free society of equals or with fascisms of blood, faith, and soil. As the Oath of the Resistance given to me by Jean Genet in Beirut goes; “We swear our loyalty to each other, to resist and yield not, and abandon not our fellows.”

   For Antifa and the Resistance the Arditi are an important historical ancestor, but also for all who love Liberty, where ever men hunger to be free.

    Here also is a cautionary tale, of the necessity of Solidarity and the dangers of ideological fracture, for the Arditi failed to defeat fascism at its birth for the same reasons Rosa Luxemburg and the Social Democrats of Germany were unable to counter the ascendence of Hitler.

    To this pathology of disconnectedness and the terror of our nothingness, to division and despair in the face of overwhelming force, I make reply with Buffy the Vampire Slayer quoting the instructions to priests in the Book of Common Prayer in episode eleven of season seven, Showtime, after luring an enemy into an arena to defeat as a demonstration to her recruits; “I don’t know what’s coming next. But I do know it’s gonna be just like this – hard, painful. But in the end, it’s gonna be us. If we all do our parts, believe it, we’ll be the one’s left standing. Here endeth the lesson.”

     As written by Lorenzo Tondo in The Guardian, in an article entitled Why Italy is on verge of electing its first far-right leader since second world war, Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy draw on a vein of fascism in a country that – unlike Germany – has never had to confront its past; “A hundred years after the rise of Italian fascism was heralded by Mussolini’s 1922 march on Rome, the country is on the verge of electing a party with its roots in neo-fascism.

     With just over a week to go until polling day, the smiling face of Giorgia Meloni, the leader of the Brothers of Italy, is emblazoned on thousands of posters from the heel in the south to the Alps in the north.

    When polls close on the evening of 25 September, Meloni is expected to emerge triumphant, making her Italy’s first far-right leader since the second world war.

     Meloni has always distanced herself from fascism and recently declared that the Italian right had “handed fascism over to history”. Her current political success owes much to her decision, unlike that of Matteo Salvini and his Northern League, to keep her party out of the outgoing prime minister, Mario Draghi’s, cross-party government. The move cemented her as an opposition voice and has given her the leading position in a rightwing electoral coalition, that includes the League and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, now polling in excess of 45%.

     But she has been reluctant in campaigning to shed the political slogan Dio, Patria, Famiglia (God, Homeland, Family), widely used in the fascist era, and her party retains apparent fascist visual references. It shares its party logo, an Italian tricolour in the form of a flame, with the now defunct Italian Social Movement (MSI), a neo-fascist party formed in 1946 by supporters of Mussolini’s regime and former high-ranking members of his fascist party. Some supporters of her party have performed the fascist salute during public commemorations.

     How can it be that Italy, which lived through Mussolini’s bloody regime and passed discriminatory laws against its Jewish citizens, is close to electing as prime minister the leader of a party with these associations, who in a recently surfaced video from 1996 said of the fascist leader: “Mussolini was a good politician. There have been no other politicians like him in the last 50 years”?

     Paolo Berizzi, of La Repubblica, has been asking such question for years. The journalist, who has written extensively about the extreme right in Italy, has received numerous threats from neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups and now lives under police protection. “Italy is a country that never came to terms with its fascist past,” he said. “Fascists didn’t die in 1945; they’ve always been around.”

     To find some answers, one must go back to the immediate aftermath of the second world war, when the first issue for Italy to address was national unity. The toppling of Mussolini in 1943 was followed by bloody civil war between a Nazi-backed puppet state and the partisans of the Italian resistance, so when peace came to Europe, fears of aggravating civil tensions overrode the purging of fascists from Italian institutions and prosecuting them for war crimes. While the Nuremberg trials against prominent members of the Nazi party began in Germany in November 1946, Italy, in part concerned about growing numbers of communists, on the brink of the cold war, had from June of that year run an amnesty programme, releasing thousands of fascists from prison.

     Many took jobs in the postwar administrations: Ettore Messana, a fascist official whose name appears in a UN list for war crimes, was appointed inspector general for public safety in Sicily; Gen Giuseppe Pichè, who carried out counter-espionage for Mussolini, was nominated director general of the Civil Protection Agency.

     “After the war there were a lot of Italians who thought that, despite the conflict, Mussolini hadn’t done so badly after all,” said Salvatore Lupo, a professor of contemporary history at Palermo University.

     Giorgio Almirante, a culture minister in the Nazis’ short-lived puppet state, founded the MSI with former members of the Italian Fascist party in this climate of tolerance. By 1948, three neo-fascists sat in the Italian parliament. It is from this heritage that the Brothers of Italy would later emerge.

     The neo-fascist MSI, meanwhile, remained sidelined from mainstream politics until the early 1990s, when a nationwide judicial investigation into political corruption resulted in the disappearance of many traditional political parties and gave it an opportunity. Its members formed the National Alliance party in 1995, maintaining the tricolour flame as their symbol, and, presenting themselves as neoliberal conservatives, found in Berlusconi’s Forza Italia their first ally in national government.

     It was Berlusconi who, during a political rally in 2019, boasted about having been the first to engage with neo-fascists. “The parties that governed Italy from the beginning of the First Republic had never allowed the fascists to enter the government”, he said. “We let them in for the first time. We legitimised them.”

     Berizzi said: “It was in those years that the criminal revisionism of fascism, as I call it, began, fuelled by talkshows and many newspapers. Fake news began to circulate around fascism, which still today is presented as a regime that ‘did many great things’.”

     Many Italians today are convinced that Mussolini introduced public housing in Italy, when in reality it had begun in 1903, nearly 20 years before his rule. The enduring cliche is that Mussolini made the trains run on time, but during the fascist period trains were chronically late. Unable to resolve the problem, the regime instead forbade people from discussing it, because to do so would be “dishonourable to the homeland”.

     More than 70 years after Mussolini’s death, thousands of Italians started to join self-described fascist groups in a surge of support antifascists blame on the portrayal of the refugee crisis, and Italy’s economic and political instability. In this context, in 2012 Brothers of Italy was founded, largely from the ranks of MSI and National Alliance. Two years later, Meloni, previously an activist in the MSI’s Youth Front, rose to become its leader.

     “Meloni became the leader of her party in a period in which fascism in Italy was almost normalised and getting popular among young people,” Berizzi said. “Statuettes of Mussolini and calendars of the Duce are on sale in kiosks and shops. The fascist salute […] has become an almost folkloric gesture.”

     Antonio Scurati, the author of M, an international bestseller about Mussolini’s rise to power, said: “While in Germany there was a long process of overcoming the past, which had as a prerequisite that of making all German people reflect on the co-responsibility of the crimes of nazism, in Italy this process has never taken place. Whenever we speak about the war and racial laws in Italy, we always identify ourselves with the role of victim and anti-fascists, and this has prevented us from admitting to ourselves that we were fascists.”

     Meloni has “unambiguously” condemned “the suppression of democracy and the ignominious anti-Jewish laws”, emphasising that her party has nothing to do with fascism and is a conservative champion of patriotism. She told Corriere della Sera after local elections there were no “nostalgic fascists, racists or antisemites in the Brothers of Italy DNA” and she had always got rid of “ambiguous people”.

     “Let’s believe that Meloni is not a fascist. Let’s believe that technically her party is not neo-fascist,” Berizzi said. “You still can’t deny that in her ranks there are numerous fascists […] If Meloni wins the election, fascism may not be back, but our democracy will be at risk.”

     Just as the far right is moving forward, some Italians have compared the current situation to a satire movie released in 2018, which imagines Mussolini returning to Italy and being acclaimed by people.

     “If Mussolini were to return, Italians would re-elect him,” Scurati said. “In fact, Italians, Europeans, North Americans and Brazilians have already elected several ‘neo’ Mussolinis.”

     As I wrote in my post of July 22 2022, Now Is the Time of Monsters; Hope and Despair: Italy on the Cusp of Change;  The government of Italy has collapsed, an act of sabotage by fascist revivalists who have abandoned the political coalition which has thus far prevented it from tumbling off the edge of a precipice into the abyss, an existential threat to the survival of her peoples and the basic services of any state which include healthcare.

    But if the abyss holds terrors of a precariat held hostage by death and the material needs of survival, the abyss is also where hope lies, for here the balance of power may be changed in revolutionary struggle.

    In this liminal time of the reimagination and transformation of our possibilities of becoming human, of seizures of power and the performance of the Four Primary Duties of a Citizen, Question Authority, Expose Authority, Mock Authority, and Challenge Authority, let us look to our glorious past in the Resistance which was victorious in the Liberation of Italy on April 25 and the hanging of Mussolini on April 28 1945.

     As Slavoj Zizek’s favorite saying goes, a French mistranslation or paraphrase of Antonio Gramsci’s line in his Prison Notebooks “La crisi consiste appunto nel fatto che il vecchio muore e il nuovo non può nascere: in questo interregno si verificano i fenomeni morbosi piú svariati”, literally “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born, in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear”, as “Le vieux monde se meurt, le nouveau monde tarde à apparaître et dans ce clair-obscur surgissent les monstres”, which introduces the idea of monstrosity, referential to the historical development of the idea in Michel de Montaigne, Michel Foucault, and Georges Canguilhem’s work The Normal and the Pathological, a dialectical process of mimesis which results in the form of the principle as; “The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born; now is the time of monsters.”

     Meanings shift, adapt, and change as they transgress boundaries, inhabit public and private spaces, and unfold over vast gulfs of time, and so must we.

    As I wrote in my post of January 29 2021, A Useful Past: Centennial of the Founding of the Italian Communist Party; We celebrate today the founding of the Italian Communist Party one hundred years ago by Amadeo Bordiga and the brilliant visionary of social change Antonio Gramsci, not only as an achievement in the history of revolutionary struggle but also as a watershed event in the emergence of Antifascism.

     As we begin the great work of reimagination and transformation of human being, meaning, and value in the rebirth of our civilization and the Restoration of America, let us shape our emerging identities through the limitless possibilities of becoming human, and with the wisdom of a useful past.

     Both revolutionary and conserving forces have adaptive value as strategies of survival, and as informing and motivating sources. We must be agile and optimize change as a growth opportunity through innovation, and we must transform ourselves over time without losing our identity and history as anchorages and as measuring standards with which to interpret the present, for civilization is a prochronism like the shell of a sea creature, a history expressed in our form of how we have solved problems of adaptation and survival.

     In the words of George Santayana writing in The Life of Reason: Reason in Common Sense; “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

     As I have often written, there can be but one reply to fascism; Never Again. And Never Again requires a living history wherein we can escape the limits of the flag of our skin and inhabit the lives of others, and to envision future consequences from past origins.

      Here I have assembled articles as a short course on the history of modern Italy, from the perspective of its history in terms of communism and the antifascism which in part emerged from its context. My hope in this is that we may learn from the successes and failures of the past, and escape their repetition.

     Nietzsche invented a standard of action against which to measure our choices, the test of Eternal Return; if you had to spend eternity repeating the events of your life, what would you do? Camus reimagined this as metaphor and allegory in his pivotal essay The Myth of Sisyphus, the central text of Existentialism in which the heroism of total freedom arises from refusal to submit to authority and its force and control, and from the human creation of being, meaning, and value in a hostile, meaningless, and alienating universe. This is the context in which I place communism as an ideology of liberation and antifascism as a special form of resistance which in part emerged from it.

    The historical failures of communism, and of revolutions which become the totalitarian regimes they replace, originate in the social use of force and violence to seize power when successor states fail to abolish power asymmetry and abandon force, and because the conditions of a successful revolution contain the seeds of its own destruction as forces of subversion and corruption; identitarian narratives of victimization, the authoritarianism which emerges from cults of charismatic leaders, heroic myths of resistance and revolution which can become a culture of militarism and macho violence.

    The failures of revolutionary forces which resulted in Stalin are much like the failures of conservative forces which resulted in Hitler, and they ended as indistinguishable from one another because they took the same paths to get there. Nabokov best described the processes of the failure of Idealism in his luminous reimagination of Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice, Lolita, wherein he struggles with the question of why the communists murdered his blameless father, an aristocrat guilty of no personal crimes, in order to achieve the Revolution; in so doing he describes a general condition.

     What the world fears and finds abhorrent in communism has nothing to do with communism itself, and everything to do with power, force, and violence. Let us seize ownership of ourselves from those who would enslave us, resist authority and the tyranny of other people’s ideas of virtue and normality, engage elite hegemonies of wealth, power, and privilege and hierarchies of exclusionary otherness in revolutionary struggle, and pursue to their destruction fascisms of blood, faith, and soil; but let us also abandon our addiction to power and the social use of force.

     Let us forbid nothing, and send no armies or police to enforce virtue.

     Let us liberate humankind and ourselves from all inequalities and dictatorships, those of the proletariat as well as monarchies and feudal aristocracies, sectarian theocracies, clan oligarchies and corporate plutocratic capitalism, fascist tyrannies, and asymmetries of class, race, and sex. 

     Let us run amok and be ungovernable, transgress boundaries, forge new truths, and discover the limitless possibilities of becoming human.   

     As I wrote in my post of April 25 2020, Anniversaries of the Italian Victory Over Fascism and the Carnation Revolution of Portugal; Three decades of Antifascism in Italy, culminating in the twenty months of Resistance to the German Occupation, not only shaped the Allied victory and the Liberation of Europe, but was also a struggle to transform the cultural basis from which fascism arose; authoritarianism, patriarchy, nepotism and graft, and the networks of patron-client relationships which have persisted as the formal basis of society since the Roman Empire. As Stephanie Prezioso writes in Jacobin “the Resistance was not only a war of national liberation, but also a civil war and a class war — a social war that implicated the population itself.”

     But what is most relevant to us today is the way in which this multifaceted war was waged and won; for it was anarchic and destructured, self-organizing and embodying forms of mutualism, nonhierarchical and democratic in the best sense of free societies of equals. As the people of Hong Kong say of their art of revolution, “Be like water”. Again as described by Stephanie Prezioso; “Autonomy, anti-bureaucratic demands, voluntarism, “free initiative from below,” and the role of the individual – not of the “mass” – were the inner secrets to this libertarian and revolutionary liberalism, attached to social revolution”.

     As written by David Broder in Jacobin, in an article entitled The Lost Partisans; “Today Italy celebrates Liberation Day. But the true spirit of the antifascist resistance has long been obscured.

     Italy’s April 25 bank holiday marks the anniversary of the country’s liberation from fascism. This day in 1945, antifascist partisan units freed the northern industrial centers of Milan and Turin from the grip of Hitler and Mussolini’s remaining loyalists, after Allied forces had swept through the country. Just three days later, in a humiliating epitaph to the twenty-year regime, partisans captured and executed il Duce and his entourage, hanging them upside down in Milan’s Piazzale Loreto.

     Marking the partisans’ victory over both German occupation and Italian fascism, April 25 is a patriotic holiday that honors the deeds of an armed minority. The festival was first celebrated in 1946, as the parties of the National Liberation Committee (CLN) from Christian Democrats to Socialists and Communists sought to identify themselves with “universal” values of freedom, democracy, and national unity.

     Tellingly, Liberation Day would be celebrated on the day that the CLN for upper Italy declared its power, not the date of the Allies’ final liberation of Italian territory.

     However, while the CLN parties’ claim to represent “a whole people in arms” delimited a broad national community excluding only the last fascist loyalists — held to be German stooges, and not true patriots — April 25 has never really lived up to its pretentions of national unity.

     This is not only because the remaining battalions of the far right have their own war commemorations at Mussolini’s Predappio hometown, but also because the armed resistance has always been principally identified in popular culture with Italy’s once-mass Communist Party (PCI).

     Although still today presidents and prime ministers commemorate April 25 as a founding moment of Italian democracy, the street rallies marking this holiday above all represent the politics that did not shape the postwar republic.

     Whereas 60 percent of partisans fought in PCI-organized units, the Communist Party shared the CLN’s political leadership with Christian Democrats, liberals, socialists, and others; and as the intense antifascist mobilization turned into the foundation of a parliamentary democracy, old elites soon reasserted their control over the state.

     Indeed, if the CLN parties governed Italy in coalition after liberation — together drafting a constitution and founding a republic — by May 1947 Cold War pressures forced the PCI out of office. As justice minister in 1946, the Communist leader Palmiro Togliatti had issued a sweeping amnesty applying even to fascists, in order to pacify social tensions; yet as the Left was sidelined, partisans themselves became the target of political trials pursued by ex-fascist judges and policemen.

     The gap between the partisan fighters and the postwar establishment was further symbolized on April 25, 1947, with the dissolution of the second-most resistance force, the republican-socialist Action Party.

     The anticommunist counteroffensive following liberation peaked in July 1948, with an assassination attempt against Togliatti. The far-right assailant’s attack not only sparked an unruly general strike but was also a trigger for many ex-partisans who had held onto their weapons, who mounted widespread armed occupations of workplaces and police stations in subsequent days.

     Frightened PCI leaders feared provoking a civil war like in Greece, where British-backed royalists bloodily crushed the Communist partisans after 1945. With the party thus reining in its more adventurist members, and Italy becoming a founder member of NATO in 1949, the hope of resistance turning into revolution quickly dissipated.

     Having been the main resistance party, the PCI was thus condemned to an ambivalent relationship with the state born of April 25, and whose constitution it helped to write. The country’s second party — securing between 22 and 34 percent of the vote in every election until its 1991 collapse — the PCI was barred from power-sharing by Italy’s strategic position in the Western bloc, even despite leader Enrico Berlinguer’s 1970s efforts to reach a “historic compromise” with Christian Democracy.

     Indeed, if April 25 is still today marked by rallies appealing to the constitution’s promise of a “democracy founded on labor,” for four decades the state was more than anything based on structural Christian Democratic dominance, the anticommunist linchpin of all Italian governments until the fall of the Berlin Wall.

     Although the Christian Democrats had been the PCI’s partners in the CLN and then in government in 1943–47, they had made a much lesser military contribution to the resistance, and on anniversaries like April 25 tended to emphasize the US Army’s role in liberating Italy far more than did the Communists.

     Without doubt, the partisan war was greatly less important to Christian Democratic identity: a big-tent party of many factions, but also strong anticommunist tendencies, its further right-wing shore tended to portray the resistance as a bloody endeavor essentially unnecessary to the Allies’ success in freeing the country.

     As such, whereas the Christian Democrats’ internal cohesion and claim to political authority in Cold War Italy was heavily premised on their binary opposition to the PCI, the Communists’ central means of asserting their democratic legitimacy was the commemoration of their non-sectarian, patriotic record in the war against Nazism.

     This stemmed from resistance strategy itself: the Communist-led working class played the leading role in mobilizing for the patriotic struggle, but, as Togliatti explained in an April 1945 circular, PCI partisans establishing CLN authority in each location should not “impose changes in a socialistic or communist sense,” even if acting alone. The PCI had committed to a common antifascist cause, not sought to enforce its own control.

     The party had thus used mass mobilization to secure itself a place in institutional life, but without antagonizing other democratic forces. Indeed, the PCI press of 1943–45 (and later party mythology) cast even the most evidently class-war aspects of the resistance — mass strikes, land occupations, draft resistance — in “patriotic” terms, a mass working-class contribution to a progressive national movement more than an assertion of workers’ anticapitalist class interests.

     It was this conjugation of patriotism, democracy, and a sense of workers’ centrality to national reconstruction that informed the constitutional promise of a “democratic republic founded on labor.” In this same productivist spirit, in the 1945–47 coalition the PCI backed wage freezes and implemented an effective strike ban, the better to rebuild Italian industry.

     That said, while the PCI portrayed its gradualist, institution-centric “Italian road to socialism” as an extension of Antonio Gramsci’s thinking, it in fact tended to invert Gramsci’s idea of hegemony, as leading socialist Lelio Basso emphasized in a 1965 piece for Critica Marxista.

     “Notwithstanding the working-class movement’s organizational preponderance in the resistance, it was our opponents who managed to hegemonize it politically,” he explained. “National or antifascist unity had a sense in terms of the pure goal of winning the war,” but “only with a tighter working-class unity over immediate postwar goals could the workers’ movement have really hegemonized the liberation struggle, imposing its own spirit, stamp and will, its own ideology and objectives upon it.”

     Founded on Labor

     Indeed, by the time of Basso’s article the PCI strategy of a gradually expanding “progressive democracy” had begun to ring hollow, the party’s commitment to republican legality clashing with its Cold War reduction to an oppositional role.

     Christian Democracy reigned supreme, and the far right was also seemingly on the rise, with Prime Minister Fernando Tambroni’s 1960 effort to form government resting on fascist MSI support, as well as the provocative attempt to stage an MSI congress in antifascist Genoa that same year. If violent protests blocked these efforts to rehabilitate the far right, the “democratic republic founded on labor” was not living up to the promise of the resistance.

     The weakening of the PCI dream of progressive democracy also coincided with changes in the shape of the working class, with the high industrial growth rates of Italy’s 1950s-1960s “economic miracle” drawing masses of workers from the underdeveloped south to the factories of the north.

     These workers, on the fringes of the traditional labor movement and suffering a semi-racialized discrimination, were central to the attentions of the 1960s New Left arising off the back of the PCI’s impasse.

     Young and coming from a south little-marked by the resistance, these workers had a profound cultural split from the largely older, more skilled northern workers for whom the antifascist strikes of March 1943 represented a key moment of collective memory and class pride.

     Tellingly, the operaista and autonomist literature (broadly conceived) of this period, breaking with the Communist Party’s rhetorical preoccupations, was notable for its lack of interest in resistance history, tending to see April 25 as a kind of PCI jamboree attached to patriotic-institutional politics, distant from the interests of the workers they sought to influence.

     To the extent that the resistance did enter into the extra-parliamentary left’s consciousness, this was above all thanks to armed-struggle groups and their efforts to replicate the most spectacular military actions of 1943–45, also inspired by a wider veneration of guerrilla struggles in Vietnam and elsewhere.

     Not only the Red Brigades’ invocation of the “continuing resistance” but also Giangiacomo Feltrinelli’s creation of Gruppi d’Azione Partigiana (GAP) consciously imitating the similarly named wartime PCI terrorist cells reflected the desire to recapture the militancy of that period.

     What rarely went considered in any of this was the political critique of the PCI strategy that had already in the 1940s been advanced by the most radical wing of the Italian resistance. Indeed, even the 1970s extra-parliamentary left tended to invoke the most militant forms of struggle from the war period (mass strikes, sabotage, terrorism) as abstract evidence of the potential for social change, rather than recover the history of those movements who had sought (and failed) to challenge the politics of national unity as such.

     This was the reason why even a 1970s Guevarist paramilitary group like the GAP could copy the name of 1940s partisan units that were in fact entirely PCI-controlled and subordinate to its patriotic alliance strategy.

     It seems that these groups were little aware that in 1943–45 there had also been revolutionary antifascist forces outside of the CLN, involved in armed struggle yet excluded from institutional resistance memory. Certainly, in a broad sense we could say that the symbolism of even PCI-led partisans (with their Bella Ciao, Bandiera Rossa, Fischia il Vento, red neckerchiefs . . .) and resistants’ individual motives for joining the struggle often reflected hope in some sort of socialist change, even if defined in vague terms.

     But there were also thousands-strong 1940s movements who organized with this explicit political perspective, rejecting national unity in favor of class warfare — from Stella Rossa in Turin to Rome’s Bandiera Rossa and Naples’s “red” CGL union.

     These were no minoritarian sects: in fact, Bandiera Rossa was the largest resistance force in Wehrmacht-occupied Rome. Arising from clandestine groups that had formed in the fascist period while PCI leaders were still in exile, and combining militant antifascism with an almost millenarian faith in imminent revolution, this autodidact-led movement built something of a mass base in the capital’s borgate slums in winter 1943–44, waging nine months of urban warfare at the cost of some 186 fatalities.

     Believing that Red Army successes on the Eastern Front reflected the world-historic advance of socialism (“turning war into revolution like Lenin in 1917”) this curiously ultra-Stalinist movement ultimately entered into bitter clashes with the official PCI, which sought to infiltrate and destroy its organization.

     Indeed, the movement’s radicalism threatened not only the PCI’s internal discipline, but also the orderly transition to democracy itself: as one military police report warned the Allied forces approaching the Italian capital in May 1944, Bandiera Rossa had “the secret aim, together with the other far-Left parties, of seizing control of the city, overthrowing the monarchy and government, and implementing a full communist program while the other parties are preoccupied with chasing out the Germans.”

     The subversive threat these communists posed saw their militias (deemed by British intelligence to have been “mainly drawn from the criminal classes”) immediately banned upon the Allies’ liberation of the capital.

     The suppression of Bandiera Rossa’s incendiary press and the forcible disarming of its partisans was no isolated case: the state’s assertion of a monopoly of violence and criminalization of its opponents was, in a sense, the founding act of republican legality, with the Allies combining with the CLN parties simultaneously to liberate territory and to impose a quick return to social peace.

     The state born of the resistance was, therefore, also a state born of the neutering of the resistance; the channeling of antagonistic class warfare into working-class representation in the state via the Communist and Socialist parties. Such was the democratic republic “founded on labor.”

     Postmodern April 25

     Today the PCI, self-declared “party of the resistance,” is dead, much like its Socialist and Christian Democratic counterparts. The collapse of the USSR exploded the Italian system’s Cold War binary in 1991, with the removal of the Communist threat finally detonating the rotten corruption networks that had so long flourished in its Christian-Democratic rival. If April 25 still lives on as a day of memorialization, it does so absent of the parties who actually took part in the struggle.

     With ever-reduced ranks of surviving veterans, and the Left in a dire state of collapse, the resistance’s role in Italian public life seems to be on the wane. Indeed, the end of the once mass PCI has clearly handed the initiative to the long-time opponents of the antifascist cause.

     Not only have revisionist historians increasingly sought to establish an equivalence of the crimes perpetrated by each side in the “civil war,” but the last Berlusconi government even toyed with getting rid of the Liberation Day bank holiday.

     Simultaneous to this, resistance memory is also undermined from within, as former PCI-ers adapt the old slogans to their now neoliberal politics, as in president Giorgio Napolitano’s April 25 intervention in 2013. Speaking at a former SS prison, the ex-Communist called on the incoming government to show “the same courage, resolve, and unity that were vital to winning the resistance battle” in dealing with the country’s economic crisis.

