Category Archives: Writings

Merry Stalinsmas, one and all!

December 21st, 2011

This is the Espresso Stalinist, wishing you all a wonderful Stalinsmas. May we all show each other the comradely love and exhibit revolutionary fervor. This is the true meaning of Stalinsmas.

Keep Stalinsmas a time of celebration, love, revolution and socialism!

Merry Stalinsmas, one and all!

Junk food as ‘Addictive as Drugs’ – Why Junk Food is Addictive

“When researchers electronically stimulated the part of the brain that feels pleasure, they found that the rats on unlimited junk food needed more and more stimulation to register the same level of pleasure as the animals on healthier diets.”

Junk food is almost as addictive as heroin, scientists have found.

A diet of burgers, chips, sausages and cake will programme your brain into craving even more foods that are high in sugar, salt and fat, according to new research.

Over the years these junk foods can become a substitute for happiness and will lead bingers to become addicted.

Dr Paul Kenny, a neuroscientist, carried out the research which shows how dangerous high fat and high sugar foods can be to our health .

“You lose control. It’s the hallmark of addiction,” he said.

The researchers believe it is one of the first studies to suggest brains may react in the same way to junk food as they do to drugs.

“This is the most complete evidence to date that suggests obesity and drug addiction have common neuro-biological foundations,” said Paul Johnson, Dr Kenny’s work colleague.

Dr Kenny, who began his research at Guy’s Hospital, London, but now works at Florida’s Scripps Research Institute, divided rats into three groups for his research, due to be published in teh US soon.

One got normal amounts of healthy food to eat. Another lot was given restricted amounts of junk food and the third group was given unlimited amounts of junk, including cheesecake, fatty meat products, and cheap sponge cakes and chocolate snacks.

There were no adverse effects on the first two groups, but the rats who ate as much junk food as they wanted quickly became very fat and started bingeing.

When researchers electronically stimulated the part of the brain that feels pleasure, they found that the rats on unlimited junk food needed more and more stimulation to register the same level of pleasure as the animals on healthier diets.

28 Oct 2009

Source

“The right combination of tastes triggers a greater number of neurons, getting them to fire more. … The message to eat becomes stronger, motivating the eater to look for even more food. … “

Why junk food really is addictive

Ice cream and chocolate bars are addictive because the mix of ingredients in them activates our “bliss point”, according to Professor David Kessler, a leading scientist.

By Ben Leach
Telegraph
29 Jun 2009

Snacks, cereals and ready meals can trigger the brain in the same way as tobacco, according to the former head of America’s food standards watchdog.

Professor Kessler, ex-commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), claims that manufacturers have created combinations of fat, sugar and salt that are so tasty many people cannot stop eating them even when full.

Living near fast food restaurants ‘increases obesity risk’ He argues that manufacturers are seeking to trigger a “bliss point” when people eat certain products, leaving them hungry for more.

“It is time to stop blaming individuals for being overweight or obese,” he said. “The real problem is we have created a world where food is always available and where that food is designed to make you want to eat more of it. For millions of people, modern food is simply impossible to resist.”

While at the FDA, Prof Kessler was well known for his criticism of the tobacco industry, which he accused of manipulating cigarettes to make them even more addictive.

In a new book, The End of Overeating, he suggests precise combinations of fat, sugar, salt and texture have been used by foods manufacturers to make products “hyper-palatable”.

Heinz tomato ketchup and Starbucks white chocolate mocha Frappuccino are cited as examples of the thousands of modern foods that have been engineered to stimulate feelings of pleasure.

“The right combination of tastes triggers a greater number of neurons, getting them to fire more,” he said. “The message to eat becomes stronger, motivating the eater to look for even more food.”

“Many of us have what’s called a ‘bliss point’ – the point at which we get the greatest pleasure from sugar, fat or salt. As more sugar [and fat or salt] is added, food becomes more pleasurable until we reach the bliss point, after which it becomes too sweet and the pleasure drops off.”

Prof Kessler, who ran the FDA from 1990 to 1997 and is now professor of paediatrics, epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, added that at the optimum point, food stimulates many people’s appetites instead of suppressing it.

Source

The Fascist Hungarian Counterrevolution of 1956

Western liberal states often use anti-communism as a means of keeping the people in line. Most of the time they don’t dare openly support any fascist movement, but many times they do so covertly. Such is the case with the fascist rebellion of 1956 in Hungary.

In making their analysis of the events in Hungary, we cannot neglect the reactionary, fascist and anti-Semitic nature of the revolts, nor can we neglect to mention the opportunist policy of the leadership of the Soviet Union in betraying socialism. The “anti-Stalinism” of the 20th Congress of the CPSU emboldened fascists everywhere. The bourgeois forces which gained power in 1990 now consider 1956 their historical ideal. This ideal is now the basis for the whole political and ideological system of capitalist Hungary. It also constitutes the main means of the present-day anti-communist propaganda.

One of the main tendencies of the anti-communist propaganda is an attempt to prove that communism was alien to the nature of the Hungarian people and that the Eastern Bloc period could come only because it was imposed upon Hungary from outside.

From the above follows one of the most widespread directions of the anti-communist attack – they try to prove that in the 1956-58 years, the “communist regime” implemented savage reprisal against the heroes of the “revolution and war for independence” and even against ordinary Hungarian people. According to the propaganda, 400 people were executed, 21 668 were sentenced to imprisonment, 16-18 000 were interned for participating in the revolution. In reality there can be no doubt that it was a counter-revolution aimed against socialism. The aim was to overthrow the system and restore the bourgeois system which existed before 1945.

President Bush issued a proclamation honoring the 1956 Hungarian Revolution:

“The story of Hungarian democracy represents the triumph of liberty over tyranny. In the fall of 1956, the Hungarian people demanded change, and tens of thousands of students, workers, and other citizens bravely marched through the streets to call for freedom. Though Soviet tanks brutally crushed the Hungarian uprising, the thirst for freedom lived on, and in 1989 Hungary became the first communist nation in Europe to make the transition to democracy.”

Events in Hungary made it clear that, with the assistance of the United States, a reactionary underground movement had been organized in Hungary which had exploited the difficulties and shortcomings in the work of state organs in Hungary in order to mislead certain sections of the people.

In response to an appeal by the Hungarian Government, Soviet military units located in Hungary in conformity with the Warsaw Treaty, had gone to the help of the Hungarian forces and the Hungarian workers. The Nagy Government collapsed, and a revolutionary Workers and Peasants Government had been formed, including several Ministers of the Nagy Government. The Government declared that all communiations from Nagy were invalid and had reiterated the Hungarian Government’s objections to discussion of the situation in the UN.

The anniversary of the rebellion and became a national holiday celebrations are funded by the Hungarian state. All the heinous crimes committed by the fascists are now completely forgiven and forgotten. Participants (all war criminals, murderers, torturers and thugs) are now being deified.

Examples include Bela Kiraly

A supporter of the pro-Nazi Hungarian regime before liberation by the Soviets, and of course fought alongside Hitler in the war. After the victory, he received a pardon from Stalin and was even allowed to enter the Communist Party of the country. Comrade Stalin even gave him a post in the army. But this worm Nazi pretty soon prove their ingratitude. In 1956, betrayed their values​again. But, again had to suffer the bitter taste of defeat. Humiliated and hated, he fled westward, where, for the third consecutive time, betrays its values.

