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November 23 2022 Hope and Fear in Egypt

Humankind gathers to choose a future under the shadows of state terror and tyranny in Egypt, a struggle of hope against fear and of vision against wealth and power as within each of us.

     Can our innate powers of hope and vision free us from threat of our civilizational collapse and species extinction due to our addiction to power and the role of fossil fuels in creating and conferring elite hegemonies of wealth, power, and privilege as a strategic resource?

     Can the reimagination and transformation of how we choose to be human together triumph over the inherent contradictions of systemic unequal power?

     Such is the global reckoning and revolution we need if we are to survive, a total revisioning of our society as a United Humankind. We have instead a theatrical performance of strutting blowhards and rapacious predators, designed to placate and deceive while leaving systems and structures of wealth and power intact.

     This is not the process we need to win a future for humankind. Our leaders have betrayed us to our doom; the peoples of the world must speak and organize directly with each other if we are to free ourselves from the tyranny of the elites who consume our world for ephemeral and exclusionary profit.

     As written by Ruth Michaelson in The Guardian, in an article entitled The Egyptian human rights activists unable to attend Cop27: Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh follows decade-long crackdown on civil society in Egypt; “Honestly, what I want is to be in Sharm el-Sheikh and just scream,” said Amr Magdi of Human Rights Watch. Like dozens of other prominent human rights defenders, researchers and environmentalists, Magdi has been unable to attend Cop27 as he is exiled from Egypt because of his work.

     “I just want to tell everyone about the injustice happening in Egypt. I can’t do it personally and I’m trying to do it with my work. I’m even helping others who are able to travel there to do this,” he said.

     Many Egyptian environmentalists, human rights defenders, researchers and activists exiled from their country are watching protests and the vanishingly rare opportunity to discuss civil rights in Sharm el-Sheikh from afar, as returning would put them at risk of detention.

     The hundreds of exiles combined with the estimated 65,000 political prisoners inside Egypt’s sprawling detention systemand the Egyptian government’s attempt to bar dozens of domestic civil society groups means many voices from Egypt are excluded from the conference.

     Another activist, who asked to remain anonymous, also spoke of fears that a return meant instant arrest. “If you go back, you’re going to get arrested, or if not then you’ll be placed under a travel ban so you can’t leave Egypt and continue your life or work,” she said.

     The news that Egypt would host Cop27 drew surprise, rage, and sometimes guilt at being unable to attend from the activists and researchers interviewed. “My first thought was that … Egypt should not be hosting a conference like this, where civil society pressure and participation are such an essential ingredient,” said the activist.

     She pointed to the Egyptian authorities’ use of prison to silence dissenting voices, notably British-Egyptian democracy activist Alaa Abd el-Fattah, who began a water strike on the day Cop27 began.

     “What’s being missed isn’t just activists in exile, it’s that our best minds are dying in prison,” she said. “It’s these minds that we need for the solutions to the climate crisis, but the Egyptian state is choosing to kill them in prison.”

     The conference in Sharm el-Sheikh follows an almost- decade-long crackdown on civil society in Egypt that has targeted almost every form of independent organising, and driven many activists and researchers overseas. Prominent organisations working on civil rights, including climate justice, have been targeted with raids, shutdowns and arrests. The Egyptian authorities have banned non-governmental organisations receiving funding from abroad and strangled their domestic resources, while major heads of prominent civil society groups have been banned from travel and their bank accounts frozen. Multiple researchers have been arrested on arrival in Egyptian airports after returning home for family visits when they lived and studied abroad.

     “Even one activist in jail is an intimidation to all against speaking up, but it’s thousands over the years placed in inhumane detention conditions, some facing torture, with other colleagues placed on travel ban lists or finding their assets frozen,” said Magdi.

     Threats from the Egyptian security services or their outriders in the country’s media have encompassed both well known international rights groups and individuals. Magdi remembers a prominent television anchor threatening his life after Human Rights Watch published a report about possible war crimes in northern Sinai. “Live on television he said I will be brought back to Egypt and executed,” he said. Major state outlets have labelled him a terrorist for his human rights work, he added.

     The former MP Mohamed Anwar al-Sadat, nephew of Egypt’s former president, recently called for Egypt’s youth to return to the country. Hussein Baoumi of Amnesty International was exactly the kind of person Sadat’s call was supposed to resonate with, but he will also be staying away.

     “The Egyptian authorities are continuing to arrest opponents and critics, and subject human rights defenders to travel bans,” he said. “They don’t want us back home.”

     Baoumi pointed out that the next conference will be in the United Arab Emirates, another country with a troubled record on dissent. The UAE has also aided the Egyptian authorities in deporting Egyptian nationals back to Egypt in the past, raising concerns that the same activists forced to miss Cop27 will have to do the same thing for Cop28.

     “From our point of view as Amnesty International we have to engage on the issue of climate, as there’s no time,” said Baoumi. “Even if the Cop is being held in a repressive state, it’s important to go to force the international community to recognise civil society engagement.”

      How did we get here, what can we learn from the collapse of revolution into tyranny in Egypt and of hope into fear, and how can we reverse the collapse of global civilization and democracy into carceral states of force and control and an age of tyrants?

     As I wrote in my post of July 23 2021, Anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution of 1952; In the wake of the abandonment of the Egyptian Army in the field by King Farouk during the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, Gamel Abdel Nasser formed the Free  Officers Movement to overthrow the monarchy and its alliance with and colonial era vestiges of the British Empire. Like Fidel Castro, Ho Chi Minh, Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela, Nasser became a heroic global symbol of anticolonial revolution, as he is remembered in Egypt today.

    Like Napoleon crushing protests in Paris with “a whiff of grapeshot” and Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton demonstrating the power of the new federal government of America by inciting and unleashing the new Continental Army to repress the Whiskey Rebellion of 1791-1794, the first act of the new regime was to repress a protest to establish power and authority in the subjugation of its own people.

     As an encore and during this process of seizing power and centralizing authority to a military junta, Nasser annihilated the Egyptian Communists, then defeated a challenge by a rival who was a figurehead for the Muslim Brotherhood. In these two Defining Moments, Eqypt became a tyranny of force and fear which reflected that of the colonial government and puppet monarchy they had overthrown, historical legacies which would continue to echo throughout its history.

     As is so often true, the use of violence in seizure of power was corruptive of its own values; victims often become abusers, particularly nations disfigured by imperialism as anticolonial revolutions tend to become tyrannies of force and control. This is because they are shaped by imposed conditions in which power is the only thing which is truly real, the issue of its seizure being who possesses and wields it, and fear and force the only means of exchange. True revolution must change both of these things.

     We must escape the Wagnerian Ring of fear, power, and force, seize power over ourselves and not over others, cast authority down from its throne rather than replace it with our own; we must change the nature of power and abandon the social use of force.

     Let us become a fulcrum, and change the balance of power in the world.

     To give the devil his due, Nasser was a champion of the people against colonialism, and supported the Algerian revolution against the colonial empire of France and of the Palestinians against conquest and Occupation by Israel, established the independence of the Sudan from Egypt, broke the power of feudal land barons in Egypt itself, championed labor unions and ruled by the strength of their support as well as that of the army, and supported anti-imperialist and anti-colonial rebellions against European empires throughout the world, notably including his alliance with Ho Chi Minh and support of Che Guevara in Zaire.

    On the whole Nasser remains a heroic figure of revolutionary struggle like many such leaders, and the Egyptian nation he birthed and shaped a force of liberation, though the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 against monarchy and the British Empire represents an interim stage of social, economic, and political development toward social democracy and a true free society of equals.

    As written by Yousef Khalil; ” Himself a comrade of the late Castro, and leading figure of the non-aligned movement, Nasser counted among his sincere allies the likes of Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Che Guevara, and Patrice Lumumba. He led the nationalization of the Suez Canal and subsequent confrontation with the British, French and Israeli militaries in 1956, which was not just an Egyptian or Arab victory, it was a victory for all colonized people, a reversal of one the glaring injustices of colonialism.

     Nasserism became a dominant ideology in the Arab world, and inspired a wave of “republican” coups and revolutions; Jordan and Iraq in 1958, Yemen in 1962, Algeria in 1964, Sudan and Libya in 1969, Jordan again in 1970. Central to Nasserism, and the ideologically similar Baathism, was the impulse to reverse the dismemberment of the Arab world in the wake of the World War I through the eventual creation of a single pan-Arab state, “from the Ocean to Gulf.”

     The most successful experiment in this proposed political union was between Egypt and Syria from 1958 to 1961. Political instability had wracked Syria since the current state was established as part of the Sykes-Picot agreement between colonial powers Britain and France in 1918. In 1958, the Syrian government proposed immediate unification with Egypt as a way to stabilize Syria and finalize a long-standing process of integration between the two states in pursuit of Arab unity. Though the unification was brief – undone in a coup led by Baathists in 1961 – it was welcomed with “overwhelming support” by the Arab masses, as Tareq Y. Ismael argued in his 1976 book, The Arab Left.

     Even in death, Nasser was a man of his era. His passing in 1970 came as the Arab world was still reeling from the successful Israeli attack on Egypt in 1967, which was ultimately the death-knell of pan-Arabism and Nasserism. A Lebanese newspaper headline captured the significance of his death best, declaring: “One hundred million human beings – the Arabs – are orphans. There is nothing greater than this man who is gone, and nothing is greater than the gap he has left behind.”

    Revolution is an ongoing process, like humankind a work in progress which has no end, and we must celebrate its moments of triumph and victory such as today.

     As I wrote in my post of February 28 2020, Egypt: Living in the Shadow of Tyranny and State Terror as a Puppet of Foreign Imperialism; How do we explain the enduring structures of authoritarian tyranny, of force and control, which have remained little changed in Eqypt through the centuries despite popular revolutions such as that which overthrew the recently deceased Mubarak and left a power vacuum into which the military dictator al-Sisi moved and rapidly consolidated power?

      To this I would ascribe the legacy of historical imperialism and colonialism, which echoes back to the British and Ottoman Empires, the invasion of Napoleon against the ruling Russian Mamluks, Byzantium and the Sasanian Persians, Alexander the Great and the Greek Ptolemaic dynasty, the Achaemenid Persian dynasty. By this accounting Egypt survived under foreign masters from 525 B.C. until the expulsion of the British in 1952.

     Enslaved for 2,427 years; this remains the central fact of Egyptian history, a shadow which looms over its society today as a pervasive and endemic harm, and impedes the transformational powers of democracy and liberation to bring systemic and structural change. For those shaped to the malign dynamic and relationships of the overseer and his slaves, the current tyranny of al-Sisi and his foreign enablers must seem like business as usual, if unusually cruel.

     The crimes against humanity of the brutal Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi regime include mass incarceration and torture of dissidents in Cairo’s infamous Tora prison, one of twenty such special prisons wherein more than 60,000 persons are held for political crimes, including many who were simply swept up in mass arrests. 

     Indeed, the random and trivial nature of the arrests is a crucial feature of state terror and control, so with the branding of journalists and other nonviolent activists as terrorists. This policy was enacted broadly to utterly crush the September 2019 wave of democracy protests, resulting in the arrest and disappearance of some four thousand four hundred thirty three persons. As Ruth Michaelson reported in The Guardian; ”Many remain in prison on charges of aiding a terrorist group, protesting illegally, misusing the internet, undermining national security or using social media to spread false news.”

     “The threat of prison has been amplified by increasing reports of deaths in custody. Mustafa Kassem, a US citizen, died in prison last week after a hunger strike in protest at his incarceration. Kassem was detained alongside his brother-in-law while changing money in a shopping centre in a Cairo suburb in 2013 and later given a 15-year sentence as part of a mass trial.”

     As Amr Darrag writes in The Guardian; “The outpouring of joy that followed Hosni Mubarak’s resignation was palpable. It was 11 February 2011 – eight years ago to this day. Egyptians of all faiths and ages and backgrounds, united by a desire for freedom, gathered in Tahrir Square to bring 30 years of tyranny to an end. We believed that as the people of the region’s most historic power, inspired by the success of the Tunisian revolution, we were setting in motion a chain of events that would guarantee Egypt’s freedom.

     But after 30 months the dream became a nightmare. Letting the military manage the transitional period was probably the biggest mistake of all; revolutions never give power to pillars of the old regime.

     By now the horrifying details are familiar: there are illegal arrests, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings.

     We made mistakes. Try as it might, the government, in which I served as a cabinet minister, could not isolate the leftover elements of Mubarak’s regime and bring consensus to the country. And all the while there were fuel, gas and electricity shortages to exacerbate the rising discord. We gave priority to establishing democratic institutions, but it took only a minute on 3 July 2013 to dismantle them all: the presidency, the parliament and the constitution. Major reform of the remnants of the old regime should have been more of a priority.”

     How does one explain the survival of a despicable military dictatorship throughout multiple successive incarnations of tyranny, in which mass revolutions have changed nothing but the names of their masters? How is a system which is clearly evil resilient to challenge by its people?

    The parallels between the autocracies of Mubarak and Sisi are described as follows by Jack Shenker; “One important parallel is the way both regimes were and are entwined with forces beyond Egypt’s borders. Mubarak was a personal friend of the Clintons; Tony Blair, whose family holidayed in Sharm el-Sheikh as guests of the dictatorship, praised him as “immensely courageous and a force for good”. A key partner to the CIA’s extraordinary rendition programme and beloved by the global business community – for whom Egypt’s IMF-sponsored structural adjustment opened up a range of lucrative investment deals, even as the number of Egyptians below the poverty line doubled – Mubarak’s corruption, repression and appalling human rights record rarely troubled his many allies in the global north.

     The same is true of Sisi, under whose watch an estimated 60,000 political prisoners have been jailed and state torture is so rife that Human Rights Watch calls it a potential crime against humanity. Meanwhile, Europe and the US provide Egypt with billions of dollars’ worth of arms sales, and corporate news platform Bloomberg – following another round of IMF reforms – has labelled the country an “emergent market darling”. In 2018, after Sisi “won” 97% of the vote in a presidential election, Theresa May congratulated him on his victory and the chance to take Egypt “further down the road of democratic transition”; last month Boris Johnson posed with him on a red carpet in Downing Street.

     Another underreported dimension of Mubarak’s reign was the extent of ground-level resistance to it: protests, occupations and clashes with the gendarmes of the interior ministry that long predated the anti-Mubarak uprising in 2011, but rarely made the international headlines. From strike waves in industrial towns such as Kafr el-Dawwar and Mahalla el-Kubra to battles against land reform and forced eviction in communities such as Sarandu and Qursaya Island, Mubarakism was always contested, although dissent never – until the end – coalesced into a meaningful, countrywide challenge to the regime. By contrast, Sisi’s Egypt is utterly intolerant of even the mildest criticism. Unlike Mubarak, under whom enough pressure-release valves were kept open to maintain a degree of political stability – elements of an independent judiciary, for example, and the beginnings of an autonomous media – Sisi cannot abide a cheeky meme, or a child with the wrong sort of content on their phone. As the writer Wael Eskandar puts it, the aim now is no longer just to win the political battlefield: it is to eliminate the battlefield altogether.

     That level of mass suffocation, no matter how stubbornly western leaders turn a blind eye to it, is unsustainable in the long-term within a country of 100 million people. Its intensity is not a matter of choice, and stems ultimately not from overwhelming strength at the top, but weakness. For all that today’s Egypt appears on the surface to be a throwback to the worst excesses of the Mubarak period, in reality the terrain over which his successor now presides is very different – precisely because it is suffused with the ineradicable memory of a different type of power once becoming possible, however fleetingly. The panic felt by people like Suzanne Mubarak – at the thought of ordinary Egyptians refusing to heed the language of paternal, unassailable authority, of metro stations crowned with a ruler’s name being left in ruins – runs as fiercely through the presidential palace today as it did in those heady days of 2011. Hosni Mubarak is dead; among his replacements, fear of his fate lives on.”


20 نوفمبر 2022 أمل وخوف في مصر

      تتجمع البشرية لاختيار مستقبل تحت ظلال إرهاب الدولة والطغيان في مصر ، صراع أمل ضد الخوف والرؤية ضد الثروة والسلطة كما في داخل كل واحد منا.

