Featured Image: Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols, Paradisio, Amsterdam 1977. Photo by Koen Soek/Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Neoliberalism does not fight, it only conquers. Those who finance the agenda can redirect it as they see fit: he who arms the troops chooses their battles. Boots on the throat have never worked nearly so well as a hand on the purse strings. When you wage war against the Neoliberal establishment you must always follow the money. If your opponents are throwing gold at your cause, they do so only because it suits their purposes better than bullets. And when they start parroting your slogans you might want to look at the words they are trying to suppress.
The Internet’s earliest days brought us the gleeful anarchy of FIDOnet and Usenet. In May 2020 72.03% of worldwide social media engagement took place on Facebook. Some 3.8 billion people worldwide spend an average of 2 hours and 24 minutes a day on a dozen or so big platforms. Most of the world’s mainstream media outlets are owned by one of five companies; Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch’s News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany and Viacom. And while Cyberpunks declared that information wants to be free today’s social media platforms have used Terms of Service to declare many ideas unfit for public discussion.
For several years “White Supremacism” has been their bugbear of choice. We have been told that organized “White Supremacist” gangs are plotting a violent genocidal war in the cause of a new White Empire and that “White Supremacism” is the greatest problem in American society. For several years I have spent time reading blogs, essays and even books by “White Supremacists.” I have explored the Internet’s darkest and most toxic realms, places where the most unflattering statistics and the most offensive imagery are traded like MTG cards. And yet in all that time I have found mostly angry and disempowered young men who looked more like victims than villains.
We have spent several years scrubbing American culture of offensive imagery. To that end we have attacked “White Supremacists” with jokes about pickup trucks, meth addiction, Fundamentalist Chrsitianity, missing teeth, guns, incest and Confederate flags. An old-school Progressive would notice immediately that these derogatory images are classic tropes aimed at working-class and poor White people. From there he might wonder (as this old-school Progressive wonders) why it is the Capitalists wish to turn our attention toward problematic flags and offensive mascots whilst simultaneously sowing racial and ethnic division amongst the Proletariat.
For all its many flaws, Marxism recognizes the importance of class and of economic power. It boils racial and ethnic cultural differences down to the endless battle between the haves and the have-nots. While I think that an oversimplification I can’t deny that they have a point. When the peasants fear and distrust each other they’re not nearly so likely to storm the palace. Pitting White vs non-White workers is Marxism 101. If you think it isn’t ask yourself why Amazon lists “low workplace diversity” as a major factor contributing to warehouse unionization.
“If we want to empty out just the Hennepin County Jail it would cost nearly $50,000,000 dollars,” the Minnesota Freedom Fund announced in a June 11 Tweet. “This is a government sanctioned ransom.” A few days later they announced that they had used just $200,000 of the $35 million collected to date toward bailing out arrested protestors. This caused some consternation, especially as many donors took a look at the (since-deleted) Board of Directors page.
Tonja Honsey is not only the MN Freedom Fund’s Executive Director. At the time of George Floyd’s death she was its sole full-time employee. In 2019 Honsey received a Soros Justice Fellowship from the Open Society Institute, where her biography reads:
Honsey is a revolutionary mother, an incarceration survivor, and a community healer. As a long-time grassroots organizer, she has partnered with multiple organizations, including the Minnesota Prison Doula Project, the American Indian Prison Project Working Group, and the Minnesota Freedom Fund. She is a member of Minnesota Department of Corrections’ Civil Engagement Committee and was appointed by the governor to the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission. Named one of the Wilder Foundation’s 2018 Community Equity Pipeline Fellows, she is also a founding member of the Sprouting Birth Folks Collective, where she organized Minnesota’s first doula training that focused on women of color and formerly incarcerated women.
Honsey has recently been the center of controversy regarding her claims of Indigenous ancestry. While she disputes her critics’ claims, neither Honsey nor current Board President Octavia Smith can confirm or deny whether Honsey is still employed at MN Freedom Fund due to pending arbitration. Smith, who earlier left the fund over leadership issues, has explained:
We would love to use that $30 million and get people out tomorrow. But the reality is that the systems that are put in place to prevent that, to prevent black and brown people from having freedom, to prevent people who are poor from having freedom, still exist. So we’re still navigating a toxic system. While also trying to abolish it.
On June 2 the MN Freedom Fund announced they were taking a break from donations while they decided what to do with their unexpected windfall. On June 5 they announced that money collected and further donations “may be used to expand legal support for those arrested or incarcerated protesting the murder of George Floyd, and our core values and mission.” It is unsurprising that a small and dysfunctional NGO was overwhelmed by this show of support. But I note that you can justify an awful lot of expenses in the name of your core values and your mission.
