Propaganda Wars.

Written By: - Date published: 11:19 am, August 10th, 2018 - 30 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, capitalism, class war, International, Left, liberalism, news, Politics, privatisation, Propaganda, war - Tags: , ,

We are applying these sanctions against essentially all Russian state-owned or state-funded enterprises. That’s potentially a very great sweep of the Russian economy in terms of the potentially affected end users,” a senior official said. “It may be that something on the order of 70% of their economy and maybe 40% of their workforce falls within those enterprises.”

And with that, social democrats and anyone who believed that the state should provide public services within a capitalist framework got up in arms; liberalism had over-stretched itself.

Then I woke up…

If we look at recent military escapades of the US and EU (through NATO or otherwise) we can see an obvious pattern involving the “taking out” of states that have a healthy public sector – Libya, Iraq, Syria…

And if we look at the multiple free trade deals around the world, they involve locking in the private sector and hobbling any government that might attempt to bring services back into the public sector (those Investor State Dispute Settlement clauses that revolve around lost profit, or claims around loss of potential profit for the private sector.)

Meanwhile, in Europe we have the EU that proscribes any government from bidding for any domestic contract in any service that has been privatised. That isn’t a mere detail contributing to Jeremy Corbyn’s ambivalence towards the EU. Without some form of Brexit, a future Labour Government would be unable to bring public services and utilities, such as railways, water or electricity generation back under public ownership.

On that front, the Tory’s have signaled a willingness to offer some kind of lock down on any future private/public ownership front as a bargaining chip in their Brexit fiasco. They’ve also refused to exclude throwing the NHS onto the table in any future trade talks with the US.

In a New Zealand context, there’s the example of water, drawn up in Ad’s post from today –  “Who Protects us from Water Companies?” Maybe the question ought to be along the lines of “Who is going to protect us from Liberal Capitalism?” Successive New Zealand government, like governments in many other countries, have willfully signed up for a series of “lock down” scenarios called “Free Trade Deals”.

Something’s got to give.

The sanctions being landed on the Russian Federation’s public sector isn’t anything to do with people called Skripnal or chemical toxins – those are mere pretexts that the State Department used to by-pass any need for Presidential approval. In reality, the sanctions are just the latest round of an ideological crusade of liberal capitalism that, it seems, has an insatiable appetite for open markets and privatisation, driven and informed by a certain moral exceptionalism.

I could be wrong. I could be utterly wrong.

Perhaps there is some other commonality, besides liberal economic ideology, that would or could explain why no sanctions are ever levied against states like Israel or Indonesia; states that may be abhorrent, but that have embraced the basic tenets of liberal capitalism?

Maybe something else could explain why only countries in the middle east that had a healthy public sector (free education, health care etc…ie, economies closed to private investment) were bombed to the stone age and/or subjected to onerous sanctions regimes?

Maybe something else could explain the dodgy dealings pertaining to ex-Soviet republics and satellite states such that even overtly fascist governments are supported or tolerated (eg – the Ukraine, Hungary…) as long they bend the knee to liberal dogma and open domestic markets to “western” corporations and investments? – Which of course, they all do.

And maybe something else lies behind the various US funding of and support for dodgy domestic elites in countries like Brazil, or the sanctions and coup attempts in Venezuela or the endless negative press on Nicaragua?

And maybe countries like Columbia and El Salvador, if press coverage or the lack thereof is anything to go by, and if the lack of coup attempts is anything to go by, and if the absence of sanctions is anything to go by, really are veritable little Shangri-las where nothing bad worth reporting ever happens?

30 comments on “Propaganda Wars.”

  1. soddenleaf 1

    Capitalism, in its present form is eating the world several times over. Neolibs, at its core plays on the nothing to see here since the market will deliver. Just look at Keys legacy, Fletchers, now Fonterra, when govts dont govern. Key neolib legacy rip large.

  2. Pat 2

    maybe…and ‘maybe’ would also explain a reluctance by social democratic parties to stray too far from the fold.

    • Bill 2.1

      Well, the capture of our representative political processes might be said to come with a ball and chain made in a foreign country’s factory with cheap labour, lax regulations and high profit margins. And beside the “made in elsewhere” label, there’s the contents one that boasts “not less than x% liberal!”.

      The global war engaged in by liberal ideologues, and that’s taking place across multiple fronts and at several levels, certainly explains the endless onslaught meted out to the Corbyn’s and other assorted social democrats and socialists of this world.

      I should say “maybe”, not “certainly” 😉

      • Pat 2.1.1

        Captured in many cases I suspect by fear rather than intent….it really is nothing more than a common everyday power struggle….the less power the more struggle.

