I had a weird dystopian dream recently where I was running away from these evil Agent Smith-type characters who looked just like normal people, so there was no way to recognize them; they could be an old man or a child or a librarian, or anyone.
The only sign that allowed me to tell them apart from real people always came too late: if I ever talked about the dark forces I was fighting, at some point they would say the words “Well, what did you expect?”
As in, what did you expect when you disobey us? What did you expect when you try to stand against our power? Did you think we wouldn’t come after you? Did you really think you could win?
It was a really scary, trippy dream, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.
I’ve been thinking about it because it’s such an accurate reflection of how subservience to power actually manifests in our world. You talk about abusive power structures in our world, from police brutality to corporate predation to imperialist military interventionism, and many people are receptive. But you always wind up standing across from some freaky empire zombie saying “Well, what did you expect?”
It really is like a zombie infection, like a virus of the mind which spreads through propaganda and toxic ideologies and leads people to support the abuse of the disempowered by the powerful.
She is 14 years old.
— Brynn (@pcbrynn) July 27, 2020
Whenever there’s an act of police brutality caught on video, no matter how brutal or inexcusable it may be, when that video circulates online you will always see comments saying “Well, what did you expect? That person was disobeying.”
Literally always. Always, always, always, without a single solitary exception. There’s a certain type of mind virus whose victims literally cannot help themselves. They absolutely cannot resist the impulse to start making excuses for the authority figure explaining why it’s okay for them to assault and abuse the disobedient weaker party. You get the impression that they’re not even really thinking about it; it’s an entirely mindless reflex for them. Like robots. Or zombies.
And it’s the exact same mind virus which justifies literally any violence by the powerful against those who disobey them, from the smallest to the largest of scales.
Those who respond to videos of police brutality with “Well what do you expect? They were disobeying!” aren’t just defending the police, they’re defending every power structure in the world where the weak are attacked for disobeying the powerful. From governments which attack, subvert and destroy weaker nations which disobey them, all the way down to parents who hit their children for annoying them.
It’s the same mind virus, and it’s the same dynamic, and it all funnels upward in support of the same power structures. The doctrine which says it’s okay for the powerful to use violence upon the disobedient disempowered applies anywhere else one might choose to apply it. Which is why there’s so much overlap between defenders of police violence and supporters of various kinds of US imperialism.
The 14-year-old boy was pinned to the ground, but apparently that wasn't enough for this cop. pic.twitter.com/6cPiBYfVpx
— In the NOW (@inthenow) April 30, 2020
Don’t side with the powerful against the disempowered. Just don’t.
Learning to distinguish between empowered parties and disempowered parties can be a little tricky, even for relatively awake people, because nobody likes to think of themselves as siding with the powerful against the weak. It’s something we all know intuitively to be wrong, so we’ll often find clever ways of using an incomplete analysis of the power dynamics at play which allows us to feel as though we’re fighting the power when we’re really doing the exact opposite.
And propagandists are of course all too eager to help us do this.
Israel is a perfect example. You can squint at it in such a way that lets you feel as though you’re defending a disempowered religious minority with an extensive history of persecution that is surrounded by enemies, but really it has nuclear weapons and the full might of the US empire on its side. In reality the Palestinians are the down-power ones, but people who want to believe the Israeli government is a poor widdle victim will do mental gymnastics to contort the power dynamics.
These compartmentalizations ignore where the actual power is at on a global scale and just zoom in to a local analysis which ignores all else.
Whenever you see the western mass media and their propagandized followers talking about “The people of [insert targeted nation here]”, they’re cheerleading a US empire-backed movement against a weaker government which has resisted absorption into that empire. But they’re posing as supporters of the little guy.
- Juan Guaido is the brave rebel fighting the powerful Maduro regime! No, he’s backed by the US-centralized empire which is trying to stage a coup in the nation with the largest proven oil reserves on the planet.
- Yay, the freedom fighters in Syria are fighting the tyranny of their oppressive ruler! No they’re not, they’re jihadist extremists who were backed by the US and its allies with the goal of toppling Damascus in order to seize control of a crucial geostrategic region.
- Yay, the brave people of Hong Kong are liberating themselves from the tyranny of Beijing! Well really China is far less powerful than the US-centralized power alliance and the US government is unquestionably intervening in the HK protests. But people make believe it’s just the people vs the big bad Chinese government.
In 500 media articles in 16 yrs, terms like the “Venezuelan people” or “civil society” were used exclusively to refer to opposition groups in alignment with (and funded by) the US government. https://t.co/FL7i0ErQ0V
— Media Lens (@medialens) February 1, 2019
This impulse to pretend you’re fighting the power instead of fighting for power is so pervasive I’ve seen people do ridiculous things like say Julian Assange is actually the power because WikiLeaks is influential. He’s one guy!
That’s also what you’re seeing when people try to spin these US protests as a Deep State color revolution backed by George Soros and “the Chicoms”. No it’s not, you just don’t want to admit that you support the government and its armed goon squad against people who are sick of the brutal US police state, so you’re doing ridiculous mental gymnastics to make it feel like you’re actually punching up.
Online forums are full of self-described “anarchists” who constantly wind up on the same side as the CIA and the US State Department on foreign policy because they act like every “revolution” in every nation is the people vs power while ignoring a global-scale analysis of real power. If your “anti-authoritarian” worldview frequently leads you to supporting agendas which make the biggest power structure on the planet more powerful, then you’re not anti-authoritarian, you just want to feel like you are. You’re fundamentally no different than any other MSM-brainwashed tool.
Learn to see clearly where the power is, and refuse to side with it. Expunge the “What did you expect?” mind virus from your system and you’ll be doing all of humanity a big favor.
Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics onTwitter, checking out my podcast on either Youtube, soundcloud, Apple podcasts or Spotify, following me on Steemit, throwing some money into my tip jar on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my books Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.
Transformation through Rebellion / July 30, 2020
It appears that many Antifa and Black Lives Matter ‘protesters’ are fulfilling the ruling elites power play.
Heralding the revolution that will lead to the complete collapse of the entire western capitalist system.
Has it not yet dawned on these millions of ‘protesters’ around the US that all revolutions have failed?
And when I say ‘all’, I mean all.
The very concept of revolution has proved absolutely futile, a mirage.