     هل يمكن لقوتنا الفطرية للأمل والرؤية أن تحررنا من خطر الانهيار الحضاري وانقراض الأنواع بسبب إدماننا للسلطة ودور الوقود الأحفوري في خلق ومنح هيمنة النخبة من الثروة والسلطة والامتياز كمورد استراتيجي؟

     هل يمكن لإعادة تخيل الكيفية التي نختار بها أن نكون بشرًا وتحويلها أن تنتصر على التناقضات المتأصلة في القوة النظامية غير المتكافئة؟

     هذا هو الحساب العالمي والثورة التي نحتاجها إذا أردنا البقاء على قيد الحياة ، مراجعة شاملة لمجتمعنا كإنسان متحد. بدلاً من ذلك ، لدينا أداء مسرحي من المتحمسين المتهورين والحيوانات المفترسة الجشعة ، المصممة للاسترضاء والخداع مع ترك أنظمة وهياكل الثروة والسلطة سليمة.

     هذه ليست العملية التي نحتاجها لكسب مستقبل للبشرية. لقد خاننا قادتنا إلى هلاكنا. يجب على شعوب العالم أن تتحدث وتنظم مع بعضها البعض مباشرة إذا أردنا أن نحرر أنفسنا من طغيان النخب التي تستهلك عالمنا من أجل الربح العابر والاستثنائي.

23 يوليو 2021 ذكرى الثورة المصرية عام 1952

     في أعقاب تخلي الملك فاروق عن الجيش المصري في الميدان خلال الحرب العربية الإسرائيلية عام 1948 ، شكل جمال عبد الناصر حركة الضباط الأحرار لإسقاط النظام الملكي وتحالفه مع بقايا الإمبراطورية البريطانية وعصرها الاستعماري. مثل فيدل كاسترو ، هوشي منه ، غاندي ، ونيلسون مانديلا ، أصبح ناصر رمزًا عالميًا بطوليًا للثورة المناهضة للاستعمار ، كما هو معروف في مصر اليوم.

    مثل نابليون الذي يسحق الاحتجاجات في باريس بـ “نفحة من العنب” ووزير الخزانة ألكسندر هاملتون الذي أظهر قوة الحكومة الفيدرالية الأمريكية الجديدة من خلال تحريض وإطلاق العنان للجيش القاري الجديد لقمع تمرد الويسكي من 1791-1794 ، وهو أول عمل من كان على النظام الجديد قمع الاحتجاج لتأسيس السلطة والسلطة في إخضاع شعبه.

     كظهور وأثناء عملية الاستيلاء على السلطة ومركزية السلطة إلى المجلس العسكري ، قضى ناصر على الشيوعيين المصريين ، ثم هزم تحديًا من قبل منافس كان زعيمًا صوريًا للإخوان المسلمين. في هاتين اللحظتين المحددتين ، أصبحت مصر استبدادًا للقوة والخوف مما يعكس حكومة الاستعمار والملكية العميلة التي أطاحوا بها ، وهي الموروثات التاريخية التي استمرت في الصدى طوال تاريخها.

     كما هو الحال في كثير من الأحيان ، كان استخدام العنف في الاستيلاء على السلطة مفسدًا لقيمها الخاصة ؛ غالبًا ما يصبح الضحايا منتهكين ، لا سيما الدول التي شوهتها الإمبريالية لأن الثورات المعادية للاستعمار تميل إلى أن تصبح طغيانًا للقوة والسيطرة. هذا لأنها تتشكل من خلال شروط مفروضة تكون فيها السلطة هي الشيء الوحيد الحقيقي حقًا ، ومسألة الاستيلاء عليها هي من يمتلكها ويمارسها ، والخوف والقوة الوسيلة الوحيدة للتبادل. الثورة الحقيقية يجب أن تغير كلا الأمرين.

     يجب علينا الهروب من حلقة واغنريان من الخوف والقوة والقوة ، والاستيلاء على السلطة على أنفسنا وليس على الآخرين ، وإسقاط السلطة من عرشها بدلاً من استبدالها بسلطتنا ؛ يجب علينا تغيير طبيعة القوة والتخلي عن الاستخدام الاجتماعي للقوة.

     دعونا نصبح نقطة ارتكاز ، ونغير ميزان القوى في العالم.

لإعطاء الشيطان حقه ، كان ناصر نصير الشعب ضد الاستعمار ، ودعم الثورة الجزائرية ضد الإمبراطورية الاستعمارية لفرنسا والفلسطينيين ضد الفتح والاحتلال من قبل إسرائيل ، وأثبتت استقلال السودان عن مصر ، وكسر السلطة. من بارونات الأرض الإقطاعية في مصر نفسها ، دافعوا عن النقابات العمالية وحكموا بقوة دعمهم بالإضافة إلى دعم الجيش ، ودعموا التمردات المناهضة للإمبريالية والاستعمار ضد الإمبراطوريات الأوروبية في جميع أنحاء العالم ، ولا سيما تحالفه مع هو تشي مينه ودعم تشي جيفارا في زائير.

    بشكل عام ، يظل ناصر شخصية بطولية في النضال الثوري مثل العديد من القادة ، والأمة المصرية التي ولدها وشكلت قوة تحرر ، على الرغم من أن الثورة المصرية عام 1952 ضد الملكية والإمبراطورية البريطانية تمثل مرحلة انتقالية من الاجتماعية والاقتصادية ، والتنمية السياسية نحو الديمقراطية الاجتماعية ومجتمع حر حقيقي من أنداد.

    كما كتب يوسف خليل. كان ناصر نفسه رفيقًا للراحل كاسترو ، وشخصية قيادية في حركة عدم الانحياز ، وكان من بين حلفائه المخلصين أمثال مالكولم إكس ، ومحمد علي ، وتشي جيفارا ، وباتريس لومومبا. قاد تأميم قناة السويس وما تلاها من مواجهة مع الجيوش البريطانية والفرنسية والإسرائيلية عام 1956 ، والتي لم تكن مجرد انتصار مصري أو عربي ، بل كانت انتصارًا لجميع الشعوب المستعمرة ، وانقلابًا على مظالم الاستعمار الصارخة. .

     أصبحت الناصرية أيديولوجية سائدة في العالم العربي ، وألهمت موجة من الانقلابات والثورات “الجمهورية”. الأردن والعراق عام 1958 ، واليمن عام 1962 ، والجزائر عام 1964 ، والسودان وليبيا عام 1969 ، والأردن مرة أخرى عام 1970. وكان مركز الناصرية ، والبعثيين المماثل أيديولوجيًا ، هو الدافع لعكس اتجاه تقطيع أوصال العالم العربي في أعقاب الحرب العالمية الأولى من خلال الإنشاء النهائي لدولة عربية واحدة ، “من المحيط إلى الخليج”.

     كانت التجربة الأكثر نجاحًا في هذا الاتحاد السياسي المقترح بين مصر وسوريا من 1958 إلى 1961. وكان عدم الاستقرار السياسي قد مزق سوريا منذ قيام الدولة الحالية كجزء من اتفاقية سايكس بيكو بين القوى الاستعمارية بريطانيا وفرنسا في عام 1918. في عام 1958 ، اقترحت الحكومة السورية توحيدًا فوريًا مع مصر كوسيلة لتحقيق الاستقرار في سوريا والانتهاء من عملية طويلة الأمد من التكامل بين الدولتين سعياً وراء الوحدة العربية. على الرغم من أن الوحدة كانت قصيرة – تم التراجع عنها في انقلاب قاده البعثيون في عام 1961 – إلا أنها رحبت “بتأييد ساحق” من قبل الجماهير العربية ، كما قال طارق إسماعيل في كتابه عام 1976 ، اليسار العربي.

     حتى بعد موته ، كان ناصر رجلاً من عصره. جاءت وفاته عام 1970 بينما كان العالم العربي لا يزال يترنح من الهجوم الإسرائيلي الناجح على مصر عام 1967 ، والذي كان في النهاية ناقوس موت القومية العربية والناصرية. وتناول أحد عناوين إحدى الصحف اللبنانية أهمية موته بشكل أفضل ، حيث أعلن: “مائة مليون إنسان – العرب – أيتام. لا يوجد شيء أعظم من هذا الرجل الذي رحل ، ولا شيء أكبر من الفجوة التي تركها وراءه “.

    إن الثورة عملية مستمرة ، مثل البشرية ، عمل في تقدم لا نهاية له ، ويجب أن نحتفل بلحظات انتصارها وانتصارها كما هو الحال اليوم.

28 فبراير 2020 مصر: العيش في ظل الطغيان وإرهاب الدولة كدمية للإمبريالية الأجنبية

كيف نفسر الهياكل الدائمة للاستبداد الاستبدادي ، والقوة والسيطرة ، والتي ظلت دون تغيير

ر يذكر في مصر على مر القرون على الرغم من الثورات الشعبية مثل تلك التي أطاحت بالرئيس مبارك المتوفى مؤخرا وتركت فراغ السلطة الذي دكتاتور عسكري انتقل سيسي والسلطة الموحدة بسرعة؟

      إلى هذا ، أود أن أصف إرث الإمبريالية التاريخية والاستعمار ، الذي يرجع إلى الإمبراطوريتين البريطانية والعثمانية ، وغزو نابليون ضد المماليك الروس الحاكم ، والبيزنطة والفرس الساسانيين ، والإسكندر الأكبر ، والسلالة البطلمية اليونانية. سلالة فارسية. من خلال هذا الحساب نجت مصر من أسياد أجانب من 525 قبل الميلاد. حتى طرد البريطانيين في عام 1952.

     المستعبدين لمدة 2427 سنة ؛ تظل هذه هي الحقيقة الرئيسية للتاريخ المصري ، وهو ظل يلوح في الأفق بمجتمعه اليوم باعتباره ضررًا منتشرًا وواسع النطاق ، ويعوق القوى التحويلية للديمقراطية والتحرير لإحداث تغيير منهجي وهيكلي. بالنسبة لأولئك الذين يتشكلون على الديناميكية الخبيثة وعلاقات المشرف وعبيده ، يجب أن يبدو الطغيان الحالي للسيسي وتمكينه الأجانب وكأنه عمل كالمعتاد ، إذا كان قاسياً بشكل غير عادي.

     تشمل الجرائم المرتكبة ضد الإنسانية التي ارتكبها نظام عبد الفتاح السيسي الوحشي السجن الجماعي والتعذيب للمعارضين في سجن طرة سيئ السمعة في القاهرة ، وهو واحد من عشرين سجنًا خاصًا يحتجز فيه أكثر من 60 ألف شخص بسبب جرائم سياسية ، بما في ذلك العديد منهم تم جرفهم. في الاعتقالات الجماعية.

     في الواقع ، فإن الطبيعة العشوائية والتافهة للاعتقالات هي سمة أساسية لإرهاب الدولة وسيطرتها ، لذلك مع وصف الصحفيين وغيرهم من الناشطين غير العنيفين بأنهم إرهابيون. تم تطبيق هذه السياسة على نطاق واسع لسحق موجة الاحتجاجات الديمقراطية في سبتمبر 2019 ، مما أدى إلى اعتقال واختفاء حوالي أربعة آلاف وأربعمائة وثلاثين شخصًا. كما ذكرت روث مايكلسون في صحيفة الجارديان ؛ “لا يزال الكثيرون في السجن بتهمة مساعدة جماعة إرهابية أو الاحتجاج بصورة غير قانونية أو إساءة استخدام الإنترنت أو تقويض الأمن القومي أو استخدام وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي لنشر أخبار كاذبة”.

     “لقد تضاعف تهديد السجن بزيادة التقارير عن الوفيات في الحجز. توفي مصطفى قاسم ، مواطن أمريكي ، في السجن الأسبوع الماضي بعد إضراب عن الطعام احتجاجًا على حبسه. تم احتجاز قاسم إلى جانب صهره أثناء قيامه بتغيير النقود في أحد مراكز التسوق في إحدى ضواحي القاهرة في عام 2013 ثم حكم عليه بالسجن لمدة 15 عامًا كجزء من محاكمة جماعية. “

     كما يكتب عمرو دراج في الجارديان. “كان تدفق الفرح الذي أعقب استقالة حسني مبارك واضحًا. كان 11 فبراير 2011 – قبل ثماني سنوات حتى يومنا هذا. تجمع المصريون من جميع الأديان والأعمار والخلفيات ، متحدين برغبة في الحرية ، في ميدان التحرير لإنهاء 30 عاماً من الطغيان. كنا نعتقد أنه بصفتنا أكثر شعوب المنطقة قوة تاريخية ، مستوحاة من نجاح الثورة التونسية ، بدأنا في إطلاق سلسلة من الأحداث من شأنها أن تضمن حرية مصر.

     لكن بعد 30 شهرًا أصبح الحلم كابوسًا. ربما كان السماح للجيش بإدارة الفترة الانتقالية أكبر خطأ على الإطلاق ؛ الثورات لا تمد أبداً السلطة بأركان النظام القديم.

     الآن التفاصيل المرعبة مألوفة: هناك اعتقالات غير قانونية ، وحالات اختفاء قسري ، وعمليات قتل خارج نطاق القضاء.

     لقد ارتكبنا أخطاء. حاول قدر استطاعتها ، الحكومة ، التي عملت فيها كوزير في الحكومة ، لم تستطع عزل العناصر المتبقية من نظام مبارك وتحقيق التوافق في البلاد. وطوال الوقت كان هناك نقص في الوقود والغاز والكهرباء لتفاقم الخلاف المتزايد. لقد أعطينا الأولوية لإنشاء مؤسسات ديمقراطية ، لكن الأمر استغرق دقيقة واحدة فقط في 3 يوليو 2013 لتفكيكها جميعًا: الرئاسة والبرلمان والدستور. كان ينبغي أن يكون للإصلاح الرئيسي لبقايا النظام القديم أولوية كبرى. “

     كيف يمكن للمرء أن يفسر بقاء ديكتاتورية عسكرية حقيرة خلال تجسيدات متعددة متعاقبة من الطغيان ، والتي لم تغير فيها الثورات الجماهيرية سوى أسماء أسيادها؟ كيف هو النظام الذي هو واضح الشر قادرة على تحدي من قبل شعبها؟

    يصف جاك شينكر أوجه الشبه بين أوتوقراطيات مبارك والسيسي ؛ أحد التوازي المهم هو الطريقة التي كان بها النظامان متشابكان مع قوى خارج حدود مصر. كان مبارك صديقًا شخصيًا لكلينتون. طوني بلير ، الذي قضت عائلته في شرم الشيخ ضيفًا على الديكتاتورية ، أشاد به باعتباره “شجاعًا للغاية وقوة من أجل الخير”. شريكا رئيسيا في برنامج الترحيل الاستثنائي الذي قامت به وكالة المخابرات المركزية الأمريكية ، وهو محبوب من قبل مجتمع الأعمال العالمي – الذي فتحت له مصر التعديلات الهيكلية التي رعاها صندوق النقد الدولي مجموعة من الصفقات الاستثمارية المربحة ، حتى في الوقت الذي

November 22 2022 Faith Weaponized in Service to Power: a Mad Tyrant Dreams of Return in the Shadows of Thanksgiving and QAnon as Instruments of Authorized National Identity

       An amoral plutocrat has handed a global stage to the Fourth Reich and its figurehead Our Clown of Terror, Traitor Trump, now free to make his play for the recapture of America’s Presidency on Elon Musk’s Twitter.

      And in the cause of our division and subjugation the fascists have a powerful weapon of propaganda and falsification, lies and delusions, rewritten history, conspiracy theories and alternate realities of authorized identities of gender, race, faith, and nation; America’s lurid and strange new religion, QAnon.

       As the Pilgrims had Puritanism, the Fourth Reich has QAnon. Only time will tell which is more terrible in its consequences of dehumanization, division, subjugation, the centralization of power to carceral states of force and control, the tyranny and terror of patriarchy, racism, and theocracy, elite hegemonies of wealth, power, and privilege, and fascisms of blood, faith, and soil.

     As I wrote in my post of November 22 2021, Embodying Madness as Submission to Authority: America’s Lunatic New Religion QAnon and the Myth of the Return of the Once and Future King; As believers throughout Europe gathered to await the return of Christ at the first millennium and burned all their worldly possessions in public bonfires, the faithful of America’s lunatic new religion QAnon, having failed to consign democracy, America, and western civilization to a Bonfire of the Vanities in the January 6 Insurrection, gathered in Dallas to await the resurrection of JFK as Trump’s herald who will restore him to glory like British imperialists awaiting the return of King Arthur as the Once and Future King.

