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venezuela / colombia / historia / other libertarian press Wednesday January 30, 2019 08:48 byhttps://alma-apatrida.blogspot.com

Reflexiones de un anarquista catalán sobre los sucesos en Venezuela

I

Hace tiempo que no tengo un conocimiento de primera mano sobre lo que ocurre en este país y a lo más que tengo acceso es a algunas webs de contra-información así como impresiones y vivencias de algunos compañeros y amistades de esa sufrida nación caribeña, aun así intentaré ordenar, en la medida de lo posible, el caos de reflexiones que me produce la situación actual con la auto-proclamación espuria de Guaidó y el llamado a cerrar filas en torno a Maduro de la oficialidad chavista más cerril. Una de las incomprensiones más evidentes a la hora de analizar la situación sociopolítica venezolana, en la que cae buena parte de la izquierda más o menos radical por estos lares, ha sido siempre a mi entender, el de concebir las relaciones de poder que se dan en esta sociedad como un antagonismo entre una burguesía propietaria de los medios de producción y unos sectores obreros y populares representados por el gobierno bolivariano.

II

Esta concepción parte del error de concebir la sociedad venezolana como sujeta a una dinámica propia de los países de capitalismo desarrollado. En realidad Venezuela es un Petroestado donde aproximadamente el 80% de su PIB proviene de la venta de lo que se llamaba popularmente “la mierda del diablo”. Esto significa que la alta burocracia de PDVSA, la petrolera estatal, tiene más poder de lo que pueda tener la patronal del sector privado y capacidad para gestionar suculentos contratos con multinacionales extranjeras a través de la figura de las “empresas mixtas” que llegaron a ser incluidas en una de las reformas de la Constitución Bolivariana. Bajo este esquema se constituye una estructura clientelar que a través de las rentas del petróleo ha intentado históricamente redistribuir parte del ingreso coincidiendo con los ciclos alcistas del precio del barril de crudo en el mercado internacional.

Esta importante diferencia tiene como consecuencia que el escenario venezolano de la lucha de clases se haya constituido en dos polos que tienen relación con un antagonismo entre capitalistas y sindicatos del sector privado (FEDECAMARAS y CTV) y burócratas y pseudo-sindicatos que actúan como apéndices estatales en numerosas ocasiones (Unete). Es decir, una pugna interburguesa entre aquel sector de los capitalistas que por razones políticas se ha visto excluida de la red clientelar y aquella que está bien inserta en dicha estructura. Ambos bandos han querido usar de peones a la clase trabajadora vinculada al sector privado o público (vale decir que este último también ha incluido falsamente a los cooperativistas temporales que como forma de externalización precaria han nutrido los contratos de abastecimiento del Estado en varias áreas). Hoy en día, debido a un descenso del precio del barril de crudo, la estructura clientelar y redistributiva de las migajas de la renta petrolera hace aguas y, como consecuencia, en el sector político chavista, que tiene el control de dicho Petroestado, empiezan a notarse importantes fisuras.

III

Otro aspecto a considerar me remite al debate teórico entre las ideas del filósofo y economista Karl Marx y el sociólogo Max Weber. El primero atribuía a la clase social, es decir, a una determinada relación con los medios de producción (posesión o desposesión) la importancia fundamental a la hora de entender el papel en las relaciones de dominación que jugaban los individuos en sociedad. El segundo decía que esto no era suficiente y añadía también la noción de “estatus” para hacer referencia a la reputación y al prestigio que podían tener ciertos grupos sociales no relacionado necesariamente con la posición en la estructura económica. Es frecuente en Latinoamérica oír a la izquierda revolucionaria, más bien de filiación autoritaria, decir que las Fuerzas Armadas de los países del Cono Sur, como Argentina y Uruguay, tendrían un componente clasista que las haría impermeables a la penetración de ideales progresistas en su seno y que hubiera configurado un radical extrañamiento entre ellas y la población que sufrió su zarpazo represivo en los setenta.

