Monthly Archives: February 2019

What They Want Us To Forget

At least 50,000 people have been killed in the US supported war against Yemen by the medieval kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with tens of thousands on the brink of a famine that is human caused. In fact, the US along with Canada and the UK continue to provide military assistance and arms to the kingdom. Yet no crisis has been declared by the US or its allies.

Over 10,000 people have been killed by US ally Duterte in the Philippines due to his supposed “war on drugs.” The vast majority were impoverished and non-violent ‘offenders.’ Yet no crisis has been declared by the US and its allies. In fact Trump has applauded Duterte’s crimes.

The UN has warned that the medical and water treatment systems of Gaza are on the brink of catastrophic collapse in just a few years thanks to apartheid Israel’s murderous siege in 2014 which destroyed infrastructure and its brutal blockade which has been in place for over a decade. Well over a million people, mostly children, are facing death. Scores of unarmed Palestinians, including children, nurses, doctors and members of the press, have been shot at and killed at the security fence when they protest their collective punishment and imprisonment. Yet no crisis has been declared by the US and its allies. In fact, Trump has ended US aid to the Palestinians.

The US backed military junta regime of Sisi in Egypt has executed hundreds of political dissidents following what are widely seen as show trials in kangaroo courts. Thousands more are in prison awaiting their fate. Yet no crisis has been declared by the US and its allies.

But in Venezuela, a socialist country that has suffered under US sanctions for years and where elections have been shown to be fair and equal, 42 people have been killed in clashes with government forces at violent “opposition” demonstrations. And there, a “humanitarian crisis” has been declared with the full weight of the US military behind it.

The message we are getting from the ruling elite is quite clear. We are supposed to believe that the US cares about the people of Venezuela. We are supposed to downplay the fact that Trump appointed a presidential pardoned liar and apologist for genocide in El Salvador and Guatemala in the 1980s, Elliot Abrams, as envoy to Venezuela. We are supposed to ignore John Bolton’s comments on Fox News about how the Trump administration is in conversation with fossil fuel companies and that the US will benefit greatly from regime change. We are supposed to look the other way when the opposition raises US and Israeli flags in Caracas or when they use racist epithets and attack people of color. We are supposed to believe this is not about it being a socialist government, or that it has pivoted its nexus away from the US dollar, or that it sits on one of the world’s greatest oil, mineral and precious metal reserves. We are supposed to believe the corporate media’s manufactured crisis and ignore their selective outrage while they ignore every other humanitarian crisis mentioned above. We are supposed to forget how Libya and Iraq were “liberated” or the ruins their nations are today because of it. And to forget Honduras, and Chile, and Indonesia, and Congo and countless other places where US “humanitarian intervention” had led to atrocity, slaughter and devastation. We are supposed to forget about imperialism or its dreadful implications.

The most important job for people of conscience to do then is to remember it all. Remember every single lie, every single crime, every single mass grave. And to never let them forget.

Kenn Orphan  2019

*Cartoon is by Brazilian freelance political cartoonist, Carlos Latuff.

The Banality of Empire

This month freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar questioned Trump’s nominee for envoy to Venezuela, Elliot Abrams. While her interrogation was somewhat tepid in regard to American imperialism (she said “no one disputes” that the US goal has always been to support democracy and defend human rights), she did bring up the role of the US in the massacres in El Salvador in the 1980s. Massacres in which Abrams is implicated. It was also instructive in that it provided a visual to how deeply debased the American political landscape actually is. Abrams is a Presidential pardoned liar who provided cover for some of the most heinous war crimes of the 20th century. That he has reemerged again to lead a coup against the democratically elected government of yet another Latin American country is testament to the banality of American Empire and how uninterested it is in its own history or unending brutality and corruption.

The history of US imperialism in this region, like so many others around the world, is one drenched in blood. In 1954 a mercenary army hired by the United Fruit Company and assisted by the US government staged a military coup which overthrew the democratically elected, reform oriented, government of Colonel Jacobo Arbenz Guzman. Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas was installed as the new president of Guatemala and thus began a military dictatorship that would span the latter half of the 20th century. The indigenous Maya of the country had long been viewed as sub-human by the ruling, Spanish descended, elite, a supremacist stain that remains to this day. Some Mayans and others protested their oppression under this neo-fuedalistic tyranny, but all Mayans were collectively punished, culminating in a multi-stage genocide that took the lives of at least 200,000 people and created millions of refugees. It was a presage to the current migrant crisis in North America.

