WHAT FOLLOWS IS one of those stories I never imagined I would write – a report about an event I never imagined could happen.
When I first encountered Reader Supported News, probably sometime in 2010, it seemed a welcoming haven of uncensored reportage and vital, intelligently expressed dialogue. Hence I soon became something of a regular contributor to its comment threads, and in October 2011, after e-correspondence with RSN's owner Marc Ash, I volunteered to cover Occupy Tacoma for the site. I provided both text and pictures – the latter at considerable personal expense because in those days I was still shooting film (mostly in a beloved pair of Leica M4s) – but I no longer had my own darkroom and was therefore dependent on commercial processing.
An Occupy Tacoma activist from the local group's beginning, I stayed with its story until the entire Occupy Movement was crushed the following spring.
I made the picture above, one of my final Occupy Tacoma frames, on May Day 2012. It was as telling an end-shot as any photo-essay-concluding image I've ever made, but it was my one Occupy submission Ash declined to run. And in light of subsequent events I cannot but wonder if that was my first taste of his own peculiar brand of censorship, for in the accompanying text, as in many subsequent comment-thread posts, I violated the politically correct taboo against telling Occupy's most embittering core truth – that the movement was as much a victim of its own pseudo-anarchistic anti-intellectualism as it was prey to brutal oppression by the new Gestapo of the Empire's federalized, militarized local police. Apparently Ash considered this alleged heresy to be allowable in a comment thread, but verboten in the more formal medium of a photographically illustrated news report.
Though it is perhaps an aside, I should disclose here that since my teenage years I have been aware, sometimes rather painfully, of the deadly danger of USian anti-intellectualism – the methodically conditioned, socioeconomically fatal mental paralysis first inflicted by capitalism's postwar purge of Communists, socialists and New Deal Democrats, later by its relentless escalation to marginalize or silence any politician, journalist or academic who dared show even minimal humanitarian tendencies. But I was shocked to discover, via Occupy, just how thoroughly much of the younger USian population – particularly those who, despite their self-proclaimed anarchism, have never heard of Bakunin or Kropotkin – has been so irremediably conditioned.
While people who have never before been allowed the opportunity to think and learn often become superior students – that is one of the more obvious lessons of the Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese and Cuban revolutions – those who have been taught to despise knowledge and to fear thinking are definitively unteachable. Such is the dreadful rationale behind Moron Nation and the process of dumbing down – of “moronation” – that has reduced the citizenry of the United States to the most notoriously ignorant population in the developed world. Induced ignorance policed by anti-intellectualism is capitalism's ultimate – and ultimately impregnable – defense.
IN EARLY 2013, when 15 Now Tacoma emerged from Occupy Tacoma's ashes to rally for a $15-per-hour minimum wage inside Tacoma, which is Washington state's second largest seaport and the third busiest seaport on the West Coast, I volunteered to cover that story for RSN too. But Ash never replied to my inquiries. At the time, early 2013, I assumed Ash dismissed the Tacoma campaign as too local to be nationally relevant and that in any case he was too busy to respond. As for me, I remained a 15 Now activist through the fall of 2014, when health problems – the geriatric afflictions of old age – forced me to drop out.
Eventually the Tacoma electorate, perhaps 65 percent of which has been reduced to official low-income status, was terrorized into semi-submission by Ruling Class threats of retaliatory job losses and thus in November 2015 voted against itself and $15 Now but approved “$12 Later” – a minimum-wage hike begrudgingly proposed by the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, added to the ballot by the chamber's Tacoma City Council vassals, and now to be staged in over four years. Again Ash seemed uninterested in the story, and again I assumed it was merely the situation I myself had experienced countless times as a member of the working press, particularly as the news editor (1968-1969) of The Daily Record in Morristown, N.J. – too many stories, not enough news hole i.e. editorial space.
But then last summer, Ash threw all his weight behind the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. Of necessity given Hillary's arrogance, lies, corruption and most especially her Goldwater Girl ambition to be the first-ever conquer of Russia and therefore the personification of thermonuclear apocalypse, Ash began noticeably shifting the content of his website. Not only did he deliberately exclude reports critical of Hillary and her Democratic (sic) Party. He also began relying more and more on the material disseminated by the so-called “mainstream media.”
Owned as it is by the same One Percenters who own USian government at all levels, this “mainstream media” is in fact the world's first privately owned, for-profit, Josef-Goebbels-type ministry of propaganda.
Not surprisingly I began to wonder if Ash's rejections of my final Occupy story and all my post-Occupy story suggestions are more than mere journalistic coincidence – if indeed they are perhaps reflective of the same “neo-liberal” (aka fascist) anti-99-Percent bias that in the past year has become one of the ideological cornerstones not just of the present-day Democratic (sic) Party but of RSN as well.