Por el contrario, acostumbran a afirmar que el caso venezolano es distinto, que tienen un componente popular, con el acceso a la oficialidad de militares provenientes de sectores humildes y que esto ha producido históricamente mayor permeabilidad a los ideales progresistas. Esta interpretación tiene en cuenta la clase pero no el estatus: ser militar en Venezuela constituye, en buena parte, una realidad en sí misma y no un simple epifenómeno de la clase social de procedencia, hunde sus raíces en la época de la colonia pues el Imperio Español le había reservado al futuro país el papel de Capitanía General. Es decir, la dicotomía civil-militar tiene mucha importancia y dibuja un escenario más complejo que se añade al de burgués-proletario (si puede hablarse en estos términos en una sociedad de capitalismo dependiente).

Así podríamos analizar las formaciones políticas históricas venezolanas en dos ejes izquierda-derecha y civil-militar: Dentro del centro-izquierda o izquierda civil tendríamos desde Acción Democrática (con figuras radicales como Rómulo Gallegos o más bien reformistas como Betancourt) hasta su escisión de extrema-izquierda: el Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria (con figuras como Simón Sáez Mérida) y dentro de la derecha civil tendríamos a partidos como COPEI o el más actual Primero Justicia. De la misma manera en el centro-izquierda o izquierda militar tendríamos al Partido Democrático Venezolano de Isaías Medina Angarita en los años cuarenta, y su evolución histórica en la Unión Republicana Democrática, de la que bebe el MBR-200 que desemboca en el Movimiento V República y el actual Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV). En la derecha y extrema-derecha militar tenemos al perezjimenismo y su Cruzada Cívica Nacionalista (CCN).

IV

Si partiéramos de un análisis marxista ortodoxo diríamos que la variable civil-militar no tiene demasiada importancia y que, por tanto, izquierda militar e izquierda civil harían frente común contra sus oponentes de derecha civil y militar. Pero parece que Max Weber tiene aún algo que enseñarnos y es conocida la incorporación de sectores provenientes del perezjimenismo ideológico en el chavismo y la tibieza y justificaciones varias que se ha hecho de esta Dictadura, la fascinación que sentía Hugo Chávez por los “carapintadas” argentinos, así como las cortapisas que se han puesto para investigar las violaciones de Derechos Humanos producidas en el país por los militares durante el Caracazo del 27 de Febrero de 1989 entre otras. El corporativismo militar pesa más allá de ideologías y se sustenta en todo un armazón cultural de ensalzamiento de lo castrense que ejemplificaban hace algunas décadas los Billo's Caracas Boys con canciones como “Yo quiero un cadete”.

¿Pero cuál es el armazón ideológico de la institución castrense venezolana? Este empezó a fraguarse a partir de la presidencia de Eleazar López Contreras (1935-1941) en el período de la llamada “Democracia Evolutiva”, toda una definición de la que podemos intuir su significado, y se conoce como “Cesarismo Democrático”, o sea, algo parecido al despotismo ilustrado europeo regido por la máxima “Todo por el pueblo pero sin el pueblo”: simplemente se consideraba al pueblo venezolano demasiado estúpido para regir sus destinos debido a su componente racial negro e indígena (Nicolás Maduro haría bien en bucear en los orígenes ideológicos de su principal soporte cuando acusa a Pedro Sánchez de racismo). Esta es la génesis y basamento profundo del militarismo político venezolano: un nauseabundo remanente del que los trabajadores y sectores humildes deben sacudirse cuanto antes si quieren ser libres y ser reconocidos como sujetos autónomos con capacidad para regir sus vidas. El ejército venezolano está infestado ideológicamente del peor positivismo de nefasto origen.