     The coalition he was orchestrating was a lash-up of the centrist Democrats with Silvio Berlusconi and Goldman Sachs technocrat Mario Monti; national unity had now became the banner of austerian collective belt-tightening.

     No wonder, then, that April 25 seems increasingly distant from the concerns of today’s unemployed and precarious youth — the “national day” instead living on mainly in the memory of the various fragments of the former PCI.

     Yet with that party’s hegemonic project dead, it seems unlikely that talk of “defending constitutional values” or invoking “national unity” or the “republican ethics” of seventy years ago can play any role in the regeneration of the Left.

     If anything, it is dissecting and questioning this legacy that can return the memory of the partisans to its proper place, turning April 25 from a day of national unity into a day of anti-institutional antagonism.”

     As written by STEFANIE PREZIOSO in Jacobin, in an article entitled The Anti-Fascist Revolution: Remembering the Action Party, one of Italy’s biggest anti-fascist partisan movements.; “Over the last two decades, the Italian Resistance has been a subject of sharp public debate, with both political and historical efforts “radically to repudiate the role and significance” of anti-fascism in Italy’s contemporary history. As Pier Giorgio Zunino wrote in 1997, “for the Italian history of the second half of the twentieth century, anti-fascism is the villain.”

     Indeed, most often simply identified with its Comintern (Communist International) variant, the anti-fascism of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s is branded “anti-democratic” because of its “blind[ness]” to the other “enemies of democracy,” as the Italian revisionist Renzo de Felice put it. Attacks on the twenty-month-long Resistance are essentially concentrated on its minoritarian character (thus seeing the anti-fascist parties as a mere second edition of the National Fascist Party itself) and the “cruelty” of the “violence” committed during the civil war and the months following Liberation.

     Italy is a country where the “negative memory” of this experience fuses with the political uses made of that memory. In this context, what is especially challenged “decade after decade” is the central, epoch-defining character of this period for the history of the dominated.

     This is because, between September 8, 1943 — the date that the Badoglio’s post-fascist government signed an armistice with the Allies, triggering a German occupation of northern-central Italy — and April 25, 1945 — the date of the final liberation of Italy’s great northern cities — the Resistance was not only a war of national liberation, but also a civil war and a class war — a social war that implicated the population itself.

     Of course, not all “the people” were in the “maquis,” as the title of Communist leader Luigi Longo’s Un popolo alla macchia might suggest. But a large part of the Italian population thought that the end of fascism should mean a challenge not just to the regime itself, but also to the Italian state as it had formed after the Risorgimento [national unification struggle of the mid-nineteenth century], and indeed, to bourgeois society as a whole. In this sense, anti-fascism really represented a positive struggle, with a political and social charge that projected itself into the future.

     In this context of a radical challenge to the existing order, the Action Party (Partito d’Azione or Pd’A), throughout its brief existence, played a very specific role. Created in 1942 and dissolved in 1947, over the twenty months of civil war the Pd’A was an advocate for the radical transformation of Italian society.

     This advocacy also translated into practice; in the war of Resistance that raged, especially in Northern Italy, from September 1943 onward, the Action Party made a relatively unparalleled contribution, offering the greatest number of combatants to the armed struggle. Giovanni de Luna captured this reality with his reference to the “party of the shot.” The Pd’A made a major contribution to the insurrections of April 1945, in particular in Turin.

     The living embodiment of a revolutionary “wind from the North,” azionismo also laid down a lasting system of values founded on anti-fascism. It considered anti-fascism not only in conjunctural terms — as a fight against the regime Mussolini had established from 1922 onward — but as a perpetual duty.

     This was summarized in April 1934 by Carlo Rosselli, founder of the secular, non-communist Justice and Liberty (Giustizia e Libertà or GL) movement. A figure whose memory was forever part of the Pd’A after his 1937 murder by fascists, Rosselli spoke of anti-fascism as “a struggle for eternity.”

     “We Are at War”

     Azionismo was rooted in the anti-fascism of the liberal revolutionary Piero Gobetti, who died in 1926 under the blows of the fascist squadristi; as well as its early 1930s political actualization by GL, the movement of the revolutionary socialist Carlo Rosselli and, among others, Emilio Lussu, a member of the Sardinian Partito d’Azione. Based in Paris in the 1930s, Rosselli and Lussu were both escapees from the island of Lipari, where they had been confined by the Fascist regime.

     For Piero Gobetti, fascism was “the autobiography of the nation.” On November 23, 1922, in a famous article entitled “Eulogy to the guillotine,” he wrote:

     Fascism… has been the autobiography of the nation. A nation that believes in class collaboration; a nation that renounces political struggle, on account of its own sloth…. Fascism in Italy is a catastrophe, and it is an indication of a decisive infantileness, for it marks the triumph of facility, of confidence granted, of optimism, of enthusiasms.

     This interpretation emphasized the elements of continuity between liberal Italy and fascist Italy and the idea of a missed Risorgimento – meaning an unaccomplished process of political unification and economic modernization. From this perspective, fascism was the result of this missing liberal/bourgeois revolution, and the expression of a backward and “uncultured” country whose only political experience was one of systems of government that combined clientelism, paternalism, transformism and authoritarianism.

     Fascism was thus the expression of “an old ill, rooted in the distant past of Italian history.” This interpretation combined with the idea that it was necessary to fight not only fascism itself, but all that had made it possible. This emphasized the role of the Italian ruling class in the affirmation and stabilization of the regime.

     During the 1930s, this line of interpretation would develop, in the context of an anti-fascist struggle waged in secrecy and exile. This fight now confronted a clearly established regime and a regimented country, in years that the revisionist historian Renzo de Felice described in terms of “consensus.”

     The revolutionary socialist Carlo Rosselli developed his own analysis of fascism based on Gobetti’s reflections, among others, discussing the development of what he from the early 1930s called “the anti-fascist revolution,” and refining its repertoires of action.

     In January 1932, the first issue of the Quaderni di Giustizia e Libertà asserted the need to pass from “the phase of a negative and indistinct anti-fascism” to that of the affirmation of a “constructive anti-fascism that understands and transcends the fascist experience and the experiences of post-[World War I] Europe.”

     Founded on the combined Mazzinian imperatives of “thought and action,” in a March 1931 circular addressed “To the Workers,” GL presented itself as a “revolutionary movement” aimed at overthrowing fascism by insurrectionary means. Carlo Rosselli and the members of GL conceived their political engagement as a radical rupture from fascism, but so, too, from pre-fascist Italy.

     In this sense, they constantly repeated that there could be no question of fighting to return to “l’Italietta di Facta” [referring to pre-Mussolini liberal prime minister Luigi Facta]. What united the militants of GL was “the revolt against the men, the mentality, and the methods of the pre-fascist political world” (“Per l’unificazione politica del proletariato,” GL, May 14, 1937).

     It also targeted the Italian Socialists, who had reduced themselves to impotence. We might particularly note the rather severe analysis Emilio Lusso gave of the Socialists’ collapse faced with the rise of fascism in his February 1934 article “Orientamenti”:

     The masses were brilliantly guided toward catastrophe… It took just a few mercenary brigands, gathered in such little time, to destroy the results of forty years of proletarian organization. It took not a flurry of machine-gun fire but only the rumble of a milk truck to disband what ought to have been the revolutionary army.

     The renewal of socialism and the anti-fascist struggle were thus envisaged as two interdependent and inextricably linked phases. GL advocated the defeat of pre-fascist political configurations, presenting itself in terms of “unity of action” among socialists, republicans, and liberals, and seeking to revive the struggle on Italian territory, if necessary using illegal and violent means.

     From 1930 onward, GL cells formed mainly in the towns of Northern Italy and in intellectual circles. This was the only non-Communist movement to construct a real network, and the Pd’A [formally constituted in 1942] would base itself on this, as it built its forces around such figures as Riccardo Bauer, Ernesto Rossi, Francesco Fancello, Nello Traquandi, Umberto Ceva, Vincenzo Calace, Dino Roberti, Giuliano Viezzoli, Ferruccio Parri, and many others. While this social and militant base was principally among intellectuals, this small circle would become a hardened troop, ready to take up arms.

     GL, the Pd’A, and the Revolution

     Indeed, fascism placed the young (liberal and/or socialist) intellectuals, as the basis of GL, and the Pd’A in a paradoxical situation. The regime established by Mussolini seemed to position the “rearguard” fight for the defense of democratic freedoms as the order of the day. There is no doubt that the anti-fascist engagement of liberals like Ernesto Rossi or Riccardo Bauer was built precisely around this primary revolt, more moral than political.

     Yet it was at precisely this moment that the fight for freedom emancipated itself from the historical and theoretical frameworks in which it had emerged. It broke away from the revolutions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as it adopted more complex notions that resolutely anchored it in the era beginning in October of 1917.

     Piero Gobetti was again at the heart of this way of conceiving anti-fascism, which combined liberalism with exhortations to revolution. Over the course of his short life, he consistently emphasized that his liberalism was rooted in the concrete experience of the struggles of the downtrodden, with the Turin factory councils of 1919-20 and the soviets in Russia in his view marking their most complete expression.

     Gobetti thus saw the workers’ movement as “freedom on the way to establishing itself” and the October Revolution as “an affirmation of liberalism” because it broke “a centuries-long slavery” in creating an “agrarian democracy,” a state in which “the people have faith.”

     Autonomy, anti-bureaucratic demands, voluntarism, “free initiative from below,” and the role of the individual – not of the “mass” – were the inner secrets to this libertarian and revolutionary liberalism, attached to social revolution and fully anchored in the twentieth century. GL drew on this same thread in the 1930s. Thus, the question posed was “reconciling the political and social potential of the Russian Revolution with the scientific, humanistic, liberal legacy of the West.”

     If fascism reflected Italians’ moral, political, and cultural immaturity – in short, a “lack of character” – then building a new political order must inevitably proceed via a revolutionary struggle. This was a struggle in which active minorities would play an exemplary role, and which would “then spread among wide layers of the population.”

     One of the challenges this posed was how to envisage a revolutionary process in a country that had never seen any large-scale revolutionary phenomenon, the “popular and revolutionary Risorgimento” having been swept aside by the monarchy, the clergy, agrarian feudalism, and finance.

     From this perspective, the anti-fascist revolution could be a “social and moral” second Risorgimento, which would result in the emancipation of the workers. Over the 1930s – for GL’s Carlo Rosselli in particular – the revolution became more clearly proletarian, and anti-fascism became synonymous with anti-capitalism.

     This was not an abstract anti-capitalism, but a “concrete and historical” one founded on the observation and the conviction that liberal democracy had exhausted its historical role. The post-World War I crisis of democracy and the crisis of capitalism thus became potent factors in the interpretation of the struggle that must now be fought.

     The Pd’A structured itself around themes linked to the origins of fascism and the anti-fascist revolution, questions which Carlo Rosselli in particular had posed within GL. While the onset of World War II broke up the networks constituted in exile (especially in France) it would also constitute the terrain in which these new political orientations could be tested in practice.

     As Leonardi Paggi put it, we can here see “the war’s absolutely leading role not only as a factor for the destruction of the old order, but also as the site of the reconstruction of a new one.”

     Indeed, “the fascist war” (from 1940–43) would play a fundamental role in driving the rise of a properly anti-fascist social and political consciousness, taking on ever wider proportions. The strike wave of March 1943 and the outpourings of joy on July 25 of that same year, as Italians greeted the news of Mussolini’s downfall, each bore witness to this.

     Moreover, during the civil war of 1943 to 1945, the anti-fascism that had built up over twenty years of fascism and that etched itself on the body of a devastated, “marytred” country, now transformed into a real movement driven by men and women and by their hopes and expectations. The immediate trigger for the formation of the Action Party was, of course, the war. Yet it was also driven by the heartfelt need for an unremitting struggle, by and through the war, against everything in the process of modern Italy’s construction that had led to disaster.

     From its creation in June 1942, the Pd’A presented itself as the rallying point for the diverse elements of non-Communist anti-fascism of both socialist and liberal orientations. The Pd’A was, first of all, composed of members of the liberal-socialist movement founded among young intellectual circles in central Italy in 1937 by Guido Calogero and Aldo Capitini, whose 1940 program called for the formation of a “common front for freedom.”

     In July 1943, this current was joined by the militants of GL, which became a socialist unity movement under the direction of Emilio Lussu after the 1937 assassination of Carlo Rosselli. On March 3, 1943, GL, the Socialist Party, and the Communist Party signed a pact for unity in action, advocating “a national insurrection to smash fascism’s policy of war.”

     As Giovanni de Luna emphasizes in his book (which is sadly yet to be translated), the different souls of the Action Party were nonetheless united by the conception of politics its militants constructed – a politics considered inextricably linked to morality – and by the constant search for means of action to respond to Italy’s concrete needs, particularly those of its peasant, worker and intellectual layers, in order to radically change the social and political order.

     Hence the party’s “republican prejudice” and its calls for change in Italy’s state structure and its economy. Among the seven points of the Pd’A’s June 1942 political program, we might mention: decentralization of power to the local level; the nationalization of monopolies; land reform; trade-union freedom; and the separation of church and state. The Italian historian Claudio Pavone thus recalled how the “Action Party spoke in its program of its intent to establish a socialism for new times” and how this party had expressed a “utopia, as the aspiration for the utmost.”

     The question of the means of struggle was at the center of the debates at the Pd’A’s national congress on September 5-7, 1943 – a congress held before the armistice [between the post-coup Badoglio government and the Anglo-Americans] was declared, and with German troops having spread across Italian territory from July to September. The idea of a war of national liberation here translated into the understanding that it would now be necessary to wage a large-scale war. The GL brigades would now constitute the Pd’A’s armed wing, under Ferruccio Parri’s command.

     These brigades were conceived as sites for the consolidation and/or emergence of a social and political consciousness, even if recruitment for the Pd’A brigades was a lot more selective than that which took place in the Communist-led Garibaldi brigades. Dante Livio Bianco wrote:

     [T]rue political work in partisan formations consisted not so much of giving ‘lectures’ or of forcing partisans to read the political press, as of touching (and that was how it was – even only touching) on the key points, uncovering them and bringing them out of the generic, the confused, the indistinct, and instead proposing these points – even in their most basic form – to the individual consciousness, thereby drawing out new motives for action.

     But the debate also concerned the definition of the struggle itself: was this a struggle for national liberation and/or a “democratic” revolution? For the militants of the Pd’A, the one necessarily went hand-in-hand with the other, but the contents of this democratic revolution were differently defined even within the party – more radically so among former GL militants, and in more liberal terms among others.

     Yet all agreed on an intransigent opposition to Badoglio’s post-fascist regime under the “Kingdom of the South” [ruling Allied-occupied regions after September 1943], and on a relentless search for unity in action among the parties of the Left. Throughout the Resistance war, the azionisti thought that Italy’s concrete situation could result in processes “of a revolutionary character.”

     “You are either for revolution or for reforms,” Pd’A secretary for Northern Italy Leo Viliani wrote, “and we are for revolution.” The “revolution” even became a “permanent revolution,” “whose goals can never be determined once and for all, but rather are continually redefined.”

     However, the Communist Party leader Palmiro Togliatti’s return to Italy in late 1944 and the international realignment of the Allied forces – who were now clearly focused on the future of Western Europe’s reconstruction – marked the end of the “revolutionary” hopes of azionismo and the anti-fascist revolution. Palmiro Togliatti’s speech at Salerno would mark their swansong.

     In this Southern town, the Communist leader asserted the need for the unity of anti-fascists of whatever political or religious orientation, and proposed that the institutional question (monarchy or republic?) be put off until after the war. Azionismo’s revolutionary and Jacobin anti-fascism had truly resonated with the aspirations of the popular, peasant, and working-class layers of Northern Italy, but this would now be defeated by the new situation of Allied “diplomatic” anti-fascism, to which Togliatti’s Communist Party added decisive impetus, shortly before the Allies reached Rome in June 1944.

     There now began to emerge the image of a “betrayed” or at least “unfinished” Resistance, meaning “the incompletion of an ideal that was never fully realized, but nonetheless continued to feed hopes and to awaken stresses and energies for renewal.” As Marco Revelli wrote, “…the true mortal sin of anti-fascism consisted in its struggle against the roots, against the tradition of Italy, in its destructive charge dissolving the fundamental aggregations of fatherland and family.”

     And azionismo’s “mortal sin” was not only that it kept this memory alive, but that it was able to transmit this experience over time, as well as the questions it posed to the Italy of the past, their own present, and the future. This was especially the case of Piero Calamandrei (a father of the 1948 Italian Constitution), Giorgio Agosti, Leo Valiani, Aldo Garosci, and Alessandro Galante Garrone.

    Of course, the Pd’A’s was a short experience, doubtless linked to its variety of political souls and its inability to provide a common substance to the anti-fascist revolution that it considered so necessary. But azionismo remains a thorn in the side of those who hope to see the subversive potential of the Resistance experience die away as the years pass.

    And indeed, with the commemorations every April 25, what is put on the agenda anew is the fact that this past can again become a force in the present. Without doubt, this is the sense in which azionismo and its “anti-fascist revolution” remain a rallying point for the oppositional Italian left today. The slogan “Now and always, Resistance!” was chanted once more on April 25, 2017, renewing the subversive potential of militant azionismo and the living force of its “permanent revolution.”


25 settembre 2022 L’Italia sceglie un futuro all’ombra del terrore fascista e della tirannia

    In questo giorno elettorale, cento anni dopo la marcia di Mussolini su Roma, l’Italia sceglie un futuro all’ombra del terrore fascista e della tirannia e dei lasciti di una storia per la quale non c’è mai stata una resa dei conti nazionale.

    Se la democrazia in Italia cade oggi, nessuno in Europa è al sicuro. I partiti politici regressivi che armano le identità nazionali di razza e fede e sfruttano la paura dell’alterità sono ormai ovunque, ma quello che sta per conquistare il governo italiano ha origine nell’ur-fonte del fascismo moderno guidato da Benito Mussolini, e nulla lo suggerisce ha rinnegato la sua storia.

     Come nello stato revivalista nazista dell’Ungheria di Orban, trampolino di lancio per la riconquista dell’Europa, in Italia potremmo presto affrontare uno stato fascista non ricostruito. Insieme a Vox in Spagna e ai nazionalisti di Le Pen in Francia, emerge un’immagine cupa del nostro futuro mentre condividono risorse per sfruttare ideologie e politiche in Europa.

    Eppure ogni forza crea la propria controforza, e in Italia come in tutta Europa le storie della Resistenza bilanciano quelle del fascismo. Qui bisogna cercare alleanze e modelli per rispondere alla paura con speranza e divisione con solidarietà.

22 luglio 2022 Speranza e disperazione: l’Italia al culmine del cambiamento

     Il governo italiano è crollato, un atto di sabotaggio dei revivalisti fascisti che hanno abbandonato la coalizione politica che finora le ha impedito di precipitare dall’orlo di un precipizio nell’abisso, una minaccia esistenziale alla sopravvivenza dei suoi popoli e alla base servizi di qualsiasi stato che includono l’assistenza sanitaria.

    Ma se l’abisso custodisce il terrore di un precariato tenuto in ostaggio dalla morte e dai bisogni materiali di sopravvivenza, l’abisso è anche il luogo in cui si trova la speranza, perché qui gli equilibri di potere possono essere modificati nella lotta rivoluzionaria.

    In questo tempo liminale di reimmaginazione e trasformazione delle nostre possibilità di diventare umani, di prese di potere e di adempimento dei Quattro Doveri Primari di Cittadino, Autorità di Domanda, Autorità di Esporre, Autorità di simulazione e Autorità di Sfida, guardiamo al nostro glorioso passato nella Resistenza che vinse la Liberazione d’Italia il 25 aprile e l’impiccagione di Mussolini il 28 aprile 1945.

     Come dice il proverbio preferito di Slavoj Zizek, una traduzione errata o una parafrasi francese del verso di Antonio Gramsci nei suoi Quaderni del carcere “La crisi consiste nel appunto che il vecchio muore e il nuovo fatto non può nascere: in questo interregno si incontrare i fenomeni morbosi più svariati”, letteralmente “La crisi consiste proprio nel fatto che il vecchio sta morendo e il nuovo non può nascere, in questo interregno compare una grande varietà di sintomi morbosi”, come “Le vieux monde se meurt, le nouveau monde tarde à apparaître et dans ce clair-obscur surgissent les monstres”, che introduce l’idea di mostruosità, referenziale allo sviluppo storico dell’opera di Michel de Montaigne, Michel Foucault e Georges Canguilhem Il normale e il patologico, un processo dialettico di mimesi che si traduce nella forma del principio come; “Il vecchio mondo sta morendo e il nuovo mondo lotta per nascere; ora è il tempo dei mostri”.

     I significati cambiano, si adattano e cambiano mentre trasgrediscono i confini, abitano spazi pubblici e privati e si dispiegano su vasti abissi temporali, e così dobbiamo.

Rome, Open City film by Roberto Rossellini

Here Endeth the Lesson: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season seven, episode eleven


30 agosto 2022 Centenario delle Barricate di Parma e della Resistenza Antifascista di Guido Picelli e L’Ardito del Popolo

     Cento anni fa, in agosto, la resistenza antifascista di Guido Picelli e L’Ardito del Popolo ha combattuto una gloriosa battaglia per l’anima dell’umanità e il destino del mondo contro l’ondata del fascismo e delle camicie nere di Mussolini a Parma, preludio della marcia su Roma che ha aperto le porte all’Olocausto e alla Seconda Guerra Mondiale, così molto simile alla nostra insurrezione del 6 gennaio che ci minaccia ancora con il ritorno del fascismo come Quarto Reich.

    Ora come allora, e in ogni generazione dell’umanità, siamo definiti da come affrontiamo coloro che ci renderebbero schiavi e l’oscurità dentro di noi che minaccia di consumarci, i difetti della nostra umanità e la fragilità del mondo; solidale come una banda di fratelli e un’Umanità Unita, o soggiogata attraverso gerarchie e divisioni di appartenenza elitaria e alterità escludente, come società libera di uguali o con fascismi di sangue, fede e suolo. Come recita il Giuramento della Resistenza fattomi da Jean Genet a Beirut; “Ci giuriamo reciprocamente lealtà, di resistere e di non cedere, e di non abbandonare i nostri simili”.

   Per Antifa e per la Resistenza gli Arditi sono un importante antenato storico, ma anche per tutti coloro che amano la Libertà, dove sempre gli uomini hanno fame di essere liberi.

    Ecco anche un ammonimento, della necessità della Solidarietà e dei pericoli della frattura ideologica, poiché gli Arditi non riuscirono a sconfiggere il fascismo alla sua nascita per le stesse ragioni per cui Rosa Luxemburg ei socialdemocratici tedeschi non furono in grado di contrastare l’ascesa di Hitler.

    A questa patologia della discontinuità e al terrore del nostro nulla, alla divisione e alla disperazione di fronte alla forza schiacciante, rispondo con Buffy l’ammazzavampiri citando le istruzioni ai sacerdoti nel Book of Common Prayer nell’episodio undici della settima stagione, Showtime , dopo aver attirato un nemico in un’arena da sconfiggere come dimostrazione alle sue reclute; “Non so cosa accadrà dopo. Ma so che sarà proprio così: difficile, doloroso. Ma alla fine, saremo noi. Se tutti faremo le nostre parti, credeteci, saremo quelli rimasti in piedi. Qui finisce la lezione”.

References in my text

The Normal and the Pathological, by Georges Canguilhem, Michel Foucault

Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason,

by Michel Foucault

Shakespeare’s Montaigne: The Florio Translation of the Essays, A Selection

by Michel de Montaigne, John Florio (Translation), Stephen Greenblatt (Editor), Peter G. Platt (Editor)

               Antonio Gramsci, a reading list

Prison Notebooks: Volume I, by Antonio Gramsci, Joseph A. Buttigieg (Translator) Columbia University Press

Prison Notebooks, Volume 2: 1930-1932, by Antonio Gramsci, Joseph A. Buttigieg (Editor)  Columbia University Press

Gramsci’s Common Sense: Inequality and Its Narratives, by Kate Crehan

The Gramscian Moment: Philosophy, Hegemony and Marxism, by Peter D. Thomas

Gramsci and the History of Dialectical Thought, by Maurice A. Finocchiaro

Gramsci’s Politics of Language: Engaging the Bakhtin Circle and the Frankfurt School, by Peter Ives

Gramsci and Foucault: A Reassessment, by David M. Kreps


September 24 2022 Liberation Day of the New York, Portland, and Seattle Autonomous Zones

    First before all must be the true names of things.

     Words matter. They can divide us, and they can unite us. Words can exalt and defile; they can shape our images and possibilities of becoming human and create or limit the worlds to which we can aspire, they can replace stones we hurl at one another and heal the pathology of our disconnectedness.

     Always treasure words, for they represent the kinds of thoughts we are able to have and harbour imaginal creative power.  We bear them forward as memories, histories, identities, like the shells of fantastic sea creatures; so also do they bear us forward, and await their moment of wakefulness as seeds of becoming.

     On this day one year ago the people of the New York, Portland, and Seattle Autonomous Zones were victorious over the federal government of the United States and the forces of occupation which attempted to seize our cities using an illegal secret army of Homeland Security and their deniable forces among white supremacist terrorist organizations including the Proud Boys, the Oathkeepers, Patriot Prayer, and others created as fronts or acting under Homeland Security command and control to disrupt the Black Lives Matter protests for racial justice and equality through random abduction, torture, and assassination to repress dissent, and a national campaign of arson, looting, and violence to capture the narrative of the protests and discredit the cause of equality and the abolition of racist police violence and state terror. Over these brutal and criminal attempts to impose racist tyranny on our nation by the Fourth Reich, the people of America emerged triumphant as the federal government formally and publicly ceded control of these three key cities to the people as Autonomous Zones.

     In accord with Trump’s directive, the US Department of Justice has designated three cities, including Seattle, Portland, and New York City, as “anarchist” jurisdictions, officially ceding control to the free peoples who have seized their birthright and returned private property to the commons from which it was stolen and legitimacy from the government which has squandered it.

    Henceforth let us call those cities for which power and ownership has been transferred to us by the President of the United States, Attorney General William Barr, and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, by their true names; the New York, Portland, and Seattle Autonomous Zones.

    May they be the first of many, throughout America and the world.