    In the protean and mass media created myth of QAnon, originally a diversionary smokescreen for actual child traffickers on 4Chan where it was born which was quickly appropriated by the Fourth Reich and shaped into a modern version of the antisemitic propaganda in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, we can study in real time the genesis of religion as madness in submission to authority.

      As designed by the lies and false histories of those who would enslave us, QAnon weaponizes generalized and overwhelming fear in service to power and connects and enables the messaging widely distributed within the Pentecostal and Gideonite fundamentalist churches and communities which recasts Trump as Cyrus the Great in a new myth of Exile and renders his personal wickedness and depravities irrelevant, for an evil tyrant who gives you what you want can be useful.

      This was the principal lie which won Trump the election of 2016, for which that network of Fascist-Patriarchal churches is equally to blame with Russian sabotage of our elections and the subversion of our democracy through social media and the assault on truth and on journalism, science, and our justice system as sacred callings to pursue verifiable objective truth.

     As in Samuel Beckett’s iconic play, Godot never arrived in the street theatre of submission to authority today in Dallas, but we cannot hope that the faithful will realize they have been abandoned by false idols and turn on their masters in rage and vengeance.

     Not without our help to free them from the lies which have captured them.

     We must be truthtellers, and say with Dorothy as she says to the Wizard; “You’re just an old humbug.”

     As I wrote in my post of September 16 2020, A Wilderness of Mirrors: Lies, Illusions, and the Theft of the Soul; As truth becomes uncertain and malleable through the instruments of media and reduces everything to identitarian partisanship, as reality becomes a social consensus model authorized for us by others, as we wander in a wilderness of mirrors, distorted images as if in a funhouse which falsify and abstract us from ourselves in infinite reflections, of misdirects, lies, and illusions, we become colonized by these falsehoods and shaped to the uses of their puppetmasters and those who would enslave us. Thus do we become puppets of the thieves of souls.

     And somewhere in the funhouse, Our Clown of Terror, Traitor Trump, laughs.

      Among the most successful propaganda campaigns of this election season is the QAnon conspiracy narrative, a modern reformulation of the charges against the Jews during the Inquisition which were later repurposed by the Nazis. Of the many great works on this subject, I recommend beginning with a novel by Umberto Eco, The Prague Cemetery; you can read reviews about it on Goodreads in the link which follows. 

      “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life”; so argues Oscar Wilde in his 1889 essay The Decay of Lying, a Socratic dialogue in which he deconstructs Aristotle’s theory of mimesis, memory as the basis of identity, and also a critique of Marx’s historical determinism. In this he expanded Keat’s Idealism, “What the imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth—whether it existed before or not”, into an anarchist humanism embracing both political and personal spheres, in which self-creating autonomous individuals are the origin of all meaning and value.

     As such Wilde prefigures Sartre and forms a link between Romantic Idealism and Existentialism; I digress to point this out because Wilde’s breaking of the Great Chain of Being and causality, from the Infinite to kings and priests and then to their subjects, levels hierarchy and social station, interrogates authorized truth, democratizes the ownership of ourselves, and seizes and reclaims our power of choice regarding bodily autonomy and identities of sex and gender.

     In Oscar Wilde’s solution to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, reality and its imitation shape each other as a recursive process, circular and infinite; and between these mutual negative spaces which create one another like Escher’s Drawing Hands is a liminal interface, full of possibilities and transformative power. The nature and relativity of time, order as an emergent function of chaos, the polymorphism of identity, and the necessity of rebellion against authority which interposes itself between the free conscience and ideas of autonomous individuals and our direct relationship with the Infinite in order to enslave us; all these are major themes of Oscar Wilde; but what is important to us in the context of designed lies and illusions by authority in a political context is that he signals a way out of the maze of propaganda and control which enforces falsification and dehumanization, or simply put the theft of the soul by those who would enslave us.

     If fictions can enslave us to the ideas of other people, our own fictions can also liberate us from them.

     At its best, true art allows us to transcend the limits which ensnare and diminish us; to rise above the troughs of our social position and of exclusionary categories of otherness and divisions from each other and to see the true shape of our possibilities and the seas in which we must swim from the crests of its waves.

    Art is revolutionary struggle which reconnects us and transforms human relationships, reveals new possibilities of becoming human together as yet undreamed, and with these functions of vision, self-ownership, transformation, and seizure of power becomes an instrument and process of Liberty.

     Let us forge an art of being human which returns to us our true selves.

     As I wrote in my post of December 8 2020, A Legacy of Shame and Ruin: Trump’s Fourth Reich Has Failed, But Achieved Its Mission of Subversion of Democracy and the Fall of America as a Guarantor of Liberty and Our Universal Human Rights;  We Americans have wandered in a labyrinth of illusions, lies, and falsifications of ourselves for four years; the question now is whether we can emerge not ruined but renewed and transformed, not dehumanized and subjugated by a malign authority but reforged in solidarity and a compassion for others born of our common human flaws and exalted through our embrace of diversity and inclusion.

     Living at the possible birth of a new humankind as we do, and the dawn of an age of liberty, rebellion against authority, and revolution against systemic and structural inequalities of power and hierarchies of identitarian exclusionary otherness, we must seize the opportunities offered by our current situation.

     Trump’s Fourth Reich has failed, but achieved its mission of subversion of democracy and the Fall of America as a guarantor of liberty and our universal human rights.

     Fascism has done this as it always must, through the assault on truth, and it is the restoration of truth as the basis of trust in all human relationships, and to our interdependence, to which we must now direct our efforts in reversing the tide of tyranny and terror bequeathed to us by the Republicans.

     As Peter Wehner writes in The Atlantic; “We are entering into an epistemological crisis,” Barack Obama recently told my colleague Jeffrey Goldberg.

     The crisis didn’t begin with the Trump presidency, but it rapidly accelerated over the course of its term—and the situation has, if anything, grown worse in the aftermath of the presidential election.

     According to one poll, 70 percent of Republicans say they don’t believe that the 2020 election was free and fair. According to another, 77 percent of Trump backers say President-elect Joe Biden won because of fraud. And a Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 68 percent of Republicans said they were concerned that the 2020 election was “rigged,” and that only 29 percent believed that Biden had “rightfully won.” More than half of Republicans said Trump “rightfully won” but the election was stolen from him because of widespread voter fraud that favored Biden, claims that are hallucinatory.

     This may be Donald Trump’s most enduring legacy—a nihilistic political culture, one that is tribalistic, distrustful, and sometimes delusional, swimming in conspiracy theories. The result is that Americans are disoriented and frustrated, fearful of and often enraged at one another.

     Donald Trump didn’t invent misinformation and disinformation; they have been around for much of human history. But Trump—by virtue of his considerable skills in this area, aided by social media and capitalizing on “truth decay” and diminishing trust in sources of factual information—exploited them more effectively than anyone else has in American history.

     “It was unthinkable before Trump for anyone to run this kind of disinformation campaign from the White House against the American public,” according to Jonathan Rauch, the author of the forthcoming book The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth. As a result, we live in an era defined by epistemic chaos and noetic disarray, one in which a large portion of the population embraces falsehoods and fairy tales and thinks of them as “alternative facts.”

     The deceit being dispensed by Trump & Company is hardly universal, but it is extensive, which is why defeating Trump was essential if we’re going to move away from perspectivism as the interpretive theory in our politics. But objective reality as a concept—truth as something that exists independent of affect, independent of subjective narratives, independent of whatever a partisan information silo claims is true—has been badly damaged. Among the most urgent tasks facing America, then, is to strengthen our regard for what Plato called episteme over doxa, true knowledge over opinion, reality over fantasy.

     Disinformation flourishes in a profoundly polarized society, which America most certainly is. How to depolarize our society is its own challenge, of course, especially when Americans have been subject to Trump’s relentless disinformation campaign for the past half decade.”

     “But not having a president who wakes up every morning thinking of ways to divide Americans by race, region, and religion, by class and party, will be a move in the right direction.”

     “But there is another side as well, which is that, in the words of John Keats, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty.” The line’s meaning is elusive, but Keats seemed to be saying, at least according to some of his interpreters, that truth is not just a philosophical concept; it has an aesthetic quality as well. And beauty itself is tied to truth, to transcendence, to the way things really and truly are. To live one’s life aligned with truth—especially when standing for truth has a cost—is to live a life of integrity and honor. But is that something we even talk about these days?

     Maybe the road out of the epistemic crisis that Barack Obama correctly identified runs not simply, or even primarily, through the realm of politics or social-media reforms, as important as they are. Perhaps the path requires us to order our lives well, remind ourselves and others to love what is worthy of our love, and affirm that “one word of truth shall outweigh the whole world.” We won’t get there tomorrow. But each of us can begin to take steps on the journey tomorrow, a journey out of mist and shadows toward the sunlit uplands.”

The Prague Cemetery, by Umberto Eco

The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth

by Jonathan Rauch

 The Decay of Lying and Other Essays, by Oscar Wilde

The Storm is Upon Us: How QAnon Became a Movement, Cult, and Conspiracy Theory of Everything, by Mike Rothschild

November 21 2022 A Myth of National Origin Which Serves White Supremacy: Anniversary of the Mayflower Compact

      Whose story is this? This question must be the beginning of a new pedagogy of education in history, and remain central to the project of its study. True education in the discipline of history asks Socratic questions and teaches methods of research, analysis, interpretation, and the publishing and presentation of insights and discoveries; education in general teaches us to interrogate and test claims of truth.

      Last year our Clown of Terror, Traitor Trump, proclaimed the triumph of propaganda in authorizing an official state version of historical truth, whose purpose is to institutionalize the Mayflower Puritan/Pilgrim mythos as a competing narrative of national origins to the 1619 hypothesis. We must disavow and ignore the authorization of identity and government disinformation facets of this anniversary and instead make the public debate and interrogation of competing narratives itself the heart of our national story and curriculum.

     Myths of colonialism, fictive inventions of national origin, and the roots of fascisms of blood, faith, and soil combine viciously in our triumphalist narratives of the Puritans as founders of America. Though the Mayflower Compact was signed November 21 1620, celebrations of the 401th anniversary of the voyage began last year with the date of the Mayflower’s departure for America, an event which has been historically promoted through our schools as a glorification of the Conquest and the idea that American identity is founded in the Puritans as an iconography of racial and religious superiority. This I cannot abide, so say I in paraphrase of the hero in the film Inglorious Basterds; can you abide it?

     As we learn from John Cage in music, Harold Pinter in theatre, and Piet Mondrian in art, it is the blank spaces which define and order meaning; and in history it is the silenced and erased voices to which we must listen most carefully, for here the emptiness speaks to us of secret power and of the key functions and relationships which authority must conceal to maintain its hegemony over us.

     Always pay attention to the man behind the curtain.

     We must ask ourselves as we raise our children to become citizens and as we ourselves continue to learn throughout our lives, Whose story is this?

     The Idea of Thanksgiving and American Identity, a reading list

Legacies of America’s Founding Fascist State: Slavery

The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story, by Nikole Hannah-Jones

Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019,

by Ibram X. Kendi

Patriarchal and Theocratic Terror:

The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne

American Jezebel: The Uncommon Life of Anne Hutchinson, the Woman Who Defied the Puritans, by Eve LaPlante

The Crucible, by Arthur Miller

A Delusion of Satan: The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trials, by Frances Hill, Karen Armstrong (Introduction)

The Conquest as Genocide and White Supremacist Terror:

This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving, by David J. Silverman

The Name of War: King Philip’s War and the Origins of American Identity,

by Jill Lepore

Pocahontas: Medicine Woman, Spy, Entrepreneur, Diplomat, by Paula Gunn Allen

The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America: The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600-1675, by Bernard Bailyn

Who Were the Pilgrims?

The Sot-Weed Factor, by John Barth

Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War, by Nathaniel Philbrick

Making Haste from Babylon: The Mayflower Pilgrims and Their World,

by Nick Bunker

November 20 2022 Let Us Now Champion and Amplify Outlaws of Sex and Gender: Honoring International Transgender Day of Remembrance

     To all those whose courage in the performance of transgression and the defiance of authorized identities of sex and gender, whose glorious autonomy and the frightening of the horses, and whose resilient communities have illuminated the possibilities of becoming human like a living Torch of Liberty for us all; I see you, I stand with you, and I salute you.

     On this Day of Remembrance we honor the lives of all those who died as martyrs in the cause of Liberty in the special case of transgender and gender fluid identities, which may possibly extend to polyamoury and the whole LGBT community as well; those who defy and resist taxonomic classification, authorized identities, patriarchy, and heteronormative narratives.

     To create and birth ones own uniqueness is always a primary ground of struggle; in the case of identities of sex and gender, at the root of human possibilities of self-construal, it is all too often one fought on existential terms, with life and death at stake.

     Sadly we have on this day new martyrs in the cause of becoming human and the sacred pursuit of truths immanent in nature and written in our flesh, and we mourn the victims of the Club Q massacre in Colorado Springs, now accounted as five dead and twenty five wounded.

     Killed by a lone gunman, it is reported; but there are no lone wolf killers, for some of us are shaped into monsters with which to control the rest of us by systemic patriarchy and institutions of hate crime which must bear equal blame, and to which we must bring a Reckoning.

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

     And to this we must give the only reply it merits; Never Again!

     As written by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, founder of Transgender Day of Remembrance, in Remembering Our Dead; “The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved.

     Although not every person represented during the Day of Remembrance self-identified as transgender — that is, as a transsexual, crossdresser, or otherwise gender-variant — each was a victim of violence based on bias against transgender people.

     We live in times more sensitive than ever to hatred based violence, especially since the events of September 11th, 2001. Yet even now, the deaths of those based on anti-transgender hatred or prejudice are largely ignored. Over the last decade, more than one person per month has died due to transgender-based hate or prejudice, regardless of any other factors in their lives. This trend shows no sign of abating.

     The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action that current media doesn’t perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence.”

     And in the Bay Area Reporter this week, Gwendolyn updated us on our progress thus far; In the earliest days of the Remembering Our Dead project, which led to the Transgender Day of Remembrance, may of us shared a hope that by showing the astounding level of anti-transgender violence we face, perhaps we could begin to stem the tide of our killings.

     Yet in 2020, 34 people that we know of were killed in the United States due to anti-transgender violence. This is a new high water mark, beating last year and the year before.

     Worldwide, some 350 killings took place: nearly one for each day of the year.

     So why is it that, in all these years, we still see an increase in deaths?

     Over the last two decades since the Transgender Day of Remembrance took off, we have seen an increase in transgender visibility, and this development has led to better reporting about anti-trans violence.

     Many cases that are reported today would not have made it into print or television 20 years ago, with some simply opting not to cover a trans death. Media outlets that do not cover the deaths of sex workers, the homeless, or people who are not young, white, or pretty also compound this.

     In those days, you were more likely to find cases reported in police blotters, with only words like “unknown man wearing women’s clothing” or “bearded woman” to go on. There was neither time nor interest in presenting additional details.

     Today, word spreads quickly in a social media-connected world. Friends and family provide details that police and the media are still reluctant to present, humanizing those we have lost.

     The increased visibility of the transgender community comes with a price, however: as transgender people have gained a voice in the media and elsewhere, and as the trans community has moved from the backrooms we once inhabited and gained the smallest of toeholds into mainstream society, a backlash has formed.

     The religious right, stinging from its defeat over marriage equality, has decided to make transgender people its next big target.

     For several years, we have seen a continual parroting of claims that transgender people will lead to sexual threats in women’s restrooms. While some assert that it isn’t the transgender people themselves, but people unfairly taking advantage of such laws, few seem to make such a distinction. The view is that transgender people are deviants, and will prey on your happy family.

     It’s the same argument one saw in the 1960s and 1970s, aimed squarely at the gay freedom movement and campaigners for the Equal Rights Amendment, not to mention being commonly used to argue for the separation of restrooms and other public services along race lines over the last 100 or so years.

     Likewise, another classic trope is the notion that transgender people are somehow going to “recruit” others to their ranks. Today, the language used — Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria — is pseudoscience, aimed at parents and others who may be looking for an easy answer for their own children’s gender expression.

     Both of these, pushed by religious conservatives, supposed “radical feminist” groups, and even a certain popular children’s fantasy writer, have helped to fuel this backlash, leading to several years of ballot measures and legislation to limit transgender rights. Thankfully, most of these so far have been unsuccessful, but with the more conservative courts established under the Trump administration with the support of the United States Senate, it is unclear if, or when, such laws may get through.

