Tuesday, August 29, 2023

The Glass Is Refillable

The Earth looks so beautiful from space. Let's keep it that way.

The Glass Is Refillable

by C. A. Matthews

Most of us reach a breaking point at one time or another in our lives. There’s simply too much crap being thrown at us. We’re in pain both mentally and physically, and we’re long past the point of caring at work, school, or home. Since nothing is going our way, and it appears to be the last days of the Late Great Planet Earth, the urge to do absolutely nothing but tear down others who voice even an ounce of optimism is too tempting to resist.

So, we sit on our backsides and insult absolute strangers on the internet whenever they suggest possible solutions to our or the world’s problems. Simply put, we don’t want to hear that the glass is “half full.” Oh, no, no, no! We bitch up a storm and tear those faceless internet posters a new hole and make them feel as horrible as we feel, because we don’t have any optimism left when we’re in the midst of a breaking point.

Well, pardon me for breathing, but I think you actually can generate some enthusiasm for life even when the sh*t has hit the proverbial fan.

Optimism is Mother’s Nature way of keeping us alive and functioning and not wallowing in self-pity or destructive behaviors. Because while we’re wallowing, nothing is getting done, and we’re actually adding to our own problems as well as the planet’s. Screaming—or the online equivalent in all caps complete with asterisks and exclamation points—that the glass isn’t even “half empty” because it has been spilled and smashed into a million pieces only provides a mere nanosecond of relief. The pain inside remains.
The goal for intelligent, rational creatures is to rid ourselves of pain, not continually do things that ask for more of it. We are hardwired to take action to end the pain, and we can do so without killing ourselves or others. (Editor’s note: If you are feeling suicidal, in the US please call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988. If you’re feeling homicidal, put all weapons out of reach, take a deep breath, and contact Emotion Anonymous to find a meeting near you.

Rash actions are often regretted and cannot be rescinded, but wisely planned and deliberate actions taken toward a reachable goal can ease our pain and provide possible solutions to the challenges facing us.

For all those who feel hopeless and see no way to fight against those who are destroying Earth’s biosphere, I feel your pain. Peter Kalmus, a NASA climate scientist, recently said in his keystone address at the Green Party Annual National Meeting how much it hurts him to see what’s happening in the world, too. He told us: “Don't lose hope—but don’t have false hope.”

This means we can’t deny what is happening any longer. We need to educate ourselves about the main causes behind the environment’s degradation. For example, we have to look at our outdated economic system. It is disheartening and maddening to watch heartless capitalists turn the precious planet we’ve come to know and love into one huge polluted cesspit for the sake of ever bigger profits for a tiny handful of billionaires. It makes no sense. Don’t these a-hole billionaires breath oxygen and drink water, too?

It's the senselessness of the mega-polluters’ stupidity that causes us the most pain. Their asinine and self-centered attitudes reveal the true cause behind these insanely short-sighted behaviors: they’re a-holes and selfish bastards.

There, I said it. Now, what do we do about the situation? Do we allow the super-wealthy to continue wallowing in their a-holery and selfishness?

Nah, that would be wrong of us. We want the sick-o billionaires to be happy and healthy functioning human beings, right? They can’t remain these hideous, soulless creatures, raping the planet of its natural resources, filling landfills and oceans with toxic wastes, poisoning life as we know it. It’s time to take action to turn the billionaires into actual human beings even if it impoverishes them in the process. It’s time to take away their power and their playthings and stop others from cooperating with them in the destruction of Earth.

How we go about this awesome feat depends on our own individual/personal philosophies. Some activists will take to the streets in protest and boycott products from countries that are greatly contributing to the biosphere’s demise. A great example of focusing attention (and possibly bringing about some real change) on how destructive the fossil fuel industry is to our environment is happening on September 17 at the March to End Fossil Fuels in New York City. 

