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By Jeff J. Brown
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Before starting: Bruce has been here several times before and has been very popular with the fans, so check him out,
Bruce Lerro has taught for 25 years as an adjunct college professor of psychology at Golden Gate University, Dominican University and Diablo Valley College. He has applied a Vygotskian socio-historical perspective to his four books:
From Earth-Spirits to Sky-Gods: the Socio-ecological Origins of Monotheism, Individualism and Hyper-Abstract Reasoning
Power in Eden: The Emergence of Gender Hierarchies in the Ancient World Co-Authored with Christopher Chase-Dunn
Social Change: Globalization from the Stone Age to the Present
Lucifer’s Labyrinth: Individualism, Hyper-Abstract Thinking and the Process of Becoming Civilized
He is also a representational artist specializing in pen-and-ink drawings. Bruce is a libertarian communist and lives in Olympia WA.
All social media, contact info, book/publication links,
Bruce’s books: https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B00J1D3LGM
Brighteon video. Be sure to subscribe while watching,
Audio (download at the bottom of this page),
Jeff J Brown (Host): Good evening, everybody. This is Jeff J Brown China Rising Radio Sinoland on the D-Day beaches of Normandy in France. And I’ve got an old friend and comrade back on the show again tonight, Bruce Lerro. How are you doing, Bruce?
Bruce Lerro (Guest): Doing great. Looking forward to this discussion.
Jeff: Likewise. Bruce has been a guest on my show three times now, and I’ve done at least one of his guest articles on China Rising Radio Sinoland. In spite of the fact that some people might define what Bruce talks about as being kind of heady or intellectual, I can prove to anybody that tens of thousands of people have accessed those interviews on my website. So, he obviously has something that interests people and he’s able to talk to people maybe about something that they didn’t understand before, but they want to understand now.
So, Bruce has just come out with a Part One and Part Two article on the Greanville Post, another great common friend of ours. I’m not going to go into all the introductions about his website and Twitter and books. I’ll put all that in there because this is his fourth time now. And I want to get straight to the meat of the matter. And anyway, Bruce just came out with two articles in the Greanville Post and they’re incredibly fascinating. And so, I invited him on to tell us about the Promethean City Builders Part One and Part Two. And he’s kind of taken part two. And of course, I’ll put the reference for both part one and part two. And actually, on his website, Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism. So, take it away, Bruce.
Bruce: Okay, Jeff. Well, one of the things I had five points I wanted to make, and I’ll just tell you what they are and then we can go into detail about it. The first thing that interested me is to try to understand, what does it take for people in the West to join the multipolar in the East? And my thesis is that the forces of the left in the West need to organize themselves again around the lines of the Enlightenment and become city builders. So, that’s one way to sort of join with what’s going on in Russia and China.
And I think a lot of the many people on the left have sort of abandoned the Enlightenment and gotten into a lot of romantic stuff, at least the anarchists and the Social Democrats have. So, that’s the first point. The second point is that there is a group. So, the question would be what group in the United States might represent this return to the Enlightenment to connect up with the multipolar? And there is a group called the Schiller Institute which was founded by Lyndon LaRouche and his wife, and they are very much pro-Enlightenment (https://schillerinstitute.com/). They have some people that have supported them in Canada called the Rising Tide Foundation (https://risingtidefoundation.net/). And this is Matt and Cynthia. Matthew Ehret and Cynthia Chung.
Jeff: They’re good friends of mine.
Bruce: And they are really writing a storm up of books about reinterpreting American history. So, my second point is that these are people that would provide a link between the West and the Eastern multipolarist in a way that the West can join with them instead of being seen as the polar opposite. My third point is the political philosophy of the Anglo-American empire and finance capitalism is centrism. And in order to fight against that, there have been in some places, an attempt to unite the left and the right against the centrists around strategic issues.
