Check out the STL Propaganda gallery! 5 new images! Use them as you see fit, Comrades!
Since I don’t have a real post for this Sunday (there is a post below from today), check out some of this “best of…” riot porn from over at Riot-Porn-Aesthetics over on Tumblr. I’ll be posting more occasionally. ACAB!!!
Due to personal reasons I have to miss posting anything substantial this week. But I would like to make a few observations before you go:
- For the next four years, Pres. Biden will not take up the minimum wage increase issue again. There are ways around the parliamentarian’s decision and yet the Dems do nothing. When Biden included the measure with the COVID-19 relief bill he knew it wouldn’t go through. He was just trying to deceive all of the progressives who came out to vote for him back in November 2020. And you know the GOP will do anything to pass their legislation. Why can’t the Democrats do the same on such a vital issue? Because our government does not care about us.
- I’ve been watching the CPAC conference this Saturday and the Trump-ist con-job is still on. Trump’s followers are speaking mistruth after mistruth in an effort to reach out to the non-college educated, blue-collar voter. And if you look at the numbers, it’s working. Watch some yourself over at C-SPAN and “know your enemy.”
- See Judas and The Black Messiah. I do not know if you will like the movie as an entertaining, Hollywood film, but it’s a good beginner’s look into the life of Fred Hampton and his demise. It’s in theatres now and it will be on HBO Max until Sunday, March 14. You can follow up with this great documentary, The Murder of Fred Hampton from 1971. The quality is not great but it’s not about the cinematography.
Good Morning, Comrades!
If you like our STL Image Gallery check out our Sparking The Left blog over at Tumblr. I’m posting a ton of great pics and memes from other cool blogs. Check it out!
Lastly, here’s the link to the updated STL gallery!
See ya Sunday!
Hey Comrades, Friends, Sisters and Brothers,
I am keeping up with our STL Twitter feed again at @LeftSparking. You can see some of the most recent posts below, or you can simply follow us on the Twitter app to receive tweets and retweets from STL during the week. Check it out!
The most respected modern far-leftist intellectual is Noam Chomsky. Chomsky is Institute Professor (emeritus) in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Laureate Professor of Linguistics and Agnese Nelms Haury Chair in the Program in Environment and Social Justice at the University of Arizona. He is also a historian, a social critic, and an activist, amongst many other important things. Chomsky completely rearranged my world view with a collection of his transcripts compiled from several of his talks entitled Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky . And I once felt that I could rely on him for infallible guidance as a radical leftist thinker. But I just recently found an interview Chomsky did with Canada’s National Observer published June 15th, 2020 that features a zoom call interview where he is described as proclaiming,
Voting for U.S. President Donald Trump is worse than voting for Hitler, Chomsky affirmed to interviewer Linda Solomon Wood, during a Canada’s National Observer-sponsored webinar in April. “Hitler was maybe the worst criminal in human history.” He wanted to murder millions of Jews, Slavs, Roma, homosexuals, others. “But what does Trump want to do? He wants to destroy the prospects for organized human life.”
Chomsky then explains that Trump is doing this horrible thing by destroying the environment with his policies, and that is what makes him worse than Hitler. (Check from minutes 9:32 to 14:00)
How can anyone possibly think that anyone in our modern age, much less former Pres. Donald J. Trump, rivalled Hitler’s criminality? That is the most insane argument I have ever heard. Yes, Trump will probably go down in history as the worst president the U.S. has ever had. And, yes, he tried to overturn Obamacare, gave huge tax cuts to corporations, and ripped kids from their parent’s arms and put them in cages. But Hitler? The Holocaust? The 25 million dead Russians? The destruction of Europe???
Chomsky then goes on to try and support his absurd claim by laying out an historical anecdote where he describes a document by the Nazi regime that was found. It read that even the Germans knew they had to stop the emission of greenhouse gases to protect the planet from overheating. And that is shocking. But worse than Hitler???
Sorry, Noam, Trump and the GOP do not want to intentionally destroy the entire system of organized life. They just have their heads completely in the sand about the global climate crisis due to business interests. The GOP takes three tracks in their thinking on the enviroment, either, A. climate change is not real, or, B. it is not a result of manmade greenhouse gas emissions, or, C. technology will provide us with a solution to the problem once the situation gets what they consider as out of hand. This is simple ignorance and a complete disregard for people’s lives in the interest of wealthy donors. And I am not absolving them from blame for future catastrophes. But it is not the killing of millions in an attempt to lord over the entirety of Europe!
Let it be said that even as enthusiastic radical leftists we cannot fall into the same trap Chomsky has. Sometimes we need to tone down the rhetoric, if you can believe I am saying that. Lenin and the other Bolsheviks were as radical as they come, yet they maintained reality. If not, they never would have kept the Revolution alive. And Marxism is a theoretical framework we believe in, and over-exaggerating does nothing to further the mechanics of it. Nor does it help the movement. Do you think most proletarians would think Chomsky is a complete kook if they heard the above claim? I am sure they would.
Just added five more images over at the STL Image gallery. Use them well!
Sorry about the late posting but here’s some new additions to the STL Image Gallery.
As promised, the return of the STL Propaganda Image Post of the week! This week has an ACAB theme with these five new ones.
Be back same day next week for more!