     Speaking of the now-outgoing Trump administration, the trans military ban and other attacks on trans rights stemming from the upper echelons of the executive branch have also aided those who want to cast transgender people as villains. These moves set the stage for disenfranchising transgender people, relegating us to the streets and out of the public sphere.

     In the mix, too, are the sizable numbers of right-wing authoritarian paramilitary and white nationalist groups who have gained prominence during this administration, who are happy to include transgender people among every other group they may choose to hate.

     All of these, combined, make for a more dangerous world for transgender people and, yes, drive an increase in the deaths of transgender people. It’s a pretty simple equation: the more hate toward a group, coupled with the less institutional power the group has, and you’ll likely see more casualties of that hatred.

     What is less clear is how to come back from this.”

     “ There are still plenty of people willing to push anti-trans narratives, and those who are willing to act on same. Anti-trans violence will not end when Joe Biden places his hand on the Bible in two months.

     That said, there is hope. We have a chance to turn the tide and make for a better world for trans and nonbinary people — and, frankly, everyone else. It may be more necessary than ever to continue to be visible in spite of it all. We need to keep fighting and need to be ready to stand up to threats.”

     As I wrote in my post of March 31 2021, How Does My Happiness Hurt You? On Transgender Day of Visibility; How does my happiness hurt you? This was the question put to the world by a member of the transgender community, a question which frames the whole issue of LGBT rights and the baffling and persistent hostility with which they are met by others, who often exclude and persecute them.

    We celebrate today as Transgender Day in America, a national holiday which President Biden has notably and uniquely authorized in a speech to the nation, precisely because marginalized and vulnerable populations require the full might of government and hopefully the consensus of inclusion, membership, and belonging of society for their safety, liberty, and equality. No less than both systemic and structural equality will achieve a true free society of equals; solidarity matters.

     The origins of fear and hate directed at others, in this context others who transgress the boundaries of authorized identities of sex and gender, arise in the disruption of heteronormative narratives and the challenge to idealizations of masculine and feminine beauty posed by figures who enact both roles or confuse and erase the differences between them, performances of identity which reimagine the possibilities of becoming human as a transformational force.

     Freedom is a terror to elites, to those for whom submission to authority is confirmatory of hegemonic power, and an existential threat to systems and structures of authoritarian force and control. Order appropriates; chaos autonomizes.

      The frightening of the horses; it is a phrase I use often to describe the performance of identity as a form of theatre, and public spectacle as protest and challenge against authority, force, and control. Herein I reference a quote by George Bernard Shaw’s muse, Mrs. Patrick Campbell, the actress who played Eliza Doolittle, with which she replied in 1910 to someone who thought the affection between two male actors was indecent; “”My dear, I don’t care what they do, so long as they don’t do it in the street and frighten the horses.” 

     Here is a quote from one of George Bernard Shaw’s letters to her, which celebrates and defines love as freedom, inchoate wildness, transformation, reimagination, liberation, rapture, and exaltation; “I want my dark lady. I want my angel. I want my tempter, I want my Freia with her apples. I want the lighter of my seven lamps of beauty, honour, laughter, music, love, life and immortality. I want my inspiration, my folly, my happiness, my divinity, my madness, my selfishness, my final sanity and sanctification, my transfiguration, my purification, my light across the sea, my palm across the desert, my garden of lovely flowers, my million nameless joys, my day’s wage, my night’s dream, my darling and my star.”

     To see and be seen, to hear and be heard; this is what it means to become human, and why interdependence is at the heart of becoming human. When we see and hear others we empower and validate their process of becoming human, and they do the same for us.

    Our processes of becoming human operate by three principles; we must each reinvent how to be human, humans create themselves over time, and humans create themselves through other people. We choose our friends, partners, and sometimes our families from among those who can help us become who we wish, a process which occurs in tension with the tyranny of other people’s ideas, and from this primary struggle to create ourselves emerges human being, meaning, and value.

    Always there remains the struggle between the masks that others make for us and those we make for ourselves. This is the first revolution in which we all must fight.

    And as George Bernard Shaw and his muse Mrs. Patrick Campbell taught us, there is a force of liberation written in our flesh with which we can free ourselves from the Wagnerian Ring of fear, power, and force; that of love.

    Love is dangerous because it is free, uncontrollable, wild. Love redeems, transforms, and reimagines; love totalizes and transcends. Love like you have laughed in the face of your executioners, because that is exactly what it is.

November 19 2022 Anniversary of the Execution of Joe Hill

     Today is the anniversary of the execution of Joe Hill, iconic poet-warrior of the Industrial Workers of the World, convicted on false charges of killing a policeman in a trial orchestrated by a mining company in which all the records disappeared, whose songs will inspire resistance and the solidarity of workers so long as the dream of liberty lives; freedom from coercion and the social use of force, but also equality and fairness in our share of the products of our labor, which is nothing more than a reckoning of the value of our time.

     Ideologies of human relations, societies, political institutions, systems, and structures, especially those anchored to economic theories, can be a vast rabbit hole from which little of practical use emerges, but for this; how shall we assign values to our time?

    This question is the Occam’s Razor I use to simplify the issue of who will do the hard and dirty work for the rest of us, and at what cost. To me an hour’s work is an hour’s work, no matter who is doing it. And no matter what that work is; the time of an accountant, a lawyer, or an engineer is of no more intrinsic worth than that of a janitor or any other worker; all are equally human and all are using the same span of time.

    There can be no basis or justification for assigning different values to different persons or tasks, and the achievement of a free society of equals requires equal shares in the wealth of our society.

     Here are the lyrics of one his songs, written in 1914:

Workers of the World, Awaken  

 Workers of the world, awaken!

Break your chains, demand your rights.

All the wealth you make is taken

By exploiting parasites.

Shall you kneel in deep submission

From your cradles to your graves?

Is the height of your ambition

To be good and willing slaves?


Arise, ye prisoners of starvation!

Fight for your own emancipation;

Arise, ye slaves of every nation.

In One Union grand.

Our little ones for bread are crying,

And millions are from hunger dying;

The end the means is justifying,

‘Tis the final stand.

If the workers take a notion,

They can stop all speeding trains;

Every ship upon the ocean

They can tie with mighty chains

Every wheel in the creation,

Every mine and every mill,

Fleets and armies of the nation,

Will at their command stand still.


Join the union, fellow workers,

Men and women, side by side;

We will crush the greedy shirkers

Like a sweeping, surging tide;

For united we are standing,

But divided we will fall;

Let this be our understanding-

“All for one and one for all.”


Workers of the world, awaken!

Rise in all your splendid might;

Take the wealth that you are making,

It belongs to you by right.

No one will for bread be crying,

We’ll have freedom, love and health.

When the grand red flag is flying

on the Workers’ Commonwealth.

November 18 2022 The Legal Immunity of Police As Institutional White Supremacist Terror: Anniversary of the Kyle Rittenhouse Trial

Among the rogues gallery of monsters who define the limits of the human, none are more horrific than police officers and their deniable assets who use the public trust of their badge as a hunting license to enact white supremacist terror, to subvert rather than enforce the law they are sworn to uphold, oathbreakers, liars, traitors, and psychopathic amoral criminals who move among us beneath the masks of protectors as ambush predators. Terrorists with the authority of the carceral state of force and control to grant immunity for their brutal acts of random cruelty, and horrors not simply because they represent a breach of public trust but also because theirs are crimes not of individuals but of whole systems of oppression and unequal power in which we are all complicit.

     This is a primary strategy of fascist tyranny, making ordinary citizens complicit in unforgivable crimes as beneficiaries of genocide, slavery, colonialism, imperialism, patriarchy. Beware those who claim to act and speak in your name, for often this is a ruse intended to subjugate you.

      And here we are today on the anniversary of such a crime, both in the murders of unarmed protestors by a young police cadet hoping to prove his loyalty to white supremacy by hunting people through the streets and in the Kafkaesque trial that set him free as a champion of fascism.

     What has changed, since the police were founded in America as bands of slavecatchers? Only that since 911 and the Patriot Act the police have been militarized and trained to treat all criminals as terrorists through the counterinsurgency model of policing, surveillance and propaganda have become pervasive and totalizing, and even the Democratic Party brought to power by the Black Lives Matter protests which seized control of over fifty cities for several months has failed to disarm or abolish the police.

      Why? Police are enforcers of unequal power and hegemonic elites, and states are in the business of the centralization of power and authority in service to elite wealth, power, and privilege; all states. This is the nature of power, and of politics as the Art of Fear.

      In the end all that matters is what we do with our fear, and how we use our power.

     As I wrote in my post of November 18 2021, The Answer to Crime Is Not Force and Control: the Case of the Kyle Rittenhouse Trial; We have watched a great spectacle of public reckoning with the legacies of slavery and the consequences of white supremacist terror this week in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, whose monstrosity defines the limits of the human no less than Josef Mengele and the perpetrators of the Holocaust.

     A trial is also a morality play designed to legitimize systemic inequalities and restore faith in authority as an instrument of our subjugation, as law serves power and there is no just authority.

     What will change with the punishment of such perpetrators of evil, terror, and hate crime?

     The answer to crime is not force and control but its abandonment; not universal surveillance, brutal repression, the lies and illusions of state propaganda and the limit of public discourse and curation of access to information, not more and more terrible police and prisons and their use by a carceral state to enslave and dehumanize its citizens, not treating all crime as terrorist acts requiring military force, not the authorization of patriarchal sexual terror and white supremacist terror, not the subversion of our democracy and the theft of our liberty, but the abolition of such things.

      I do not believe in law and order or in the theory of the innate depravity of man which is the basis of all law, derived from the doctrine of original sin, that without the restraining force of law we become dehumanized and the most ruthless becomes king.

     The origin of evil is not in personal sin, depravity, or unfitness, but in systems of unequal power. Retributive justice can never achieve its goals of purging evil from the human heart, for it directs force toward the victims of injustice who are also perpetrators, shaping some of us into monsters like Kyle Rittenhouse with which to subjugate the others and enforce hierarchies of belonging and exclusionary otherness in service to elite wealth, power, and privilege.

      Why punish anyone? Anyone at all? Punishment changes nothing, for it does not change the power relations of systemic inequality. Punishment is about power and who can subjugate whom. If we are to heal the flaws of our humanity and the brokenness of the world, we must abandon the social use of force.

     Let there nevermore be laws, prisons, police.

     As a Forensics teacher and debate coach I began the first day of school for many years with a demonstration; I placed a weight on my desk and said; “This is a fulcrum,” Across it I set a lever; “It balances a lever. When your parents ask you what you are learning in Forensics, tell them you are learning to become a fulcrum, and change the balance of power in the world.” 

     Let us choose healing and not vengeance, liberty and not the centralization of power and authority to a carceral state owned by the wealthy, democracy and not tyranny, diversity, and inclusion and not the divisions and hierarchies of exclusionary otherness and fascisms of blood, faith, and soil, hope and not fear, love and not hate.

     As I wrote in my post of October 13 2021, Abolish Prisons, Police, and the Carceral State of Tyranny and Terror, Force and Control; I write today to amplify the voices of the imprisoned and those who place their lives in the balance with them in solidarity, and to support the work of the Prison Abolition Initiative and Black Lives Matter.

     Such ideas bear the weight of our historical legacies of slavery, racism, and the interdependent purposes of the carceral state to re-enslave Black Americans as prison labor, and to centralize power and authority, both political strategies designed to reinforce the wealth, power, and privilege of elites and to subvert democracy and a free society of equals through divisions of exclusionary otherness and hierarchies of exclusivity and membership.

     As you may know, I tend to think in terms of literature, and to me this issue constructs and presents itself in the contexts of Kafka’s The Trial, Dostoevsky’s autobiographical novel The Idiot and his prison journal The House of the Dead, Elie Wiesel’s Night, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago.

     America, we can do better than this; the Czar, the Nazis, Stalin. They are not, and must not become, our teachers. We must be better, and if we cannot escape the legacies of our history and the Wagnerian Ring of fear, power, and force and its systems and institutions of dehumanization and commodification we must seize our power and our Liberty in refusal to submit to authority, by any means necessary.

      Let us abolish the police and the instruments of repression of dissent; let us throw open the gates of our prisons, and be free.

     As I wrote in my post of September 9 2021, An Iconic Defiance of Unjust Authority: Anniversary of the 1971 Attica Prison Rebellion; What has changed in fifty years of resistance to the systems and structures of racism and unequal power, our police and prisons? Only this; the methods of surveillance and thought control are now pervasive and endemic, and have achieved a level of sophistication which obviates the need for lynching and arson to enforce hegemonic monopolies of wealth, power, and privilege held by racial and patriarchal elites.

           The Attica Rebellion exposes the lie at the heart of our Justice system and America; the claim to equality and impartial justice blind to race, gender, and other divisions and categories of exclusionary otherness. It is a system which originates in the collapse of Reconstruction and the political supremacy of Abolitionist values as a strategy of racist and capitalist elites to re-enslave Black people as prison labor and has subverted America as a machine for turning people into a resource for the profit of others; an engine of dehumanization and commodification.

     And today the carceral state reaches its apotheosis of depravity as a tyranny of total state force and control, as absolute as any historical monarchy, empire, or dictatorship, having transformed itself through alignment and interdependence with the imperial militarism and counterinsurgency model of policing which seized America in its talons in the wake of the 9-11 terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, a national trauma and disruptive event which has challenged all our values.

     The carceral state enforces an unjust system, and we are all its captives.

     We have learned the wrong lessons from our enemies, and embraced policies of force and control which have shaped us to the purposes of terror and achieved for them in the ambiguity of our victories the goals and objectives they have no power to force us to; the fall of America as the primary guarantor of universal human rights and democracy, and a beacon of hope to the world. 

     The Torch of Liberty is shadowed by the fascist tyranny which has seized us, and we must resist the darkness and its atavisms of fear and hate, rekindle and propagate the wildfires of freedom, and carry onward into the future our hope for a better humankind.     

     As I wrote in my post of April 12 2021, Cry Havoc: Seize the Streets to Disarm the Police;  While the world reels in stupefaction as the true nature of justice in America is revealed in the spectacle of the George Floyd trial, US Army medic Lt Caron Nazario is tortured and terrorized by police, and Daunte Wright in another nonsensical harassment because of a disorderly air freshener impudently dangling from his rearview mirror, is murdered without cause by a twenty seven year veteran of the police force who claims to have mistaken a gun for a taser. And the streets are once again consumed with unruly and uppity protests.

     This is what happens when police are permitted to carry guns. No one should be authorized by the state to use deadly force against their fellow citizens. It is an insane idea, which we must abandon.

      Where are our leaders and representatives who should be rallying the masses and championing the cry for equality and racial justice at the head of these protests?

      In response to the racist murders, torture, and white supremacist terror perpetrated by the police against our Black citizens, President Biden mumbles some boilerplate apologetics of state force and control and asks us nicely not to riot, loot, burn, or otherwise enact public grief, rage, and despair at our abandonment by the government and victimization by its forces of repression.

     We must clarify and prioritize this situation for our representatives.

     Seize the streets to disarm the police.

     Take the streets until we are free of the state terror and racial violence of police. Disarm and abolish police. Hold our representatives accountable for the white supremacist terror of our government, for the carceral state and the institutionalized re-enslavement of Black Americans as prison labor, for the subversion of liberty and equality and the divisions of racist elitism which police and our corrupt justice system enforce.

     Liberate America from this horrific and depraved regime of racist patriarchs and their hired thugs. Abandon our endemic and pervasive surveillance and repression of dissent. Abolish the counterinsurgency model of policing. Renounce force and control and the substitution of order for justice.

     Law serves power, authority, hierarchy, and hegemonies of elite wealth and privilege; and law must never be allowed to replace morality. Law and order are instruments of subjugation and enslavement, commodification, dehumanization, and falsification; choose Liberty instead.

     Order appropriates; Chaos autonomizes.

     Let us demonstrate the failure of law and order through disobedience, resistance, and refusal to submit to authority. For authoritarian force and control is powerless against resistance, and we who refuse to submit and obey become Unconquered and free.

     Who cannot be compelled is free.

     We must free ourselves from the Empire of Fear and work toward the liberation of America and the world from inequality and injustice.

     As written by William Shakespeare in Julius Caesar, Act 3 Scene 1, lines spoken by Marc Anthony which can be said by us of all the victims of police violence and white supremacist terror, whose names are an endless litany of wrongs;

“O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,

That I am meek and gentle with these butchers!