And so, the idea is that if the center is controlling the political spectrum, it’s kind of like seen among the left as kind of like bad taste to do anything with the right wing around anything. And I want to contest that and talk a little bit about some stuff that I’ve seen around left, right that I think is pretty productive. The fourth point is that the forces of the Promethean City Builders which are the multi-polar and the Schiller Institute, their presence makes us think that the linear political spectrum, going from the anarchists on the left to the libertarians on the right and all in between, it’s not a good model anymore.
We need a new theoretical model of the political spectrum. And I’ll go into some examples of why we need that spectrum. And then the fifth part of the article or the fifth point of the two articles, is probably to me, the most interesting and the most I’ve spent the most time really trying to understand, and that is in the last 70 years, there have been anti-communist forces in the Anglo-American Empire on the left that present a kind of false opposition.
In other words, the New Left beginning in the mid-50s and moving on to the end of the 20th century has been a real anti-communist left. And that anti-communist left has been shaped by the CIA, the Rockefellers, and I have a table that I’ve made that sort of shows the values of the New Left and how those values serve the Anglo-American Empire. So, those are my five points. So, I’m sure we could talk for three days about all these things. So, you want to start anywhere, or shall I go into detail about this?
Jeff: Well, just to help the people understand this, because you have some maybe original, some new vocabulary that may help clarify. So, the multipolarist for you is Russia, China, Iran, DPRK, basically they shake out to be communist-socialist, Venezuela and Cuba that are looking for a multilateral, multi-polar and to Western rape and plunder of human and earth resources. Is that what you’re saying? Those are the multi-polar? That’s a good group to try to get to know.
Bruce: Yes, that’s right.
Jeff: And then Lyndon LaRouche, I get their email all the time. Helga, I think her name is Helga LaRouche is his wife.
Jeff: And I get all the conferences they have and they’re very, very active. But tell us a little bit about him, because he seems to be whoever the person thinking about him wants him to be. It’s like he’s anti-communist. He’s pro-China. He’s pro-environmental. He’s anti-whatever he doesn’t think global warming is happening. But he’s like every man. He’s like a man with a hundred faces. Can you tell us a little bit about him?
Jeff: Because obviously in your articles, you consider him to be quite worthwhile getting to know more about.
Bruce: Sure. So, I’m not an expert on Lyndon LaRouche. Cynthia and Matt are much more conversant with him than I am. But I know enough to say I think a couple of intelligent things about him. One thing is that he started out as a Marxist and in the late 70s, he wrote what I think is a great book called Dialectical Economics (https://archive.org/details/dialecticalecono0000laro). And it was a really very original book about the capitalist crisis, et cetera. Something happened to him in the early 80s and I don’t really understand the process, but he moved away from Marxism and he moved more towards a kind of Platonism or a kind of Idealism in how he was seeing the world and world history.
And personally, once he did that, I lost interest in him because of that. But the thing that he always supported all the way through his career was Marx’s great idea that in order to develop humanity, you have to develop productive forces. So, that means you have to develop high technology. You want to advance science and you want to create so much abundance that people will work less and they’ll have more time to be creative and more inventive, et cetera. So, I always admired that about him. And then I think in the mid-80s, he started this Schiller Institute with his wife and they’ve been very active internationally and they’ve gone to conferences that have been very well received.
In my article, I talked about the death of Lyndon LaRouche, there was a centennial for him, a 100-year birthday if he had been living at this time. And a Russian, I forget what his title was, but he was very high up in the field of economics. And he talked about how important LaRouche was to developing reinstalling and re-reigniting the Russian economy after the disaster of the 90s. And he mentioned that he was very influential in India. So, a lot of the New Left people, they call him all kinds of names.
Jeff: Yes. That’s the whole. They call him everything from A to Z and left to right. It’s incredible. It’s like they can’t figure the guy out.
Bruce: Yeah. It’s like he’s a fascist. He’s an anti-Semite. They don’t really understand what he’s doing. They don’t know what to make of him. And so, they trash him and they don’t really understand how important he is, too influential and the Belt Road initiative in Russia, the reigniting of the Russian and Indian economies. So, he’s a very valuable person. And the other thing about him that I want to mention is, all of him, the Schiller Institute, they’re very much interested in developing the nation-state against the forces of globalism. So, they’re saying, look, we need to defend the nation-state.