    Let us honor all those who have made the liberation of America from the grip of the Fourth Reich possible, both in their successes and in their sacrifices for the cause of democracy and humankind. Especially our hope for a better world owes a tremendous debt to the people of these Autonomous Zones which have led the charge into the future, to the largely anonymous and wonderfully diverse and nonhierarchical networks of alliance and mutual aid, resistance and revolution, including those who identify as Antifa and the Torch network of which my publication Torch of Liberty is a voice, and the visionary and transformational leaders of the New York Democratic Socialists of America including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for whom I have declared for President of the United States in 2024, Julia Salazar, Alessandra Biaggi, Jamaal Bowman, Jabari Brisport, Phara Souffrant Forrest, Marcela Mitaynes, and Zohran Mamdani.

    Here is my initial response posted on September 21 2020; Thanks for official recognition of public ownership of our areas of control, federal government. Now get out of our cities and leave us in peace.

    Our next step should be establishing international community and temporary autonomous zones, waging revolutionary and liberation struggle for democracy and our universal human rights and resistance against fascism and tyranny, and conducting independent foreign policy both as Free America and as a global United Humankind to counterbalance the nationalist and imperialist militarism, capitalist plutocracy, and racist fascism of the United States.

     Each of us who in refusal to submit has become Unconquered and free is a Living Autonomous Zone, able to bring change as a bearer of Liberty, and this is a power which no one can take from us.

      And I personally want a full partnership with Cuba, and one day of America with Cuba and all the peoples of the world as brothers, sisters, and others in a free society of equals, a day I now look forward to with greater hope that I may live to see it realized. I recall with fondness a day much like today when I had opportunity to enjoy one of those marvelous Cuban cigars, during the celebrations for our victory over the South African and American forces of Apartheid at the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale in 1988, and this is another such moment, to be savored with utter joy.  

     For we are many, we are watching, and we are the future.

     This in reaction to the article written by Alan Smith of NBC News; “The Justice Department released a list of cities Monday that it has deemed “anarchist jurisdictions” under President Donald Trump’s instructions this month to review federal funding for local governments in places where violence or vandalism has occurred during protests.

     That memo directed Attorney General William Barr, in consultation with Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought and acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, to identify jurisdictions “that have permitted violence and the destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract these criminal activities (anarchist jurisdictions).”

     On Monday, the Justice Department labeled New York City, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle as such areas. It said it was still working to identify other jurisdictions that meet the criteria outlined in Trump’s memo. The president has made ridicule of those cities a regular feature of his campaign appearances, and he has mocked their top officials for their responses to the violence that has taken place during the protests.

     Barr said in a statement accompanying the announcement: “We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance. It is my hope that the cities identified by the Department of Justice today will reverse course and become serious about performing the basic function of government and start protecting their own citizens.”

     As part of its rationale for labeling the cities, the Justice Department cited city councils’ voting to cut police funding, the refusal to prosecute protesters on charges like disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly, the rejection of federal intervention, and injuries suffered by law enforcement officials during violent outbursts.

     New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan issued a joint statement calling the administration’s move “thoroughly political and unconstitutional,” adding that “the president is playing cheap political games with congressionally directed funds.”

     “Our cities are bringing communities together; our cities are pushing forward after fighting back a pandemic and facing the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, all despite recklessness and partisanship from the White House,” the mayors said. “What the Trump administration is engaging in now is more of what we’ve seen all along: shirking responsibility and placing blame elsewhere to cover its failure.”

     New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement Monday that Trump is “using the last few months of his presidency to sow more chaos, more hatred, and more fear,” and she pledged to defeat the administration in court over any such withholding of funding to the city and the state.

     “This designation is nothing more than a pathetic attempt to scare Americans into voting for a commander-in-chief who is actually incapable of commanding our nation,” she said, adding that Trump “should be prepared to defend this illegal order in court, which hypocritically lays the groundwork to defund New York and the very types of law enforcement President Trump pretends to care about.”

     Democratic mayors and governors this month bashed Trump over his latest effort aimed at what he calls “Democrat-run” cities and states. They said that it was illegal for the executive branch to unilaterally withhold funding from their jurisdictions and that Trump was merely seeking another distraction from the U.S. coronavirus death toll, which has topped 200,000.

     “It is another attempt to kill New York City,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters during a late-night conference call this month, adding that Trump “better have an army if he thinks he’s going to walk down the streets in New York.”

     Of course, an army of Occupation was exactly what Trump thought he commanded, and which he later used in the failed coup of the January 6 Insurrection.

     Yet there is truth in this wild allegation of anarchy, for in these and some fifty other cities throughout America protests for equality and racial justice have triumphed over brutal repression and state terror and tyranny to seize actual control of key government administrative landmarks and business districts for over one hundred days now. And the federal government has been powerless before the solidarity and united will of the American people, and admitted defeat in their efforts to take our cities from us.

     Therefore I declare victory, and celebrate the triumph of autonomous individuals as citizens of a free society of equals, each of us a Living Autonomous Zone, wild and ungovernable as the tides like a force of nature. 

     As I wrote in my post of June 8 2021, Anniversary of the Liberation of the Seattle Autonomous Zone and the Birth of a Global Autonomous Zones Movement; A year ago today we launched the greatest experiment in liberty the world has seen since the founding of America itself in liberation from the British Empire; the Seattle Autonomous Zone. We seized and held from those who would enslave us and their police forces of tyranny and state terror six blocks of Capitol Hill.

    These were days of glory and of freedom, of luminous transgressions and the exaltation of the unconquerable human spirit, of truthtelling and revelation, of the performance of unauthorized identities as guerilla theatre and of communal celebrations of our diversity and the limitless possibilities of human being, meaning, and value, of the ecstatic rapture and vision of living beyond all boundaries, in which nothing is Forbidden.

     Within a fleeting moment of joy Autonomous Zones sprang up in Washington DC encircling the White House, Portland, Minneapolis, Atlanta, New York, Austin, and throughout the fifty cities across America where the Black Lives Matter protests had taken control from the government through mass action, and then throughout the world as the powerless and the dispossessed, the silenced and the erased, all those whom Franz Fanon named the Wretched of the Earth arose in solidarity and for a glorious moment spoke to Authority with one voice, a voice that said; We refuse to submit, and we are free.

     Let us question, expose, mock, and challenge authority; let us incite, provoke, and disturb; let us run amok and be ungovernable.

    Let us be bringers of chaos, joy, transformation, and revolution.

      Here is a journal entry of mine speaking as a witness of history to that time of revolutionary struggle and liberation; as I wrote in my post of June 11 2020, Utopia Now: Seattle’s Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone; Marvels and jubilation in the streets, a carnival of transgressions of the Forbidden and masquerades of possible identities and futures of becoming human, anarchy and chaos and joy, running amok and being ungovernable, and the frightening of the horses; come and dance with us, America. Come find your heart and be free.

     Whosoever remains unconquered is free. For each of us who defies injustice and tyranny, who resists subjugation, dehumanization, and enslavement, who questions, mocks, and challenges authority, becomes an agent of Liberty who cannot be silenced, and who passes the torch of freedom as an uncontrollable catalyst of change to everyone with whom we interact, and thereby can never be truly defeated.

     Each of us who in resistance becomes Unconquered and a bearer of Liberty are a Living Autonomous Zone, and this is the key to our inevitable victory. We ourselves are the power which state terror and tyranny cannot conquer.

     The people of Seattle have answered brutal repression and police violence, an attempt to break the rebellion against racial injustice and hate crime enacted by the police throughout America and the world led by Trump and his white supremacist terrorists both within the police as a fifth column and operating in coordination with deniable forces like the gun-toting militias now visible everywhere, by storming the citadel of city government with waves of thousands of citizens demanding the right to life and liberty regardless of the color of our skin.

      The people have seized control of six city blocks, including the police precinct and City Hall, and established the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, a name which rings with history as a development of the Occupy Wall Street movement and reflects both the Paris Commune and the Italian Anarcho-Syndicalists of the 1920s. For a brilliant alternate history which reimagines and illuminates the latter, and possibly the goals and motives of the young revolutionaries of CHAZ today, see Bruce Sterling’s novel Pirate Utopia.

     Such beautiful resistance by those who will not go quietly to their deaths.     To all those who tilt at windmills; I salute you.

     Let us take back our government from our betrayers, and our democracy from the fascist tyranny of blood, faith, and soil which has attempted to steal our liberty and enslave us with divisions of exclusionary otherness.

     When the people have reclaimed the government of which they are co-owners and this new phase of protest, a movement to Occupy City Hall in defiance of tyranny, has seized every seat of power in the nation and restored democracy to America, we can begin the reforging of our society on the foundation of equality and racial justice, and of our universal human rights. 

     Let us join together in solidarity and restore America as a free society of equals, and liberate all the nations of the world now held captive by the Fourth Reich.       

      There can be but one reply to fascism and state terror; Never Again.

Pirate Utopia, Bruce Sterling

September 23 2022 A Glorious Defiance: the Return of Fridays For Future

     On this day the young people doomed to inherit the future have chosen to seize their power to shape it; the glorious defiance of the death sentence of humankind handed down from elite hegemonies of wealth, power, and privilege in a Faustian bargain has once more erupted throughout the world in the return of Fridays For Future.

     As I have written many times, one consequence of the Pandemic was highly useful to elite interests and their carceral states of force and control; it stopped the three social movements which threatened them with transformative change, #metoo, Fridays For Future, and Black Lives Matter.

    But now like the dinosaurs set free to roam from their prisons in amber in the film Jurassic Park, we who create the wealth others enjoy can once again run amok and be ungovernable as co-owners of our nation as a free society of equals, and enact the reimagination and transformation of ourselves and our civilization.

     Let us free ourselves from our enslavement and looming species extinction, and bring change to the three systems of unequal power and terror in which we are caught like Charlie Chaplin in The Factory; patriarchy, capitalism, and racism.

     As written on the website of the movement; ON SEPTEMBER 23RD, WE WILL STRIKE FOR CLIMATE REPARATIONS AND JUSTICE!

     Join us for the Global Climate Strike as we demand policymakers and world leaders to prioritize #PeopleNotProfit! We demand that our Governments listen to MAPA voices and immediately work to provide Loss & Damage Finance to the communities most affected by the climate crisis.



     Not as charity, but as a transformative justice process in which political power will return to the people.

     This should not be in the form of loans, but a follow through on the demands from Indigenous, black, anti-patriarchal and diverse marginalized communities to get their lands back, giving resources to the most affected communities by the climate crisis for adaptation, loss and damages – a redistribution (and in most cases, collectivization) of wealth, technology, information, care work, and political power both from the north to the south, and from top to bottom.


     Climate struggle is class struggle, for years, the ruling class, primarily through corporations and governments from the Global North dominated by affluent, white, heterosexual cis-males, have exercised their power, gained through colonialism, capitalism, patriarchy, white supremacy and exploitation, to destroy the earth and its occupants with no remorse.

     They deliberately sacrifice the Global South’s ecosystems and peoples for the sake of their so-called “development” and everlasting “economic growth”. Meanwhile, the working class is used as tools to build the very system that is destroying them.


     Colonizers and capitalists are at the core of every system of oppression that has caused the climate crisis, and decolonization, using the tool of climate reparations, is the best kind of climate action.

     The richest capitalist 1%,must be held responsible for their actions and willful ignorance. Their profit is our death. Their profit is our suffering.

     Together with different sectors of society across the world, led by the most marginalized, let’s bring back the power to the people whose power has been stolen. Together, let’s build a system and home where we prioritize #PeopleNotProfit.


     Why should we study so we can do great things later, when the time for greatness, for action, is now? Humans created this crisis, so humans have to stop it – or face global destruction. Already, we see heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods and 200 species are disappearing every day from the face of the earth, never to return.”

I love you, California film by Fridays For Future

Join Fridays For Future on the official website

Charlie Chaplin in The Factory

September 22 2022 Trump Family Crime Syndicate Faces a Reckoning

     Like Al Capone and so many other crime lords, Trump now faces the very real possibility of federal charges which would stop him from ever becoming President again, and his whole Trump Family crime syndicate may lose their empire of lies and illusions, and all of their wealth and property along with the right to vote, along with him.

    There is no public act which would do more to restore the trust and faith of the people in the idea of America and her systems and structures of institutional democracy than this, the purging of the Trumps from among us and the totalization and seizure of all their wealth and power.

     I believe the natural consequence of treason is the revocation of citizenship and exile, and the public erasure and forgetting the Romans called damnatio memoriae.

     As I wrote in my post of January 9 2022, How Shall We Answer Treason?;     Disloyalty and the betrayal of trust are among the worst and most terrible of true crimes, for they signify and represent the failure and collapse of all other values and meaning. This is why Solidarity as Fraternity is among the three principles on which the Revolution is built, along with Liberty and Equality, for without them there can be no free society of equals.

     A brilliant Meidas Touch video which indicts Trump as a domestic terrorist for the January 6 Insurrection provoked me to question, How shall we answer treason? So wrote the following in reply:

     Actually, I would like to see Trump achieve his true nature by being fed to dogs and transformed into dog shit. Wouldn’t it be a lovely display in a glass case exhibited in a museum of holocausts, atrocities, and crimes against humanity? Let his monument read thus:

     Here lies Our Clown of Terror, Traitor Trump, in his true form, most terrible enemy democracy has faced since Alcibiades betrayed Athens, most dangerous foreign agent to ever attack America even including Pearl Harbor and the Twin Towers, who subverted our ideals and sabotaged our institutions, and nearly enacted the fall of civilization as the figurehead of the Fourth Reich and herald of an age of fascist tyranny and state terror.

     Yet here he lies, nothing but a pile of dog shit. Look upon the rewards of tyranny, you who are mighty, and despair.

     For we are many, we are watching, and we are the future.

     We can but wish. Beyond such fantasies, exclusion is a just balance for crimes of treason, disloyalty, and betrayal, in the forms of loss of citizenship, the most terrible punishment any nation can inflict, and exile and erasure.

    To be clear, all participants in the January 6 Insurrection, and all who conspired in this crime, had knowledge aforehand but did not sound an alarm,  or acted subsequently to conceal, abet, or deny and excuse its perpetrators and its nature including all legislators who voted not to investigate it, bear responsibility in its crimes and should be repaid with loss of citizenship, exile, and erasure. 

     Exile as the natural consequence of treason was explored in the short story “The Man Without a Country” by Edward Everett Hale, first published in The Atlantic in December 1863.  It is a story of a traitor who comes to understand the true meaning of his crime; the renunciation of his social contract, connection and interdependence with other human beings, and membership in a national identity.

     As described in Wikipedia; “It is the story of American Army lieutenant Philip Nolan, who renounces his country during a trial for treason, and is consequently sentenced to spend the rest of his days at sea without so much as a word of news about the United States.

    The protagonist is a young US Army lieutenant, Philip Nolan, who develops a friendship with the visiting Aaron Burr. When Burr is tried for treason (that historically occurred in 1807), Nolan is tried as an accomplice. During his testimony, he bitterly renounces his nation and, with a foul oath, angrily shouts, “I wish I may never hear of the United States again!” The judge is completely shocked at that announcement and, on convicting him, icily grants him his wish. Nolan is to spend the rest of his life aboard US Navy warships in exile with no right ever to set foot on US soil again and with explicit orders that no one shall ever again mention his country to him.

     The sentence is carried out to the letter. For the rest of his life, Nolan is transported from ship to ship, lives out his life as a prisoner on the high seas, and is never allowed back in a home port.”

      So for Exile; now also for Erasure. As I wrote in my post of January 7 2021, Treason and Terror: Trump’s Brownshirts Attack Congress; This leaves the ringleader and chief conspirator of treason, sedition, insurrection, and terror to be removed from power and denied a platform from which to spread madness and violence like a plague; our Clown of Terror, Traitor Trump. I believe we must remove, impeach, deplatform, and prosecute him for his many crimes against America; Trump must be exiled from public life and isolated from his power to destroy us.

     Roman law called this damnatio memoriae, the erasure of public forgetting, and coupled with the Amish practice of shunning provides a useful model of minimum use of social force in safeguarding ourselves from threats, without the brutality of torture and prison to which we have become addicted. A fascinating  article by the classical scholar Alexander Meddings examines its use in the cases of Trump’s nearest Imperial parallels, Caligula and Nero.

     Exile and Erasure; neither prison nor violence or the use of force and fear. Let us simply cast out those who would destroy us from among us, and forget them.

     I came to my lifelong interest in the origins of evil by three Defining Moments of life disruptive events and trauma, which include a childhood growing up in a savagely repressive community of religious fanatics of the patriarchal and xenophobic Reformed Church, once the state faith of South Africa’s Apartheid regime, a childhood wherein divisions of exclusionary otherness and the three primary terrors, faith weaponized in service to authority and power as violence, subjugation, and identitarian-sectarian division, patriarchal sexual terror, and white supremacist terror and other racially motivated hate crime and fascisms of blood, faith, and soil, were symbolized for me by two fires; a witch burning and the burning of a cross on the lawn of newlyweds who had married outside of their churches, a Dutch Reformed Church man and a Swiss Calvinist woman, both white Protestants, referred to locally as a mixed marriage and officially shunned by the Reformed Church. When one begins by forbidding music as sinful and the use of buttons as non-Biblical technology, divisions of exclusionary otherness and membership become reinforced by authority as a grim regime of force and control.

     Second came a near-death experience of disembodied timeless vision and frontline witness at nine years of age of the most massive incident of state terror in American history, Bloody Thursday, May 15 1969 in People’s Park, Berkeley. Third were my experiences in the summer of 1973 just before high school, when I went to Brazil to train as a fencer for the Pan American Games, and stayed to defend abandoned street children and other outcasts from the bounty hunters whom the rich had set on them.

    This trauma and historical context I processed by reading and writing, and during my last two years of high school I discovered books which became instrumental to this process and to my understanding; Jerzy Kosinski’s The Painted Bird, whose protagonist I felt a deep identification and kinship with, and was a dinner table subject of conversation as my mother wrote her study of psychosomatic muteness from his childhood therapy journal and the Soviet mental hospital records Kosinski wrote his magnificent and terrible novel from, the works of Hannah Arendt, Albert Camus, and Jean Paul Sartre, and other Holocaust survivors and Resistance fighters who engaged with the problem of evil as tyranny and state terror, and Robert Waite’s magisterial study of Hitler in The Psychopathic God; this last work inspired me to question the origins of evil as fear, power, and force under the triple lens of psychology, history, and literature as a field of scholarship at university and throughout my life.

    How is this relevant to ideas of justice? Because we must not become our enemies in the use of social force, even to guarantee our universal human rights.

   Remember always Nietzsche’s warning in Beyond Good and Evil; “He who fights monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss gazes back into thee.”

    We must escape the maelstrom of dehumanization which is the Wagnerian Ring of fear, power, and force if we are to free ourselves from the disfiguring and crippling legacies of our history. To do this we must abandon power over others and the social use of force; but first we must seize our power over ourselves from those who would enslave us.

     As written by Hugo Lowell, Maya Yang and Martin Pengelly in The Guardian in an article entitled New York attorney general lawsuit accuses Trump of ‘staggering’ fraud, Letitia James’s civil suit accuses ex-president of inflating his net worth by billions in order to ‘enrich himself and cheat the system; “The attorney general of New York state has filed a civil fraud lawsuit against Donald Trump and three of his children involved in the family real-estate business, for falsely inflating his net worth by billions in order to enrich himself and secure favorable loans.

     Announcing the suit in New York on Wednesday, Letitia James also said referrals had been made to federal prosecutors and the Internal Revenue Service – a move sure to anger the former US president and increase consternation among his inner circle about the depth of his legal predicament.

     Trump, Donald Trump Jr, Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump were all deposed during the New York investigation, which began when Trump was president and lasted for three years.

     The lawsuit seeks to bar all four Trumps from serving as executives in New York, and to prohibit the Trump Organization from acquiring any commercial real estate or receiving loans from New York-based entities for five years.

     James added: “The complaint demonstrates that Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself and to cheat the system, thereby cheating all of us. He did this with the help of the other defendants.”

     James said her office uncovered evidence of federal criminal violations including issuing false statements to financial institutions and bank fraud, and had referred the matter to the southern district of New York and the IRS.

     The lawsuit states: “The number of grossly inflated asset values is staggering, affecting most if not all of the real estate holdings in any given year.”

     The suit also seeks to recover at least $250m and to bar the Trump Organization chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, and comptroller, Jeffrey McConney, from serving in top roles of any company in New York.

     In a separate criminal investigation, in New York, Weisselberg, 75, has pleaded guilty to tax fraud.

     Noting how Trump and Weisselberg cited fifth-amendment protections against self-incrimination when refusing to answer questions at deposition, James said: “For too long, powerful, wealthy people in this country have operated as if the rules do not apply to them.

     “Donald Trump stands out as among the most egregious examples. Trump thought he could get away with the art of the steal but today that conduct ends.”

     Though the New York suit is not a criminal prosecution, James’s referral to federal prosecutors at the southern district of New York threatens further serious legal peril for the former president and his three adult children.

     Trump has repeatedly suggested he will run again for president in 2024. But he faces legal threats including possible indictment over his retention of classified records and multiple investigations of his attempts to overturn the 2020 election.

     The former president and his attorneys have castigated the New York investigation as a politically motivated “witch-hunt” – his default position under scrutiny – and insisted that the Trump Organization did not operate illegally.

     But in the 214-page complaint, James outlined an extensive record of alleged wrongdoing, such as fraudulently inflating the value of 23 properties including the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Trump Tower in New York and what was previously the Trump International hotel in Washington DC.

     James alleged that the defendants made more than 200 false and misleading asset valuations in financial statements between 2011 and 2021, and revealed strategies she said Trump and his organization used to commit fraud.

     Mar-a-Lago, the suit says, was valued as high as $739m when it should have been closer to $75m.

     James also said the Trumps “received a series of bank ordered appraisals for the commercial property at 40 Wall Street in New York City that calculated the value of the property at $200m as of August 2010 and $220m as of November 2012.

     “Yet in his 2011 statement, Mr Trump listed 40 Wall Street with a value of $524m, which increased to $530m over the next two years, more than twice the value calculated by the professionals.

     “Even more egregious, the $500m-plus valuation was attributed to information from the appraiser who valued the building at just over $200m.”

     Regarding Trump Tower, on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, James said: “Mr Trump represented that his apartment spanned more than 30,000 sq ft, which was the basis for valuing the apartment. In reality, the apartment had an area of less than 11,000 sq ft, something Mr Trump was well aware of.

     “Based on that inflated square footage, the value of the apartment in 2015 and 2016 was $327m. To this date, no apartment in New York City has ever sold for close to that amount. Tripling the size of the apartment for purposes of the valuation was intentional and deliberate fraud. Not an honest mistake.”

     Trump has consistently accused James of being politically motivated. Before James’s announcement, Bloomberg News reported that “members of Trump’s inner circle” saw the suit as “a fundraising opportunity for James, a Democrat facing re-election in November”.

     Trump has also claimed that the attorney general, who is Black, is racist.

     As James spoke, Donald Trump Jr tweeted: “The bullshit Dem[ocratic] witch-hunt continues!”

     Trump lawyer Alina Habba said the lawsuit “is neither focused on the facts nor the law, rather it is solely focused on advancing the attorney general’s political agenda,” accusing James of abusing her authority “by prying into transactions where absolutely no wrongdoing has taken place”.

     Habba said the allegations in the lawsuit are “meritless”.

     Summing up on Wednesday morning, James said: “I want to be clear. White-collar financial crime is not a victimless crime.”

     Repeating her allusion to Trump’s most famous ghosted book, she added: “Claiming you have money that you do not have does not amount to the art of the deal. It’s the art of the steal.

        “There cannot be different rules for different people in this country or in this state … No one is above the law.”

     As written by David Smith ion The Guardian, in an article entitled ‘I’m not sure he’s going to escape jail’: could Trump’s legal woes prevent a 2024 run?; “Donald Trump’s legal perils have become insurmountable and could snuff out the former US president’s hopes of an election-winning comeback, according to political analysts and legal experts.

     On Wednesday, Trump and three of his adult children were accused of lying to tax collectors, lenders and insurers in a “staggering” fraud scheme that routinely misstated the value of his properties to enrich themselves.

     The civil lawsuit, filed by New York’s attorney general, came as the FBI investigates Trump’s holding of sensitive government documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and a special grand jury in Georgia considers whether he and others attempted to influence state election officials after his defeat there by Joe Biden.

     The former US president has repeatedly hinted that he intends to run for the White House again in 2024. But the cascade of criminal, civil and congressional investigations could yet derail that bid.

     “He’s done,” said Allan Lichtman, a history professor at American University, in Washington, who has accurately predicted every presidential election since 1984. “He’s got too many burdens, too much baggage to be able to run again even presuming he escapes jail, he escapes bankruptcy. I’m not sure he’s going to escape jail.”

     After a three-year investigation, Letitia James, the New York attorney general, alleged that Trump provided fraudulent statements of his net worth and false asset valuations to obtain and satisfy loans, get insurance benefits and pay lowrr taxes. Offspring Don Jr, Ivanka and Eric were also named as defendants.

     At a press conference, James riffed on the title of Trump’s 1987 memoir and business how-to book, The Art of the Deal.

     “This investigation revealed that Donald Trump engaged in years of illegal conduct to inflate his net worth, to deceive banks and the people of the great state of New York. Claiming you have money that you do not have does not amount to ‘the art of the deal’. It’s the art of the steal,” she said.

     Her office requested that the former president pay at least $250m in penalties and that his family be banned from running businesses in the state.

     James cannot bring criminal charges against Trump in this civil investigation but she said she was referring allegations of criminal fraud to federal prosecutors in Manhattan as well as the Internal Revenue Service.

     Trump repeated his go-to defence that the suit is “another witch hunt” against him and again referred to James, who is Black, as racist, via his Truth Social platform, also calling her “a fraud who campaigned on a ‘get Trump’ platform, despite the fact that the city is one of the crime and murder disasters of the world under her watch!”

     But critics said the suit strikes at the heart of Trump’s self-portrayal as a successful property developer who made billions, hosted the reality TV show The Apprentice and promised to apply that business acumen to the presidency.

     Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard University, noted that the civil component “involves things of particular significance to Trump and his family and his organisation, namely their ability to defraud the public, to defraud banks, to defraud insurance companies, and to continue to subsist through corruption. Without all of that corruption, the entire Trump empire is involved in something like meltdown.”