Israel was also complicit in the genocide, supplying arms and training mercenaries.  In fact General Rios Montt, the military general who is largely blamed for directing the genocide, gave his personal thanks to both the US and Israel for assisting him conducting the systematic rape, torture and slaughter of the country’s indigenous population. Trained at the infamous School of the Americas Montt, who died in April of last year, was an evangelical Christian minister and a personal friend of ultra-conservative televangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. This is instructive since we now have Christian dominionists like Pence and Pompeo at the helm. Montt was also unquestioningly supported and praised by President Ronald Reagan. “President Ríos Montt,” Reagan said, “is a man of great personal integrity and commitment. I know he wants to improve the quality of life for all Guatemalans and to promote social justice.”

It is interesting to note that little has changed in the parlance of imperialists of both the liberal and conservative brand. Again, it is unoriginal. “Social justice” or “human rights” are used to justify “humanitarian intervention,” code words of empire for ethnic cleansing and genocide. We can hear it today and not only from Trump, but also in the corporate media and among the so-called resistance in the Democratic Party when talking about Venezuela. So it is worth re-visiting this dark page in Guatemalan history to expose what this banality provides cover for.

According to a 2004 report on the massacre by the Inter-American Court on Human rights, Montt’s forces:

“separated the children and the young women aged from about 15 to 20. Then the massacre began. First they tortured the old people, saying they were guerrillas, then they threw two grenades and fired their guns. Finally they sprayed petrol around and set fire to the house… [The next day, Buenaventura Manuel Jeronimo] emerged from his hiding place to see the destruction they had caused. Along with Eulalio Grave Ramírez and his brothers Juan, Buenaventura, and Esteban, they put out the flames that were still consuming the bodies. Those that weren’t totally charred showed signs of torture, as did the naked bodies of the youngest women.”

Another account was from a survivor:

“After having killed our wives, they brought out our children. They grabbed their feet and beat their heads against the house posts. I had six children. They all died, and my wife as well.. All my life my heart will cry because of it.”
– the only survivor of the San Francisco massacre in Huehuetenango, Guatemala

General Mott was charged with genocide, but his moneyed legal team successfully stalled due process of the trial on technicalities. He died without ever facing consequences for his monstrous crimes.


Repeat this story in El Salvador, Honduras and countless other places and a picture emerges of coordinated, US-backed and funded genocide. Stories that detail the rape of girls and young women, or the torture of children and the elderly, or the forced disappearances of boys and men, or the burning of countless villages and mass graves. But these stories get buried by the American imperial machine, especially when it involves the poor or people of color. We see that happening in the endless barrage of corporate media stories parroting State Department narratives on Venezuela. The poor, POC and the indigenous of that country who benefited greatly from Bolivarian reforms are rendered invisible. Their marches or rallies aren’t covered. Their voices silenced. But the middle to upper middle class protests are broadcast endlessly and sympathetically.


But as the American Empire attempts to build walls around its failing state to keep out the refugees its belligerent foreign and economic policies have created, it is simultaneously forging new ties with other repressive regimes or client states in an effort to secure the last remaining sources of capital left on the planet. And its interests in “human rights” are demonstrably a sham when its allies include Duterte of the Philippines who has slaughtered tens of thousands of people in his six year term, or the murderous King of medieval Saudi Arabia who ruthlessly represses his own people and is in charge of a genocidal campaign in Yemen, or Netanyahu, the openly racist prime minister of a decades long apartheid and ethnic cleansing regime, or the Hindutva nationalist Modi who presides over the merciless occupation of Kashmir, or the newly elected fascist Bolsonaro of Brazil, who has vowed to carve up the Amazon rain forest and slaughter indigenous people who stand in his way, and who is now poised to do Washington’s bidding in Venezuela. But the official narrative on these states is unsurprisingly drenched in duplicitous banality. Each is described as a either a democracy or an “ally against terrorism” or nation that “shares similar interests.”


But the ruling class understands that capitalism has become indefensible to anyone except the terminally deluded. This is especially true in the US where inequality is soaring, GoFundMe sites are set up to meet bankrupting healthcare and education costs, and more and more people are having to work more than one job that pays less, and live further from their work in order to afford housing. They understand the pressure is mounting against capitalist policies that favor the wealthy and corporations. Trump’s recent paranoid ramblings against socialism underscore the terror in their hearts. In a recent speech about Venezuela before some of his feckless and fawning fans he said:

“tyrannical socialist government nationalized private industries and took over private businesses. They engaged in massive wealth confiscation, shut down free markets, suppressed free speech, and set up a relentless propaganda machine, rigged elections, used the government to persecute their political opponents, and destroyed the impartial rule of law. In other words, the socialists have done in Venezuela all of the same things that socialists, communists, totalitarians have done everywhere that they’ve had a chance to rule. The results have been catastrophic.”

