Love is Violence: The Bedrock of the American Way

Written by Chris Floyd 19 January 2014 4972 Hits

As soon as you're awake, you're trained to takeWhat looks like the easy way out -- Bob Dylan, "Political World"Once more, as so often, I want to point you to a powerful and important article by Arthur Silber, which will tell you a great deal about where we are as a culture and as individuals -- and how we got here. I'm not going to excerpt it, because I'd like you to read the whole piece as it is, take it straight, no chaser, without my own spin on it. It will be well worth your time.And while you are there, why not throw something in the hat, if you can spare it? Silber lives solely on the earnings from his writings, while battling chronic illness year after year (and attacks on his threadbare livelihood by the government). Keeping this important voice of truth going -- in the midst of...

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Shooting and Crying: The Unlearned Lessons of American Atrocity

Written by Chris Floyd 14 January 2014 5194 Hits

1.The Marlboro Men are back. A few years ago, we saw them blazoned across our screens and newspapers: rugged, tough, battle-grimed warriors, slogging through hell to conquer evil and bring light to a land lost in darkness.Last week, the New York Times brought them out again. But this time around, our clean-limbed, God-blessed fighters for a noble cause weren't conquering -- they were suffering. They felt sad, let down, even betrayed. Why? Because what had been the high point, the shining pinnacle, "the most iconic moment" of their righteous campaign was now tainted. Their conquest hadn't held; the old enemy had reared its head again in the city they had pacified with so much rugged, battle-grimed toughness long ago. Now their feelings were hurt, their souls were troubled. All the goodnes...

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The One Percent Solution: Oligarchs to the Rescue!

Written by Chris Floyd 05 January 2014 4838 Hits

* Below is my most recent column for CounterPunch Magazine.Last month, 500 famous authors signed a petition protesting the encroachments of the all-pervasive, techno-surveillance culture that is covering the earth with hidden eyes and ears, like a metastasized Stasi run amok. We’re talking heavy literary lumber here: Nobel Prize-winners, critic list-toppers, best-sellers – big names calling on the UN to create “an international bill of digital rights.” The authors state the indisputable truth: the "fundamental human right" of personal privacy "has been rendered null and void through abuse of technological developments by states and corporations.” They rightly declare that “a person under surveillance is no longer free; a society under surveillance is no longer a democracy. To maintain any...

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Bait and Switch: The Heavy Price of Social Progress

Written by Chris Floyd 03 January 2014 4789 Hits

At CounterPunch, Jason Hirthler identifies one of the most important dynamics in the modern political world: "For every social advance, an economic price paid." Hirthler examines the real-life aftermath of the social breakthroughs and advances represented by the social justice campaigns of Martin Luther King, the ending of apartheid under the aegis of Nelson Mandela, and racial symbolism in the election of the first black American president, Barack Obama. In every case, Hirthler notes, genuine social achievements were followed by a brutal and ruthless expansion and entrenchment of 'neoliberal' economics -- that is, the aggrandisement of elite power and privilege. One of the most glaring examples detailed by Hirthler is what happened after the genuinely astonishing and significant triump...

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A Voice Torn from the Noise of Time

Written by Chris Floyd 29 December 2013 4322 Hits

Via an old Moscow Times comrade, John Freedman, an incredible piece of history torn from "the noise of time": Nadezhda Mandelshtam, talking (in English) of her life with the martyred poet, Osip Mandelshtam. It was Nadezhda who was responsible for preserving much of Mandelshtam's work from the ravages of Stalinist amnesia. It's a voice from "a life and fate much greater than [our] own," alive with an abiding humanity that feels, at times, like a thing vanishing from our earth. (But perhaps it's always vanishing, this voice; perhaps it's a cracked whisper passed down from generation to generation.) In any case, it's an embracing encounter.For another take on Mandelshtam, see here and here.

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Shackles and Chains: Detroit as a Template for Democracy's Destruction

Written by Chris Floyd 18 November 2013 5170 Hits

Glen Ford brings the heat, and the truth, about one of the most important -- and unreported -- stories of our day: the shackling of Detroit. Over the past year, we have seen the citizens of a major American city openly, 'legally' stripped of the right to govern themselves and forced into a form of indentured servitude in order to enrich a small predatory elite whose own machinations had driven the city to ruin. It is an extraordinary -- and sickening -- spectacle. Detroit is now under the control of an unelected "Emergency Financial Manager," Kevyn Jones, forcibly imposed by the state governor, with all real power -- the power of the purse -- placed in his hands. And Jones is wielding this power with ruthless efficiency. As Ford notes, Detroit is being looted and disenfranchised without...

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Ashes to Ashes: The Downward Arc of the American Dream

Written by Chris Floyd 03 November 2013 5496 Hits

This is my latest column for the print version of CounterPunch, published last month.***I flew into Washington the day the government shut down. I had come back to America to scatter my mother's ashes in the sea. It was her last request: to put her to rest in the Atlantic Ocean, off Myrtle Beach, where she had spent some happy times more than half a century ago.I made my way to Tennessee, where her ashes were waiting in a black plastic box on the mantlepiece in our family home. All along the line, facilities and services were shutting down from a dispute over a corporate boondoggle -- "Obamacare" -- based on a conservative Republican template drawn up to enrich the rapacious insurance-healthcare complex, whose heavy, grinding gears had harrowed both my sick and aged parents to their gra...

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