If these ‘revolutionaries’ want ‘real change’, they must first understand and dismantle their own slave/master relationship with the Democratic ruling elites.
Denying support to this sociopathic political syndicate of privilege, racism, control and criminal corruption.
Yet they still go on thinking in terms of revolution, changing this political ideology for that ideology.
They have not understood anything from the history of humanity.
It is said that history repeats itself.
It is not history that repeats itself, it only seems to repeat itself because humanity is absolutely unconscious and they go on doing the same thing again and again without learning anything, without becoming mature, alert and aware.
There is no point in again and again changing the powerful into the powerless and the powerless into the powerful.
This is a circle that goes on moving endlessly.
How can a violent ‘leader’ become non- violent?
What will they do?
There is only one possibility, they will be violent towards themselves, that’s all.
Then they will project this schizophrenic non- violence/violence on steroids through control, fear and propaganda onto the utopian sheep.
What else can sociopaths do?
Welcome to the new tyranny!
Revolution means a rebellion organized.
But you cannot organize a rebellion, that’s impossible, because in the very organization, the rebellion dies.
Organization is against rebellion.
So all revolutions fail because they try to organize to succeed.
To be successful they have to be organized.
But the moment they are organized they become another establishment.
They may be anti-establishment but still, they have their own establishment.
They cannot be non-establishment, that is impossible.
Organize a revolution and you have killed it.
An organized revolution is aborted already.
Rebellion is unorganized.
Rebellion is individual.
It comes out of the authenticity of a single being.
It comes out of the authenticity of a single being’s heart.
Revolution is political.
Rebellion is religious.
Revolution means a social phenomenon.
Rebellion is meditative.
This has to be understood, this distinction.
A revolution is a planning.
A revolution thinks of the future.
A rebellion is herenow.
Revolution is utopian, a dream, somewhere in the future, the golden age, the utopia, the paradise.
Rebellion is to live it here and now.
Understanding this is freedom.
And that freedom is rebellion.
To be rebellious means to be transformed totally.
In revolution, and in the ideology of revolution, you try to change the others, you try to change the scene.
In rebellion, you change yourself and the scene changes by itself, of its own accord, because your vision is different.
You have different eyes to see with.
Rebellion is spontaneous.
It has nothing to do with any ideology.
Rebellion is non-ideological.
Rebellion is like love.
You don’t think about it, you cannot think about it.
Either you live it or you don’t live it, either it is there or it is not there.
Revolutions in the past have happened all around the world, but no revolution has succeeded in doing what it promised.
It promised equality, without understanding the psychology of human individuality.
Each human individual is so unique that to force them to equality is not going to make people happy, but utterly miserable.
I also love the idea of equality, but in a totally different way.
For me, equality is equal opportunity to all to be unequal, equal opportunity to all to be unique and themselves.
Certainly they will be different from each other, and a society which does not have variety and differences is a very poor society.
Variety brings beauty, richness, color.
When all the revolutions have failed some new door should be opened.
The word for the world at this moment, and for those who are intelligent enough in the present, is ‘Rebellion’.
What is the difference?
Rebellion is individual action, it has nothing to do with the crowd.
Rebellion has nothing to do with politics, power, violence.
Rebellion has something to do with changing your consciousness, your silence, your being.
It is a spiritual metamorphosis.
The real rebel is not a fighter, they are individuals of understanding.
They simply grow in intelligence, not in anger, not in rage.
You cannot transform yourself by being angry against your past.
Then the past will continue to dominate you, then the past will remain the center of your being, the past will remain your focus.
You will remain focused in your mind, attached to the past.
You may move to the other extreme, from anger to violence, but still you will be attached to the past.
If you rebel against your own mind it will be a reaction, not a rebellion.
Note the difference.
A reaction is out of anger, a reaction is violent.
In a reaction you become blind with rage.
In a reaction you start moving to the other extreme.
Guns are not needed, bombs are not needed, rioting is not needed, killing is not needed.
What is needed is more alertness, more meditativeness, more love, more consciousness, more gratitude.
Surrounded by all these qualities you are born anew.
We have tried collective efforts and they have failed.
Now let us try individual efforts.
And if one person becomes aflame with consciousness, truth and blissfulness, they will become contagious to many more.
Rebellion is a very silent phenomenon that will go on spreading without making any noise and without even leaving any footprints behind.
It will move from heart to heart in deep silences, and the day it has reached to millions of people without any bloodshed, just the understanding of those millions of people will change our old primitive animalistic ways.
It is rebellion against the whole past of humanity, rebellion against all political and religious ideologies, philosophies, dogmas, creeds, cults.
It is rebellion so that you can simply be yourself.
Remember the days of revolution are past.
We have tried them many times, and every time the same story is repeated.
Now something new is urgently needed.
An individual rebellion based on meditativeness.
There is no other alternative proposed anywhere in the world.
It is life-affirmative.
You can dance and sing and love and live as intensely as possible, and as totally as possible.
In this total affirmation of life, in this absolute yes to nature, we can bring a totally new earth, and a totally new humanity into being.
We can have rebellious people functioning together, but each will be an independent individual, not belonging to a political party or to a religious organization.
Just out of freedom and out of love we will meet.
Our meeting will not be a contract, our meeting will not be in any way a surrender.
Our meeting will make every individual more individual.
Supported by everybody else, our meeting will not take away freedom, will not enslave you.
Our meeting will give you more freedom, more support so that you can be stronger in your freedom.
Long has been the slavery, and long has been our burden.
We have become weak because of the thousands of years of darkness that have been poured on us.
The people who understand the meaning of rebellion, will not be alone, they will be connecting with all people who are on the same path, fellow-travelers, friends.
They will be supporting each other in their meditativeness, in their joy, in their dance, in their music.
So many people can be together and yet they may be creating the same consciousness, the same light, the same joy, the same fragrance.
The moment is approaching when this whole planet is bound to become enlightened.
Idiots may try to wait and see what happens to others, but they also finally have to join the caravan.
The very idea of enlightenment is so new, although it is not something that has not been known before.
There have been enlightened people, but they never brought enlightenment as a rebellion.
It is not a question of converting people from one ideology to another ideology.
It is a far deeper transformation, from the whole past to a totally new and unknown future.
