"To appreciate nonsense requires a serious interest in life."
—Gelett Burgess (1866-1951)
(Swans - April 21, 2014) HOW TO DISPROVE AN AD HOMINEM SMEAR? The other day I received a letter from Stephen Zunes, a professor of politics and Coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco, a self-defined anti-imperialist and revolutionary. In that letter, he condemned Michael Barker for an error he made in his last article, "Ruling-Class Peace?". Michael erroneously wrote about some Mark Palmer in the present tense, when the man passed away in early 2013. I fixed the boo-boo and appended a correction note to the article. Then Professor Zunes went on with a lot of rhetorical crap, much about him. He concluded:
Indeed, I have long suspected that the efforts of Barker and others to discredit me and my work may be part of a COINTELPRO-style US government operation to divide the left and undermine international solidarity efforts supporting nonviolent anti-imperialist struggles, so I'd be real careful about making sure you are not inadvertently aiding the forces of imperialism who recognize the power of these resistance movements around the world and therefore seek to undermine those of us active in solidarity with them.
OH MY, OH MY, Michael is suspected to belong to a new and improved CIA operation to discredit the likes of Mr. Zunes through that little publication known as Swans Commentary (the full letter is in the current Letters to the Editor). He suspects but brings no facts or proofs to make his point. Of course, Michael cannot debunk the smear and he is used to these accusations. We have an old saying in French: calumniez, calumniez, il en restera toujours quelque chose ("calumny, calumny, it will always linger"). It's an old rhetorical technique generated by weak so-called "intellectuals." It allows other people to say: "See, Michael Barker is part of a new COINTELPRO as Professor Zunes said...". (By the way, Mark Palmer was a member of the Committee on the Present Danger.)
MORE SERIOUSLY, ask yourself why the CIA would use Michael Barker to infiltrate Swans in order to discredit the Zuneses of the year. Indeed, we have debunked Professor Zunes quite a few times in Swans. But again, ask yourself why the CIA would waste resources on a tiny publication that has a small readership. I think they have more important targets to pursue.
Furthermore, everything you wish to know is posted on Swans -- nothing secret. I've never been a member of a political party; I've never voted. I'm neither a capitalist nor a communist. I've never advocated violence or revolution, though I sure would like to see a different socioeconomic system. And, yes, I am a pacifist. Terrible. Terrible.
WHAT ELSE TO SAY BUT TO LAUGH? Stephen Zunes is a dishonest buffoon.
IN REGARD TO THE UKRAINE, I have been mortified by the position taken by former comrades, particularly the self-defined "Unrepentant Marxist" out there, who continue to argue that all the destabilizations we have witnessed are due to the revolutionary masses of their imagination but nothing to do with policies put together in the West for a long time. It's quite embarrassing to me because I used to publish this unrepentant fool.
FOR THOSE PEOPLE who are not megalomaniacs or harmed with cognitive deficiency, here is an excerpt from Ajamu Baraka's March 7 article, "Ukraine and the Pathology of the Liberal Worldview: An African American Perspective," which I highly recommend you read in full.
When U.S. radicals and progressives are unable to make a distinction between the right and the left and align themselves with a movement in Ukraine that has as its main objective to become more European and capitalist, and at the same time amplify the critiques of the rightist forces in Venezuela who want to murder the embryonic revolution in that country, the backwardness of radical thought in the U.S. is on full display.
INDEED, when you observe so-called die-hard Marxists in cohort with Western governments, commercial interests, and anti-Russian sentiments (not to say hatred), you know that cognitive deficiency is alive and strong. I'll need to write more on this subject,
ALSO, I OUGHT to write about the current French travails -- political and economic crises -- but it's really not fun and it's enough for today.
. . . . .
C'est la vie...
And so it goes...
La vie, friends, is a cheap commodity, but worth maintaining when one can.the life line won't hurt you much, but it'll make a heck of a difference for Swans.
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