September 2017 Archives

Thousands more Marines are being deployed to "reinforce advisory activities" (we know what that means; think Vietnam) in Afghanistan 


Before he sends up to 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis wants to know how many troops are currently on the ground. Whatever that number (how can he not know?), the human toll on Afghan civilians increases daily. Women and children casualties saw a sharp increase in the first six months of 2017, reports Aria Bendix to The Atlantic. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) cites a total of 1,662 civilian deaths between January 1 and June 30, a two percent increase over last year's record high.


President Trump's "new" Afghanistan war strategy does not define what victory would look like, or how his path would be different from the strategy of previous presidents: a mix of conventional military force and diplomatic pressure on Pakistan. "More boots on the ground is serving the long-term global strategy of the U.S. by victimizing and marginalizing the Afghan ordinary people," reads a dispatch from onebillionrising.org. "[U.S.] presence in Afghanistan is not for human rights and liberation, rather to use the geo-strategic position of Afghanistan against its global and regional rivals." 


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Boundaries of the Kabul Green Zone redrawn to encompass Western embassies, government ministries, and NATO headquarters 


The Pentagon's Kabul Security Zone (map) confirms U.S. plans to stay put, long term; the huge public works project is likely to keep the military in place well into the 2020s, even by the most conservative estimates.

Resisting a Lockdown Culture

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The Trump/Pence Regime won't collapse of its own accord. "That which you will not resist and mobilize to stop, you will learn - or be forced - to accept," reads the original World Can't Wait call to action. "History is full of examples where people who had right on their side fought against tremendous odds and were victorious. And it is also full of examples of people passively hoping to wait it out, only to get swallowed up by a horror beyond what they ever imagined."  

Sheltering in place shouldn't be the American way, op-eds William J. Astore at TomDispatch. "Nor should we lock ourselves down for life. It would be so much better to lockdown instead what should be truly unthinkable: doomsday itself, the mass murder of ourselves and the destruction of our planet."

"Since 9/11 we have witnessed the rise of a national-security-surveillance state and the expansion of a lockdown mode of existence in a range of institutions that extend from schools and airports to the space of the city itself. The meaning of lockdown in this context has to be understood in broader terms as the use of military solutions to problems for which such approaches are not only unnecessary but further produce authoritarian and anti-democratic policies and practices. Under such circumstances, not only have civil liberties been violated in the name of national security, but the promise of national security has given rise to policies which are punitive, steeped in the logic of revenge, and support the rise of a punishing state whose echoes of authoritarianism are often lost in the moral comas that accompany the country's infatuation with war and the militarization of everyday life." -- Henry A. Giroux, Truthout

There will be no appeasing Donald Trump or his supporters. "It is useful for Americans to recognize that we are facing something entirely new and different in American history," comments professor Peter Dreier. "Certainly none of us in our lifetimes have confronted an American government led by someone like Trump in terms of his sociopathic, demagogic, impulsive, and vindictive personality (not even Nixon came close). . .

"Our stance must be one of resistance and opposition."

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Self-Defense is Survival

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Unite the Right rally_24_1502579228955_64122720_ver1.0_900_675.jpgUPDATED September 2, 2017

Enough of "both sides" rhetoric. American liberals lend cover to violent white supremacists when they disparage the tactics of activists holding ground in the face of fascism, says direct action trainer Kelly Hayes. President Trump's condemnation of counter-protesters to the white supremacist event in Charlottesville earlier this week was rooted in the same need to maintain white order shared by "Respectable Liberals." 

"The stranglehold of oppression cannot be loosened by a plea to the oppressor's conscience." -- Robert F. Williams 

The liberal plan of ignoring fascists until they go away has enabled a resurgence of racism in the United States. "What purpose does this strategy serve, except to maintain our participation in a system of order that does not protect us?" asks Hayes. "Marginalized people have learned, across the course of many oppressions, freedom is not delivered on request."

Accommodationist politics have defined themselves by their inability to accomplish progressive change, observes Op-Ed writer William C. Anderson. "Their neutrality in the face of threatening violence allows the very oppressions they supposedly oppose to thrive." Being better educated and more moral than the far right doesn't stop bullets...

"'Law and order', the court systems and all of the white supremacist institutions that forgive vigilante white supremacist movements are aided by liberal politics. Not only have these institutions been founded, operated and infiltrated by white supremacists since the moment the U.S. existed, they are further empowered by them." 

Those of us who do not depend on the state, liberal idealism or any other unfulfilled promises must be prepared, ready and willing to defend ourselves with whatever means we have to do so, concludes Anderson. "Anyone who defends themselves when they are being attacked is not the one bringing violence into the world...

"We need a firm understanding of self-defense as badly as we need a real political opposition and a true anti-capitalist left movement in the United States." And we need the same to resist the descent of fascistic lunatics on Berkeley later this month.

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