     Tribe added: “Trump is probably more concerned with things of this kind than he is with having to wear an orange jumpsuit and maybe answer a criminal indictment … As a practical matter, this is probably going to cause more sleepless nights for Mr Trump than almost anything else.”

     No previous former president has faced investigations so numerous and so serious. Last month FBI agents searched Mar-a-Lago and seized official documents marked Top Secret, Secret and Confidential. Trump faces possible indictment for violating the Espionage Act, obstruction of a federal investigation or mishandling sensitive government records.

     As so often during his business career, Trump sought to throw sand in the legal gears. He bought time by persuading a court to appoint a judge, Raymond Dearie, as a special master to review the documents. But so far Dearie appears to be far from a yes-man. On Tuesday he warned Trump’s lawyers: “My view is you can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

     The ex-president also faces a state grand jury investigation in Georgia over efforts to subvert that state’s election result in 2020.

     The justice department is investigating his role in the deadly January 6 attack on the US Capitol by a mob of his supporters intent on preventing the certification of Biden’s election victory. Its efforts have been boosted by the parallel investigation by a House of Representatives committee, whose hearings are set to resume next week.

     In addition, the Trump Organization – which manages hotels, golf courses and other properties around the world – is set to go on trial next month in a criminal case alleging that it schemed to give untaxed perks to senior executives, including its longtime finance chief Allen Weisselberg, who alone took more than $1.7m in extras.

     In a further setback on Wednesday, arguably Trump’s worst-ever day of legal defeats, a federal appeals court permitted the justice department to resume its review of classified records seized from Mar-a-Lago as part of its criminal investigation.

     The former president, meanwhile, insisted that he did nothing wrong in retaining the documents. “There doesn’t have to be a process, as I understand it,” he told the Fox News host Sean Hannity. “If you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying: ‘It’s declassified’.”

     “Even by thinking about it, because you’re sending it to Mar-a-Lago or to wherever you’re sending it … There can be a process, but there doesn’t have to be.”

     Despite it all, Trump has been laying the groundwork for a potential comeback campaign and has accused Biden’s administration of targeting him to undermine his political prospects.

     Asked by a conservative radio host what would happen if he was indicted over the classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, Trump replied: “I think you’d have problems in this country the likes of which perhaps we’ve never seen before. I don’t think the people of the United States would stand for it.”

     Kurt Bardella, an adviser to the Democratic National Committee, said: “If the best defence you have for your conduct is: if you hold me accountable, there will be violence, that sounds like someone who has no business being either in public service or being outside of jail.”

     Bardella expressed hope that, at long last, Trump would be held to account. “Everything about Donald Trump has always been about the grift. It’s always been about the con. And now his unmasking is at hand.”

    As written by Moira Donegan in The Guardian, in an article entitled Lawsuits are raining down on Donald Trump. Will any bring him to justice?; “Despite Donald Trump’s self-mythologizing ostentation – despite his gold toilets and eastern European models, despite his airplanes, golf courses and gleaming bad taste – he always had more shamelessness than actual money. This has been painfully obvious for years, so in a way, what the New York attorney general revealed on Wednesday, first in a press conference, then in a more than 200-page legal complaint, was nothing new. Letitia James alleges that Trump lies, and he most often lies to aggrandize himself, and specifically, he lies a lot about money. He’s not as rich as he says he is.

     This week, James’s office filed a civil suit against Donald Trump, his three eldest children, the longtime Trump Organization chief financial officer Alan Weisselberg (who pleaded guilty to 15 felonies last month), and the Trump Organization itself. The lawsuit alleges a longstanding pattern of financial fraud in which, James claims, the Trump Organization deliberately inflated the value of its assets – including all of Trump’s most famously gaudy properties – when seeking loans, in order to secure more generous credit terms.

     Deception seems to have been core to the Trump Organization’s business model. James alleges that the practice went on for years, citing 11 of the Trump Organization’s annual financial reports, on which Trump personally signed off, which her office says contain more than 200 fraudulent asset valuations. Just as Trump allegedly inflated the value of his assets when he was seeking a loan, there’s some evidence to suggest that he deflated the value of those same assets when it came time to pay his taxes. James’s office does not have the authority to bring criminal charges against Trump in this matter, but her lawsuit is accompanied by criminal referrals, both to the US district attorney’s office in New York and to the IRS.

     In typical Trump fashion, the alleged frauds range from the shameless, to the bizarre, to the somewhat sad. In evaluating the value of his own apartment, the gilded casino lobby atop Trump Tower in Manhattan, where he was photographed pre-presidency, Melania Trump pouting behind him in a pink cape, Trump is accused of inflating the floor plan by three times. The apartment is about 11,000 square feet; Trump allegedly claimed it was 30,000, in order to value it at $327m.

     At Trump Park Avenue, a high-rise apartment building he owns a few blocks away, 12 units were set aside by law as rent-stabilized; the rates couldn’t be raised, and the tenants could not be evicted. But Trump allegedly valued the property as if he were collecting market rate rents on those apartments, a fiction that increased the value of the building by almost 70 times.

     At Mar-a-Lago, the Florida resort-cum-residence where he has reportedly established a faux Oval Office since being forced from the White House, and where he was allegedly keeping some of the government’s most sensitive secrets in all but plain view, he apparently lied about the property’s potential. He allegedly claimed that Mar-a-Lago was eligible to be developed into residential properties, inflating its value to a whopping $739m. In reality, the site is subject to a number of zoning and environmental restrictions that constrict its development potential. Its actual worth is something like $75m.

     New York Attorney General James Announces Civil Fraud Lawsuit Against Trump And His Children<br>NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 21: NY Attorney General Letitia James speaks during a press conference at the office of the Attorney General on September 21, 2022 in New York, New York. NY AG James announced today that her office is suing former President Donald J. Trump and his children Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump accusing the family of fraudulent statements of financial conditions to obtain millions in economic benefits. The lawsuit seeks to remove Trump and his children from their roles at their organizations and bans them from future leadership roles in the state of NY and repay $250 million that was illegally obtained.

     Trump has long been defined by his own rigorous artificiality, and the frauds alleged in James’s complaint are so in keeping with his character that even the brazenness of the apparent malfeasance has ceased to be impressive. This is always how it goes with Trump, after all: his signature falseness, both of his personal style and his pretensions to wealth and of his politics, his promises to those who follow him. Everything, without fail, is shabbier and cheaper than Trump says it is. The silk snags, and turns out to be polyester; the leather peels off to reveal that its plastic; the gilt edges chip, a flimsy spray paint. Everything is geared towards his own self-aggrandizement and away from any personal responsibility.

     He’s either the singularly powerful savior of “I alone can fix it”, or he’s the helpless victim of a “witch-hunt”. He’s either the greatest businessman who ever lived, or a humble, salt-of-the-earth guy. He’s always in the right, always uniquely capable and smart, and yet nothing is ever his fault. At the end of The Wizard of Oz, when the “great and powerful” wizard turns out to be a sad and insecure person, devoid of magic, the man behind the curtain becomes an object of pity, someone who needs an elaborate psychological edifice to tolerate a world in which he is not special, not anointed for greatness, but merely scared and small. But Trump cannot evoke this pity, because he has made it clear that he would rather destroy the country, and all of us with it, than abandon his delusions.

     James’s lawsuit is just the newest in the former president’s string of legal battles. He’s being sued for defamation by the writer E Jean Carroll, whom Trump accused of lying after she accused him of rape, and just this week she announced she would be suing him for the rape, too, under a new New York law that briefly extends sexual assault victims’ civil statute of limitations.

     He’s being sued by the NAACP for violating the Voting Rights Act when he claimed election fraud in 2020. He’s being sued by the DC attorney general for his misuse of inauguration funds in 2017; he’s being sued by Capitol police and seemingly every Democratic congressperson for the January 6 riot. And that’s just the stuff that couldn’t land him in jail: there is also a simmering criminal inquiry into the fake electors scheme in Atlanta, and of course the Department of Justice’s investigation into his smuggling of classified documents to Mar-a-Lago.

     It’s easy to sue Trump, and it’s appealing. He seems to break the law with the same intuitive ease that most of us only feel for breathing, and a lawsuit against him can attract good press for any of the legions of ambitious, status-seeking liberal lawyers that populate the white shoe firms. But like other rich men who break the law, Trump has a tendency to evade consequences. Aside from lying, it’s perhaps his greatest talent.”

The Painted Bird  (film)

The Painted Bird, by Jerzy Kosiński

Arrest Trump Now

The Psychopathic God, by Robert G.L. Waite

The Origins of Totalitarianism, by Hannah Arendt

The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President, by Bandy X. Lee editor & contributor

On Damnatio Memoriae

The Man Without a Country, by Edward Everett Hale

September 21 2022 A Russian Revolution Begins With Mass Protests Against the Draft

     We are the Revolution, who refuse to enforce the tyranny and terror of carceral states, the imperial conquest and dominion of others, the legitimacy of any authority or the wealth, power, and privilege of hegemonic elites, the theft of any human beings sovereignty and independence, or the boundaries of the Forbidden.

     The Russian people have met Putin’s draft order for the invasion of Ukraine with solidarity in resistance, mass protests, and desertions and monkeywrenching by the peace movement within the military.

     Let us say to tyranny and those who would enslave us as we reply to fascism; Never Again!

     As written in The Guardian in an article entitled Russia Protests: more than 1,300 arrested at anti-war demonstrations; “Security forces detained more than 1,300 people in Russia on Wednesday at protests denouncing mobilisation, a rights group said, hours after President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s first military draft since the second world war.

     The independent OVD-Info protest monitoring group said that according to information it had collated from 38 Russian cities, more than 1,311 people had been held by late evening.

     It said those figures included at least 502 in Moscow and 524 in St Petersburg, Russia’s second most populous city. Unsanctioned rallies are illegal under Russia’s anti-protest laws.

     The Vesna opposition movement called for protests, saying: “Thousands of Russian men, our fathers, brothers and husbands, will be thrown into the meat grinder of the war. What will they be dying for? What will mothers and children be crying for?”

    As written by Andrew Roth in The Guardian in an article entitled ‘I’d rather leave than fight’: Russians react to Putin’s draft; “Alexander, 33, found out about Vladimir Putin’s decision to order a partial mobilisation during an emotional call from his wife.

     “Sasha, they can take you,” she told him shortly after he’d arrived at his office in downtown Moscow.

     While Alexander had served in the army as a conscript nearly 15 years ago, he never saw combat. That puts him comparatively low in the mobilisation draft, Russia’s first since the second world war.

     Still, like many others, he is worried that he could receive a povestka, his draft papers, and be sent to the front.

     “I’d rather leave than fight in this war,” he said in a short interview over a messenger app. “If they call me up, then I would want to leave [the country].”

     But because of a new law criminalising desertion, he said, he thinks that he could face a decade in prison or more if he runs. “It’s impossible,” he said of the choice. In the end, he said, he would probably “have to go” into the army. But he’ll try to find a way around that.

     Millions of Russians woke up on Wednesday to the realisation that they may actually have to participate in the country’s war and occupation of Ukraine. For nearly seven months, many Russians have tried to simply ignore the invasion of Ukraine. Now, for many families, the war has come home.

     “This is the thing everyone was afraid of when the war started,” said one mother who believed her son could be drafted.

     Others say they’re ready to fight. One man in his 30s with past military service said he believed that it was his patriotic duty to go into the army if he was drafted. “I want to be with my country,” he said.

     So far, Russia has not closed the borders to prevent draft dodgers from leaving. But many think that could be the next step.

     Russians fleeing the country have bought out tickets to countries like Turkey and Armenia, where they can travel without a visa. Individual tickets to those countries are not available until this weekend, and even then can cost more than $3,000. Aviasales, a popular air ticket site, even has an option to choose the destination “wherever I can go”.

     Many European countries have closed their land borders to Russians, leaving still fewer options to escape. And even those Russians who leave could still face a criminal charge for desertion if they are drafted and don’t return.

     Large state companies have begun handing out draft papers. “Among our colleagues, there are employees with combat experience, who have served in the armed forces,” wrote Sberbank, a state-owned banking and financial services company. “Some of them have their mobilisation papers and have been given their orders.”

     Opponents of the war have begun to protest in cities across Russia. But the rallies are small, sometimes just a handful of people. In Novosibirsk, one man who was arrested at a protest yelled: “I don’t want to die for Putin and for you!” A protest is expected on Wednesday evening in Moscow as well. Russian police have already blocked off the central Pushkinskaya Square.

     Opposition figures broadcast a prank call during which they reached the son of the Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov and told him he’d been drafted for the war. He suggested that he would settle the matter “on a different level”.

     Some opponents of the war have called it a mogilizatsia, a play on the word mobilisation and the word mogila, a grave.

     “We know it’s a lot more dangerous than they say,” said Alexander. “Otherwise why would they need the draft?”


21.09.2022 Российская революция начинается с массовых протестов против призыва

      Мы — Революция, которая отказывается насаждать тиранию и террор карцеральных государств, имперское завоевание и господство над другими, легитимность любой власти или богатства, власти и привилегий гегемонистских элит, кражу любого человеческого суверенитета и Независимость, или границы Запретного.

      Российский народ встретил путинский проект приказа о вторжении в Украину солидарностью в сопротивлении, массовыми протестами, дезертирством и выворачиванием наизнанку движением за мир в вооруженных силах.

      Скажем, тирании и тем, кто хотел бы поработить нас, когда мы отвечаем фашизму; Никогда больше!

September 21 2022 A Russian Revolution Begins With Mass Protests Against the Draft

     We are the Revolution, who refuse to enforce the tyranny and terror of carceral states, the imperial conquest and dominion of others, the legitimacy of any authority or the wealth, power, and privilege of hegemonic elites, the theft of any human beings sovereignty and independence, or the boundaries of the Forbidden.

     The Russian people have met Putin’s draft order for the invasion of Ukraine with solidarity in resistance, mass protests, and desertions and monkeywrenching by the peace movement within the military.

     Let us say to tyranny and those who would enslave us as we reply to fascism; Never Again!

     As written in The Guardian in an article entitled Russia Protests: more than 1,300 arrested at anti-war demonstrations; “Security forces detained more than 1,300 people in Russia on Wednesday at protests denouncing mobilisation, a rights group said, hours after President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s first military draft since the second world war.

     The independent OVD-Info protest monitoring group said that according to information it had collated from 38 Russian cities, more than 1,311 people had been held by late evening.

     It said those figures included at least 502 in Moscow and 524 in St Petersburg, Russia’s second most populous city. Unsanctioned rallies are illegal under Russia’s anti-protest laws.

     The Vesna opposition movement called for protests, saying: “Thousands of Russian men, our fathers, brothers and husbands, will be thrown into the meat grinder of the war. What will they be dying for? What will mothers and children be crying for?”

    As written by Andrew Roth in The Guardian in an article entitled ‘I’d rather leave than fight’: Russians react to Putin’s draft; “Alexander, 33, found out about Vladimir Putin’s decision to order a partial mobilisation during an emotional call from his wife.

     “Sasha, they can take you,” she told him shortly after he’d arrived at his office in downtown Moscow.

     While Alexander had served in the army as a conscript nearly 15 years ago, he never saw combat. That puts him comparatively low in the mobilisation draft, Russia’s first since the second world war.

     Still, like many others, he is worried that he could receive a povestka, his draft papers, and be sent to the front.

     “I’d rather leave than fight in this war,” he said in a short interview over a messenger app. “If they call me up, then I would want to leave [the country].”

     But because of a new law criminalising desertion, he said, he thinks that he could face a decade in prison or more if he runs. “It’s impossible,” he said of the choice. In the end, he said, he would probably “have to go” into the army. But he’ll try to find a way around that.

     Millions of Russians woke up on Wednesday to the realisation that they may actually have to participate in the country’s war and occupation of Ukraine. For nearly seven months, many Russians have tried to simply ignore the invasion of Ukraine. Now, for many families, the war has come home.

     “This is the thing everyone was afraid of when the war started,” said one mother who believed her son could be drafted.

     Others say they’re ready to fight. One man in his 30s with past military service said he believed that it was his patriotic duty to go into the army if he was drafted. “I want to be with my country,” he said.

     So far, Russia has not closed the borders to prevent draft dodgers from leaving. But many think that could be the next step.

     Russians fleeing the country have bought out tickets to countries like Turkey and Armenia, where they can travel without a visa. Individual tickets to those countries are not available until this weekend, and even then can cost more than $3,000. Aviasales, a popular air ticket site, even has an option to choose the destination “wherever I can go”.

     Many European countries have closed their land borders to Russians, leaving still fewer options to escape. And even those Russians who leave could still face a criminal charge for desertion if they are drafted and don’t return.

     Large state companies have begun handing out draft papers. “Among our colleagues, there are employees with combat experience, who have served in the armed forces,” wrote Sberbank, a state-owned banking and financial services company. “Some of them have their mobilisation papers and have been given their orders.”

     Opponents of the war have begun to protest in cities across Russia. But the rallies are small, sometimes just a handful of people. In Novosibirsk, one man who was arrested at a protest yelled: “I don’t want to die for Putin and for you!” A protest is expected on Wednesday evening in Moscow as well. Russian police have already blocked off the central Pushkinskaya Square.

     Opposition figures broadcast a prank call during which they reached the son of the Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov and told him he’d been drafted for the war. He suggested that he would settle the matter “on a different level”.

     Some opponents of the war have called it a mogilizatsia, a play on the word mobilisation and the word mogila, a grave.

     “We know it’s a lot more dangerous than they say,” said Alexander. “Otherwise why would they need the draft?”


21.09.2022 Российская революция начинается с массовых протестов против призыва

      Мы — Революция, которая отказывается насаждать тиранию и террор карцеральных государств, имперское завоевание и господство над другими, легитимность любой власти или богатства, власти и привилегий гегемонистских элит, кражу любого человеческого суверенитета и Независимость, или границы Запретного.

      Российский народ встретил путинский проект приказа о вторжении в Украину солидарностью в сопротивлении, массовыми протестами, дезертирством и выворачиванием наизнанку движением за мир в вооруженных силах.

      Скажем, тирании и тем, кто хотел бы поработить нас, когда мы отвечаем фашизму; Никогда больше!

     Here are some of my previous posts on the Revolution within Russia:

March 25 2022 World War Three, Part Four: the Russian Theatre of War

     As key oligarchs, power brokers, political allies, and kinglets of bureaucracy abandon Putin and escape to freedom, soldiers of Putin’s invasion force mutiny and join their comrades in Ukraine, mass peace protests erupt throughout Russia despite brutal police repression, and the heroes of Ukraine begin to recapture ground and drive the Russian Army from their nation, in some cases a Russian Army now cut off from their lines of supply and threatened with encirclement as snipers eliminate their commanders, a window of possibilities opens in which the tide of the conquest may be turned.

     We now have the tantalizing opportunity to trap the Russian Army in Ukraine and destroy it in detail, lest we face it instead in the streets of Warsaw and Berlin. There is no doubt whatever that this is Putin’s goal; the reconquest of all former proxy states of the Soviet Union, as well as imperial dominion of the Middle East and the Mediterranean in his conflict with Turkey.

    If we act now as a united humankind in solidarity with the peoples of Ukraine and of Russia against this war of crimes against humanity and in revolution to liberate Russia from Putin’s regime and the tyranny of oligarchs, with the full will of NATO and the EU and with the Russian people as forces of Liberation, we may truly win a peace in our time as appeasement never can.

     To quote the lines of Winston Churchill in the magnificent film Darkest Hour, which the historical figure never said; “You can not reason with a Tiger when your head is in its mouth.”

     As written by David A. Andelman in CNN, in his article entitled Putin Just Made theCcase for a European Army; “Four years ago, French President Emmanuel Macron, newly arrived in office, proposed a European Defense Force — a counterweight to a NATO alliance he and increasingly other EU leaders feared was being effectively held hostage by the United States and especially Donald Trump.

     The result at the time was a rupture between Trump and Macron, followed by the French leader’s rapprochement with then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Still, Macron’s idea went no further. Until now.

     On Thursday, it will come to fruition. With Macron in the driver’s seat as France holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, the vehicle is called the “Strategic Compass.” This blueprint for Europe’s security strategy, ratified Monday by the bloc’s defense ministers, sets out a context and concept in the strongest, even belligerent language. “We are adopting this,” the report begins, “at a time when we witness the return of war in Europe” — with these words boldfaced.

     It continues by warning that: “Russia’s war of aggression constitutes a tectonic shift in European history. The EU is more united than ever in the face of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine.”

The document then goes on to recite the broad scope of challenges to the security of Europe, but equally in regions where Europe has profound interests from the Middle East and Gulf region across Africa to the Asia Pacific region, even Latin America. Many of these challenges are traced to “increasing foreign interferences” with their roots in the Kremlin.

To cope with all of this, Europe now intends to act, in unison and with determination, to build a powerful military-industrial structure that can spring into action whenever and wherever the collective or even individual interests may be threatened.

     Until now, Europe’s defense relied on a curious mix of NATO power — for the nations in the alliance — to national armies of every conceivable level of competence and funding. All these report, largely, to a national commander. Now, under the Strategic Compass, there will be a single unified command. There is also anticipated to be a close partnership with NATO, the United Nations and the G-7 that includes Canada and Japan, according to the blueprint. All EU nations, NATO and non-NATO alike, will be part of the Strategic Compass.

     While Ukraine is not a member of the EU, though it is an aspirant, there is nothing in the Strategic Compass that in theory — unlike NATO — would bar any such European armed forces from acting, should the bloc believe its security is being challenged.

     As for the immediate crisis in Ukraine however, it would likely not result in direct armed intervention by any European forces — especially since it could take a year or more for the mechanism to be established even after its ratification this week.

     That said, this year Europe will agree on “operational scenarios” for a 5,000-member “EU Rapid Deployment Capacity” that will begin “regular live exercises,” with full deployment by 2025, according to the report. All branches of the military of member countries — land, air, sea and civilian defense — will be mobilized and integrated into these efforts, it added.

     None of this can be good news for Russian President Vladimir Putin. His hope was that an invasion of Ukraine would be met with discordant reactions — dividing large nations from small, East from West and those with deep reliance on trade with Russia and access to its natural resources, especially oil and gas, from those more capable of standing alone. And above all, that the war would divide the United States from Europe.

     But as the Security Compass declares, again in boldface emphasis: “We are showing an unprecedented resolve to uphold the principles of the UN Charter and restore peace in Europe together with our partners.”

     With the drafting process beginning two years ago and accelerating into today’s fifth and final draft, ballooning along the way from reportedly 28 pages to 47 pages, it’s now become part of a broader pattern of making Putin pay. And a strong, united Europe with the military muscle to back it up is likely more than enough payment.

     It seems likely that the Security Compass will fill some critical holes in Europe’s overall ability to defend itself — and the broad, often disparate interests of its 27-member nations. A handful of these, including Cyprus, Finland and Malta, are not in NATO and unlikely to be welcomed into the organization in the foreseeable future.

     The broader fear among many NATO-member nations that they could be drawn into a war not of their own choosing, is one that does not find its place in the Strategic Compass document. Meanwhile, the existence of a provision in the NATO treaty holds an attack on one member is an attack on all, and every member could be required to respond.

     Indeed, many NATO member nations worry that any expansion of the alliance, particularly to smaller nations bordering Russia — Ukraine, Georgia or Moldova in particular — could mean all are sucked into a wider war.

     At the same time, the existence of a European-deployed military force could represent a standard by which to measure NATO and its defense capacities. Or certainly, calibrate Europe’s defense relations with the United States. Where and how quickly, for instance, could this European force spring into action — while a more cumbersome NATO, perhaps at the mercy of the US, its dominant member, might hesitate.

     As President Macron told reporters last week as he unveiled his platform for reelection next month, he was determined “to try to make our country a more independent nation in a stronger Europe.”

     Third and perhaps most importantly — for many NATO and non-NATO nations alike — the Security Compass would effectively insulate the continent from the vicissitudes and inconsistencies of the American political system.

Amid Putin’s catastrophic and increasingly barbaric invasion of Ukraine, the fear that Donald Trump and his temper tantrums over NATO’s defense spending may not be permanently in the rearview mirror has certainly strengthened the case for a European army to call one’s own.

     What should be the response of NATO and especially the United States to what could be seen as a direct challenge to their 73-year maintenance of peace in Europe? Unquestioned and unquestionable support and encouragement of the foundations of the Strategic Compass.

    It’s clear that since NATO power and American diplomacy failed to intimidate Russia from launching, now prolonging and intensifying, the largest military attack on the European continent since the Second World War, it’s time to bring other actors to the table.

     Joe Biden has a unique opportunity to project America’s support this week as he visits Europe’s leaders who are slated to approve the Strategic Compass on their two-day summit meeting beginning Thursday.

     Any wavering in that support can only be seen by Vladimir Putin and other challengers to the world order as a victory to be seized and exploited. This is the time to present a united front in whatever form it might take against autocracy and aggression now and in the future.”

     Europe must be able to defend herself from conquest by fascist tyrants, and America must remain ready to act in solidarity with any Resistance, but we must also act to liberate Russia from the yoke of Putin’s mad tyranny.

     As written in The Economist in an article entitled The Stalinisation of Russia;

“As it sinks in that he cannot win in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin is resorting to repression at home.

     When Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, he dreamed of restoring the glory of the Russian empire. He has ended up restoring the terror of Josef Stalin. That is not only because he has unleashed the most violent act of unprovoked aggression in Europe since 1939, but also because, as a result, he is turning himself into a dictator at home—a 21st-century Stalin, resorting as never before to lies, violence and paranoia.

     To understand the scale of Mr Putin’s lies, consider how the war was planned. Russia’s president thought Ukraine would rapidly collapse, so he did not prepare his people for the invasion or his soldiers for their mission—indeed, he assured the elites that it would not happen. After two terrible weeks on the battlefield, he is still denying that he is waging what may become Europe’s biggest war since 1945. To sustain this all-encompassing lie, he has shut down almost the entire independent media, threatened journalists with up to 15 years in jail if they do not parrot official falsehoods, and had anti-war protesters arrested in their thousands. By insisting that his military “operation” is de-Nazifying Ukraine, state television is re-Stalinising Russia.