V

Reconocer este hecho no significa necesariamente, a mi parecer, tener que hacer piña con la oposición civil socialdemócrata y neoliberal porque si algo tengo claro es que una doctrina antimilitarista como el anarquismo, en el contexto específico de Venezuela, puede aportar mucho a las luchas sociales de una población hambreada y reprimida. Los compañeros libertarios de allá son de los pocos que ponen el acento en la denuncia de una de las principales raíces, sino la principal, de la especificidad del sistema de dominación en Venezuela: algo que no se acostumbra a tener claro desde aquí cuando se analiza y elaboran discursos que equiparan la nación caribeña con las estructuras económicas, sociales y políticas propias de nuestra región, pues si bien es cierto que todos o casi todos los Estados son de génesis militar, las luchas sociales de la burguesía europea, en su momento revolucionaria, fueron produciendo procesos de conversión civil de varias áreas que en un país como Venezuela, por su estructura económica dependiente y la presencia de una lumpenburguesía históricamente cautiva de las dádivas del Estado rentista y militarista, nunca acabó de fraguar. Esperemos que lo haga ahora de la mano del proletariado venezolano.

Alma apátrida
internazionale / lotte indigene / cronaca Monday January 28, 2019 22:42 byGianni Sartori

Un breve aggiornamento su alcuni recenti episodi inerenti alla questione palestinese, tra repressione di Stato e lotte popolari


ORDINARIA AMMNISTRAZIONE IN PALESTINA

(Gianni Sartori)

Altri due manifestanti palestinesi hanno perso la vita venerdì scorso per mano dei soldati israeliani. Il primo è stato abbattuto (ma si registrano anche numerosi feriti) nel corso delle ormai abituali manifestazioni settimanali al confine della Striscia di Gaza. Qui - il 25 gennaio - circa 10mila palestinesi si erano radunati per manifestare e alcuni di loro avrebbero lanciato non meglio specificati “proiettili” contro i militari appostati sulla linea confinaria.

L'altro palestinese, un ragazzo di 16 anni, è stato ucciso in Cisgiordania dove i soldati avevano aperto il fuoco contro un gruppetto di adolescenti. Stando alla ricostruzione ufficiale, questi ragazzi avevano lanciato dei sassi verso i veicoli israeliani transitanti sulla strada 60. Nella medesima circostanza – appare francamente eccessiva la definizione di “scontro” - altri due giovanissimi palestinesi sono rimasti feriti.

Da segnalare, forse in sintonia con quanto si applica nei confronti dei volontari anti-Isis e pro-curdi italiani, la repressione esercitata da Madrid su chi solidarizza con un altro popolo oppresso da decenni. Assieme ad altri due militanti, Angeles Maestro Martin, responsabile dell'associazione Red Roja, aveva organizzato una colletta a favore dei palestinesi. Una prima parte della modesta cifra raccolta era stata consegnata a Leila Khaled - figura storica, icona quasi, della resistenza - in occasione di un giro di conferenze nella penisola iberica. Il ricavato di una seconda colletta veniva invece consegnato direttamente all'Autorità nazionale palestinese.

L'accusa nei confronti degli esponenti di Red Roja (che dovranno presentarsi in tribunale il 5 febbraio) è piuttosto grave: “finanziamento del terrorismo”.

Addirittura.

Proseguono intanto, anche in Europa, le iniziative a favore della scarcerazione di Ahmad Sa'adat, segretario generale del FPLP (Fronte popolare per la Liberazione della Palestina). Dal 15 al 22 gennaio varie manifestazioni, sit-in e cortei si sono svolti in una quindicina di paesi. A Berlino, Goteborg, New York, Baltimora, Copenaghen, Bruxelles, Tolosa, Tunisi, Atene, Alicante, Milano, Dublino, Nottingham, Buenos Aires, Manchester...

A sostegno dell'esponente palestinese detenuto da 17 anni si sono espressi vari partiti e organizzazioni. Oltre ad altri prigionieri politici come il comunista libanese George Abdallah.

grecia / turchia / cipro / repressione / prigionieri / opinione / analisi Monday January 28, 2019 22:39 byGianni Sartori

La manifestazione del 16 febbraio a Roma: un appello per la liberazione di tutti i prigionieri politici in Turchia e per la difesa dell'esperienza rivoluzionaria in Rojava


16 FEBBRAIO: LIBERARE TUTTI!

Venti anni or sono Ocalan veniva rapito in Kenia e rinchiuso nell'isola-carcere di Imrali (non vi ricorda Robben Island ?). Grazie anche alla dabbenaggine di Massimo D'Alema e Fausto Bertinotti che prima gli avevano garantito l'asilo politico – successivamente concesso, ma dopo che ormai era stato sequestrato – per poi cacciarlo fuori dall'Italia (su richiesta si presume di Clinton) consegnandolo di fatto ai suoi aguzzini.

