The Future is Blivets

Submitted by Dmitry Orlov  –  The ClubOrlov Blog

If you have been paying attention, you may have noticed that the global financial markets are currently in meltdown mode. Apparently, the world has hit diminishing returns on making stuff. There is simply too much of everything, be it oil wells, container ships, skyscrapers, cars or houses. Because of this, the world has also hit diminishing returns on borrowing money to build and sell more stuff, because the stuff we build doesn’t sell. And because it doesn’t sell, the price of stuff that’s already been made keeps going down, lowering its value as loan collateral and making the problem worse.

One solution that’s been proposed is to convert from a products economy to a services economy. For instance, instead of making widgets, everybody gives each other backrubs. This works great in theory. The backrub industry doesn’t generate an ever-expanding inventory of backrubs that then have to be unloaded. But there are some problems with this plan. The first problem is that too few people have enough money saved up to spend on backrubs, so they would have to get the backrubs on credit. Another problem is that, unlike a widget, a backrub is not a productive asset, and doesn’t help you pay off the money you had to borrow to pay for the backrub. Lastly, a backrub, once you have received it, isn’t worth very much. You can’t auction it off, and you can’t use it as collateral for a loan.

These are big problems, and one proposed solution is to create good, well-paying jobs that put money in people’s pockets—money that they can then spent on backrubs. This is best done by investing in productivity improvements: send people to school, invest in high tech and so on. It’s an intuitively obvious idea: productive workers are easier to employ than unproductive workers, because the stuff they make ends up cheaper, and people can afford to buy more of it. Whether they do buy more of it is debatable, especially if there is more than enough of it already and nobody has any extra money saved. Still, the theory makes sense.

But this theory doesn’t seem to be working all that well: no matter how much money we put into automation—robotic assembly lines, internet-based virtualization, what have you—the number of unemployed workers isn’t going down at all. And it’s even worse with driverless cars. In theory, they are great: if the driver doesn’t have to do the driving, then she can spend the time giving her passengers backrubs. But no matter how much money we throw at driver-less cars, the number of unemployed drivers, or unemployed massage therapists, isn’t going down. Continue reading

My Prescription for 2016: Collapse Early and Often

Submitted by Dmitry Orlov  –  The ClubOrlov Blog

We are in the time of year when most sensible animals living in northerly climates are hibernating in burrows and hollow tree trunks, while the somewhat less sensible pundits make their predictions for the coming year. My prediction is always the same—things will go on more or less same as before, until something major breaks, while the probability of something major breaking goes up with each passing year. I have called this event “collapse,” and have predicted, year after year, that it will eventually happen. And so, instead of repeating this less than useful prediction, this year I will instead provide a prescription.

Not too many people, I expect, will want to follow my prescription; not too many of my family members, or friends, or acquaintances, or you who are reading this. And that’s fine because, as I have learned over and over again, there is no strength in numbers. Quite the opposite: the probability of any given trick working is in inverse proportion to the number of times it is tried, or the number of people who try it. And so, if you are reading along and think “I can’t possibly do this because of [insert lame excuse]!” then—good! Fine with me. Fewer people equals more oxygen.

And that applies to the few people who will actually bother to read this. Lots more people will not want to read this, because—what collapse? Gasoline prices are low, Obama has shut down most of the wars, the economy is strong enough for the Fed to have started hiking rates, and once Bernie Trump gets into the White House, everything else will be set right too. To the people who think that, someone like me, who predicted collapse a while back, was clearly wrong, and needs to be psychoanalyzed, not followed. Again, fine with me, so long and thanks for all the bullshit. Continue reading

License to Kill

Submitted by Dmitry Orlov  –  The ClubOrlov Blog

[This post is, once again, a rerun, but its subject seems quite timely. As you watch the political establishment in the US go through its usual antics, ask yourself: are they even capable of understanding the fact that they have already lost the empire?]