Of course capitalist governments have perpetrated such crimes via legalization of corporate monopolies which devastate small business owners. “Wealth confiscation” are code words for the wealthy avoiding taxation and the free market is a meaningless canard that obscures the power of a small moneyed elite’s control over the conditions of that market. Indeed, Trump’s disconnect with reality defies facts on the ground. About a year ago that United Nation’s special rapporteur, Philip Alston, issued a report on the dire state of the American republic. It revealed that upwards of 40 million Americans live in poverty.

But Trump’s remarks on the suppression of free speech, propaganda, persecution of political opponents and the rule of law are simply delusional. Each one of those repressive tactics have been employed by the US government in service to corporate interests, and especially by his administration.

He went on to say:

“Socialism, by its very nature, does not respect borders. It does not respect boundaries or the sovereign rights of its citizens or its neighbors. It’s always seeking to expand, to encroach, and to subjugate others to its will. The twilight hour of socialism has arrived in our hemisphere — and, frankly, in many, many places around the world. The days of socialism and communism are numbered not only in Venezuela, but in Nicaragua and in Cuba as well.”


Of course to anyone who has even a basic education in imperialism understands this is preposterous given the fact that the US has nearly 900 military bases around the world and has invaded dozens of countries covertly and overtly in the name of freedom. Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba have invaded none. But his fans loved it. Duplicitous banality goes far with that crowd. What was bizarre and telling is that his fears challenge the very dogma of capitalism that has been sacrosanct following the fall of the USSR. That was supposed to be an end to the “red menace.” But Trump has revealed that capitalism wasn’t as victorious as we had been told.

Reagan told Gorbachev to “tear down this wall” erroneously signalling the moral dominance of capitalism and American Empire over the besieged USSR. Now Trump is feverishly building it up again because that same Empire has created a refugee crisis in regions it sought to control. But the specters of the Cold War are apparently hiding out in Venezuela, North Korea and Iran, nations that are coincidentally fossil fuel and mineral rich. What is equally telling is that so many American liberals have lined up with the man they have so enjoyed calling a racist, white supremacist and Nazi sympathizer these past few years. It is apparent that their true allegiance is to American imperialism above all else.


The American Empire may be in its final stage. Imperiled like everyone else by climate change chaos and an endangered biosphere, it is also facing the silent global abandonment of the US dollar and internal socioeconomic strife brought on by neoliberal policies which have stripped the rights of workers and the citizenry in favor of corporations and the police/surveillance state. But this only means that it will become more belligerent and delusional as it spirals downward. Its defense of capital, always its only raison d’etre, is no longer being hidden by lofty platitudes either. After all, its leaders are drunk on a hubris that accompanies a bloated military, the most expensive in the world. It is why they hypnotically repeat the line “all options are on the table” as if any rational person would think any other option other than militarism is seriously being considered. An example of this was when war monger extraordinaire John Bolton was recorded on a Fox News segment saying how he has been in touch with various fossil fuel companies who are gleefully awaiting a Venezuelan oil sector they can freely exploit. His risible “troika of terror” comment harkens back to GWB’s “axis of evil.” But there is little to laugh at when one considers the true cost of American imperialism. One paid for with the blood of the poor, the indigenous, the innocent, and the living earth itself.


We should not be surprised when men like Elliot Abrams resurface from the dark pages of history to provide cover for the crimes of empire. After all, imperialism is murderous, immoral and cruel, but it is unoriginal. And it is this banality that makes all of it so damned insidious.


Kenn Orphan   2019

The Belligerence of Empire in its Waning Days

Yesterday President Trump told an audience of feckless fans that:
“tyrannical socialist government nationalized private industries and took over private businesses. They engaged in massive wealth confiscation, shut down free markets, suppressed free speech, and set up a relentless propaganda machine, rigged elections, used the government to persecute their political opponents, and destroyed the impartial rule of law.
In other words, the socialists have done in Venezuela all of the same things that socialists, communists, totalitarians have done everywhere that they’ve had a chance to rule. The results have been catastrophic.”


