Planet Watch
Daouda Diallo

Frontline fighters (and martyrs) for free speech

In Burma, the mutilated body of independent journalist Myat Thu Tan was found at the military base where he had been detained, after the camp was overrun by rebels of the pro-democratic resistance. In Kazakhstan, detained activist Aqylbek Muratbai is fighting extradition to Uzbekistan, where he had been speaking out against bloody repression faced by his Karakalpak ethnic minority. And in Burkina Faso, human rights defender Daouda Dialloremains missing months after he was “disappeared,” presumably at the hands of the ruling military junta. Yet neither the mainstream media nor “progressives” in the West pay heed to these cases—while the reactionary and Kremlin-coopted Julian Assange is a cause cĂ©lèbre. In Episode 214 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg asks: Why is that? Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Image: CISC via OHCR)

Palestine
Uighur

Podcast: for Palestinian-Uyghur solidarity

In Episode 213 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes how divergent responses to the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and mass internment of the Uyghurs reveal the West’s shifting definition of genocide. Tragically, elements of the Palestinian leadership merely reverse the double standard, causing elements of the exiled Uyghur leadership to balk at supporting the Palestinians. Yet another example of how a global divide-and-rule racket is the essence of the state system. Illustrating the irony, the same corporate nexus is involved in putting in place the surveillance state that monitors the Uyghurs for China and the Palestinians for Israel. Fortunately, principled voices of dissent among both the Palestinians and the Uyghurs are calling for Palestinian-Uyghur solidarity. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Image: Hasbi Sahin & Tatohra/Shutterstock via Islam21c)

Greater Middle East
syria

Podcast: Iraq, Palestine, escalation and errata

In Episode 212 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg takes stock of the latest escalation in the Middle East—and continues to note discrepancies in the reportage. US air-strikes on Iraq are said to have targeted the self-declared Islamic Resistance in Iraq, and its constituent militias such as Kataib Hezbollah. But some reports indicate the actual target has often been the Popular Mobilization Forces, a paramilitary network integrated into Iraq’s official security services. Meanwhile, insufficiently noted media accounts report “no evidence” to back up Israeli claims of Hamas co-optation of UNWRA, which has led to a devastating cut-off of funds to the UN agency by the Western powers. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Image: Pixabay)

Greater Middle East
women life freedom

Neither US imperialism nor Islamic Republic

In Episode 211 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg takes stock of the potential for escalation to world war as Joe Biden retaliates for a deadly drone strike on US forces by an Iran-backed militia with air raids on 85 targets in Iraq and Syria. The same militias that have been attacking US forces in Iraq and Syria have also brutally repressed protesters in Iraq, and fought for the genocidal Bashar Assad regime in Syria. Tehran’s paramilitary network has also carried out deadly repression of protests within Iran itself. The Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, now also coming under US bombardment, are responsible for war crimes against the Yemeni people and repression of their popular movements. It is necessary to oppose Biden’s widening of air-strikes against Iran’s paramilitaries, but also to oppose the Islamic Republic, equally a force of regional reaction. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: London rally in solidarity with Iranian protesters, October 2022. Credit: Sinai Noor via Wikimedia Commons)

Watching the Shadows
Flushing

Podcast: Reformation, Remonstrance, Reaction

In Episode 210 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg traces the paradoxical trajectory from medieval heresies to the Protestant Reformation, proto-anarchist movements of the English Civil War, fights for religious freedom in colonial America (with an emphasis on the Flushing Remonstrance of 1657), Abolitionism and the Underground Railroad (e.g. at the Quaker homestead of Bowne House in Flushing, NY)—to evangelical Protestantism as a pillar of Christian fascism in the impending MAGA order. How did we get here, and what elements of American political culture can we look to as a source of resistance today? Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Image: 1957 postage stamp commemorating Flushing Remonstrance via Wikipedia)

Greater Middle East
Gaza

Podcast: Gaza, Guernica and the Great Game

In Episode 209 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg takes stock of the frightening international escalation set off by the Gaza cataclysm, with Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan all coming under aerial bombardment over the past week, in a cascading regional crisis. The 1937 aerial bombardment of the Spanish town of Guernica by Nazi warplanes shocked the world. Today, what happened there is a near-daily occurrence in countries around the world. And the media (“mainstream,” “alternative” and “social”) are more concerned with how the various actors line up in the Great Power game than the horrific realities on the ground. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: WAFA via WikimediaCommons)

