podcasts

Podcast: climate change and the global struggle III

In Episode 151 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes a tellingly ironic juxtaposition of simultaneous news stories: the COP27 global climate summit in Egypt and the World Cup games in Qatar—where mega-scale stadium air-conditioning betrays the fundamental unseriousness of our civilization in addressing the impending climate apocalypse. The COP27 agreement for a "loss and damage" fund stops short of demands for climate reparations—a critical question for island nations that stand to disappear beneath the waves, flood-devastated Pakistan, and indigenous peoples of the fire-ravaged Bolivian Amazon. Petro powers like Russia and Saudi Arabia formed a bloc to bar any progress on limiting further expansion of oil and gas exploitation, while the Ukrainian delegation called for a boycott of Moscow's hydrocarbons, and pointed to the massive ecological toll of Russia's war of aggression. Meanwhile, the world population reached 8 billion, providing an excuse for groups like PopulationMatters to proffer the Malthusian fallacy even as the rate of population growth is actually slowing. Worldwide indigenous and peasant resistance to hydrocarbon exploitation points to a revolutionary response to the crisis.

Podcast: against pseudo-left disinformation on Ukraine II

In Episode 150 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg calls out the panelists at The People's Forum event on "The Real Path to Peace in Ukraine"—including the inevitable Noam Chomsky and Medea Benjamin—for actually spreading Russian war propaganda, in Orwellian manner. As Ukraine makes advances on the ground, liberating the city of Kherson (which Moscow had declared as "annexed"), Russia retaliates with massive missile strikes targeting civilian infrastructure such as heating plants as the bitter Ukrainian winter approaches—clearly war crimes, aimed at breaking the will of the populace. But rather than protesting the Russian bombardment, these pseudo-anti-war voices join with the Trumpian right in calling for an end to Western military aid to Ukraine. And rather than Russian mass atrocities and illegal annexation of Ukrainian territory, they point to imaginary pressure on Kyiv from the West not to negotiate as the obstacle to peace.

Podcast: state capitalism and the Uyghur genocide

In Episode 149 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes that the UN Human Rights Office determination that China may be guilty of "crimes against humanity" in its mass detention of Uyghurs in Xinjiang province is dismissed by the tankie-left ANSWER Coalition as "propagandistic." Meanwhile, it falls to Radio Free Asia, media arm of the US State Department, to aggressively cover the very real conditions of forced labor faced by the Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples of Xinjiang—and how Western corporations benefit from it. While the Western pseudo-left betrays the Uyghurs, US imperialism exploits their suffering for propaganda against a rising China in the Great Game for the Asia-Pacific region. Figures such as Australia's Kevin Rudd incorrectly portray a "Return of Red China," blaming the PRC's increasingly totalitarian direction on a supposed neo-Marxism. Fortunately, the new anthology Xinjiang Year Zero offers a corrective perspective, placing the industrial-detention complex and techno-security state in the context of global capitalism and settler colonialism.

Podcast: against pseudo-pacifist war propaganda II

In Episode 148 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes that the ANSWER Coalition—a formation so "tankie" that it actually displays portraits of the genocidal Syrian dictator Bashar Assad at its Orwellian "anti-war" rallies—is holding a panel at The People's Forum in New York on "The Real Path to Peace in Ukraine." The headlining speaker is to be Jeremy Corbyn, who was bashed by Ukraine's government as a "useful idiot" of Vladimir Putin for joining a panel demanding a cut-off of military to aid to the besieged nation. Other panelists are even more subservient to Moscow's military aims, including Vijay Prashad, Medea Benjamin, Jill Stein and Brian Becker. Notably absent from the panel (of course) are any progressive Ukrainian voices—such as Anatoliy Dubovik and Sergiy Shevchenko of Ukraine's Revolutionary Confederation of Anarcho-SyndicalistsYuliya Yurchenko or Vladislav Starodubtsev of the Ukrainian left-opposition group Sotsialniy Rukh (Social Movement); Taras Bilous, editor of the Ukrainian socialist journal Commons; or Artem Chapeye, Noam Chomsky's Ukrainian translator who called Chomsky out in an open letter for abetting Russian propaganda after the war began. All these Ukrainian voices, whatever strong criticism they may have of the neoliberal government of Volodymyr Zelensky, are unequivocal on the need to defend Ukraine against Russian imperialist assault. Whereas this hypocritical "anti-war" panel is an exercise in pseudo-pacifist war propaganda.