Dal 2011 al leader curdo viene negata la possibilità di incontrare i suoi avvocati e dal 2015 versa in un isolamento pressoché totale.

Recentemente gli è stato concesso un brevissimo incontro di pochi minuti con il fratello a seguito delle proteste di centinaia di prigionieri politici in sciopero della fame (e in particolare della deputata di HDP Leyla Guven).

Perché tanta ferocia nei suoi confronti?

Perché un prigioniero suscita ancora tanta paura?

Evidentemente (così come avvenne con Antonio Gramsci, Nelson Mandela, George Jackson, Patsy O'Hara, Bobby Sands... ) nemmeno le dure condizioni carcerarie hanno potuto ”impedire al suo cervello di funzionare” (per citare quanto Mussolini auspicava per l'esponente comunista rinchiuso nella prigione di Turi).

Screditare Ocalan, impedirgli di interagire con il suo popolo, svalorizzare quanto ha saputo elaborare – i principi teorici del Confederalismo democratico alla base della rivoluzione in Rojava - nella prospettiva di una risoluzione politica dei conflitti mediorientali (in primis, quello tra il popolo curdo e lo stato turco)...

Questo lo scopo – neanche tanto malcelato – della dura, repressiva politica carceraria adottata nei suoi confronti.

Nel nord della Siria gli scritti di Ocalan hanno fornito le basi teoriche e pratiche sia per la resistenza alle aggressioni dello Stato islamico, sia per la costruzione di un esperimento sociale di natura libertaria, inter-etnico, basato sulla parità di genere, laico ed egualitario.

Una speranza per le popolazioni del Medio Oriente (e non solo), ma anche una potenziale minaccia per i regimi autoritari, sessisti, razzisti (nei confronti delle minoranze, sia etniche che religiose), talvolta apertamente integralisti. Con una mai sopita vocazione al genocidio e all'etnocidio.

Regimi a cui rivolgere l'epiteto di nazi-fascistoidi non sembra proprio una esagerazione.

Non è un caso che in questi ultimi anni la repressione

si sia inasprita, sia in Turchia che in Iran (tanto per citarne un paio di stati autoritari). In Turchia il numero dei prigionieri politici (sia curdi che turchi, militanti della sinistra democratica e rivoluzionaria) ha raggiunto e superato quota 260mila. Molti di loro vengono sottoposti ad angherie, maltrattamenti, torture. E sempre più si diffonde la pratica dell'isolamento e della deprivazione.

Ma la violenza statale non si esercita solamente nei confronti delle popolazioni più o meno indocili, non rassegnate e non addomesticate (come appunto i curdi o i palestinesi).

Si scatena anche nei confronti di Madre Terra, delle foreste (vedi gli incendi devastanti nel Bakur provocati dai militari turchi), della fauna e delle acque. Emblematico il sequestro (come definirlo altrimenti?) del Tigri e dell'Eufrate – autentico “patrimonio dell'Umanità” - irregimentati con una miriade di dighe causando la sommersione di insostituibili tesori archeologici (vedi Hasankyef). Per non parlare delle catastrofi umanitarie come quella innescata dalle devastanti operazioni dell'esercito turco nella città di Afrin.

Per porre un confine a tutto questo, alla morte elargita a piene mani da dittatori, autocrati e fanatici in armi, la richiesta di scarcerazione per Ocalan e per tutti i prigionieri politici rimane un passo fondamentale, ineludibile. Il potenziale ruolo di Ocalan è sicuramente paragonabile a quello svolto a suo tempo da Nelson Mandela. Con la medesima autorevolezza, il leader curdo potrebbe traghettare (o meglio: dovrebbe poter traghettare) sulle sponde di un sistema autenticamente democratico le martoriate popolazioni ancora sottoposte a inique, ingiuste e inutili sofferenze.