The story is the same every time: some nation, due to a confluence of lucky circumstances, becomes powerful—much more powerful than the rest—and, for a time, is dominant. But the lucky circumstances, which often amount to no more than a few advantageous quirks of geology, be it Welsh coal or West Texas oil, in due course come to an end. In the meantime, the erstwhile superpower becomes corrupted by its own power.

As the endgame approaches, those still nominally in charge of the collapsing empire resort to all sorts of desperate measures—all except one: they will refuse to ever consider the fact that their imperial superpower is at an end, and that they should change their ways accordingly. George Orwell once offered an excellent explanation for this phenomenon: as the imperial end-game approaches, it becomes a matter of imperial self-preservation to breed a special-purpose ruling class—one that is incapable of understanding that the end-game is approaching. Because, you see, if they had an inkling of what’s going on, they wouldn’t take their jobs seriously enough to keep the game going for as long as possible.

The approaching imperial collapse can be seen in the ever worsening results the empire gets for its imperial efforts. After World War II, the US was able to do a respectable job helping to rebuild Germany, along with the rest of western Europe. Japan also did rather well under US tutelage, as did South Korea after the end of fighting on the Korean peninsula. With Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, all of which were badly damaged by the US, the results were significantly worse: Vietnam was an outright defeat, Cambodia lived through a period of genocide, while amazingly resilient Laos—the most heavily bombed country on the planet—recovered on its own.

The first Gulf War went even more badly: fearful of undertaking a ground offensive in Iraq, the US stopped short of its regular practice of toppling the government and installing a puppet regime there, and left it in limbo for a decade. When the US did eventually invade, it succeeded—after killing countless civilians and destroying much of the infrastructure—in leaving behind a dismembered corpse of a country. Continue reading

A Most Convenient Massacre

Submitted by Dmitry Orlov  –  The ClubOrlov Blog

What a difference a single massacre can make!

• Just a week ago the EU couldn’t possibly figure out anything to do to stop the influx of “refugees” from all those countries the US and NATO had bombed into oblivion. But now, because “Paris changed everything,” EU’s borders are being locked down and refugees are being turned back.

• Just a week ago it seemed that the EU was going to be swamped by resurgent nationalism, with incumbent political parties poised to get voted out of power. But now, thanks to the Paris massacre, they have obtained a new lease on life, because they can now safely embrace the same policies that a week ago they branded as “fascist.”

• Just a week ago the EU and the US couldn’t possibly bring themselves admit that they are utterly incompetent when it comes to combating their own creation—ISIS, that is—and need Russian help. But now, at the après-Paris G-20 summit, everybody is ready to line up and let Putin take charge of the war against terrorism. Look—the Americans finally found those convoys of tanker trucks stretching beyond the horizon that ISIS has been using to smuggle out stolen Syrian crude oil—after Putin showed them the satellite photos!

Am I being crass and insensitive? Not at all—I deplore all the deaths from terrorist attacks in Iraq, in Syria, in Lebanon, and in all the other countries whose populations did absolutely nothing to deserve such treatment. I only feel half as bad about the French, who stood by quietly as their military helped destroy Libya (which did nothing to deserve it).

Note that after the Russian jet crashed in the Sinai there weren’t all that many Facebook avatars with the Russian flag pasted over them, and hardly any candlelight vigils or piles of wreaths and flowers in various Western capitals. I even detected a whiff of smug satisfaction that the Russians got their comeuppance for stepping out of line in Syria. Continue reading

The World’s Silliest Empire

Submitted by Dmitry Orlov  –  The ClubOrlov Blog

I couldn’t help but notice that over the past few weeks the Empire has become extremely silly—so silly that I believe it deserves the title of the World’s Silliest Empire. One could claim that it has been silly before, but recent developments seem to signal a quantum leap in its silliness level.

