Europe
Ukraine

Ukraine: debunking Russia’s war propaganda

In Episode 136 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg debunks Vladimir Putin’s “de-Nazification” propaganda for his invasion of Ukraine,  a paramount example of the ultra-cynical phenomenon of paradoxical fascist pseudo-anti-fascism. Putin’s stated justifications for the Ukraine war are either paranoid delusions or outright lies. His real objectives are to rebuild the Russian Empire, re-establish the Russian dictatorship, and exterminate Ukraine as a cultural and political entity. These are the open aims of Alexander Dugin, the intellectual mastermind of Putin’s revanchist imperial project, and the political heir of Ivan Ilyin, the 20th century theorist of “Russian Fascism.” Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Map: PCL)

North America
League of the South

Podcast: can Russia foment civil war in the US?

In Episode 135 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg examines Russia’s obvious attempt to bring about a return to power by MAGA-fascism in the US, or to have the country collapse into civil war—leaving Moscow considerably freer to carry out its campaign of reconquest in Ukraine and possibly beyond. This is the evident design of the FSB (neo-KGB) in coordination with a political network in the orbit of Alexander Dugin, the intellectual mastermind of Vladimir Putin’s revanchist imperial project, and the strategy of building a “Red-Brown alliance” of the radical right and radical left against the “liberal order” of the West. How is it possible that Black Nationalists and supposed “progressives” are being taken in by the same FSB-backed astroturf organizations that are also grooming white supremacists and neo-Confederates? Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

North America
SCOTUS

Podcast: Trumpism must be smashed

In Episode 134 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg documents the increasingly real threat of a right-wing authoritarian takeover of the United States within the next two years. The recent alarming Supreme Court decisions on reproductive rights, migrant detention and environmental regulation could be a mere prelude to a decision that could effectively mean the end of democracy. In Moore v. Harper, ostensibly about North Carolina’s congressional map, the state’s legislators hope to upend 200 years of election law and give statehouses unfettered authority to make rules and seat electors. This comes as Trump’s scheme to use “fake electors” to throw the 2020 elections has come to light. After the failed coup of 2021, the Republicans are laying the groundwork to do it again in 2024—and this time more methodically. Trumpism needs to be defeated—by any and all means necessary. This includes pressure for a criminal indictment of Donald Trump, readiness to contend with MAGA fascism for control of the streets if it comes down to a physical stand-off—but also voting for the Democrats, however odious it may be. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Europe
CNT

Podcast: the Spanish Revolution revisited

In Episode 132 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg expounds on the legacy of anarchist heroism in the Spanish Civil War and Spanish Revolution, which both began on July 19, 1936. Interestingly, that same date also marks the victory of the Nicaraguan Revolution in 1979 and the Rojava Revolution in Syria in 2012. There was an anarchist element to all these revolutions—but it was strongest by far in Spain. The betrayal of the Spanish anarchists holds lessons for these later struggles, as a counter-revolutionary dictatorship is established in Nicaragua, and the Kurdish revolutionaries of Rojava face growing contradictions in the context of Syria’s ongoing civil war. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Image: LibCom.org)

Europe
Ukraine

Podcast: against pseudo-left disinformation on Ukraine

In Episode 131 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg calls out the ironically named Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) for openly spreading Russian disinformation. FAIR serially portrays the 2014 Maidan Revolution as a US-instrumented, Nazi-tainted, unconstitutional “coup.” FAIR commentators Luca Goldmansour, Gregory Shupak and Bryce Greene are all guilty of this. They do not bother to consult voices of Ukrainian civil society—academics, media watchdogs and human rights groups—that refute this notion. Glomming onto the notorious Nuland phone call to dismiss a grassroots pro-democracy uprising as a Washington “regime change” intrigue reveals chauvinistic contempt for the Ukrainians. And hyping the supposed “Nazi” threat in Ukraine (while ignoring the Nazi-nostalgist and neo-fascist elements on the Russian side) abets Putin’s ultra-cynical propaganda stratagem of fascist pseudo-anti-fascism. Rather than calling out Fox News for its propaganda service to Putin, FAIR instead joins them. How did a supposed progressive media watchdog become a de facto arm of Kremlin war propaganda? Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Map: PCL)

Europe
Makhno

Ukrainian self-determination: Bandera or Makhno? II

In Episode 130 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg continues his comparison of the two diametrically opposed exponents of Ukrainian armed resistance to Russian rule: the World War II-era right-wing nationalist Stepan Bandera and the World War I-era revolutionary anarchist Nestor Makhno. Contemporary left commentary in the West echoes Russian propaganda in portraying Bandera simply as a Nazi collaborator, while many contemporary anarchists (at least) glorify Makhno as a visionary of agrarian utopia. Much is left out of both narratives. Bandera was quickly betrayed by the Nazis and slapped in a concentration camp after he refused to renounce his declaration of Ukrainian independence. And while historians have had much to say about anti-Semitic pogroms by all factions in the multi-sided 1917-21 civil war in Ukraine, it is only recent scholarship that has brought to light atrocities by Makhno’s forces against Mennonite agricultural colonies. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Graphic: CounterVortex with images via Marxists Internet Archive, Ukrainian Youth Union)