The former Nazi, a former Communist and ex-fascist became a supporter of Western regimes. After 1991, this coward, Nazi turncoat, hypocrite and a traitor, returns to Hungary, where the new system allows you the greatest rewards. He was proclaimed a”hero”and was appointed the leader of the rebellion of the celebration committee.

And while the fascist thugs been immersed in the privileges and luxuries of the new Nazi era, we see the people suffer renazistificação. People were being persecuted by the color of their clothes (to wear a red star is enough to send someone to prison) while the local CP suffers persecution and threats of being banned. All communists are suffering a series of attacks.

The major culprit of the rebellion?

The traitor Imre Nagy. The man who decided to lead the rebellion. And what is worse, said he was doing in the name of socialism. This man is treated as a hero today by the new Hungarian regime. They even built a statue for him. Why would a regime that openly opposes communism would support a “communist” as he?

However, the ferocity of the regime does not end here. They took a further step with a direct attack on historical truth. The fascist rebellion was called ”democratic.” The events that prove their fascist nature were silenced. As for the Nazis who led the rebellion, they were all supporters of the Hungarian regime that led the country into World War II. They are the ones who fled to the West for fear of being humiliated by the communists. They are the rich, bourgeois and landowners who financed Hitler’s rise and provided everything necessary for German imperialism.

They are the ones who made anti-Semitic pogroms that led to the Holocaust.

Imre Nagy did everything by fascism in the name of socialism (obviously he lied). He allowed communist statues to be vandalized, communist symbols were desecrated, Soviet flags were burned, and even said he was doing in the name of socialism.

The fascists massacred all they could be a possible threat to a Hungary based on the values​of “God, country, family.” During the cold war, the fascists claimed that the Soviets killed 30,000. Later it was discovered that only 4,000 died. Once again, the fascists were lying.

The rebellion, however, has endurance. While the fascists bound, tortured and executed those who wanted, who had decided to resist? Many farmers – nearly 40% of the population – have decided not to support the rebellion. The result: a bloodbath. These events are, however, silenced. The fascists managed to hide much of the evidence, just a few pictures were saved to remind us of their crimes.

The legendary Ivan Konev

Ivan Konev, Marshal who marched from Russia to Berlin to Budapest and from Russia – is now considered a villain. While the fascists were called “liberators” and fascist rebellion was called REVOLUTION!

It’s time to unmask this”revolution”- still used today as an example to Trotskyists as resistance to Stalinism”and”rednecks”as an example of fighting communism”

Source

More on Right-Wing Hedonism

Postmodernists chafe against all forms of what they call “the norm” except moral equivalences. Postmodernists may rebel against this or that societal expectation, but no matter what they rebel against, they never cease to compare things that aren’t comparable and insist that everything is relative. One example is their perception of violence as being “all bad,” and thus magically a slave rebellion becomes “just as bad” as John McCain dropping bombs on Vietnamese. Oddly, this “moral equivalency” argument is one of the top weapons of the US ruling class, but the postmodernists use it nonetheless. This leads to pacifism, of course. They would make a world entirely out of things being all the same, all people having “rights” and being “equal,” even while they insist Postmodernism sometimes leads to pacifism (fascifism), but sometimes it also leads to right-wing hedonism.

The bedrock of the right-wing hedonist worldview is that people are too stiff, too shallow and too uptight to be damned properly, and perhaps if a human soul can muster some eye-catching depravity, they can be an exceptionally interesting being and leave a mark behind. Good, it announces, is easy while evil is unique. For a few particular souls, the path of debauchery and drinking deep the bitter dregs of human experience becomes as saintly as your typical crucifixion, in a different way of course. This isn’t even some sort of wallowing in degradation to pass through it like a baptism by fire, or some plucky fantasy about walking through hell in order to deepen existence. Rather, it is a seeking of one’s own ruin in order to obtain the “ultimate” carnal knowledge, indifferent to such concepts as good and evil in the first place.

Obviously it’s a mistake to believe that any sort of authority, regulation or limitation is restrictive. In fact such delusion should have died with the crass Romanticist era. Anyone who feels “oppressed” by a healthy bureaucracy in the form of an organization must be terribly insecure, or at least oversensitive. Right-wing hedonism is the chief sign of a petty-bourgeois intellectual who has overdosed on reality and is now dumb enough, hopefully temporarily, to believe that whatever breaks a norm is politically radical.

Right-Wing Hedonism

What hedonists and postmodernists revived and kept alive in the deeply conservative and libertarian writings of Anton LaVey and the Marquis De Sade probably like about perverted, forbidden things is their hostility to the commonplace.

To Ayn Rand life is selfish, rational egoism. People who are steeped in the orthodox myths of religion naturally find their fascination in the conception of outlawed horror. Such people take the idea of “sin” seriously and of course, drink in the dark allurement.

People like myself, with a materialist view of history, see little charm in things banned by religiousity. We recognize the primitiveness of religious attitude and thus find no element of attractive devil’s dance in the wholesale violation of its morality insofar as the action does not inherently cause fun within itself outside of such “sin.”

Meanwhile, the filth and perversion to which De Sade and LaVey’s obscenely orthodox minds visit upon their own universes seems like nothing more than a profound maladjustment, no more enlightening or interesting than a bout of fever.

Now that the veil of hocus-pocus mystery has been ripped away from such carnal things by science, they are no longer sufficient distraction for the human being as a producer. We seek to produce new things outside of the carnal, which is merely a side-dish as of now. We must be obliged to hunt settings and constructions beyond the new designs for Caligula’s bedroom.

TDKP: On September 11 and a new wave of attacks by reactionary forces

The 11 September attack on the USA caused the death of thousands of innocent people. There is no doubt that this attack is indefensible as far as the peoples of the world are concerned. However, equally clear is the fact that this attack is the fruit of the situation which has been imposed by the US-led imperialism onto the peoples of the world, a situation characterised by hunger, poverty, degrading and inhuman conditions. It is not surprising to see such actions being reaped by imperialist aggression which has been shedding the blood and getting the “curse” of millions of oppressed people. The US imperialism is harvesting what it had sown. Therefore, the people of America must question the reasons why they had to go through all this, and surely they will.

With a mind of an ambitious merchant, the US-led imperialist states are trying to use terror and sorrow for their own purpose. They considered the 11 September attack as an opportunity and launched a campaign of a broad offensive and expansion in the name of “fight against terrorism”. Yet, it is imperialism itself that feeds terrorism, in such an ironic way that it becomes self-destructing.

In the aftermath of a short-lived shock and panic, US imperialists first declared war against an unknown enemy, then launched an investigation to “identify” it. For the time being, American reactionary forces are using Osama Bin Laden in order to divide the groupings that had been formed against itself in Asia, thus have greater influence in the region. The US is trying to take Afghanistan into its sphere of influence since it is a country which borders the region of a rich source of energy. It is doing this with the excuse of getting Bin Laden whom it now holds responsible for the 11 September attack. However, it is a well-known fact that the US once supported him against Russia, but ironically he got out of hand later. It seems that Afghanistan on its own does not satisfy the American reactionary forces, as they make a list of the countries which “harbour terrorism” in order to attack them.

Although it may seem that an “international coalition against terrorism” is being formed through a spinning “diplomatic traffic”, what is in fact taking place is negotiations with an agenda for redivision. Furthermore, in a matter of a week, the so-called “fight against the war that had been launched against the civilised world” has also begun to have an element of the “fight” among the “civilised world” itself. In this respect “international coalition against terrorism” is nothing more than a lie. The only “coalition” one can talk of is the agreement of big imperialist powers on the necessity to intimidate the oppressed peoples.

The reactionary forces of Turkey, an American ally and a member of NATO, have hastily declared their “support” for US imperialism. Turkey can easily be dragged into the war, not only because of the American base in Incirlik but also because of it being America’s “trusted friend”, the closest one to possible “American targets”. The collaborators in our country see the war as a medicine for their incurable illnesses. However, it is obvious that such an adventure would only bring suffering to the peoples of Turkey and of the region. Although a war adventure may seem as a “way out” to the troubled ruling classes, it would probably worsen their problems, up to the point of their overthrow. However, it would also help, even if temporarily, to distance the working masses, who have been suffering in the hands of poverty and unemployment, from their demands.

Some of the consequences of the 11 September attack have already shown themselves in the rising wave of reactionary forces. With their attempts to pass “anti-terror laws” and restrictions on bourgeois democracy, reactionary forces, especially in advanced capitalist countries, are trying to gain new positions.

On the other side of the coin, however, we see a process of rising sensitivity and awakening on the part of the workers and labourers of the advanced capitalist countries. This is a process that they have been pushed into with the events of 11 September. In these countries what is rising is not only the demand for peace but also the tendency among the progressive forces and intellectuals to question, in a self-critical manner, their lives and the relations of their countries with other parts of the world, how they had become accustomed to injustice, inequality and oppression in the world, and why they had kept silent.

There is no doubt that the events of 11 September have marked a turning point in terms of political relations in the world. Although this turning point is clearly reflected on the concrete forms that domestic policies of advanced capitalist countries are taking, its reflection on foreign policy is not as yet clear. What is also obvious even today is the fact that imperialist aggression will create its opposite, which will be embodied in the anger and struggle of the peoples.

The workers and working people of Turkey must intensify their struggle against the politics of imperialists and their collaborators. This is necessary to win their demands against imperialist globalisation and to keep away from the calamities of a war.

40 Helpful Tips for Becoming a Successful Anti-Communist

by J. Slavyanski of the APL

1. Constantly insist that Marxism is discredited, outdated, and totally dead and buried. Then proceed to build a lucrative career on beating that supposedly ‘dead’ horse for the rest of your working life.

2. Remember, any unnatural death that occurs under a ‘Communist’ regime is not only attributable to the leaders of the state, but also Marxism as an ideology. Ignore deaths that occur for the same reason in non-Communist states.

3. Communism or Marxism is whatever you want it to be. Feel free to label countries, movements, and regimes as ‘Communist’ regardless of things like actual goals, stated ideology, diplomatic relations, economic policy, or property relations.

4. If there was a conflict involving Communists, the conflict and all ensuing deaths can be laid at the feet of Communism. Be careful when applying this to WWII. Fascist movements who fought against the Soviets or Communist partisans are fine, but try not to openly praise Nazi Germany. Save that for private conversations if you must do so.

5. You decide what Marxism “really means”, and who the rightful representatives of Communism were. Feign interest that Trotsky was somehow robbed of power by Stalin, despite the fact that you hate him as well.

6. Constantly talk about George Orwell. Quote from Animal Farm or 1984. Do not worry about the fact that Orwell never set foot in the Soviet Union and both of those books are novels.

7. Quote massive death tolls without regards to demographics or consistency. 3 million famine deaths? 7 million? 10 million? 100 million deaths total? You need not worry about anyone checking your work, which is good for you seeing that you probably haven’t done any.

8. Everyone ever arrested under a Communist regime was most likely innocent of any crime. Communists only arrested harmless poets and political prophets who had a beautiful message to share with the world.

9. Everything Stalin did or didn’t do had some sinister ulterior motive. Everything.

10. Keeping with the spirit of #9, remember that Stalin was an omnipotent being, perhaps an incarnation of the Hindu deity Vishnu, who had full awareness of everything going on in the Soviet Union and total control over every occurrence which took place between 1924 and 1953. Everything that occurred during that time was the will of Stalin. Stalin knew the exact details of every criminal case that took place during that era and out of his boundless cruelty, had tons of innocent people shot for no reason regardless of where they were or their position in life. Being omnipotent, he was not dependent on information passed up from tens of thousands of subordinates.

11. Constantly attack ‘Communist’ regimes for actions that occur in capitalist regimes up to this very day.

12. Claim that Marxism is utopian because of its description of a possible future society. Alternately claim that Marxism failed because it never gave a detailed description of how a Communist society would look. Do not pay attention to the massive contradiction here.

13. Start referring to Marxism as being some kind of religious faith, Messianic, or whatever other spiritualist bullshit you can come up with. When people point out that you can draw similarities between virtually any political ideology and other religions, ignore them.

14. Remember the one-two anti-Communist attack: Attack the post-Stalin system on economic grounds, and claim it just doesn’t work. Since an informed opponent will most likely point out that actual socialist economics did indeed work during the Stalin era, and in fact worked very well, attack that era on human rights grounds.

15. Two words – Human nature. What is human nature? For your purposes, human nature is a quick explanation why political ideas or systems you don’t like are wrong.

16. Bolshevik revolutions were carried out with violence and bloodshed. Bourgeois revolutions were all carried out by democratic referendums, and there was no violence whatsoever.

17. Use words like ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ constantly. Do not accept any challenge to define these terms.

18. Communists can be for or against whatever is popular in your particular area. If you are preaching to a right-wing crowd, Communists are for degeneration and homosexuality. If you are preaching to a more mainstream audience, Communists were homophobic. Essentially, Communists are for moral degeneration and puritanical prudery at the same time. Again, do not notice the contradiction.

19. Constantly flog Stalin over the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement, while totally ignoring massive support and collaboration with Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan on the part of America, Britain, and France, long before the war and even after in some ways. As usual, do not allow your opponent to examine the context of the non-aggression pact.

20. Praise the newfound “freedom” of Eastern Europe. Ignore the massive depopulation via migration, plunging birthrates, huge alcohol and drug problems, political instability, civil wars, ethnic cleansing, sex trafficking and child prostitution, organized crime, high suicide rates, unemployment, disease, etc. Who cares about all that when you have freedom of speech?!

21. Constantly talk about the culture of fear in Communist nations, about that ‘knock on the door’ in the middle of the night. Ignore the ‘kick in your door in the middle of the night, stick a shotgun in your back, and haul your ass out of bed etc. because you are suspected of dealing,’ a normal occurrence in the American War on Drugs.

22. Attack Communists for suppression of religion. Attack Islamic fundamentalists for not being secular. What contradiction?!

23. Do not notice the irony that the US is currently fighting an incredibly expensive, losing war against an opponent which it funded, supported, and even handed its first victory in Afghanistan.

24. What should you say when confronted with all the continuing and often worsening problems in the world today, and asked for a solution? FREEDOM!! (Repeat as necessary until your opponent goes away)

25. Nothing from “Communists” can be trusted. Unless it somehow works in your favor, ala Khrushchev’s ‘Secret Speech’ from 1956, or anything Trotsky wrote.

26. Communist leaders were ‘paranoid’ for devoting so much time to security against counter-revolution. Ignore the mountains of evidence, including the restoration of capitalism in the East Bloc, that this threat was indeed real.

27. Communist regimes were never popular. If proof is presented in various cases to show otherwise, claim that the people were brainwashed. Make no effort to consider the budgetary and logistic constraints on such an undertaking.

28. Communist propaganda is crude and primitive. If someone mentions Red Dawn or worse, mentions the J. Edgar Hoover-endorsed comic book series known as The Godless Communists, run away.

29. Praise secularism in the name of ‘freedom’ and ‘pluralism’ until faced with a Communist. Then play the religion card.

30. Atrocities and other bad things that happen under non-Communist regimes are the fault of individual ‘bad people’. Anything bad that happens under a ‘Communist’ regime is the fault of the ideology and system. And Stalin.

31. Being an anti-Communist means not having to have any sort of ideological consistency whatsoever. Preach populist left-wing pseudo-socialism 90% of the time, and then compare the capitalist system to “Stalin’s Russia”(if you never really studied the subject, just read 1984 and Animal Farm). Bitch about capitalism 99% of the time, but balk when someone suggests Communism as an alternative. Far right wing Fascist? Constantly bitch about cultural degeneracy under capitalism, while remaining fanatically opposed to Marxism for no discernable reason save for your affinity for historic nationalism.

32. If you’re an anarchist, keep pointing out the ‘failure’ of Marxism while ignoring the fact that your ideology has a 100% failure rate throughout its entire history. Blame those failures on Communists, or stronger military powers. Ignore the fact that the most wonderful society is worthless if it can’t defend itself from reaction.

33. Neo-Nazi? Communism is Jewish!! Debate over.

34. Neo-Hippy? Tibet!

35. Constantly condemn the genocide that allegedly occurred under Mao, while ignoring the US’ relations with China established by Nixon, and the massive role capitalist China has played in the modern US economy. When you want to talk positively about China, it’s a capitalist country. If you need to criticize it, it’s still ‘Communist’.

36. Claim Marxism is not empirical. Neither are neo-liberalism, ‘democracy’, or ‘freedom’, but don’t worry about that.

37. Always insist that despite the location, country, historical era, past experience, and all other factors, Communists must want to recreate a modern-day copy of Stalin’s Russia, and all that entails according to you. Do not notice the inherent idiocy in this concept, such as your particular country being already industrialized, and not having a historical problem of severe backwardness.

38. Learn to use the magic word ‘totalitarian’. This word allows you to link two ideological opposites, Communism and Fascism.

39. Ignore the fact that socialist states experienced more economic problems parallel to the number of market reforms they made.

40. When challenged about numbers or historical context, resort to labels like “ruthless tyrant”, “cruel murderer”, and such. Remember, people like Stalin were mass-murderers because of all the people they killed, and we know they killed all those people because they were mass-murderers. It totally tracks!

Feudalism and Hollywood

As with all things, art and class struggle are related. As far as revolutionary content, television is absolutely the worst, because it is entirely state and monopoly controlled. Even in liberal Hollywood, which romanticizes the bloodthirsty limb-chopping feudalism of the Russian Czar and the Dalai Lama, filmmakers still have more autonomy than those who produce TV shows. The main television channels in the imperialist countries are the worst purveyors of reactionary drivel. Television offers no audience interaction with the directors, only the final products.

Hollywood loves feudalism, whether it’s “Anastasia,” “Seven Years in Tibet,” “The Last Samurai” or every Disney flick ever made. Psychology is a social product, and under a system which teaches you to think of yourself as a king, standing alone and “getting yours,” what more can be expected but a romanticizing of the period of “rule by divine right,” no matter how many eyes and limbs might fly by?

Review of Less Than Zero

Less Than Zero is a novel, or perhaps a very short semi-autobiography, about rich young Americans in college, in Los Angeles. In a word, it’s a much less innocent Catcher In the Rye.

Reading this 22,000-word novel (barely longer than a short story) is as easy and as inexplicable as the feeling of gazing out a sunny window for a long period of time.

As the reader may or not may not know, your author is a near life-long fan of Mr. Ellis’s work, even though I am quick to label it reactionary. As I’ve mentioned before in my essay on postmodernism, his documentary-like style does an excellent job of examining the emptiness of life under bourgeois capitalism while at the same time doing all it can to romanticize the basis of it.

Ellis sneers at the age’s excesses while at the same time flaunting its greatest achievements. The good news is, that is barely pronounced here at all, and not nearly to the extent it would be in his second book, The Rules of Attraction.

Most of the focus is on the main character Clay, who narrates the story alone, but Ellis has masterfully made it feel as though it is third-person rather than first. This is because Clay is a passive narrator; he makes no harsh judgments. He does not limit our vision to his own. Clay has no investment in the world around him —- he merely watches and observes, opportunistically waiting for a chance for personal gain.

He is as confused and as hesitant as a youth with no identity to go with his lines of cocaine would be. In effect, this means there is never any overbearing “voice” or narrator in the story to impose a definite moral compass. Hence the reader will join Clay in his amoral, directionless carnality and in his careful disconnection.

There is much that is remarkable about Less Than Zero, for example the fact that it has virtually no plot (which is very much a good thing, there are far too few stories without plots these days; it only makes it more life-like), but more than anything what stands out is something Ellis is known for —- his descriptions of sexual encounters.

These are far less frequent here than say, in his magnum opus novel American Psycho, but they are his typical fare in that they have no pornographic appeal (quite the opposite), and are narrated with an emotionless, callous tedium and arrogant boredom which is fairly common in modern fiction, but never done quite this well. In fact, these sex scenes are only concentrated versions of the attitude of which the rest of the novel is made.

A book like this, which deals with the deepening disconnections between people under the alienation of capitalism by brutally insisting on the facts, is common, but Ellis has a voice of his own that is refreshing and pure.

Two of the consequences of the breakdown of religious belief under today’s imperialism (polls today show today that less people are religious than ever before) are

1) an increase in social awareness, and, paradoxically,

2) an increase in the focus on individualism and the physical side of life.

For if there is no higher plane beyond the grave, then surely the sole purpose of life, the highest goal any being can dedicate himself to (or so the capitalist logic goes), is to expanding and enhancing himself, to improving oneself by amorally experiencing every sensation in this world.

Taken as a whole, Ellis’s books are moralistic vilifications of human nature as selfish, bratty and excessively hedonistic, all the time not realizing that these are merely symptoms of a larger disease: the alienation felt by all, especially the youth he seems so disgusted with, under capitalism. As brilliantly honest and taboo-bashing as his stories are on the surface, and as hilariously dead-on his parodies of the so-called “American dream” may be, deep down his purposes are undeniably conservative.

Mr. Ellis would not answer to someone calling him a pessimist, though all his books are about angsty, egoistic and childish characters dealing with loneliness and drug addiction. What makes him unique is that he avoids the trap that his fellow postmodernist writers, such as the infamous Chuck Palahniuk, so often run into. Ellis refuses to say that by desensitizing oneself to the ugliness of the world, one will end up finding life more worth living, nor does he repeat the older-than-dirt cliché that “ugliness and violence can be beautiful in a way.”

No, Ellis is far too royalist for that. He has cultivated the image of the California Bohemian, the libertine, eccentric and educated “artist” who while stressing fulfillment, also stresses ethics. He sees no “better” possible relations for mankind, he sees only the avoidance of “excessive” excesses. In his mind’s eye, he sees himself as the post-beatnik, clean-cut rebel, while at the same time the lone guardian of a feudal code of honor, a pair of hands holding back the deluge of a thousand spoiled young Marquis De Sades.

To add a personal touch to this review, I read this marvelously short book that says so much in one day, in perhaps two sittings. There are no chapters to speak of, merely sections of perhaps a few paragraphs each, separated by spaces. It makes the work gently episodic but never choppy. There is nothing here as outwardly violent and raw as the sex-and-murder scenes from his later American Psycho – there is nothing here that seeks to “grab the reader by the throat” or make him experience challenging slices of animal emotion.

Less Than Zero flows so smoothly and so straightly that it can only be compared to a modern, R-rated Catcher In the Rye. Never have I read a book that so beautifully captures the lost, barren irreverence of youth while doing it in such a streetwise manner. There is never any attempt to impose an intensity or a purpose to the narrative; it merely exists. As such, it is intensely relaxing even as it is profound and fleeting.

Here, Ellis does something that so few authors can do gracefully: he relaxes his grip, and he lets the story flow.

Jello Biafra Cancels Israel Show, Attacks Boycotters

Jello Biafra, "Democratic Socialist," tool of apartheid



The former lead singer of the Dead Kennedys has pulled out of a planned concert in Tel Aviv this weekend, but says he will still go to Israel.

Jello Biafra, who was set to play in Tel Aviv for the first time on July 2 with his band the Guantanamo School of Medicine, said the cancellation absolutely did not mean he or his band were endorsing or joining a boycott of Israel.

Instead he delivered a blistering attack on the boycott, divestment and sanctions groups, including one called “Punks Against Apartheid”, who campaigned for him to cancel.

He also said he refused to be “a poodle for Hasbara, Peace Now, BDS or anyone else”

Mr Biafra said he would still go to Israel and Palestine “to check things out myself” and may yet change his mind about his decision.

He said his only intention in going to Israel had been to do some good, and criticised those who attempted to stop him.

“What about the people on the same side of the human rights fence we are, who now don’t get to see us play?” asked the punk star. “Should they be boycotted too?

“I’ve been doing this long enough to know better than buy into hardline absolutes such as playing in Israel automatically supports apartheid or Israel’s government. That threat is ridiculous.”

Palestinian victims of Israeli white phosphorus - less important than Jello Biafra's pocketbook.

He condemned the way in which discussion about playing in Israel had descended into a “childish bickerfest” from both Palestinian and Israeli groups, and noted that many of the “Punks Against Apartheid” petition signatories had no idea who he was.

He added: “I can’t back anyone whose real goal or fantasy is a country ethnically cleansed of Jews or anyone else, where people who think for themselves or talk to the wrong person are automatically a sellout.”

“Speaking personally, I currently favour two democratic states in the admittedly naive hope that in our lifetime they can somehow evolve into one.”

Boycott poster from the era of South African apartheid.


Coleridge

Coleridge’s “Frost at Midnight” is a conversational poem that communicates the key concerns of Romantic period poetry while at the same time reinforcing idealized family relationships as a solution to the alienation of man from his own work in the capitalist social order. Continuing the general style of the other “Conversation” poems, it immerses the reader in a cold, dark-gray world of isolation which is then stirred by meditative thought and finally colored by emerging friendships and societal relations. In the beginning of “Frost at Midnight” as well as “Dejection: An Ode” and “This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison,” the narrator is alone after having been recently abandoned by family or friends and left to his own solitude. As in “Dejection,” where he exclaims: “Hence, viper thoughts, that coil around my mind / Reality’s dark dream!” or in “This Lime-Tree,” where he says “Well, they are gone / and here must I remain,” in “Frosts at Midnight” he is portrayed as alone in a cabin by the fire (except for his infant son), lost inside his own mind.

Like his contemporary Wordsworth, Coleridge seems to have an eye for natural forces at work around him that are independent of his will, such as the “frost” performing its “secret ministry.” We see how the pains of alienation from his own work as a poet (not being able to control the production of his body of work) have brought Coleridge to see history and reality as completely outside of his control—as much out of his hands as the forces of nature itself. His separation from human connection compels him to wish that his newborn child, the “babe” beside him in the cradle, will live an ideal childhood in the countryside away from industrial capitalism. Remembering his own traumatic experiences trapped in a schoolhouse, Coleridge espouses a libertarian education method by which his son would learn from his environment according to his own creative urges. Coleridge, like Wordsworth, sees the country as a liberating force from the industrial city setting.

The contemplative mood is totalizing to the point of being suffocating: whereas “Dejection” at least expressed playfulness (if hidden nihilistic meaninglessness) in form, “Frost at Midnight” feels intense in its sheer calm, its words warded by blank verse formed in iambic parameter. More than this, its very structure and plot is intensely subjective, a living, breathing example of the creativity of the human imagination that Coleridge speaks of in the poem. As in the other works contained within “Fears in Solitude” however, it finds itself completely dependant on isolation and individual consciousness. Coleridge weaves his own world, generated by nothing more than his brainstorming unconscious and imagination.

Coleridge, like T.S. Eliot, was one of the leading purveyors of Romantic humanist subjectivity which sees the human subject as a free-floating social agent transcending the limitations of history. Emotions become absolute to Coleridge—he values human feelings over philosophical reason. His alienated struggles to overcome family rifts caused by his addiction are combined with poetic candor about the general functioning of the human imagination to wander to the future, present and past alike in a formless tapestry of thought.

The role of the individual in Coleridge is an attempt to resolve the crises of the subject during the industrial and monopoly phases of capitalism. This is not to say that the entirety of the poem amounts to nothing more than “bourgeois individualism,” but to show that the foundations of this psychology is designed to heal social conflicts but ends up perpetuating them. His emphasis on societal roles and evocation of domestic affections shows a split with the radical movement and a leaning towards more conservative beliefs. As such, Coleridge’s portrait of himself as a domestic family man may have been meant to answer criticisms of his so-called “radical” character by the press and the government.

There is no parody or mocking here: Coleridge is clearly endorsing bourgeois family values and must have been aware of the political meaning behind such terms. He ends up endorsing, of course, an institution that cannot be separated from its ideological values, or what is known as the “culture and society” tradition. Does the love of nature and the English landscape in the poem endorse nationalism, or perhaps some form of romantic humanism, the popular Romantic organicist philosophy of loving all of humanity? Such things are frustratingly ambiguous, though the lines “From east to west / A groan of accusation pierces heaven!” certainly seem to suggest that chaos is just outside the window. Here he is no longer predicting the destruction of England as a result of colonialism, slavery and imperialist war, but rather portraying himself as a humble family man, lover of peace and a believer in political liberty.

Most interestingly, there exists a “bell-curve” in “Frost at Midnight” in which the gloomy interaction between the speaker and his subjective reality begins troublingly, reaches a dramatic, climatic peak of emotion and eventually falls under the spell of the sheer wonder of the mysterious and unknowable world. Coleridge’s “Frost at Midnight” marks fading moments of radical thought which are afterwards called back to reality by want of a sense of order through socially acceptable norms. He offers an idealist criticism of his own society’s social relations oddly coupled with an individualist streak that defends the rights of capital, making himself instrumental for the creation of the new conservatism.