If marching down Broadway while screaming at the billionaires doesn’t bring you out of yourself and generate renewed determination to become a doer and not just a wallower in your pain, please find someone to talk to, such as a professional counselor. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness, and we need all the strong people we can get.

Environmental activism (protests, marches, sit-ins, demonstrations, etc.) can include resisting and preventing the growth of the military-industrial complex (MIC) and fighting for peace as well. The US military machine has not only killed millions of innocents, but it’s also the fifth most polluting organization in the world, ranking far ahead of actual countries.

Shutting down America’s endless wars for resources would help stop the MIC’s pollution, and it would also create friendlier conditions among nations to cooperate and fight climate change together. Once everyone is on the same page and talking to each other, without fear of having an American nuclear bomb dropped on them, it would go a long, long way in solving all our planet’s problems.

Isn’t it better to take the “half-full glass” of optimism and run with it than to throw the glass on the floor in a fit of existential pique?

Some activists will hack into banks’ and corporations’ computer systems and take the power away from those who do the most harm by financing the resource wars that increase pollution. Relieving billionaires of their wealth and redistributing it to those who are in need will end most social ills, too. Once income inequality is addressed many good things will fall into place. In the US that would mean the end of homelessness, health care for all, and free education from the youngest to the oldest of students. Solving those issues could lead to the end of racism and classism. Less pain for everyone!

Some activists feel more comfortable working “within the system” or at least attempting to overthrow the corrupt system from within. They put time and effort into electoral politics and assisting political candidates and causes. Is this the most effective use of their time, energy, and intellect? The jury is still out.

One thing's for certain, to sit around and scream obscenities online at those who are involved in the electoral process is definitely a waste of time, energy, and intellect. Acting like a “troll” online does not solve anyone’s problems, let alone the planet’s. It doesn’t meet the challenges of ending wars or fighting for the environment or preventing income inequality, for instance. Perhaps the people who have tough skin that can handle the media smears and nasty hit-pieces in the press about their characters while they run for office are the ones most capable of inspiring the majority of populace to take action.

Human beings need honest and hard-working leaders because the game of life is tough and the goalposts seem so far away. Let’s not run the worthy leaders off the field before they’ve had their chance to convince us otherwise. But let's not be afraid to expose and run off the dishonest and unworthy leaders, either. Perhaps a two-pronged approach of direct action as well as electoral action is the wisest route to take after all?

Many people think they have the sole responsibility to fix what all needs fixing in the world. But that’s not true. We’ve got to do it together or not at all. The “not at all” happens while we wallow and criticize others’ optimism and actions. It only adds to our “empty glass” pain.

Taking action by becoming an activist is one way to fight the pain in our hearts and the depression that clouds our thought processes. When you focus your energies toward a common goal—tackling climate change, for instance—then you’re no longer alone in your pain. You no longer have the time to wallow and criticize needlessly. You’re busy doing something worthwhile, and you’ll feel better about yourself and others.

At the very least, you’ll have more things to criticize later when you give activism up and go back to the wallowing and destructive behaviors. So, why not give it a try? You’ve got nothing to lose.

Remember, the glass may not be “half full,” but it isn’t “half empty,” either. The glass is refillable. We’re still here. The planet is still here. We need to get to work now. It may sound hokey, but tomorrow is another day. Let’s use our glass wisely and together.


Another way to look at the necessity of activism:

Nuclear brinkmanship. Yemen. Iraq. Starvation sanctions deliberately targeting civilians. Deliberately imposed poverty crushing people to death at home and abroad. Arming neo-Nazis, violent jihadists and right wing counterrevolutionaries in foreign conflicts to advance geostrategic interests. Police brutality. The relentless push for online censorship. The nonstop barrage of propaganda to manipulate our minds. The increasingly loud drumbeats for hot war with Russia and China. The ecocidal nature of global capitalism.

All of these things are profoundly horrific, but people don’t really see them, because they’re being conditioned to look past them.