Thou art the ruins of the noblest man

That ever livèd in the tide of times.

Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!

Over thy wounds now do I prophesy—

Which, like dumb mouths, do ope their ruby lips

To beg the voice and utterance of my tongue—

A curse shall light upon the limbs of men.

Domestic fury and fierce civil strife

Shall cumber all the parts of Italy.

Blood and destruction shall be so in use,

And dreadful objects so familiar,

That mothers shall but smile when they behold

Their infants quartered with the hands of war,

All pity choked with custom of fell deeds,

And Caesar’s spirit, ranging for revenge,

With Ate by his side come hot from hell,

Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice

Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war,

That this foul deed shall smell above the earth

With carrion men, groaning for burial.

Clips From Rittenhouse’s Testimony

The House of the Dead, by Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

The Trial, Franz Kafka

Night, by Elie Wiesel

November 17 2022 The Mighty Debate Our Extinction As the World Dies

     While the figureheads of tyranny and democracy met in Bali at the G20 to stake claims to zones of dominion and define the ground of struggle for the global conflicts in our immediate future, a performance of intimidation and preening, horse trading and cameos for the masses at home, our civilization slides toward collapse and an age of tyranny and wars while our world dies and we begin to die with it.

     We have chosen as a civilization refusal to abandon the reliance on fossil fuels which is killing us, because oil is a strategic resource of geopolitical dominion and the wealth and power of the corporate elites who are our true masters. Such is the terminal stage of capitalism; we must not allow it to be the terminal stage of humankind as well.

     Our leaders betray us to our doom because they represent not the peoples of their nations, but the transnational elites who own everything and whose wealth, power, and privilege corrupts and instrumentalizes states regardless of ideologies. This is as true for the crime lords of Russia as it is for the faceless bureaucrats of the Chinese Communist Party, and the Fourth Reich threatens to make it true for America and Europe as well.

     And this we must resist; commodification, falsification, and dehumanization, the centralization of power to carceral states of force and control, the weaponization of fear and faith by authority in service to power, divisions of belonging and exclusionary otherness, and fascisms of blood, faith, and soil.

     As deeply unhappy as I am to say this, the possibility of future human survival may depend on Biden, Sunak, and Macron, and how well they can cooperate and win the cooperation of others.

     We are one humankind, with common needs and interdependent with one another, and we must face our future and the challenges of adaptation to change with solidarity as one United Humankind, or in division fall prey to those who would enslave us and one by one become extinct as a species.

     As written by Graham Russell in The Guardian, in an article entitled G20 explainer: everything you need to know about this week’s crucial summit.

World leaders including Joe Biden, Xi Jinping and Rishi Sunak will attend summit being held during a war in Ukraine and a global inflationary crisis; “ What is happening?

     On Tuesday, leaders of the G20 nations – the world’s major economies – will gather in Bali, Indonesia, for an annual summit overshadowed by the presence of Russia during its war in Ukraine. Although President Vladimir Putin has pulled out, Russia will be represented by his veteran foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov.

     The Group of 20 – made up of 19 countries plus the European Union – accounts for nearly two-thirds of the global population, 85% of the world’s economic output and 75% of world trade.

     As of 2022, there are 20 members in the group: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, South Korea, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union.

     What are the key issues?

     As well as keynote speeches by world leaders, a host of bilateral talks will be held against the background of global tensions that include the invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing global economic fallout, the climate crisis, North Korea’s simmering nuclear programme, and China’s increasing global ambitions.

     It is the biggest gathering by the group of leaders since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and Indonesia – as host state – has set an agenda that focuses on the economic recovery from the pandemic, global health measures and sustainable energy.

     What is the key meeting to watch?

     Although not strictly a G20 meeting, Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, will meet in Bali on Monday afternoon for their first face-to-face meeting as leaders. Biden – who now carries considerably more political capital after the results of the US midterm elections – has said he would seek to establish red lines in the US-China relationship that allow competition and coexistence. He is also expected to warn against an invasion of Taiwan, and efforts to restrict navigation of the South China sea.

     US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Biden would be “totally straightforward and direct” with Xi and expects the same in return. Officials say he will push China to rein in ally North Korea after a record-breaking spate of missile tests sent fears soaring that Pyongyang will soon carry out its seventh nuclear test.

     Xi may be in no mood to help. He enters the meeting buoyed from recently securing a landmark third term in office, cementing him as the most powerful Chinese leader for generations.

     Who else is going?

     British PM Rishi Sunak is also off to Bali, where he faces his first big diplomatic test. He is expected to focus on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine directly and emphasise support for Kyiv. “We will call out Putin’s regime, and lay bare their utter contempt for the kind of international cooperation and respect for sovereignty that forums like the G20 represent,” Sunak said in a statement on Saturday. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has been invited to address the summit virtually.

     Biden and Sunak will meet face to face for the first time at the G20 on Wednesday as US diplomats stepped up pressure to agree a deal on the Northern Ireland protocol by the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement next year. Biden has signalled he will visit Northern Ireland for the anniversary and has long been keen to protect the agreement.

     The British prime minister is also scheduled to have a one-to-one meeting with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman.

     Other world leaders in attendance include Indonesian president Joko Widodo, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, Japanese PM Fumio Kishida, Indian PM Narendra Modi, Australian PM Anthony Albanese, South Korean president Yoon Suk-Yeol, German chancellor Olaf Scholz, French president Emmanuel Macron, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Argentina’s president Alberto Fernandez, Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard and Italian PM Giorgia Meloni.

     Jair Bolosonaro, the outgoing Brazilian president, will not attend.

     The EU will be represented by Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel.

     Will we get an awkward group photo this year?

     No, there will not be an official “family photo” of world leaders when they meet because of widespread discomfort at Russia’s presence at the summit.”

    As written by Justin McCurry in The Guardian, in an article entitled Five key takeaways from the G20 meeting in Bali; “The G20 meeting in Bali signalled Xi Jinping’s emergence from three years of self-imposed pandemic isolation, with the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and Australian prime minister, Anthony Albanese, among those keen to secure a chat and photo opportunity with the Chinese leader.

     Despite condemnation of Chinese human rights abuses and anxiety over its intentions in the Taiwan Strait, the largely positive tone set by Xi’s bilateral with US president Joe Biden continued until the end of the summit.

     But they were also opportunities for Xi’s counterparts to communicate their grievances in person. Albanese, the first Australian prime minister to meet Xi since 2016, described their meeting as “positive and constructive”, but had raised the detention of the Australian citizens Cheng Lei and Yang Hengjun, as well as human rights abuses against the Uyghur population in Xinjiang.

     Macron, meanwhile, asked Xi to persuade Putin to negotiate an end to the war in Ukraine, and reportedly said he would like to visit China next year, Covid-19 restrictions permitting.

     Xi and Japan’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida, were due to hold their first face-to-face talks on Thursday.

     The summit was dominated by geopolitics, to the irritation of its Indonesian hosts, who had wanted the focus to be on food and energy security and the climate crisis.

     Much of the opening day’s business was drowned out by analysis of the Biden-Xi meeting 24 hours earlier. On Wednesday, the G20 quickly became an ad hoc meeting of the G7, as leaders huddled to discuss their response to news that a Russian-made missile had landed in Poland, killing two people near the country’s border with Ukraine.

     The Bali joint statement issued on Wednesday did not go beyond non-committal platitudes. On the climate emergency, G20 leaders simply said they had resolved to “pursue efforts to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5C”, including speeding up efforts to “phase down” the unabated use of coal.

     In contrast to Xi, the Bali meeting further isolated Vladimir Putin, who sent his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, to act as a diplomatic punchbag after several days of dramatic developments in Ukraine, including Russia’s withdrawal from Kherson.

     World leaders did not take part in the usual official “family photo” because of widespread discomfort at Russia’s presence at the summit. Lavrov stayed in his seat while Volodymyr Zelenskiy pointedly referred to the “G19” – the G20 minus Russia – in a video address. Lavrov left Bali on Tuesday evening before the summit’s conclusion.

     Even Russia’s traditional allies, India and China, appeared to distance themselves from the Kremlin, while Wednesday’s declaration condemned Russia’s aggression in Ukraine “in the strongest terms” and demanded its unconditional withdrawal.

     “Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine,” the declaration said, signalling that Russia, which is a member of G20, opposed the wording. The positions taken by China and India were not immediately clear.

     The most highly anticipated bilateral came before the summit had even got under way. Biden’s first meeting as president with Xi indicated that the “reset” in relations between the two superpowers trailed by White House officials had begun.

     Biden went some way towards soothing regional nerves by declaring that he had no reason to believe a Chinese invasion of Taiwan was “imminent,” but did not shy away from condemning Beijing’s provocative military manoeuvres around the island this summer. However, he placated Xi with assurances that Washington had not departed from its “one China” policy.

     The official Chinese account described the talks as “thoroughgoing, frank and constructive”, adding that officials from both governments would build on areas of consensus – a step forward compared with the rancour of recent months.

     Rishi Sunak’s predecessor had admittedly set the bar very low, but his diplomatic debut was a modest success. Despite looming crises at home – over allegations of bullying by Dominic Raab and Gavin Williamson, disquiet over Jeremy Hunt’s austerity-heavy autumn statement, and criticism of his government’s handling of migrant and refugee Channel crossings – Sunak just about passed his first major foreign policy test.

     His strongly worded condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – and the stare he directed at Lavrov – will have gone down well in Kyiv.

     Sunak’s planned meeting with Xi was called off because of time constraints, but his eagerness to meet the Chinese leader was interpreted as a departure from Truss’s hardline approach to Beijing, and was in keeping with the summit’s less confrontational tone towards the world’s second-biggest economy.”

     As written by Patrick WIntou r in The Guardian, in an article entitledG20’s dysfunctional family show little sign of working together in a crisis; “The Cambodian prime minister, Hun Sen, was struck down by Covid, the Argentinian prime minister, Alberto Fernández, had gastroenteritis and the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, either did or did not have chest pains that sent him to hospital. Given that Indonesia’s G20 slogan plastered all around Bali says: “Recover Together, Recover Stronger”, it was not an auspicious performance by the world’s leaders.

     Unfortunately, there is precious little sign of recovery at the G20, either at a political or economic level.

     The G20, according to Dr Tristen Naylor, an assistant professor of history at Cambridge University, “has worked best historically when there has been a galvanising crisis affecting everyone equally, especially the financial contagion in 2008”.

     He said the post-Covid economic recession might have brought the world together again, “but this is not a crisis hitting every country in the same way, so there is no solution on which all sides can agree. Add in the Ukraine war, and the US-Sino tensions over Taiwan, and there is very little oxygen left.”

     Although a communique, in preparation for months, will be produced, its focus on issues such as digital transformation, post-Covid recovery and food security is unlikely to stretch beyond the non-committal platitudes that normally fill such statements. Indonesia has tried to keep Ukraine off the agenda by saying the G20 is primarily an economic forum, not a geopolitical security forum. But such distinctions are hard to maintain since the Ukraine war is a “total hybrid war” in which gas prices and the seizure of Russian central bank assets are as much a weapon of war as a high mobility artillery rocket system.

     The Argentinian foreign minister, Santiago Cafiero, standing in for his ailing boss, put it well on Tuesday when he told colleagues: “In the northern hemisphere, the merchants of death trade lethal weapons, but in the southern hemisphere, food becomes more expensive or is lacking, and what ends up killing is not bullets or missiles, but poverty and hunger. It seems incredible that, when we have not yet overcome the shock caused by a pandemic, Russia unleashes a military invasion of Ukraine, putting world peace in crisis.”

     Kristalina Georgieva, the international monetary fund managing director, agreed: “You can’t solve a problem of geopolitics with economic policy measures. It will be very difficult to bring the level of economic cooperation to the level it should be … Ending the war in Ukraine is the single most powerful factor to turn around the world economy.”

     She told the group: “Hopeful signs of recovery last year were replaced by an abrupt slowdown in the world economy because of Covid, the war in Ukraine and climate disasters on all continents.” The difficulty is that to tame inflation, the US needs to raise interest rates, but that strengthens the dollar, making the goods that poorer countries import more expensive.

     For Indonesia, laying on a visually sumptuous summit, it was a relief that Vladimir Putin chose to stay away, and the Russian leader’s substitute, Lavrov, did not come into the cavernous conference room to hear the passionate televised address by Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Staged walkouts were avoided, even if the family photo, the annual display of masculine leadership, had to be forgone.

     All unhappy families are after all unhappy in their own way, and this family is frankly bordering on the dysfunctional, and will probably remain so until Putin is forced into a retreat, or Moscow rethinks its imperial mission. So much of the interest at the summit has focused on whether the “swing states” in the Ukraine war- India, South Africa, Turkey and China – would put any real pressure on Russia to recognise this war has been a mistake.

     Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, has used the summit as his coming out party after nearly two years in unsplendid Covid isolation, meeting as many as six world leaders. Naylor said he thought Xi went as far as he could to express his displeasure at Putin’s methods and the length of time the war has continued. The behind-the-scenes negotiations on extending the grain deal allowing Russian and Ukrainian wheat to reach world markets was probably the most substantive achievement of the summit, and reflected the fact that the combatants in the war are fighting for the public opinion of the global south as much as themselves.

     But whether the G20 will regain its status as a global governance powerhouse, and a more representative successor to the G7 as once predicted, seems unlikely. With breadth comes division, leading to shallowness, and, it seems, the lowest common denominator.

     By contrast it is the G7, once thought to be dead on its feet, that has been galvanised. Bound by a common ideology, its leaders met six times remotely before June’s actual G7 summit in Germany. It has, in the view of the US national security adviser Jake Sullivan, become the organising committee for the free world. The G20 has yet to find itself any equivalent status.”

    As written in the editorial of The Guardian entitled The Guardian view on Cop27: this is no time for apathy or complacency; “Climate change is a global problem that requires cooperation between all nations. That’s why today more than 30 newspapers and media organisations in more than 20 countries have taken a common view about what needs to be done. Time is running out. Rather than getting out of fossil fuels and into clean energy, many wealthy nations are reinvesting in oil and gas, failing to cut emissions fast enough and haggling over the aid they are prepared to send to poor countries. All this while the planet hurtles towards the point of no return – where climate chaos becomes irreversible.

     Since the Cop26 UN climate summit in Glasgow 12 months ago, countries have only promised to do one-fiftieth of what is needed to stay on track to keep temperatures within 1.5C of pre-industrial levels. No continent has avoided extreme weather disasters this year – from floods in Pakistan to heatwaves in Europe, and from forest fires in Australia to hurricanes in the US. Given that these came about from elevated temperatures of about 1.1C, the world can expect far worse to come.

     As many nations seek to reduce their reliance on Russia, the world is experiencing a “gold rush” for new fossil fuel projects. These are cast as temporary supply measures, but they risk locking the planet into irreversible damage. All this underlines that humanity has to end its addiction to fossil fuels. If renewable energy was the norm there would be no climate emergency.

     The world’s poorest people will bear the brunt of the destruction wreaked by drought, melting ice sheets and crop failures. To shield these groups from the loss of life and livelihoods will require money. Developing countries, says one influential report, need $2tn annually to cut their greenhouse gas emissions and cope with climate breakdown.

     Rich countries account for just one in eight people in the world today but are responsible for half of greenhouse gases. These nations have a clear moral responsibility to help. Developing nations should be given enough cash to address the dangerous conditions they did little to create – especially as a global recession looms.

     Rich nations should deliver on the promise of previously committed funds – such as the $100bn a year from 2020 – to signal their seriousness. As a bare minimum, a windfall tax on the combined profits of the largest oil and gas companies – estimated at almost $100bn in the first three months of the year – needs to be enacted. The United Nations was right to call for the cash to be used to support the most vulnerable. But such a levy would only be the start. Poor nations also carry debts that make it impossible to recover after climate-related disasters or protect themselves from future ones. Creditors should be generous in writing off loans for those on the frontline of the climate emergency.

     These measures need not wait for coordinated international action. Countries could implement them on regional or national levels. A nation’s cumulative emissions must be the basis of its responsibility to act. While private finance can help, the onus is on big historical emitters to stump up the money.

     Solving the crisis is the moonshot of our times. Getting to the moon succeeded within a decade because huge resources were devoted to it. A similar commitment is needed now. But an economic crisis has reduced rich countries’ appetite for spending and the planet risks being trapped in fossil-fuel dependence by a rearguard action of big business. Yet during the pandemic, central banks across the world lubricated states’ expenditure by buying up their own governments’ bonds. The trillions of dollars needed to deal with the ecological emergency demand such radical thinking returns.

