Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
It’s your last chance to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch in 2017. Help us gear up to fight the status-quo in 2018! Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

An Assault on Language: “Extremism”

by

We have had a certain amount of success in exposing the amorphous and mendacious term “Fake News” for what it is: a tool in a major campaign of propaganda against dissenting independent journalism and political writing, a campaign perpetrated by governments and corporate media. The wealthy and powerful forces which control both of those influential centers in the formation of public opinion were desperate to regain control of the narrative, which has been slipping away from them at an increasing velocity since the advent of social media, and since the parallel growth of a broad spectrum of information networks with absolutely no interest in currying favor with the mighty, or in defending the status quo. As soon as the term “Fake News” appeared, Barack Obama pounced on it, and in a joint appearance in 2016 with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, used his worldwide microphone and bully pulpit – if only he had done so occasionally to sound the alarm about the approaching environmental crisis, or to express outrage about racism or police brutality, or to challenge war profiteers! – to announce his deep concern that “Fake News” was making it “difficult to govern” (for more on this and the struggle against corporate/government presstitute propaganda, see my article “Hope Is Our Enemy: Fighting Boiling Frog Syndrome”).

This clumsy and panicky maneuver has deservedly met with far less success than Obama’s incredibly successful propaganda sally against Russia and Vladimir Putin, which has captivated the paranoid fantasies of many millions of Americans and Europeans who desperately want to believe that NATO countries are virtuous and innocent, and are threatened by ruthless and aggressive foreigners who are responsible for the spreading chaos in the West. As one of his final acts in office, President Chameleon slapped new sanctions on Russia and deported Russian diplomats: after eight years, his transformation from Nobel Laureate and supposed apostle of peace to McCarthyite New Cold Warrior was complete, and vast numbers of angry Hillaroids were quickly on board the Blame Russia Express, full of self-righteous anger and the conviction that someone had stolen the election and that the usual suspects were obviously the guilty party.

Things haven’t gone so well for the “Fake News” campaign, however. Too many people could and can see disturbing patterns that ring true, if they spend enough time looking at truthful, objective analysis of the world around us, and there is quite a lot of it available via the internet.

More people are spending more and more time on the internet and social media, where presstitute media lose the natural advantages they once had in a world dominated by government-regulated, corporate-financed TV, radio, and print news. It turns out that many of the best-informed writers see the world utterly differently than do the corporate and government shills who determine the “news” content in mainstream media.

Which brings us to one of the latest victims in the assault on language by the 1% and their pawns in the presstitute media: the word “extremism”.

Here in the European Union where I live, this word is currently heard so often in the traditional media – along with another victimized word being brutalized almost non-stop, “populist” – that even poorly-educated persons who aren’t sure exactly what is meant can understand that they must mean something very, very bad.

If any such confused persons should take the time to pay closer attention and attempt to ascertain what it is that makes these “extremists” and “populists” so deplorable and dangerous, they may soon notice that at least one of these words, “extremist”, has a pretty nebulous field of application. According to major sources of conventional wisdom in the EU, terrorists are “extremists”. But “extremism”, more generally, is also applied casually to nearly any political parties and interest groups to the Left and the Right of the large (if shrinking in some countries like France) parties called “people’s parties” (Volksparteien) here in Germany: the no-longer-socialist Social Democrats who are allegedly center-left, the pseudo-Christian Christian Democrats who portray themselves as center-right, and even the thoroughly compromised and faded-to-brown Green Party, which has gone to great lengths and engaged in stupendous contortions of deliberate conformism to achieve its modern status as a pillar of the established order, a long journey from its radical roots in the 1980s.

As you may have deduced from my snarky tone, I find myself firmly ensconced among the so-called “extremists” of the Left.

What, one may legitimately ask, are the views which have led to this branding as a dangerous individual? Do I advocate keeping a stock of Molotov Cocktails handy for quick use when the shit starts to fly? I do not.

Do I engage in plots to overthrow the “legitimate” government and spread chaos throughout the EU? Do I support terrorism? I do not. While I have grave reservations about the ostensible “legitimacy” of a number of the governments named, and have major issues with the extent to which they are in thrall to American imperial foreign/military policy and the destructive austerity policies of the IMF and World Bank and Big Finance, you will find no blueprints for violent revolution at my house. I pay taxes and comply with bureaucratic governmental requirements. And as far as terrorism goes, I would even argue that it is NATO countries’ complicity in American imperial designs and hegemony which is the source of most terrorism and is thus, in reality, “extreme” (see my recent article “Russia Didn’t Do It”).

Am I armed? I am not. I have never owned a gun. My only weapon is the keyboard at which I now write.

Do I support dangerous political organizations? I support the German party “Die Linke” (The Left), which is the largest opposition party in Germany’s Parliament, the Bundestag, and a full participant in the national electoral process, having won around 14% of the vote in the last election. AHHH … now we’re getting somewhere. “Die Linke” is accused quite regularly in the corporate and government media of being “extreme”.

And why? What positions does the party hold which are considered dangerous?

Okay … I guess I’ll have to come clean. Here are the radical, dangerous, “extremist” positions I support when I advocate more influence for this political party:

An end to weapons exports from Germany, especially into crisis regions, but more broadly, in principle.