Il suo contributo è necessario, indispensabile, insostituibile.

Anche per questo è fondamentale partecipare massicciamente alla Manifestazione nazionale del 16 febbraio 2019 a Roma (ore 14, Piazza della Repubblica).

Libertà per Ocalan e per tutte e tutti i prigionieri politici
Difendiamo il Rojava per la libertà e la pace in Medio Oriente

Gianni Sartori

indonesia / philippines / australia / indigenous struggles / press release Saturday January 26, 2019 18:13 byMelbourne Anarchist Communist Group

So, this year and every year, the MACG joins the call to abolish Australia Day. Our vision is of a stateless communist society, a Workers’ Commonwealth worldwide and operating on the basis of consistent federalism. Here, in the land that is currently called Australia, the Workers’ Commonwealth will be the vehicle through which non-indigenous people work with, and learn from, indigenous people how to live sustainably in the land, as they did so successfully for over 60,000 years before the First Fleet brought British colonialism to these shores.

Invasion Day, 26 January, is now the largest day of Left wing mobilisation in Australia. Attendances are much greater than those at May Day and are only exceeded by set piece events organised by the unions. Increasing numbers of both indigenous and non-indigenous people are turning out on this day and their demands are increasingly radical. These are welcome indicators of the growth of a movement which rejects the racism on which Australia is founded.

The capitalist media in Australia have been campaigning for over thirty years to generate Australian nationalism and focus it on an officially designated “Australia Day”. Indigenous people have never accepted this and have pushed back. In the face of this resistance, it has become increasingly difficult for the capitalist class to maintain their myth of a happy and united society that celebrates its nationhood. Constant reminders from indigenous people about the invasion of this land and the genocide and dispossession which followed have been causing more people to listen. The voices of indigenous people are amplified. A discordant note has been introduced.

“Change the Date”

In response to this problem, some progressive elements inside the capitalist class of Australia have started pushing the argument to “Change the Date” of Australia Day. Recognising the appalling insult to indigenous people of celebrating the start of genocide, dispossession and racism, they have begun arguing that Australia’s national day should be moved to a different date in the year.

This suggestion has run into two problems, besides the predictable opposition from the racist establishment. Firstly, there is the matter of an alternative day. The obvious date, in terms of its appeal to nationalistic sentiment, is Anzac Day. That is controversial, both because of the strict militarists who want to retain Anzac Day as it is, and progressives who are reluctant to boost a celebration of militarism even more. Other, less obvious, dates have failed to gain either recognition or traction. Some are proposing shifting the date at some time in the future when a treaty is negotiated.

The second problem, more substantive, is that a growing number of indigenous people in Australia are opposed to “Australia Day” being celebrated at all. Not only is Australia’s history a shameful litany of crimes against indigenous people – genocide, dispossession, wage theft, discrimination, child removal, police brutality and more – but the crimes continue today. There can be no pride in genocide, no matter what date it is celebrated. Now that the Invasion Day rallies have taken up this call, the “Change the Date” campaign is exposed as not being about justice for indigenous people, but about allowing the settler population to celebrate nationalism without having Australia’s institutional racism rubbed in their faces while they do it.

Abolish Australia Day

The Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group endorses the demands of the Melbourne Invasion Day rally for 2019: Aboriginal Sovereignty, not Constitutional Recognition; Stop Taking Our Kids; Abolish Australia Day; Stop Deaths in Custody; Shut Down Prisons. All strike at the racist foundations of the Australian State. Some, though, are only achievable through a workers’ revolution that abolishes capitalism. It is only libertarian communism, the Workers’ Commonwealth, and not the racist Australian capitalist State, that can negotiate just treaties with the indigenous peoples and nations that have never ceded their sovereignty. It is only the Workers’ Commonwealth that can shut down the prisons. It is only the Workers’ Commonwealth that can end deaths in custody by abolishing the police.

