Foreign Policy Glenn Greenwald Neoliberalism Politics

Glenn Greenwald: The Neoliberal War on Dissent in the West

Those who most flamboyantly proclaim that they are fighting fascists continue to embrace and wield the defining weapons of despotism
Police in Canada deployed to dislodge the final truckers and protesters from downtown Ottawa, aimed at bringing an end to three weeks of demonstrations over Covid-19 health rules. (Photo by Dave Chan / AFP) (Photo by DAVE CHAN/AFP via Getty Images)

By Glenn Greenwald / Substack

When it comes to distant and adversarial countries, we are taught to recognize tyranny through the use of telltale tactics of repression. Dissent from orthodoxies is censored. Protests against the state are outlawed. Dissenters are harshly punished with no due process. Long prison terms are doled out for political transgressions rather than crimes of violence. Journalists are treated as criminals and spies. Opposition to the policies of political leaders are recast as crimes against the state.

When a government that is adverse to the West engages in such conduct, it is not just easy but obligatory to malign it as despotic. Thus can one find, on a virtually daily basis, articles in the Western press citing the government’s use of those tactics in Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela and whatever other countries the West has an interest in disparaging (articles about identical tactics from regimes supported by the West — from Riyadh to Cairo — are much rarer). That the use of these repressive tactics render these countries and their populations subject to autocratic regimes is considered undebatable. 

But when these weapons are wielded by Western governments, the precise opposite framework is imposed: describing them as despotic is no longer obligatory but virtually prohibited. That tyranny exists only in Western adversaries but never in the West itself is treated as a permanent axiom of international affairs, as if Western democracies are divinely shielded from the temptations of genuine repression. Indeed, to suggest that a Western democracy has descended to the same level of authoritarian repression as the West’s official enemies is to assert a proposition deemed intrinsically absurd or even vaguely treasonous

The implicit guarantor of this comforting framework is democracy. Western countries, according to this mythology, can never be as repressive as their enemies because Western governments are at least elected democratically. This assurance, superficially appealing though it may be, completely collapses with the slightest critical scrutiny. The premise of the U.S. Constitution and others like it is that majoritarian despotism is dangerous in the extreme; the Bill of Rights consists of little more than limitations imposed on the tyrannical measures majorities might seek to democratically enact (the expression of ideas cannot be criminalized even if majorities want them to be; religious freedom cannot be abolished even if large majorities demand it; life and liberty cannot be deprived without due process even if nine of out ten citizens favor doing so, etc.). More inconveniently still, many of the foreign leaders we are instructed to view as despots are popular or even every bit as democratically elected as our own beloved freedom-safeguarding officials. 

As potent as this mythological framework is, reinforced by large media corporations over so many decades, it cannot withstand the increasingly glaring use of precisely these despotic tactics in the West. Watching Justin Trudeau — the sweet, well-mannered, well-raised good-boy prince of one of the West’s nicest countries featuring such a pretty visage (even on the numerous occasions when marred by blackface) — invoke and then harshly impose dubious emergency, civil-liberties-denying powers is just the latest swing of the hammer causing this Western sculpture to crumble. In sum, you are required by Western propaganda to treat the two images below as fundamentally different; indeed, huge numbers of people in the West vehemently denounce the one on the left while enthusiastically applauding the one on the right. Such brittle mythology can be sustained only for so long:

Reuters, Aug. 8, 2019 (left); BBC, Feb. 15, 2022 (right)

The decade-long repression of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, standing alone, demonstrates how grave neoliberal attacks on dissent have become. Many are aware of key parts of this repression — particularly the decade-long effective detention of Assange — but have forgotten or, due to media malfeasance, never knew several of the most extreme aspects.