And they have what’s called like their attitude towards tariffs is protective tariffs as opposed to free trade. And so, what that means is they want to see, say, countries in Africa develop their productive forces by having a foreign policy of protectionism so they can develop their industries instead of this free trade, which just lets the imperialists go in and take all the wealth out of the country. So, it’s like LaRouche has been dead for a few years now, but it’s like the Schiller Institute is carrying on this work. And they have been uniting through the People’s Party in the United States.
They have been uniting with the People’s Party around the antiwar, being against the war and they’ve also been joined by Caleb Maupin who is a really serious Marxist leftist organizer and they’ve joined with him and they’ve joined with a group of people that you would not believe would ever be part of this, which is the Libertarian Party. So, I would think it was maybe in February of this year that the Schiller Institute people who are not communists, the Marxist-Leninist group, Caleb Maupin, and the Libertarian Party all united about being against the war.
And so, this is an example of the LaRouche people being able to talk and debate with a communist like Caleb and the Libertarian Party and say, okay, we disagree about these different things, but we are all against the war. And because of that, we’re going to have some sort of alliance together. And to me, this is a very valuable thing. I’m not saying people on the left should unite permanently with people on the right but around strategic issues, it has some value. So, there you go.
Jeff: Well, Rising Tide Foundation, Matt Ehret, and Cynthia Chung, in fact, I just interviewed Cynthia about a month ago on her new book “The Black Sun Never Sets” about the origins of fascism and Anglo-American history and fascism is as Western and as American as apple pie. And they do terrific work. And I’ve been their guest several times and they’ve been my guest several times. And they’re doing really great work. I will put the Schiller Foundation link on the Web page for this interview and also the Rising Tide Foundation. They’re in Montreal, Canada. And so, yeah, we stay in regular touch. They’re a lovely couple. Well, you say a city builder. What do you define as the Enlightenment that we need to get away from romanticism and get back to enlightenment? What is enlightenment in your mind?
Bruce: Okay, so the Enlightenment just maybe make 3 or 4 points about it without going into detail. One is I’ll sort of contrast the two romanticisms against the Enlightenment so you can kind of see the contrast. So, in the Enlightenment, the basic confidence is in the power of reason. The power of reason to be active in developing science and technology and the power of reason to create new political institutions that haven’t ever existed before. Romantic people have doubts about the power of reason.
And they will say, well reason has gotten us into all this trouble. Reason has gotten us into they’ll say, well, reason was the application of the Industrial Revolution. And look what’s happened. Look at all the misery that’s been produced by the working class on the working class. So, they doubt reason and they will say and this is like kind of stuff the New Left would say is that science is just one way of knowing. And there are other ways of knowing. There’s intuition and there’s emotion and all that.
And we need to get back to that because that’s been marginalized. The second thing is that about Enlightenment besides reason is that the human journey in social evolution from hunting and gathering to the present has been a journey where things have generally gotten better for humanity, that life is better now than it was, say, in a hunting and gathering era. And so, they would characterize social evolution the way Marx did, it was progress. It was a movement from having very little to having very much.
And then the opposite of that is the Romantics will say “Social evolution is not progress. Progress has created a lot of problems. Look at the ecological setting. Look at the misery of the working class” that the Romantics will say especially say someone like the anarchist will say, “We need to go back to tribal societies. Tribal societies had a great deal of wisdom that got repressed and we need to go back and we need to recapture that.” Maybe I would say I’m thinking, so, reason, progress. The Enlightenment would say that we need to overcome our animal urges and our religious superstitions.
Because in the light of reason, those things don’t have a place. That was the past. The Romantics will look at our animal past and they will say that it is something that has been lost that we need to recapture and we need to get back to that. So, the Romantics renounced reason. They renounced progress. They fetishize childhood like children are wise. Adults are stupid. There are lots of contrasts I can make. But that’s at least part of it. The Enlightenment has taken really a beating since the rise of the New Left.