Rebellion is absolutely individual, and it will spread from individual to individual.
It is the greatest adventure there is.
You are fortunate to be part of this great adventure.
Michael / July 30, 2020
Agree, however my sympathy for the people of HK in their struggle for independence and identity against Chinese imperialism (that replaced British imperialism, sure) doesn’t put me in league with US imperialism, just because it’s expedient for them to champion the HKese and their cause.
I don’t choose my friend’s friends, so the friend of my friend isn’t necessarily my friend.
We’re just friends-in-law.
J / July 30, 2020
“Power has learned there are two effective ways to control people. First, raw brute force. Will be used when “necessary” for them. Second way, seduce people into submission. Make it seem worth their while to submit.”
Roundball Shaman’s very astute observation but why can so few see this dynamic in the obviously well funded, orchestrated and propagandized “protest” violence suppressed by MSM but observed by the who are honest enough to put aside their sacred progressive doctrines and use the same measure they accuse others if not using? I have tremendous respect for your insight on many things Caitlin, but you’re interpretation is severely flawed despite perhaps noble motives.
Tired and no longer active revolutionary / July 30, 2020
YES – Don’t Side With The Powerful. BUT please Side With Powerful benevolent, honest and reliable people if you find any. Most people are not interesting in knowing that much of our tax payments goes to support Powerful people and enable their schemes to financially enslave us and to fund wars and campaigns to overthrow foreign governments, and other evils.
Cal Lash / July 30, 2020
“It would seem that enforced conditioning of a mind, however good the social intention, has to be evil. ” Anthony Burgess
Oliver / July 29, 2020
The last time a Democrat Presidential candidate won Texas was Jimmy Carter in 1976.
Joe Biden leads Donald Trump by 2 pts in Texas in the latest poll.
Donald Trump is so hated he is going to lose Texas of all places to the Democrats.
George W. Bush has already announced that Trump will not get his vote from his ranch in Crawford.
The thing about bullies is that a whole bunch of us Lilliputians can always kick their butts.
When I was growing up, America was a nation that always rooted for the underdog. There’s still a current of that in America, although its fainter than it used to be as the culture has swung to everyone has to be united in being a fan of the Superduper Bowl champs.
But, John Steinbeck’s America used to be a place where everyone rooted for the underdog to beat the powerful. That’s what America was. A bunch of people who’d been powerless in their old land who came to the land of opportunity searching desperately for a future, and everyone was always rooting for the other underdogs to succeed because that meant that they had a chance too. That was back before America became a place which kicks and despises the weak and only celebrates the powerful.
I liked the old America better.
Maybe that’s why I watch old movies and listen to Woody Guthrie sing and play guitar.
Newton Finn / July 30, 2020
I’m with you, Oliver, and that’s why I watch those old TV Westerns.
jmg / July 29, 2020
Caitlin Johnstone wrote:
> Whenever there’s an act of police brutality caught on video, no matter how brutal or inexcusable it may be, when that video circulates online you will always see comments saying “Well, what did you expect? That person was disobeying.”
There is another way:
“Kentucky town hires social workers instead of more officers – and the results are surprising
“July 28, 2020
“Faced with a tight budget and rising demands on its 17 officer police department, the City of Alexandria in Campbell County tried something different. Instead of hiring an additional officer and taking on the added expenses of equipping that officer, the police chief at the time hired a social worker to respond in tandem with officers. . . .
“After four years on the job, Pompilio said there has been a significant drop in repeat 911 calls with approximately 15 percent fewer people going to jail.
“Now retired, former Alexandria Police Department chief Mike Ward said the results were immediate both for people in need and taxpayers.
“‘It was close to a $45,000 to $50,000 annual savings from hiring a police officer the first time to hiring a social worker,’ Ward said. ‘They (police social workers) started solving problems for people in our community and for our agency that we’ve never been able to solve before.’
“Ward believes the results in Alexandria, a city of less than 10,000, could be replicated in larger cities like Louisville, where officers respond to calls involving mental health, domestic disturbances, and homelessness an average of once every 10 minutes.”
Kentucky town hires social workers instead of more officers – and the results are surprising | Wave 3 News
Oliver / July 29, 2020
Many of the comments that are along the lines of ‘what do ya expect?’ are from off-duty cops, or probably on-duty if they ain’t earning their paycheck today. I saw a lot of that after Michael Brown was brutally murdered. It was quite obvious that a whole lot of off-duty cops were sitting there playing keyboard terrorist on the threads and livestreams of the pro-democracy demonstrators. It wouldn’t terribly surprise me if the far-right-wing police unions were organizing some of it.
Its a proven fact that fewer cops is highly likely to mean that you have fewer violent, right-wing fascists in their town. They’ll move to where they can get a job.
ron campbell / July 29, 2020
There are parts of these United States that will never, ever, be brought to the attention of the general public. That would be bad of the ” image of the U.S.A. “. This article brings some of that reality to light.
Chris Hedges: America’s Social Hell
Oliver / July 29, 2020
Nobody who wants to make a propaganda film to show the Chinese how wonderful life is in America films it in Appalachia. Yes, this is the wonders of American life. You too can live in a tar-paper shack with a leaky roof and with a car that hasn’t run in years up on blocks in the front yard. You too can have a pissed off dog who’s wondering how he got stuck in this place snarling on the end of a chain keeping people from stealing your prize automobile.
Nope, never saw a Voice of America film crew filming there the whole time I stuck around.
ron campbell / July 29, 2020
Anyone who has experienced the pain of being brutalized, at any time in their life, will also feel the pain of other victims that they see or hear about. The ” bullies ” of the world have the mindset that ” bullying ” is a privilege bestowed upon the ” strong ” to terrorize the weak. Whether it is in the army, or a police force, or just a ” gang “; brutalizing weak people is a fun sport to be enjoyed whenever possible. These are traits that human beings are capable of. The reality is we are not a ” nice species ” by anybodies standards.
Oliver / July 29, 2020
Actually, one of the strange things about the human race is that the people who are brutalized are more likely to then turn around and brutalize someone else.
We see it in individuals. We see it in the abused child who is most likely to become an abusive parent. We see it in mass numbers. Does Israel seem like a country that feels the pain of other victims? Or a nation that seems determined to inflict the same pain upon others now that they’ve got a chance?
