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Diana Johnstone

The Harmful Effects of Antifa

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An historic opportunity is being missed. The disastrous 2016 presidential election could and should have been a wakeup call. A corrupt political system that gave voters a choice between two terrible candidates is not democracy. 


This should have been the signal to face reality. The US political system is totally rotten, contemptuous of the people, serving the corporations and lobbies that pay to keep them in office. The time had come to organize a genuine alternative, an independent movement to liberate the electoral system from the grip of billionaires, to demand a transition from a war economy to an economy dedicated to improving the lives of the people who live here. What is needed is a movement for the pacification of America, at home and abroad.

That is a big order. Yet this approach could meet with wide support, especially if vigorous young people organized to stimulate popular debate, between real live people, from door to door if necessary, creating a mass movement for genuine democracy, equality, and peace. This is as revolutionary a program as possible in the present circumstances. A moribund left should be coming back to life to take the lead in building such a movement.

Quite the opposite is happening. 
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Antifa in Theory and in Practice

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In recent weeks, a totally disoriented left has been widely exhorted to unify around a masked vanguard calling itself Antifa, for anti-fascist. Hooded and dressed in black, Antifa is essentially a variation of the Black Bloc, familiar for introducing violence into peaceful demonstrations in many countries. Imported from Europe, the label Antifa sounds more political. It also serves the purpose of stigmatizing those it attacks as “fascists”.

Despite its imported European name, Antifa is basically just another example of America’s steady descent into violence.

Historical Pretensions

Antifa first came to prominence from its role in reversing Berkeley’s proud “free speech” tradition by preventing right wing personalities from speaking there. But its moment of glory was its clash with rightwingers in Charlottesville on August 12, largely because Trump commented that there were “good people on both sides”. With exuberant Schadenfreude, commentators grabbed the opportunity to condemn the despised President for his “moral equivalence”, thereby bestowing a moral blessing on Antifa.

Charlottesville served as a successful book launching for Antifa: the Antifascist Handbook, whose author, young academic Mark Bray, is an Antifa in both theory and practice. The book is “really taking off very fast”, rejoiced the publisher, Melville House. It instantly won acclaim from leading mainstream media such as the New York Times,The Guardian and NBC, not hitherto known for rushing to review leftwing books, least of all those by revolutionary anarchists.
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US Sanctions Aimed at Russia Strike Western European Allies

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Do they know what they are doing? When the US Congress adopts draconian sanctions aimed mainly at disempowering President Trump and ruling out any move to improve relations with Russia, do they realize that the measures amount to a declaration of economic war against their dear European “friends”?
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The Bad Losers and What They Fear Losing

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If the 2016 presidential campaign was a national disgrace, the reaction of the losers is an even more disgraceful spectacle. It seems that the political machine backing Hillary Clinton can’t stand losing an election. 

And why is that? 

Because they are determined to impose “exceptional” America’s hegemony on the entire world, using military-backed regime changes, and Donald Trump seems poised to spoil their plans. The entire Western establishment, roughly composed of neoconservative ideologues, liberal interventionists, financial powers, NATO, mainstream media, and politicians in both the United States and Western Europe, committed to remaking the Middle East to suit Israel and Saudi Arabia and to shattering impertinent Russia, have been thrown into an hysterical panic at the prospect of their joint globalization project being sabotaged by in ignorant intruder.

Donald Trump’s expressed desire to improve relations with Russia throws a monkey wrench into the plans endorsed by Hillary Clinton to “make Russia pay” for its bad attitude in the Middle East and elsewhere. If he should do what he has promised, this could be a serious blow to the aggressive NATO buildup on Russia’s European borders, not to mention serious losses to the US arms industry planning to sell billions of dollars worth of superfluous weapons to NATO allies on the pretext of the “Russian threat.”

The war party’s fears may be exaggerated, inasmuch as Trump’s appointments indicate that the United States’ claim to be the “exceptional,” indispensable nation will probably survive the changes in top personnel. But the emphasis may be different. And those accustomed to absolute rule cannot tolerate the challenge.
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Destroying Syria: A Joint Criminal Enterprise

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Everyone claims to want to end the war in Syria and restore peace to the Middle East. 

Well, almost everyone.

 “This is a playoff situation in which you need both teams to lose, but at least you don’t want one to win — we’ll settle for a tie,” said Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli consul general in New York told the New York Times in June 2013. “Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death: that’s the strategic thinking here.” 


 Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, stressed the same points in August 2016:
The West should seek the further weakening of Islamic State, but not its destruction… Allowing bad guys to kill bad guys sounds very cynical, but it is useful and even moral to do so if it keeps the bad guys busy and less able to harm the good guys… Moreover, instability and crises sometimes contain portents of positive change… The American administration does not appear capable of recognizing the fact that IS can be a useful tool in undermining Tehran’s ambitious plan for domination of the Middle East.
Okay, not exactly everyone.
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The Hillary Clinton Presidency Has Already Begun As Lame Ducks Promote Her War

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If the British Empire was built on the playing fields of Eton, United States world hegemony gets its training in Hollywood studios and advertising agencies. Selling your product, or yourself, by looking sincere is a cultivated American art. Current top US leaders are expert practitioners. 