The New Left is really a movement away from the Enlightenment towards romanticism. And I would say reasonably, if you look at both the Social Democrats and the Anarchists, they fit into that category. They’re obviously, they’re different from each other, but they do have this romantic orientation in common. And the Leninists don’t. The Leninists have more progress orientation or even Trotsky, they do believe that humanity is moving in the direction of enlightenment. They share enlightenment values.
Jeff: That reminds me of when you talk about intuition and gut feeling, I remember that. George W. Bush, it had to do with, I can’t remember, with Afghanistan or Iraq or whatever anyway, somebody, he was at a press conference and some reporter asked him, “Why did you make that decision?” “Because I had a gut feeling.” It’s like, oh, my God, the fate of the world and world peace rests on George W. Bush’s gut feeling. And I thought that’s just not the way to run a country.
Bruce: And let me go back to this what you were saying about gut feeling because the big part of the New Left has been, and this started with the Frankfurt School where you become more interested in the psychological processes of human beings and less interested in the economic aspects of things. So, I don’t know if you were part of this, Jeff, or if this is just going to show my age, but for you guys that are listening, there was a movement in the early 70s called the Human Potential Movement.
And this was a psychological movement, that was involved in psychological exploration, which was way beyond therapy. I mean, Esalen Institute had groups on the weekends and they would have these groups where they would talk about their feelings and they’d make emotions the most important thing in being a full human being. And so, they would talk about having a gut feeling like the same just like what you said. It’s like they would say, what are you feeling inside? Get out of your head and let’s talk about your emotions. And that was, of course, that was the psychological movement, not directly connected to politics but it seeped into the New Left. And the New Left began to have that type of orientation as well.
Jeff: That’s not the way China runs its country. It’s all based on the famous Han Dynasty quote that was used in court records all during the Tang Dynasty from 600 to 900. And the Song dynasty from 900 to 1200 and then Mao Zedong picked it up when he was going to school in Hunan in the early 20th century. And he used it like crazy during China’s development. And then it was picked up by Deng Xiaoping. And it’s still used by leaders all the time, including Xi Jinping, and that is to Seek Truth from Facts.
And they do not say to seek truth from feelings. I mean feelings are great for husbands and wives and children and families but not to run a country. It’s got to be grounded in science and facts and reality. And it just seems to me like since the 1980s, when you think about the Dotcom Bubble. Those were just fictitious companies. They didn’t even exist. They were just holograms for companies. And then all the other stuff, all the fakery and the lying and I think that all is kind of melds in with what you’re talking about is imagining what you want instead of figuring out what you want to do. At least that’s the way it looks to me.
Bruce: So, I just want to mention that among some of the contraries, some of the business about the New Left is, there really was a big part of the New Left that became, as I mentioned, became interested in psychology. There was a person that you a number of people, but a person you might know, your listeners might know is a name guy named Herbert Marcuse. And Marcuse was a psychoanalyst who considered himself a Marxist. And he talked about how he had good criticism of capitalism, but he really talked about the importance of trying to win Freud to try to incorporate Freud into New Left ideas.
And the New Left kind of got suckered into this and I would say from maybe the mid-70s all the way into the 90s, what you’ll see is a number of Marxists who will try to actually create a synthesis between Marx and Freud and try to combine the two. The problem is that Freud’s orientation to the world was completely, I wouldn’t say completely opposite, but mostly opposite of Marxism. And it really cannot be done. And so, what happened is, in my opinion, a lot of people who were say academics in the 70s and 80s who would have been social organizers, who could be social workers.
Many of those people became psychotherapists. And once you become a psychotherapist, you’re talking to people one on one. And so, it pulled a lot of the intellectual power from the United States and probably led to a lesser extent in Western Europe away from political organizing and into therapy rooms. So that you’re doing therapy with people. And Jeff, one of my first talks with you was about what is socialist psychology.
And to be fair to these people, these left-wing Marxists that I was telling you about, Vygotsky was a communist. He was a Marxist communist psychologist who really wanted to build a new kind of psychology. His work got translated into English around the end of the 1970s. So, there was an opportunity to try to synthesize Marx with Vygotsky. That would have been a real joining of Marxist economic theory to psychology. But the New Left people ignored that, and they stayed with Freud and they just carried it out and we lost a lot of good people both the population and New Left Marxists to the field of psychology,
Jeff: That’s really interesting. Compare and contrast productive forces and unproductive forces.
Bruce: Okay. So, the productive forces are the forces that create more in the way of wealth. They also improve their standard of living and they shrink the amount of time that people spend on the job. Those are things that you would say LaRouche would talk about this. Developing productive forces means advancing science and technology, creating more products, and building infrastructures, just like China is doing with the Belt and Road initiatives, railroads, et cetera. The whole purpose of that is to make a better life for people so that they are working less hard and they have more and they’re doing it with less.
A good example of unproductive forces. Two good examples are an investment in the military, right? Like the military, the military claims are profit but they’re destroying productive forces. So that’s an example of unproductive forces where the military capitalists are claiming, oh, we made this much profit this year, but they ignore the fact that they are building things that either are not used in wars that just sit there and they’re not producing anything or they’re actually killing thousands of people. And that counts for capitalists as profit. The other unproductive force is finance capital.
Jeff: Yeah, financialization.
Bruce: Yeah. So, finance capital is you’re claiming a profit off of stocks, bonds, and derivatives that are not going into the social organism. And with this, people get something back from it. They make profits on paper. They hoard the paper and that’s those things which are unproductive. What’s interesting, Jeff is if you look at the history of capitalism and the different cycles it’s gone through. This is not quite in my lecture, but I’ll just mention it because I think people will be interested. In the history of capitalism, there’s been four what Giovanni Arrighi calls four cycles or hedge funds.
One is the Italian city-states in the 14th and 15th centuries. The second cycle of capitalism was with the Dutch in the 17th century. The third one is with the industrial capitalists of England, and the fourth was with the United States. And what he says is in every one of those cycles when you make a profit off a military or be finance capital it’s the end of your cycle and you’re done and there’s going to be another one taking over. And you can see that where the United States is, the profits are made on military and financial capital. They invest in very little outside of the defense industry.
Jeff: Yeah, his name is Giovanni. What do I want to write down?
Bruce: His last or Giovanni Arrighi.
Jeff: That’s a good Italian name. All right.
Bruce: Yes. And his book is called “The Long 20th Century” (https://archive.org/details/longtwentiethcen00arri).
Bruce: 20th century. And he did some great work there. But anyway, so does that answer about productive, unproductive capital?
Jeff: Yeah. Thank you. I learned something. You talk about why you use the word centrism to describe the Anglo-American empire. I just think of it as just global capitalism, colonialism, imperialism. What inspires you to use the word centrism to describe the Anglo-American Empire?
Bruce: Well, I agree with all the terms you’re using to call it. I’m just saying that there are some people that make sense of the world in terms of the political spectrum, right? So you go to the political spectrum, if you start on the right extreme right, you’ve got the Libertarians, then you’ve got the fascists and you’ve got the conservatives and then you’re getting closer to the center, and then you have New Deal liberals on the left-liberal on the little left of center. And then you got all the different kinds of socialists, social democrats, various kinds of Leninists, anarchists, et cetera.
And my point is that the reason I’m bringing this up is because the neo-cons and the neo-liberals are identifying themselves as essentially, they’re in the middle. And so even though the neo-con’s foreign policy is clearly right-wing. The Democratic Party and the Liberals are allowing them to do what they want in foreign policy, like with Victoria Nuland and her husband, Robert Kahn. But they’re really the liberals, the neo-liberals are really sort of in the center of the political spectrum. They are letting the neo-cons do what they want, but they kind of have a lockdown on any movement one way or another.
For these people, if you challenge them, you’re either a fascist on the right or you’re a communist on the left. And their job is to keep anything forming between the right and the left. So, they’ll always say, what I was mentioning before about the People’s Party: iIf you get on the same stage with somebody that might be more right-wing, you’re discredited, you may as well not even be on the stage. And if this is the vision of these centrists if you challenge the Democratic Party at all, you’re a communist. And so, there’s a kind of alliance between the neoliberals and the neocons to sort of block out this center and keep any other groups’ help from each other.