So, this year and every year, the MACG joins the call to abolish Australia Day. Our vision is of a stateless communist society, a Workers’ Commonwealth worldwide and operating on the basis of consistent federalism. Here, in the land that is currently called Australia, the Workers’ Commonwealth will be the vehicle through which non-indigenous people work with, and learn from, indigenous people how to live sustainably in the land, as they did so successfully for over 60,000 years before the First Fleet brought British colonialism to these shores.

ALWAYS WAS, ALWAYS WILL BE
ABORIGINAL LAND

aotearoa / pacific islands / miscellaneous / opinion / analysis Tuesday January 22, 2019 10:57 byPink Panther

This article offers tools for debunking conspiracy theories. It views such ideas as a dangerous blockage preventing a clearer path to solving the very real political, social and economic problems we face.

When the Internet made its appearance there was a lot of talk about the information super highway in which people would be able to click on a few buttons and get whatever information they were looking for.

Cue forward to 2019 and the information super highway is looking a lot more like the information rubbish tip. While its undeniable there is some good solid stuff out there, it’s also true that not only is some of the information irrelevant to what we’re looking for (as anyone who has used Google Search can attest to) but it is also unreliable. One of the reasons is the number of charlatans such as conspiracy theorists who have made the Internet their home.

Despite what you might think, lots of different kinds of people can be sucked in by conspiracy theories. Unfortunately, it is becoming all too common for people who should know better, to fall victim to this nonsense. This matters because we can only fight back against the very real material and political problems of the world as it is, by understanding reality. Once we know what is really going on, we will have a sound basis for organising resistance to it. So how can we detect if what we are reading is nonsense or a conspiracy theory? The ten step guide below is what I use to sift fact from fiction or half-truths. When that fails I turn to sites like www.skeptoid.com and www.snopes.com which are both non-partisan debunkers of bullshit, no matter what side of the political spectrum it comes from.

I. Use of Vague Statistics.

Any claim that uses a statistic like “One in three people are…” should always be treated with great scepticism because they’re meaningless. Without knowing anything like the number of people who were studied or surveyed, the terms of reference for the study or research undertaken or the people or organisation who conducted the research, we cannot determine if the statistic is real or made up. More often than not studies which use such vague references are made up or conducted by highly partisan groups trying to convince people that “research” backs what they say.

II. Awe with Percentages.

How many times have you read a poll that claims that “40% of Americans support Trump” or something similar? Most polls conducted by a polling company tend to interview between 1000 and 1500 people over a given time period and are chosen from electoral or other voting rolls. It’s not hard to realise that it is impossible to determine what millions of people think about anything on the basis of what 1000 or so people say. You also have to consider that such a sample excludes people who aren’t on electoral rolls for various reasons. Despite the claims that such polls are scientific no one has been able to explain just what part of the polling process actually involves science. Percentages without context are another problem. Informing us that the average house price has increased by 35% in a particular area doesn’t tell us anything. Telling us that the average house price in that area was $250,000 back in 2012 then telling us that house prices in that area have increased by 35% gives us information that is useful.

III. Emotive Manipulation.

In some news networks there is a lot of pressure to try and get as many people to support a certain viewpoint or to galvanise support for a particular cause. One way this is done is to get a hysterical parent wailing about how her child is a victim of a certain social or other evil in order to rally support for that cause. The problem with such news stories is little, or no, attempt is made to find out if anything the said parent has claimed is true, false or an combination of both. Also, no attempt is made to put things in context.

The problem with anecdotal, human interest and other stories of this nature is they exaggerate the extent of a social evil in the minds of the public.
An example of this is when a child is snatched off the streets and murdered. Parents stop letting their children walk to school out of fear the same thing will happen to their own children. This is despite the fact that crime statistics from the United States and other countries repeatedly show that the chances of anyone, let alone a child, being snatched from the streets and killed by strangers is very rare. For example, according to the New York Times (August 17th, 2016), the FBI reported that only 1,381 of the 11,961 homicides reported within the United States in 2014 involved people who were unknown to the victims.
Emotionally manipulative news items can also have serious consequences. U.S President Donald Trump’s crack down on undocumented immigrants and his so-called “Muslim ban” was largely the result of emotive hysteria whipped up by Fox News about crimes committed by undocumented migrants and terrorist acts by Islamic State in Europe.