No, we are not a nice race. That is why God gave up on us and said the heck with us after we nailed his only son to a cross and left him out in the sun to die of thirst.
Roundball Shaman / July 29, 2020
“…how subservience to power actually manifests in our world.”
This all starts with being obedient to parents, teachers, religious leaders, your peer group, and folks in positions of authority. This obedience works when all the above listed social functionaries carry out their “duties” in good faith and with the best interest of you in mind. Where this completely breaks down is when they fail to act in good faith or solely from selfish reasons. But the mental programming to submit and obey is anchored deeply inside of a person from a very young age. It’s a hard habit to break, and it seems as if most people never do break that habit.
“Learn to see clearly where the power is, and refuse to side with it.”
Power has learned there are two effective ways to control people. First, raw brute force. Will be used when “necessary” for them. Second way, seduce people into submission. Make it seem worth their while to submit. “Stimulus” payments magically appearing in your bank account is mighty tempting, for example. These are seducing an entire population into permanent quiet-tude because standing up to power is damn hard work and messy, but getting magic money in your account is FUN. You mean I can just stay home and not try to get a job and you give me MONEY? And all I have to do is stay quiet? And I can stay in my pajamas and look at the small box in my hands ALL DAY?
Social structures work when people in positions of authority work for reasons other than just to exert power upon others while skimming as much money as possible out of their situations. When social order breaks down it’s because the social contract has been breeched. Like marital vows, once you no longer love and honor and promise to be true to your commitments, you’ve got nothing worthwhile left. So it is with our world today. No vows are kept. No commitments are real. No promises are fulfilled. A social house of cards and very soon they’ll take all the cards away.
Lou Cassivi / July 29, 2020
Another homily to the converted faithful. (Who else is going to unlatch from the corporate propagana tit? Who else in this dumb-downed world has the intellectual/ critical capacity?)
Having said that, it does give CJ and faithful the opportunity to unload. So thanks, Caitlin.
shocker / July 29, 2020
“It’s unbelievable how much we don’t know about the game we’ve been playing all our lives.”
Newton Finn / July 29, 2020
I’m in full agreement with Caitlin but wonder about this statement she makes: “(Siding with the powerful over the vulnerable is) something we all know intuitively to be wrong.” Do we? Certainly some of us do. But do many of us, not even to speak of “all” of us? And if we do, despite all appearances, what then overrides this inherent, universal intuition? Caitlin uses, in timely fashion, the analogy of a virus, something that has infected our minds and hearts and has rapidly spread throughout our societies–a virus that kills not our bodies but our souls. But how helpful is this analogy when it comes restoring our spiritual health? Not much, I’m afraid. This “soul virus” cannot be controlled or eliminated by social distancing or quarantine or contact tracing or wearing masks or washing hands. There is no medicine or vaccine to be developed and administered. I’m far from having an answer here, but let me suggest that a cure of Caitlin’s “virus” will involve something more than the endless descriptions and analyses of its ravages. It will involve a new positive, a new love, far more powerful than the evil it seeks to eliminate, to supplant, to transcend. While descriptions and analyses of evil are a dime a dozen, as are dystopian visions, concrete and creative suggestions of a new value, a new way forward, a new love awaiting the recognition and embrace of humanity are rare indeed. Here’s the best one I’ve yet found:
Newton Finn / July 29, 2020
Sorry for the double link. My bad.
martin / July 29, 2020
no man, lsd
Lynn / July 29, 2020
Protests. Police. Angry, aggressive people on all sides. My feeling is not a whole lot of Buddhists in the bunch.
Widespread vandalism and malicious destruction of property. Property owners fearful for the homes and livelihoods. Uninvolved people in fear of their lives. I would not want to be found anywhere near some of these “protests”.
Law enforcement. Trained to maim and kill. But do they get any instruction on how to deescalate situations? Or how about learning to stay in control of their emotions? One would never know it after watching these profanity-laden, bullying thugs in the videos.
So mix these ingredients together and… well, I’ll refrain from asking the obvious question.
I remember the world-wide Occupy Wall Street protests. I even attended one. Lots of people. Very peaceful. No destruction. Cops were cool. I’ve read a few of those protests involved police violence, but I understand it was minimal. How about the massive Iraq war protests? Huge. The largest in modern history. Again, very little damage and relaxed law enforcement.
The difference today? I think it would be foolish to pretend there aren’t any destabilizing influences stirring the pot. This should not be left out of any discussion on the topic.
Blessthebeasts / July 29, 2020
No doubt in my mind that the lockdowns are pushing people to the limit these days. We are being slowly, literally suffocated as George Floyd was, by the all powerful who seek to destroy the human spirit in their quest for control and more riches. It’s inevitable that the masses will fight back when there is no alternative.
We all saw how effective peaceful protests were in stopping the Iraq invasion and in the Occupy days.
Lynn / July 29, 2020
Unfortunately the oppressed masses have misdirected their energies. Taking their anger out on law enforcement is playing right the hands of the powerful.
A shift in consciousness is necessary. As with the war on drugs/terror/poverty/etc, a war on cops isn’t the answer either. The PTB have “educated” us to believe everything in life is a battle. They’ve got us hooked on the idea we must declare war on society’s ills, and fight for freedom/equality/rights/justice and our piece of the pie. As long as we hold on to this notion, consciously or unconsciously, we will remain oppressed.
Khatika / July 29, 2020
I think you often discuss subjects that have a Catch-22 attached. In this article the problem is a stable society must have laws which must be obeyed. Thus obey the police but it gives them no right to abuse you. Governments ask for obedience but continue to pile on laws until it becomes oppressive. So I think the title of the article is to not side with the powerful when they become oppressive. America has passed that tipping point I believe.
martin / July 29, 2020
power is probably always oppressive or it would not be power
Dissident / July 29, 2020
just skimming through the comments, i am above my pay grade. i am no intellectual but live in America and am witness to the oppressive nature of American political parasites. i’ve been trying to wake friends & family up for the past 20 years but have given up. it’s no use. Television propaganda is formidable. from my perspective, until people throw out their TV, they will never wake up. FYI: i question everything the govt tells me. #ftp
Khatika / July 29, 2020
When I very seldom see a blast of commercials I am almost nauseated by the propaganda. From drug commercials to so called public service announcents. Especially how they weave covid into everything. It is sickening.