The disbanding of NATO, which was formed as an allegedly defensive alliance against the “Warsaw Pact” or communist military bloc led by the Soviet Union – which no longer exists. An end to German participation in overseas military intervention (such as the current activity in Afghanistan).

A more extensive social system which builds more low-cost housing and offers greater protection for the rights of workers and less affluent citizens – rights which were scaled back by the program “Agenda 2010” to make the German economy more “competitive”.

Active measures by government to stop the widening of the gap between rich and poor which, although not yet as profound in Germany as in the USA, is heading in the same direction.

Higher taxes on the wealthy.

A much more independent position on the world stage for Germany and the EU, with an end to EU servility to the USA.

Fundamental reform of the EU, with less power for Big Finance in its deliberations and economic policies, which have created great hardship in Greece, Spain, Portugal and elsewhere.

In addition, there is my allegedly “extreme” position on the environment, which is not so much a priority for “Die Linke” but is the most important issue of all for me personally. I am convinced that only a radical transformation of the world economy can save this planet, including most life on Earth. I believe this can only come about through an end to industrial capitalism: a ban on most fossil fuels, an end to the production of most plastics, an end to most beef production and strict organic regulation of all meat production, and worldwide mandatory measures to clean up the poisonous residue of the current system which is killing the planet. This will necessarily involve huge cuts in most military structures and war-making as well. The US military is by far the greatest polluter on Earth.

For these views, and my concomitant rejection of the large political parties in the EU and the USA which have done almost nothing to save the planet that was not outweighed by massive destruction – parties which thus, in the name of “realism”, have sold our future to the rich and may have doomed all life on this planet, as scientific opinion is near unanimous that time is short – for these views I am labeled an “extremist”.

I consider that an Orwellian assault on language. “Extremism” is what I oppose. Extreme wealth. Extreme greed. Extreme militarism. Extreme suicidal and ecocidal environmental destruction. Extreme governmental authority. Extreme stupidity.

 

More articles by:
December 18, 2017
Robert Hunziker
Pesticide Suicide
Shamus Cooke
Will the Supreme Court Break or Remake the Labor Movement?
David Rosen
Is It Finally Time to Decriminalize Prostitution?
Martha Rosenberg
How Patients Who “Kill the Messenger” Are Pharma’s Best Salespeople
Rob Seimetz
Adapt or Die: Millennials, Technology, and Net Neutrality
Uri Avnery
Children of Stone
Julian Vigo
UK Proposes New Surveillance Body
Patrick Cockburn
Cracks in the House of Sand: the Pratfalls of the Crown Prince
Howard Lisnoff
Dustin Hoffman in the Gene McCarthy for President Campaign
Chris Gilbert
Mutant October: Learning from the Rough Beast of Revolution
Ariel Dorfman
What Made the Trump Cataclysm Possible?
Gerry Brown
How to Win Friends and Influence People in the 21st Century
J. Scott Lander
Amalgamated Racism in Alabama
Tommy Raskin
Pushing Russia’s Buttons
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Creating the 21st Century Internet
Weekend Edition
December 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
Go Ask Alice: the Curious Case of “Alice Donovan”
Weekend Edition
December 15, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
What’s Not Happening With Mr. Jones
Timothy M. Gill
The Height of Racial Resentment: White Cops
Andrew Levine
Democrats Have Much to Learn and the Odious Have Much to Teach Them
Luciana Bohne
Operation Jerusalem Capital: Second Balfour Declaration or Arab-Israeli NATO?
Anthony DiMaggio
#MeToo: Women are Speaking Out, Are We Listening?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Out Walked Monk
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
The Demoralizing Impact of Trump, But Hope Has Arrived
Samantha Paez – Sandra de los Santos
The Most Dangerous Place for Mexican Women is in the Streets
Martin Billheimer
Assassins of the Image: the CIA as Cultural Gatekeeper
Jérôme Duval
From Slave Trade to Debt: Occupation Disguised as “Discovery”
Vijay Prashad
The October Revolution
John Wight
The Grenfell Fire UK Establishment Circus
Steve Martinot
Twisted Thinking: Police Militarization in Berkeley
Robert Fantina
Juvenile Delinquency in U.S. Government
Dave Lindorff
Stupidity and Blindness Have Destroyed Whatever Democracy the US Ever Had
Pete Dolack
You are Working Harder and Getting Paid Less
Joseph Natoli
The Axioms of the Other
Susan Babbitt
Why Don Quixote?
Ralph Nader
What Does Trump Mean by “Make America Great Again”?
Ramzy Baroud
Towards a New Palestinian Beginning
Binoy Kampmark
Escaping Reality: Roy Moore and the Rage of Decency
Mark Luskus
Corporate Interests Are Warping the Internet
Brian Terrell
A Story of Two Blockades: New York City and Yemen
Ron Jacobs
Sinking in the Swamp
Brian Cloughley
Prepare! Pursue!! Prevail!!!
Matthew Stevenson
Into Africa: The Tanzania-Zambia Train to Nowhere
Jill Richardson
We Agree Assault is Bad, Now Let’s Agree on How to Punish It
Jeremy Corbyn
The Greatest Threats to Our Common Humanity
Walter Clemens – Stephen Advocate
The Amoral Code of America’s Dirty Old Men
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail