Page 24

Limiting Debate The intelligence community’s supposedly “damning” report on Russian hacking of the election failed to deliver technical evidence of the Russian state’s role in the crime and primarily complained about Russian media coverage of America

Chomsky said, “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.” Imperialism and its consequences – economic, psychological, and physical violence – are largely off limits. We can discuss racism against blacks in the police force, but not racism as a feature of the imperial state. We can discuss corruption on Wall Street, but not finance as a critical tool of imperial exploitation. We can discuss whether policing borders is racist, but not the role of immigration in creating reserve armies of labor for use by the ruling corporatocracy. We can discuss gay rights and gender pay scales, but not how imperialism destroys the lives of countless women and gays in nations we target. We can discuss the Syrian war, but not Syria as a new chapter in imperialism’s history of slaughter. As long as we debate and march for issues that do not challenge the ruling class power and wealth, nothing structural will change. Racism, bigotry, gender discrimination, financial exploitation of Main Street by Wall Street, debt peonage, wage serfdom, foreign wars of dubious provenance, the canonisation of war criminals past and present, and much more will continue unabated. Yet the media consistently denies us the imperial context on issue after issue, which leaves us arguing about our response to an event that we misunderstand. We fail to see the root causes of events, and therefore debate symptoms of imperialism, not the imperialist disease itself. l Look at the recent Manchester attacks. The media – from the BBC to the Washington Post – refused to deal with the complexities of the collapse of the Libyan state. They will note that in 2011 Libya suffered a “chaotic collapse.” They will mention that Muammar Gadhafi “was toppled from power. They will decry its status as “a failed state.” But they won’t situate that war on the timeline of global imperialism, which quite transparently marches on, top-

24 ColdType | August 2017 |

pling ‘despots’ and ‘dictators’ and installing puppet regimes willing to facilitate western exploitation of that particular nation’s resources, infrastructure, and national wealth. The focus, most especially on the right, will descend on Islam, which is radicalised and thereby ‘weaponised’ by imperial brutality. Each war is treated as a one-off, an isolated incident that has its own unique motive force. This is essentially the ‘rogue actor’ excuse writ large, an explanation that is often used to shield corporations from institutional complicity in crimes. l Look at liberal criticism of President Donald Trump. The Washington Post gave Trump four ‘Pinocchios’ for supposedly lying about NATO. He was first correctly accused of being incorrect for saying nations owed money to the United States. NATO nations are current on their dues. He was then accused of lying for saying NATO nations weren’t spending enough on their own security. In fact, NATO members have until 2024 to up their spending to two percent of GDP. Therefore, this statement was likewise deemed to be incorrect, even though the article did not note the probable conflict between what Trump deemed to be sufficient spending and what extant NATO agreements thought sufficient. Nor was a word spent illuminating Trump’s overarching criticism, that NATO was a defunct organisation that should have been dissolved when the Warsaw Pact was dismantled at the end of the Cold War. The paper never noted that was, instead, expanded as a tool of western aggression toward Russia in the post-Gorbachev era. The paper failed to note that Washington has increasingly used NATO, and has consequently spent more on NATO, as a Trojan horse by which it can somewhat covertly expand Washington’s imperialism to the East. l Look at Russiagate. The probe. The investigation. The hearings. The intelligence community’s supposedly “damning” report on Russian hacking of the election failed to deliver technical evidence of the Rus-

ColdType Issue 144 - August 20174

ColdType Issue 144 - August 20174