Jeff: Okay. Interesting. All right. Well, you’ve listed some interesting points in the notes that you sent me, you talked about how, of course, a big, massive tool that they use that you’re talking the neoliberals and the neo-cons that they use to keep people divided is identity politics, Wokeism, pro-environment anti-global warming, all this woke craziness and racist blacks and whites and browns and yellows and everything. They’re constantly saying Democrat, Republican, blue state, red state. I mean, they go to great lengths: gay, straight; they go guns, no guns. God, no God. They’re constantly promoting this to keep everybody pissed off at each other. And unfortunately, it works. That’s the sad part of it is it works.
Bruce: The elephant in the room is social class. They’ll never talk about social class. And it’s a social class that would allow people to talk to each other and I think that some of the people who are thinking less rigid would recognize that the people who voted for Trump. Most of the base that voted for Trump were small businesses, petty bourgeois and small owners. Some working class voted for Trump. But those people are not necessarily people that we should not talk to, we need to talk to working-class people about the economic issues around class lines, and not just say we cannot touch them.
And that’s I think that’s very important. Jeff, I wanted to mention some examples of why we need to think about the political spectrum in a new kind of way. Let me give you some real-life examples of this. One is that the political spectrum, the traditional one, and the linear one can’t account for the following. One is China forming alliances with non-socialist countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia. I mean it may be in the old communist way, I don’t know whether they would do this or not but typically, if you’re a socialist society and you’re dealing with a country that is like a fundamentalist Islamic fundamentalist, you say, oh, no, no, no, they’re reactionaries.
And the Chinese premier is not doing that. He’s crossing the line between right and left and saying that that’s not going to stop us. So that’s an example of China sort of crossing over to a kind of right-wing to reaching out to a right-wing government and saying, okay, let’s talk about what we have in common and the political spectrum would not allow that. Another thing is like the Social Democrats instead of forming alliances with communists, they form alliances with imperialists. So, you’ve got, for example, supposedly the party in Germany, the SPD is an old Marxist party.
And then they have a coalition government with the German Greens. So, when you look at those, you figure, okay, be they’re certainly going to be left of center and they’re going to be like Social Democrats. But instead of aligning with socialist countries like Venezuela or China, they’re on this side of the imperialists. They’re on this side of the United States. So, that’s another example of how you can’t count on people to just stay in the same position on the political spectrum because times are changing. And I’ll just bring up one more. The Indian government, Modi’s Indian government, right?
He’s a fundamentalist, a Hindu fundamentalist. That didn’t stop him from forming alliances with China, which is an evil communist country. So, I think internationally, the boundaries of the political spectrum are changing and we really need a new political model to express these things so that it makes it more possible to understand what’s really going on. Because the political spectrum is important and people need it as a theoretical tool and they ask questions about it. So, we’ve got to have a better model that can account for all these types of exceptions to the rule.
Jeff: Yeah. You mentioned in your notes and of course, I live here in France and I’m a dual national. And you mentioned the recent elections in France in which Le Pen, who is the, everybody here wants to call her a fascist, but she’s not. It’s just identity politics to destroy her. She would be almost a liberal in the United States. But anyway, she’s supposed to be a fascist, but her social programs are much, much more pro-people than Macron who is a supposed left guy. He came from the Socialist Party, but in fact, he’s a hard-core neoliberal. So, everything’s just mixed up. And then you also mentioned the neoliberal Democratic Party in the United States supporting fascist Ukrainian people and keeping them in power. So those are some alliances that we could do without.
Bruce: That’s right.
Jeff: That’s what’s happening. Your last point, the anti-communist forces of the Anglo-American Empire have shaped a fake opposition. In other words, controlled opposition is what I call it. And the romantic New Left, the ones that you were describing, which says we should go back to tribal society and live on our gut feelings to oppose the continuation and development of the Enlightenment, the American System, and a Communist Movement. Can you please elaborate on that?