The end result of this, unlike in “Dejection: An Ode” where the speaker’s grim numbness strips him of his creative energies and leaves him in the dark of the night, is that a healing process is started where the traditional family unit attains a sense of normalcy despite the complex pressures of an industrialized society. What “Frost” shares with the other poems is the starting point of the poet’s self and the gripping feelings of loneliness. What differentiates it from “Dejection: An Ode” is that a solution is found, and what differentiates it from “Lime-Tree Bower” is that a solution to the contradiction is found outside the author’s own mind.

“Frost at Midnight,” like the other two poems, is essentially preoccupied with the contradictions and alienation rife within Coleridge’s position as a literary producer, and specifically contradictions inseparable from his relations with a cosmopolitan audience who rejected his more radical political work. In response, Coleridge has penned his most conservative work, a classic tragedy turned on its head. His mental assault against the world in all three poems is filled with distrust of the city, of bourgeois commercialism, of colonialism and of his fellow man. He is torn between the traditional family as a desirable organic unit, his repressed radical beliefs, his addictions and personal vices, the fear of industrial setting as well as his own Romantic-era nationalism. His loss of control over his own artistic capabilities is less a “natural” or “inspirational” crisis than an escapist method from European political turbulence.

About A Certain Newspaper

Newsweek is a weekly newspaper. It has achieved something amazing in its years of existence, in that is has managed to be one of the most widely read and cited papers in the country while undoubtedly being one of the least deserving of such an honor. The substance of the paper is, in form, quite up to the American “standard,” with news, articles and cartoons dripping with nationalist propaganda and imperialist slant, but in content astoundingly and insultingly simplified even by US media standards. It is the only mainstream newspaper that has the reputation of being written on a second-grade level. Many times its articles pander to eclectic, preachy “both sides are right” politics (the kind we’ve learned to expect from such imperialist trash like South Park), while at the same time remaining firmly planted in the camp of the bloodthirsty bourgeoisie, and of course reading as if it was written by lobotomized monkeys.

As an example, one if its most famous and popular issues, after 9/11, whined from the cover “Why Do They Hate Us So Much?”

One would regard such an idiotic publication with nothing more than scoffs and dismissal if it were not so widely read and available, and if its headlines and so-called “opinions” were not do die-hard reactionary and anti-socialist, not to mention anti-leftist. Yes, we have here a center-right paper with a sneering and smug “left” and “moderate” veneer of the goodwill-towards-your-slaveowners-and-executioners and –shake-hands-and-make-up type. How typical.

Thoughts on Postmodernist Attitudes


Kipling, Conrad and Robert Louis Stevenson all address the colonial experience through a hermetically sealed bubble of subjective, individual unreality. Alex Garland in The Beach, Chuck Palahniuk in Fight Club and Bret Easton Ellis in American Psycho all explore the emptiness of bourgeois ideology in modern urban man within this same bubble, frequently arriving at the most reactionary and hedonistic of places. Why are they reactionary?

Let’s take a novel as an example. Ellis’s novel The Rules of Attraction consists entirely of stream-of-consciousness rantings from a revolving door of different narrators. As might be expected, each narrator has his/her own voice and subjective take on things.


The characters themselves are all incredibly empty and tainted by what can only be called “selfishness,” and they all find solace in hedonism through drug abuse and promiscuous sex. Do I even need to say all of them are secretly depressed and feel hollow, corrupted and lost?

What does this plot mean? Either this is supposed to be a representation of the state humanity under bourgeois ideology finds itself in (which would be a progressive work), or, more likely, it is meant to be a moralistic social critique of the state of young people today with the idea that they should “correct themselves” by falling back into the places alloted for them by the dominant social order.

Fight Club fares even worse. It starts off as an idealist “liberal” critique of consumerism, which then evolves into a promotion of primitivism and secular humanism, and then of course takes its petty-bourgeois ideas to their logical conclusion at the end, where it becomes an essentially fascist and militarist work.


Most entertainment today does this sort of thing — showing a world that has no meaning with all the class interests and prejudices that entails.

Never have intellectuals and artists displayed the hubris they show here, attributing to themselves the power to arbitrate all meaning. In the postmodernist movement, their celebration of complexity and ambiguity becomes a form of boundless egoism. Richness of meaning, which sounds good to most of us, cannot take the form of no limits on meaning, which would amount to meaninglessness.

For more information, see: Samuel Beckett. (Yes, ANY of his works.)

As Marx said, the dominant ideas of any era are the ideas of its ruling class. What does this culture say about the class nature of our society and what class interests does this movement represent? It is a petty-bourgeois, or small landowner or producer, way of thinking.

Why is this? Generally speaking, the petty-bourgeoisie, when tackling a problem, thinks in a subjective and one-sided way.

He does not practice Marxist dialectics, which analyzes things concretely and rationally from every possible angle in order to get an objective and complete picture of reality, but instead starts from his own wishes, preconceived notions and subjective desires about how actual conditions should be.

People who live in imperialist countries, intellectuals or more privileged strata of society (wealthier people, whites, petty-bourgeois) who are detached from the concrete conditions of reality often think in this way, because they have only book smarts and lack practical knowledge.

What the idealists, the postmodernists and the “free speech” advocates fail to understand is that a man’s mind is not his own. Who would deny that in each society throughout history man has operated in personal relations independent of their own will?

One of the chief discoveries of the science of Marxism, and materialism in general, is: it is not consciousness that determines reality, it is reality that determines consciousness. To imagine that the mind alone, in this case the individual mind, and the will, in this case that treasured idealist concept of the “free will,” can change reality based only on its own individual wishes is the most vulgar form of bourgeois and capitalist ideology.

How is this inherently capitalist ideology? Since subjectivism and relativism (“nothing is true, it’s all just in your mind”) is the logical ideology of late industrial capitalism, where individualism has taken its toll and everything becomes dependent on what you think, rather than what exists. This sort of thinking is also beneficial to capitalism, since it fuels the “I can make the world my own” attitude of the small producer.

This is reflected especially in the idea that scientific and materialist minds are somehow “intolerant” or “imposing” by subjecting others’ beliefs to the scientific method. This view ignores the fact that it doesn’t matter at all what one thinks of reality; what matters is what is objectively true and what is not.

The argument is frequently made that if the individual believes it hard enough or passionately enough, then it must be true. Hence, “religion is objectively true for religious people.”

Putting aside the fact that this so-called “objective truth” is therefore neither objective nor truth, this whole capitalist and postmodernist way of thinking digs its own grave.

To expand on this, here are a few key points to consider, that MUST be conceded:

  1. Reality functions and exists outside man’s own individual mind. This must be a given, since if one individual dies, reality does not cease to exist. Therefore reality is separate from the individual.

  2. Reality is not changed by the individual mind alone. If someone is falling from a cliff, wishing it is not so does not make it stop. Similarly, no matter how hard you wish it, you cannot push your hand through a solid wood table. You can imagine it, but the fact remains that your molecules repel the molecules of the wood. Even if you got two people together, one who admitted he could not pass through walls, and one who was absolutely convinced he could, the fact could still be shown objectively that both of them were incapable of it. The man who believed he could pass through walls would not be able, materially, to cross into the next room.

  3. If reality is separate from the individual mind, and is not affected by it, we must then admit that the two can disagree and be completely parallel.