Europe
Ukraine

Podcast: Ukraine between East and West II

In Episode 129 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg discusses the book Ukraine & the Empire of Capital: From Marketisation to Armed Conflict by Yuliya Yurchenko of the Ukrainian left-opposition group Sotsialniy Rukh (Social Movement). In the book, written in 2018, Yurchenko takes a rigorous neither/nor position between Russia and the West, tracing the roots of the current crisis to the rise of regional oligarchs and a “criminal-political nexus” in the post-communist transition a generation ago. The West, in its rush to effect a crash capitalist conversion in the East, was deeply complicit in this. But these regional fiefdoms would be exploited by Vladimir Putin to effect a division of Ukraine as East-West rivalry re-emerged. This January, as Putin amassed forces on Ukraine’s borders, Sotsialniy Rukh issued a statement appealing for “anti-war solidarity.” In interviews since the invasion was launched, Yurchenko has been unequivocal in supporting Ukraine’s “popular resistance.” Similar statements from socialists and anarchists in Ukraine, Belarus and elsewhere in Eastern Europe have called, first and foremost, for the defeat of Putin’s neo-imperial project. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Map via Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection)

The Andes
paramilitaries

Podcast: the forgotten war in Colombia

In Episode 128 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg provides an in-depth analysis of the under-reported multi-sided armed conflict and deepening human rights crisis in Colombia on the eve of an historic run-off election that poses two “outsider” candidates for the presidency: Gustavo Petro, an ex-guerilla and Colombia’s first leftist presidential contender, versus Rodolfo Hernández, a far-right construction magnate whose pugnacious swagger inevitably invites comparison to Donald Trump. This turning point comes as Colombia has entered a new “partnership” with NATO, in response to Venezuela’s deepening ties with Russia. Yet Colombia’s armed forces continue to collaborate with the paramilitary groups that terrorize campesino and indigenous communities. If elected, Petro will face the challenge of breaking the state-paramilitary nexus, and charting a course independent of the Great Powers. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Contagio Radio)

Iraq
Rojava

Podcast: Rojava and Ezidikhan in the Great Game

In Episode 127 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes that the Kurdish-controlled Syrian city of Kobani, which became a global icon of resistance to ISIS in 2014, is now under threat of Turkish aggression. The Syrian Kurds were betrayed in 2019, when their autonomous zone of Rojava was greatly reduced by Turkey’s first thrust into their territory. Erdogan is now threatening to extinguish it altogether, and incorporate all of Rojava into his “security zone.” There is growing speculation that the US could “green light” this aggression in exchange for Turkey dropping its objections to Sweden and Finland joining NATO. Meanwhile, the Yazidis of northern Iraq, who were subjected to genocide at the hands of ISIS in 2014, now face extermination of their hard-won autonomous zone of Ezidikhan at the hands of Baghdad’s military—acting under pressure from Turkey. Great Power meddling in Syrian and Iraqi Kurdistan alike is pitting the peoples of the region against each other, portending a disastrous Arab-Kurdish ethnic war. How can activists in the West help break this trajectory? Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Rojava Solidarity NYC)

East Asia
Tiananmen

Tiananmen Square: ‘6-4’ and ‘Xi Jinping Thought’

In Episode 126 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg marks the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre of June 4, 1989—”6-4,” as it is known in China, to keep ahead of online censors. With the massacre commemoration first exiled from Beijing to Hong Kong, it has now been exiled from Hong Kong to New York City as police-state measures are extended from the mainland. But China’s official denialism about the massacre extends even to the US, where both the sectarian left and “paleoconservatives” echo Beijing’s revisionist line. Both regime proponents and detractors share the consensus that the massacre and subsequent wave of repression across China was a “red terror,” carried out as it was by a “Communist Party.” A case can be made, however, that it was actually a “white terror,” enforcing China’s capitalist conversion. The recent crackdown on dissident workers and Marxist student activists in China—complete with extrajudicial “disappearances“—reveals “Xi Jinping Thought” to be (like Putinism and Trumpism) an updated variant of fascism. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: The Village Sun)

Watching the Shadows
Chomsky Kissinger

Chomsky and Kissinger: paradoxical unity

In Episode 125 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg continues his deconstruction of the increasingly sinister, aggression-abetting politics of Noam Chomsky. In his recent interview with Current Affairs, Chomsky echoes Henry Kissinger‘s lecturing to the Ukrainians that they must capitulate to Russian aggression in the interests of global stability—a directive promptly repudiated by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Chomsky has long been peddling historical revisionism on Ukraine, but his current convergence with Kissinger is a case study in imperial narcissism—an internalization of the imperialist perspective he has ostensibly dedicated his life to opposing. Fortunately, there is growing dissent on the left to Chomsky’s paradoxical Kissingerian line, including from Ukrainian-American scholars—and from Chomsky’s own Ukrainian translator, Artem Chapeye. Listen on SoundCloud or Patreon. (Altered photo from Kissinger’s 1973 meeting with Mao Zedong. Fair use rights asserted.)

Watching the Shadows
anti-chomsky

Chomsky & the Orwellian manipulation of Orwell

In Episode 124 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg continues his deconstruction of the increasingly sinister, fascist-abetting politics of Noam Chomsky. In the latest in the endless litany of sycophantic interviews with Chomsky, this supposed icon of the left actually praises Donald Trump for advocating appeasement of Putin in Ukraine—for which he was favorably tweeted by the inevitable Glenn Greenwald. Most perversely, the interview is entitled “Noam Chomsky on the Russia-Ukraine war, The Media, Propaganda, Orwell, Newspeak and Language.” Yet Chomsky is advocating positions that are utterly inimical to everything Orwell ever stood for. This constitutes an Orwellian exploitation of Orwell, mirroring Putin’s fascist pseudo-anti-fascism, and the pseudo-pacifist war propaganda of his Western enablers. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo collage with image from the 1984 movie 1984. Big Brother’s face is replaced by Chomsky’s, mimicking his sycophantic treatment in the 1992 move Manufacturing Consent. Fair use rights asserted.)