Bruce: Okay. What I will do will be I’m going to give you some examples of New Left ideology and how it supports the Anglo-American empire. So, one thing about the New Left is that typically it rejected the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba. And they say, okay, that’s not real socialism and they say we have to oppose that. And they’re just as bad as the capitalists, something like that. So, whose interest is that? That’s good for the Anglo-American Empire because it’s a tremendous loss of international identity.
Like if you say, you don’t have any models of socialism in the world and all you see is capitalism, you don’t have models that you can point at and then you’re stuck in this position of a conservative working-class person saying, okay, so you’re socialist. So, where does it work? And if you’ve rejected Russia and China and Cuba because you have certain criticisms of them, then you lose credibility among working-class people because you don’t even have a model to say, well, over there, they do this, and over there they do that.
So, that benefits the Anglo-American Empire for you to reject the existing socialist system. Another thing that happened is that when capitalism continued on into the 60s and 70s, the New Left lost confidence that capitalism has some kind of internal contradiction that will force it to end the system, that there’ll be a crisis that they won’t be able to get out of and they’ll destroy it. The New Left said capitalism has been pretty smart in figuring out how it can continue. And so, they lost confidence in an economic analysis of things.
And so, the benefit for the Anglo-American Empire is it demoralized people from imagining that capitalism had real weaknesses and they’d just say, well, it’s ingenious. And then it makes people feel like, well, we have to overthrow capitalism by just by our voluntary will. It’s not a matter of that. It has internal problems. And in fact, you could see, Jeff, I mean, I remember in the 80s and 90s, you’d have leftists who were Marxists who wouldn’t even use the word capitalism itself because they thought that maybe that was like old fashioned or maybe capitalism had come up with some ideas to keep it floating.
And so, we shouldn’t use that word because maybe we’ll alienate the workers. And so, they lost the vocabulary of calling things capitalism. And they were also, on the other hand, afraid to call things socialist because socialism might alienate the workers. So, they lost two of the most important words in our vocabulary which is the capitalist crisis and what can replace it. And so, imagining that capitalism can go on forever was very important for the Anglo-American Empire to continue its reign. I’ll make one other couple.
Well, I don’t know how much time we have but one other point I want to make is, the New Left renounced the idea that socialism had to be based on abundance. So, what they did was they made it seem as if the idea of wanting more and wanting a higher standard of living. That was something that people maybe shouldn’t aspire to do because that makes people greedy. That makes people, they might say something like, well, we already have too much.
And so, they would be falling back on socialism as sort of a moral thing. It would be good to have socialism because it’s the right thing to do. And there’d be sort of create socialist ethics as opposed to saying, no, we have the scarcity that we’re experiencing, which is socially constructed. It’s not, it’s something we want more. We want a better life. And we’re not ashamed to say we want the economy to grow and expand. So, they renounced the kind of sense that socialism should be based on abundance and they walked away.
Jeff: Yeah. Well, China is proving that you can have your cake and eat it too, because it’s definitely, and I always tell people, it upsets a lot of people, especially neoliberals, neocons, conservatives, and it upsets a lot of liberals and lefties too, when I say China is a communist-socialist country. “And oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, it’s capitalist”.
Hahahahaha. And so, I mean I have written, I have gone through bottles of ink and rubbed calluses on my fingers typing to explain that that’s just not true.
So, yeah, you can. Socialism can be extremely prosperous and wealthy and it just depends on where you prioritize your resources, both human and natural. So, I think China is the best model on planet Earth right now. And when you take countries like Cuba, which has had at least hundreds of millions, and some people have it up into the billions of dollars sucked out of Cuba’s economy since 1959, because of the genocidal sanctions that the United States still will not lift. If you added all that money that was sucked out of Cuba’s economy, where would Cuba be today? And the same goes for Venezuela.