  3. Adrian Thornton 3

    Yes it is a war of ideologies.

    Unfortunately, I believe that the liberal ideology has (unwittingly?) tapped deep into the a powerful negative human instinct, greed, and when that instinct is allowed to breath. it grows and takes hold fast in the human coincidence and seems very hard to move once embedded.

    I know that many good progressive that I have known over the years have lost all their real fight once they made a bit of capital gain on flipping a house or what ever, and now seem happy to just let the status quo wash over them like a warm bath.

    In my humble view, a progressive movement has to pretty much abandon it’s energies trying to enlist the middle classes, the ones who will some on board will come on board any way, and the ones who won’t, won’t , that divide has already been well established, look at the UK..so we need to stop wasting our energies in that regard, and instead actively create a platform that the disenfranchised missing million can believe in and want to actually fight for.

    To bad Labour isn’t in a position ideologically to take on this task in any kind of authentic way…and that is the key, whom ever can take us on a progressive way forward has to be completely authentic…like Jeremy Corbyn is, Bernie Sanders is and Helen Kelly was.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      Unfortunately, I believe that the liberal ideology has (unwittingly?) tapped deep into the a powerful negative human instinct, greed, and when that instinct is allowed to breath. it grows and takes hold fast in the human coincidence and seems very hard to move once embedded.

      There’s research around that shows that we need only about US$20,000 to live comfortably on. That would cover all the expenses and leave enough left over for socialising etc.

      How many people would accept an income of only $20,000 per year?

      I know that many good progressive that I have known over the years have lost all their real fight once they made a bit of capital gain on flipping a house or what ever, and now seem happy to just let the status quo wash over them like a warm bath.

      I’m pretty sure that happens a hell of a lot of the time. Older people are more likely to be conservatives.

      In my humble view, a progressive movement has to pretty much abandon it’s energies trying to enlist the middle classes, the ones who will some on board will come on board any way, and the ones who won’t, won’t , that divide has already been well established, look at the UK..so we need to stop wasting our energies in that regard, and instead actively create a platform that the disenfranchised missing million can believe in and want to actually fight for.

      I’d agree but we’d lose the million that already vote for us – or at least a large portion of them. People are scared of change especially if the Tories tell everyone that they’ll be worse off.

      • Adrian Thornton 3.1.1

        “I’d agree but we’d lose the million that already vote for us – or at least a large portion of them. People are scared of change especially if the Tories tell everyone that they’ll be worse off.”

        I am not so sure that we would lose a million or even half of the people that vote Labour already, of course what we would need is a some pretty sharp people in the propaganda department to run a small well targeted ‘guilt tinged’ campaign to help bring in a few of the strays. 🤣 ( that was the first and last emoji that I will ever use, just had to try it once).
        Also Labour UK have shown that if you can mobilize a large youth vote, they bring in other family members…probably quite a few of the older middle class progressives who have just got politically lazy (or greedy) one would hope?

      • Pat 3.1.2

        The problem is not the income per se, its where it comes from and how its spent. We could provide the income as long as we didnt desire goods/services offshore….that is not politically acceptable to the overwhelming majority….nor is significant restriction on that offshore spend (currently)

        one simple case in point

        https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/2018657048/survival-of-the-richest-rich-access-drugs-pharmac-won-t-fund

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.2.1

          A person shouldn’t have to be able to afford expensive drugs as they should be available through the state health system.

          • Pat 3.1.2.1.1

            indeed they are ….and where does the state health system access them from….and the funds to purchase them?

            • Draco T Bastard 3.1.2.1.1.1

              In the first place – our own R&D and manufactures and then offshore as needed.

              And a government can always fund everything. Wealth, contrary to what the rich want us to think, does not come from the private sector.

              • Pat

                Bills post highlights the result of attempting to operate in opposition/outside the contemporary paradigm….the drug story highlights one benefit that is expected (demanded?) by NZ society that requires our interaction with that paradigm….you claim we dont need that interaction but I suggest to you you will never convince anything approaching a majority view that supports you when the mere fact that some of the latest medications are available in Australia and not here creates such a response.

                We could provide the necessities for existence without the interaction but it would only ever be acceptable if there was no alternative.

                Isolated societies fall behind incredibly fast….even if they dont lose huge numbers of talented population moving to greener fields….you may disagree or consider that a positive but I suspect you know in your heart of hearts its not going to appeal to many as an option.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  I never advocate isolation.

                  I advocate development of the economy such that we can stand on our own two feet. That we can stand the loss of a ‘trading partner’ if shit happens which it invariably does.