While the Obama DOJ under Attorney General Eric Holder failed to find evidence of criminality after convening a years-long Grand Jury investigation, the then-Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), succeeded in pressuring financial services companies such as MasterCard, Visa, PayPal and Bank of America to terminate WikiLeaks’ accounts and thus banish them from the financial system, choking off their ability to receive funds from supporters or pay their bills. Lieberman and his neocon allies also pressured Amazon to remove WikiLeaks from its hosting services, causing the whistleblower group to be temporarily offline. All of that succeeded in crippling WikiLeaks’ ability to operate despite being charged with no crime: indeed, as the DOJ admitted, it could not prove that the group committed any crimes, yet this extra-legal punishment was nonetheless meted out.

Those tactics pioneered against WikiLeaks — excluding dissenters from the financial system and coercing tech companies to deny them internet access without a whiff of due process — have now become standard weapons. Trudeau’s government seizes and freezes bank accounts with no judicial process. The “charity” fundraising site GoFundMe first blocked the millions of dollars raised for the truckers and announced it would redirect those funds to other charities, then refunded the donations when people pointed out, rightly, that their original plan amounted to a form of stealing. When an alternative fundraising site, GiveSendGo, raised millions more for the truckers, Canadian courts blocked its distribution. And it was just over a year ago when Democratic politicians such as Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) successfully pressured tech monopolies Google and Apple to remove Parler from its stores and then pressured Amazon to remove the social media site from its servers, at exactly the time the social media alternative became the single most-downloaded app in America. (This morning we published a new video report on Rumble that traces the emergence of this new anti-dissent tactic first pioneered on WikiLeaks and now widely used against dissent generally: “Banishment from the Financial System: the War on Dissent”).

That the U.S. and UK Governments have kept Assange himself — one of the most effective dissidents in the West in decades — in a cage for years with no end in sight by itself highlights how repressive they are. But the precipitating cause of Assange’s apprehension from the Ecuadorian Embassy has been forgotten by many and it, too, illustrates the same disturbing trend.

In 2017, mass protests erupted in Barcelona as part of a movement in Catalonia for more autonomy from the Madrid-based Spanish government, culminating in a referendum for autonomy on October 1. In 2019, even larger and more intense protestsmaterialized. The methods used to crush the protests shocked many, as such domestic aggression had been rarely seen for years in western Europe. Spain treated the activists not as domestic protesters exercising their civic rights but as terrorists, seditionists and insurrectionists. Violence was used to sweep up Catalans in mass arrests, and their leaders were charged with terrorism and sedition and given lengthy prison sentences. 

About the crackdown, a protest video proclaimed that Spain had just witnessed “a degree of force never seen before in a European member state.” While a fact-check by the BBC failed to affirm that maximalist claim, it documented multiple grave attacks by the police on protesters in Catalonia. Meanwhile, “Spanish police engaged in excessive force when confronting demonstrators in Catalonia during a disputed referendum, using batons to hit non-threatening protesters and causing multiple injuries,” Human Rights Watched concluded, adding that though the protesters were “largely peaceful,” some “hundreds were left injured, some seriously. Catalonia’s Health Department estimated on October 2 that 893 people had reported injuries to the authorities.” 

From the Ecuadorian Embassy, Assange, in both 2017 and then again in 2019, used WikiLeaks’ platforms to vocally publicize and denounce the actions of the Spanish government — not to express support for Catalonian independence but to denounce the civil liberties assaults used to crush the protest movement. Assange made multiple media appearances to object to the use of violence by the state police, and WikiLeaks’ Twitter account, virtually on a daily basis, was publicizing videos and other testimonial evidence of the crackdown.

It was Assange’s reporting on and denouncing of violence by the Spanish government against its own citizens that was the final cause of Ecuador’s decision to rescind its asylum. The Spanish government made clear to Ecuador how indignant they were that Assange was publicizing their abuses. It was just several months after the first protest movement that Ecuador announced it was cutting off Assange’s internet access, claiming the WikiLeaks founder had been “interfer[ing] with other states” — meaning speaking out on the civil liberties abuses by Madrid. And it was the following year that Ecuador, pressured by the U.S., UK and Spain, withdrew its asylum protection and allowed the London police to enter its embassy, arrest Assange, and then put him in the high-security Belmarsh prison where he has remained ever since despite being convicted of no crime other than a misdemeanor count of bail-jumping. All of this reflects, and stems from, a clear and growing Western intolerance for dissent.