Watching the Shadows
Raoul Vaneigem

Podcast: liberatory legacy of heresy

Raoul Vaneigem, famous as a key figure in the Situationist International and author of The Revolution of Everyday Life, a tract associated with the May 1968 uprising in Paris, traces Gnostic and millenarian movements of ancient and medieval times as critical precursors of the revolutions of the modern age. In Episode 208 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg discusses his book Resistance to Christianity: A Chronological Encyclopaedia of Heresy from the Beginning to the Eighteenth Century, newly translated from the French by Bill Brown and released by Eris imprint of Columbia University Press. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.

Watching the Shadows
computer smash

Podcast: for a meme moratorium

Meta has tweaked the Facebook algorithm to sideline links to news articles and boost “memes“—precisely the format most subject to the fabrications and distortions being aggressively peddled by both sides (yes) in the Gaza conflict. Such propaganda has already been implicated in genocide in Burma and Ethiopia. But even apart from such egregious abuses, memes are dumbing down discourse and entrenching groupthink and dogmatism—and are being pushed by Meta as part of its sinister corporate design to enclose the internet. In Episode 207 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg calls for a total moratorium on posting or sharing memes as a means of pressure on Meta to re-emphasize actual news articles, and deep-six the war propaganda. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Image: Earth First! Newswire)

Southeast Asia
Shan State

Podcast: the Burmese struggle in the Great Game

The US uses its veto on the UN Security Council to protect its client state Israel amid the criminal bombardment of Gaza, while Russia and China pose as protectors of the Palestinians. In Burma, the situation is precisely reversed: Russia and China protect the brutal junta on the Security Council, while the US and UK pose as protectors of the pro-democratic resistance. Yet another example of how a global divide-and-rule racket is the essence of the state system. Bill Weinberg dissects the mutual imperial hypocrisy in Episode 206 of the CounterVortex podcast. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Burmese resistance fighters pose with armored vehicle seized from a captured junta outpost. Via Myanmar Now)

The Caribbean
Esequibo

Podcast: geopolitics of the Essequibo dispute

In Episode 205 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg looks at the recent re-escalation and (hopefully) denouement of the dispute over Esequibo—an oil-rich territory controlled by Guyana and claimed by Venezuela. Ironically, this claim was first asserted by the conservative, anti-communist Venezuela of the 1960s to help destabilize the anti-imperialist Guyana of Cheddi Jagan. Today, the left-populist but increasingly nationalistic regime of Nicolás Maduro even entertains hubristic claims to sovereignty over Venezuela’s other much larger neighbor, Colombia. But this revanchism appears to mask the fact that “revolutionary” Venezuela largely remains a petro-state with a rentier economy, vulnerable to drops in the global oil price, even if Chinese corporate exploiters have been replacing gringo ones. With the recent easing of sanctions, US giants like Chevron have even returned to Venezuela—while the extractivist model results in indigenous resistance. Contrary to the dogmas of left and right alike, the real root of the Venezuelan crisis is that the country is insufficiently socialist. Listen on SoundCloudor via Patreon. (Map: SurinameCentral via Wikimedia Commons)

Palestine
River to the Sea

Podcast: whither ‘From the River to the Sea’? II

In Episode 204 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg returns to the persisting controversy around the slogan “From the River to the Sea“—portrayed as either a call to genocide or a cry for liberation. Much mainstream media coverage has dishonestly accepted the prior interpretation as a fait accompli. On the other hand, displays of unseemly enthusiasm for the Hamas attacks by certain sectors of the Palestine solidarity movement have provided propaganda fodder for Israel and its stateside pressure groups. This is (at least) a tactical error that abets moves toward campus censorship of pro-Palestinian voices. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Daniel Arauz via WikimediaCommons)

Southern Cone
anti-ancap

Argentina gets an anarchist president? Not!

English-language media accounts are calling Argentina’s far-right president-elect Javier Milei a “self-described anarcho-capitalist,” but this appears to be a translation error. In Episode 202 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg sets the record straight, exposing “anarcho-capitalism” as an oxymoron and the fascistic Milei as antithetical to everything that Argentina’s proud anarchist tradition ever stood for. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Anarcho-capitalist flag via Wikimedia Commons, defaced by CounterVortex)