Every year or so around my birthday I like to pause and write an essay outlining where I stand and what I’m doing here as clearly as possible. I do this partly because I think it’s important for crowd-funded media to be fully transparent about where they’re coming from so that people can decide if it’s something they want to support, and partly because the sheer volume of material I publish makes it possible for people to spin false narratives about my worldview in a way that’s difficult for others to fact-check without combing through hundreds of essays.
So here are 11 things my readers might want to know about me, with hyperlinks to my relevant writings on the subject.
1. On a political compass graph I look like this:
I don’t put a ton of stock in these tests and I could have answered different questions a number of different ways, but for what it’s worth this is the result I got when I took it just now. I think the key to peace and harmony on this earth is an enlightened collectivism balanced with a respect for self-sovereignty, both for individuals and for nations.
When taxation-is-theft types ask me how I reconcile my support for enlightened collectivism with my holding as sacrosanct the value of self-sovereignty, I always reply that money is a made-up conceptual construct whose only value is given to it by the will of the collective; the only reason a dollar is worth what it’s worth is because we as a collective have agreed to pretend that that’s true. Money exists to serve the collective in the way that the collective wishes, and it is the sovereign right of the collective to change how money works as drastically as it likes at any time. It isn’t some force of nature that is separate from human imagination, and it most certainly doesn’t by itself contain the wisdom our species needs to navigate the travails we now face.
2. I’ve only been doing this for a little over three years.
It feels like it’s been a lot longer, but I only started writing essays about this stuff in the latter part of 2016.
That first year was really rough, to be honest. I was a total newbie just sharing her opinions online, but because I’m good with words I quickly found my name commonly being mentioned in the same breath as high-profile figures who’ve been doing oppositional reporting for many years. I had to quickly learn as much as I could about the US government, global power structures and geopolitics, all while creating near-daily content in the full view of the public. I look back on my old essays from that first year and I see plenty of good ideas that I continue to use today, but I also see the baby scribbles of a much less experienced analyst.
A lot of my early essays were basically just me saying “Hey, what’s the establishment doing over there? I reckon that’s a bit suspicious!” It took a lot of time and effort to be able to describe the dynamics I’m seeing in concrete, positive terms within a unified conceptual framework, and to have to figure out how to do that while being intensely scrutinized by alternative media commentators who’d already garnered their 10,000 hours of mastery was more than a little intimidating. Most of the clumsy arguments I’ve made that my haters like to bring up were authored in that first year, while everyone was staring at the new girl on the scene awkwardly trying to figure out how to do this thing a lot of people wanted to see her do.
3. I see the US-centralized oligarchic empire as the primary enemy of human thriving.
US Foreign Policy Is A War On Disobedience
"So now you’ve got this weird dynamic where the US is constantly working to make sure that no other countries surpass it and gain the ability to treat America the way America treats other countries."https://t.co/AVJoxuLOSq
— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) July 6, 2019
In a system where power is relative and money equals power, you will always necessarily see the rise of a plutocratic class which has a vested interest in keeping everyone else poor in order to maintain its relative wealth/power. In a system where wealth translates directly into political power and the ability to do whatever it takes no matter who it hurts is rewarded with wealth, you’ll naturally find yourself ruled by sociopaths.
These oligarchs form alliances with each other and with government agencies, working to advance agendas with complete indifference to the imaginary lines that are drawn between nations. This globe-spanning power alliance between plutocrats and government power structures is loosely centralized around the United States, where the lion’s share of the military firepower (and billionaires) is located. I often refer to this tight alliance of nations bent to the will of a transnational oligarchy as an “empire” because, while it doesn’t have an emperor, this cluster of nations does function as a single entity as far as international agendas are concerned. Governments which align with the economic, military and resource control agendas of the empire are absorbed into its blob, while those which do not are sabotaged and subverted until they collapse or comply.
The end goal of the imperialists (those who support this empire and its agendas) is a world that is fully unified under this power alliance, where nations are separate and sovereign in name and narrative only and all work to advance the power and wealth of the ruling oligarchs. It’s a twisted mockery of the world people like me are trying to create: one where there’s no more war not because humanity has figured out that war doesn’t serve its interests, but because everyone will have been beaten down into total obedience to and dependence on the empire. One where people accept the status quo not because it is just, but because they’ve been propagandized out of the belief that things could possibly be any other way.
4. I see propaganda as the primary obstacle to ending the oligarchic empire.
Society Is Made Of Narrative. Realizing This Is Awakening From The Matrix.
This is the clearest I've been able to sum it all up so far.https://t.co/JqbZMKn7ov
— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) August 22, 2018
The status quo has been so firmly locked into place that the only hope for changing it is by the people using the power of their numbers to rise up and force change. But they don’t. Despite the fact that they are being kept poor and disempowered by the ruling class, despite the fact that the needs of the many are being subverted for the greed of the few, the people don’t rise up and force change. This is because they have been propagandized.
The oligarchs who control both the political class and the media class (the dynamic I’m referring to when I talk about “the political/media class”) use this control to determine what dominant narratives members of mainstream society tell themselves about what’s going on in the world. A narrative is just a “how it is” story, a story about what’s going on with some aspect of your world. Human experience is dominated by mental narratives, so if you can control the dominant narratives in human society, you control human society itself.