The first bit of extreme silliness surfaced when Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the head of the United States Central Command, told a Senate panel that only a very small number of Syrian fighters trained by the United States remained in the fight—perhaps as few as five. The tab for training and equipping them was $500 million. That’s $100 million per fighter, but that’s OK, because it’s all good as long as the military contractors are getting paid. Things got even sillier when it later turned out that even these few fighters got car-jacked by ISIS/al Qaeda in Syria (whatever they are currently calling themselves) and got their vehicles and weapons taken away from them.

Gen. Austin

General Austin’s previous role as as Lt. General Casey in Tim Burton’s film Mars Attacks! It was already a very silly role, but his current role is a definite career advancement, both in terms of rank and in terms of silliness level.

Lt. Gen. Casey
Mars Attacks!

The next silly moment arrived at the UN General Assembly meeting in New York, where Obama, who went on for 30 minutes instead of the allotted 15 (does Mr. Silly President know how to read a clock?) managed to use up all of this time and say absolutely nothing that made any sense to anyone.

But it was Putin’s speech that laid out the Empire’s silliness for all to see when he scolded the US for making a bloody mess of the Middle East with its ham-handed interventions. The oft-repeated quote is “Do you understand what you have done?” but that’s not quite right. The Russian «Вы хоть понимаете теперь, чего вы натворили?» can be more accurately translated as “How can you even now fail to understand what a mess you have made?” Words matter: this is not how one talks to a superpower before an assembly of the world’s leaders; this is how one scolds a stupid and wayward child. In the eyes of the whole world, this made the Empire look rather silly.

What happened next is that Russia announced the start of its bombing campaign against all manner of terrorists in Syria (and perhaps Iraq too; the Iraqi request is in Putin’s in-box). What’s notable about this bombing campaign is that it is entirely legal. The legitimate, elected government of Syria asked Russia for help; the campaign was approved by the Russian legislature. On the other hand, the bombing campaign that the US has been conducting in Syria is entirely illegal. There are exactly two ways to legally bomb the territory of another country: 1. an invitation from that country’s government and 2. a UN Security Council resolution. The US has not obtained either of them. Continue reading

American “allies” in Syria: their shameful performance is perfectly explainable

Submitted by Dmitry Orlov  –  The ClubOrlov Blog

[The recent American failure to train and equip anti-Assad forces in Syria is not an isolated incident. It is a symptom of a systemic problem. This article, which recently appeared in the Russian press, explains why.]

Yevgeny Krutikov, Vzglyad

The scandal around the “30th Divison,” which was prepared by American trainers for war against Assad, and which immediately surrendered to the Islamist An-Nusra Front as soon as it crossed the border from Turkey, is now resounding around the entire planet. There will be many such scandals. They have been predetermined by the methodology of American training of “allies”—in Syria, in Georgia and in the Ukraine.

Let’s recall that as a result An-Nusra Front (a branch Al-Qaeda) received weapons, equipment and a few pickup trucks from the USA. The commander of the “30th Division” assured representatives of the Front that he fooled the American military in order to get weapons. The problems which caused this to happen can be split into three uneven categories.

Problems with intelligence and psychology

The image of a CIA operative who decides whom to choose as an ally in the Middle East has been unduly exaggerated by Hollywood. In an absolute majority of cases the operatives latch onto anyone who shows even the most perfunctory signs of being loyal. But if somebody seems useful but does not show enough of the required signs, then they prefer to purchase his loyalty, even though such “partners” have been considered unreliable at all times. These are, roughly, the principles according to which the anti-Assad coalition was knocked together.

Add to this that the behavior of CIA operatives is very tightly regulated. Just about every eventuality is accounted for by a written instruction, which they are required to know almost by heart. Disagreement with operational instructions brings official sanction. The freedom of action of an operative is limited, and at times they are simply forced to fulfill the letter of the instructions instead of reacting to the situation. This problem plagues many intelligence services, but the American ones are, in addition, built on ideological and, to a lesser extent, on ethnic stereotypes. Generally speaking, any authentic-looking towelhead who is able to intelligibly pronounce the word “democracy” has a chance to receive financing and weapons. But nobody has any control over where he will then go with these weapons. By the way, Soviet intelligence services of the Brezhnev era had the same problem, latching onto any tribal chieftain who knew how to pronounce words like “Marx” and “Lenin.” Continue reading

Trump for Prezz

Submitted by Dmitry Orlov  –  The ClubOrlov Blog

Go ahead, elect, appoint, anoint—whatever it is you do with Prezzidents. It won’t matter. Because it didn’t matter who was President, and will matter even less who plays “The Prezz” on reality TV for the next four years.