No mention was made of the unending attacks and sanctions placed on Venezuela that make governance near impossible. But the greatest omission was the fact that the US is a dictatorship of money where scores of people are incarcerated, especially people of colour. Scores more are working low wage jobs and depend on food stamps and GoFundMe sites because they lack basic health coverage. Many more have crushing student loan debt, mortgages or exorbitant rents.

It was about a year ago that United Nation’s special rapporteur, Philip Alston, issued a report on the dire state of the American republic. It revealed that upwards of 40 million Americans live in poverty. Among its findings:

+ By most indicators, the US is one of the world’s wealthiest countries. It spends more on national defense than China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, United Kingdom, India, France, and Japan combined.
+ US health care expenditures per capita are double the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) average and much higher than in all other countries. But there are many fewer doctors and hospital beds per person than the OECD average.
+ US infant mortality rates in 2013 were the highest in the developed world.
+ Americans can expect to live shorter and sicker lives, compared to people living in any other rich democracy, and the “health gap” between the U.S. and its peer countries continues to grow.
+ U.S. inequality levels are far higher than those in most European countries
+ Neglected tropical diseases, including Zika, are increasingly common in the USA. It has been estimated that 12 million Americans live with a neglected parasitic infection. A 2017 report documents the prevalence of hookworm in Lowndes County, Alabama.
+ The US has the highest prevalence of obesity in the developed world.
+ In terms of access to water and sanitation the US ranks 36th in the world.
+ America has the highest incarceration rate in the world, ahead of Turkmenistan, El Salvador, Cuba, Thailand and the Russian Federation. Its rate is nearly 5 times the OECD average.
+ The youth poverty rate in the United States is the highest across the OECD with one quarter of youth living in poverty compared to less than 14% across the OECD.
+ The Stanford Center on Inequality and Poverty ranks the most well-off countries in terms of labor markets, poverty, safety net, wealth inequality, and economic mobility. The US comes in last of the top 10 most well-off countries, and 18th amongst the top 21.
+ In the OECD the US ranks 35th out of 37 in terms of poverty and inequality.
+ According to the World Income Inequality Database, the US has the highest Gini rate (measuring inequality) of all Western Countries
+ The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality characterizes the US as “a clear and constant outlier in the child poverty league.” US child poverty rates are the highest amongst the six richest countries – Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden and Norway.
+ About 55.7% of the U.S. voting-age population cast ballots in the 2016 presidential election. In the OECD, the U.S. placed 28th in voter turnout, compared with an OECD average of 75%. Registered voters represent a much smaller share of potential voters in the U.S. than just about any other OECD country. Only about 64% of the U.S. voting-age population (and 70% of voting-age citizens) was registered in 2016, compared with 91% in Canada (2015) and the UK (2016), 96% in Sweden (2014), and nearly 99% in Japan (2014).
Trump went on to say:
“Socialism, by its very nature, does not respect borders. It does not respect boundaries or the sovereign rights of its citizens or its neighbors. It’s always seeking to expand, to encroach, and to subjugate others to its will.
The twilight hour of socialism has arrived in our hemisphere — and, frankly, in many, many places around the world. The days of socialism and communism are numbered not only in Venezuela, but in Nicaragua and in Cuba as well.”
Of course this is risible to anyone who has even a basic education in imperialism given the fact that the US has nearly 900 military bases around the world and has invaded dozens of countries covertly and overtly in the name of freedom, but his fans loved it. It was as if Libya, Iraq, and dozens of other failures of imperialist intervention had never happened. One has to ask which nations exactly has Venezuela or Cuba invaded?
But so many American “liberals” have lined up with the man they have so enjoyed calling a racist, white supremacist and Nazi sympathizer in their feckless allegiance to American imperialism.
Strange times in the waning days of American Empire.
This illustration is entitled “School Begins: Uncle Sam lectures his class in Civilisation.” It is a blatantly racist representation of nations and territories that did not accept American dominance. The pouting pupils are labelled Philippines, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Cuba. The well mannered and mostly white students apparently accept US lessons in “civilization.” It is was published in 1899 as a way to justify US imperialism. But it might as well have been published today.
Kenn Orphan   2019