  4. If we admit that the two can disagree, then there must be such a thing as concrete objective truth and mere fantasy. If the desires of the mind were the same as reality, then they could never be separate.

  5. Therefore, what is true and existing can only be measured not in wishes, but in matter.

  6. Finally, if all of the above is true, then we must say that not everything the individual mind believes is true, and that in order to be proved true it must pass the scientific method.

From these points, we can see that there are perceptions that are correct, right and actually existing, and there are those that are incorrect and not actually existing.

Logically, if something cannot be weighed or measured, it does not exist. Otherwise the very concept of “not existing” becomes moot, since the sole definition of “not existing” hinges on not being able to prove that it DOES exist.

Why? Because it is impossible to prove a negative. It is impossible for me to prove that something can’t be done.

Likewise, it is impossible to prove that something does not exist. So the only definition that there can be for not existing is the absence of proof that it does exist.

For example, it would be impossible for me to prove that there are not pink dragons flying everywhere, except for me to point out the absence of material evidence: no sight of them, no feeling of wind from their wings.

Conclusion: the capitalist ideas of relativism and postmodernism are bankrupt. Reality exists outside the individual mind, and there are right ideas and wrong ideas, as well as true and false ideas.

America’s Laziest Fascist


May 20, 2004 | Michael Savage doesn’t get out much. The hardcore conservative radio host of “The Savage Nation” has always been a relatively reclusive figure. He doesn’t do book tours or publicity stunts. He’s not exactly approachable either: He claims to carry a gun with him at all times, and he doesn’t like nosy journalists asking for interviews.

Not that he’s the shy, retiring type. Lately, as the Iraq torture scandal has dominated the headlines, he has taken to calling Arabs “non-humans” and has called for the U.S. to kill “thousands” of Iraqi prisoners and nuke a random Arab capital. Deciding whether to pay attention to Savage has always been tricky, though. It’s never clear whether he really believes what he says in his tirades or if they are simply ploys for public outcry. His is currently the third-most-popular radio program in the nation. Nonetheless, it may be hard for Savage to sit by and watch the FCC’s crackdown against fellow jock Howard Stern effectively lift Stern’s profile even higher into the stratosphere. But Savage’s outbursts are often so unhinged, so vicious, that ignoring them seems irresponsible, especially when so many Americans apparently are nodding in agreement. So when I learned that Savage would be making his first public appearance in three years Saturday night, it seemed worth checking out, if only to see who was paying attention to him and why.

“Savage Uncensored,” as the event was called, marked the end of what’s been a crummy year for the once-hot Savage. Last March, MSNBC gave him a weekly program only to cancel it after four months when he labeled a caller a “sodomite” and told him to “get AIDS and die.” Then the San Francisco radio station that gave him his first big break dumped him and rubbed salt into the wound with billboards that depicted Savage morphing into Sean Hannity, beneath the slogan “Out With the Old, In with the New.” When a couple of anti-Savage Web sites started a boycott of his advertisers, his syndicator, Talk Radio Network, tried to revoke their domain names. When that failed, it tried to sue them for $1 million. That failed too.

Savage’s star may have faded, but it’s still too early to write him off, with “The Savage Nation” pulling in 6 million listeners a week. His latest screed against fifth columnists such as liberals, gays and atheists, “The Enemy Within,” debuted at No. 8 on the New York Times nonfiction list. But when it comes to the true measure of a talker’s cachet — buzz — Savage has slipped several notches in the past year. The anti-Savage sites are now dormant, their owners apparently satisfied that he would never make it back on TV. Fans and foes who once duked it out in Internet chat rooms appear to have moved on. These days, it seems the only people paying attention to Savage are diehard fans and perhaps a few incorrigible rubber-necking journalists.

Savage was scheduled to appear at the Concord Pavilion, an outdoor amphitheater in the suburban hills east of San Francisco. As a Metallica cover band called Creeping Death wailed, 5,000 or so people filed in to see him in the flesh. A quick look around made the demographics of the Savage Nation quickly apparent: Ninety percent were men and a good 95 percent were white. During the next three-and-a-half hours, there would be clear affirmation that they like gay jokes, Arab bashing and mass displays of patriotism. They will offer to share their freedom fries with a complete stranger. And when that stranger fails to boo liberals, holler the phrase “under God” during the Pledge of Allegiance or show sufficient enthusiasm for torturing Iraqis, they are polite enough not to drag him out to the parking lot and pummel him.

The crowd at Concord had paid as much as $100 for an evening of rhetorical red meat for the right-wing faithful. At first, we weren’t disappointed. But by the end of the night, I wasn’t the only one checking my watch.

Savage’s son, Russ Weiner, kicked off the show. With his spiky, dyed-orange hair and calculated scruffiness, he was reminiscent of Dr. Evil’s son Scott from the Austin Powers movies. The resemblance was confirmed when Weiner proclaimed, “I’m proud to be the son of Savage!” The 30-something Weiner is the founder of RockStar, an energy drink that he developed with his dad, drawing on Savage’s previous career as a Marin County herbalist and ethnobotanist named Michael Weiner. RockStar’s herbal liver-cleansing formula is supposed to enable drinkers to “party like a rock star,” which presumably means drinking and doping. Generous free samples had been passed out to the crowd on the way in. It lived up to its hype: The antifreeze-colored, cough-syrup-flavored beverage can only be enjoyed if you’re taking drugs.

But while Weiner has cashed in on other people’s bad behavior, he made it clear that he’s a family-values kind of guy. “Who’s heterosexual and proud?” he asked, prompting manly cheers. “If you’re not, hopefully you will be soon!” Before handing the stage over to the man he called “our leader,” he advised the audience how to handle his hot-tempered dad: “Let him know you love him!”

Love — or an acceptably heterosexual version of it — filled the air as Savage drove onto the stage in a classic red Cadillac convertible. He warmed up the audience by riffing on the day’s news, joking that “Shiite” should be spelled with one “I” and calling Muqtada al-Sadr “a fat bastard in a burka.” Dressed in a calfskin jacket, slouch hat and blue jeans, Savage was at ease, swearing freely and peppering his speech with “Hey, mans” that evoked his days as a North Beach beatnik wannabe. Whatever was in his coffee cup was certainly helping. When it ran dry, he called out, “I need a drink!” and a young woman sauntered over and poured champagne into the mug.

Like everyone else these days, Savage was fixated on Iraq and the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal. He managed to combine the two dominant conservative takes: The first being Rush Limbaugh’s insistence that what happened in Abu Ghraib was a harmless prank; the other being Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe’s assertion that the prisoners got what they deserved.

These are tough interrogations?” Savage asked. “My father put me through tougher interrogations when I was 16!” He portrayed now-infamous Abu Ghraib prison guard Lynndie England as a poster girl for the war on terrorism — an embodiment of the idea that kicking Muslim ass can be fun. “Let’s hear it for Laurie [sic] England!” he cheered. “The leash chick! Hey man, she had a great time over there!” He couldn’t understand why liberals were so outraged. After all, he said, the acts of sexual humiliation and degradation that took place in Abu Ghraib were no more perverted than typical homosexual behavior. Try to follow his tortured logic: Savage was saying he didn’t mind the Abu Ghraib abuses because they were good clean fun, like gay sex, which he openly abhors.