As far as actual Presidents, we had Bush, who told lies about Iraq and Afghanistan (to name a few), who was owned by a bunch of Wall Street insiders and whose foreign policy team was stocked with murderous Neocons. And then we had Obama, who told lies about Libya, Syria and the Ukraine (to name a few), who was owned by a bunch of Wall Street insiders and whose foreign policy team was stocked with murderous Neocons. The only difference is that Obama promised a bunch of things—you know, “Change!”—and they didn’t happen. Bush played dumb, Obama pretended to be smart, but both are just sleazy. To find a President who wasn’t a sleazy slimeball, you have to go all the way back to Jimmy Carter. But it didn’t matter that he was President either; everything he did was undone by the next sleazebag in line.

But Trump is different. He is actually a good fit, as an ornamental figurehead, for what the United States has become in its senescence and decrepitude. Here is a short list of things that make him an ideal pick for the role of “the Prezz” on reality TV.

1. Trump is just a brand—a picture of his likeness with the word “Trump” over it, and a salesman’s cant: I am a smart guy, I know how to strike deals, blah blah blah. And, it turns out, by this point in time the United States is also just a brand—a stripey flag and some verbiage that rings increasingly hollow: indispensable nation, freedom and democracy, world policeman, blah blah blah. Now, the United States did at some point stand for something: the rule of law, the right to mind your own business, the ability to get things done. But now it stands for lawlessness. How many Wall Street types got jailed for their transgressions in recent years? None. They don’t even get juvenile detention; they just get off by paying a fine. How many unarmed people got shot by police lately? Lots. Do the cops get any jail-time for what amounts to murder? No. It also stands for a surveillance state that would make Stalin blush: your right to privacy has been eliminated. And the ability to get things done has moved overseas; all that’s left in the US is a bunch of corporate scams—in medicine, in education, in housing, in energy, plus a hyped-up “tech bubble” based on short-lived imported widgets and bits of software cludged together by overcaffeinated hipsters. Do any of these things make you want to jump up and down and yell “Rah-rah?” or “USA #1?” Well, no, so all you have left is the stripey flag; go and wave it about then! Continue reading

Corn Madness Revisited

Submitted by Dmitry Orlov  –  The ClubOrlov Blog

Five years ago I received an unusual email from an unusual character: Yevgeny. I translated and published his letter under the title Corn Madness, and it got some 17,000 reads—a big number for me at the time—and plenty of comments. Yevgeny wrote of his experience with living in the US, and his impressions of it.

Subsequently, we met, and I got to know him. He is educated as a philosopher, a non-drinker, non-smoker, athletic, a self-taught polyglot, an accomplished musician and sound technician, but he was also, by virtue of his economic situation, working as a day-laborer at the time.

Since that time, Yevgeny has returned to Russia. I recently wrote to him and asked him to write an update, which he was kind enough to provide. Below is the original article, followed by his update.


Dear Dmitry,

I hope you don’t mind that this is in Russian. I think that this way I can be more completely honest. I am a relatively recent graduate of one of the many faceless post-Soviet institutions of higher learning, with a degree in philosophy. Last year I moved to the USA and married an American woman.

The question of when the modern capitalist system is going to collapse has interested me since my student years, and I have approached it from various directions: from the commonplace conspiracy theories to the serious works of Oswald Spengler and Noam Chomsky. Unfortunately, I still can’t fathom what it is that is keeping this system going.