IV. The Defying of Reality.

Let’s be blunt. Most conspiracy theories and incorrect news stories are exposed as such because they fail to pass the most basic test of “Is it practical or realistic that such a thing could happen?” The 9/11 Truthers often come unstuck on this one. They would have us believe that multiple American government agencies conspired to murder thousands of their fellow Americans so that George W Bush could justify invading Afghanistan for its oil and gas reserves.

There’s at least four major problems with that:

1. A plot to kill thousands of people would’ve required a degree of co-operation between various government agencies that did not exist at the time – and still doesn’t. U.S government agencies are notorious for jealously guarding their jurisdictions and tend to avoid co-operating unless circumstances or the law requires them to do so. It was the lack of co-operation between government and intelligence agencies that enabled the 9/11 hijackers to enter the United States despite the terrorists involved in the hijackings being on known or suspected terrorist watch lists. It was to ensure better information gathering and sharing between these agencies that the Department of Homeland Security was created. Yet, despite this, co-operation between various government agencies is the exception rather than the rule.

2. American civil servants are required to take an oath to uphold the U.S Constitution. As the U.S Constitution forbids extra-judicial killings (of which plotting to kill thousands of Americans would be an obvious breach of said Constitution) public servants would’ve had the legal requirement to come out and denounce such behaviour.

3. Afghanistan was not invaded for either gas or oil because Afghanistan has neither. It was invaded because George W Bush believed that the Taliban were harbouring the man they believed was responsible for orchestrating the 9/11 attacks.

4. Genuine whistle-blowers go to credible news organisations like CNN, ABC or NBC or newspapers like the L.A Times, Washington Post or New York Times. They don’t go to websites like InfoWars or tabloids like National Inquirer.

V. Ignorance of basic facts.

Conspiracy theorists often lack a basic understanding of the relevant fields they are lecturing about. None of the 9/11 Truthers or so-called “Scholars for 9/11 Truth” have relevant qualifications or expertise in the fields that would be most relevant in any investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks such as building demolition, structural engineering, air crash investigation, architecture, disaster management, building and construction or even chemistry. Instead, the 9/11 Truthers are made up of people like celebrities, religious scholars, former intelligence officers, ex-military officers and sports stars. In other words, people who simply don’t have the expertise or knowledge to answer if a building can collapse pancake-style from causes other than an explosion or if molten steel would contain thermite independent of any explosives. That’s why air crash investigators, arson investigators and police detectives don’t just look for one or two things when they suspect damage might’ve been caused by a bomb. They look for many things because sometimes explosive residue can be found at the site of a disaster that has been caused by something else.

For example, explosive residue was found on Partnair Flight 394 which crashed off the coast of Denmark on September 8th, 1989. Many people, particularly in Norway, initially believed it was a bomb because of reports of a loud explosion and because the Prime Minister of Norway had recently flown on the same aircraft. The reason why explosive residue was found on the wreckage was the result of contamination resulting from military ordinance littering the sea floor from various naval battles fought in the area. The cause of the crash was the failure of counterfeit aircraft parts used during aircraft maintenance.

VI. Confusing Authority with Expertise.

Yes, there is a difference between authority and expertise. Authority is gained from one’s position or title within a group or organisation. Expertise is gained from learning, working in and mastering a particular skill, trade or area of knowledge.

Among conspiracy theorists there is a tendency to ignore the experts in their chosen fields in favour of authority figures. The more common authority figures they listen to are celebrities, ex-wrestlers like the former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, former military officers and former police officers.
Few conspiracy theorists see the absurdity of debunking authority figures who have the expertise to back up what they are saying by claiming they’re all in cahoots with the evil, omnipresent government or Big Something-or-other but not the authority figures who go along with their conspiracies.