     To grasp Mr Putin’s appetite for violence, look at how the war is being fought. Having failed to win a quick victory, Russia is trying to sow panic by starving Ukrainian cities and pounding them blindly. On March 9th it hit a maternity hospital in Mariupol. If Mr Putin is committing war crimes against the fellow Slavs he eulogised in his writings, he is ready to inflict slaughter at home.

     And to gauge Mr Putin’s paranoia, imagine how the war ends. Russia has more firepower than Ukraine. It is still making progress, especially in the south. It may yet capture the capital, Kyiv. And yet, even if the war drags on for months, it is hard to see Mr Putin as the victor.

     Suppose that Russia manages to impose a new government. Ukrainians are now united against the invader. Mr Putin’s puppet could not rule without an occupation, but Russia does not have the money or the troops to garrison even half of Ukraine. American army doctrine says that to face down an insurgency—in this case, one backed by NATO—occupiers need 20 to 25 soldiers per 1,000 people; Russia has a little over four.

     If, as the Kremlin may have started to signal, Mr Putin will not impose a puppet government—because he cannot—then he will have to compromise with Ukraine in peace talks. Yet he will struggle to enforce any such agreement. After all, what will he do if post-war Ukraine resumes its Westward drift: invade?

     The truth is sinking in that, by attacking Ukraine, Mr Putin has committed a catastrophic error. He has wrecked the reputation of Russia’s supposedly formidable armed forces, which have proved tactically inept against a smaller, worse-armed but motivated opponent. Russia has lost mountains of equipment and endured thousands of casualties, almost as many in two weeks as America has suffered in Iraq since it invaded in 2003.

     Mr Putin has brought ruinous sanctions on his country. The central bank does not have access to the hard currency it needs to support the banking system and stabilise the rouble. Brands that stand for openness, including ikea and Coca-Cola, have closed their doors. Some goods are being rationed. Western exporters are withholding vital components, leading to factory stoppages. Sanctions on energy—for now, limited—threaten to crimp the foreign exchange Russia needs to pay for its imports.

     And, as Stalin did, Mr Putin is destroying the bourgeoisie, the great motor of Russia’s modernisation. Instead of being sent to the gulag, they are fleeing to cities like Istanbul, in Turkey, and Yerevan, in Armenia. Those who choose to stay are being muzzled by restrictions on free speech and free association. They will be battered by high inflation and economic dislocation. In just two weeks, they have lost their country.

     Stalin presided over a growing economy. However murderously, he drew on a real ideology. Even as he committed outrages, he consolidated the Soviet empire. After being attacked by Nazi Germany, he was saved by the unbelievable sacrifice of his country, which did more than any other to win the war.

     Mr Putin has none of those advantages. Not only is he failing to win a war of choice while impoverishing his people: his regime lacks an ideological core. “Putinism”, such as it is, blends nationalism and orthodox religion for a television audience. Russia’s regions, stretched across 11 time zones, are already muttering about this being Moscow’s war.

     As the scale of Mr Putin’s failure becomes clear, Russia will enter the most dangerous moment in this conflict. Factions in the regime will turn on each other in a spiral of blame. Mr Putin, fearful of a coup, will trust nobody and may have to fight for power. He may also try to change the course of the war by terrifying his Ukrainian foes and driving off their Western backers with chemical weapons, or even a nuclear strike.

     As the world looks on, it should set out to limit the danger ahead. It must puncture Mr Putin’s lies by fostering the truth. Western tech firms are wrong to shut their operations in Russia, because they are handing the regime total control over the flow of information. Governments welcoming Ukrainian refugees should welcome Russian émigrés, too.

     NATO can help temper Mr Putin’s violence—in Ukraine, at least—by continuing to arm the government of Volodymyr Zelensky and supporting him if he decides that the time has come to enter serious negotiations. It can also increase pressure on Mr Putin by pushing ahead faster and deeper with energy sanctions, though at a cost to the world economy.

     And the West can try to contain Mr Putin’s paranoia. nato should state that it will not shoot at Russian forces, so long as they do not attack first. It must not give Mr Putin a reason to draw Russia into a wider war by declaring a no-fly zone that would need enforcing militarily. However much the West would like a new regime in Moscow, it must state that it will not directly engineer one. Liberation is a task for the Russian people.

     As Russia sinks, the contrast with the president next door is glaring. Mr Putin is isolated and morally dead; Mr Zelensky is a brave Everyman who has rallied his people and the world. He is Mr Putin’s antithesis—and perhaps his nemesis. Think what Russia might become once freed from its 21st-century Stalin.”

     As I wrote in my post of January 28 2021, The Limits of Force and Control: Navalny Challenges Putin and Russia Erupts in Solidarity Against Tyranny; The state tyranny and terror of force and brutal repression is a bluff which folds when called, and the limits of power find their event horizon in disobedience and the refusal of a people to submit.

     Authority can spin lies and illusions to confuse and misdirect the audience of their citizens, and they can kill, imprison, impoverish, and destroy the lives of their foes; but no one can compel the submission of those who in resistance become unconquered and free.

     A tyrant who must resort to fear and to force has no legitimacy and no power to inspire loyalty and faith; a tyranny of lies designed to falsify us and steal our souls cannot long survive exposure. This principle is now being proven once again in the streets of Russia, just as it was in Washington D.C. in the aftermath of the January 6 Insurrection.

     Always pay attention to the man behind the curtain.

Darkest Hour: You cannot Reason With a Tiger When Your Head Is In Its Mouth

A Brief History Of Ukraine (And Why Russia Wants To Control It)

February 25 2022 A Russian Resistance

     In Russia a mass movement of peace protests in solidarity with the people of  Ukraine, and against Putin’s invasion, has seized the streets of Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, and cities throughout the nation. In defiance of brutal police repression and arrests, they came; in the face of ubiquitous propaganda, lies, falsifications, rewritten histories and the alternate realities of identitarian nationalist politics, they came to call out the would-be king who has no clothes.

     And the icons of Russian culture joined the heroic families and workers who stand with the families and workers of Ukraine, and with their champions among the free nations of the world, and with one voice declare to those who would enslave us; We are not your slaves, nor will we enslave others in service to your power.

     For we are many, we are watching, and we are the future.

     As written by Andrew Roth in The Guardian article entitled Prominent Russians join protests against Ukraine war amid 1,800 arrests; “As invasion continues, people from worlds of entertainment, business and journalism voice opposition.

     Prominent Russians shocked by the invasion of Ukraine have gone public with their opposition to the war, despite the professional and personal risks that come with dissent on such a sensitive issue in Russia.

     More than 1,800 people were arrested at rallies across the country on Thursday night as prominent Russians from the worlds of entertainment, business and journalism have risked their livelihoods in order to speak out.

     When Elena Chernenko, the veteran diplomatic correspondent for Kommersant newspaper, found out that Russia was invading Ukraine, she said she was stunned.

     “Of course, I was shocked … Until yesterday morning, I refused to believe that Russia could launch a massive military operation against Ukraine,” said Chernenko, who believed Russia may at most recognise the territories in south-east Ukraine.

     “I thought that all the talk about invasions was awful hysteria. I argued with people on Twitter and in person that nothing would happen, it’s all thought up,” she said. “Maybe I don’t understand anything about Russian foreign policy anymore.”

     After Putin announced the military operation, she penned an open letter condemning the attack on Ukraine. “War has never been and will never be a method of conflict resolution and there are no excuses for it,” she wrote. Nearly 300 journalists have signed, including representatives of state-run media.

     In retaliation, she revealed she has been expelled from the diplomatic pool, which she has covered for more than 11 years, for “unprofessionalism”.

     Chernenko remains a strong critic of Ukraine’s policy toward the Donbas region, but said she could not justify the kind of military operation now unfolding.

     “There was nothing complicated about it for me,” Chernenko said of her letter. “It was a spontaneous reaction. My country has started a military operation against another … but we’re for diplomacy, we’re for the UN charter, moral values, brotherly nations, and all that. And I had the feeling that this is the wrong path.”

     Popular actors and musicians, some of whom are employed by the government, have also spoken out and appear to have been punished for their dissent.

     On Thursday, Ivan Urgant, the host of a popular talk show on state-run Channel One, posted a black square on Instagram with the caption “Fear and pain. No to war.” His show has not gone on air since. Channel One has claimed it is just a scheduling issue, although several reports in Russian media say that they have been blacklisted.

     Elena Kovalskaya, the director of the Meyerhold Center in Moscow, quit her job at the state-financed theatre in an act of protest over the war. “It’s impossible to work for a murderer and receive your salary from him,” she wrote of her decision.

     “Our future is being taken from us,” said Yuri Shevchuk, the frontman of classic Soviet rock band DDT and a veteran anti-war campaigner, who went to Chechnya in 1995 as part of a peace tour. “We’re being pulled like through an ice hole into the past, into the 19th, 18th, 17th centuries. And people refuse to accept it.”

     He pointed to those in show business who would usually avoid politics now coming out against the war. “Even those pop stars who never talked about politics, who were afraid to lose their shows, honorariums, and so on.”

     They include mainstream stars like Valery Meladze, as well as more politically minded artists like the rapper Oxxxymiron. He voluntarily cancelled six sold-out shows in Moscow and St Petersburg, writing: “I cannot entertain you when Russian missiles are falling on Ukraine.”

     Even the family members of some of Russia’s richest businessmen have gone public in their opposition to war. The daughter of Roman Abramovich posted an Instagram picture that read “Putin wants a war with Ukraine,” crossing out the word Russia. “The biggest and most successful lie of Kremlin’s propaganda is that most Russian stand with Putin.”

     And on Friday afternoon, Lisa Peskova, the daughter of Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, took to Instagram to post a simple message on a black background: #Нетвойне, or “No to war.” So did Tatyana Yumasheva, the daughter of Boris Yeltsin.

     While the acts of dissent may not change Kremlin policy, they could point to significantly less public or elite support for the current military operation in Ukraine than the annexation of Crimea eight years ago.

     Hours after Putin announced the military operation, protests broke out on the streets of Moscow and St Petersburg and more than 50 other Russian cities on Thursday evening.

     They were not the largest protests that Moscow has ever seen. But they were remarkable as a show of defiance despite threats that the government would crack down harder than usual.

     “Not only did they go to war without us, they won’t even let you protest against a war,” said Zhanna, a young woman with her hair dyed green, pointing to police in riot helmets. “But war is never right. I need to be here because I feel ashamed.”

     One young man held up a sign that said “Fuck the war!” Within seconds, four police officers had fallen on top of him, dragging him roughly to a police van as media and photographers crowded around.

     That scene repeated itself dozens of times, as protesters mostly waited their turn for police to arrest them. As the protesters were pushed off the square, they began to march down the broad pavement of Tverskaya Street, chanting “No to war.”

     A number of protesters said that they wished more people had come out in opposition to the war, a remark echoed by political analysts.

     “The government can put down nearly any protest at this point,” said Tatyana Stanovaya, the founder of R.Politik. “And in order for the situation to become serious, many more people would have to come out than did so yesterday.”

     Despite the odds stacked against them, many Russians have said they feel it is their duty to speak out whatever the consequences.

     “They are all doing this without worrying about their own future and threats,” said Dmitry Muratov, the Nobel prize-winning editor of Novaya Gazeta. “These people have all spoken very clearly to say that they are against this bloodshed. And that is very inspiring for me.”

     Muratov released dual editions of his newspaper in both Russian and Ukrainian this week and has said that his newspaper would defy the Russian media watchdog’s rules that they only report official government information about the war, trusting reporting only from their own newsroom.

     He believes the war is an unpopular one for most Russians.

     “The memory of the [second world] war, and that people have relatives in Ukraine, and that Ukraine is a dear country to us, it holds back even the most rabid supporters of the current leadership,” said Muratov. “There is no enthusiasm for this.”

     And in an article in The Guardian written by Pjotr Sauer and Andrew Roth the previous day entitled Thousands join anti-war protests in Russia after Ukraine invasion; “Vladimir Putin has said there is broad public support for the invasion of Ukraine that he announced just before dawn on Thursday morning. But by evening, thousands of people in cities across Russia had defied police threats to take to central squares and protest against the military campaign.

     Police had made at least 1,702 arrest in 53 Russian cities as of Thursday evening, according to the OVD-Info monitor, as they cracked down on the unsanctioned protests. Most of the arrests were made in Moscow and St Petersburg, where the crowds were largest.

     The protesters chanted: “No to war!” as they exchanged shocked reactions to the attack on Ukraine.

     In Moscow, Alexander Belov said he thought that Putin had “lost his mind”. “I thought that we would never see a war like this in the 21st century,” said Belov, who arrived early at Moscow’s Pushkinskaya Square to find it surrounded by police vans. “It turns out we live in the Middle Ages.”

     The mood in Moscow was dark and sombre hours after Putin had announced that he was launching a broad military offensive targeting Ukraine.

     “I am embarrassed for my country. To be honest with you, I am speechless. War is always scary. We don’t want this,” said Nikita Golubev, a 30-year-old teacher. “Why are we doing this?”

     His anger and hopelessness were shared by many commuting to work down central Arbat Street. At the Ukrainian culture centre just down the road, the mood was even grimmer.

     The Ukrainian administrator said the centre, which aims to promote the language, traditions and identity of a country Vladimir Putin denied the legitimacy of as a modern state in his speech on Monday, would be shut for the “coming period”.

     “We are being bombed as we speak. Of course we are closed! Jesus, what is happening?” the administrator, who did not want to give his name, shouted.

     There were already signs that Russians were uncomfortable with Putin’s initial decision to recognise the two self-proclaimed republics in Donbas.

     On Tuesday, Yuri Dudt, one of Russia’s most popular media personalities, said he “did not vote for this regime” and its need for an empire, and felt ashamed, in a post that received almost a million likes in 24 hours.

     A fresh poll by the independent Levada Center released on Thursday showed that only 45% of Russians stood in favour of the recognition move that preceded Thursday morning’s dramatic events.

     “I didn’t think Putin would be willing to go all the way. How can we bomb Ukraine? Our countries have their disagreements, but this is not a way to solve them,” said Muscovite Ksenia.

     But outcries of anger were not only felt on the streets of Moscow, where the Guardian did not encounter support for the military assault.

     Russia’s cultural and sporting elite, usually firmly behind Putin and often called upon by the president during election campaigns to gather popular support, also expressed their deep worries about Russia’s invasion.

      Valery Meladze, arguable the country’s most beloved singer, posted an emotional video in which he “begged” Russia to stop the war. “Today something happened that should have never happened. History will be the judge of these events. But today, I beg you, please stop the war.”

     Likewise, Russian football international Fyodor Smolov posted on his Instagram channel: “No to War!!!”

     US intelligence has for months warned that Russia would seek to fabricate a major pretext before launching an invasion of Ukraine. In the end, no major false flag came, and experts now believe that Putin decided to act without gathering the backing of his own electorate.

     “Putin seems totally indifferent to approval on the street. He’s acting not like a politician in need of public support, but like a figure from national history books who cares only about the approval of future historians and readers,” tweeted Alexander Baunov, a political analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center.

       Some risked arrest on Thursday evening in order to voice their opposition to the invasion. Zhargal Rinchinov from Buryatia arrived on the square in a jacket with the inscription: “No to war.” If he held up a sign, he said, he would be arrested.

     “Everyone is scared,” he said. “They know if they say something bad then they’ll be put in jail. So people pretend they don’t notice we have started a war, so they don’t have to speak up about it.”

     For Ukrainians, public messages of opposition to the war will come too late. The country has said that at least 40 soldiers have already been killed and many more civilians injured, as it is threatened with being overrun by a much larger military force.

     Yet, sensing that a genuine large-scale pushback against war might be Ukraine’s best bet, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukraine’s president, on Thursday morning urged Russians to speak up.

     “If the Russian authorities don’t want to sit down with us to discuss peace, maybe they will sit down with you.”

May 8 2022 On this Victory Over Fascism Day, Let Us Liberate Russia From the Fourth Reich and the Tyranny of Putin’s Regime of War Criminals and Oligarchs, and Ukraine and All of Europe From Threat of Conquest and Dominion by Russia and the Fourth Reich

     Victory Europe Day, Victory Over Fascism Day; what do such holidays mean to us now, when fascism has once again seized and shaken us in its jaws with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the most recent of several theatres of World War Three which has engulfed the world and threatens the global subversion of democracy and the nuclear extinction of humankind?

    Putin and his puppet dictators Lukashenko and Our Clown of Terror, Traitor Trump, are figureheads of the Fourth Reich who have perpetrated vast war crimes and the Russian imperial conquest and dominion of the Middle East and the Mediterranean, as well as in central Asia, Africa, and Europe, and Poland knows it is next on Putin’s list of conquests along with Finland, Moldavia, Romania, and then all of Eastern Europe and finally Berlin. Putin has threatened to annihilate the British Isles and turn Warsaw into a city of ghosts and ruins like Mariupol. The theatres of the Third World War now include America, Russia, Ukraine, Syria, Libya, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Nagorno-Karabakh, and the whole region of Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, and the Sahel.

      And yet we have not purged our destroyers and predators from among us.

     To a Wall Street Journal article about Russia bombing a school where children were sheltering I wrote this paragraph in commentary; Russia always bombs children first. This is a policy of terror, designed to manufacture helplessness, despair, and submission, but as in the Rape of Nanking actually creates resistance as a counterforce. The Calculus of Fear obeys Newton’s Third Law of Motion, and the people of Ukraine will resist beyond all reason, beyond hope of victory or survival, and while one Ukrainian yet lives and remembers who they are, are unconquerable. Who cannot be compelled is free; this too is a truth demonstrated by Mariupol, and a gift of those who die for the freedom of us all. This we must witness and remember until the end of the world, and one thing more; Resist! To fascism and tyranny, to imperial conquest and dominion, to subjugation and dehumanization there can be but one reply; Never Again! On this Victory Over Fascism Day, let us unite in solidarity and liberation struggle to free ourselves from those who would enslave us.

     What of those not killed but captured ? Of their fate Dean Kirby of Inews has written; “An investigation by i analysing Russian local news reports has identified 66 camps for Ukrainians in a network of former Soviet sanatoriums and other sites – and reveals how an underground network of Russians is helping people escape.

     Thousands of Ukrainians have been sent to remote camps up to 5,500 miles from their homes as Vladimir Putin’s officials follow Kremlin orders to disperse them across Russia, i can reveal.

     They include survivors from the besieged port city of Mariupol, where civilians remain trapped at the Azovstal steel plant as Russian forces make a final push to subdue to city’s last defenders.

     An investigation by i analysing Russian local news reports has identified 66 camps in a network of former Soviet sanatoriums and other sites in regions including Siberia, the Caucasus, the Arctic Circle and the Far East.

    i has also spoken to human rights activists in Russia who developed an underground grassroots network to help Ukrainians who want to leave the camps.

     The Russians are taking people into their own homes, buying train tickets, and directing them to other groups who can help them get to the border.

     One activist told i: “The state treats them as a labour force, as objects, moving them around without taking care of what they need. The state is unable to look after them. They are vulnerable and need help.”

     i‘s investigation marks the first evidence of a major operation to spread them across a country gripped by a historic post-Cold War population decline.

     It comes after i exclusively revealed last month that Moscow had ordered towns and cities across the Russian Federation to prepare for the arrival of nearly 100,000 “refugees”. Russia now claims it has “evacuated” one million people from the war zone.

     Tanya Lokshina, associate director for Europe and Central Asia at Human Rights Watch, told i: “There is ample evidence that thousands of Ukrainians were taken to Russia under duress.

     “When people are only given a choice to stay under increasingly heavy shelling or to enter the territory of an occupying power, it constitutes forced transfer under international humanitarian law.

     “We are extremely concerned this is happening. People who seek evacuation to safer areas in Ukraine are shuttled off to Russia instead – in some cases to remote areas very far from Ukrainian or European borders.

     “They are vulnerable, destitute, often without identification documents and find themselves at the mercy of the occupying power.”

     The sites identified by i by cross-checking local news reports with Russian mapping websites are known in Russia as Temporary Accommodation Points (TAP). They include dozens of sanatoriums and former children’s wilderness camps, at least one “patriotic education” centre and even a former chemical weapons dump.

     They stretch across the vast Russian Steppes and across 11 time zones over the Ural Mountains from Belgorod in the west to the remote Kamchatka Peninsula on the edge of the Pacific Ocean and Vladivostok at the end of the Trans-Siberian railroad.

     With names that belie the misery being suffered by their occupants after surviving two months of war, they include the Little Prince in Perm, the Santa in Tatarstan, the Friendly Guys in Omsk, the Forest Fairy Tale in Chuvashia, the Blue Lakes in Pskov and the Pine Forest in Ulyanovsk.

     i has identified 6,250 people in 38 of the camps, including 621 children. If full, the 66 camps could contain about 10,800 people, including 1,000 children, with more than a third of the camps containing citizens of Mariupol. Some are yet to house Ukrainians despite being prepared by local officials.

     With an average of 162 people in each, our analysis suggests Russia could need about 6,000 camps to house the total number of people it claims have crossed the border.

     While Ukrainians are able to walk out of the camps, their remoteness and a lack of money, phones or documentation means those wanting to leave the country face an almost impossible task.

     But Russian activists are trying to help.

     “There is an impressive grassroots organisation on several levels – people collecting money for train tickets, helping with clothes and toys for children, letting people stay in their homes for a few nights,” one activist told i on condition of anonymity.

     “They are sharing messages and passing people on to groups in other cities, who are helping them get to the border.”

     Some Ukrainians are known to have escaped to countries including Poland and Georgia, while there have been reports of others trying to escape through Kazakhstan. One Russian news report said Ukrainians being taken to one city south east of Moscow had failed to board the train.

     Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman Lyudmyla Denisova accused Russia of genocide and of breaching the Geneva Convention, which prevents forced deportations during wartime.

     Calling for the UN to investigate reports that 200,000 children are among those that have been taken from Ukraine to Russia, she said: “They have been deported to all regions of Russia. The conditions of their stay and their health is currently unknown.”

     Putin’s camps revealed

i can reveal in detail how a vast network of former Soviet sanatoriums, children’s wilderness camps, hostels and orphanages is being used to move Ukrainian children and adults hundreds and thousands of miles from the border of their homeland.

     On the wild Kamchatka peninsula at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, 10 people including children from Kherson were placed in a dormitory of the Kamchatka Industrial College in Yelizovo on 26 April following an eight-hour flight. About 200 people are expected in the region.

     In Russia’s far eastern Maritime Territory, which is closer to Tokyo than it is to Moscow, a local newspaper reported in late April how 300 people, including 86 children, pregnant women and pensioners, arrived in Vladivostok after an exhausting seven-day journey on the Trans-Siberian Express from Taganrog.

     The new arrivals, including survivors of the Mariupol siege, were taken to the Vostok hotel complex on the coast near Nakhodka. It was the third train to arrive in a number of days, with one report saying 14 TAPs were being opened in four neighbouring cities to accommodate up 1,350 people.

     While Russian media claimed they had “chosen” to live in the Far East, adding that “almost everyone notes the beauty of the sea”, the advisor to the mayor of Mariupol said in a Telegram message seen by i he had learned they had no documents or money and were being promised only low paid jobs in the “arse of the world”.

     Twenty people have so far arrived in the far eastern islands of Sakhalin, which contain the Kuril Islands contested by Japan, despite officials expecting 600. One report said: “The Sakhalin region, as we can see, is not very popular with them. This is understandable.”

     Other reception points identified by i as housing survivors of the Mariupol siege include the Vanguard Patriotic Education Centre near Ivanovo in Ulyanovsk, a city beside the River Volga.

     The centre, which has a focus on “military-patriotic work” and promoting a “commitment to serving ones Motherland”, opened at the site of a former orphanage in February as part of a national “education” project instigated by Putin to create nearly 40 similar centres including one in Russia-controlled Crimea.

     It is one of two military-linked sites identified by i after this newspaper exclusively revealed last month that up to 600 Ukrainians including Mariupol survivors had been taken to a former chemical weapons dump at Leonidovka, near the Russian city of Penza, which played a former role in dismantling the country’s arsenal of nerve agents.

    In Murmansk, in the Arctic Circle, officials have set up 20 TAPs at venues including a hotel named the Northern Lights in the town of Nickel and the Lapland sanatorium in Murmashi.

     At a go-kart track in Belgorod, where people are staying in tents, a journalist reported having to go through two check points with armed men whose faces were covered with balaclavas.

     In Ufa, the location of the TAPs was described by officials as “classified information”, but one report of a site in a university hostel said it was fenced and access was only allowed with security passes “so people will be safe”.

     More than 530 people including 120 children from Mariupol have also been taken to the remote Tsaritsyno Lake boarding camp complex in the Leningrad Oblast, a three-hour drive from St Petersburg. A Russian archbishop who visited the site said several people told him they want to go home.

     He said: “There are people who have lost their documents. Without them, they cannot buy tickets for trains or buses.”

     In some places though, Ukrainians have already started to leave. At Nerekhta in Kostroma, numbers have dropped from 120 to 90, with reports of people travelling to Poland, while 15 have left a site in Narerezhnye Chelny.”

      Terrible though it is, this network of slave labor camps and hostages throughout Russia which contain both Russian dissidents and Ukrainian and other civilians captured as war plunder conceals crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Russian state as a key factor of its campaign of terror simply because it can. This includes a system of sex trafficking and military brothels where torture is sold in at least one known incident; also torture as a sporting event with betting in arenas which recall gladiatorial combat of the Roman Empire, spectacles of savagery wherein human beings are torn apart or devoured alive by wild animals with the betting being how long it takes and how many can be killed within the time limit. This has been reported both by our allies within the Russian Army and by the Underground Railroad operated by the Wolf of Mariupol, a network of Ukrainian women freedom fighters who infiltrate  groups of women captured by the Butterfly Collectors, set them free, and guide them out of Russia to safety. Some of the things the Wolf Maidens and those whom they rescue report are disturbing even beyond this.

     A friend and I had an interesting conversation the other day, among the commentary on a photo with the caption “Exactly 77 years ago, on April 30, 1945, Soviet soldiers hoisted the banner of Victory over the Reichstag! A victory for all humanity.”