My wife is a very pleasant woman, but a typical white conservative American. Whenever any political question comes up, she starts ranting about the Constitution and calling herself a libertarian conservative and a constitutionalist. I used to think that she is well-educated and understands what she is talking about. In fact, she is the one who introduced me to the US, and I once believed everything she told me about it. But as I found out later, she understands nothing about politics, and just repeats various bits of populist nonsense spouted by Severin, O’Reilly, Limbaugh and other mass media clowns. Well, I am not going to try to prove to my wife that she is wrong on a subject that I don’t quite understand myself. After all, she is a good wife. And so I try to steer clear of any political questions when I am with the family, although I do not always succeed. Perhaps if I had a copy of your book, it would help me explain myself to her better, but our family was one of the first to be flattened by the real estate market collapse. My wife went bankrupt, lost her bank account, house, job and the rest a while before I came here, and so we can’t buy anything online.

In the talk you gave at the conference in Ireland you mentioned that there are certain regions of the US where the common people only eat garbage food from places like Walmart, which consists of artificial colors and flavors and corn, and that such a diet makes them “a little bit crazy.” To my utter disappointment, I have to entirely agree with you. Various witty Russian commentators love to heap ridicule on the “dumb Americans” and on the USA as a generally stupid country. But if they spent a bit of time living here and paid closer attention, they would realize that it is not the low cultural level that distinguishes Americans from, say, Russians: both are, on average, quite beastly. But even when I’ve visited here before, as a student, my first impression was of a country that is full of madmen, ranging from somewhat mentally competent to total lunatics. And the further south I traveled, the more obvious this became. At first I even marveled at this, thinking, look at how intoxicating the spirit of liberty can be! But now I understand that this is a catastrophe, that American society is brainwashed and alienated in the extreme, and that all that’s left for Americans to do is to play each other for the suckers that they have become.

Unfortunately, I feel the pernicious influence of all this on my own family right here and now. You don’t have to be a brilliant visionary to realize that in the current situation all these endless suburbs, built on the North American model, are slowly but surely turning into mass graves for the millions of former members of the middle class. Those that do not turn into mass graves will become nature preserves – stocked with wild animals that were once human. My family is turning feral under my very eyes. Lack of resources has forced us to live according to the Soviet model – three generations under one roof. There are six of us, of which only one works, who is, consequently, exasperated and embittered. The rest of the household is gradually going insane from idleness and boredom. The television is never turned off. The female side of the family has been sucked into social networks and associated toys. Everyone is cultivating their own special psychosis, and periodically turns vicious. In these suburbs, a person without a car is as if without legs, and joblessness does not allow any of us to earn money for gas, and so the house is almost completely isolated from the outside world. The only information that seeps in comes from the lying mass media. And I understand that millions of families throughout America live this way! This is how people turn into “teabaggers,” while their children join street gangs.

For me, as for you, this is the second collapse. You had left USSR before it happened, while I was there to observe it as a child. I saw what happened when people were finally told that they were being had for seventy-odd years, and were offered a candy bar as consolation. Now, after all this, Russian society is finished. It grieves me to see the faces of Americans, who still believe something and wave their Constitution about, and to know that the same thing is about to happen to them. I think that the model which you have proposed will allow us to confront and to survive this collapse with dignity.

Yevgeny
New Hampshire

Continue reading

Leveling the Playing Field of Death

Submitted by Dmitry Orlov  –  The ClubOrlov Blog

In April 2015, the Washington DC-based Physicians for Social Responsibility released a landmark study concluding that the death toll from 10 years of the “War on Terror” since the 9/11 attacks is at least 1.3 million, and could be as high as two million. However, Nafeez Ahmed begs to differ, writing that western wars have killed four million or more Muslims since 1990.

It seems that the Empire is exterminating Muslims at a higher rate than those of other confessions. Why might that be? There seem to be two competing philosophies at work within the throbbing brain of the Empire: the environmentally hostile, infinite growth-oriented, natalistic view of economists, and the eco-friendly, Malthusian, population-control view of ecologists.