Our task, then, is to get them to look. Really look, and really see. In this way we can actively abnormalize what has been normalized, one pair of eyes at a time.--Caitlin Johnstone, Abnormalize the Empire

Related Articles and Interesting Links

The March to End Fossil Fuels: https://www.endfossilfuels.us/ 

The Choice https://continuousrev.blogspot.com/2023/08/the-choice.html 

Suicide and Crisis Lifeline--Call 988 in the US and for more info:   https://www.fcc.gov/sites/default/files/988-fact-sheet.pdf

Find a meeting of Emotions Anonymous (worldwide): https://emotionsanonymous.org/find-an-ea-meeting/general-information.html 

Montana Youth Turned The Tables And Won An Unprecedented Climate Victory https://popularresistance.org/montana-youth-turned-the-tables-and-won-an-unprecedented-climate-victory/

The Imperialist History Behind the Maui Fires https://www.leftvoice.org/the-imperialist-history-behind-the-maui-fires/

Environmentalists Owe An Enormous Debt To Julian Assange

The Media’s Role In Criminalizing Climate Protest

Japan to release wastewater from Fukushima nuclear plant into Pacific Ocean https://www.nationofchange.org/2023/08/25/japan-to-release-wastewater-from-fukushima-nuclear-plant-into-pacific-ocean/

The U.S. Military Is Driving Environmental Collapse Across the Planet https://www.leftvoice.org/the-us-military-is-driving-environmental-collapse-across-the-planet/

How Ohio’s Chamber of Commerce Killed an Anti-Pollution Bill of Rights https://theintercept.com/2019/08/29/lake-erie-bill-of-rights-ohio/

Abnormalize The Empire https://www.caitlinjohnst.one/p/abnormalize-the-empire

Unipolar Hegemony Is A Freakish Historical Aberration

Another Day, Another CIA Press Release Disguised As News

97 Percent of UAW Workers at Big 3 Automakers Vote to Authorize a Strike  https://truthout.org/articles/97-percent-of-uaw-workers-at-big-3-automakers-vote-to-authorize-a-strike/

Double Punishment: California Prisons Set Up Thousands of People to be Detained and Deported by ICE—Including Citizens

BRICS Doubles Share of Global Oil Production In Welcoming Six New Members at BRICS Summit in S. Africa

Ukraine’s Counteroffensive Has Failed—It’s Time to Reevaluate

Zelensky Cracks Down on Draft Dodgers, Forces Men to Fight & Die in This War https://scheerpost.com/2023/08/25/zelensky-cracks-down-on-draft-dodgers-forces-men-to-fight-die-in-this-war/

Coming soon, the first book from The Revolution Continues blog:  The Little Red Book of Revolution

How can you get your e-copy? The easiest way is to subscribe to The Revolution Continues on Substack as a paying subscriber. Choose what level you'd like to subscribe at online at: https://therevolutioncontinues.substack.com

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More details to come. Power to the people!


Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Shades of Suez

Our resident historian and all-around sharp and savvy person, Coast Watcher, returns to the blog with an in-depth look at the recent going-ons in Africa, particularly between Niger and their former colonizer, France. Once again, the more things change...the more history repeats itself?

Shades of Suez: How the situation in Niger reflects that of Egypt in 1956

by Coast Watcher


The British and French Empires had a long history of involvement in Egyptian affairs, mostly rooted in the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869.

The 19th century rulers of Egypt were ambitious men. Although nominally part of the Ottoman Empire, Egypt’s rulers had practiced autonomy for centuries. Beginning with the rule of Ottoman Viceroy Muḥammad ʿAlī, Egypt’s borders expanded into Syria and the Sudan, Arabia and Yemen. This expansionism by Muhammad and his successors came at a cost. By 1876 Egypt’s national debt owed to European powers exceeded its means to pay.