      Writing in reaction to the first comment, by someone unknown to me, which misinterpreted the context of the post as referring to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and not the victory over the Nazis, which read; “I didn’t know this group was for supporters of fascism and genocidal dictators, ie Putin; not for me, this”, I replied with the following:

     I was at Mariupol, and escaped as the city was sealed off on the 18th. I have written many times of the war crimes I witnessed there, which include torture, organized rape and abduction for trafficking, executions, cannibalism using mobile factories and erasure of evidence of torture with mobile crematoriums. But do not confuse the Russian fascist oligarchy committing these crimes with the ordinary Russians now waging revolutionary struggle against this criminal regime, or with the Russian soldiers now engaged in peace resistance by mutiny and joining their Ukrainian brothers in solidarity to defeat the invasion, or with the Red Army which liberated Europe, and which I have fought alongside to liberate South Africa from Apartheid. Putin’s is no Red Army.

   “WTF? Cannibalism?”  Was the reply from a friend, not the author of the comment confusing Putin’s shameful imperial conquest today with the glorious Red Army of 1945.

    To this I wrote in answer; This was Russia’s solution to outrunning their supply lines; eat the killed in action. To be fair, they did this to their own fellow soldiers too, which caused an entire Russian unit to mutiny, kill their officers, and join the Ukrainian resistance, but its part of the terror campaign, like the Butterfly Collectors, the criminal syndicate of human traffickers within the Russian Army which kidnaps young girls and sometimes boys for use in Russian military brothels. The mobile factories for canning the dead as food for the soldiers operate with the crematorium trucks to erase evidence of torture.

     My guide in Mariupol was Oleksandr, a boy who had been chained to a post, his arm secured to a log, and a gun put in his hand pointing at another boy who had been surgically skinned, leaving the head and neck untouched so his agony could be conveyed by his expressions and screams and he would survive for hours or days in torment. After he shot his friend who was begging to die to end the pain the Russians just let him go, laughing; their idea of a joke. They didn’t even make bets on it, as has happened here when torture becomes a sporting event. His sister Kateryna we found hanging from a post; I believe she hanged herself after escaping her captors. She was eleven.

       And the reply to this was; “I am having a hard time believing this.”

      Here is my reply to him; I have difficulty with this also, and this too is a purpose of states which use atrocities beyond comprehension to subjugate us. I spent a day throwing up and working through the stages of shock a few days before leaving Mariupol, not from injury but because of something I witnessed. Not the torture or rapes, nor the feeding of the dead into the machines of the cannery while those filled with shrapnel or rotting were cremated, nor the usual burned and shredded bodies of aerial and artillery bombardment; all this I have seen before and will again, for with the exception of cannibalism among the horrors of war such crimes are normal. Have I mentioned that normality is deviant, and to be resisted? But some things are beyond the limits of the human, and for this there are no words.

      My friend’s final position in this conversation was this; “I am against wars, but for the soldiers who must fight them for the profit of others. All Russian soldiers cannot be this barbaric. Like the American soldiers who committed war crimes in Vietnam and Iraq, the criminals should be tried for their crimes and punished. But as a whole, those who send and command armies are the common enemy of those who are doomed to do the fighting.”

      My answer here follows; On this we agree; such acts are usually committed by elite units chosen and trained for loyalty and brutality, as were the death camp units of the SS. No normal person does such things, and most of Putin’s invasion force are conscripts and fellow victims of tyranny, many of whom are members of the peace movement which like the soldier’s strike that ended America’s war in Vietnam are the best real chance for peace. Most professional soldiers fight because if they do not, men who rely on them will die, regardless of the motives that brought them into battle.

     And as I’ve said, I have fought alongside Russian soldiers against Apartheid in South Africa and Angola, and other causes and places, in the eighties prior to the end of the Soviet Union, and they were not the same army as that in Ukraine, Syria, Libya, and elsewhere which serves no grand ideals, no vision of a united humankind free of the profit motive and of divisions of blood, faith, and soil, but its mirror image, an army of slaves sent by a tyrant to conquer a free people. 

     Many of those slaves unite in solidarity with those they were sent to conquer, and such heroes of solidarity and liberation must be welcomed and celebrated. This, and only this, will defeat war in the end.

    On this Victory Over Fascism Day, let us liberate Russia from the fascist tyranny of Putin’s regime of war criminals and oligarchs.

    Now as then, let us confront the would-be conqueror of Europe as a united front, and purge our destroyers from among us.

    To fascism there can be but one reply; Never Again!

Here is the Wall Street Journal article on the Russian bombing of a school where children were sheltering

This article reports on the network of 66 camps for abducted hostages, slave labor, and sex trafficking in Russia

September 20 2022 Revolt Against Patriarchy and Theocracy, Not In America This Time But In Iran

     In glorious defiance of state sexual terror and patriarchal theocracy, the women of Iran have seized the streets in mass protests throughout the nation and challenged the fearsome and brutal Revolutionary Guards and morality police in several direct actions, a protest movement which may become a general revolt.

    Iran is still shaken and destabilized by the echoes and reflections of the near-revolution in its vassal state of Iraq, and as in the chaos of the Battle of Shiraz in December of 2019 in which I fought, mass action provides windows of opportunity in which to bring a reckoning to police and other enforcers of tyranny and to the hegemonic elites whose wealth, power, and privilege they serve, but while we failed to cast those who would enslave us down from their thrones on that occasion three years ago, this time may be different.

    For this time we have a martyr, and one who was a member of the Kurdish people, a semi-autonomous nation with vast oil wealth, American and other international support, a dream of independence and a modern army to win it with, and famous for her women warriors and the social equality of genders.

I hope this will be enough to tip the balance; from the moment of Mahsa Amini’s death, the democracy movement against theocracy and patriarchy in Iran has become linked with the independence struggle of Kurdistan as parallel and interdependent forms of liberation struggle.  

    Patriarchy cannot survive if half of humankind refuses to be unequal to and subjugated by the other half.

    The secret of force and control is that it is hollow and brittle; authority loses its legitimacy simply by being disbelieved, and force finds its limit in disobedience and refusal to submit.

    As written by Martin Chulov in The Guardian, in an article entitled Mahsa Amini’s brutal death may be moment of reckoning for Iran, Signs of groundswell taking shape against state that routinely commits extreme acts of violence against men and women; “Mahsa Amini’s death in custody is fast becoming another moment of reckoning for the Iranian regime that fears a popular revolt more than it fears staring down the rest of the world.

     Four days after Amini died in a Tehran hospital, protests in the Iranian capital show little sign of slowing. Most protests appear peaceful, but some in Kurdish areas of Iran have turned violent.

     There are some signs that a groundswell could be taking shape: the first of its kind since 2009, when the death of another young woman sparked days of widespread unrest not seen since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

     Even now, Neda Agha Soltan’s slow demise from a gunshot to the chest remains a testament to how Iran deals with dissent, and with women. Soltan was shot by a sniper as she attended an anti-government protest in June 2009, in a moment that galvanized a revolt and, for a time, exposed the fragility of one of the region’s staunchest police states.

     Images of Amini being dragged last Thursday into a van by morality police unhappy that she chose not to wear a head scarf have stirred memories of Soltan’s death, and once again raised the spectre of a state that routinely commits extreme acts of violence against women and men who defy it.

     The decade plus between both events has been an era of increasing oppression in Iran, where activists have been confined to the shadows and the state itself has crushed all trace of the Green Revolution that followed the disputed 2009 presidential elections.

     The state’s henchmen, known as basiji, whose members were responsible for killing Soltan, and the Revolutionary Guards, who enforce the values of the Islamic Revolution, have had the run of the streets, especially since the election of Ebrahim Raisi as president.

     A hardliner with deeply conservative views, Raisi has further narrowed the margin for dissent, empowering the morality police and entrenching an inflexible interpretation of Shia Islam across all corners of the country.

     Iran’s leaders have so far blamed “conspirators” for Amini’s death even thought it took place in one of the regime’s own cells, and also claimed that riots and protests were the work of foes, such as Saudi Arabia. The playbook is familiar, and so too are platitudes.

     At the same time, semi-official state media has flagged an inquiry and claimed that senior officials, such as Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, were likely to have felt sympathy for Amini’s death, which had been earlier blamed on a heart condition, or epilepsy, neither of which the 22-year-old Kurd suffered from, according to her parents.

     Iran’s hardliners have learned lessons from 2009, when a broad uprising nearly escaped the state’s control. The country now has some of the best and most pervasive digital security in the region and a firm hold over communities it has terrified into silence.

     But it also finds itself up against a formidable expatriate network who want different things for the country and its people, and a strong homegrown activist push that knows how to organise. Whether Amini’s death will become another seminal moment in the pursuit of self determination by so many Iranians, or an ember that eventually cools, remains to be seen.

     However, Iranian leaders fear a street they can no longer contain. The brutal death of another young woman is the recipe for more unrest. The regime has found itself in tricky waters.”

     As written in Huffpost; “Iran faced international criticism on Tuesday over the death of a woman held by its morality police, which ignited three days of protests, including clashes with security forces in the capital and other unrest that claimed at least three lives.

     The U.N. human rights office called for an investigation. The United States, which is trying to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, called on the Islamic Republic to end its “systemic persecution” of women. Italy also condemned her death.

    Separately, an Iranian official said three people had been killed by unnamed armed groups in the Kurdish region of the country where the protests began, the first official confirmation of deaths linked to the unrest.

     Later on Monday, the semiofficial Fars news agency reported that small groups of protesters had again gathered in downtown Tehran, chanting “Death to the dictator.” It said the crowd numbered around 300 and that the protesters damaged street signs.

     The governor of Tehran province, Mohsen Mansouri, accused foreign embassies of fanning the protests and said three foreign nationals had been arrested. He did not specify the nationality of the embassies or the detainees.  

     The U.N. body said Iran’s morality police have expanded their patrols in recent months, targeting women for not properly wearing the Islamic headscarf, known as hijab. It said verified videos show women being slapped in the face, struck with batons and thrown into police vans for wearing the hijab too loosely.

     A similar patrol detained 22-year-old Mahsa Amini last Tuesday, taking her to a police station where she collapsed. She died three days later. Iranian police have denied mistreating Amini and say she died of a heart attack. Authorities say they are investigating the incident.

      “Mahsa Amini’s tragic death and allegations of torture and ill-treatment must be promptly, impartially and effectively investigated by an independent competent authority,” said Nada Al-Nashif, the acting U.N. high commissioner for human rights.

     U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Amini “should be alive today.”

     “Instead, the United States and the Iranian people mourn her. We call on the Iranian government to end its systemic persecution of women and to allow peaceful protest,” he tweeted.

     Italy’s Foreign Ministry called for “the perpetrators of this cowardly act” to be held to account, saying “violence against innocent people, especially women and girls, can never be tolerated.”

    Iranian police released closed-circuit video footage last week purportedly showing the moment Amini collapsed. But her family says she had no history of heart trouble.

     Amjad Amini, her father, told an Iranian news website that witnesses saw her being shoved into a police car.

     “I asked for access to (videos) from cameras inside the car as well as courtyard of the police station, but they gave no answer,” he said. He also accused the police of not transferring her to the hospital promptly enough, saying she could have been resuscitated.

     He said that when he arrived at the hospital he was not allowed to view the body, but managed to get a glimpse of bruising on her foot.

     Authorities then pressured him to bury her at night, apparently to reduce the likelihood of protests, but Amini said the family convinced them to let them bury her at 8 a.m. instead.

     Amini, who was Kurdish, was buried Saturday in her home city of Saqez in western Iran. Protests erupted there after her funeral and police fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators on Saturday and Sunday. Several protesters were arrested.

     The governor of Iran’s Kurdistan province, Esmail Zarei Kousha, told Fars that three people were killed by unnamed armed groups, linking the violence to the unrest.

     He did not identify the victims, but said one was killed in the town of Divandarreh by a weapon not used by Iranian security forces. He said the second body was found in a car near Saqez and that the third killing was “completely” suspicious.

    The province has seen past violence between Iranian security forces and Kurdish separatists.

     The protests spread to Tehran and other cities on Monday. A news website affiliated with state TV said 22 people were arrested at a protest in the northern city of Rasht.

     State TV showed footage of protests on Monday, including images of two police cars with their windows smashed. It said the protesters torched two motorbikes as well, and that they burned Iranian flags in Kurdish areas and Tehran.

     The state-run broadcaster blamed the unrest on foreign countries and exiled opposition groups, accusing them of using Amini’s death as a pretext for more economic sanctions.

     Iran has seen waves of protests in recent years, mainly over a long-running economic crisis exacerbated by Western sanctions linked to the country’s nuclear program. Authorities have managed to quash the protests by force.”

    As I wrote on the occasion of a previous visit to Iran to make mischief for tyrants in my post of December 2 2019, Battle of Shiraz: the democratic revolution against theocracy in Iran is now an open war; For two weeks beginning Friday November 15 through Monday December 2, Iran’s major city of Shiraz was engulfed in open war as the democracy revolution against the theocratic rule of the mullahs moves into the stage of direct challenge of its military and other tools of state control.

     As reported in The Guardian by Michael Safi, “The petrol-price hike would trigger what may have been the largest-scale unrest in the 40-year history of the Islamic Republic. Iranian officials this week estimated 200,000 people were involved in the protests and riots which led to 7,000 arrests and, by some estimates, the regime’s deadliest-ever response to demonstrations. Amnesty International have confirmed 15 deaths in Shiraz; those on the ground say the toll is much higher.”

     By the count of the neighborhood militia leaders who have now organized themselves into a kind of rebel government, there are 52 or 53 dead among the citizens killed by the police and military throughout Shiraz, plus nine killed in the intense fighting in the Sadra district in which an elite revolutionary unit directly attacked the fortress of the region’s chief mullah on Sunday November 17.

     What began as a peaceful protest and a shutdown of the city by abandoning cars in the streets turned quickly to open battle after police shot and killed  Mehdi Nekouyee, a 20 year old activist, without cause. Soon armed bands of laborers stormed the police station he was killed in front of, leaving it in flames and marching on other government strongpoints as their ranks swelled.

     Throughout the next three days the luxury shopping district on Maliabad Boulevard was largely destroyed, some 80 bank branches and several gas stations set on fire. The Qashqai minority of Turkic nomads and weavers who in Shiraz are an important mercantile polity declared independence and repelled successive waves of attacks by heavy weapons units and helicopter assault cavalry against their outlying district of Golshan. As they are a people virtually unknown to the outside world, I’ve included some pictures.

     But the most important revolutionary action of November in Iran was the seizure of the chief mullah of Shiraz and his palace-fortress. An action whose meaning is central to the motives and binding purpose of the secularists who are fighting for democracy and to liberate Iran from the autocratic regime of the mullahs, this was a glorious victory which exposes the hollowness of theocratic rule.

     Widely regarded as corrupt, nepotistic, and xenophobic patriarchs, the mullahs, like Catholic priests, were once sacrosanct from personal responsibility and protected by a perceived mantle of piety; so the primary mission of the revolution is to expose their venality and the perversion and injustice of their rule. A task made hideously easy in this case by the pervasive network of pedophile sex trafficking authorized by the mullahs and a major source of trackable income in the form of licenses they sell for temporary “pleasure marriages” in which consent is an imprecise concept. And that’s just one visible part of the vast iceberg of greed and immorality of their regime.   

     In Iran, the fight for democracy and freedom is also a fight against the patriarchy.

Notes and References

                                Iran, a reading list

                                Women’s Voices

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, Azar Nafisi

Jasmine and Stars: Reading More Than Lolita in Tehran, Fatemeh Keshavarz

City of Lies: Love, Sex, Death, and the Search for Truth in Tehran, Ramita Navai

Iran Awakening: A Memoir of Revolution and Hope, Shirin Ebadi

Until We Are Free: My Fight for Human Rights in Iran, Shirin Ebadi

The Golden Cage: Three Brothers, Three Choices, One Destiny, Shirin Ebadi

Women Without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran, Shahrnush Parsipur

My Life as a Traitor: An Iranian Memoir, Zarah Ghahramani

Daughter of Persia: A Woman’s Journey from Her Father’s Harem Through the Islamic Revolution, Sattareh Farman Farmaian

Savushun: A Novel About Modern Iran, Simin Daneshvar

Rooftops of Tehran, Sholeh Wolpé

Keeping Time with Blue Hyacinths: Poems, Sholeh Wolpé

Children of the Jacaranda Tree, Sahar Delijani

Prisoner of Tehran, Marina Nemat

Marriage On the Street Corners of Tehran: A Novel Based On the True Stories of Temporary Marriage, Nadia Shahram

                           Other Modern Literature

Then the Fish Swallowed Him, Amir Ahmadi Arian

My Father’s Notebook: A Novel of Iran, Kader Abdolah, Susan Massotty  (Translator)

The Immortals of Tehran, Alireza Taheri Araghi

The Colonel, Mahmoud Dowlatabadi, Tom Patterdale  (Translator)


Persian Mirrors: The Elusive Face of Iran, Elaine Sciolino

Garden of the Brave in War: Recollections of Iran, Terence O’Donnell

Waking Up in Tehran: Love & Intrigue in Revolutionary Iran, M. Lachlan White

Shah of Shahs, Ryszard Kapuściński

Patriot of Persia: Muhammad Mossadegh and a Tragic Anglo-American Coup,

Christopher de Bellaigue

The Mantle of the Prophet: Religion and Politics in Iran, Roy Mottahedeh

God and Man in Tehran: Contending Visions of the Divine from the Qajars to the Islamic Republic, Hossein Kamaly

The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future, Vali Nasr

Iran: A Modern History, Abbas Amanat

In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs: A Memoir of Iran, Christopher De Bellaigue

Mirrors of the Unseen: Journeys in Iran, Jason Elliot

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East, Kim Ghatta

Persianate Selves: Memories of Place and Origin Before Nationalism, Mana Kia

The Sword of Persia: Nader Shah, from Tribal Warrior to Conquering Tyrant,

Michael Axworthy

Persia in Crisis: Safavid Decline and the Fall of Isfahan, Rudi Matthee

                       Classical Persian Literature         

The Arabian Nights, Anonymous, Husain Haddawy  (Translator), Muhsin Mahdi


Stranger Magic: Charmed States & The Arabian Nights, Marina Warner

Scheherazade’s Children: Global Encounters with the Arabian Nights,

Philip F. Kennedy, Marina Warner (Editors)

Layla and Majnun, Nizami Ganjavi, Colin Turner  (Translator)

Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings, Abolqasem Ferdowsi, Azar Nafisi

 (Foreword) Dick Davis  (Translator)

Epic and Sedition: The Case of Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh, Dick Davis

Rostam: Tales of Love & War from Persia’s Book of Kings, Abolqasem Ferdowsi

The Garden of Truth: The Vision and Promise of Sufism, Islam’s Mystical Tradition, Seyyed Hossein Nasr

The Voyage and the Messenger: Iran and Philosophy, Henry Corbin

The Essential Rumi – New Expanded Edition 2020: Translations By Coleman Barks with John Moyne, Jalal Al-Din Rumi

The Big Red Book, Rumi, Coleman Barks (Translator)

The Way of Passion: A Celebration of Rumi, Andrew Harvey

Light Upon Light: Inspirations from RUMI, Andrew Harvey, Eryk Hanut


Perfume of the Desert: Inspirations from Sufi Wisdom, Andrew Harvey,

Eryk Hanut (Photographer)

The Triumphal Sun: A Study of the Works of Jalāloddin Rumi, Annemarie Schimmel

I Am Wind, You Are Fire: The Life and Work of Rumi, Annemarie Schimmel

The Divan, Hafez (illustrated Gertrude Bell translation)

Divan of Hafez Shirazi, Hafez, Paul Smith  (Translation)

The Angels Knocking on the Tavern Door: Thirty Poems of Hafez, Hafez,

Leonard Lewisohn, Robert Bly (Translator)

Diwan Al Hallaj, Mansur al-Hallaj, Louis Massignon  (Translator), Arini Hidajati


Hallaj: Mystic and Martyr – Abridged Edition, Louis Massignon, Herbert Mason


The Book of Mansur Hallaj: Selected Poems & The Tawasin, Mansur al-Hallaj,

Paul Smith (Translator)

Iraqi: Selected Poems, Iraqi, Paul Smith  (Translator)

Divan of Sadi, Saadi, Paul Smith  (Translator)

Anthology of the Ghazal in Persian Sufi Poetry, Paul Smith Translator

The Persian Masnavi: An Anthology, Paul Smith Translator

Sweet Sorrows: Selected Poems of Sheikh Farideddin Attar Neyshaboori,

Attar of Nishapur, Vraje Abramian (Translation)

The Conference of the Birds, Attar of Nishapur, Sholeh Wolpé


Wine of the Mystic: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam: A Spiritual Interpretation,

Omar Khayyám, Paramahansa Yogananda

Omar Khayyam: Poet, Rebel, Astronomer, Omar Khayyám, Hazhir Teimourian

     Here are some of my previous posts on Iran:

January 12 2020 A re energized democracy revolution throughout Iran brings the theocracy of the mullahs near its fall in the wake of the government’s mistaken destruction of a civilian aircraft and its lies about its responsibility for the tragedy

     After more than two months of massive protests in Iran against the rule of the mullahs, larger than anything seen since the 1979 overthrow of the Shah over forty years ago which brought the Shiite theocracy into power and includes massacres of hundreds of protestors but also open battle in Shiraz and other major cities between the government’s forces of repression and the people of Iran united in the cause of liberty, that no government may stand between man and God nor enforce compulsion in matters of faith, a re-energized democracy revolution brings the theocracy near its fall in the wake of the government’s scandal of murder and failed coverup.

     The Islamic Republic’s mistaken destruction of a civilian airliner bearing 82 Iranian citizens among its dead, and the subsequent lies the government told its people regarding its responsibility for the tragedy, has redirected public outrage from America over the assassination of its national hero Qassem Suleimani back to the government and its tyranny of faith and global provocations, shattering a temporary alliance of pro and anti government forces which had aligned to resist American imperialism and the invasion expected to follow Trump’s unprovoked attack.

     There has been much speculation regarding Trump’s motive for the Suleimani assassination, both a war crime and an act of war. Sadly, the motives are obvious; Trump ordered the murder of Suleimani from personal jealousy, as well as a diversion from his impeachment for his treasonous and criminal subversion of America and a ploy for the support of the Republican politicians in the pay of plutocrats of war.

     As Trump concedes the defeat of America by the Taliban and begs peace after 18 years of pointless war in Afghanistan, he sought to inflate his ego by killing a military genius who was victorious in battle against both the Taliban and ISIS, keeping Iran free from foreign influences and who acted as an important American ally against two of our most implacable enemies.

     Telling friend from foe was never a long suit for the Republican party of war, nor the disambiguation of self-aggrandizement from our national interest for our President.

January 1 2020 Chaos in Iraq as the regional democracy/nonsectarian revolution becomes a US-Iran proxy war

   The scales of justice herein balance American support of a nonsectarian and democratic revolution throughout the region against the theocracy of Iran, including that of the people of Iran against the patriarchy of the mullahs, with the dangers of uniting shia and other militias in patriotic resistance against foreign influence and the devolution of an autonomous struggle for freedom to a destructive proxy war.

     The Revolution needs all the help we can get against Iran and its pervasive influence and military forces in Iraq, Lebanon, and the Arabian Peninsula, but only when the people ask for America’s help, as they have done in Hong Kong against the Chinese Communist Party, should be send troops. Otherwise we look like an imperial invasion of their sovereignty, which plays to the enemy’s advantage.

     America intervenes readily to protect oil as a strategic asset, but sidelines the delicate and precise task of nation-building and the long term goal of cultivating nations in partnership for the defense of liberty.

Addendum to discussions on strategic policy:

     Assassinating enemy leaders in retaliation for the death of a contractor who failed to pay the usual tribute seems to me out of proportion and very like the Missing Man gambit Japan used as a pretext for the invasion of Manchuria; let hundreds of soldiers or civilian contractors run amok and pounce when one vanishes, having provoked a legitimate causus belli.

     The main problem here is that the Shia militia is part of the Iraqi government, an alliance of competing independent generals much like the Chinese KMT during the warlord period of the 1920’s & 1930’s. This means America has struck against Iraq as well as Iran, and may unite the same people who have been protesting for nonsectarian democracy against the theocracy of Iran with the Iranian Shia armies, whom they see as a malign foreign influence, in the name of patriotism and national solidarity against us.

     A proxy war fought in Iraq between the US and Iran will complicate the democracy revolution, which has become a major counterforce to the mullahs of Iran throughout Lebanon, Iraq, and within Iran itself, and will require skillful handling in many arenas to preserve from the taint of foreign imperialism.

     By this I mean that the democracy forces who are our natural allies against Iran and would normally celebrate in the streets over military victories against their Iranian oppressors may be forced to lead the resistance to American occupation to preserve our legitimacy. So, whereas American support of Iraqi indigenous forces to preserve national sovereignty against Iran would be welcome, an invasion by an historically blind and destructive giant must be resisted.

January 4 2020 Cry Havoc: Consequences of the American Assassination of the Iranian and Iraqi Shiite Military Leaders

    As the consequences of this event ripple outward through the medium of time, multiplying possibilities. alternate futures, transforms of ourselves and our shapings of one another, the true magnitude of the American assassination of the Iranian and Iraqi Shiite military leaders will unfold.

     It is a seed of destruction, but of who?

     Trump has cried havoc and loosed the dogs of war; but such agents of death, once free of their leash, know no master and may devour us all.

     An age of Chaos dawns, and we are abandoned to its whims and to its wantonness as it seizes and swallows the mighty, disrupts and changes power relations and structures of social form, bringer of death as an aspect of Time but also of transformation and rebirth.

     Chaos which I celebrate as a principle, but which must be wielded as a dangerous and multidimensional force with great forethought and caution as we play the Great and Secret Game, for action and reaction always strike in both directions.

     The magnificent Guillermo del Toro, in his gorgeous work Carnival Row which explores themes of racism and inequality among war refugees in the nation which failed to defend them from their conquerors and in harboring them finds itself confronted with an alien people as neighbors amid squalor, poverty, and social destabilization, much like many nations in our world today, depicts the formation of an alliance between two leaders of rival factions:

      “Who is chaos good for?”

      “Chaos is good for us. Chaos is the great hope of those in the shadows.”

      Yet I cannot overstate its peril.

September 19 2019 Our Strange Relationship With Iran

     It’s hard to see our strange relationship with Iran as anything other than one of patronage and covert alliance, as Ali Demirdas argues in the National Interest; “”More than seven thousand American servicemen have been killed, over 53,000 have been wounded, and more than $5.9 trillion in American taxpayer money has been spent since 2001, only to serve Iraq and Afghanistan to Iran on a silver platter”.