Neoclassical economists are infinite growth advocates, and many of them are natalists, wholeheartedly promoting ever-faster reproduction of everything. They dominate all the university economics programs in the US, as well as the Wall Street financial institutions who operate the US government as a wholly owned subsidiary. So you might think they would dominate the Empire too, in which case you might be right. But natalism and population control are just different sides of the same coin—not!—so how do we reconcile this?

The cornucopian economist Julian Simon wrote a book called The Ultimate Resource, in which he advocated unlimited human population growth for the advantage of increasing the number of human minds, which he called “the ultimate resource.” He claimed that the earth could support population growth for another 4 billion years—the current age of the planet. But the Empire doesn’t seem to be following this plan. Continue reading

Emergency Eyewash

Submitted by Dmitry Orlov  –  The ClubOrlov Blog

https://www.createspace.com/5654277About a year and a half ago this blog underwent a shift of focus: instead of discussing all things collapse-related, as I have been doing since 2008, I started devoting my attention to the types of collapse we are currently observing:

• Collapse of American hegemony and the old world order
• Collapse of Western “values” and of the Western “civilizational” narrative
• Collapse of the fictional, extend-and-pretend, financial stability of the Eurozone and the US dollar zone
• Collapse in Western media’s ability to report on world events

Many people have clearly found this new, sharper focus much more interesting than the discussion of collapses in general: blog traffic has tripled, and now fluctuates between 250,000 and 300,000 reads a month.

This change of focus has helped me define a new mission for myself and for this blog: it is to do what I can to breach the information blockade imposed on the English-speaking world by the corporate-controlled Western media.

Along the way, I have produced a body of work some 70,000 words long, which I have just published as a paperback, titled Emergency Eyewash—the second title from Club Orlov Press, with three more in the works.

It’s really very simple

Submitted by Dmitry Orlov  –  The ClubOrlov Blog

[Credit to Dmitry Leikin, whose brief post at d3.ru served as the source and the inspiration for this piece.]

There are times when a loud cry of “The emperor has no clothes!” can be most copacetic. And so, let me point out something quite simple, yet very important.

The old world order, to which we became accustomed over the course of the 1990s and the 2000s, its crises and its problems detailed in numerous authoritative publications on both sides of the Atlantic—it is no more. It is not out sick and it is not on vacation. It is deceased. It has passed on, gone to meet its maker, bought the farm, kicked the bucket and joined the choir invisible. It is an ex-world order.

If we rewind back to the early 1980s, we can easily remember how the USSR was still running half of Europe and exerting major influence on a sizable chunk of the world. World socialist revolution was still sputtering along, with pro-Soviet regimes coming in to power here and there in different parts of the globe, the chorus of their leaders’ official pronouncements sounding more or less in unison. The leaders made their pilgrimages to Moscow as if it were Mecca, and they sent their promising young people there to learn how to do things the Soviet way. Soviet technology continued to make impressive advances: in the mid-1980s the Soviets launched into orbit a miracle of technology—the space station Mir, while Vega space probes were being dispatched to study Venus.

But alongside all of this business-as-usual the rules and principles according which the “red” half of the globe operated were already in an advanced state of decay, and a completely different system was starting to emerge both at the center and along the periphery. Seven years later the USSR collapsed and the world order was transformed, but many people simply couldn’t believe in the reality of this change. In the early 1990s many political scientists were self-assuredly claiming that what is happening is the realization of a clever Kremlin plan to modernize the Soviet system and that, after a quick rebranding, it will again start taking over the world. People like to talk about what they think they can understand, never mind whether it still exists.

And what do we see today? The realm that self-identifies itself as “The West” is still claiming to be leading economically, technologically, and to be dominant militarily, but it has suffered a moral defeat, and, strictly as a consequence of this moral defeat, a profound ideological defeat as well. Continue reading

So you say you don’t want a revolution?