THE CHINESE WARMASTER Sun Tzu observed 2,500 years ago that “all warfare is based on deception.” This is never more true than in class warfare which – because it is ultimately a fight to the death to determine who will be the predators and who will be their victims – is the most mercilessly vicious warfare of all time. Both sides employ tactics derived from strategies of deception. One such tactic, used by a tyrannical ruling class to identify, concentrate and neutralize its opponents, is to organize those opponents into false opposition movements.
Perhaps its ultimate example, pioneered by the Okhrana, the Tsarist secret police, is Father Gapon's Assembly of Russian Factory and Mill Workers of St. Petersburg. As Lev Bronstein aka Leon Trotsky famously remarked, “in every gathering of three or more revolutionaries, there is at least one agent of the Okhrana.” Likewise, the post-World-War-II Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA) was rumored to contain more agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the main USian secret police agency, than actual Communists. Since then, the creation of fake revolutionary cells and the subsequent arrest of their members has become a primary USian secret police tactic.
The practice of today's Democratic (sic) Party – spouting humanitarian rhetoric like “change we can believe in” while imposing genocidal cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and other socioeconomic services – is another tactic formulated from the same strategy of deception.
To be absolutely clear, I am not – say again NOT – accusing Ash of being a latter-day Father Gapon. But I am saying there's enough of a parallel between Gapon's betrayal of the Petrograd proletariat and RSN's abandonment of and increasing hostility toward the 99 Percent and their (our) hard-Left, invariably socialist, often Marxian advocates to prompt three pointed questions: (1)- When did RSN's now-undeniable alliance with the Hillaryite Democratic (sic) Party begin; (2)-What financial benefits, if any, has RSN received as a result; and (3)-Has RSN offered its services to, or has it been hired by, one or more of the USian secret police agencies as a Left-magnet – that is, a Gaponishka mechanism for identifying, cataloging and perhaps eventually disappearing those of us who are genuinely committed to resisting capitalist savagery.
RSN PUBLISHED SCOTT Galindez's “Our Opportunity in 2017” on 11 January. Another of Galindez's fanatically anti-Trump, implicitly pro-Hillary diatribes, the following quotes are taken directly from its text:
“The political revolution must be ready to... transform the Democratic Party...we have to defend progressive gains we’ve made over several decades...I don't believe all Trump supporters are racist, sexist bigots...Trump did convince working-class voters in the Rust Belt that he would bring back the factory jobs that bad trade deals drove out of the country. We have to win those voters back...We have to offer them an alternative that benefits their families. Every time Trump makes a move that threatens the quality of life of working people and the poor, we need to fight hard to stop him. Those fights are opportunities for us to reach new communities...we also must continue to fight for people of color, the LGBTQ community, and women. We don't want Donald Trump's America. We have come too far to let fearmongering take us backward.”
Like all effective wartime propaganda, Galindez's text is a seductive mixture of truth and falsehoods. The latter, designated above and below by bold italic, are glaring Big Lies. Given how the so-called “Reagan Democrats” embraced code-word Republicanism as an expression of their bigotry – the same hatefulness demonstrated by the 77 percent of white USians who refused to acknowledge the murderous racism in the Bush Regime's abandonment of post-Katrina New Orleans – there is no possible way to win those voters back, not even by an alternative that benefits their families. Among the irrefutable lessons of my nearly 77 years, 56 of which have been in journalism of one form or another, is that white racism and/or homophobia trumps all other considerations – no pun intended.
Because the Democratic (sic) Party is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wall Street, the notion any political revolution can transform the Democratic Party is not only a lie but a contradiction in terms – like arguing Nazism could have cured Germany of Antisemitism or the Ku Klux Klan could end USian racism.
Apart from a few identity-politics victories – pseudo-triumphs allowed only because they destroy the class solidarity essential to the struggle for economic democracy and therefore clandestinely serve our capitalist overlords – there have been absolutely no progressive gains...made over several decades. Galindez's claim is thus a picture-perfect example of the verbal sleight-of-hand by which he tries to conceal the Democratic (sic) Party's post-JFK history as the nation's chief betrayer of the 99 Percent. The last “progressive gain” was the U.S. Supreme Court's legalization of abortion in 1973. Since then there have been naught but defeats. Many of these debacles are deadly, as in the ruinously impoverishing (and therefore life-shortening) destruction of labor unions or the huge loss of reproductive health care. (The latter is the result of JesuNazi violence, murder included, that is tolerated by Democrats and encouraged by Republicans. As of last year it has left approximately 90 percent of the nation's counties – homes to about 40 percent of the nation's reproductive-age women – without abortion facilities.)