     This is no time for apathy or complacency; the urgency of the moment is upon us. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change must be about the power of argument not the argument of power. Key to maintaining the consensus in Egypt is not to let disputes over trade and war in Ukraine block global climate diplomacy. The UN process may not be perfect. But it has provided nations with a target to save the planet, which must be pursued at Cop27 to stave off an existential risk to humanity.”

On the Wolf at Our Gate

On the War Criminal

On the Stakes and Rules of Play in this Game

On Solidarity Versus Division in Global Politics

November 16 2022 On This Second Anniversary of the Interregnum, Our Clown of Terror, Traitor Trump, Announces His Bid For the Presidency in 2024 to Thundering Silence and Declarations of Repudiation By His Family and Key Allies

Our Clown of Terror, Traitor Trump, the most successful foreign agent any enemy has yet sent against America in a mission of subversion of democracy, the violations of our values and ideals, and the dismantling of our nations  institutions, has announced from the absurd lair of his golf course and the maze of his lies and delusions which have trapped him in a schizophrenic paranoid  alternate reality, his bid for re-election in the 2024 Presidential campaign; this time not to the acclamation of his Deplorables of racist and sexual terror, but to a thundering silence and declarations of repudiation by his family and key allies.

     His daughter seeks escape from her childhood role as his sexual proxy; Rupert Murdoch knows a losing bet when he sees one, and the Republican Party has begun to free itself from capture by the Fourth Reich in the wake of the victorious Blue Wave which saw all of the candidates anointed by Trump defeated. Association with Trump is now toxic and a sign of warning, much like the brand of Milady DeWinter as a thief in The Three Musketeers or its echo in the Mark of Cain bestowed by the magnificent Lt Aldo Raine in Inglourious Basterds.

      Who really wants to be known to history and the world as a dishonorable and treasonous liar, predator, and fascist whose goal is to re-enslave Black people and make women’s bodies the property of a Gideonite patriarchal state? And is willing to sacrifice the lives of our children to gun violence in order to maintain the military-industrial complex necessary for imperial conquest and dominion? Plus, if we cannot prioritize survival over the profits of the elite and abandon fossil fuels, we’re all going to die.

    Let us celebrate the spectacle of the rats abandoning the Fourth Reich’s sinking Ship of Fools, and seize this moment to put the torch to it and free our future from the threat of its re-emergence; but we must also remember and bring a Reckoning to all our betrayers and those perpetrators and collaborators in the terror and tyranny of the Fourth Reich and the Trump regime who would enslave us.

     In the words of Lt Raine; “I can’t abide it. Can you abide it?”   

     As I wrote in my post of November 16 2021, Anniversary of the Interregnum;      If it seems the will of the people bears little force of law in the theatrical performances of our national political life, notable in stalled legislation as the tip of an iceberg of subversion and obstruction from both parties in relentless assault against democracy, it is because the enemies of a free society of equals and of America as a guarantor of our universal human rights and a beacon of hope to the world have pursued a strategy of indefinite extension of the Interregnum, the period of a transition of power normally known as a lame duck Presidency.

      This strategy has two important ongoing operational plans of action; first the Republican conspiracy to delegitimize democracy, the government, and the Biden Presidency through the Big Lie, and second the efforts to deny any victories to the Democrats and render the will of the people meaningless through a strategy of Divide and Conquer typified by collaborationists Sinema and Manchin.

      The Fourth Reich tries to hold onto power before the unstoppable tide of an America not disempowered with learned helplessness, but invigorated with seizures of power and a new awareness of the threats to our ownership of ourselves which the outrageous perversions and criminality of the regime of Our Clown of Terror, Traitor Trump, has exposed before the stage of the world.

     This awareness and empowerment is a genie which cannot be put back in its bottle.

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

     As I wrote in my post of November 9 2020, Transitions of Power: Trump-Biden Parallels Hoover- Roosevelt in 1932; While Biden forms a team to combat the Doom of Man Pandemic, Trump withdraws to his golf game and once again attempts to sabotage democracy with his spurious litany of lies.

      If it wasn’t clear to all and sundry before, I hope this casts the respective character and responsibility to America of the outgoing and incoming Presidents in a chiaroscuro of stark relief.

     Sadly, we have been in this moment before, in 1932 during the Hoover-Roosevelt transition, and I hope we can learn from this example. On the plus side, Joe Biden is already following in the role of F.D.R., and I wish that he may continue as he began.    

     As written by Barry Eichengreen in The Guardian; “Presidential transitions are never easy, especially when they involve an incumbent president defeated at the polls. But this time the transition occurs in the midst of an unprecedented crisis. The incumbent refuses to acknowledge the vote as a rejection of his policies and has a visceral dislike for the president-elect, whom he accuses of dishonesty and dismisses as too frail to assume the duties of office. He tars his successor as a socialist, an advocate of policies that will put the country on the road to ruin.

     The year was 1932, and the transition from Herbert Hoover to Franklin D Roosevelt occurred in the midst of an unparalleled economic depression and banking crisis. The outgoing president, Hoover, had an intense aversion to his successor, whose incapacity of concern was not any lack of mental acuity, but rather Roosevelt’s partial paralysis. He called FDR a “chameleon on plaid” and accused him of dealing “from the bottom of the deck”. In his campaign and subsequently, Hoover insinuated that FDR’s socialistic tendencies would put the country on a “march to Moscow”.

     Back then, the interregnum lasted four months, during which the lame-duck president and Congress did little if anything to address the ongoing crisis. Bank runs and panics were spreading contagiously, forcing one state governor after another to shut down their banking systems. But Hoover refused to declare a bank holiday unilaterally. By the time FDR was inaugurated in March 1933, the banking system and the entire economy were virtually at a standstill.

     Hoover was aware of the crisis. But he was ideologically opposed to federal government intervention. And he was righteously convinced of his views.

     We can now expect similar behaviour from America’s lame-duck president, Donald Trump. Out of ideology and pique, he seems likely to refuse to do anything about the rampaging coronavirus. The question is how far he will go to impede Joe Biden’s efforts to address it upon taking office. Will Trump prohibit members of his coronavirus taskforce and other appointees from briefing the transition team? Will he withhold information about Operation Warp Speed, the government’s effort to produce a Covid-19 vaccine?

     Hoover, seeing no need for new policies, did everything in his power to limit the incoming president’s options. A believer in the sanctity of the gold standard, he asked FDR to issue a statement supporting its maintenance as a way of bolstering confidence. He encouraged the president-elect to endorse, and even recommend, members of the Hoover-appointed US delegation to the international conference slated to discuss European war debts and worldwide restoration of the gold standard.

     FDR recognised the danger of tying his own hands and refused to commit before taking office. When the president-elect rebuffed him, Hoover angrily released copies of their communications, inflaming public opinion.

     Similarly, we can expect Biden to reject Trump’s entreaties – if there are any – and to avoid commitments that limit his room for policy manoeuvre. But Trump has already constrained him in other ways. In particular, Trump’s judicial appointees will challenge the new president’s effort to make policy through executive order and regulatory directive. Meanwhile, efforts to advance legislation and confirm nominees to administrative positions are likely to be frustrated by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, assuming no further electoral surprises from Georgia (a state Biden appears to have won where runoff elections for two Senate seats will be held in January).

     The transition from Hoover to Roosevelt took place at a dangerous time. Spontaneous political mobilisations of all kinds were on the rise. A Bonus Army of more than 43,000 first world war veterans and their families had descended on Washington DC in mid-1932, demanding payment of their veteran’s service certificates. They were violently dispersed, with loss of life, by the Washington police and the US army under General Douglas MacArthur. That episode played no small part in Hoover’s electoral defeat (an outcome that might have served as a warning to Trump, who similarly called in troops to disperse demonstrators).

     In addition, there were protests, some violent, against foreclosure auctions taking place on courthouse steps around the country. There was growing popular support for extremist politicians such as Louisiana’s Huey Long. Hardship, unemployment and economic hopelessness formed the backdrop against which Giuseppe Zangara, an unemployed bricklayer with physical and mental problems and extreme anti-system views, attempted to assassinate Roosevelt 17 days before the inauguration.

     There are two lessons here. The president-elect and those around him need to take extra precautions for their personal safety, given the inflamed political climate and Trump’s ongoing efforts to fan the flames. And Biden now, like FDR then, must reiterate his message of hope and unity as an antidote to the coronavirus and political division. In 1933, it was “fear itself” that Americans had to overcome. Today, when it is fear of each other that Americans must overcome, Biden’s affirmation that there are “no red or blue states, just the United States” is a good start.”

The Mark of Cain in Inglourious Basterds

Inglourious Basterds Official Trailer #1

November 15 2022 Victory Ukraine: the Liberation of Kherson

We celebrate the Liberation of Kherson as the victorious army of Ukraine puts Russia’s bewildered unwilling conscripts and special terror units of uniformed criminals to rout and desertion, the heroic Zelensky is greeted with adulation by the city’s people, and Putin attempts to obscure and misdirect us from his pathetic failures by committing further crimes against humanity in bombing civilians.

     This historic moment coincides with the United Nations demand that Russia pay reparations to Ukraine; the world has reached a consensus that the madness and depravity of the Russian empire must be challenged and isolated from support and trade. Truly this is the end of the invasion, though it is but one of many fronts of the Third World War in which we are now engaged, all of us, every human being on the planet, for it will decide the fate of us all; tyranny or liberty, survival or species extinction.

     Sadly, this is not yet of end of this conflict, even if Russia surrendered and withdrew all troops from Ukraine; even if Putin and his puppet Trump were hanged, along with all of their cadre, allies, and conspirators, the theatres of war in Syria, Libya, Africa, Belarus, Nagorno-Karabakh, and Kazakhstan remain. This presumes that Russia will forebear to invade Poland and the whole of Eastern Europe, which she eyes hungrily to reclaim as her dominion from the time of Putin’s model Stalin.

     We must end this horrific Third World War and the invasion of Ukraine before NATO confers her membership, or we will face a war far more terrible than the previous world war in Europe, for it won’t merely be men with tanks and planes dueling in heroic set-piece battles, but the general annihilation of whole cities and populations in nuclear and biological war.

    This has been my greatest fear since my vision of our possible human futures when I was destroyed and recreated or died and awakened as a child when the police fired on the student protestors on Bloody Thursday, May 15 1969, People’s Park Berkeley; that in 98 of 100 chances civilization collapses into an age of tyranny and centuries of war from which humankind can not emerge.

     Yet I hope, fool that I am, that we will dream ourselves a better future than we have the past. This is my absurd faith, such as it is.

      They are nothing, hope and faith; but they are everything too, for we need nothing else with which to answer the terror of our nothingness, the flaws of our humanity, and the brokenness of the world.

     As I wrote in my post of September 12 2022, On Day 200 of the Invasion, the Tide of War Begins to Turn in Ukraine With the Victorious Reconquest of Kharkiv; In the Ukrainian theatre of the Third World War which has captivated the world with its horrific and lurid crimes against humanity by Putin’s regime, the tide of war begins to turn with the victorious reconquest of Kharkiv. Russia has replied with savage reprisals against the civilian population as their campaign of terror and genocide dictates; first annihilate everything useful to survival by bombing, second unleash mass torture and sexual terror to subjugate the population through learned helplessness, and third kill or enslave all who are not ethnic Russians.

     Liberty and tyranny, hope and fear contend in Ukraine for the soul of humankind.

     As I wrote in my post of August 24 2022, The Unconquerable Human Will to Freedom: Ukraine’s Independence Day in the Shadow of War; Here in Kyiv, to live is to be victorious; Unconquered in the face of horrors and the ruthless brutal conquest by an enemy who does not regard us as fellow human beings and wages a campaign of terror, genocide, and erasure against a whole people.

    We celebrate on this day the independence of Ukraine from Russia, but also the liberty and independence of all humankind, and the solidarity of all who stand together to resist oppression.

     The glorious defiance and unity of purpose of Ukraine has reminded us all of a great truth; of the precarious, ephemeral, transitory, and fragile nature of our existence as imposed conditions of struggle to become human together.

    We are become a precariat of all humankind under threat of nuclear annihilation, and as this theatre of World War Three threatens to engulf the whole of Europe in a total war of destruction and civilizational collapse, any who believed themselves safe must reconsider the human condition and what it means, for only solidarity of the international community and of peoples as a United Humankind, a free society of equals and our universal human rights, can stand against the darkness of the global Fourth Reich which threatens to devour and enslave us.

      For a vision of our future and our world should our solidarity and duty of care for others fail us, we need only look to Mariupol.

      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.”

     Why is it important to resist our dehumanization and those who would enslave us, and to reply to the terror of our nothingness with refusal to submit and solidarity with others, regardless of where or when such existential threats arise, who is under threat or any divisions of identitarian politics weaponized by conquerors to isolate their victims from help?

     As I wrote in my post of April 20 2022 What is the Meaning of Mariupol? Address to the Volunteers in Warsaw; As we gather and prepare to take the fight to the enemy in direct action against the regime of Russia itself, against Vladimir Putin and his oligarchs and elites who sit at the helm of power and are now complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity both in Ukraine and her province of Crimea in the imperial conquest of a sovereign and independent nation and in Russia in the subjugation of their own citizens, and in the other theatres of this the Third World War, Syria, Libya, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Nagorno-Karabakh, and in the capture of the American state in the Stolen Election of 2016 which put Putin’s treasonous and dishonorable agent and proxy Donald Trump, Our Clown of Terror, in the White House to oversee the infiltration and subversion of democracy by the Fourth Reich, we are confronted with countless horrific examples of the future that awaits us at the hands of Putin’s regime, and we have chosen Resistance as the only alternative to slavery and death.

    As we bring a Reckoning for tyranny, terror, and the horrors of war, in the crimes against humanity by Russia in Ukraine which include executions, torture, organized mass rape and the trafficking of abducted civilians, the capture of civilian hostages and use of forced labor, cannibalism using mobile factories, genocidal attacks, erasure of evidence of war crimes using mobile crematoriums which indicates official planning as part of the campaign of terror and proof that the countless crimes against humanity of this war are not aberrations but by design and at the orders of Putin and his commanders, threats of nuclear annihilation against European nations sending humanitarian aid, and the mass destruction of cities, we are become a court of last appeal in the defense of our universal human rights and of our humanity itself.

     The Russian strategy of conquest opens with sustained and relentless bombardment and destruction of hospitals, bomb shelters, stores of food, power systems, water supply, corridors of humanitarian aid and the evacuation of refugees; anything which could help citizens survive a siege. Once nothing is left standing, a campaign of terror as organized mass rape, torture, cannibalism, and looting begins, and any survivors enslaved or executed. This is a war of genocide and erasure, and to fascism there can be but one reply; Never Again!

    In this war which is now upon us, Putin’s goal is to restore the Russian Empire in the conquest of the Ukraine and the Black Sea as a launchpad for the conquest and dominion of the Mediterranean, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East; but he has a parallel and far more dangerous purpose in the abrogation of international law and our universal human rights. The true purpose of the Fourth Reich and its puppetmaster Vladimir Putin in this war is to make meaningless the idea of human rights.

    This is a war of tyranny and fascisms of blood, faith, and soil against democracy and a free society of equals, for the idea that we all of us have meaning and value which is uniquely ours and against enslavement and the theft of our souls.

     Within the limits of our form, of the flaws of our humanity and the brokenness of the world, we struggle to achieve the human; ours is a revolution of Tikkun Olam, a Hebrew phrase meaning repair of the world which refers to our interdependence and duty of care for each other as equals who share a common humanity. 

     I’m sure all of us here know what Shlomo Bardin meant when he repurposed the phrase from the Kabbalah of Luria and the Midrash, but what do I mean by this?

     There are only two kinds of actions which we human beings are able to perform; those which affirm and exalt us, and those which degrade and dehumanize us.

     We live at a crossroads of history which may define the fate of our civilization and the future possibilities of becoming human, in the struggle between tyranny and liberty and between solidarity and division, and we must each of us choose who we wish to become, we humans; masters and slaves, or a free society of equals?

     As you know, my friends and I come to you from the Siege of Mariupol, a battle of flesh against unanswerable force and horror, of solidarity against division, of love against hate, and of hope against fear.