Submitted by Dmitry Orlov  –  The ClubOrlov Blog

Over the past few months we have been forced to bear witness to a humiliating farce unfolding in Europe. Greece, which was first accepted into the European Monetary Union under false pretenses, then saddled with excessive levels of debt, then crippled through the imposition of austerity, finally did something: the Greeks elected a government that promised to shake things up. The Syriza party platform had the following planks, which were quite revolutionary in spirit.

  • Put an end to austerity and put the Greek economy on a path toward recovery
  • Raise the income tax to 75% for all incomes over 500,000 euros, adopt a tax on financial transactions and a special tax on luxury goods.
  • Drastically cut military expenditures, close all foreign military bases on Greek soil and withdraw from NATO. End military cooperation with Israel and support the creation of a Palestinian State within the 1967 borders.
  • Nationalize the banks.
  • Enact constitutional reforms to guarantee the right to education, health care and the environment.
  • Hold referendums on treaties and other accords with the European Union.

Of these, only the last bullet point was acted on: there was a lot made of the referendum which returned a resounding “No!” to EU demands for more austerity and the dismantling and selling off of Greek public assets. But a lot less was made of the fact that the results of this referendum were then ignored.

But the trouble started before then. After being elected, Syriza representatives went to Brussels to negotiate. The negotiations generally went like this: Syriza would make an offer; the EU officials would reject it, and advance their own demands for more austerity; Syriza would make another offer, and the EU officials would reject it too and advance their own demands for even more austerity than in the last round; and so on, all the way until Greek capitulation. All the EU officials had to do to force the Greeks to capitulate was to stop the flow of Euros to Greek banks. Some revolutionaries, these! More like a toy poodle trying to negotiate for a little more kibble to be poured into its dish, if it pleases the master to do so. Stathis Kouvelakis (a Syriza member) summed up the Greek government’s stance: “Here’s our program, but if we find that its implementation is incompatible with keeping the euro, then we’ll forget about it.”

It is not as if revolutions don’t happen any more. Just one country over from Greece there is a rather successful revolution unfolding as we speak: what used to be Northern Iraq and Syria is controlled by the revolutionary regime variously known as ISIS/ISIL/Daash/Islamic Caliphate. We can tell that it is a real revolution because of its use of terror. All revolutionaries deserving of the name use terror—and what they generally say is that their terror is in response to the terror of the pre-existing order they seek to overthrow, or the terror of their counterrevolutionary enemies. And by terror I mean mass murder, expropriation, exile and the taking of hostages.

Just so that you understand me correctly, let me stress at the outset that I am not a revolutionary. I am an observer and a commentator on all sorts of things, including revolutions, but I choose not to participate. Remaining an observer and a commentator presupposes staying alive, and my personal longevity program calls for not being anywhere near any revolutions—because, as I just mentioned, revolutions involve mass murder.

Good old Uncle Joe.
The kids loved him.

In the case of the French revolution, it started withliberté-égalité-fraternité and proceeded swiftly toguilliotiné. The Russian revolution of 1917 remains the gold standard for revolutions. There, thanks to Uncle Joe, so-called “red terror” went on and on, eventually claiming millions of victims. Mao and Pol Pot are also part of that revolutionary pantheon. The American revolution wasn’t a revolution at all because the slave-owning, genocidal sponsors of international piracy remained in power under the new administration. Nor does the February 2014 putsch in the Ukraine qualify as a revolution; that was an externally imposed violent overthrow of the legitimate government and the installation of a US-managed puppet regime, but, as in the American Colonies, the same gang of thieves—the Ukrainian oligarchs—continue to rob the country blind just as before. But if the Nazi thugs from the “Right Sector” take over and kill the oligarchs, the government officials in Kiev and their US State Dept./CIA/NATO minders, and then proceed with a campaign of “brown terror” throughout the country, then I will start calling it a revolution.
Continue reading