Liberty Blitzkrieg: The Next Revolution by Murray Bookchin

Michael Krieger at Liberty Blitzkrieg has a short review/discussion of Murry Bookchin’s collected essays published as The Next Revoltion: Popular Assemblies and the Promise of Direct Democracy. Bookchin believed that the ideal was for people to make decisions for themselves in public assemblies or municipalities.

…While there are numerous key points on which Bookchin and I would have disagreed spiritedly, that’s not the purpose of this piece. Aside from being a wealth of information and knowledge (he closely studied nearly every major revolution in the Euro-American world), his greatest service here is a framework through which to understand human governance and how and why it’s all gone so terribly wrong. Many of his themes cover ideas and realizations I’ve come to on my own, but the clarity with which he describes certain key concepts helped refine my thinking. The purpose of this post is to outline some of these ideas…

In The Need to Remake Society he writes:

To create a state is to institutionalize power in the form of a machine that exists apart from the people. It is to professionalize rule and policy-making, to create a distinct interest (be it of bureaucrats, deputies commissars, legislators, the military, the police, ad nauseam) that, however weak or however well intentioned it may be at first, eventually takes on a corruptive power of its own.

One would have to be utterly naive or simply blind to the lessons of history to ignore the fact that the state, “minimal” or not, absorbs and ultimately digests even its most well-meaning critics once they enter it. 

The notion that human freedom can be achieved, much less perpetuated, through a state of any kind is monstrously oxymoronic – a contradiction in terms…

In Cities, he explains:

But democracy, conceived as a face-to-face realm of policymaking, entails a commitment to the Enlightenment belief that all “ordinary” human beings are potentially competent to collectively manage their political affairs — a crucial concept in the thinking, all its limitations aside, of the Athenian democratic tradition and, more radically, of those Parisian sections of 1793 that gave equal voice to women as well as all men.

Bookchin was a huge supporter of direct democracy, in other words, of the people making decisions for themselves within their own communities. He envisioned this being done in a face-to-face manner within public assemblies. Like myself, Bookchin believed this sort of thing would only work properly (and resist statist tendencies) if employed at the local level. He understood that centralization leads to statism and vice versa.

So what did Bookchin see as the ideal political unit for self-governance? He saw it in the municipality…

Further, in Libertarian Municipalism: A Politics of Direct Democracy, he notes:

Today, with the increasing centralization and concentration of power in the nation-state, a “new politics” — one that is genuinely new — must be structured institutionally around the restoration of power by municipalities…it presupposes a genuinely democratic desire by people to arrest the growing powers of the nation-state and reclaim them for their community and region.

Importantly, Bookchin believed such self-governing, decentralized municipalities should be connected with one another in a system called confederalism. He defines the term in his essay, The Meaning of Confederalism:

What, then, is confederalism? It is above all a network of administrative councils whose members or delegates are elected from popular face-to-face democratic assemblies, in the various villages, towns and even neighborhoods of large cities…

What humans employ for governance in 2019 primarily consists of “states,” i.e. professional power, as opposed to people power. The general public is made up of electoral constituents, not free citizens participating in the governance of their communities. Bookchin was in favor of decentralized, local rule via direct democracy in contrast to today’s world governed by centralized mega states showcasing a facade of democracy in order to mask an underlying corporate oligarchy or bureaucratic technocracy.

One thing I didn’t expect to see in his work, but proved a pleasant though sobering surprise, was an admission that people themselves need to change in order to successfully implement the sort of governance model he advocates. Since the public is so used to being mere subjects, it’ll be a monumental task to transform them into actual engaged citizens…

Click here to read the article at Liberty Blitzkrieg.

Liberty Blitzkrieg: Arrest of Julian Assange Is Attack on Journalism, Liberty

Michael Krieger at Liberty Blitzkrieg has a nice article summarizing the ways in which the recent arrest of Julian Assange of Wikileaks fame is a bad sign for our liberty and western civilization.

A key quote is this: Americans are being taught, by repeated example, that there exists two main classes of people in this country. Those aligned with — in one way or another — the national security state, and those who are not. If you’re aligned with the interests of empire and are somewhat prominent, you will never suffer consequences for any of your actions.

Your career will flourish irrespective of how wrong you are, how many countries you destroy, how many civilians you murder, or how many lives you ruin with fraud and corruption. You are for all intents and purposes a member of the imperial royalty, and as such, completely and totally above the law. This isn’t speculation or exaggeration, it’s demonstrably provable reality. We’re being gradually conditioned to accept a society comprised of rulers and the ruled, of masters and servants. There’s no place in such a construct for self-government. You are a subject not a citizen. 

Click here to read the entire article at Liberty Blitzkrieg.

Liberty Blitzkrieg: US Media and Paid Foreign Agents

From Michael Krieger at Liberty Blitzkrieg, U.S. Media Refuses to Inform the Public When Its Commentators and Pundits are Paid Foreign Agents:

Unbelievably – Rothkopf has the audacity to criticize Trump for having “repeatedly shown great fondness for foreign leaders—even despots and known murderers, human rights abusers and criminals”, while Rothkopf himself is literally a paid agent working to disseminating propaganda for one of the most repressive regimes on the planet, one that does much of the Saudis’ dirty work for it in Washington. And the fact that the Daily Beast makes no disclosure of any of this is what makes this practice – having paid lobbyists and consultants for foreign regimes and corporations masquerade as objective and neutral analysts of the news – such a massive journalistic scandal and fraud.