Egypt’s ruler, Khedive Ismāʿīl Pasha, tried to stave off bankruptcy by selling the national shares in the Suez Canal to Britain. The measure failed, and both countries established the Dual Control, a means by which Egyptian revenue and expenditure were directly supervised by French and British officials. Needless to say this imposition rankled with the ordinary Egyptians and their ruler. Exploiting popular unrest, Ismāʿīl ousted the Dual Control, but Britain and France persuaded the Ottoman Sultan—still nominal ruler of Egypt—to depose Ismāʿīl in favor of his son, Muhammad Tawfik.

A rising nationalist movement in the officer caste of the Egyptian military led to war with the British in 1882, but the movement failed in the face of superior force. Egypt remained a virtual British colony. Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in World War 1, it became a kingdom under British control from 1922 to 1952, with a promise of independence given by Britain in a treaty of 1936. After World War 2, the Egyptian drive to independence gave rise to a guerilla war that ousted the king in July of 1952. Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser became president.

Prolonged negotiations with Britain led to the 1954 Anglo-Egyptian Agreement, under which British troops were to be evacuated gradually from the canal zone. Nasser put in place an ambitious plan to construct a dam across the Nile at Aswan to regulate the annual flow that powers Egypt’s agriculture. He gained a promise from the United States to fund the project, but the US reneged on the deal. In turn Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal, intending that tolls and tariffs imposed on shipping using the Canal would pay for the project. Nasser was backed by the Soviet Union, who provided arms, equipment, and advisors to the Egyptian military.

This move promptly brought Egypt into conflict with Britain, France, and the new state of Israel. France was infuriated by intelligence suggesting Egypt was funding anti-colonial rebels in its colony of Algeria. Since Nasser had no time for the new state of Israel, their military had already skirmished with Egyptian forces along their shared frontier. Israel led the invasion of Egypt on October 29, 1956, followed two days later by Britain and France.

The allied forces took control of the canal zone, but the Anglo-French deployment delay gave time for the Soviet Union to react. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev was keen to exploit the moves toward Arab independence throughout the Middle East. He saw the invasion by the reactionary powers as a direct threat. Khrushchev in turn threatened to use nuclear weapons in Europe if the allied coalition did not withdraw.

Alarmed by this, US President Eisenhower warned the Soviets that threats of nuclear war were only exacerbating the situation. He and Secretary of State John F. Dulles told the coalition in turn that they had to withdraw from Egyptian territory or face economic sanctions. Since their economies were still suffering the after-effects of World War 2, Britain and France had to comply with American demands. All forces withdrew from Egypt by December 1956.

This established the United States and the Soviet Union as the dominant players on the world stage—a prestige the US, in particular, has trouble relinquishing.


Fast forward to the year 2023. A recent coup in the African country of Niger has caused an uproar in the West.

France moved in to what is now Niger in the late 19th century, formalizing control of the region in the following decade. This was conducted mainly to counter British and Italian imperial ambitions in the area of western Africa. In World War 2, the Niger colonial administration remained loyal to the French Vichy government, but following the war a small measure of self-governance was given to them. In 1960, Niger along with many other former French colonies attained full independence. French influence in Niger and elsewhere in its former African territories remains strong—but it is declining.

French military and local forces based in Chad and Burkina Faso were active in the past ten years during Operation Barkhane. This is an attempt to contain and eliminate the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda jihadist groups operating in the Maghreb and the Sahel, and also to counter growing Chinese and Russian influence on the continent. Needless to say, this aspect of French colonialism has the approval of the United States.

Some 5,650 French troops are deployed across the continent. Between 1,000 and 1,500 are stationed in Niger, mainly at the Niamey Airbase to control access to Niger's substantial gold and uranium deposits. France is rumored to be concentrating its African forces, possibly in preparation for an attack on Niger should the situation demand it.

Niger has played the part of a bulwark against instability and jihadist influence in the region. It’s also the location of the Americans' Airbase 201, a drone base staffed by 1,000 personnel. It is said to be the largest drone base in the world and key to the US operations across the Sahel. The recent coup by President General Abdourhamane Tchiani, that overthrew the unpopular President Bazoum, has put Western control of Niger's natural resources under threat. This has not gone unnoticed by the United States.