False narratives which the political/media class pummels our consciousness with day in and day out include:
- We live in a free and democratic society
- Your government is your friend
- Capitalism is totally working just fine
- Putin is trying to take over the world
- Maduro must go
- Assad must go
- The governments of Iran, North Korea, and every other nation which doesn’t bow to imperialist interests must go
- Assange is a rapist Nazi Russian agent who mistreated his cat so it’s good he’s locked up
- The TV would never lie to you
Probably the majority of my writing focuses on attacking the empire’s narrative control in some way. I see it as the only worthwhile line of attack.
5. I sincerely believe we can win this thing.
How To Defeat The Empire
"What I do advocate, in as many different ways as I can come up with, is a decentralized guerrilla psywar against the institutions which enable the powerful to manipulate the way ordinary people think, act and vote."https://t.co/4F5dWaURdq
— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) September 10, 2019
The good news about imperial narrative control being our only real obstacle is that that means the only thing chaining us in place is a thin strand of mind fluff. People’s trust in the mass media is at an all-time low while our ability to network and share information is at an all-time high. All we need to do to break the spell of relentless propaganda which holds the entire empire in place is exploit and exacerbate this reality. Without public trust, the imperial propaganda machine cannot function. Without the ability to propagandize its citizenry, the imperialists cannot rule.
You can’t tell me that’s impossible. You can’t tell me we’re incapable of escaping this prison when its bars are only made out of narrative. Out of stories. Out of fairy tales for grownups. We are capable of awakening ourselves from the propaganda dream. Of course we are. They’ve left the door wide open for us. All we have to do is turn and walk out.
6. I believe it’s going to take a shift in consciousness, and that that shift is in the mail already.
I don’t think we’ll hit a critical mass of people waking up from the narrative matrix without a significant collective shift in our relationship with mental narrative, so sometimes I write about the dynamic commonly referred to as spiritual enlightenment since it’s often the most truthful way I know how to talk about where we need to head as a species. I’ve compiled some evidence here explaining why I believe we’re headed toward such a shift.
7. I oppose all forms of racism and prejudice.
Some Common Criticisms Of My Work Addressed, By Caitlin Johnstone
"I thought it might be good to just tap out a few responses to common criticisms of the writing I’ve been doing since I started this gig two and a half years ago."https://t.co/yzL7ddcCVf
— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) March 31, 2019
Some of the poorly constructed arguments I made in that first year left people with the impression that I endorse aligning with white nationalists. I believe that much of this arose from a combination of (A) bad faith interpretations of what I wrote from people with preexisting grudges and (B) my own inability to defend against those spin jobs skillfully. But the failure to preempt and/or counter those narratives effectively was my own. Basically I’d noticed that increasingly shrinking and factionalized ideological echo chambers are being used by propagandists to manipulate people into supporting establishment interests, and I wanted to punch holes in the walls of those echo chambers. You can read more about this here, here, and here. I also oppose antisemitism in all its forms, which you can read about here.
According to my 2017 haters I was supposed to have been turning leftists into goose-stepping Nazis for years by now, or at least transitioned from the left into supporting Trump like Cassandra Fairbanks, Zach Haller, An0maly and HA Goodman. They all insisted that that’s what was happening, despite my own objections to the contrary. History has proven them wrong, and it will continue to do so. People just didn’t understand what they were looking at, because I act a little different from the other analysts in similar circles. Racism and prejudice run counter to everything I stand for, and they always have.
8. I regret the following decisions in my career:
- Ever having anything to do with Zach Haller
- Using Mike Cernovich, who I have nothing to do with, as an example of a conservative I’d overlap with to fight establishment narratives. I should have used Ron Paul. My haters still currently attack me for collaborating with Paul, but he would have been a better and less distracting example.
- Not responding earlier, stronger and more skillfully to the “Caitlin is a secret Nazi” smears
- Appearing with Robert David Steele
- Saying anything about Pizzagate at all
- Getting into a Twitter argument with antisemites in a way that produced screenshots that can be spun out of context to make me look like the antisemite
Again, almost entirely blunders made in my first year, but these are all going to dog me for the rest of my career and come up every time my name gets anywhere near mainstream attention. If I got any do-overs I’d use them on these.
9. I actually love America and Americans.
The American people have needed to be tricked into going to war virtually every single time since the Spanish-American War. This is proof that Americans are overall a deeply good people who detest war. They wouldn't have to trick you otherwise.
— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) June 22, 2019
I love Americans so much I married one. I love Americans so much my readers often gripe about how gushy I can get about them sometimes. I think the fact that Americans need to be propagandized in a way that appeals to their sense of goodness (“The people must be rescued from their evil oppressor!”) says so much about what healthy people they are underneath all the media-induced madness. And what little I’ve seen of America in my travels there has left me with the distinct impression that Americans are far too proud of their government and their military and not nearly proud enough of the staggering beauty of the land they live on.
10. My work is done with my husband Tim Foley
Almost everything I publish is the result of the ongoing conversation Tim and I have throughout the day about what’s going on in our world. We share ideas, we share the links, tweets and stories we find, we discuss them, and it turns into an article. There was one persistent smearer (who I’ve since busted) who was going around circulating the narrative that this means Tim is the author of my work, but I have full control over everything I publish under my name and I decide what gets written.
11. Here’s the kind of world I’m trying to help create:
I want a world where humanity has become so acutely conscious of its relationship with mental narratives that manipulation in all its forms has become impossible. I want a world where we are guided not by what those in power have told us to believe is in our highest interest, but what’s actually in our highest interest, based on objective reality and our actual needs. I want a world where we’ve all reconciled and healed our ancient heritage of pain and cultural mind viruses, where we’ve learned to collaborate with each other and with our ecosystem in the interest of the whole. If that seems like something you’re interested in, then I’m happy to fight alongside you.
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