Stephen Sefton, Tortilla con Sal, November 27th 2021
A recent article by Toby Green and Thomas Fazi examines quite thoroughly the general failure of progressive and radical movements in the West to uphold fundamental democratic and even humanitarian principles generally associated with what is still called “the Left”. That term itself survives largely out of misplaced habit. Big chunks of what used to be regarded as “the Left”, especially, since the end of the Soviet Union, the Western intellectual managerial media, academic and NGO class, as well as not insignificant parts of the labor movement, have accommodated comfortably with the fascist configuration of corporate and State power currently controlling North America and Europe.
This moral and intellectual failure Green and Fazi identify will come as no surprise to anyone actively defending majority world nations under attack by Western ruling elites and the systems of governance they control. Apart from Russia and China, countries currently targeted range from Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela to Palestine, Iran and Syria, North Korea, Eritrea and now Algeria as well. Similarly, the last 12 years or so have seen devastating domestic attacks on the middle and working class sectors of North America and Europe, faced with which Western progressive and radical movements have been unable even to defend welfare state provision for their peoples' health and education. Their countries' ruling elites have made successive wholesale transfers of wealth to themselves practically unopposed.
They did so first after the financial collapse of 2008-2009 and more recently in 2020 responding to the crisis they themselves created by needlessly and repeatedly shuttering their economies. Following the earlier financial crisis, the efforts of Occupy Wall Street in the US were readily suppressed. More recently, prior to 2020, the Yellow Vest movement in France, looked at askance by “the Left”, has been more determined, but they too have been ruthlessly repressed. Accompanying those failures of progressive and radical opposition to domestic economic and political tyranny in North America and Europe, have been really abject left-wing capitulations to intensified NATO country aggression overseas.
Most progressive and radical opinion has comprehensively failed to challenge Western foreign policy either towards Russia and China, or in Africa toward countries like Mali or Eritrea, or Iran and Syria, or, in Latin America, on Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. It is no accident that determined reporters on Syria like Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett have also been leading voices challenging the abuse of Covid19 as a public health pretext for subverting democratic political process so as to impose a ruthless totalitarian regime across the Western hemisphere. A fundamental reality underlying the effective collusion of Western progressive and radical movements with their ruling elites on issues like NATO aggression against Syria or Covid-19, has been the destruction of journalism as a trustworthy form of reporting.
The demise of journalism has necessarily involved the practically total corporate and State cooptation of non governmental, institutional, academic and scientific sources of reporting on which most conventional mainstream and alternative journalism mainly depends. While the collapse of journalism and NGO reporting into self-serving lobbying, outright psychological warfare and banal propaganda has happened before everyone's very eyes, the abdication of academic and scientific integrity has been more insidious and corrosive. Essentially all these moral and intellectual deteriorarions are part of the fundamental corruption of Western reporting in the service of the interests and agenda of North America's and Europe's ruling elites.
The process has been especially apparent to anyone living in a country whose reality is the subject of hostile propaganda manipulation in the West. Thus, people reporting honestly from Bolivia, Cuba, Donbass, Hong Kong, Iran, Nicaragua, Palestine, Syria, or Venezuela, have found themselves reporting practically the diametric opposite of what appears in the mainstream and alternative media, NGO and academic psychological warfare apparatus of North America and Europe. Similarly now, a great number of people trying to report honestly on Covid-19 have experienced the corrupt repressive reporting imposed by Western governments and the corporate elites that own them. Such bad faith reporting never acknowledges or engages honestly with other possible interpretations, long ago having abandoned even the feeble concept of “balance”.
It may be true that experienced, knowledgable reporters can readily present the truth of issues and events distorted, mis-reported, under-reported or simply ignored by corporate and State coopted Western reporting. Their huge disadvantage is that the same corporate and related interests that have corrupted reporting by Western media and NGOs, as well as practically all academic and scientific information outlets, also monopolize the mass information platforms available via the internet or national broadcasting media, making insufficient and even futile the arduous work of producing truthful reporting. This issue of the integrity of reporting and broadcast processes is absolutely fundamental.
As George Orwell, very much a product of the “low dishonest decade” of the 1930s, noted in “Homage to Catalonia”: the truth goes on existing behind one's back. Eventually systemic misreporting leads to the collapse and failure of those who rely on it to keep control. In the case of the United States and allied NATO country foreign policy, those failures are mounting up in plain sight for anyone paying attention. Consequently, an increasing number of countries are defying the Western powers and deciding to promote the multipolar world advocated by China and Russia.
Similarly, the developing outcome of systematic mismanagement of Covid-19 shows all the signs of domestic Western social, political, economic and cultural collapse amid wholesale repression, perhaps on an unprecedented scale. Only a similarly unprecedented reconfiguration of social and political forces and movements based on truthful reporting of information and creative ways of broadcasting it is likely be able to mitigate the worst effects of the developing crisis in North America and Europe. It should come as no surprise to anyone that only relatively isolated, marginalized, outlying segments of the Western “Left” are likely to engage in such resistance.