This last decade of history is crucial to understand the dissent-eliminating framework that has been constructed and implemented in the West. This framework has culminated, thus far, with the stunning multi-pronged attacks on Canadian truckers by the Trudeau government. But it has been a long time in the making, and it is inevitable that it will find still-more extreme expressions. 

It is, after all, based in the central recognition that there is mass, widespread anger and even hatred toward the neoliberal ruling class throughout the West. Trump, Brexit and the rise of far-right parties in places where their empowerment was previously unthinkable — including Germany and France — is unmistakable proof of that. Rather than sacrifice some of the benefits of inequality that have generated much of that rage or placate or appease it with symbolic concessions, Western neoliberal elites have instead opted for force, a system that crushes all forms of dissent as soon as they emerge in anything resembling an effective, meaningful or potent form.

So many of the controversies over the last decade, often analyzed in isolation, have been devoted to this goal. The pervasive surveillance systems constructed by the West — revealed during the Snowden reporting but only partially reined in at best since then — are crucial tools, as surveillance powers always are, for monitoring and thus stifling dissent. We have now arrived at the point where the U.S. Government and its security state is officially and explicitly clear that it regards the greatest national security threat not as a foreign power such as China or Russia, and not as non-state actors such as Al Qaeda or ISIS, but rather “domestic extremists.” For years, this has been the unyielding message of the DHS, FBI, CIA, NSA and DOJ: our primary enemies are not foreign but are our fellow citizens who have embraced ideologies we regard as extremist.

This new escalation of repression depends upon a narrative framework. Those who harbor dissenting ideologies — and particularly those who do not embrace that dissent passively but instead take action to advocate, promote and spread it — are not merely dissenters. The term “dissent,” in Western democracies, connotes legitimacy, so that label must be denied them. They are instead domestic extremists, domestic terrorists, seditionists, traitors, insurrections. Applying terms of criminality renders justifiable any subsequent acts of repression: we are trained to accept that core liberties are forfeited upon the commission of crimes.

What is most notable, though, is that this alleged criminality is not adjudicated through judicial proceedings — with all the accompanying protections of judges, juries, rules of evidence and requirements of due process — but simply by decree. When financial services companies “choked” WikiLeaks back in 2010, they justified it by pointing to the government’s claim that the group was engaged in crimes and therefore in violation of the rules of the platforms (“‘MasterCard rules prohibit customers from directly or indirectly engaging in or facilitating any action that is illegal,’ spokesman Chris Monteiro said” when explaining its shutting of WikiLeaks’ account). The same was done to 1/6 protesters who have been punished in countless ways prior to conviction. And now Canadian truckers have been magically transformed into criminals without the inconvenience of a trial; “‘we now have evidence from law enforcement that the previously peaceful demonstration has become an occupation, with police reports of violence and other unlawful activity,’ GoFundMe said” when explaining why it shut down fund-raising accounts.

Last June, PayPal announced a new partnership with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), whereby the liberal activist group would identify individuals and groups whose ideology is, in the eyes of the ADL, “extremist.” This would enable not only PayPal but financial services companies around the world to then terminate their accounts and exclude them from the financial system. Clearly, once the ADL declares a person or group to be “extremist” and PayPal banishes them, no other mainstream corporation will want to be accused of hosting them. As PayPal’s founding Chief Operating Officer David Sacks warned at the time the partnership was announced, the purpose of this program is “shutting down people and organizations that express views that are entirely lawful, even if they are unpopular in Silicon Valley.” Comparing this to the spate of unified Silicon Valley censorship that has erupted over the last several years, Sacks explained why this power is so alarming:

As for the notion of building your own PayPal or Facebook: because of their gigantic network effects and economies of scale, there is no viable alternative when the whole industry works together to deny you access.