In 1945 Karl Popper published The Open Society and its Enemies. A few years later a bookish young Hungarian refugee named George Soros enrolled at the London School of Economics. Karl Marx would have starved in his garret without the support of a wealthy industrialist named Friedrich Engels. Were it not for Soros, Popper might be an obscure Viennese academic most famous for falsification and getting trolled hard by Ludwig Wittgenstein. Inspired by Open Society and Logic of Scientific Discovery, Soros chose Popper for his tutor.
For Popper, Western Civilization took a wrong turn when Plato subverted Socratic reasoning and questioning in the service of tribalism and authoritarian rule. The Platonic Forms led later philosophers (notably Hegel and Marx) to prioritize the state over its citizens. Historicism led to deference to tradition and silenced the democratic process. Popper felt that Western liberal democracies, which combined free trade with free expression, were the best way to avoid the Scylla of authoritarian tyranny and the Charybdis of Utopian social engineering. He warned, however, that an Open Society could only exist if it were “intolerant of intolerance.“
In September 1992 Soros took short positions on the British pound, then dumped pounds on the international currency market. The ensuing “Black Wednesday” on 16 September drove the pound off the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) and sent Britain into a recession: it also earned Soros over $1 billion. In 1997 Soros’ Quantum Fund bet against the Thai baht and earned $750 million while breaking the Bank of Thailand and sparking currency crashes throughout Asia. And much of the enormous wealth Soros has gained from his mentor’s work has been reinvested toward building an Open Society and destroying its Enemies. As Daniel Bessner notes:
Soros… has described himself in terms that echo the archetypal wandering Jew, writing that he does “not belong to any community” and takes “pride in being in the minority, an outsider.” Unsurprisingly, this hasn’t moderated the brutal onslaught of anti-Semitic attacks he has been subjected to throughout his life, especially since he began working in Eastern Europe in the 1980s. Despite this assault, Soros has not embraced ethnonationalism or religion but has been straightforward in his derision of the particularities of national and ethnic identities.. Whether or not his vision can survive the blitzkrieg of the anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, and xenophobic right-wing nationalism ascendant in the United States and Europe remains to be seen. What is certain is that Soros will spend the remainder of his life attempting to make sure it does.
Soros has been a consistent supporter of Black organizations fighting police brutality. While they found no evidence that Soros had given money to rioters after Michael Brown’s death, Snopes acknowledged that Soros gave at least $33 million in 2014 to “already-established groups that emboldened the grass-roots, on-the-ground activists in Ferguson.” He has also shown consistent interest in Opening the Societies of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. To that end the Open Society Institute and other Soros-related organizations have been linked to various “Color Revolutions” aimed at creating “transitional democracies.”
But like any good fund manager, Soros hedges his bets. He has given $5 million to the Center for American Progress, a Democratic think tank which is also funded by Goldman Sachs, the Ford Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation. He spent over $25 million on Hillary Clinton and other Democratic candidates during the 2016 campaign. And in 1995 Deputy Secretary of State Strode Talbott said that Soros policy toward Eastern Europe was “not identical to the foreign policy of the U.S. government—but it’s compatible with it. It’s like working with a friendly, allied, independent entity, if not a government. We try to synchronize our approach to the former Communist countries with Germany, France, Great Britain—and with George Soros.”
18. All warfare is based on deception.
19. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.
20. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.
21. If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him.
22. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.
23. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them.
24. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.
25. These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand.Sun Tzu, The Art of War
White Americans have often wondered why Black folks are always so angry. The past several weeks have given us all a hard education on Black Rage. Some of us hope to placate that rage with gestures and slogans. Some are looking to avoid it by ceding territory and moving to
Whiter safer areas. Some are preparing for a desperate last stand. And a few of us are starting to understand a bit better how we are all being played.
The Color Revolutions fed on popular discontent and organized it toward regime change. Color Revolutionaries used a controversial election to spark Ukraine’s 2004 Orange Revolution. They used ethnic tensions between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in Kyrgyzstan’s 2005 Tulip Revolution. They used a desperate man’s self-immolation to spark Tunisia’s 2010-11 Jasmine Revolution. And they are using your righteous rage towards regime change in America.
For all their talk about free societies, the Color Revolutionaries were primarily concerned with free markets. Kyrgyzstan’s political instability has forced it into unfavorable treaties which allow foreign exploitation of its minerals and rare earths. Tunisia has found a growing number of its young people rejecting Liberal Democracy for Islamist ideologies. And over 15 years after the Orange Revolution promised to clean up Ukrainian politics, we’re left to wonder how Hunter Biden got a $650k job with a Ukraine gas firm.
Right now wealthy and powerful people are proclaiming that Black Lives Matter. They have turned on the police officers they once protected. They have funded your crusade and knelt before you to beg forgiveness. They have stood guard while you tear down monuments and arrested those who try to stop you. Do you think they do this out of fear? Or do they support your cause because they hope to profit from it?