JWK / July 29, 2020
Be careful Caitlin. You are on the verge of joining the Anarcho-Capitalist Non Aggression Principal libertarians, including me. The institution of power you oppose is embodied in ALL governments, of whatever foundation they originate from. Any time any party suggests that it’s proper to hold a gun to someone’s head to force them to do, or not do anything, in order to compel compliance with that party’s dictates, the result is exactly what you are railing against in this article. We can govern ourselves or be governed by monsters. If you haven’t, I suggest reading some Murray Rothbard, Lew Rockwell, Tom Woods, etc.
Victor G. / July 29, 2020
Just drop the “Anarcho” bit, Jack, and you’ll be right on the, ahem, money. (Even, though I still don’t get what makes you a “capitalist”.)
The day CJ “joins” your group is the day I stop reading her blog.
Save yourselves the trouble of reading the suggested, umm, pundits who can’t face up to their own monstrous selfishness and watch the behavior of good ole Gordon Gekko a few times.
Is sullying the historical significance of Anarchism part of Rothbard’s penchant for revisionism? Why can’t you call yourselves Libertarian-Capitalists? Or even better, invent something new. You have as much in common with Anarchism as a sewer has with hygiene; a sewer is perhaps necessary but best kept out of the living room.
JWK / July 31, 2020
The “Anarcho” bit is that the use of violence to force others to your will is a sin. That free and voluntary association is a virtue. Such virtue does not preclude capitalism. I suppose you must be in favor of holding a gun to your neighbors head and forcing their compliance with the edicts of your preferred Psychopath In Charge, and the extraction of their wealth to finance such violence.
Roots Of Violence / July 29, 2020
Violence in America has deep roots.
It is the only continent in the world which is being ruled by foreigners.
The Native Americans, to whom this continent belongs, are almost finished.
And the people who think they are Americans, none of them are American.
They have all come from other countries, invaded the poor country, invaded the poor innocent natives.
The roots of violence are there.
The people who had come into power over this continent through violence have remained in power through violence.
Unless the continent is given back to its people, this violence is going to remain.
Now, people who think they are American continue this violence across all sides in the cities of Seattle, Portland, Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Oakland, Louisville, St. Louis, Austin and Richmond.
The whole society is interwoven with violence.
The black people are downtrodden.
There are thousands of people on the streets with no home.
What do you expect them to do?
They will do every kind of crime, they have nothing to lose.
And America goes on pretending to the whole world, that wherever there is any trouble, we are going to help.
They can’t help their own people.
People who have lost everything, respect, humanity, integrity, they have been treated like animals.
You cannot expect the country to live without violence.
Basically, America is one of the greatest destructive powers in the world.
The whole government is working with only one object, to win the third world war.
But they are simply fools, because nobody can win the third world war, neither the Chinese, the Russians, nor America.
The difference may be at the most minutes.
Whoever attacks first, it will take only minutes for the other party to attack back.
Nuclear weapons are ready to strike on all sides, so it is not a question of somebody getting defeated and somebody else becoming victorious.
It is simply suicidal.
Everyone will be destroyed, and with them all life on earth will be destroyed.
The American government is utterly violent.
The whole structure of society is violent.
There are billionaires, and there are too many super-poor in this country.
The poor have seen clearly that they have been exploited.
In such a small period of history, a few hundred years, things have become crystal clear.
When they had all come to America.
They were all equal.
Nobody was rich, nobody was poor.
Then, suddenly, a few people started becoming richer and richer, the richest in the world, but too many people started falling down.
The poor have seen with their own eyes how one becomes rich.
It is not by right means.
It is by exploiting, by cunning, by every kind of criminal means.
The people who came in the early days of America were really criminals.
They were thrown out of their countries, expelled.
Those criminals became presidents, became chief justices of the Supreme Court.
They were expelled from their own countries for crimes which were so big, that their own countries could not tolerate them.
Violence is the religion of America.
Now, America is despised and condemned all over the world.
Even those countries receiving American help are not sympathetic towards America.
Why are you America helping others, when you yourself are not doing anything for your own downtrodden?
It is not out of compassion that you go on helping.
It is an effort to make ground for your business, for your armies, for your nuclear weapons.
All those countries understand perfectly that this is simply business, politics, but not help.
America is the most condemned country in the whole world.
America has no friends anywhere, for the simple reason that it is the most destructive power today.
When your whole government and the energy of the people and the intelligence of your scientists are moving in only one direction, destruction, how can you avoid violence?
Who are you to interfere in the whole world?
You want to put your nose in everywhere?
If you want to change the violent structure of America, there are three things to be done.
One, the country should be ruled by its native people.
It belongs to them.
Anybody who wants to remain here should remain here, but they cannot remain here as a ruler.
Secondly, America should stop bothering about other countries’ poor people.
It should help its own poor people.
Thirdly, America should stop interfering in other sovereign countries affairs, and stop stock piling nuclear weapons.
They are pointless, and so costly, so meaningless.
You already have enough to destroy the whole world, what more do you want?
America should declare, “We drop the whole idea of war.
We will destroy all our nuclear weapons.
If America can do that, its people can be immensely rich, happy.
And people who are happy do not do violence.
It is out of misery, suffering, anger, that violence comes.
When you are comfortable, happy, at home, and all that you need is available to you, you don’t want to be violent.
Because your being violent will destroy your cozy home, your beautiful surroundings, your love life.
Your children, your wife, your parents will be lost.
It is the people who have nothing to lose who become violent.
Only a nation which is not burdened by the past can become the first nation in the world to declare, “We are no longer a separate entity.
We are open and available to the whole world.
We declare that we are not enemies to anybody.
We declare friendship to be our basic policy, and we are ready to lose everything rather than be violent.”
If these three things can be done, it won’t harm America in any way.
It would give America prestige, pride.
America would gain sympathy from all over the world.
America would become the beginning of the new world, other nations would follow.
If America can do that, soon other countries would have to follow, would certainly follow, because they are also suffering.
Under the pressure of war effort, their whole economies are going down and down.