     Without the extraordinary support of America since the 1979 revolution, the theocracy of the Shiite mullahs would have been overrun by their Sunni enemies long ago, and recently Trump’s provocations and diplomacy of bluff-and-fold ensured the resilience of the government of Ali Khamanei and stopped a democratic revolution dead in its tracks.

     Once again, Trump has strengthened our enemies and weakened our allies; a pattern beyond coincidence which I regard as yet another proof not only of the blundering idiocy of an ignorant blowhard, but also of a policy of sabotage of American interests. Indeed, Trump is the greatest agent of influence the Soviet KGB and its successor state ever ran against us.

     But I digress, for my subject today is Iran as an example of things which are not as they seem. In the wilderness of mirrors, illusions, false images, diversions and lies which is the funhouse of American history and our imperialist plutocracy and global hegemony of power and privilege, the law of unintended consequences, often of the second or third order of effect, has had free reign in the Middle East; but so has subterfuge and the obfuscation of motives and intent.

     We created ISIS by invading Iraq, which was a blatant seizure of oil wells under the absurd pretext of stopping global nuclear war by overthrowing Saddam’s Sunni regime of anti-Shia terror; in effect this was a brilliant redirection of rage and anti-Islamic hysteria generated by the 911 bombing against a nation which had nothing to do with it in order to steal a strategic asset and enrich the oil barons of Texas. Also, this eliminated a major threat to Iran.

    And created an enormous problem for us, as the Iraqi generals and their  armies exiled by our de-Baathification campaign reformed as ISIS/Daesh, and we all know how well that went. Following the Shia Genocide conducted by ISIS, we once again did Iran, its asset Hezbollah, and the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria the enormous favor of annihilating another iteration of ISIS two years ago in Operation Inherent Resolve. Yet no cookies were offered, no hosannas sung in our praise by our pet regimes.

     We also managed to unite the Sunni Taliban in Afghanistan and the Shia state of Iran in common cause against our invasion, an impossible dream of holy war which is the only historical motive force greater than the riven sectarian conflict within Islam.

     And so today, after our many efforts in the region which have cost us much in both blood and treasure, the Taliban is far stronger than when we invaded Afghanistan, and a resurgent Iran is moving into the power vacuum as we abandon the region in defeat.

     We have spent American lives to no purpose or advantage; and this is why the war faction of the Republicans embodied by Bolton have tried to stop Trump from running with his tail between his legs at the first sign that his intimidation tactics have failed like the coward and bully he has always been; some people seem to have never learned the Sunk Cost fallacy, and just keep throwing good money after bad.

     So, what is the best course of action for America regarding Iran and Afghanistan, now both resolved to stand against us as a united front? 

     Why not walk away, and leave them to find their own best destiny?

September 19 2022 Renewal of the Nagorno-Karabakh Theatre of World War Three

Among the many horrors of the multifront Third World War now being waged by Russia against democracy in the mad imperial conquest and dominion of Putin’s regime of war criminals and plutocrats, the renewal of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict along with the destabilization operations of the Russian puppet tyranny of Serbia against Bosnia and Kosovo together signal an active threat to Europe and the world.

     As Putin’s conquest of Ukraine collapses in failure and ruin, with Russian soldiers running from the battlefields in total panic, rout, and mass desertions before the victorious army of Ukraine, and his plans of glorifying the power of his regime ending in self-demonization and delegitimation, Putin now seeks to generalize the conflict. Russian tanks are not yet massing along the border of Poland, nor ships positioning for the capture of the Romanian port of Constantia and the invasion of the Danube, nor nuclear missiles hurtling through the skies to bring the extinction of humankind, but all of these possibilities are now far more likely. A predator is most dangerous when cornered.

    Some voices yet speak of peace as something which may be clung to in the face of an enemy which does not recognize our humanity nor respect any laws or limits regarding our universal human rights, or seek mercy through danegeld and becoming de facto vassal states of an imperial master, though this has never worked and we should have learned this from the failure of Chamberlain’s “peace in our time” speech of 1938 to save Europe from Hitler.

     To this I say; the best time to stop a war, a genocide, acts of terror and tyranny, and crimes against humanity, is before it happens.

     Those who respect no laws and no limits may hide behind none.

     We may disambiguate robber-baron Russia in this moment from the fallen Soviet Union it replaced by one simple fact, of enormous implications; Russia now funds, trains, arms, and directs fascist and nationalist alt-right political parties globally where it once did the same for communist revolutionaries.

     We all of us who love Liberty, including those who now challenge the Russian imperial dominion and hegemony in the many theatres of this the Third World War, in Russia and America, Ukraine and Syria, Libya, Belarus, Kazakhstan, West Africa, the Sahel, and Lake Chad, Nagorno-Karabakh, and now the Gordian Knot of Serbia and Bosnia as Putin launches his campaign for the conquest of Europe, and as skirmishes signal an emerging Tajik-Uzbek conflict which will bring Afghanistan and Pakistan into an unhappy alliance with Turkey and rekindle the dream of a united Sunni Mughal-Ottoman alliance against Shia Persia, now Iran and Russia’s ally in Syria, in this moment as the world burns and civilization begins to collapse utterly it seems to me that we must face a great truth; it doesn’t matter who we are or what we call ourselves, only what we do.

      This is the principle of impartial justice and equality before the law on which democracy is founded, and it has consequences for our duty of care for others; all that matters in the end is what we do with our fear, and how we use our power.

     How can we understand and process Russia’s historical volte-face from liberator to conqueror and betrayal of our solidarity as human beings?

      In the second episode of the series premier of the beloved and iconic epic and allegory of antifascist Resistance, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Harvest, we have a gruesomely parallel situation. Our heroes have learned that the enforcers of The Master are about to deliver the world in his dominion and need sacrifices which they will find at the local nightclub, and are ambushing the malefactors in a spoiling raid. Xander is focused on rescue of his friend Jesse who has been taken by the vampires, and says: “We’ve gotta get in there before Jesse does something stupider than usual.” I say to you now as Giles says to Xander; “Listen to me… Jesse is dead. You have to remember that when you see him, you’re not looking at your friend. You’re looking at the thing that killed him.”

     I say again and directly to fellow Democratic Socialists, Progressives, Anarchists, and Left intellectuals of all kinds; Putin’s Russia is a criminal syndicate which embodies the final form of capitalism as totalitarian kleptocracy and the elite hegemonies of wealth, power, and privilege and fascisms of blood, faith, and soil which she once so heroically fought against. In this I speak as a witness of history who fought alongside Russian soldiers in the liberation of South Africa from Apartheid and in other causes, and in Mariupol fought against them in the reformed Abraham Lincoln Brigade which we modeled on that of the Spanish Civil War.

    The origins of evil lie not in an evil impulse as an inherent flaw of human design, but in the operations of systemic power and weaponized inequalities and wealth disparity.

     And this we must resist, always and in whatever form it arises through all of history and the world.

     As written by Isabelle Khurshudyan, Erin Cunningham and Miriam Berger in Huffpost; “The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region has simmered for decades. In 2020, the two sides fought a bloody war for territory — one that ended with a fragile Russian-brokered truce.

     But on Monday night, fierce clashes erupted again near the disputed region, which is inside Azerbaijan but controlled by ethnic Armenian separatists.

      Armenian officials said at least 49 people were killed in attacks by Azerbaijan’s military. Azerbaijan acknowledged launching the strikes — but said it was responding to Armenian provocations.

     The renewed fighting prompted the State Department to call for an immediate end to the hostilities. Reuters reported Tuesday morning that Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke overnight with both the Armenian prime minister and president of Azerbaijan.

     Russia is a key ally of Armenia, and some observers speculated that Azerbaijan may have sought to attack while Moscow is bogged down by a tough fight in Ukraine.

     Here’s what you need to know about the fight over Nagorno-Karabakh, the longest-running conflict in the post-Soviet sphere.

     What are the roots of the conflict? Why did Azerbaijan attack Armenia on Sept. 12?

     Armenia’s Defense Ministry said Azerbaijan attacked the areas of Goris, Sotk and Jermuk in Nagorno-Karabakh using drones and large-caliber weapons. Azerbaijan’s military admitted to the attacks but accused Armenian forces of planting mines along the border to disrupt supply routes. Yerevan denied the accusations.

     At least 49 people were killed in the strikes, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said Tuesday, adding, “Unfortunately, it’s not the final figure.” Azerbaijan also said it suffered losses but did not provide a casualty count.

     Regional analysts said Azerbaijan could have tried to capitalize on recent Russian setbacks in Ukraine.

     “This escalation takes place when (1) Russia is distracted as never before after the collapse of the Kharkiv front; and (2) offensive action against Armenia can surf the global wave of revulsion for Russia since Armenia is formally Russia’s ally,” Laurence Broers, an associate fellow of Chatham House’s Russia and Eurasia program, said on Twitter.

     Baku has “unprecedented leverage in every direction,” Broers added, as an increasingly isolated Moscow is now also reliant on land routes through Azerbaijan for trade with Asia and Iran.

     In July, the European Commission and Azerbaijan reached a deal to double gas exports to the E.U. within the next two years as the continent seeks out alternatives to Russian energy.

     The E.U. is pushing to “diversify away from Russia and to turn toward more reliable, trustworthy partners. And I am glad to count Azerbaijan among them,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at the time.

     Armenia on Tuesday appealed to Russia, the United States and France for help in ending the hostilities. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said it helped broker a truce for Tuesday morning.

     “As we have long made clear, there can be no military solution to the conflict,” Blinken said Monday in a statement. “We urge an end to any military hostilities immediately.”

     What are the roots of the conflict?

     As part of a divide-and-rule tactic, the Soviet government first established the autonomous region of Nagorno-Karabakh, where at least 95 percent of the population is ethnically Armenian, in Azerbaijan in the 1920s.

     But it wasn’t until 1988, as Moscow’s grip began to weaken, that the enclave became a flash point within the Soviet Union. Authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh sought to unite with the then-Soviet republic of Armenia and declared independence from Azerbaijan, another Soviet republic.

     In 1992, after the Soviet Union collapsed, a full-scale war broke out between the two new ­countries over control of the region. Nagorno-Karabakh is located within the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan but is mostly controlled by political factions linked to Armenia.

     Between 20,000 and 30,000 people were killed in that conflict and hundreds of thousands were displaced before a cease-fire was declared in 1994. Not only did Armenia end up controlling Nagorno-Karabakh but it also occupied 20 percent of the surrounding Azerbaijani territory, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

     Between 1994 and 2020, periodic skirmishes flared along the border, including the use of attack drones, heavy weaponry and special operations on the front lines. In 2016, particularly fierce clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenian-backed forces in Nagorno-Karabakh raged for four days.

     But in 2020, a full-scale war broke out after Azerbaijan launched an offensive across the line of contact held by Armenian forces and local fighters. The campaign, which began on the morning of Sept. 27, sparked a six-week-long war.

     “The fighting is the worst it has been since the Karabakh War of 1992 to 1994, encompassing the entire line of contact, with artillery, missile, and drone strikes deep past Armenian lines,” Michael Kofman, director of the Russian studies program at the Center for Naval Analyses in Virginia, and Leonid Nersisyan, CEO of the Armenian Research & Development Institute, wrote at the time.

     The war, they said, featured “modern weaponry … representing a large-scale conventional conflict.”

     One of the major features of the war was the military support Turkey, a regional power and longtime foe of Armenia, gave Azerbaijan. In the months before the conflict broke out, Turkey’s military exports to Azerbaijan rose sixfold, according to exports data analyzed by Reuters. The sales included drones and other military equipment, which experts say helped turn the tide for Azerbaijan.

     As part of the Russia-mediated cease-fire, Armenia had to cede swaths of territory it controlled for decades. More than 7,000 combatants were killed, according to the International Crisis Group, and Russian peacekeepers were deployed to patrol the region.

     The cease-fire Russia brokered “brought neither full stability nor security to the region,” Alexa Fults and Paul Stronski of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace wrote in April. “And even before the Ukraine war, Moscow’s peacekeepers have struggled to do their jobs.”

     Russia, they said, arguably has the most influence of any outside power to push peace forward. But its resources and attention have been sapped by the war in Ukraine.

     “After the 2020 war, the front line has become longer and more volatile than before,” according to the International Crisis Group.”

     And in a previous essay on this conflict:

April 15 2022 A History of the Third World War and Russia’s Imperial Wars of Dominion Since 2020, Part Six: the Nagorno-Karabakh Theatre of War

     That which is not spoken of becomes forgotten, and ceases to be real as a historical informing, motivating, and shaping force of our identity. This is why the witness of history is important to our adaptive range and our possibilities of becoming human, and why meaning and value can be created in the present as an unfolding and realization of the past.

     Memory, history, identity; such recursive processes sculpt us across vast epochs of time as a stone is formed by wind and water.  We are prochronisms, a record in our forms biological, psychological, and sociocultural-civilizational of how we solved problems of adaptation to change like the shell of a fantastic sea creature.

     This is true of nations as well as individuals; and here I practice my art of seeing futures that might be in the stories of which we are made, using methods of literature, history, and psychology in an archeology of the future, as originated by Robert G.L. Waite in his study of Hitler, The Psychopathic God.  I first read it as a senior in high school, and its why I chose these three disciplines of scholarship at university in my life mission to understand the origins of evil.

    Here is the sixth and final part of my interrogation of the theatres of World War Three, that of Nagorno-Karabakh.

     As I wrote in my post of October 10 2020, Armenia and Azerbaijan: Today a Fragile Peace in a Century Old Conflict; An ephemeral moment of peace stilled the thunder of war in the developing third front of the historic civilizational Great Powers conflict of dominion between Russian and Turkey; adding the Armenian-Azerbaijan theatre to those of Syria and Libya, which have destabilized Europe and cast the fate of the Middle East and the Mediterranean to the winds of fate.

     That today’s cease fire falls within days of the historic 1920 Baku Congress which shattered the grip of European colonial powers on the world is no accident, but a distant echo of that vigorous idealism and vision of a new future for humankind.

     Here are the ringing words of the closing call to action at the end of the Congress; “Go forward as one in a holy war against the British conquerors! …this is a holy war to liberate the peoples of the East; to end the division of humanity into oppressor peoples and oppressed peoples; and to achieve complete equality of all peoples and races, whatever language they may speak, whatever the color of their skin, and whatever the religion they profess.”

     They are words which still hold true today, as we battle for our humanity, our liberty, our equality, and our lives against tyrannies of force and control in the streets of Portland, Seattle, New York, and across America and the world; in Hong Kong, Syria, Yemen, Chile, Bolivia, Kashmir, India, and that dual entity which is both al Quds and Jerusalem, among many others.

     Yet Armenia holds a unique symbolic position in the iconography and mythology of genocide and survival, for the events of the 1914-1917 campaign of genocide and ethnic cleansing by the Ottoman Empire were Hitler’s justification for the invasion of Poland. The text of the Obersalzberg address on 22 August 1939, provided by Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, chief of German military intelligence, to an allied agent is as follows; “Our strength consists in our speed and in our brutality. Genghis Khan led millions of women and children to slaughter – with premeditation and a happy heart. History sees in him solely the founder of a state. It’s a matter of indifference to me what a weak western European civilization will say about me. I have issued the command – and I’ll have anybody who utters but one word of criticism executed by a firing squad – that our war aim does not consist in reaching certain lines, but in the physical destruction of the enemy. Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formation in readiness – for the present only in the East – with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space which we need. Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians.”

     So it is that Armenia has become a symbol of the struggle between civilization as human meaning and value on the one side and the atavistic barbarism of an amoral modernity and nihilism in which only power is real on the other. And of the beauty of resistance, by which the powerless become unconquerable and free.

      As written by Bryan Gigantino in Jacobin; “In 1994, representatives of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, and the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh signed the Bishkek Protocol. After six years of deadly fighting and ethnic cleansing, this document provided a much-needed reprieve — and an immediate end to the bloodshed. But this produced only a fragile peace, and far short of addressing the root causes of the conflict, it institutionalized mutual enmity and the uncertainty over Nagorno-Karabakh’s future.

     A quarter-century later, this September 27, military clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan broke out once more. Again, the fighting between these South Caucasus neighbors centered on Nagorno-Karabakh — a mountainous, unrecognized de facto independent state surrounded by Azeri territory. Once populated by both Azeris and Armenians, since the war of 1988–1994 the territory has become increasingly homogenous, with its 150,000 Armenians. The region is de jure part of Azerbaijan, but since 1994 it has been both controlled by local Armenian armed forces and wholly dependent on Armenia for security, economic survival, and access to the outside world.

     Following the latest two weeks of violence, on Saturday, October 10, a cease-fire was hastily agreed. This came after ten hours of talks between the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, who met in Moscow with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. Yet even this truce is fragile — only an hour into the truce and both sides immediately accused the other of breaking it, as reports of shelling abounded.

     While the post-1994 cease-fire was broken by repeated skirmishes, the recent fighting was the most severe in decades. Previous instances such as the clashes in 2008, the April War of 2016, and fighting this July pale in comparison; this time, hundreds of civilians and military personnel have been killed and thousands forced to flee their homes. Previous upticks were often sparked by murky circumstances or accidents. But this time was different: for the Azeri offensive had been months in the making.

     After armed confrontations in July resulted in the death of Azerbaijan’s major general, Polad Hashimov, massive pro-war demonstrations flooded the capital, Baku. Missteps over Karabakh had ended the careers of many Azeri elites in the 1990s; this was not lost on President Ilham Aliyev, who, especially given the economic pressure from the COVID-19 crisis, could not ignore the nationalist rage. Aliyev publicly stated that searching for a peaceful solution with Armenia was pointless. On September 24, just three days before the fighting started, Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs ominously released a list of so-called provocative actions taken by Armenia since reform-oriented Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan came to power in that country’s 2018 Velvet Revolution.

     Following Azerbaijan’s initial offensive on September 27, the fighting rapidly escalated. Azeri rockets and heavy artillery bombarded the regional capital Stepanakert almost daily. Towns within Armenia and military positions along the two-hundred-kilometer “line of contact” separating Azerbaijan from Nagorno-Karabakh also came under fire. Armenian forces unsurprisingly responded, attacking Azeri positions and repelling drones — one of which was shot down alarmingly close to Armenia’s capital, Yerevan. But they also shelled targets within Azerbaijan’s territory, including its second city, Ganja.

     There is, indeed, a substantial asymmetry between the two countries, with Azerbaijan’s defense budget, military hardware, and total personnel far outweighing Armenia’s. With a population of nearly ten million, Azerbaijan has a defense budget of $2.73 billion at 5.4 percent of GDP, whereas Armenia has a population of slightly under three million and a defense budget of $500 million at 4.7 percent of GDP. Notably, Turkish- and Israeli-made drones have played a central role in Azerbaijan’s military operations: Amnesty International confirms that Israeli-made cluster munitions were used in residential areas of Stepanakert.

     State officials in both Armenia and Azerbaijan have fueled the fighting with a concomitant information war, unleashing a deluge of accusations, misinformation, and false data. Each state’s intransigent rhetoric thickens the abyss of unverifiable information widely circulating on Twitter and Facebook. Despite the best efforts of well-intentioned journalists and analysts, these conditions filter much of the conflict to the outside world. Even when more or less accurate information is available, the overall picture remains foggy. For example, Armenia releases consistent updates on military casualties but not civilian ones, whereas Azerbaijan does the inverse.

     Yet such details alone do not explain why two neighboring post-Soviet countries with deep and intertwined histories are still locked in conflict. Fundamentally, irreconcilable official narratives and national understandings are central to the persistence of tensions and the reproduction of enmity. The region’s recent history can put this dynamic into a much clearer perspective.

     For Armenians, the defense of Nagorno-Karabakh, or Artsakh as it is traditionally called, is an existential struggle. Between 1914 and 1917, 1.5 million Armenians perished in the genocide at the hands of Ottoman soldiers and Kurdish irregulars. The combination of forced deportation and indiscriminate slaughter depopulated Eastern Anatolia of nearly its entire Armenian population. Though the cities of Tbilisi and Baku were far more culturally, economically, and politically significant for Armenians, nationalists of the time had seen Eastern Anatolia as the future home of an independent Armenian state.

     The permanent loss of this land created a territorially dismembered nationalism, in which not only a shared language and religious traditions but a sense of loss and popular memory of the genocide shape the Armenian national idea. This, in turn, fuels its intransigence over Nagorno-Karabakh — much like how Israeli irredentism often invokes the fear of a second Holocaust.

     For Azeris, too, Karabakh is also critical to the national imagination. This mainly owes to the nearly six hundred thousand Azeris who became internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the fighting before the 1994 cease-fire. While some IDPs came from Nagorno-Karabakh, the vast majority fled seven districts in Karabakh’s historically Azeri-populated flatlands currently (according to Azerbaijan) under Armenian occupation. Since the end of the last war in 1994, the reclamation of these lost territories and the eventual return of their residents has been a pillar of Azeri nationalism.”

     As I wrote in my post of April 27 2021 Biden Recognizes the Armenian Genocide; Biden’s historic Armenian Remembrance Day speech last Saturday, the first official recognition of the Armenian Genocide by America, went as follows; “Each year on this day, we remember the lives of all those who died in the Ottoman-era Armenian genocide and recommit ourselves to preventing such an atrocity from ever again occurring. Beginning on April 24, 1915, with the arrest of Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople by Ottoman authorities, one and a half million Armenians were deported, massacred, or marched to their deaths in a campaign of extermination. We honor the victims of the Meds Yeghern so that the horrors of what happened are never lost to history. And we remember so that we remain ever-vigilant against the corrosive influence of hate in all its forms.

     Today, as we mourn what was lost, let us also turn our eyes to the future—toward the world that we wish to build for our children. A world unstained by the daily evils of bigotry and intolerance, where human rights are respected, and where all people are able to pursue their lives in dignity and security.”

     Thus has our President and our nation given warning to the tyrannies of the world that we will defend the universal human rights which supersede the claims of any nation, and defend the people from unjust governments when necessary. In the context of the Armenian Genocide, especially this warrant is served to the regimes of Erdogan of Turkey and Putin of Russia, who between them now contest for the dominion of the Middle East and the Mediterranean in pursuit of refounding their former historic empires prior to the First World War. 

     With recognition must come reparations by Turkey, and the restoration of a sovereign and independent Armenian homeland. While the boundaries of Tigranes the Great’s Armenia included Jerusalem and all of Syria from Damascus and Palmyra to the sea, I think some compromise may be able to be worked out, considering that Turkey wants NATO support for its seizure of Libya’s oil fields through a puppet regime which is threatened by Russia’s massive line of Libyan fortifications and mercenary army; surely this vast wealth and dominion of the Mediterranean would be worth the price of justice for Armenia. Turkey and Iran may also find a buffer state useful, as Iran and Russia support the brutal Assad regime in Syria against the Turkish army and liberation forces of secular democracy.

     And with America undergoing a Restoration of democracy and independence from Russian conquest in the wake of our repudiation of her puppet Trump, a new willingness to challenge Russia’s imperial conquest of Ukraine, Russia’s vassal state Belarus in the process of an independence struggle, and a popular democracy movement in Russia itself leading the resistance to Putin, now is an excellent moment for a realignment of Turkey with America.

    We have a chance to forge a peace together, Turkey and America, in which both of us win. My hope in this is that the world’s champions and guarantors of democracy, freedom, equality, truth, and in the case of the Armenian people most especially justice, may yet find a way forward to throwing words instead of stones, as Sigmund Freud taught us.      

     As written by the historian Heather Cox Richardson in her daily current events newsletter; “In his first major speech as Secretary of State, Antony Blinken laid out the principles of the Biden administration in foreign policy, emphasizing that this administration believed foreign and domestic policy to be profoundly linked. Biden’s people would support democracy at home and abroad to combat the authoritarianism rising around the world… including in the U.S.

     “The more we and other democracies can show the world that we can deliver, not only for our people, but also for each other, the more we can refute the lie that authoritarian countries love to tell, that theirs is the better way to meet people’s fundamental needs and hopes. It’s on us to prove them wrong,” Blinken said. “So the question isn’t if we will support democracy around the world, but how.” He answered: “We will use the power of our example. We will encourage others to make key reforms, overturn bad laws, fight corruption, and stop unjust practices. We will incentivize democratic behavior.”

     President Joe Biden has set out a foreign policy that focuses on human rights and reaches out more to foreign peoples than to their governments, heartening protesters in authoritarian countries.

     On Saturday, Biden issued a document declaring that the displacement and slaughter of 1.5 million ethnic Armenians at the hands of the Ottomans in 1915 was a “genocide.” The U.S. had previously refused to recognize the ethnic cleansing for what it was because of the strategic importance of Turkey to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO (among other things, Turkey holds the straits that control access to the Black Sea, on which Russia and Ukraine, as well as other countries, sit).

     Biden’s recognition of the Armenian genocide is a reflection of the fact that Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is increasingly close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Taliban, and appears to be abandoning democracy in his own country, giving Biden the room to take a step popular in America but previously too undiplomatic to undertake. (Remember when Erdogan’s security staff beat up protesters in Washington, D.C., in 2017 and prosecutors dropped the charges?)

     Erdogan greeted Biden’s announcement with anger, demanding he retract it, but he also said he expected to discuss all of the disputes between the U.S. and Turkey at the June NATO summit. Geopolitics in Erdogan’s part of the world are changing, as Putin is struggling at home with protests against his treatment of opposition leader Alexey Navalny and with the new U.S. sanctions that, by making it hard for him to float government bonds, could weaken his economy further. It is looking more and more likely that Biden and Putin will also have a summit early this summer.”

The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: Historical and Political Perspectives, M Hakan Yavuz,. Michael Gunter (Editors)

Murder in the Mountains: War Crime in Khojaly and the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict, Raoul Contreras

Script of The Harvest, season premier of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

      A Reading List on the Armenian Genocide:

Shameful Act, by Taner Akcam

My Brother’s Road: An American’s Fateful Journey to Armenia, by Markar Melkonian

The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response, by Peter Balakian 

The Psychopathic God, by Robert G.L. Waite

Why the Sunni Ottomans and Mughals failed to unite versus Shia Persia, written by Ahmad Abubakr (احمد ابوبکر)

“I wouldn’t really say that the Sunni Ottoman and Mughal Empires never tried to make an alliance against the Shia Safavid Empire of Persia. But to truly understand this, one must first understand the geopolitics of the Muslim world in the early gunpowder age.