Kicking people off social media deprives them of the right to speak in our increasingly online world. Locking them out of the financial economy is worse: It deprives them of the right to make a living. We have seen how cancel culture can obliterate one’s ability to earn an income, but now the cancelled may find themselves without a way to pay for goods and services. Previously, cancelled employees who would never again have the opportunity to work for a Fortune 500 company at least had the option to go into business for themselves. But if they cannot purchase equipment, pay employees, or receive payment from clients and customers, that door closes on them, too.

This is why it is so imperative for the Democratic Party and their media allies to describe the four-hour riot at the Capitol on January 6 as an insurrection and attempted coup. If those are mere protesters or even just rioters, then all the standard protections and legal safeguards apply to them, as liberals demanded be applied to protect BLM and Antifa protesters, even ones who used violence. If, however, they are part of a broader insurrectionary movement — an ongoing attempt to overthrow the U.S. Government — then they are elevated from ordinary political adversaries into a faction of sustained criminality, and anything and everything, from censorship and detention to extra-legal means of banishment such as no-fly lists and exclusion from the financial system, becomes justified, even necessary. (Note that such repressive tactics, cheered by liberals and even many on the left, have often swept up anti-establishment voices on the left, such as when PayPal banned Antifa-linked individuals along with Proud Boys members, and when animal rights activists are targeted for persecution by the FBI along with Oath Keepers, but such is the inevitable outcome of censorship and dissent-repressive schemes).

The examples of emerging repression of dissident ideologies are far too numerous to list. They have been reported here and elsewhere at length. Those with views that diverge from neoliberal orthodoxy on everything from the origins of COVID, the efficacy of cloth masks, Pfizer’s claims about multiple vaccine doses, rapidly evolving pieties of gender identity, the integrity of the 2016 and 2020 elections, the efficacy and justifiability of state-ordered lockdowns and vaccine mandates, and a slew of other contentious debates have been systematically purged from the internet. A new structure of speech-policing groups has been created — funded by the same small handful of neoliberal billionaires and administered by groups such as the Atlantic Council that invariably have ties to Western intelligence agencies — with the sole intention of concocting new terms and theories (disinformation, misinformation, foreign influence) to justify mass online censorship.

Much of this censorship occurs through a combination of state and corporate power (a defining prong of the academic definition of fascism) while other times it is even worse: the by-product of demands for censorship accompanied by explicit threats for non-compliance from the majority party in Washington. Thus has the internet, in a very short time, degraded from its original promise (an unprecedented tool of liberation to free people from centralized state and corporate control) into its exact opposite (the most potent tool yet developed to control discourse and surveil populations).

Leading Democrats spent last year advocating for the return of the no-fly list: this time for American citizens whom the government alleges but never proved were associated with the January 6 riot. Such individuals have been consigned to months of pre-trial solitary confinement, subjected to years of prison without any claim that they resorted to violence, even consigned to longer prison terms than those sought by prosecutors. Both judges and prosecutors in these cases have hardly been shy about acknowledging the political nature of this punishment: the necessity to send a message to others who would engage in similar protests that they will suffer greatly if they do so. And the Congressional 1/6 Committee has been little more than an exercise in investigating citizens for exercising their constitutional rights to organize protests. 

Few things are more dangerous than a political leader who convinces themselves that they are so benevolent and well-intentioned that anything they do is inherently justified in light of their noble character and their enlightened ends. One of the few things more alarming is a political movement that truly comes to believe that they are engaged in a battle not against political adversaries but in an existential and world-historic war against seditionists, traitors, insurrectionists and terrorists. 

Once a person or movement becomes convinced that their opponents have exited the ordinary playing field of politics, then they are instantly convinced of the righteousness of any and all tactics used to attack them. Within the logical world where one is convinced that they really are fighting a white nationalist, fascistic, insurrectionary global movement to overthrow liberal democracy, then all the weapons we were long taught to view as despotic suddenly become ennobled, even tools necessary for the protection and advancement of democracy. And it is through this self-glorifying tale which Western neoliberals are telling themselves that they have become exactly what they shrilly insist they are battling.

Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald is the author of several bestsellers, including How Would a Patriot Act? and With Liberty and Justice for Some. His most recent book is No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State. Greenwald is a former constitutional law and civil rights litigator. He was a columnist for The Guardian until October 2013 and was the founding editor of the media outlet, The Intercept. He is a frequent guest on Fox News, Rolling Stone and various other television and radio outlets. He has won numerous awards for his NSA reporting, including the 2013 Polk Award for national security reporting, the top 2013 investigative journalism award from the Online News Association, the Esso Award for Excellence in Reporting (the Brazilian equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize), and the 2013 Pioneer Award from Electronic Frontier Foundation. He also received the first annual I. F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism in 2009 and a 2010 Online Journalism Award for his investigative work on the arrest and detention of Chelsea Manning. In 2013, Greenwald led the Guardian reporting that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for public service.

24 comments

  1. I hope and pray daily that the blind who lead the blind have a striking revelation in the days to come that we all have one threat that is common to all, over-leveraged debt based currency. That battle is not won and cannot be won in the political model but can only be addressed with wisdom within the monetary model where the consumer now has the stage.

    Focusing on the political model where it has no real monetary power would be like chasing windmills.
    Our freedom begins with the economic model and then ripples from there.

    1. @Michael G
      Screw economic anything. Economics should be the lowest priority. Instead, we should prioritize life — all life, not just human life — and expanding our consciousness. Material desires are unevolved ego BS that need to be put behind us.

  2. As a nice, polite Canadian let me respond to Mr Greenwalds comments about Mr Trudeau. For three weeks Truckers organized by an extreme right wing organization, with white supremacy ties funded by extreme right wing Republicans through the use of bitcoin, essentially held our capital hostage. Businesses were shuttered, local residents endured trucks in their streets honking day and night , women were verbally assaulted and accosted for wearing medical masks in public. The Truckers refused to move citing their “freedom”., while ignoring everyone elses. When one of the organizers was finally charged, her husband was flown by private jet from Alberta to Ottawa, by a person whose name he “couldn’t remember”. All the while with Fox News feeding them oxygen. Trudeau was excoriated for doing nothing and now is being excoriated for what he has done ,with the support of the NDP our most left wing party in a minority Parliament. If he had not done this, they still would be there. Over 3 weeks was far more than enough.

      1. @maxine chiu
        One of Glenn Greenwald’s main priorities is freedom of speech, which is the subject of his post here. It’s self-contradictory to say that you “admire Glenn Greenwald immensely” while agreeing with someone who opposes one of the main things that Greenwald stands for. Greenwald wants absolute freedom of speech. How do you reconcile your response to Christopher White with your admiration of Greenwald?

    1. @Christopher White
      Democracy can be messy and very inconvenient. But you either allow protest and dissent, or you live in an authoritarian state. Of course residents near the protests had their lives disrupted, that’s what a successful protest does. The issue is not whether you agree or disagree with the protesters, it’s whether you support freedom of speech & assembly and want to live in a democracy, or instead support living in an authoritarian state where protest and dissent are quashed and silenced. At some point, being nice doesn’t cut it when your concerns are ignored.

    2. Does being a nice, polite Canadian mean that your capital and country, let alone the rest of the world, still being held hostage to the hoax of a pandemic fronting for systemic state sponsored terror is of no concern?

    3. I agree, while the use of force by the state is always unwanted many American commentators are missing that the group is fundamentally tied to the Jan. 6 ideology. How would they have had their own state respond if steal the vote had occupied DC for 3 weeks?