The Ghouls of Capital

This strange obsession of the wealthy to pay large sums of money to hunt and kill rare species typifies this last and most ruthless form of capitalism. It is a collective form of psychosis in that these people must know in some shadowy precinct of their near deadened souls that species are going extinct by the thousands each year thanks to human activity, but believe that killing off what is rare will somehow make them feel more alive.
They betray their own pitiful, faux prowess and reveal the depravity of their own unmet grief at it all by extinguishing that life for a photo. But then that emptiness must rush in again and grip their nearly dead souls like a vice until the next paid kill.
I would like to say I feel sorry for them, but I don’t. Their loathsome and willful dearth of soul makes them appear like ghouls with craven jaws looking to devour the last remaining beauty of a dying earth. Are they any different than the so-called captains of industry who see pristine forests or mountain tops and think the removal of such for fleeting monetary profit as a good thing? Or of the military industry and weapons manufacturing sector which create uranium laced bullets or marine killing sonar? Or factory farm owners who house millions of sentient beings in squalid, tortuous conditions? Or fossil fuel companies who think an oil spill in a life drenched coral reef would be a ‘welcomed boost’ to local communities?
A philosophy that reduces the living earth to mere capital will in the end reduce humanity itself to dust.
Photo is of Bryan Kinsel Harlan, a trophy hunter from Texas, who was photographed with this glorious creature after he paid $110,000 to slaughter it in the northern Himalayan region of Gilgit-Baltistan. He said: “It was an easy and close shot. I am pleased to take this trophy.”
Kenn Orphan   2019

Greenwashing Climate Catastrophe

“With “capitalism in danger of falling apart” (a rare, cryptically honest quote from Al Gore), and years of stagnant global economic growth now in a free fall, the Greta campaign must be understood for what it is. An elaborate distraction that has nothing to do with protecting the natural world, and everything to do with the manufacturing of consent. The required consent of the citizenry that will unlock the treasuries and public monies under the guise of climate protection.” – Cory Morningstar and Forest Palmer , from The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – For Consent: The House is on Fire & the 90 Trillion Dollar Rescue, 2019

“One might think that if someone were conscious enough to recognise that global ecology was compromised and that pollutants were destroying fresh water, and the land, and that global warming was quite possibly going to make huge swatches of land non arable — you might think that person would look for solutions in a political frame. After all it was global capital that had brought mankind to this historic precipice. But instead, many if not nearly all the people I speak with, frame things in terms of personal responsibility. Stop driving big diesel SUVs, stop flying to Cabo for vacation, stop eating meat, etc-. But these same people tend to not criticize capitalism. Or, rather, they ask for a small non crony green capitalism. I guess this would mean green exploitation and green wars? For war is the engine of global capitalism today. Cutting across this are the various threads of the overpopulation theme. A convenient ideological adjustment that shifts blame to the poorest inhabitants of the planet.” – John Steppling, Trust Nothing, 2019

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.” – Noam Chomsky, The Common Good, 1998

“Modern business must have its finger continuously on the public pulse. It must understand the changes in the public mind and be prepared to interpret itself fairly and eloquently to changing opinion.” ― Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda, 1928

It is hard not to notice a stirring of consciousness regarding humanity’s dire ecological predicament beginning to seep into the mainstream these days. How can it not? Year after year records are shattered. Month after month scientists continue to be shocked and demoralized by more and more evidence of rising seas, a climate careening into a chaotic and terrifying unknown, and countless species succumbing in a biosphere perpetually under siege. Even the corporate media which has been designed as a mouthpiece of capitalist interests cannot completely veil our collective crisis. Unsurprisingly, the ruling class has begun to react, not in a way that meaningfully addresses the death cult of the current socioeconomic order, but to ensure its survival albeit with a greener face. Their cynical approach to what is the biggest existential crisis of our age is using youthful optimism and justified outrage and terror to cloud their machinations.

One such prominent youth these days is Greta Thunberg, the 16 year old Swedish girl who delivered a rousing speech at the UN Climate Change Conference and before the world’s wealthiest at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Indeed, her speech was inspiring and I do not doubt her passion or honest devotion to climate activism for a minute, but to ignore the powerful machine looking to co-opt her message would be a grave mistake. For instance, Thunberg has been given interviews in the corporate press, has been endorsed by a tech start-up company (We Don’t Have Time), and has been lauded by industry for promoting “sustainable development.”

Now certainly Thunberg is not the one manipulating any of these actors, and she should not face any kind of criticism for her part in addressing the greatest existential issue of our times. But it should be clear that most people who get interviews in the corporate media are generally not deemed to be a serious challenger to the status quo political/economic order. Corporate approved dissent is a form of censorship that gives the illusion of a lively debate, but essentially establishes a firm line in the sand when it comes to radically questioning or opposing the capitalist framework itself. And if finance companies are behind something we can be pretty sure that they are primarily in it for the money. In addition to this, the term sustainable development is meaningless on a planet that is literally on the edge of a cliff, but under the dominant economic dictatorship of money the co-opted mainstream environmental movement has pumped out these tropes making them a form of collective social conditioning.