Podcast: climate change and the global struggle II

In Episode 147 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes the recent statement from the UN Environment Program that "only a root-and-branch transformation of our economies and societies can save us from accelerating climate disaster." Studies from similarly prestigious global bodies have raised the prospect of imminent human extinction. An International Energy Agency report released last year warned that new fossil fuel exploration needed to halt by 2022 in order to keep warming within the limits set by the 2015 Paris Agreement. Adoption of new technologies and emissions standards does mean that CO2 emissions from energy generation (at least) are likely to peak by 2025. But the IEA finds that this would still lead to global temperatures rising by 2.5 C above pre-industrial levels by century's end—exceeding the Paris Agreement limits, with catastrophic climate impacts. And the catastrophic impacts, already felt in places like (just for example) Chad and Cameroon, win but scarce media coverage. Climate-related conflict has already escalated to genocide in Darfur, and possibly in Syria. The oil companies, meanwhile, are constitutionally incapable of writing off the "stranded assets" of vast hydrocarbon investments. Climate protests in Europe—at oil terminals and car shows (as well as, less appropriately, museums)—do win some attention. But the ongoing resistance to still-expanding oil mega-projects in places like Uganda and Tanzania are comparatively invisible to the outside world. The dire warnings from the UN and IEA raise the imperative for a globalized resistance with an explicitly anti-capitalist politics. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.

Podcast: against space imperialism

In Episode 146 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg protests the unprovoked imperialist attack on the asteroid Dimorphos, and rants against the sacrosanct dogma of space expansionism. The much-hyped asteroid threat is clearly being used as a cover for militarization of space to achieve global hegemony on Earth—and for eventual corporate pillage of the heavenly bodies. Finally, a long-overdue voice of space skepticism emerges from academe, with the book Dark Skies: Space Expansionism, Planetary Geopolitics, and the Ends of Humanity by Daniel Deudney. But hubristic notions of "space communism" have also been seen on the political left, as discussed in the book I Want to Believe: Posadism, UFOs and Apocalypse Communism by AM Gittlitz.

Podcast: anarchist voices on Ukraine

In Episode 145 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg contrasts statements from anarchists in Ukraine and Russia—who call unequivocally for Putin's defeat and removal from power—with the relentless lecturing from stateside "leftists" that the Ukrainians must cede territory in exchange for "peace." These stateside voices include (inevitably) Medea Benjamin and (of course) Noam Chomsky on (predictably) Amy Goodman's Democracy Now. They actually call for the United States to "negotiate" with Russia—the Great Powers deciding the fate of Ukraine, without the participation of the Ukrainians (exactly as in the 1938 Munich Agreement, in which Czechoslovakia was betrayed to the Nazis). Both these ostensible leftist positions line up with figures from the political establishment. On Chomsky's and Benjamin's side are Elon Musk and Donald Trump. On the side of the intransigent Ukrainian and Russian anarchists are Ukraine's former defense minister Andriy Zagorodnyuk writing in Foreign Affairs, and President Joe Biden, who told CNN: "Nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine." Is it possible that Joe Biden has a more progressive position than Noam Chomsky? Actually, yes. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.

Podcast: Grozny, Aleppo, Mariupol

In Episode 144 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes Putin's annexation of Ukraine's Donbas region not only came on exactly the same day as the 1938 Munich Agreement, which approved Hitler's annexation of Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland—it was also the same day that Putin launched two of his previous criminal military adventures. On Sept. 30, 1999, Russian tanks rolled into Chechnya, marking the start of the Second Chechen War, with massive aerial bombardment of the region's capital city of Grozny. On Sept. 30, 2015, Russia began air-strikes in Syria, marking the start of a massive military intervention on behalf of the Bashar Assad dictatorship, in which the city of Aleppo would be virtually destroyed by bombardment. And in Putin's new war of aggression in Ukraine, the Azov seaport of Mariupol has been similarly nearly obliterated. A review of this history reveals Vladimir Putin as a serial city-destroyer, who must be deposed and put on trial for his crimes against humanity. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.

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