    4. The protest happened in the first pace because Trudeau would not LISTEN to the Truckers, refused to meet, refused a conversation. Period. Please let us not forget the original issue – freedom of choice for personal medical care – and secondarily then growing into freedom of speech and then evolving into right to appeal to the governmemt when grievance occurs. Civil rights are inherent in our Beingness, by virtue of The Maker. Let us honor the gifts of life and civility, including listening to each other even if n when we disagree. Power over others. Bullying. does not mean you are right, it indicates weakness and fear. Trudeau failed to listen way at the beginning cuz he thinks he is in competition; he forgot Life is about cooperation, politics, guvmint, economy, all is about cooperation – or it does not work.

    5. You may be Canadian, but that’s a very one-side presentation of the facts. I’ve seen plenty of footage of truckers cleaning up the streets, feeding the homeless, playing street hockey, singing and dancing. A sample: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zX93GJF-L3w

      And no violence, until the police and hired goons in unmarked uniforms showed up. You didn’t mention that part, or the part about a woman with a walker trampled by mounted police: https://twitter.com/TheRealKeean/status/1494817895477506049

      Jamming traffic and honking at all hours is understandably difficult to tolerate. But they weren’t there just to raise hell, there were there to advocate for the preservation of their Charter rights—particularly the right to make their own medical decisions and thus preserve their livelihoods.

      Do you want the right to make your own medical decisions? Do you feel that asserting that right constitutes an act of terrorism?

      1. This Canadian agrees with you 100 percent. It was shameful to see peaceful protesters attacked in the streets of our capital!

      2. King isn’t their spokesperson, Tom Marazzo is. Have you seen any of his press conferences? King has said some fruity things, no doubt, but if you squint hard enough all you will see is bad apples. THIS is an example of what the truckers’ messaging really is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AIywbPmiBY

  3. An excellent and scary article. This is happening everywhere. Even here in south africa. Keep on writing Glen, and hopefully it will wake some people up who are blind to whats happening

  4. I read the first two paragraphs and agree, but upon seeing that your diatribe goes on for dozens of paragraphs, I no longer paid attention. The point had been made, but to be honest, anybody who couldnt’ see this a few years ago and since, is damn stupid. No revelations again. Just status quo crybaby rant. I am a well informed revolutionary, and prefer information to enable proper strategic actions to be considered. My solutions may save the planet. What we need are brief, informative scientific facts of the tactics used by the authorities (including the CIA dominated establishment media) to be able to counteract and to save humanity. simple straightforward, and brief.

  5. One thing that the trucker protest in Ottawa illuminated is the inescapable fact that tyranny lives here. Our media is complicit and it offends me that far too many people accept their spins as truth. “ What freedoms have they really lost?” or “Trumpists and fascists are there supporting them” are commonly heard. Truth is truth no matter who claim to support it and Justin Trudeau’s kind is probably what the great poet understood to be “ the smooth face of evil”.

  6. Excellent post, totally agree with the following additions:

    1. Trudeau wasn’t doing anything substantial about the trucker protest until they blocked a bridge between the U.S. and Canada that’s used for shipping autos made in Detroit to Canada. Then Biden called Trudeau, told him that he needs to deal with the protesters and reopen the shipping lanes, and Trudeau brought the power of the state down on the protesters. The moral of this story is that if you mess with their capital, the capitalists will make war against you and even kill you, as they have some people. We need to realize that this is WAR, not just some family-friendly demonstrations, and act & plan accordingly.

    2. We cannot honestly discuss this issue while ignoring the fact that some speech indeed causes serious harm. The lies and propaganda about global warming/climate change, weapons of mass destruction, and Russiagate are all the evidence you need to see that. The issue is whether to do anything about this and, if so, what. My solution is not to censor anything (in legal terms, no prior restraint), but instead to criminally punish anyone found guilty of publishing a false fact that has also been proven to cause substantial harm, such as the examples I provided. The can be no exceptions for the rich & powerful, for presidents, or for publishers (those who own the media), and this law must be strict liability (i.e., it doesn’t matter WHY you did it, only THAT you did it, like statutory rape or selling alcohol to a minor, there can be no excuses that get you out of it) in order to prevent the rich & powerful from using loopholes to get out of imprisonment. After a few of these jerks go to prison, I’d be willing to bet that these lies and propaganda will stop, but speech will remain free for everyone.