     Here, as in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising which we celebrated yesterday, the human will to freedom is tested by an enemy who exults in the embrace of the monstrous, whose policies and designs of war as terror gladly and with the open arrogance of power instrumentalize utter destruction and genocide, a war wherein atrocities and depravities are unleashed as tactics of shock and awe with intent of subjugation through learned helplessness and overwhelming and generalized fear.

    In Mariupol now as in Warsaw then, we affirm and renew our humanity in refusal to submit or to abandon our duty of care for each other. The Defenders of Mariupol who have sworn to die together and have refused many demands for surrender make their glorious Last Stand not as a gesture of defiance to a conqueror and tyrant, or to hold the port to slow and impede the Russian campaign in the Donbas now ongoing and prevent the seizure of the whole seaboard and control of the Black Sea, though these are pivotal to the liberation of Ukraine, but to protect the hundreds, possibly thousands, of refugees who now shelter in the tunnels of the underground fortress at the Azovstal and Ilyin Steel and Iron Works, especially the many children in makeshift hospitals who cannot be moved.

     This is the meaning of Mariupol; we stand together and remain human, regardless of the cost. This is what it means to be human, how it is achieved, and why solidarity is important. Among our values, our duty of care for others is paramount, because it is instrumental to everything else, and all else is contingent on this.

    To paraphrase America’s Pledge of Allegiance not as an oath to a nation but as the declaration of a United Humankind; We, the People of Earth, pledge ourselves to each other, as one humankind, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

    This brings us to my purpose in speaking to you today, for one of you has asked a question which is central to our mission of the Liberation of Russia and Ukraine, and to the solidarity of the international community in this our cause; how can ordinary people like ourselves hope for victory over the unanswerable force and overwhelming power of tyranny, terror, and war?

    There are two parallel and interdependent strategies of Resistance in asymmetrical warfare; the first and most important is to redefine the terms of victory. This is because we are mortal, and the limits of our form impose conditions of struggle; we must be like Jacob wrestling the angel, not to conquer this thing of immense power but to escape being conquered by it. We can be killed, imprisoned, tortured; but we cannot be defeated or conquered if we but refuse to submit.

     Power without legitimacy becomes meaningless, and authority crumbles when met with disbelief. This is why journalism and teaching as sacred callings in pursuit of truth are crucial to democracy, and why the Four Primary Duties of a Citizen are Question Authority, Expose Authority, Mock Authority, and Challenge Authority.

   What of the use of police in brutal repression by carceral states? The social use of force is hollow and brittle, and fails at the point of disobedience. When the police are an army of Occupation and the repression of dissent, they can be Resisted on those terms; my point here is simply that victory against unanswerable force consists of refusal to submit.

     Who refuses to submit and cannot be compelled becomes Unconquered and is free. This is a kind of victory which cannot be taken from us.

    Second is our strategy for survival against an enemy who does not regard us as human, and will use terror to enforce submission through learned helplessness. By any means necessary, as this principle is expressed in the famous dictum of Sartre in his 1948 play Dirty Hands, quoted by Frantz Fanon in his 1960 speech Why We Use Violence, and made immortal by Malcolm X.

      In Mariupol I began referring to this in its oldest form, war to the knife. Its meaning for us is simple; those who would enslave us and who abandon all laws and all limits may hide behind none.

     The question to which I speak today in reply intrigued me, because it was nearly identical to a line which sets up one of the greatest fictional military speeches in literature, Miles Vorkosigan’s speech to the Maurilacans in The Borders of Infinity by Lois McMaster Bujold.

     In this story, Miles has just led a mass prisoner of war escape, from a prison which like all fascist tyrannies is fiendishly designed to produce abjection, as described by Julia Kristeva in her famous essay, in circumstances of horror such as those which my friends here and I have just survived, and in which we now find ourselves like the Marilacans having achieved an army, and about to take the fight to the enemy on his own ground. 

     One of the volunteers says, ”The defenders of Mariupol had those crazy Cossack warriors, swearing an oath to die rather than surrender, professional mercenaries from everywhere, all of them elite forces and utterly fearless. We just can’t fight on those terms; its been seventy years since we fought a total war of survival, and most of us here are professionals and university intellectuals. Poland is civilized, maybe too civilized for what’s coming our way.”

     To this I answer with Miles; “Let me tell you about the defenders of Mariupol. Those who sought a glorious death in battle found it early on. This cleared the chain of command of accumulated fools.

    The survivors were those who learned to fight dirty, and live, and fight another day, and win and win and win. And for whom nothing, not comfort nor security, not family nor friends nor their immortal souls, was more important than victory.

     They were not supermen or more than human. They sweated in confusion and darkness.

     And with not one half the resources Poland possesses, Ukraine remains unconquered. When you’re all that stands between liberty and tyranny, freedom and slavery, life and death, between a people and genocide, when you’re human, there is no mustering out.”

    To this wonderful speech of a fictional hero who simply refuses to stay down to the fictional survivors of the very real horror of being held captive and powerless by a tyrant, whether as prisoners of war or citizens of an occupied city, I must add this; how if Poland and Ukraine stand together, with all of Europe and America united in Resistance?

    And if you are telling me you could not today fight a Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, this I do not believe. Nor would you do so alone, for during this Passover as the Jewish community remembers the story of the Exile, the world also remembers; we watch it in our news every day, enacted once again in Ukraine. This, too, is a Haggadah, in which all of humankind can share, and which yet again teaches us the necessity of our interdependence and solidarity.  

     As written by Alan Moore in V For Vendetta; “Since mankind’s dawn, a handful of oppressors have accepted the responsibility over our lives that we should have accepted for ourselves. By doing so, they took our power. By doing nothing, we gave it away. We’ve seen where their way leads, through camps and wars, towards the slaughterhouse.”  

     Here is a truth to which all of us here today can bear witness.

     But there is a thing which tyrants never learn; the use of force and violence obeys the Third Law of Motion, and creates resistance as its own counterforce. And when the brutality and crimes against humanity of that force and violence are performed upon the stage of the world, visible to all and a history which cannot be erased, part of the story of every human being from now until the end of our species, which no washing of hands may deny as demonstrated  by Shakespeare’s Lady MacBeth, repression finds answer in reckoning as we awaken to our interdependence and the necessity of our solidarity and duty of care for each other.

     And so I offer to all of you the Oath of the Resistance as it was given to me by the great Jean Genet on that fateful day in 1982, in a burning house, in a lost cause, after we refused to surrender; “We swear our loyalty to each other, to resist and yield not, and abandon not our fellows.”

    An unusual fellow, but behind the concealment of his literary notoriety he remained the Legionnaire he had once been, and after spying on the Nazis in Berlin in 1939 had returned to Paris to make mischief for her unwelcome guests, and there in 1940 repurposed the oath of the Foreign Legion for what allies he could gather. He said it was the finest thing he ever stole.

     My hope is that I have lived and written at the beginning of the story of humankind, and not at its end.

     What is the meaning of Mariupol?

      Here we may look to its precedents as Last Stands, battles, and sieges; Thermopylae, Malta, Washington crossing the Delaware and the Battle of Trenton, Gallipoli, Stalingrad, and its direct parallel the Siege of Sarajevo. Moments of decision wherein the civilization of humankind hung in the balance, and with it our future possibilities of becoming human.

     Who do we want to become, we humans; slaves and tyrants or a free society of equals? And how much of our humanity are we willing to trade for the chance of such futures?

     What of ourselves can we not afford to lose, without also losing who we are? How much of our humanity can we claw back from the darkness in refusal to submit to those who would enslave us, and in solidarity with each other?

     We must each of us face our own Gate of Fire, as did the Spartans at Thermopylae, and choose.

    What are we worth, if we permit ruthless bandit kings to commit atrocities, plunder, and enslave others?

     What is western civilization worth, if we will not live up to our fine words?   And fine words they remain, such as these written by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence in 1776, a synthesis and revisioning of ideas from Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu, Voltaire, and Rousseau; “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

     What is America, if not a guarantor of democracy and our universal human rights, and a beacon of hope to the world?

    Let us reply with the words written by J.R.R. Tolkien between 1937 and 1955 in his luminous reimagination of the Second World War and the conflict of dominion which immediately followed it between tyranny and democracy, first against fascism and then between the allies who defeated it as spheres of dominion and systems of economic and political organization but both for different dreams of a free society of equals, in the iconic speech of Aragorn at the Black Gate in The Return of the King which unites ethos, logos, pathos, and kairos; “A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down, but it is not this day. This day we fight.”

     Join us.   

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

This Day We Fight: Aragorn’s Speech at the Black Gate

News of the Liberation of Kherson


15 листопада 2022 Перемога Україна: визволення Херсона

     Ми святкуємо визволення Херсона, оскільки переможна українська армія змушує розгромити та дезертирувати збентежених призовників Росії та спеціальні терористичні підрозділи злочинців у формі, героїчного Зеленського зустрічають улечливі жителі міста, а Путін намагається затьмарити та неправильно скерувати нас від його жалюгідні невдачі, вчинивши подальші злочини проти людяності під час бомбардування мирних жителів.

     Цей історичний момент збігається з вимогою ООН, щоб Росія виплатила репарації Україні; світ дійшов консенсусу, що божевілля та розбещеність Російської імперії необхідно кинути виклик і ізолювати від підтримки та торгівлі. Справді, це кінець вторгнення, хоча це лише один із багатьох фронтів Третьої світової війни, у якій ми зараз беремо участь, усі ми, кожна людина на планеті, бо це вирішить долю всіх нас; тиранія чи свобода, виживання чи вимирання видів.

     На жаль, це ще не кінець цього конфлікту, навіть якщо Росія здалася та вивела всі війська з України; навіть якщо Путіна та його маріонетку Трампа повісять разом із усіма їхніми кадрами, союзниками та змовниками, театри війни в Сирії, Лівії, Африці, Білорусі, Нагірному Карабасі та Казахстані залишаться. Це передбачає, що Росія утримається від вторгнення в Польщу та всю Східну Європу, яку вона прагне повернути як свій домініон часів путінської моделі Сталіна.

     Ми повинні покінчити з цією жахливою Третьою світовою війною та вторгненням в Україну до того, як НАТО надасть їй членство, або ми зіткнемося з війною, набагато жахливішою за попередню світову війну в Європі, оскільки це будуть не просто люди з танками та літаками, які змагатимуться в героїчні сценічні битви, але загальне знищення цілих міст і населення в ядерній і біологічній війні.

    Це був мій найбільший страх з тих пір, як я бачив наше можливе людське майбутнє, коли я був знищений і відтворений або помер і прокинувся в дитинстві, коли поліція стріляла по студентських протестувальниках у Кривавий четвер, 15 травня 1969 року, у Народному парку Берклі; що в 98 із 100 випадків цивілізація зазнає епохи тиранії та століть війни, з якої людство не може вибратися.

     Але я сподіваюся, дурний, що ми мріятимемо про краще майбутнє, ніж у минулого. Це моя абсурдна віра, така як вона є.

      Вони ніщо, надія і віра; але вони також є всім, тому що нам не потрібно нічого іншого, щоб відповісти на жах нашої нікчемності, недоліки нашої людяності та зламаність світу.


15 ноября 2022 г. Победа Украины: освобождение Херсона

     Мы празднуем освобождение Херсона, когда победоносная армия Украины обращает в бегство и дезертирство сбитых с толку невольных российских призывников и специальные террористические отряды преступников в форме, героического Зеленского встречают лести горожане, а Путин пытается сбить нас с толку и направить в ложное русло. его жалкие неудачи, совершив новые преступления против человечности в бомбардировке мирных жителей.

     Этот исторический момент совпадает с требованием Организации Объединенных Наций, чтобы Россия выплатила репарации Украине; мир пришел к единому мнению, что безумию и разврату Российской империи необходимо бросить вызов и изолировать от поддержки и торговли. Воистину, это конец вторжения, хотя это всего лишь один из многих фронтов Третьей мировой войны, в которую мы сейчас вовлечены, все мы, каждый человек на планете, ибо она решит судьбу всех нас; тирания или свобода, выживание или вымирание видов.

     К сожалению, это еще не конец этого конфликта, даже если Россия сдастся и выведет все войска из Украины; даже если Путина и его марионетку Трампа повесят вместе со всеми их кадрами, союзниками и заговорщиками, останутся театры военных действий в Сирии, Ливии, Африке, Белоруссии, Нагорном Карабахе и Казахстане. Это предполагает, что Россия воздержится от вторжения в Польшу и всю Восточную Европу, которые она с жадностью жаждет вернуть себе как свои владения со времен путинской модели Сталина.

     Мы должны положить конец этой ужасной Третьей мировой войне и вторжению в Украину до того, как НАТО примет ее в члены, или мы столкнемся с войной гораздо более ужасной, чем предыдущая мировая война в Европе, ибо это будут не просто дуэли людей с танками и самолетами. героические стандартные бои, но полное уничтожение целых городов и населения в ядерной и биологической войне.

    Это было моим самым большим страхом с тех пор, как я увидел наше возможное человеческое будущее, когда я был уничтожен и воссоздан или умер и пробудился ребенком, когда полиция открыла огонь по протестующим студентам в Кровавый четверг, 15 мая 1969 года, в Народном парке Беркли; что в 98 случаях из 100 цивилизация рухнет в век тирании и столетий войн, из которых человечество не сможет выйти.

     И все же я надеюсь, дурак, что мы будем мечтать о лучшем будущем, чем наше прошлое. Это моя абсурдная вера, какая она есть.

      Они ничто, надежда и вера; но они также являются всем, ибо нам не нужно ничего другого, чтобы ответить на ужас нашего ничтожества, пороки нашей человечности и сломленность мира.

     Here are my Journals of Mariupol, where I fought from March 22 until April 18 with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, and the First General History of World War Three:

April 20 2022 What is the Meaning of Mariupol? Address to the Volunteers in Warsaw

April 18 2022 Last Stand at Mariupol: Fight at the Steel Works

April 16 2022 Give Us a Dance of Universal Peace and Harmony

April 14 2022 Victory in the Black Sea: Ukraine Sinks the Russian Flagship Moskva

April 10 2022 Crimes Against Humanity in the City of Ghosts, Mariupol: A Witness of History

March 29 2022 Lest We Become the Monsters We Hunt: Identities of the Russian FSB Officers Now Complicit in Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity in Ukraine

March 16 2022 On Purim: What Do We Mean When We Use the Phrase; “Never Again!”

March 11 2022 Silence is Complicity: Why We Must Confront Evil

March 6 2022 How if Vladimir Putin Should Be Assassinated? An Interrogation of the Origins of Evil and the Social Use of Force, and of the State as Embodied Psychopathy and Violence

Origins of the Fourth Reich

February 24 2022 Origins of the Fourth Reich Part One: Putin’s Philosopher of Russian Fascism Ivan Ilyin

February 26 2022 Origins of the Fourth Reich Part Two: Ayn Rand, Philosopher of American Fascism and the Republican Party of Kleptocracy and Privatization

February 28 2022 Origins of the Fourth Reich Part 3: Faith and Madness as Submission to Authority in America’s Lunatic New Religion QAnon

April 8 2022 Origins of the Fourth Reich Part 4: Faith Weaponized in Service to Power and Authority as Identitarian Politics: the Case of Putin’s Captive Russian Orthodox Church

           A General History of the Third World War

March 14 2022 Origins of the Third World War, Part 1: the Syrian Theatre in the Russian-Turkish Conflict for Dominion of the Middle East

March 15 2022 Origins of the Third World War, Part 2: The Russian-Turkish Conflict for Imperial Dominion of the Mediterranean in the Libyan Theatre

March 23 2022 A History of the Third World War and Russia’s Imperial Wars of Dominion Since 2020, Part Three: the Belarus Theatre of War

A History of the Third World War, Part Four: the Russian Theatre of War

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

April 12 2022 The Liberation of Russia From Tyranny and Truth Telling as a Sacred Calling: Last Words of Alla Gutnikova at the Trial of the DOXA Four

March 10 2022 The Russian Conquest of Ukraine: A History

February 25 2022 A Russian Resistance

March 26 2022 A History of the Third World War, Part Five: the Kazakhstan Theatre of War

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

May 27 2022 A History of the Third World War, Part Seven: the West Africa, Sahel, and Lake Chad Theatre of War

A History of the Third World War, Part Eight: the American Theatre of War

February 9 2022 Let Us Escape the Legacies of Our History: Origins of the Fourth Reich and the Republican Party’s Unanimous Declaration of Treason

March 22 2022 When You Are Hammer, Strike: This Is the Moment to Enact the Restoration of America

March 21 2022 Anniversary of the George Floyd Bill and For The People Act: Victories for Liberty and Equality in Defiance of Fascist Terror and Treason in the Context of the American Front and Theatre of World War Three

March 12 2022 Crimes of a Russian Spy: A History of the American Fourth Reich’s Coup Attempts in Trump’s War Against America

A History of the Third World War, Part Nine: the Ukraine Theatre of War

February 27 2022 Holodomor: A True History of the Relationship of Russia and Ukraine in the Case of Stalin’s Genocidal Famine

February 23 2022 The Russian Conquest of Ukraine is Triggered by the McQuade Prosecution Memo of Treason and Insurrection Charges in United States Versus Trump: A Desperate Gamble For Power By A Failing Fourth Reich

February 18 2022 On the Edge of Nothingness: Ukraine

January 24 2022 Ukraine: Is Midnight Upon Us?