But out of fear they cannot stop creating more weapons.
These simple things just need a little understanding, and America can open a new dimension for the whole of humanity.
Khatika / July 29, 2020
All countries are ruled by foreigners in your context every country is ruled by foreigners. Conquest and culture replacement is the history of man. Only at the cradles of civilization can they possibly say different. You just descibed Rome btw.
Roots Of Violence / July 29, 2020
Rome was a city!
America is a decadent society which is dying of its own accord.
There are poor people who are dying of hunger and starvation, and there are super-rich people who are dying because they don’t have any meaning in life, they don’t see any point in it.
Why go on living?
Why get up again tomorrow?
What is the meaning of moving in the same circle?
America has come to a point where the super-rich, which is the powerful class that rules over the continent, has lost excitement, has lost the meaning, the significance, the very reason for existing.
And when these things disappear, there is a suicidal wave that gets hold of the people.
America is in the grip of a suicidal wave.
For America, it is very difficult to have any hope, because they are living in a hopeless condition.
And when somebody is dying, what does it matter if everybody else dies too?
In fact, why should these oligarchs bother?
After them, if there is no life in the world it is not their problem.
If the people of America can see that they are in the hands of mad people, if they can change their government, take it over from the mad people and give it to more intelligent people of whom there are so many in America.
But the trouble is, the intelligent people don’t feel like getting into dirty politics.
It is a strange phenomenon that only mediocre people go into politics, the intelligent people remain far away, and these mediocre people have to decide the destiny of the whole world.
It is time that American people should take over all the powers from the mediocre people.
These powers should be given to those who have real merit, and there are enough people who have merit.
The whole nation just has to wake up and think about what these politicians are doing, and create a government of non-political people.
Make it a point that politicians are no longer needed, professional politicians are no longer needed.
The mad dogs should be thrown out, they should not be in power anymore.
They are the only danger in the world.
And American people are capable.
Intelligent people just have to unite and spread the message.
“Let us have a non-political government.
We will not choose any professional politician of this party or that party.
All politicians have to be branded ‘criminal.
We will not choose them, we will choose only non-political people of some talent, of some genius.”
The whole thing depends on America because America is in a hurry to go into a third world war.
So the existential danger is from the White House in Washington.
That is the most dangerous place on the earth today.
I don’t know whose idea it was to make it a White House.
This White House seems to have the blackest heart in the world.
There is still time for the people of America to prevent the catastrophe from happening.
If the people of America cannot do anything, then these politicians are going to drag the whole of life on this earth to the graveyard.
You too chicken tikka!
khatika / July 29, 2020
Rome was the center ofvthe Roman Empire.
chicken tikka / July 29, 2020
Rome wasn’t a continent stolen from the Italians and ruled by foreigners?
It’s easy to explain why so many national governments are in shambles today.
Empires used to be run by emperors.
Kingdoms were run by kings.
And now we have countries…
What you smoking?
khatika / July 29, 2020
Sorry cant follow your logic.
chicken tikka / July 29, 2020
Nothing is ever proved by logic?
A worried khatika entered the psychiatrist’s office wearing love-beads, bell-bottom pants, shoulder- length hair, and smoking a joint.
The psychiatrist said, ‘You claim you are not a hippie’.
Then how do you explain the clothes, the hair and the weed?’
‘Doctor,’ sighed khatika, ‘that’s what I’m here to find out’.
A mind which is full of logic can understand the language of logic only.
See you soon.
Ben Wilson / July 29, 2020
The militant left, a fortiori antifa, are passionate footsoldiers of global empire, and you side with them.
Pot kettle etc.
pretzelattack / July 29, 2020
antifa is pure marketing drivel, and the left wants the us out of foreign wars and the empire business.
Quartermaster / July 29, 2020
Antifa and BLM have stated they want to overthrow the US and are acting violently in accordance with that goal. If you are serious about Antifa being marketing drivel, then you are out of touch with reality.
John Knox / July 29, 2020
Speaking of being out of touch with reality, who is the boss of antifa who says they are overthrowing the US?
Ignatius / July 29, 2020
Talking about mind virus ……….https://www.awakeninthedream.com/articles/terminal-insanity
Friedrich / July 29, 2020
Prohibition doesn’t work. No matter what a sanctimonious thug one is.
Max / July 29, 2020
From our primate history, we tend to defer to the big guy. Research has shown this to be the case. It could be we want to be on the big guy’s side should a fight break out.
So as we have overcome some of our other ingrained habitual reflexes (outsiders bad), this one must go.
I so appreciate your bolt of sanity every day you share your insights with us. Thank you!
RWood / July 29, 2020
“Almost all the large species that have disappeared from the Earth died from an overabundance of armor plating, an excess of armament, and a plethora of defense equipment. The mammals that survived them were fragile but wiry, small but speedy. They illustrated the first law of the decalogue of evolution: all security imprisons, only risk sets free, liberty and consciousness are the two faces of a single form, neither of which can be reached without passing by the other. Thus, shells, protective but constricting, turned into internal skeletons, dangerous but liberating, and instinct, infallible but limited, gave way to consciousness, adventurous but adaptable.”
Jerome Dehusses, The Eighth Night of Creation
Jim McDonagh / July 29, 2020
The thing about mini-skirts in the 1960s is that many women were “asking for it” , but on their own terms . This linking of historical cultural expressions with modern woke and other forms of authoritarianism which comes in many disguises these days is an error in logic at best , just more propaganda at worst.
Bryan Hemming / July 29, 2020
I well remember the comments of many when mini-skirts first arrived on the scene in the 1960s. If a girl wearing one suffered any sort of sexually-motivated attack, the same sorts would nod their heads disprovingly, “Well, what do you expect? She was asking for it.” Men and women alike.
Caitlin Johnstone (Author) / July 29, 2020
Khatika / July 29, 2020
I think that term often is seen negatively. I always see it as saying she did not use common sense or good judgement. I never saw it as saying she deserved it. The same as me saying what do you expect when you leave a valuable item unattended in a public space and it gets stolen.
Khatika / July 29, 2020
Too many see that phrase meaning she deserved to be raped because of the miniskirt. I have always seen it saying she did not use common sense or good judgement. If you leave a valuable item in a public place unattended and it gets stolen then you are shocked. People do not take human nature into account with their behavior then want to blame that behavior when bad things happen. Live life the same way you drive – defensively.