    A sub-issue here is whether you think that speech is more important than everything else. If you do, then maybe you oppose my solution because it would coerce or intimidate people from publishing lies. However, it’s provably false that speech is more important that the environment, than preventing war, or than life itself (all life, not just human life), to name a few examples off the top of my head. If you think that speech is more important than anything else, I see no basis for having a discussion about this issue, because I will never agree to anything like that.

    3. The judicial system is totally corrupt in that the vast majority of judges and justices support the establishment (most judges are former prosecutors). All court cases that involve politics are decided on political grounds, not legal grounds like people think. (Someone clerking for a 9th Circuit justice told me that for any case that was political, the justice would decide his opinion first, then ask her to get him a legal foundation for it, which of course was nothing more than a pretext.) So while of course it’s better to have due process than to not have it, don’t be deluded into thinking that the judicial system will generally protect anyone. Just look at what’s been happening to Julian Assange!

    4. The vaunted “West” has become fascist, because it’s now ruled by corporations. The people are far from being always right, but a representative government must represent their will regardless of whether they’re right or wrong. What we have in the west is the will of large corporations being represented instead. The U.S. might be the worst of this, but all major western countries suffer from it to a large extent.

    5. Freedom of speech has largely been abolished. The majority in the U.S. have long said that they want restrictions on speech, and those restrictions are now coming to pass. Gore Vidal said that after the police-state laws enacted after 911, we lost the Magna Carta. The ruling class, their deep state, and other police state advocates have brainwashed and convinced the majority of people that restrictions on speech and other forms of protest are desirable. In Canada, a large majority supports Trudeau’s disgusting crackdown and attacks on the protesters, including financial attacks on them. Again, we need to be honest in discussing this and not ignore the harms that lies and propaganda cause, but we need to show a method of dealing with this problem that doesn’t involve censorship or denying people civil liberties, or basic rights.

    1. @Justin Brown
      The fact that so many people “embrace tyranny” as you put it shows exactly why most people have no business making decisions about how society is run. Most people are easily brainwashed, because they have neither the time, the desire, nor the ability to ferret out the truth considering all the lies and propaganda with which they’re constantly bombarded. This is not meant as an insult to most people, because they shouldn’t have to run the society. Competent, honest rulers would not run society the way that ours do, but ours are neither competent nor honest, and instead run the society for their own benefit instead of that of the society as a whole. The problem of course is that if you remove the ability of people to vote for their leaders, the most aggressive people (aka, the rich & powerful) will take over more than they already have, and will run things with complete impunity and no restraints. So, no good answer to this problem in a grossly overpopulated society.

      I hate to sound like a broken record, but overpopulation is once again the root cause of this problem. People who live in naturally small communities all know each other and don’t face political propaganda like we do. Leaders in these societies who try to force the people to do something they don’t want to do are no longer leaders. Etc. The leaders of small societies are leaders because they know how to run the societies in order to benefit the societies as a whole and do so, as opposed to our greedhead politicians who just run society to benefit themselves and their donors. The bigger the society, the more susceptible it is to propaganda and brainwashing, and because of that, for purely logistical reasons you can’t have an actually representative government with anywhere near this many people (though with things like proportional representation, prohibition of ALL private campaign contributions, and equal TV time for all candidates, the government would be substantially less unrepresentative than it is now).