– From today’s Intercept article: MSNBC and Daily Beast Feature UAE Lobbyist David Rothkopf With No Disclosure: a Scandalous Media-Wide Practice

Much of the American public despises mainstream corporate media, but rather than engage in some self-reflection and admit failure they just complain about Trump. It’s critical we recognize that mass media in the U.S. is very much part of the very same discredited establishment it’s supposed to report on, thus its response to justified criticism is likewise establishment-esque. Blame the readers, blame Trump, blame anyone but themselves.

This is why mass media’s gotten even worse since Trump was elected — not an easy feat. It’s been obsessed with a Russia-Trump collusion tale that appears to be going nowhere, while simultaneously cheering on Trump’s worst instincts such as when he bombs Syria. Moreover, one thing the U.S. media definitely seems to have no interest in doing is disclosing when its commentators and pundits are paid shills for foreign governments, defense contractors and other unmentionable interests.

Just last week, Glenn Greenwald highlighted how The Washington Post allowed Saudi lobbyists to regularly write opinion pieces, which subsequently led the paper to force these writers to break off financial relationships with the Saudis. Today, he’s back with an equally important piece about how mass media regularly invites foreign agents to discuss foreign affairs without disclosing that these individuals are in fact foreign agents.

It’s hard to put into words how despicable, unethical and pervasive this mass media practice is, but Glenn puts forth a valiant effort. He names several names, but the post focuses on a paid foreign agent for the UAE named David Rothkopf and the media outlets that enable him. The piece begins as follows:

On Thursday, the Daily Beast published an article about the Saudi/US relationship by David Rothkopf, a long-time member in good standing of the U.S. Foreign Policy elite. Until last year, he was the editor-in-chief of the establishment journal Foreign Policy, named to that position in 2012 when it was owned by the Washington Post. He’s also a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a visiting professor of international and public affairs at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. He was previously deputy undersecretary of commerce for international trade policy in the Clinton administration and managing director of Kissinger Associates, the advisory firm founded by former U.S. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger.

But, unbeknownst to Daily Beast readers consuming his commentary about Saudi Arabia, Rothkopf is something else: a paid lobbyist for the Saudi’s close ally, the equally despotic regime of the United Arab Emirates. Last month, Rothkopf formally registered as a foreign agent for the Emiratis.

Of course, it’s not just the Daily Beast. The article notes how MSNBC, PBS and CNN have all recently given Rothkopf a platform without disclosing his lobbying. Moreover, it’s not like he’s getting chump change for his extracurricular activities on behalf of the UAE, the contract he signed pays $50,000 per month. I don’t care who you are, this sort of money’s going to influence anyone’s public opinion. For media outlets to hide such a relevant fact from consumers is nothing short of journalistic malpractice...

Click here to read the entire story at Liberty Blitzkrieg.

Liberty Blitzkrieg: The Times for Which Bitcoin Was Made

Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg has an article, These Are the Times Bitcoin Was Made For, in which he discusses Bitcoin and its role in evading the techno-censorship of the 21st century.

…There are two crucial attack vectors being targeted when it comes to punishing the transgressions of American thought criminals; money and communications, and we need to understand that Alex Jones is our cultural guinea pig. The tech giants started by kneecapping his voice by simultaneously deplatforming his presence from many of today’s dominant communications platforms. Now PayPal’s moved in to make payments more difficult, thus threatening his ability to earn money. You don’t have to like anything Alex Jones does to see how dangerous this is. What’s being done to him can and will be to done to others deemed undesirable by Silicon Valley oligarchs should they get popular enough. What’s emerging is a playbook on how to exert pressure and encourage self-censorship in the digital age and you better pay attention.

Money and communication are fundamental to our experience as humans here on earth in the early 21st century. As such, these things must be as neutral and permissionless as possible. The moment you have human beings in charge of communication and money systems you introduce bias and corruption. This is particularly dangerous in our current stage of human development considering the extent to which power and wealth have become concentrated in so few hands globally. You can bet the farm this small group of people will do whatever it takes to preserve the gravy train that is our current paradigm, including using tools of communication and money to prevent those who want change from influencing the conversation. This isn’t theoretical, it’s happening right now and will surely escalate from here.

Which is precisely why the emergence and continued success of Bitcoin is so fundamentally important to understanding the best way to challenge the forces attempting to bully us into an acceptance of their worldview. Unlike PayPal, Bitcoin is permissionless. There’s no central party, management team or CEO who can decide to stop you from using Bitcoin, something completely distinct from the likes of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, PayPal, etc. As such, we can clearly see the fundamental flaw of these platforms by comparison. Centralized money and communications platforms are ultimately not conducive to a free society, which we can clearly see now, especially with the recent suspension of James Woods from Twitter for the most trivial of reasons…

If we’re going to challenge the current way of doing things and create a more free and decentralized world, we need to create and use tools that reflect and promote those values. Bitcoin is an example in the realm of money, but we’re still sorely lacking in the realm of communications. If a government or some massive corporation can shut down conversation simply because they don’t like what’s being said, we simply are not free humans.

If we want to be free, we need to use tools that reflect and protect such values. We aren’t there yet, but the path forward is being built. These are the times Bitcoin was made for.

Related:

Fast Company: Tim Berners-Lee tells up his radical new plan to upend the World Wide Web. Berners-Lee is a “father of the web,” having invented the hypertext transfer protocol (http). He’s been working on a project to decentralize the web and put data ownership back in people’s own hands rather than in the control of internet mega-corporations.

Make Use Of: I2P vs Tor vs VPN A simple explanation of three tools which can vastly increase your internet security and privacy.

Finances Online: tope 10 Alternatives to PayPal Payments Pro

Gab – Free speech alternative to Twitter.