Bait and Switch: The Heavy Price of Social Progress

Written by Chris Floyd 03 January 2014 4741 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 4285 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 5111 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 5436 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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Choosing Murder: The True Nature of the System Laid Bare

Written by Chris Floyd 28 October 2013 4978 Hits

Just a reminder: this is the true nature of the bipartisan, militarized "security state" now headed by the progressive Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. When you support the Laureate -- however "savvily" and "critically" -- when you support the system -- hoping to "reform" it from within -- this is what you are supporting. From the Guardian:

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From Dissident Gold to Imperial Dross: The Neutering of the NSA Archives

Written by Chris Floyd 20 October 2013 6520 Hits

1. Clancy Lives!Take heart, you fans of slam-bang super-spy adventure stories! Tom Clancy is not dead; he lives on in the pages of the Washington Post, channeled through the airport-thriller prose of Barton Gellman -- one of the small coterie of media custodians doling out dollops from the huge archive of secret NSA documents obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden. Drawing on that archive of what should be shocking, empire-undermining revelations, Gellman and his co-authors last week penned a story that is, in almost every respect, a glorification of state-ordered murder: a rousing tale of secret ops in exotic lands, awesome high-tech spy gear, flying missiles, deadly explosions, and dogged agents doing the grim but noble work of keeping us safe. No doubt Hollywood is already on the horn:...

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