Savage moved on to another of his favorite topics: bombing the bejeezus out of Iraq. Just a few days before the Uncensored event, he’d been ranting on the radio about dropping fiery death on civilians throughout Iraq and the Middle East. “I don’t give a damn if they hide behind their women’s skirts,” he foamed. “Wipe the women out with them! Because it’s our women who got killed on 9/11! And it’s our women who are gonna get killed tomorrow unless we get rid of the bugs who are destroying us!” Tonight, Savage continued to elaborate on this disturbing vision of how to win the war in Iraq. He said he fantasized of being woken up by the sound of B-1 and B-52 bombers flying over his house on their way to the Middle East. Imagining bombers overhead at 4 a.m., he gushed about these nocturnal missions, “It’s better than an orgasm — it is an orgasm!

Savage continued the psychological striptease, peeling off more layers of mainstream conservatism to expose his raging right-wing id. Though he has long billed himself as the original “compassionate conservative,” his brand of conservatism does not share George W. Bush’s pretense of caring about Muslim hearts and minds, much less lives. It appears that for Savage, the war in Iraq has nothing to do with spreading democracy or respecting human rights. It is about asserting American power by any means necessary, and screw what anyone else thinks. Predictably, and sadly, this notion went over well with the audience. When Savage blurted out, “Does anyone in this crowd give a shit about the Iraqis?” he was answered with a deafening “NO!

But if the first half of the event showcased Savage’s ability to stir the faithful, the second half was an object lesson in how a performer can take his audience — and his talent — for granted. Basically, he bombed. He spent nearly 20 minutes sitting in a stuffed chair in front of a television set, free-associating as he channel surfed. Seeing footage of Jordan’s King Abdullah, he screamed, “Kiss my ass! Shut the hell up!” To a soccer match in Spanish, he quipped, “Reminds me of my gardener.” It was about as entertaining as watching a middle-aged man yelling at his living room TV. Savage eventually realized things weren’t going well. “You don’t like this shit,” he said. “It’s a bad act.

Some fans — mostly older people and parents with small children — started to leave. If this were radio, they would probably already have changed stations. Most of the audience stuck around as Savage went into freefall, flailing wildly for something to catch his fans’ attention. He read from the Bible, played with his new puppy, moaned about his “mother issues” and asked for more booze. The evening’s low point came when he played the audiotape of Nicholas Berg’s beheading over the P.A. system. Berg’s pitiful, frenzied screaming filled the amphitheater. Having not heard or seen the gruesome tape before, I covered my ears in shock. I was not alone. If Savage was trying to incite the audience, it didn’t work. Playing the tape only revealed his desperation for a reaction, any reaction.

What made you come out on this night?” he asked. “You see the vultures circling this great nation. We feel the vultures flying over the Concord Pavilion.” And perhaps they could smell Savage dying on the stage below.

In a last-ditch attempt to rouse the listless crowd, Savage tried to root out some closet liberals. “Is there any asshole here who hates me, who’s gonna try and rush the stage?” he asked. It was a long way between the cheap seats and the stage, but I was getting tired and bored. Rushing the stage might have prolonged the evening by a few more minutes, so I stayed put. Hurrying off stage, Savage promised, “Wait till you see the close.

Luckily, the finale lasted all of 15 seconds. From the wings, Savage, obviously thinking he was off-mic, barked, “Play the Arab music!” A Middle Eastern tune blared as his red Cadillac lurched onto the stage. Savage was perched on the back seat, dressed in white robes and sunglasses, looking like a costume-party sheik. As the car disappeared off stage, he waved to the crowd, “Goodbye, infidels! I’ll see you in hell!” And with that, “Savage Uncensored” slouched to its perplexing though somehow fitting conclusion.

The house lights came on, revealing a few thousand blinking and bewildered fans — Savage had just resoundingly bombed on his home turf. “That’s it?” wondered one woman behind me, with real disappointment in her voice. “He said he was going to do Dr. UnSavage,” she said, referring to one of the jock’s longtime on-air characters. A couple of young guys shook their heads. “He misread his audience,” one said. His friend added, “He got into the champagne too much.” Maybe some RockStar would have helped.

His poor performance was not entirely surprising. Unlike his compatriots Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Dr. Laura, Savage often comes off as a remarkably amateurish and lazy showman. None of his colleagues — no matter how big their egos — would dare adlib their way through a two-hour live performance.

Savage’s unprofessionalism makes it easy for liberals to dismiss him as a crank. But that’s an easy way to overlook his ever-more xenophobic, homophobic and authoritarian political message. Ultimately, his invective may be what keeps his listeners coming back for more. Savage says what many mainstream conservatives can’t or won’t. As frustration with the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq adventure and the war on terror grows, his message holds appeal for those who believe nothing but desperate measures will work against an increasingly hostile world. And so, Savage will keep calling for Iraqi prisoners to be sodomized with dynamite. If he’s lucky, such antics may score him a public showdown with the FCC. Or perhaps he will finally rant his way into oblivion. Considering the recent developments in Iraq, even if Savage waits another three years to emerge from his veil of heavily armed privacy, there may be no shortage of fodder for his bizarre stage spectacle and the audience it attracts.

Source

“Unity & Struggle” No. 22 Released


Issue #22 of “Unity and Struggle” has been released. Unity & Struggle (Unidad y Lucha in Spanish) is the theoretical organ of the ICMLPO, or the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties & Organizations.

The 22nd edition numbers 166 pages in the Spanish version and has been published in Spanish, English, French, Turkish, Portuguese and Arabic.

Download this issue (in Spanish)

TABLE OF CONTENTS OF ISSUE 22:

Brazil
Long live 140 years since the Paris Commune!
Revolutionary Communist Party of Brazil (PCR)

Burkina Faso
Questions regarding the situation in South Africa and Côte d’Ivoire
Revolutionary Communist Party of Upper Volta (PCRV)

Chile
The potential for confusion is constantly narrowing
Communist Party of Chile (Proletarian Action) PC (AP)

Denmark
Greetings from Copenhagen, Denmark at the World Conference on Women’s Day in Caracas, Venezuela
Communist Workers’ Party of Denmark (APK)

Ecuador
The responsibility for organizing and carrying out the revolution is the work and the main objective of PCMLE
Marxist Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador (PCMLE)

Spain
The popular front: A tool for the current situation
Spanish Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) PCE (ml)

France
The peoples of the Maghreb and the Middle East
Communist Workers’ Party of France (PCOF)

Greece
Unilaterally stop payment of the entire debt outside Greece by Euro-EMU-EU
Movement for the Reorganization of the Communist Party 1918-55

Italy
Today, like yesterday, break with reformism and opportunism to set up a real Communist Party
Communist Platform

Mexico
The Soviets (workers councils), their role and their contribution to the proletarian revolution
Mexican Communist Party (Marxist Leninist)

Norway
The popular uprising for a living, democracy and national self-determination in Arabia is problematic to the imperialists and their stooges
Marxist-Leninist Organization “Revolution”

Dominican Republic
The Left is a minority
Communist Party of Labour of the Dominican Republic (PCT)

Tunisia
Interview with Hamma Hammami, spokesperson and member of the Workers Communist Party of Tunisia
Communist Party of Tunisian Workers (PCOT)

Turkey
Turkish Foreign Policy: Illusions and Reality
Revolutionary Communist Party of Turkey (PCRT)

Venezuela
Amid the crisis, spread our theory, a project of great importance
Marxist Leninist Communist Party of Venezuela (PCMLV)