  7. Yes, there’s a war on dissent, and what remains, if only rhetorically, of western liberal democracy, or the pretense thereof. And it’s good to see Greenwald getting hold of this part of the greater war on humanity, aka the Great Reset, that is being waged by the biosecurity state, from prison lockdowns to poisonous injections of the new abnormal world order. Coming assaults demand we unite and fight the full agenda:
    Worldwide Freedom Movement against Covid Mandates, QR Codes and Restrictions: The Global Elite’s Technological Coup d’État Against Humanity
    https://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001cLNAvzLSpzlpj7Whrv8xz_cdsN9FVjxYKw-Rk4SVOOrqxktY9f-2g14I9M2kW4djAp2b3w_t8GJ1FmDK9K56XsNpx4DG-_iJbL0WrU7jqJU3aqvtvOtA4OLNh1xGHkzWHkkNaxUo6jlTEEXGNLfbqOn2CXXm10BBmoW6uELptMVFJijRY7KfqzOZebXdMQ5sV07jhlLJax6KTvzMmNuWtVHvx7O2WE4z-IejcPk04ESPpe0FX8I-69RXvOtFL8MCjylbUE2sydQ=&c=OR7fATsRGLexfXQz5ZZP3hJK-g458tIlv-jrT_DJ3T1862h-Vd3lxw==&ch=7thTlE0no62YYqVMsbJQj3gGzUf6j7CxWIoP1BI2QHwluEPACG3cFw==

    Meanwhile, more of an awakened left, rather than woke left, rise up:
    Resistance: rupture and rebirth
    http://winteroak.org.uk/2022/02/21/resistance-rupture-and-rebirth/

  8. A disclaimer to my first point: I live in a rural area and have a few acres, and a garden. The soggy summer – in a narrow valley where fungus runs wild anyway – and a mistake or two made it a wipe out, except for the beans and lettuce. In any case, I’m spoiled; picking to refrigerator is 15 minutes, tops. It doesn’t get any better than that.

    Two weeks ago, while in the grocery store, in the produce section, the cabbage looked alright, and the cauliflower might have been, but all the rest was rotting (more) on the shelves. I’d judge that most wasn’t even fit for the food bank. And it was not so much better just before COVID-19, which is blamed for our supply chain and logistics failures. Which seems a stretch.
    EAT HEALTHY! Right. Seems phones, laptops, TVs and much more are prioritized over fresh, edible food.
    A gas station I go to had a sing taped to the plexiglas between the customer and the clerk reading “We need quarters!” What can be said of a country that can’t (or doesn’t care to) keep up with its coin?
    And just before Biden arrived in Pittsburgh to plug infrastructure (a couple months ago), a bridge there collapsed.
    We’re coming undone. Yet our adventurism continues undeterred. We know best.

    Jacques Ellul stated that once one country seriously takes up propaganda, its rivals and neighbors have no choice but to follow suit. I believe that, at this point, anyway, the stifling of criticism and dissent is gone equally contagious… and mandatory and ruthless.
    Which calls to mind the lecture / book by Michel Foucault, “Society Must Be Defended.” Which might have been subtitled “The System Must Be Defended.”
    Or again, “Society, Its Propaganda And Myths, Must Be Defended.” Were the dust, fog, smoke and smog to be cleared, allowing us to fully grasp our state – that is dreamland, I know – it might be that people would be too demoralized to revolt. We’d land in depression, miasma. That would be even worse than the consequences of the Thought Police being unmasked and exposed.

    So I find myself, once again, half past hope. The abyss cannot be bridged, the corruption (cruelty and ugliness) is comprehensive and, in (and despite) its particular manifestations, wholly self-supporting.

  9. As Richard Wolff pointed out on R J Eskow’s show a few days ago, it is in the best interest of the Left to support the truckers’ right to protest and assemble, while at the same time present an alternative set of policy proposals to those of the truckers.

  10. Most of this post 911 dystopia is a direct result of PNAC’s super successful 9/11 Catalyst that continues unabated 20 years on! A stroke of genius! I can’t think of anything else in the world that’s ever worked so well. One of their key elements has been their Official Story Mafia it’s been very effective in threatening and totally shutting down just about anyone and everyone that tries to contest or debate it. Well, except for 3,500+ Architects & Engineers for 911 Truth. ae911truth.org
    God Bless America!

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