VII. Playing on prejudices.

They play on people’s prejudices to advance their nonsense. Despite what the moral relativists may claim it’s not necessary to be a white heterosexual male to indulge in stereotyping. Stereotyping is attributing to all persons within a certain group attributes – both negative and positive – that may or may not be held by many people within that group. Some of the more obvious stereotypes are the hard working and well educated Asians who are all work and no fun, the Muslim terrorists who want to impose Sharia law upon us, the lazy drug addicted welfare queen… I’m sure there’s many other stereotypes that one can think of. Stereotyping often comes about as the direct result of selective reporting about certain groups within both traditional and social media that is picked up and used to vilify anyone who belong to those groups. All arguments presented by anyone from those groups will be greeted with comments like “Oh you would say that because you are one of them!” and people who defend those being stereotyped will be attacked with comments like “That’s what we expect from an apologist for these people.”

VIII. Treating the masses with contempt.

For people who claim to speak for the ordinary person in the street or who desire to “educate” them the conspiracy theorists regularly abuse and vilify the masses by labelling them “sheeple”, “muppets”, “ignorant” or “liars”. Rarely, if ever, do they assume the masses might have enough intelligence to work out the facts for themselves. A search on YouTube for anything to do with debunking anti-vaccination campaigns, 9/11 Truthers or Pizzagate will provide ample examples of this contempt in the Comments section.

IX. The Obsession with the word “Big”.

An obsession is prefixing any sector of society they dislike with the word “Big” as in “Big Pharma”, “Big Agriculture”, “Big Business” and “Big Government”. Everything they say and write ends up being about how something prefixed with the word “Big” is behind everything they dislike. Accusing people of belonging to Big Something-or-other is a sure-fire way to try and discredit anyone who challenges the claims made by a conspiracy theorist.

That leads us to the single biggest indicator that something is wrong or a conspiracy theory.

X. Using supposedly “Anti-Establishment” sources because they provide “alternative sources of news”.

A British conservative may be happier reading The Times while a liberal counterpart may be more contented with reading The Guardian but both newspapers contain the same basic content. What separates the two newspapers is their bias. The former is biased towards its conservative readership and the latter is biased towards its liberal readership. Bias doesn’t make a news story fake or the news organisation a fake news peddler or a bunch of conspiracy theorists.
While both The Guardian and The Times are Establishment publications they employ editors, sub-editors, fact checkers, reporters and journalists who actually go out and find out if what is being told to them is true. They usually come back with different interpretations of what has happened but they don’t differ when it comes to the basic facts. They also distinguish between opinion pieces where a writer peddles their viewpoint and the news. Most supposedly “Anti-Establishment” or alternative news sources have none of these things. They don’t distinguish between facts and opinions. They don’t bother to find out if what is being written or broadcast is true or false. They only care that what they produce fits in with their world view. That usually means they cite from sources of like-minded groups and individuals.

‘All’ that most multi-billion dollar media companies want us to do (which is bad enough in itself!) is read stories while they harass us with endless advertising and marketing campaigns that keep the money rolling in for these companies. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation is the multi-billion media empire it is because it encompasses newspapers, magazines and websites that have at least some diversity of opinions. That correspondingly brings in at least some diversity of readers and viewers whom Murdoch’s advertisers can harrange with advertising. They have a vested interest to tell us the truth most of the time, even if it’s usually biased in favour of Capitalists and Capitalism.

Don’t be fooled by the news charlatans and conspiracy theorists. They aren’t providing you with ‘alternative facts’ from alternative news sources. They make up what they say and they’re playing you for suckers as they laugh all the way to the bank with the money they got from hacking your personal data when you clicked on their site. You might find it temporarily comforting to believe you’ve been handed the mysteries of the universe via a website run by somebody living in his Mum’s garage. Spending hours listening to podcasts about chem-trails, our alien lizard overlords, the flat earth or the moon-landing ‘hoax’ etc. will perhaps provide psychological distraction from wondering how you’re going to pay this week’s rent. What it won’t do is give you the tools necessary to overcome and struggle effectively against the hard, cold and sometimes ‘boring’ realities of the world we really live in.

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