United in the tyranny of ever-more-obviously Nazified capitalist governance, the two parties are in fact a single Ruling Class entity that functions as a good-cop/bad-cop enforcement team. Thus Galindez's claim we (presumably the Democratic [sic] Party) also must continue to fight for people of color, the LGBTQ community, and women is deception of the first order; see for example The Family: the Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Governance (Jeff Sharlet; Harper: 2008), particularly pages 272-277. A vital companion-book – especially now that Trump's victory has given the JesuNazis absolute power, is American Fascists: the Christian Right and the War on America (Chris Hedges; Simon & Schuster: 2006); see also The Shock Doctrine: the Rise of Disaster Capitalism (Naomi Klein; Henry Holt and Company: 2007), most notably chapters 14 and 15. In truth the Democrats have been openly waging genocidal war on minority communities since President Bill Clinton's welfare-cutoff and mass-arrest laws were enacted during the 1990s. The Democratic (sic) Party's begrudging support for gay marriage climaxed years of outspoken opposition, and women – supposedly a favored Democratic (sic) constituency – were shafted both by Obama's sneaky gift to the anti-birth-control Christian fanatics and by his massive cuts in food stamps, its victims including millions of single-mother families.
Moreover there is the now-obvious impermanence of the identity-politics wins – especially since the Trump Regime intends to wage war against gay rights and to re-impose nationwide zero-tolerance marijuana prohibition by mass internments, first in the states where marijuana is legalized or decriminalized, with fatally long federal prison sentences for anyone who survives arrest and is so convicted. Thus Galindez's we have come too far is an especially egregious Big Lie, an attempt to hide the hideous truth we have been – and indeed are being – thrust so far backward, no recovery may be possible.
There is no question we have been in a Dark Age for many years – I would say at least since the murder of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy on 22 November 1963, maybe since the death of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on 12 April 1945. There is now no question it is about to get infinitely darker under Trump, just as it would have, albeit in different and perhaps more universally fatal ways, under Hillary. And history tells us such dark ages typically last 500 years or more – eternity for those who are born and die amidst the darkness.
IT WAS IN response to the shameless lies and deceptions asserted by “Our Opportunity in 2017” I fired off a comment-thread post in which I respectfully addressed Galindez as “Mr. Galindez” – a courtesy I always observe in such circumstances whether my reaction is positive or negative – and took him to task for his dishonesty.
I opened with the statement that transformation of the Democratic (sic) Party into a revolutionary organization was no more possible than the transformation of black widow spiders into household pets. I probably noted, much as I did above, that Galindez's ever-more-obvious support for identity politics was not only collaboration with the One Percenters and their Ruling Class vassals, but perpetuated the capitalist governance that had reduced the future of the Empire (and therefore the future of humanity and the planet) to a choice between two Hitlers: Hillary Hitler, who intended to try to conquer Russia via World War III, and Donald Hitler, who intended a new Holocaust as his Final Solution to the Empire's problems with minorities, women and poverty. I ended by pointing out that in such revolutionary times as these, one is either part of the problem or part of the solution, and Mr. Galindez's ideology clearly identified him as belonging to the former category.
Unfortunately my exact wording is lost because I did not save the comment as a word document. I had no reason to believe Ash would suppress it. But suppress it he did. And when I asked that my text be returned, he first ignored my request, than said returning it was impossible. Here is the resultant e-correspondence:
On 12-Jan-17 08:31, Marc Ash wrote:
Loren, Sorry man but we are tired of the personal attacks on our authors. Did not approve you comment condemning Scott. Sorry.
On 12-Jan -17 09:11 Loren Bliss wrote:
Firstly, please do me the courtesy of returning to me the text of what will be my last-ever attempt to comment via Reader Supported News. That comment was not a “personal attack"; it was legitimate criticism that has obviously been suppressed for its (bluntly truthful) response to Mr. Galindez's efforts as a Democratic (sic) Party identity-politics ideologue and therefore his (seemingly) inadvertent role as one of the facilitators of Trump's no-doubt-permanent transformation of the United States into a Nazi nation.
Actually the censored post was relatively restrained as I did not point out that Mr. Galindez's claim "we have to defend progressive gains we’ve made over several decades" is nearly as slick a Democratic (sic) Party Big Lie as "change we can believe in." Apart from one economically meaningless identity-politics victory, there have been no "progressive gains" in this country since the Supreme Court's legalization of abortion in 1973. Indeed the reverse is true: since 1973 there have been naught but skyrocketing progressive losses. Thus Mr. Galindez's claim is but another example of the Democrats' wantonly dishonest rewriting of history to sustain the especially egregious Big Lie the Democrats represent and/or defend progressive values.
In this context, that you would suppress any rebuttal of Mr. Galindez's falsehoods thus unmistakably redefines RSN's purpose, from its hitherto-professed function of speaking truth to power to its now painfully obvious goal of serving the One Percenters and their Ruling Class vassals by dissemination of the lies and maintenance of the charades – including those of Gapon-type pseudo-opposition – deemed essential to the expansion of capitalist governance, i.e., the uniquely USian brand of Nazism now emergent.
Secondly, and very regretfully, your imposition of censorship makes it impossible to avoid the conclusion you and RSN have become a Democratic (sic) Party asset and therefore too an asset of one or more of the nation's 17 secret police agencies. Thus RSN demonstrates an ever-more-obvious similarity to the functions of Father Gapon and his movement on behalf the Okhrana in Tsarist Russia. Thus too, the only valid question is no longer whether RSN so serves but for how long it has been so serving. As I said in the post you suppressed, in revolutionary times such as these, one is either part of the problem or part of the solution; though the extent of your cooperation with the secret police remains unknown, by your defense of the fascism-facilitating Democratic (sic) Party, you and RSN obviously fall into the former category.
Thirdly, given these givens – particularly your decision to escalate your pseudo-progressive facilitation of fascism – I can no longer in good conscience attempt to contribute to your website, particularly now it is obvious you will suppress any genuine dissent.
Please in this context and for future reference be advised I own the copyrights to the Occupy Tacoma photography I contributed to RSN c. 2011-2012 and will, through my ongoing membership in the National Writers Union, promptly take action against any violations thereof.
I am sorry this ends as it does. Though I am not surprised. I have yet to meet a bourgeois self-proclaimed "progressive" who is not invariably more faithful to the bourgeois ethos and is therefore ultimately a (typical) betrayer of genuinely progressive values.
On 12-Jan-17 09:45, Marc Ash wrote:
With all due respect, I’ve known Scott Galindez for 17 years. He is one of the most dedicated grass-roots organizers I have ever met. He has been arrested for going over the White House fence in a peace demonstration. He always defends the weak and the poor and he’s is not afraid to pay the price for doing it. Scott was at Vandenberg in 2002, NY in 2004, Crawford Texas in 2006. And a host of other places most so called activists will never go.
Enough is enough.
Founder Reader Supported News
On 12-Jan-17 12:19, Loren Bliss wrote:
As I requested in my last, please return to me the text of the suppressed post.
On 12-Jan-17 12:34, Marc Ash wrote:
My last name is spelled “Ash.”
The post was deleted by one of our admins. So we don’t have a copy.
Founder Reader Supported News
On 12-Jan-17 13:20, Loren Bliss wrote:
My apology for the misspelling. My fault entirely, particularly since
your name is spelled correctly in my address book. Had no intention of
making an Ashe of you, nor for that matter of myself.
Obviously I did not bother to note that no matter how many nationwide demonstrations Galindez might have participated in, it excused neither his identity politics nor the divisiveness so evoked. Nor did I note the obvious wealth – including the equally obvious question about its origins – that granted Galindez seemingly far greater mobility then the late, genuinely saintly Father William J. Bichsel S.J., a fellow alumnus of the Knox County Jail.
In this context I find it extremely interesting that Galindez seemingly shares not just Hillary's Democratic (sic) Party ideology; like Hillary, he also has Goldwater roots. Quoth RSN: “Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador's slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice...”
And then there is what the hatefully Hillaryite RSN poster screen-named Robbee said at 22:06 on 13 January 2017 in response to librarian 1984, one of the site's most knowledgeably articulate posters:
I request that RSN put a picture of a soothing landscape or mischievous kittens at the head of a Hayden article or, better yet, don't run any more. I have a visceral urge to regurgitate on seeing this repulsive individual.
we'll look into it!
while you're at it? any more requests?
Apparently Robbee – continuously red-thumbed as perhaps the most obnoxiously unreadable Hillaryite troll ever to invade RSN – is now one of Ash's censors. Robbee's emergence as a site authority plus Ash's viciously McCarthyite attack on investigative reporters Glenn Greenwald, Robert Parry and Ray McGovern, all of whom Ash attempts to smear as “Trump's enablers,” makes it obvious I'm well out of there. I'll miss the former RSN dialogue – especially with Radscal, economagic and librarian 1984 – but just as Ash said so dismissively to me, “enough is enough.”
LB/15 January 2016