And this ties into the notion of personal responsibility. Solutions to our environmental crisis have been reduced to “life style changes” which have also become the en vogue activism of the day. It is a line of thinking that is accepted and even endorsed by corporations, banks and neoliberal governments because it poses no real challenge to their power or their ongoing destructive practices. To the mainstream, tweaking one’s lifestyle is all that is needed. Buy an electric vehicle or use a bicycle. Don’t take a plane on your vacation. Buy reusable bags. Choose organic only. Go vegan. Buy reusable straws. While there is nothing wrong with doing these things in general, they must be understood as individual choices that are based on privilege and that have little impact in addressing the urgent crisis our biosphere is facing right now.

What they do manage to do is deliver an added punishment on the poor and working class, people who are struggling to make ends meet. It places an unfair level of guilt on ordinary people whose impact on the environment is relatively negligible compared to the enormous destruction caused by the fossil fuel industry, mining companies, plastic and packaging production, shipping and the military industrial complex. Seldom (if ever) questioned are the basic foundations of the current economic order which is driving the decimation of the biosphere for the benefit of the wealthy Davos jet set.

It has in fact become only about “sustainability” despite the contradiction of sustaining a system that is at its core omnicidal. Corporations have been actively branding themselves with empty greenwashing euphemisms like “green” or “earth friendly” in the decades following the first Earth Day. It is as if our species were somehow alien visitors to this planet and being friendly to it was merely a diplomatic concern. Certainly a handful of corporations did in fact change some of their practices under public pressure and for the sake of image. Some of those changes had beneficial effects for certain species and areas. But the primary engine of capitalism that has led us to the brink of devastation is never questioned. It is sacrosanct.

With this in mind political solutions, like the Green New Deal, are being trotted out by democratic socialist and neoliberal politicians that merely cloak the problem, never identifying the root of it all: Capitalism. In fact, many of these policies are weak on protecting nature and are simply designed to keep capitalism afloat. At its core this is a system that is incapable of even beginning  to address climate change or biospheric degeneration. Its principles are based upon the exploitation of the environment for the material gain of the ruling class, kept alive through institutions of repression and corporate state violence. Under this rubric environmental causes may be soothed for some; but the poor and working class are continually battered and raped by industry and the corrupt governments that house and protect them. Indigenous peoples, who face the worst exploitation, continually see their lands desecrated and denuded by state policing factions at the behest of powerful corporations. And militarism, which is of course wedded to capitalism, ensures that all of this exploitation can continue and expand virtually unopposed by bourgeois society.

It may be a hard pill for many to swallow, but there are simply no viable answers to be found in Washington, or the hills of Hollywood, or the board rooms of Wall Street, or even at the United Nations which generally capitulates to the demands of the ruling class. They have molded each of these institutions, media industries and government bodies to fit their censorious narrative in order to suppress dissent against the current economic order, under which they so handsomely profit. And one would be wise to approach whatever they offer with great caution. After all, they have been labouring for years to dismember the commons, grow their inordinate wealth through plunder, and maintain their dominance through corruption, militarism and distraction. The sacredness of the public sphere has been defiled by the inviolable liturgy of free market dogma. And they have manufactured a culture of cruelty, devoid of character and predicated on colonization and the commodification and exploitation of everything and everyone that exists. In this way neoliberalism, the last and most ruthless stage of capitalism, has become the most elaborate and successful form of brainwashing and social control the world has ever known, convincing hundreds of millions of people of the absolute necessity of its economic tyranny and omnicidal madness.

But despite the machinations of the ruling class to obfuscate, infiltrate and co-opt movements, there remains a genuine longing for connection to the ever besieged living planet and solidarity with one another that transcends the indifferent and sadistic brutality of the capitalist order. This is especially true as capitalism begins to implode and the biosphere continues to degrade. Therefore the most coherent response to what we are witnessing will always come from ordinary people in community, especially the poor and especially indigenous peoples who are on the front lines of a war being waged by governments serving the interests of the wealthy ruling class and global capitalism. But we can be assured that anything that emanates from the halls of power will be merely another ploy to maintain their control and fill the coffers of the uber-rich at the expense of the rest of us and the living earth itself. And they have no problem using the innocent passion of a 16 year old girl to hide all of their crimes.

Kenn Orphan   2019