                  As long as we have an excess of something (Excess being defined as local demand being met) then we can export what’s left. If we can export then we can purchase from off shore.

                  But in exporting we need to look at exporting serious value added stuff rather than bulk primary produce. This will use less resources while allowing us to afford higher value imports.

                  • Pat

                    I think you advocate isolation by default ( and if I had the energy Im sure I could find posts from you that do advocate isolation even if only by inference) as that which you do advocate can only result in isolation…but even so the theme of the post is the isolation of those that seek to operate outside the paradigm

    • Hongi Ika 3.2

      JK motto “Greed is Good?’

  4. koreropono 4

    Excellent OP Bill! Meanwhile a good portion of the sheeple confuse Liberalism with progressiveness. There’s nothing progressive about such an individualistic doctrine.

  5. SPC 5

    Sure, any reform of water here should have as a focus retaining our sovereignty. A similar concern in regard to other areas of the economy, to retain, or return to greater sovereignty.

    You are right that the PNAC programme was to take out the oil producing socialist states and usher in the era of the global market capital domination.

    The neocons would appreciate the current targeting of the state owned assets of Russia – the message it sends is that only the internationally/privately owned economy is free to trade. Which speaks to FTA terms.

    At the moment we are seeing war by economic means on Iran, afterwards there will be the last one standing, China, to be confronted.

    • Hongi Ika 5.1

      Neoliberalism = Theft of State Assets by the Global Elite.

      The Natzis didn’t have a clue ?

  6. adam 6

    The bit that really gives me pause, is how easy it is for people to then support wars and violence, as a ‘natural’ outcome of this ideology.

  7. SPC 7

    And coincidently the EU says it will abide by Trump’s request to buy more gas from the USA to reduce dependence on Russian gas.

  8. Philj 8

    Thank you Bill.
    The rich ‘consumer’ countries, must learn how to consume less. The poorer countries not be exploited by the aforementioned, and given a fair ‘New Deal’. The only other non option is massive depopulation. It’s not the economy stupid, it’s survival stupid.

  9. corodale 9

    Yes, well surmised article.

    NATO being (slightly) over-professional regarding their strategic corporate control of the world’s infrastructure, industry and finance.

    A bit more RnR and time with family? How many dedicated professionals still find time for arts n culture? Similar problems in organic farming sector, it’s fully intensive under the competitive model. Would I be wrong to put some of the blame on Darwin? Diverging from God’s cooperative creation model?

    If only NATO was run by Christians, and not Satanists. Seems to be a failure of human resources, yet again. Bill Hicks joked about marketing, but ya can substitute that for corporate HR. “Yo! NATO HR, go suck a tale pipe!”

  10. D'Esterre 10

    Bill: “Maybe something else could explain the dodgy dealings pertaining to ex-Soviet republics and satellite states such that even overtly fascist governments are supported or tolerated (eg – the Ukraine, Hungary…) as long they bend the knee to liberal dogma and open domestic markets to “western” corporations and investments? – Which of course, they all do.

    And maybe something else lies behind the various US funding of and support for dodgy domestic elites in countries like Brazil, or the sanctions and coup attempts in Venezuela or the endless negative press on Nicaragua?”

    I doubt it. I think you’ve nailed it. It’s good to see a piece of this nature, on this blogsite. I’m an old Leftie. I am teased about it by family members who’ve grown up in – and know nothing but – the neoliberal experiment. But I’m baffled by the rabid, frothing anti-Russia invective, and the uncritical acceptance of the longstanding US neocon project, that I see here. Have people forgotten history, or do they simply not know it?

    There’s plenty of anti-Trump rhetoric, of course. But surely those paying attention to what’s happened worldwide, and a fortiori what the US has been doing, at least since WW2, would realise that Trump isn’t their – or our – problem? He’s awful, of course. But all presidents in my longish lifetime have been variably awful: he’s no worse than any of them. Certainly no worse than his predecessor. Judge presidents by what they do, not what they say; at least Trump hasn’t started another war or regime change project anywhere. Though that certainly isn’t the fault of the Washington Establishment.

    “Columbia”

    Just an editor’s note: the country is “Colombia”.

  11. Jum 11

    My Mother, English and a staunch Labour supporter; she saw the greed way back, both in UK and in NZ. To even imagine the UK would sell out their own people re the NHS shows just how low that governing body of any stripe has become.
    Contemptible is the political globe that seeks to destroy our rights.

  12. Philj 12

    When things are coming undone people will not know what to think or where to run. Sounds a lot like the current global situation. Oh wait, I have a final solution …

  13. Hongi Ika 13

    It’s a prity f$%ked up world we live in these days ?

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