Klaus von Berlin / July 29, 2020
How many wake up calls we need that the US is not the good guys coming to anyone’s rescue and they all lived happily ever after. Its always the opposite, wherever and whenever the US intervenes, it leaves chaos, poverty and human misery like those country never experienced before . Numerous examples here Vietnam , Libya, Nicaragua, Afghanistan just for starters. And Additional hypocrisy comes from the international court of justice, which absolves the US of any abuse- no wonder the USA refuses to recognize the International Criminal Court, this Court would have work for eternity to convict those warlords. But then ,Henry Kissinger got the Noble Peace price, if it weren’t so horrific , it would be laughable.
jimmy / July 29, 2020
those peephole are always catholics. always wallys
those peepole are always jews. always alloway
those peephole are always hindus always aways…
those peepoll are always Moslems. always always or were until we killed them all
those peephole are always mormons always
or always eastern orthodox or any religion
that is ruled by a male god…and does something impossibly unspiritual
to it’s women.
it stoned them like the Stoning of Soraya M. or it burns them like Joan D’Arc
or it rapes them like a day in the life of any Dalit like The Bandit Queen.
or it sells them like in Africa or Saudi Arabia where the men wear the pants
and their pants are holy because the women are filthy when they drop ovum.
or because men are bigger and serving is not their thing.
even tho the baby is god and the mother hears it best and the man is made to serve them,
not beat them into slavery.
and so reparations should go to ALL las femmes on this planet way before any others. because all wimmin, frau, mujeres, grrrls,
are descended from slavery.
by the male religions.
in the name of a god,
which is fiction.
M / July 29, 2020
From my time in antiauthoritarian circles it seems at some influencer level, (i was never exactly sure where people were getting their news to have this automatic consensus of analysis on what appeared to me to be a cia staged ploy) there are numerous psyop type infiltrators promoting exactly what you describe. I tend to think the whole thrust of identity politics also fits into this framework as a controlled demolition of movements people are drawn to by righteous indignation. I always felt as though there was this sickening neoliberal overlap that was reifying the power dynamic with inclusionary rhetoric and small symbolic victories that deflected massive amounts of energy away from a struggle where the game is changed fundamentally (economic justice?). The only semi good thing I see happening right now is the sporadic reduced funding of certain police departments. But obviously the videos posted above indicate its not really impacting the culture of policing even when they know they’re being filmed. Its not like there aren’t multiple overlapping layers of police agencies blanketing pretty much every populated area, so even if one department quits or is shut down there isn’t a gap in coverage.
Corporations picking identity politics up to distract from all the other major evil things they do, the extreme polarization of politics precluding any meaningful mass movement, the suppression of free speech, and the increasing likelihood that a low intensity civil war is going to break out after the US election whoever wins, seems to confirm that somewhere way up the chain of legitimate opinions in radical circles someone’s got to be getting cointelpro money. This is all part of the plan to make sure people who are brave and passionate for justice and protesting in the streets have the same basic choices people have when they go to vote, shitty choice a or shittier choice b. The next stage being another generation disillusioned that anything could be better than this utter shitstorm world were forced to suffer within.
Nana Baakan / July 29, 2020
This may sound a bit weird, but I tend to believe that police brutality is rooted in a sexual distortion. I think that the men/women but mostly men, who resort to brutalizing a human being in this fashion is working out some type of distorted sexual fantasy of conquering.
It is almost as if they are having orgasms as they straddle, hold, push, smash, crush, beat, etc, their victims. Many of these terms are used during sexual congress. When we look at sado-masochistic behavior or S&M we see many of the same movements, approaches and tactics. They make for great snuff movies. When they talk about defunding the police, I wonder if analyzing these officers home life, relationships with family, self esteem, potency during sex, fulfillment in their sex lives, etc., may be a better approach to solving the problem of exploitation that goes on.
I often wonder about the instruments they use, not only in policing but in wars. Many of them are phallic symbols or representatives of phallics. They are use to “beat” “shoot” “penetrate” “subdue” “shock” “suppress” their victims. I think that these officers, mostly men, are misogynist and are working through their anger and frustration, not only with the female energy outside of them, but their own inner turmoil of female energy in a society that only allows men one or two emotions, “anger” and ‘sexual arousal”.
In watching videos of police brutalizing, the positions they take are very similar to the “top” position that is taken when a man penetrates his partner. When several rounds of fire are hoisted into a “seeming” threat to the officer, it appears they are ejaculating multiple times having several orgasms.
I used to wonder why rape was so prevalent in war zones. It came to me that there is a direct correlation between war and rape as they both stimulate the same cortex of the brain. I am no brain scientist but I am a Mental Health professional, and from that perspective, however Freudian it may appear, there is clear indications in my mind, that these attacks stem from some type of sexual distortion, be it impotence or the desire to dominate.
We may spend our time trying to unravel the whole power/powerless dynamic and we may move towards various superficial remedies, but until we get to the root of the problem, the psychological distortions that create these power dynamics, then the incidences will continue to prevail, unabated and this conversation piece will be unending.
My thoughts, thanks for reading this.
John Thomas / July 29, 2020
I strongly suspect that [male] circumcision inflicted upon babies has a malevolent effect on the mental health of the adult. Cluster B springs to mind. Might even go some way towards explaining the often barbaric behaviour of the IDF and the US police since the practice of circumcision seems to be the most common operation in the USofA. Three-quarters of American adult men are circumcised. There are over one million procedures each year, or around one every 30 seconds. Most on babies and generally speaking without any form of anaesthesia. What does that agonising mutilation teach the baby?
Khatika / July 29, 2020
i suspect it is because of Testosterone instead. Male sex drives are quite robust in non circumcised cultures as well.
John Thomas / July 29, 2020
Ritual child abuse [circumcision] damages the psyche. Well documented. *Cluster B*? It’s not quite about universal sex drives. It’s about very deep seated and easily manipulated implacable anger.
Khatika / July 29, 2020
Rape of women in conquest has been pretty standard fare throughout history. I think it was used as a power dynamic once the men were killed to suppress the women and children into the new culture.