I think it was Harvard or some bread-and-butter Western organizations that calculated that the United States sanctions against Venezuela are killing 19,000 people a year. Where would Venezuela be if it did not have war declared against it and the West did not steal gold and stealing oil and stealing companies and stealing capital? Yeah. Where would Iran be today if, although Iran is it is at least economically doing quite well in spite of all the sanctions? Where would these countries be if they didn’t have billions and billions and billions of dollars sucked out of their economies because of Western sanctions and blockades? So, I think they’d be doing great, don’t you?
Bruce: Yes, I do. Jeff, one thing I just want to mention, this is a little bit of a qualification because, I mean, I could see that maybe some people, some of your listeners might be saying, well, wait a minute. Are you saying that the New Left was the creation of the CIA and the Rockefellers? Okay, I’m not saying that because the New Left is a movement that developed and they had an anti-racist component. They had an antiwar component. They were critical of conservative cultural institutions.
All that is real but I think there’s a difference between creating something and shaping something. And I think the Rockefellers and the CIA saw what was happening with the New Left. They couldn’t control some parts of it, but they got into some of its institutions and shaped it and moved it in certain directions and that’s where the Congress for Cultural Freedom comes in, where they shaped its ideology. They turned the ecology movement into an anti-nuclear movement.
And that, of course, benefited the oil industry because they didn’t have to compete with nuclear power. So, the ecology movement that was part of the New Left was really a lot of it was shaped by the capitalist to turn people against nuclear energy. So, the oil companies would not have to directly compete with it. So, they can shape things, but they can’t create things. They have to because anything that comes out from the lower classes, they can’t control that. But they can do things, throw money at certain areas and they can shape it to turn in a certain direction. So, that’s very different from creating it out of nothing.
Jeff: Yeah, they tend to suborn what’s out there, and they don’t have to create anything. All they have to do is just use the Imperial Toolbox of assassinations, blackmail, bribery, extortion, fake news, and false flags, to get to corrupt all these different organizations. Well, Bruce, we’re knocking on an hour. I think this has been wonderful. I do not want to say goodbye. First off, what is your latest? Are you writing another book or what’s going on?
Bruce: Not right now. I’m just really pumping out articles. That’s kind of my main focus right now.
Jeff: Okay, that’s fine. I would also, before we hang up, I want to acknowledge Bruce’s partner, Barbara Maclean, who is a big part of Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism, their website, and everything that goes into it. They’re very active on Twitter. I have a Twitter account and they’re doing a great job. They’re doing a great job putting a lot of interesting stuff on Twitter. And I see it every day. And if it wasn’t for Barbara, we wouldn’t be here today, because she’s the one who got your camera working.
Bruce: That’s right. That’s exactly right.
Jeff: Well, listen, Bruce, this has been wonderful and I will put it up and, of course, now have a policy, I will not put out anything that I do, audio or visual, that I do not get transcribed first so that that way when it’s published, it’s not only audio and video but it’s also written. Because I know some people like to read, some people like to listen, some people like to watch and they’re kind of like water, oil, and sand. They don’t mix.
Jeff: And so, it’ll probably be a couple of weeks before I get this out. But it’s in the hopper. Okay. This has been a great conversation. I really enjoyed it. I know the fans will, too. Thank you.
Bruce: You’re welcome.
Jeff: We’ll be staying in touch.
Bruce: You’re welcome for having me.
Do yourself, your friends, family and colleagues a favor, to make sure all of you are Sino-smart:
Google ebooks (Epub) and audiobooks:
44 Days Backpacking in China: The Middle Kingdom in the 21st Century, with the United States, Europe and the Fate of the World in Its Looking Glass https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=YBKHEAAAQBAJ
China Rising: Capitalist Roads, Socialist Destinations https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=YNmLEAAAQBAJ
BIG Red Book on China: Chinese History, Culture and Revolution
Amazon print and ebooks (Kindle):
44 Days Backpacking in China: The Middle Kingdom in the 21st Century, with the United States, Europe and the Fate of the World in Its Looking Glass
China Rising: Capitalist Roads, Socialist Destinations
BIG Red Book on China: Chinese History, Culture and Revolution
Praise for The China Trilogy:
Why and How China works: With a Mirror to Our Own History
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