I believe that one of the most important political/cultural/social movements of the last ten years was the Arab Spring. Therefore, I thought it deserved the initial post here at the relaunch of STL. But as I tried to put something together as a coherent argument on something about it, I realized that I am at a loss. The way in which it did not substantially work for the better leaves me lost even after ten years. I have no sure feelings, beliefs, or convictions on the period, or what is now called the “Arab Winter.” I can say I was so hopeful at the time that it almost lent itself to elation, but now I feel nothing but such dense disappointment; almost hopelessness. I have read books, articles, and saw many documentaries and news pieces on this most important set of events, yet I cannot put my finger on any argument to be made. Maybe it’s because I am a Westerner; a Roman Catholic. Maybe it’s because I was not there on Cairo’s Tahrir Square, or the destroyed streets of Aleppo, or at the Libyan storm drain where Qaddafi was found and killed. Maybe it is because I do not want to believe something negative. I don’t know. But below is a strategy, something I hope that can salvage the movement using the stories of the those times. Maybe something to look to inspire the future.
Simply put, What happened between the end of 2010 and the end of 2020? My thoughts are scattered below:
Up until December 2010, the North African country of Tunisia was as typical of an Arab state as it gets: a history of empire and colonialism; a hopeful independence; a state-centered, socialist economy; a slide into dictatorship implemented through secret police (Feldman, 2020). This small, coastal nation on the Mediterranean Sea did not seem out of the ordinary in any way compared to its’ neighbors..
Then on December 17, 2010, a young Tunisian named Mohamed Bouazizi set himself afire to protest against police harassment. He died on January 4, 2011, but not before his gesture went viral, sparking protests against the country’s authoritarian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and the people’s poor economic situation. Ben Ali’s 23-year-rule ended 10 days later when he fled to Saudi Arabia, becoming the first leader of an Arab nation to be pushed out by popular protests. What happened next across the Arab world, what we now refer to the as the “Arab Spring,” followed something like this:
On January 25, 2011, thousands of Egyptians marched in Cairo, Alexandria, and other cities, demanding the departure of President Hosni Mubarak, who had been in power for 30 years. Then on February 11, as more than a million took to the streets, Mubarak resigned and handed control to the military.
The Muslim Brotherhood-linked government of Mohammed Morsi was then elected in 2012, but was overthrown the following year by the military led by the general, now president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
On February 15, in Bahrain, protesters took over the Pearl Square roundabout in the capital which they renamed “Tahrir Square”, and demanded a constitutional monarchy among other reforms. But their camp was stormed by riot police three days later, killing three people and injuring many.
The same day the Bahrain protests started, the Libyan police used force to break up a sit-in against the government in the second city, Benghazi. The country’s leader Muammar Gaddafi pledged to hunt down the “rats” opposing him. The uprising turned into a civil war with French, British and American air forces intervening against Gaddafi. On October 20, 2011, Gaddafi was captured and killed in his home region of Sirte by rebels who found him hiding in a storm drain. The country is now split between rival eastern and western-based administrations.
On March 6, a dozen teenagers tagged the wall of their school in southern Syria with “Your turn, doctor”, referring to President Bashar al-Assad, a trained ophthalmologist. The torture of the youths sparked mainly peaceful protests at first, and calls for democratic reform. But with violent repression by the government, the revolt turned into civil war. Syria’s war also contributed to the rise of the ISIL (ISIS) group and renewed conflict in neighboring Iraq, culminating in a genocidal attack on minorities in the north of the country.
On October 23, 2011, Tunisians streamed to the polls for their first free election, in which members of the Ennahdha movement triumph.
On February 27, 2012, Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh, who had ruled for 33 years, handed power to his deputy Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, after a year of protests. The Arab world’s poorest country, Yemen also descended into violence following initial protests.
Russia, who with Iran is al-Assad’s biggest ally, started air attacks against Syrian rebels on September 30, 2015, changing the course of the war. After 10 years of fighting, which left 380,000 dead, al-Assad was able to claim significant victories.
Ten years after Tunisia, It all seems for nothing when put together like that, does it not? All those aspirations for a more liberal-democratic pan-Arab region. A Guardian-YouGov poll published on December 17 even finds that a majority of populations of nine countries across the Arab world feel they are living in significantly more unequal society today than before the Arab Spring. And read here about Bouazizi’s legacy in his own country.
But maybe not all is lost. Let’s look at some social movement theory from Han and Wuk Ahn (2020) that may pick up the Arab Spring up from the canvas someday:
“Studies of social movements have benefited from the examination of narratives. Social movements are defined as networks of informal interactions between a plurality of individual, groups, and/or organizations engaged in political or cultural conflicts, on the basis of shared collective identities. Activists use stories to make sense of the reality surrounding them, motivate collective action by forging collective policymaking. Narratives unite participants in social movements and are utilized as tools. To be effective…social movements should not just mobilize financial and human resources, utilize political opportunities, and present solid transition plans but should also adopt effective frames. Narratives provide actors with tools to turn themselves into heroes with a powerfully mobilizing identity when they lack established organizations or coherent ideologies . Narratives translate feelings of shame and individual responsibility into feelings of empowerment, efficacy, and entitlement.”
So maybe the people of the Mid-East will someday be able to launch a new uprising, one taken from the stories of the those contentious politics that have occurred over the last decade. At this point, I admit I really do not know. I feel as if I’m just clinching at straws to pull something positive out of it all, something positive in this Arab Winter.
What do you think? Leave comments below.
Here is a good video piece from Al-Jazeera I find particularly moving that centers on the professional and amateur reporters who documented the movement. Maybe those reports and films will serve to inspire those of the next Arab Spring, if it ever occurs.