Also acted as a release for the men, sort of a reward. Sounds bad but thats how it was.
Frank Hayes / July 29, 2020
Anger is an emotion, sexual arousal is not. Many of the points you offer have merit, but as a mental health professional, I would prefer if you made the choice to embrace the most advanced theories of the relationship between human thought and the material existence outside it which it reflects and seeks to understand so as to act.
Police and military have long been understood as armed bodies of men raised by a State to violently coerce the majority of the people into complying with instructions (sometimes, but not always “legal”) which serve the interests of the ruling class or caste and protect their privilege.
Thus, the problem of controlling or removing these uniformed thugs is more than a psychological one. Confronting State violence demands, in the first place, the creation of a comprehensive concept of what the State is, how it evolved historically, and how its future evolution can be influenced and by whom. Only then can effective action be envisioned and structural solutions built (such as protest or revolutionary organisation).
Emotional intelligence is a vital attribute of human thought, but only half the story. Its equally vital dialectical companion is intellectual intelligence, and we now understad that it is the interplay of these qualities is the driving motion of the development of human thought – both individually and socially.
But we must learn to be conscious of these opposing tendencies in our reasoning process. And it is important to utilise the differing modes of both appropriately. Much psychological or mental (as opposed to pychiatric or medical) illness arises from the application of, for example, emotional methodologies being used for tasks requiring intellectual application – and vice versa. This is sadly neglected in education – but then, the powers that be would not want to create a majority of wise and conscious people well capable of seeing through their hegemonic manipulation.
When considering in this light, the increasingly oppressive authoritarianism of the modern C21 State as the capitalist establishment begins more fully to comprehend its inability to overcome the terminal contradictions emerging within its economic mode – and thus in its social and political modes, it quickly becomes clear we must unite our emotional disgust at their cruelty with an intellectual analysis of how the State can be transformed to reflect the interests of the many and not the few.
There is a vast body of research and theoretical proposition which addresses this question over the last 400 years since the State was transformed from a Feudal institution into a Bourgeois one. Most notably the scientific the advances made in State Theory by Karl Marx and his collaborators. And the reasoning investigation of the relationship between thinking and being, at least two and a half millennia to the times of Democritus and Heraclitus.
With these resources we may successfully, as you suggest, “get to the root of the problem …” so we may change the real world through applying the logic of our mental processes in guiding practical solutions.
Ms Johnstone’s blog is a breath of fresh air along the stale corridors of conservative-influenced speculation which limits discourse in the tardy mainstream, and I thank her for it, while admiring her initiative.
Stephen Sadd / July 29, 2020
Vaccine Injury case:
Leigh-Allyn Baker Breaks Her Silence and Tells The Truth About Vaccines, Her Faith, Her Children, Death Threats and MORE!
Fair dinkum / July 29, 2020
The two deadliest epidemics on the planet are greed and violence.
Both are legitimised by the MSM, in the form of promoting adulation for those who’ve ‘made it’ and admiration for those who kill the bad guys (Hollywood being the role model for many people).
Just recently a friend who works in the health care system here in Victoria was threatened and abused by a ten year old girl wielding a kitchen knife. This type of aggression is not unusual in broken homes.
What is the answer?
Lost / July 29, 2020
The article states “Don’t side with the powerful against the disempowered. Just don’t” and “Learn to see clearly where the power is, and refuse to side with it”. I believe this is a good default position, but if we are going to be intellectually honest and maintain our credibility shouldn’t we examine each incident on a case-by-case basis? Although admittedly very rare and possibly non-existent I can imagine that in some fantasy world the powerful may be correct at times (probably by accident) A broken clock is correct twice per day. If this is the case shouldn’t we side with them on that individual issue? For instance, the powerful using reasonable force to stop disempowered criminals from hurting the others that are disempowered (that right is reserved solely for the powerful). That being said, with all of their historical lying and criminal behavior they clearly have to meet a very high burden of proof before they are believed or sided with. It is possible I have misread the article and the author’s intent and my apologies to the author if I have done so.
JimLloyd / July 29, 2020
Great piece. After culture distorted human tendencies/needs/desires into deficiencies (largely by marketing & politics), the maladjusted sought institutions that rationalize & reward dehumanization. That is destroying all institutions, be it the elected, appointed or employed government who tend to be authoritarian, the doctors who rarely recognize the Hippocratic Oath starts by advocating humility (in the form of caution), the established press industry which elevates those who can successfully manipulate the public, church leaders behaving more like eager cheerleaders and silent witnesses than shepherds, or universities that graduate brain-dead knowledge silos, every institution is coming to a moment where value will be redefined if it is to continue in any iteration of itself. Practice the fundamentals, embrace neo-traditionalism, return to the root or be pruned by the effects of time [SEE: change].
HelenB / July 29, 2020
It’s all getting crazy. Where “demonstrators” are destroying property, both private and public (you pay for it) and attacking people they don’t like (white people), I get the troops’ presence, and even a bit of their frustration. Even against teenagers.
I get it because it’s patently obvious that BLM has been hijacked, or was always a tool, and ordinary folk of all colours have had enough.
It signals a much deeper malaise though which has nothing to do with race, and it affects both black and white and Latino populations of the US, and that’s the predatory capitalist and donor economics that has rendered the all poor and voiceless, with no bright future ahead of them no matter how hard they work.
It’s the “elite” that has cleverly maniplulated them to attack each other.
None of it will end well.
Quartermaster / July 29, 2020
BLM was founded as a Marxist front as was Antifa. They have both stated their goal is the overthrow of the US and are now acting violently in accordance with that goal.
Jim KABLE / August 1, 2020
Oh for Heaven’s sake! Grow up!
Ed Lehman / July 29, 2020
This is an excellent article. Almost all Canadian politicians fall into the category of people who believe the US narrative on Hong Kong, Syria, and Venezuela. While many criticize Trump they do not disagree with his Space Force, or Canada buying 88 new fighter jets to do the US bidding. Clearly Canada’s foreign policy is an “America First” policy.
Jim KABLE / August 1, 2020
Sounds exactly like the rightwing Australian government – $270 billion just promised to US WMD producers and their shareholders over the next decade! Money we need for our schools and hospitals and to help citizens through the Covid-19 mess we received from the Colorado ski fields!