The question in this only mentions three of the powers of the early gunpowder age within the Muslim world. These being the Ottoman Empire, the Safavid Empire of Persia and the Mughal Empire of Hindustan. It misses out on one of the most important powers that was directly responsible for the geopolitics and the policies of the Mughal Empire. One that is usually not given the attention that it deserves. This last power were the Uzbeks of Central Asia.

Note: This is a long and detailed answer. One that explains the geopolitics of the Muslim world in the early gunpowder era. It also explains the relationship between the Mughals, Safavids, Ottomans and Uzbeks. For a concise summarized answer, skip to the summary at the end.

The great powers of the Muslim world during the early gunpowder age. Notice how the Shia Safavid Empire (purple) is surrounded by three different Sunni Empires. To its west, lies the Ottoman Empire (red/pink). To its east, the Mughal Empire (green/yellow). To the north, the Uzbeks (orange).

The Uzbeks

To understand the relationship between the Mughals and Uzbeks, one must first understand how the Uzbeks came to power in Central Asia. The Turko-Mongol conqueror Timur or Tamerlane carved out a massive empire centered in Transoxiana. This Timurid Empire was the greatest power in the Muslim world. Timur died in 1405 and was succeeded by his son, Shah Rukh Mirza. Shah Rukh Mirza became the second Timurid Emperor. He managed to hold onto most of Timur’s empire.

About two decades after that, a man named Abu’l-Khayr Khan united several nomadic clans under his own command and began to launch raids into the Timurid territory in the south. In 1430, he invaded the region of Khwarezmia and took the city of Urganj. He would be driven back soon after by Shah Rukh Mirza. However, this can be said to be the beginning of the Uzbek Khanate.

The Uzbek migration into Transoxiana

The problems for the Timurids began with the death of Shah Rukh Mirza in 1447. With this came the decline and fragmentation of the Timurid Empire. The third Timurid Emperor Abu Sa’id Mirza would consolidate control over central parts of the empire. He died in 1469 and the Timurid Empire fragmented into many small city states or kingdoms.

Around the year 1500, the Uzbek tribes were once again united under the command of one man. This man was Muhammad Shaybani Khan, the grandson of Abu’l-Khayr Khan. Shaybani Khan began to take the Timurid cities one by one. The Uzbeks drove the Timurids out of Central Asia and took their kingdoms. In 1506, the city of Bukhara was captured. This was the formation of the Khanate of Bukhara. Muhammad Shaybani Khan was killed in 1510 in the Battle of Merv against Shah Ismail, founder of the Safavid Empire. The death of Shaybani Khan resulted in the fragmentation of the Uzbek state into the Khanate of Bukhara and the Khanate of Khiva. Both of these were Uzbek states.

Muhammad Shaybani Khan


Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire, became the Timurid King of Ferghana at the age of eleven in 1494 after his father’s accidental death. Like the other Timurid kings, he was soon driven out of Central Asia by Shaybani Khan and the Uzbeks. It should be noted that the Uzbeks were the greatest enemies of the Timurids at this time. Babur took over as the Timurid King of Kabul in 1504 after the death of Ulugh Beg II, the Timurid King of Kabul and Babur’s uncle. Babur would make multiple attempts to take back the cities of Central Asia from the Uzbeks, but with little success.

In 1510, Shaybani Khan was killed in the Battle of Merv against Shah Ismail of the Safavid Empire. Shah Ismail had Shaybani Khan’s head turned into a bejeweled drinking goblet, which was sent to Babur as a gift. Khanzada Begum, Babur’s sister who had been in the custody of the Uzbeks, was also returned to Babur. This was the beginning of an alliance between Babur and Shah Ismail of the Safavids against the Uzbeks.

For a more detailed answer on Muhammad Shaybani Khan – ‎Ahmad Abubakr (احمد ابوبکر)‎’s answer to Who are some lesser known but still interesting leaders throughout history? What is their story?

The Battle of Merv between Shah Ismail and Muhammad Shaybani Khan

Now let’s discuss Babur’s relationship with the Safavids and the Ottomans. Babur was still intent of capturing Transoxiana back from the Uzbeks to restore Timurid rule. The Uzbeks were the greatest enemy for Babur. His relations with the Safavids and Ottomans were based on that.

The Ottomans and Safavids were at war. Shah Ismail of the Safavid Empire had been defeated by Selim the Grim of the Ottoman Empire in the Battle of Chaldiran in 1514. On the other side, the Safavids laid claim to the region of Khorasan. This put them in conflict with the Uzbeks who also claimed the region. As such, the Ottomans and Uzbeks were natural allies. Both Sunni Orthodox states waging war against a Shia state trying to expand and spread its influence.

Shah Ismail, founder of the Safavid Empire

Since the Ottomans supported the Uzbeks, this meant that Babur looked upon them negatively. Not to mention that the common enemy of the Uzbeks had resulted in an alliance between Babur and Shah Ismail of Persia. This does not mean that Babur was very fond of the Safavids. The Safavid Empire under Shah Ismail persecuted the Sunni population in conquered territory, including a few massacres of the civilian populations in Central Asia. Babur being a witness to a few of these, was put off by them. But his alliance with the Safavid was based on pragmatism, not emotions.

Sultan Selim the Grim had provided Ubaydullah Khan of the Uzbeks with firearms. This naturally resulted in poor relations between Babur and the Ottomans. It is believed that Sultan Selim later decided that it would be better to bring Babur over to his side and away from the Safavids. He sent firearms and experts to wield them to assist Babur in his campaigns. These would become a key part of Babur’s military strategy.

Sultan Selim I or Selim the Grim, the ninth Ottoman Sultan and the first Ottoman Caliph.

Seeing Central Asia as a lost cause, Babur began to turn his eyes towards India. Babur invaded the Delhi Sultanate in 1526 and defeated the armies of the sultanate in the First Battle of Panipat. This brought an end to the three century long rule of the Delhi Sultanate and resulted in the formation of the Mughal Empire.

It should be noted though that we have no evidence of any direct contact between Babur and the Ottoman Sultans.

Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire.


Humayun ascended to the throne in 1530 following Babur’s death. One of the problems that he faced early in his reign was Sher Shah Suri, a man who would drive Humayun out of North India altogether and take over the empire. Humayun’s brothers offered him no help and were instead intent on killing him. Humayun decided to seek refuge under the protection of Shah Tahmasp I of the Safavid Empire.

The Safavid Shah showed Humayun more hospitality than his own family had. Not only did Tahmasp offer Humayun refuge, later on he also offered Humayun men to help take back his empire. In return, Humayun was to hand Kandahar over to the Safavids if he succeeded. Humayun returned and took Kandahar and Kabul from his brothers. Kandahar was handed over to Shah Tahmasp, who made his young son the viceroy of the city. The young prince died and then Humayun took over the city for himself.

Shah Tahmasp I of the Safavid Empire

Humayun then decided to capture Balkh and retake Samarkand. He defeated an army of Uzbeks outside of Balkh. However, before he could take Balkh, a threat to Kabul forced him to return to the city. After this, Humayun would make no attempt to retake their ancestral home in Central Asia.

Humayun returned to India to retake his empire form the family of Sher Shah Suri. Humayun defeated Sikandar Shah Suri in the Battle of Sirhind in 1555 to re-establish the Mughal Empire once more. The first official interaction between the Mughal Empire and Ottoman Empire would occur in 1556. Sidi Ali Reis, an Ottoman admiral that had been shipwrecked in India, visited the court of Humayun. Humayun would send a personal letter to Suleiman the Magnificent.

During Humayun’s era, we see the relationship between the Mughals and Safavids improve even more. However, Humayun’s decision to keep Kandahar would result in future in conflict between the two empires. We also see the Mughals trying to establish contact with the Ottomans.

Humayun, the second Mughal Emperor.


Humayun died in less than a year after retaking his throne. He was succeeded by his fourteen year old son, Akbar. Akbar’s relationship with the Ottomans was great in the early part of his rule. He even wrote a letter to Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Empire, accepting him as the Caliph. However, in the later part of his rule, this relationship became a little hostile.

Suleiman the Magnificent

While Akbar was consolidating control over the Indian domains of his empire, Kabul and Kandahar were lost. Kabul was under the control of his brother, Mirza Muhammad Hakim. Kandahar was captured in 1558 by Shah Tahmasp of the Safavid Empire. Kandahar would remain in Safavid hands for the next three decades.

After dealing with the threats in North India, Akbar began to turn his eyes towards the Hindu Kush region. Traditionally, the Indus River had marked the boundary between Hindustan and the western regions. However, this was unacceptable to Akbar. To safeguard his empire from threats from the west, the Mughals must hold the two gateways into his empire. These being Kabul and Kandahar.

A topographic map of Afghanistan. Kabul and Kandahar were the two entry points into Hindustan from the west. Controlling these two cities ensured that there would be no invasion of the Mughal Empire from the west.

Kabul was captured in 1581 from Muhammad Hakim. It would be completely annexed by the Mughal Empire in 1585. This brought the Mughals in direct contact with the Uzbeks to the north. The Uzbeks at this time were led by Abdullah Khan Ozbeg. The Uzbeks had been supporting the Pashtun tribes in their rebellion against Mughal authority in the region. This posed a problem for Akbar.

Abdullah Khan reached out to Akbar that he wanted to form a tripartite alliance against the Safavid Empire. He wanted an alliance between the three Sunni states of the Ottomans, Uzbeks and the Mughals against the Shia Safavids. The Ottoman Empire and the Uzbeks were already allies against the Safavid Empire. Akbar seems to have disagreed with the idea of the tripartite alliance against the Safavids.

To Akbar, the Safavid state was never really a threat for the Mughal Empire. The two empires had been on friendly terms, despite the conflict over Kandahar. Let’s not forget that the Mughals cared far less about religion than the more orthodox Ottomans and Uzbeks. Akbar’s own regent, Bairam Khan, had been a Shia Muslim. The Mughals viewed the Safavid state differently than the Ottomans or Uzbeks. In Akbar’s view, the existence of the Safavid state was actually beneficial for the Mughals. As the Safavid Empire kept the Uzbeks to the north in check. So the Safavid served as a means of balancing the power and influence of the Uzbeks.

Abdullah Khan Ozbeg

At the end, there would be no tripartite alliance against the Safavid Empire. Abdullah Khan reached out to Akbar. In 1586, the two came to an agreement that Akbar would remain neutral during the Uzbek invasion of Safavid-held Khorasan. In return, the Uzbeks would end any support to the Afghan rebels. The Uzbeks also acknowledged Kabul as part of the Mughal Empire. This was perfect for Akbar, as he used this time to bring an end to the rebellion by the Afghan tribes and established Mughal authority in the region. So while the Uzbeks and Ottomans waged war against the Safavids, the Mughal remained neutral.

The Safavid Shah at this time was Shah Abbas the Great. He was at war with Sultan Murad III of the Ottoman Empire and Abdullah Khan of the Uzbeks. During this time, Kandahar came under threat from the Uzbeks. The Safavids could do nothing about it as they were busy with the Ottomans. The governor of Kandahar at this time was Mozaffar Hosayn, a Safavid prince who had a poor relationship with Shah Abbas. Not to mention the raids by the Uzbeks that the Safavids could do nothing about. The Mughals managed to entice Mozaffar Hosayn over to their own side and away from the Safavids. Kandahar was properly annexed into the Mughal Empire in 1595.

Under Akbar, we see the Mughals adopt a more pragmatic policy. Even willing to work with the Uzbeks, their old enemy, to achieve their own goals. By neither joining the Safavids against the Uzbeks or the tripartite alliance against the Safavids, Akbar was able to gain both Kabul and Kandahar. However, it should be noted that Akbar still harbored intent of taking back their ancestral home of Transoxiana. There was just nothing he could do about it at this time.

Akbar, the third Mughal Emperor


Jahangir ascended to the throne in 1605, following the death of Akbar. Initially, Jahangir had friendly relations with the Safavids. Even the relations with the Uzbeks seem to have been more friendly. On the other hand, the Ottomans were treated with indifference.

Jahangir had friendly relations with the Safavid Shah, Abbas the Great. The two would exchange gifts and ambassadors. In 1616, Shah Abbas was waging a war against Sultan Ahmed I of the Ottomans. He asked Jahangir for financial assistance, for his war against the Ottomans, and Jahangir obliged.

The Shaybanid Dynasty of the Khanate of Bukhara had been overthrown and replaced by the Ashtarkhanid Dynasty. In 1615, Imam Quli Khan of the Uzbeks sent ambassadors to Jahangir with gifts. Jahangir would return the favor by sending gifts in 1621.

Imam Quli Khan, the third Khan of Bukhara of the Ashtarkhanid Dynasty

In 1622, Shah Abbas led an army to take Kandahar from the Mughals and laid siege to the city. Jahangir ordered his son Shah Jahan to relieve the city, but Shah Jahan refused. This resulted in the capture of Kandahar by the Safavids. Jahangir seems to have seen this as a betrayal by the Safavids. While to the Safavids, this was simply taking back the city that Humayun had promised them. The Mughals were unable to make an attempt to take back the city, due to Shah Jahan’s rebellion. At the end, Jahangir had to send an envoy to Shah Abbas in 1623 and accept the loss of Kandahar to the Safavids.

Shah Abbas the Great of the Safavid Empire

The conquest of Kandahar by Shah Abbas changed Jahangir’s mind and policy towards the Safavids and Ottomans. Sultan Murad IV of the Ottoman Empire sent a letter to Jahangir, asking him to assist Imam Quli Khan of the Uzbeks against the Safavid Empire. Around 1626, Jahangir began to plan for a tripartite alliance against the Safavid Empire. However, nothing materialized due to Jahangir’s death in 1627.

During the rule of Jahangir, we see a shift in policy. From a friendly stance towards to Safavids to seeing them as rivals. In my opinion, the taking of Kandahar was a very risky move for Shah Abbas. Had it not been for Shah Jahan’s rebellion and the death of Jahangir, a tripartite alliance may even have materialized. Such an alliance would have marked the end of the Safavid state.

Jahangir, the fourth Mughal Emperor

Shah Jahan

Shah Jahan took the throne in 1628 following the death of Jahangir. Initially, Shah Jahan also contemplated a tripartite alliance against the Safavid Empire. However at the end, no alliance would materialize. The foiled raid on Kabul by Nazr Muhammad, the Uzbek leader of Balkh, did not help matters.

Ali Mardan Khan was the Safavid governor of Kandahar. He was dismissed from his office by Shah Safi of the Safavid Empire. As an act of revenge, Ali Mardan handed Kandahar over to the Mughals in 1638 and joined the Mughals. In return, the Mughals awarded him a high position within the administration. Kandahar was once again in Mughal hands.

Shah Safi of the Safavid Empire

The Mughals received word of Safavid military preparations in the region. In 1638, Shah Jahan sent his first embassy to Sultan Murad IV of the Ottoman Empire. Shah Jahan suggested an alliance between the Mughal and Ottoman Empires against the Safavid Empire. Shah Jahan proposed a tripartite alliance against the Safavid Empire and a coordinated attack on the Safavid Empire by all three states. However, nothing seems to have materialized.

Sultan Murad of the Ottoman Empire

Here we have to discuss Shah Jahan’s desire of reclaiming their ancestral home of Transoxiana. While the previous emperors had paid minimal attention to this in terms of action, Shah Jahan would actually begin a military campaign towards Central Asia. Shah Jahan’s desire for reclaiming the legacy of Timur can be seen by his title “Sahib-e Qiran-i Sani”, which translates to the “Second Lord of Auspicious Conjugation”. Timur being the Lord of Auspicious Conjugation.

Hassan Khan Shamlu, the Safavid governor of Herat, sent a letter to the Mughals asking whether the Mughals had any plan of retaking their “hereditary domains”. He further requested that if there is such a plan, he should be informed so that the Safavids and the Mughals can join in an alliance against the Uzbeks. However, the Safavids would take back this offer as they decided to retake Kandahar.

The Khanate of Bukhara was currently led by Nazr Muhammad. He had taken over this role from his brother, Imam Qoli Khan. However, many disagreed with him and a rebellion broke out against him. Even his sons joined in the rebellion. He was forced to flee to Balkh. Nazr Muhammad asked for assistance from Shah Jahan, who was more than happy to oblige since he already had plans for Central Asia. Shah Jahan sent an army under his son which occupied Balkh. Nazr Muhammad had fled to the Safavid court and asked for assistance to reclaim his throne. He had realized that Shah Jahan had no intention to help him, but to actually capture him and conquer Balkh for himself. This would result in a two year long war over Balkh between the Mughals and the Uzbeks.

The new leader of the Uzbeks was Abdul Aziz Khan, son of Nazr Muhammad. The Mughals would do well militarily against the Uzbeks and defeat them in battle. However despite their victories in battle, the Mughals were defeated and were forced to return Balkh to the Uzbeks. The Mughal army of the frontier had suffered great damage. Shah Jahan’s invasion of Balkh and war against the Uzbeks destroyed any chance of a tripartite alliance against the Safavids. During this time, the Ottomans would even sent letters to Shah Jahan and ask him to settle the matters with the Uzbeks.

Abdul Aziz Khan, the fifth Khan of Bukhara.

Shah Abbas II of the Safavid Empire took advantage of this and captured Kandahar in 1648. This would result in the Mughal–Safavid War of 1649–53. The Mughals would besiege the city of Kandahar on three different occasions, but would fail to take the city.

The first attempt came in 1649 under the command of Aurangzeb, Shah Jahan’s son. The second was in 1652, once again under the command of Aurangzeb. Shah Abbas II of the Safavids entered into an alliance with Abdul Aziz Khan of the Uzbeks. Abdul Aziz Khan sent ten thousand men to harass the Mughal supply lines near Kabul, making it impossible to carry on the siege. The third and final siege came in 1653, under the command of Dara Shikoh. Despite the much larger army, Dara Shikoh was also unable to take the city. The defeat in this third siege brought an end to the Mughal-Safavid War.

Kandahar would now remain in Safavid hands. Though it is a little ironic that it is the city of Kandahar that would result in the downfall of the Safavid Empire.

Shah Abbas II of the Safavid Empire

As we can see, Shah Jahan had initially considered a tripartite alliance. However, his war with the Uzbeks made that an impossibility. This war was not well received by the Ottomans either. Not to mention that Shah Abbas II took advantage of this to take Kandahar. It also resulted in friendly relations between the Safavids and Uzbeks, which was not in the best interest of the Mughals.

Shah Jahan, the fifth Mughal Emperor


Aurangzeb took the throne in 1658 after a succession war. Aurangzeb’s accession to the throne was controversial, as Shah Jahan was still alive and Aurangzeb had imprisoned him. Aurangzeb’s relations with the Safavid Empire were initially poor. However the two sides never went to war.

Aurangzeb had exchanged embassies and gifts with Shah Abbas II of the Safavid Empire. However, a minor conflict between the forces of the two armies near Kandahar resulted in a tense situation. Aurangzeb was preparing his forces to deal with the Safavids. The death of Shah Abbas II in 1666 brought an end to hostilities between the two empires.

Shah Abbas II was succeeded by his son, Shah Suleiman. Suleiman sent a message to Aurangzeb mocking his title Alamgir (world-seizer), claiming that all he had conquered was his own father and should be called Padergir (father-seizer). He also gave refuge to Sultan Muhammad Akbar in 1686. This was Aurangzeb’s son who had rebelled against him and had been driven out of the Indian Subcontinent. The Safavids would not provide him with any assistance to take back the throne.

Shah Suleiman of the Safavid Empire

Aurangzeb’s relations with the Ottomans were quite formal. There was little direct contact between the Ottoman sultans and Aurangzeb. This was quite different from the reign of Shah Jahan, when the contact was at its peak.

Aurangzeb was congratulated on his accession by Hussain Pasha, the Ottoman governor of Basra. The Ottoman governors of Basra and Yemen and the Sharif of Mecca sent ambassadors to Aurangzeb in 1665. When Hussain Pasha was ousted from his position, he was given refuge and a position in the Mughal administration. Aurangzeb even gave a position to the next governor of Basra, Yahya Pasha. It is safe to assume that the Ottomans did not take kindly to Aurangzeb providing refuge to their enemies.

In 1690, the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman II sent an embassy to Aurangzeb. He urgently requested assistance from Aurangzeb, as the Ottomans were not doing too well in the War of the Holy League. The Ottoman embassy was received quite coldly by Aurangzeb, as the Ottoman sultan had sent no embassy to him thirty-two years into his reign. Yet now when he needed assistance, he had sent one. Aurangzeb did not sent help to the Ottomans and also did not declare a war against the Christians.

The Safavid Empire was no longer a threat for the Mughals. It was also not very powerful anymore. From the Mughal perspective, there was no need for any sort of alliance with the Ottomans anymore. As the Safavid Empire had been the only common enemy for the two previously. Plus, both the Mughal and Ottomans had problems within their own empires to deal with.

Sultan Suleiman II of the Ottoman Empire

Aurangzeb’s relations with the Uzbeks were quite friendly. Aurangzeb had no desire for a military campaign to take Central Asia. He had led the Mughal forces in the war against the Uzbeks in Balkh during the rule of Shah Jahan. He had seen first-hand that over-extension of the empire towards Central Asia was next to impossible.

At the time of Aurangzeb’s accession, Subhan Quli Khan had been the first foreign leader to recognize him. Subhan Quli at the time was the Uzbek ruler of Balkh. In 1681, Subhan Quli Khan would become the sixth Khan of Bukhara. A role that he would take over from his brother, Abdul Aziz Khan.

The two rulers would have friendly relations. He is believed to have requested an alliance with the Mughals. In 1685, Aurangzeb sent an embassy to Subhan Quli bearing many gifts. This included elephants.

As it can be seen, Aurangzeb’s attitude towards the three states was more or less friendly. He maintained relations with all three. Yet at the same time, he made no alliances with any one of them. Nor did he wage war against any of them. Aurangzeb focus was mostly within the Indian Subcontinent, so he had little need for assistance from outside powers. The weakness of the Safavid state meant that no sort of alliance with the Uzbeks or Ottomans was required.

Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal Emperor

After Aurangzeb

Following Aurangzeb’s death in 1707, the Mughals had enough internal problems of their own to even contemplate any sort of alliance against the Safavid Empire. The Ottomans had their own internal problems to focus on.

Mostly importantly though, the Safavid Empire was not a threat to either one of them anymore. It has ceased to be one some time ago. In 1709, Mirwais Hotak would lead a rebellion against the Safavids in Kandahar. The city of Kandahar would become the stronghold of the Hotak Dynasty and in 1722, the Hotaks would capture the Safavid capital of Isfahan itself.

For a more detailed answer on the Hotak Dynasty – Ahmad Abubakr (احمد ابوبکر)‎’s answer to What were some of the weakest, smallest or most short-lived Empires in history?

Mirwais Khan Hotak


During the rule of Babur, the Mughals were not exactly one the best of terms with the Ottomans. This was because the Ottomans were allies to the Uzbeks, enemies of Babur. Plus Babur had no direct contact with the Ottoman sultan. Babur and Shah Ismail of the Safavids were allies against the Uzbeks.

During the rule of Humayun, the Safavids were seen as allies and friends. The Safavids actually provided refuge to Humayun when he was driven out of his empire by Sher Shah Suri. They also provided him with an army to take back his empire. Humayun did have contact with the Ottomans, but it was not regarding the Safavids.

During the rule of Akbar, a tripartite alliance against the Safavids was suggested. However, Akbar had no interest in such an alliance. As the Safavids were seen as a counter to the Uzbeks. It was in the interest of the Mughals that the Safavid state continues to exist.

During the rule of Jahangir, the relation with the Safavid was initially very friendly. However, upon Shah Abbas’s capture of Kandahar from the Mughals, this changed. Jahangir proposed the idea of a tripartite alliance against the Safavid Empire, but he died before any plans could be made.

During the rule of Shah Jahan, the idea of a tripartite alliance was floated as well. However, his invasion of Balkh brought an end to that. The war against the Uzbeks was not seen very well by the Ottomans either. The Safavids used this to capture Kandahar from the Mughals again. At this point, the tripartite alliance was not possible. The Uzbeks had allied with the Safavids against the Mughals.

During the rule of Aurangzeb, the Mughals had little interest in either Persia or Central Asia. Aurangzeb’s focus was inwards on the Subcontinent. He made no attempt to take Kandahar. Plus the Safavids were now weak so no longer seen as a threat to either the Mughals or Ottomans.

After Aurangzeb’s death, both the Mughals and Ottomans had enough problems of their own to think of any such alliance. Plus the Hotak rebellion would destroy the Safavid state on its own.

Why didn’t the Sunni Ottomans and Mughals make an alliance to conquer Persia?

The Mughals never had an interest in conquering Persia. The only point of contention between the Mughal Empire and the Safavid Empire was the city of Kandahar. Beyond that, they two sides had no issue with each other.

The Mughal focus of expansion was never into Persia. It was either deeper into the Indian Subcontinent or into Central Asia to reclaim Transoxiana. This made the Uzbeks the natural enemies of the Mughals. Not the Persians.

The Mughals actually had friendly relations with the Safavid Empire for the most part. Sometimes far better than the relations with the Ottomans or Uzbeks.

The Safavid Empire was seen as an essential counter against the Uzbeks of Central Asia. This made the existence of a Safavid state a positive thing.

The Mughals were never all that religious to begin with. The Ottomans and Uzbeks were a lot more orthodox Sunni than the Mughals. The Mughals also cared a lot less about the Sunni-Shia issue. The conflict between the Ottomans and Safavids may have been very sectarian based. But to the Mughals, this was not really a problem.

The only time such an alliance almost came to be was late in Jahangir’s rule. The tripartite alliance could have marked an end for the Safavid Empire. Fortunately for the Safavids, Jahangir died a year later before any sort of preparations were made.

Shah Jahan’s obsession with reclaiming their ancestral homeland, drove the Uzbeks into the hands of the Safavids. It also hurt the Mughal-Ottoman relations. This made any tripartite alliance an impossibility.

Aurangzeb had no interest in either Persia or the Ottoman Empire. His focus was inwards.

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