New York City
Loisaida

Podcast: political geography of the Lower East Side

In Episode 141 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg defends the notion that he lives on New York’s Lower East Side, repudiating those who would insist that his neighborhood is actually the East Village or (worse) NoHo. Weinberg traces the nomenclature controversies going all the way back to the Lenape indigenous villages of the area, Dutch and English colonial settlement, the riots and uprisings of the “Gangs of New York” era, the neighborhood’s Puerto Rican identity as Loisaida, the origin of the name “East Village” in the hippie explosion of the 1960s, its cooptation by the real estate industry in the gentrification of the 1980s, and the resultant last gasp of anarchist resistance. Weinberg counts himself among a surviving coterie of old-timers who still consider the entire area to be the Lower East Side. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Carmen PabĂłn del Amanecer JardĂ­n)

Watching the Shadows
Roger Waters

Roger Waters: another brick in the war propaganda

In Episode 140 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg calls out former Pink Floyd creative genius Roger Waters as a propaganda agent for the criminal regimes of Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Bashar Assad. In his recent CNN interview, Waters blames Ukraine for getting invaded, falsely states that “Taiwan is part of China,” and dismisses as “bollocks” that there are human rights abuses in China. He has the unmitigated chutzpah to send an open letter on social media to Ukrainian First Lady Elena Zelenska urging her to influence her husband to “end the war”—to which she rightly responds: “If we give up, we will not exist tomorrow. If Russia gives up, war will be over.” We’ve noted before Roger’s spewing of genocide-abetting denialism about the Syria chemical attacks. And he disses his own fans who don’t go along with his war propaganda. Roger Waters has become the fascist rock starhe once satirized in The Wall. The public acrimony between Waters and his ex-bandmate David Gilmour has now become political, with Gimour’s release (under the banner of Pink Floyd) of the song “Hey Hey, Rise Up,” explicitly in support of Ukraine. David Gilmour is right, while Roger Waters is now just another brick in the wall. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Image via Wikipedia)

Syria
Daraya

Remembering the Daraya massacre

In Episode 139 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg marks the 10th anniversary of the 2012 Daraya massacre, in which the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad killed some 700 civilians while taking back the city from the secular pro-democratic revolutionary forces that had seized power there. These early Syrian revolutionaries were inspired by the grassroots-democratic vision of the anarchist thinker Omar Aziz, and the ethic of nonviolent resistance propounded by Jawdat Said, the “Syrian Gandhi.” Daraya was re-taken by rebels later that year, but fell a second time in August 2016, putting an end to the experiment in parallel power and direct democracy. Most of the remaining inhabitants were evacuated to Idlib province in the north, which remained in rebel hands, and the model of parallel power survived there for another two years—before extremist factions linked to the Nusra Front began to take over. The November 2018 assassination of civil resistance leader Raed Fares was another turning point. The following year saw a popular uprising in idlib by the pro-democratic resistance against jihadist rule. But the legacy of Daraya, once the frontline of a peaceful revolution, is largely forgotten history, its true heroism betrayed by the world. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Daraya, 2011 via Leila’s Blog)

Watching the Shadows
Aleppo ruins

Podcast: against pseudo-left disinformation on Ukraine and Syria

In Episode 138 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg is outraged that The Nation magazine marks the ninth anniversary of the Ghouta chemical massacre by engaging in glib “false flag” theorizing—the predictable response of the post-truth pseudo-left. This sinister spewing from writer David Bromwich is but the latest entry in a long and shameful litany of pro-Assad and pro-Putin propaganda to appear in The Nation. Similar chemical denialism has been dished out by James Cardenn, and loaned credence by Phyllis Bennis—despite the findings of bona fide human rights groups. The Nation’s Bob Dreyfuss has expressed open support for the genocidal dictatorship of Bashar Assad. The Nation’s late Ă©minence griseStephen F. Cohen has spread dishonest Russian propaganda both on Syria and on Ukraine, his spewings eagerly lapped up by Tucker Carlson. Weinberg asserts that The Nation has become a vehicle of Kremlin foreign policy aims, and calls for a complete boycott. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo of Aleppo ruins from UNHCR)

South Asia
naxals

Podcast: India’s forgotten wars

In Episode 137 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg explores two of the many under-reported internal conflicts in India, which are rooted in unresolved issues left over from the colonial era in spite of 75 years of Indian independence. In the east-central interior, the Naxalite insurgency has been met with harsh repression from the security forces—especially against the Adivasis, or indigenous peoples who make up the movement’s support base. In the remote Northeast, the long struggle of the Naga people is still met with massacres at the hands of the military today. For three generations the Naga have been fighting for their independence, keeping alive their indigenous culture, and protesting the genocide of their people—to the silence of the international community. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo via MIM)

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
tolstoy

Podcast: Tolstoy would shit

In Episode 132 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes that deputy Duma speaker Pyotr Tolstoy, one of the most bellicose supporters of Putin’s Ukraine war, is a direct descendent of Leo Tolstoy—and recently invoked his great-great-grandfather’s “slaughter” of British and French troops during the Crimean War as a warning to the West. This is, of course, an utterly perverse irony given that the literary giant’s anarcho-pacifist beliefs were antithetical to everything that his descendant Pyotr stands for. Indeed, it was Leo Tolstoy’s experiences in the Crimean War that turned him into a committed pacifist. His final novel, Hadji Murat, vivdly depicts the brutality of Russia’s counterinsurgency campaign in Chechnya in the 1850s—a history that repeated itself in Chechnya in the 1990s. This is bitterly recalledby the Chechen volunteers now fighting for Ukraine, where this history is repeating itself yet again. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Image adopted from Europeana Foundation)

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)