Who Funds and Sponsors the Fourth Reich? Qui Bono?

April 7 2022 Who Funds the Fourth Reich? Part 1: America’s Plutocrats

April 13 2022 Who Funds the Fourth Reich? Part 2: Russia’s Oligarchs

Histories of the Black Sea

The Black Sea: A History, by Charles King

Black Sea: Dispatches and Recipes, Through Darkness and Light, by Caroline Eden

Empire of the Black Sea: The Rise and Fall of the Mithridatic World,

by Duane W. Roller

Mariupol’s Precedents as Last Stands, Battles, and Sieges

Gates of Fire, by Steven Pressfield

The Great Siege of Malta: The Epic Battle between the Ottoman Empire and the Knights of St. John, by Bruce Ware Allen

Washington’s Crossing, by David Hackett Fischer

Gallipoli, by Peter FitzSimons

Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege, 1942–1943, Antony Beevor

Sarajevo as a parallel of Mariupol

Hearts Grown Brutal: Sagas of Sarajevo, by Roger Cohen

Logavina Street: Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighborhood, by Barbara Demick

Sarajevo: A War Journal, by Zlatko Dizdarević

Waiting For Godot In Sarajevo: Theological Reflections On Nihilsim, Tragedy, And Apocalypse, by David Toole

November 14 2022 Defining Moments: A Confession, and Some Thoughts on My Birthday on Poetic Vision as the Reimagination and Transformation of Ourselves; How Do We Create Human Being, Meaning, and Value?

       A cinematic kaleidoscope of memories dances before me on my birthday, spiraling back through time like the whirlpool which opened before Edgar Allen Poe and cast him into worlds unknown, wonderful and strange, fictionalized in his 1845 story A Descent Into The Maelstrom, which prefigures chaos theory, Jungian psychology, and Surrealism and references a universal field of being and forge of existence in dreams.

     I am a child of the Nights of Falling Stars, born as our world passes through the Leonid meteor trail each year. On the palm of my right hand is a scar where an infinitesimal meteor passed through it; I had reached up to catch one, standing on the rock above a ravine on Cavedale Road overlooking Sonoma where during World War Two an artillery battery sat to defend against an invasion that never came, above secret caves inscribed with hieroglyphs from  lost antiquity, an event witnessed by friends including Jim Shafer, Jennifer Damico-Wendt, Kimberly Wine, and something reached down to embrace my hand, engulfing me in a nimbus of light. From this moment I have never despaired nor abandoned hope, for upon my flesh is written the signature of the Infinite.

     Of dreams and our possibilities of becoming human I sing, a sea of transpersonal consciousness and potentialities which in classical Platonic philosophy and its reimagination in the Biblical Book of John the Evangelist and subsequent neo-Platonism including that of Iris Murdoch is called the Logos, Jung called the Collective Unconscious, Coleridge the Primary Imagination, Ibn Arabi the Alam al-Mithal, and in Hindu and Buddhist philosophy, especially the work which I translate from Tibetan as the Book of Liberation rather than of the Dead, is called the Bardo, to name a few of the informing and motivating sources and historical lineages in which I may claim membership and represent herein.

     My life has been a grand journey into such states of transpersonal being and imaginal realms of the limitless possibilities of becoming human, of which I am become a cypher shaped in the forge of Time. We each of us bear such marks without number, signs of our journeys to discover possible selves; I call these  sacred wounds Defining Moments, in which we may read the history of our forging like the beautiful flowing lines of a Damascus sword or as the calligraphy of our souls, and of truths immanent in nature and written in our flesh.

      Our lives are charted by our Defining Moments; history, memory, identity, the protean self in constant processes of adaptation and change, and the dynamic creative tension between the reimagination and transformation of ourselves and of humankind in titanic revolutionary struggle and seizures of power with the boundaries of the Forbidden and the tyranny of normality and of other people’s ideas of virtue, of the masks that others make for us and those we create for ourselves.

     How do I count them?

      By Visions of Reimagination and Transformation, of truths which awaken and change us when realized, truths which like all true art exalt and defile us in the ecstasy of rapture and terror.

     By Last Stands, battles in which I defied unanswerable and overwhelming force beyond hope of victory or survival, Journeys Into the Unknown and adventures of my travels, Encounters with Wisdom and the conversations with those who shaped me and left upon me their mark of strangeness, and Songs of Myself as Walt Whitman described the intertexts which we have woven into our lives and through which we direct who we are becoming, for myself mainly books which in reading have rewritten me, do I also number my Defining Moments.

     But these are different stories for other days, and herein my subject is poetic vision as a primary human act of self-creation and seizure of power, as the reimagination and transformation of ourselves and of human being, meaning, and value as an answer to the terror of our nothingness, the flaws of our humanity, and the brokenness of the world.

     We are all made of these things and many more; their categories are arbitrary and relative, and change over time as do we. What matters is to recognize the kinds of things that matter to us, and to cherish and hoard them as our treasures.

     Of Visions wherein I was taken up into the gaps and beheld wonderful things, terrible things; here I speak of poetic vision and the realm of the liminal.

     Before all else my Awakening and Vision of Possible Futures of Humankind as a nine year old survivor of Bloody Thursday, Berkeley 1969, as the police fired on student protestors which included my mother, as she sang of peace and offered flowers to a policeman who pumped and aimed a shotgun at her in reply, saved by the sudden chaos of a grenade thrown into the crowd by the police who then opened fire, and as we fled I escaped the limits of my form and had a unitary moment of awareness outside of time.

      In such moments we are destroyed and recreated, to reference the mad doctor’s line in The Fly; embrace it, don’t fear it. For change is ongoing always, and the trick is to use it as seizures of power, autonomy, liberation, and self-creation.

     Though I have struggled to create meaning and value from the life disruptive event of my death and rebirth on that day at the age of nine, I speak to you now not as the bearer of any special wisdom tradition but merely as a man who has been dead; death is nothing more or less terrible and wonderful than liberation from the limits of our form.

    So from grief, despair, and fear, the trauma of loss, the torment of loneliness, and the guilt of survivorship; the realm of our darkest and most negative passions immerses us in atavistic states with totalizing and tidal force.

     Life disruptive events can destabilize identity and realign personality, transform meanings and values, send shockwaves through our network of relationships, shift our worldview and unmoor us from the anchorages of our ideological paradigms and historical contexts.

     Such traumas confront us with the unfiltered face of our shadow self as a healing process, a transformative journey filled with dangers but also with the limitless possibilities of rebirth.

     Among the chiaroscuro of darkness and light of which we are shaped as negative spaces of each other, I turn now to the wisdom of our darkness.

     The Dream of the Toad, Nietzsche’s Toad which he feared he must swallow and could not, a spirit which had possessed William S. Burroughs since childhood, cursed by his Welsh nanny, and been transferred to me as a lineage of succession through his storytelling as rituals of initiation and transformation, from Nietzsche to Bataille to Burroughs interwoven with a secondary successorship of transmission from Crowley to Lovecraft to Burroughs, and from Burroughs to myself, what Jung called shadow work in which I embraced my darkness and became whole. As Shakespeare said of Caliban in The Tempest, “This thing of darkness I acknowledge mine”; the quote with which Burroughs’ ended many such ceremonies.

     This was the signal event of my year during eighth grade, when I read the entire works of Plato and then discovered someone who spoke for me in Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra; through his stories the man I called Uncle Bill, among my father’s circle of counterculture artists and writers, created a personal connection for me with my chthonic guardian and guide, and with its previous bearers and avatars. Together we change boundaries into interfaces, we human beings with our ephemeral persona adrift upon the endless seas and chasms of darkness of our limitless unconscious selves, as a dual or bicameral consciousness and unitary field of being which extends through the dreaming and waking realms; I who deny nothing and the timeless and oracular daemon who speaks for those truths immanent in nature and written in our flesh.

      What was William S. Burroughs to me? A trusted and kind family friend who helped me to process my trauma of Bloody Thursday, in which I awakened to a highly contingent and meaningless world in which death can come at any time and for no reason whatever, and wherein Authority, especially that of the state and its instruments of force and control the police whose purpose is to protect the wealth, power, and privilege of hegemonic elites and those who would enslave us, and like the mad rapacious gods of Lovecraft, is not merely a Nietzschean one who has abandoned us or been dethroned but an existential threat of utterly alien motives.

     Here also was my apprenticeship as a storyteller, for by seventh grade I had covered one entire wall of my bedroom with a collage of nightmare images from Hieronymus Bosch and others as gateways into other worlds. This was my Dream Gates wall, which functioned as mandalas for me throughout my teenage years, passages into imaginal realms. Through them I explored myriads of possible universes, futures, and alternate histories as revealed to me on Bloody Thursday in the moment of my death and rebirth.

      William S. Burroughs used to draw figures on it during his visits and make it even more strange and bizarre; through this art, his stories which reimagined Grimm’s fairytales as a mythology, and his ceremonial magic as an initiation cycle referencing Crowley and medieval sources, he forged an Absurdist faith of Chaos. If only he and Jung had collaborated during the period in which Jung wrote the Red Book, his interrogation of human being, meaning, and value centered on the dual-gendered holistic figure of Abraxas appropriated from Herman Hesse in Demian and described gloriously by Virginia Woolf in Orlando, and systematized according to the processes and symbolism of alchemy, we might have seen wonders yet undreamed.

      Among his many useful methods, Burroughs taught me to read Tarot cards; I have and greatly treasure the deck he gave me in seventh grade with the words; “With these you can see truths and futures, but you can also create them.”

     So for darkness, and now for light, rapture, transcendence, illumination.

     Sailing the Lake of Dreams in Srinagar, where I studied Sufism as a scholar of the Naqshbandi order, was wooed by Beauty but claimed by Vision; my Journeys through the Gates of Possibilities in Kathmandu as a Dream Navigator of the Kagyu Vajrayana Buddhist order. Here were parallel systems of dreamwork, sharing many elements, and having assimilated Hinduism as yoga in Sufism and as Tantra in Buddhism, which I studied together during a sabbatical between graduate programs as I entered my thirties, complex philosophies written in different languages, Classical Tibetan on the one hand and Classical Quranic Arabic, Classical Persian, and Ottoman Turkish on the other, but whose techniques could be used interdependently in the context of Jungian psychology.

      Like the dreams to which they are akin, such visions can be read as symbols, metaphors, and allegories; they are also stories woven into our lives which connect us with the universe and with other people, and through which we create ourselves. Are we not the stories we tell about ourselves, to ourselves and to others?

     I am looking at the scar on my hand from where a Fallen Star touched me one night during a meteor shower, decades ago, when I reached up to pull the stars from the heavens and something reached down to enfold my hand in a nimbus of light, and for a moment I was sublimed and exalted in the Kiss of the Fallen Star, riding the light among the spheres, the earth a vanishing orb, then lost among the solar system, a sea of stars, a whirling dance of galaxies, and return to the hill where I stood transfigured by the embrace of Infinite. Stunned not by our smallness next to a universal scale, but by the eternity and timeless immensity of Being in which we share.

     If ever I need to be reminded of our true nature, of the presence of the transcendent and the immanence of truths written in our flesh, of the vast and limitless sea of being and consciousness of which we are part, I need only open my hand to see written there the signature of the Infinite Unknown and the sign of our hope, for from the moment I touched a star I have been without despair, fear, or doubt, a bearer of hope.

     So many adventures down the rabbit hole that a full narrative would fill volumes; but one especially do I wish to share here.

     Humans are beautiful not in spite of our flaws, but because of them. This teaching was given to me by a tribal elder while crossing the Thar desert in a camel caravan in Rajasthan, India. There was a huge clay pot given pride of place in a dark tent, unremarkable and worthless, and shown to me by these penniless nomads with the absurd claim that it was the great treasure of their people. Then someone put a lamp inside, and illuminated the thousands of hairline fractures through it, not only beautiful and a symbol of the immanence of the Infinite as truths written in our flesh, but also, like the songlines of the Australian aborigines, a map of tribal history and migrations reaching back hundreds of years, each with its own stories, a mnemonic instrument of oral history. I call this vision the Illumination of Our Beautiful Flaws.

     From this primary insight I forged my Narrative Theory of Identity; we are the stories we tell about ourselves, to ourselves and to others. And the first question we must ask of them is; Whose story is this?

     Always there remains the struggle between the masks that others make for us and those we make for ourselves; this is the first revolution in which we all must fight.

     What general principles can we learn from the creative processes of poetic vision as reimagination and transformation?

     First, that no matter how much we learn, the unknown remains as vast and infinite as before; this I call the Conservation of Ignorance. For further explication, see Nicholaus of Cusa’s De Docta Ignorantia, and Rudy Rucker’s magisterial study of Godel’s Theorem, Infinity and the Mind.

     Second, the universe is fundamentally irrational, and moreover is ephemeral, transitory, subjective, and relativistic, characterized by processes of change. Being, meaning, and value defy universalization and our attempts to impose order on living systems which are chaotic, uncontrollable, and wild, including ourselves.

     Third, human attempts to abstract us from nature birth monsters, pathologies of control and disconnectedness. The wonder and terror of vision and immersion in the realm of the liminal and the transpersonal has inspired some of the greatest achievements of civilization and the limitless possibilities of becoming human, and some of the most fearsome terrors of our historical atrocities, madness, and degradation.

     The liminal bears creative and destructive forces in equal measure, and not reductive to the interplay of darkness and light, but ambiguous, contingent, and relative. We who are its witnesses and bearers of poetic vision are the arbiters of this power among humankind and of its consequences for the material universe and the order and fate of the cosmos. Who bears the fire of the gods becomes an agent of transformation, insight, and the reshaping of human being, meaning, and value; this is true of all art and of creativity in general. 

     Revolutions are born of such insight, in sciences and arts of understanding and in our creation of ourselves. With this inner fire and vision we may forge new truths, and in this mission I offer guidance and warning as you sail into the unknown; transgress boundaries, violate norms, abandon limits, and seize your power to create yourself anew, for nothing is Forbidden and all Authority is illusion and lies; but always know what you are trying to achieve, for force always operates in both directions at once.

     Act without fear, and in action be fearless; but with awareness of the consequences of your actions. Life and liberty, as well as good and evil, may depend on the smallest of changes in our lives and our world, both for ourselves and for others. 

     Best wishes, and may you find joy, freedom, healing, and love in your reimagination of yourself and our possibilities of becoming human.

 A Descent into the Maelström, by Edgar Allen Poe

The Hieronymus Bosch Tarot Deck Walkthrough

The Magical Universe of William S. Burroughs, Matthew Levi Stevens

The Leonid meteor showers

Infinity and the Mind: The Science and Philosophy of the Infinite, by Rudy Rucker

Nicholas of Cusa on Learned Ignorance: A Translation and an Appraisal of De Docta Ignorantia, by Nicholas of Cusa

The Red Book: Liber Novus, by C.G. Jung

The Gnostic Jung: Including Seven Sermons to the Dead, by C.G. Jung, Robert A. Segal (editor)

Jung and Tarot: An Archetypal Journey, by Sallie Nichols, Laurens van der Post (Introduction)

Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature,

Connie Zweig & Jeremiah Abrams  (Editors)

Demian: Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend, by Hermann Hesse, Thomas Mann (Introduction)

Orlando, by Virginia Woolf

The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, by H.P. Lovecraft

The Western Lands, by William S. Burroughs

Psicomagia, by Alejandro Jodorowsky

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