In the space of a few days, Samantha Power, John Kerry, and Barack Obama all turned in war-winning performances. 

Three Deadly US Blows to Hopes of Peace In Syria

Last August 8, on that serious think tank the Charlie Rose show, former acting CIA director Michael Morell said that US policy in Syria should be to make Iran and Russia “pay a price”. Russians and Iranians should be killed “covertly, so you don’t tell the world about it”, he said. Morell proposed that US forces begin bombing Syrian government installations, in order to “scare Assad”. Probably angling for a good job next year, he is on record supporting Hillary Clinton as a “highly qualified commander in chief” and a “strong proponent of a more aggressive approach” in Syria.
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Hiroshima: the Crime That Keeps on Paying, But Beware the Reckoning

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On his visit to Hiroshima last May, Obama did not, as some had vainly hoped he might, apologize for the August 6, 1945 atomic bombing of the city. Instead he gave a high-sounding speech against war. He did this as he was waging ongoing drone war against defenseless enemies in faraway countries and approving plans to spend a trillion dollars upgrading the US nuclear arsenal.

An apology would have been as useless as his speech. Empty words don’t change anything. But here was one thing that Obama could have said that would have had a real impact: he could have told the truth.

He could have said:
“The atom bombs were not dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki ‘to save lives by ending the war’. That was an official lie. The bombs were dropped to see how they worked and to show the world that the United States possessed unlimited destructive power.”
There was no chance that Obama would say that. Officially, the bombing “saved lives” and therefore, it was worth it. Like the Vietnamese villages we destroyed in order to save them, like the countless Iraqi children who died as a result of US sanctions, the hundreds of thousands of agonizing women and children in two Japanese cities remain on the debit side of the United States accounts with humanity, unpaid and unpunished.
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The Queen of Chaos and the Threat of World War III

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Maidhc Ó Cathail: In your latest book, you dub Hillary Clinton the “Queen of Chaos”. Can you explain why you chose this derogatory sobriquet to describe Hillary?

Diana Johnstone: Libya, in a word. Hillary Clinton was so proud of her major role in instigating the war against Libya that she and her advisors initially planned to use it as basis of a “Clinton doctrine”, meaning a “smart power” regime change strategy, as a presidential campaign slogan.  

The Libyan catastrophe actually inspired me to write this book, along with the mounting danger of war with Russia.

War creates chaos, and Hillary Clinton has been an eager advocate of every U.S. aggressive war in the last quarter of a century. These wars have devastated whole countries and caused an unmanageable refugee crisis. Chaos is all there is to show for Hillary’s vaunted “foreign policy experience”.
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Turning the Cradle of Civilization Into its Graveyard

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This Monday, September 7, seven Syrian citizens go to court in Paris to pursue their civil suit against French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. The five men and two women all lost family members and close friends in massacres by armed rebels supported by Fabius in word and deed. They are asking for one euro of symbolic damages.

In the end the suit will almost surely be thrown out. The September 7 hearing is on an appeal against an earlier ruling that the courts cannot judge acts of the government in this case, even if the complaint is founded. And yet this futile lawsuit makes a crucial point that Western politicians and media would much prefer to ignore.

Western leaders share major responsibility for making much of the world unfit for normal human habitation. And so far, they are getting away with it. The massive refugee crisis swamping Europe is just the beginning of the troubles that these unscrupulous leaders have brought on their own countries.

Laurent Fabius can fairly be called a French neoconservative. His alignment with Israeli policies is seen in the fact that he was the most reluctant of the foreign ministers involved in the Iranian nuclear negotiations to agree to the final settlement.
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The Ambiguity of Charlie Hebdo: France Under the Influence

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The Charlie Hebdo terrorist assassinations struck France at a moment when it has an unpopular government and a weak President, when factories are closing and jobs are being lost, when French economic policy is determined by Germany via the European Union and its foreign policy is determined by the United States via NATO. Except for the therapeutic moment of togetherness on January 11, the country feels buffeted by winds of conflict it cannot resist. 

There is a certain terrible symmetry playing out in France. Israel is deliberately and consistently doing all it can to excite fears among French Jews, in order to lure this desirable population into moving to Israel. Tsahal holds annual support drives in Paris, and a number of French Jews do military service in Israel. 

At the same time, the so-called “Islamic State”, as well as “al Qaeda in Yemen” and associated fanatic Islamic groups are working hard to recruit fighters out of the Muslim communities in France and other European countries. Some 1,400 jihadists have traveled to Syria from France to join the Holy War. They are lured by the heroic prospect of helping to “build the Caliphate”, a sort of Israel for Muslims, a holy land restored.
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