Indian historian and journalist Vijay Prashad observes:

Hours after the coup was stabilized, the main Western states—especially France and the United States—condemned the coup and asked for the reinstatement of Bazoum, who was immediately detained by the new government. But neither France nor the United States appeared to want to lead the response to the coup. Earlier this year, the French and US governments worried about an insurgency in northern Mozambique that impacted the assets of the Total-Exxon natural gas field off the coastline of Cabo Delgado. Rather than send in French and US troops, which would have polarized the population and increased anti-Western sentiment, the French and the United States made a deal for Rwanda to send its troops into Mozambique. Rwandan troops entered the northern province of Mozambique and shut down the insurgency. Both Western powers seem to favor a “Rwanda” type solution to the coup in Niger, but rather than have Rwanda enter Niger the hope was for ECOWAS—the Economic Community of West African States—to send in its force to restore Bazoum. --What's Happening in Niger is Far From a Typical Coup

Both France and the US are putting pressure on the African nations they still have a measure of control over. These nations are known collectively as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). ECOWAS is said to be amassing troops ready to intervene in Niger. Opposing them are suspended member nations of ECOWAS, backed by Russia. All the suspended members are ruled by military governments, and they were suspended for being in violation of ECOWAS rules on democracy and good government.

The neighboring countries of Guinea, Chad, the Central African Republic, and Algeria all want to see the situation resolved peacefully, but they oppose an invasion of Niger through fear the situation could escalate to a war that will engulf the entire west of Africa. As of this date, it looks like military intervention by ECOWAS forces is unlikely. There’s a great deal of push-back against the West from African nations, who rightly perceive the whole action against Niger to be nothing more than a colonial power’s attempt to hang on to the assets and a resource grab practiced—in France’s case—for centuries.

Jihadists are already exploiting the situation. Seventeen troops were killed in an ambush in the Tillaberi region near Burkina Faso recently. ECOWAS is fully aware of the threat Islamist extremism poses against their own order.

The United States announced last week that a new ambassador would soon head to Niger to help lead diplomacy aimed at reversing the coup. ECOWAS has already applied trade and financial sanctions, while France, Germany, and the United States have suspended their aid programs to Niger. The measures are being applied to one of the poorest countries in the world. Niger regularly ranks bottom of the United Nation’s Human Development Index.

It should be noted that France has substantial gold reserves. But Niger—possessing sizable gold deposits—has none. Niger possesses uranium deposits as well, uranium that is mined by French corporations to fuel France's nuclear power plants. President Macron of France is taking a harder line against Niger’s new government than the United States, but given America’s history of armed intervention, it is by no means given that the softly-softly approach will last for long.

And so it goes with history. Where once the US warned off another power (France) from exploiting an African country (Egypt), now it’s joining that power in opposing another, Niger. 

What has really changed in these last seven decades? Could it be that simply the hegemony of the West (particularly in the mind of the US government) is being threatened? Does the West fear that once they're kicked off the continent the BRICS nations will take their place, exercising control over Africa's vast natural resources? Possibly. But wouldn't it be better if Africa could be ruled, and its resources controlled, by Africans instead?


Related Articles:









BIO: Coast Watcher is an armchair historian with a vast knowledge of the West's plundering of other countries' mineral wealth, land, and people. When will this plundering end? Could the fall of the petrodollar and the rising multi-polar world of BRICS bring hope to the beleaguered African continent? Only time will tell.

Other interesting articles and links:

African Union Will Not Back ECOWAS Intervention in Niger https://scheerpost.com/2023/08/18/african-union-will-not-back-ecowas-intervention-in-niger/ 

Niger: A Coup against French Control and Dominance https://unac.notowar.net/2023/08/11/niger-a-coup-against-french-control-and-dominance/ 
What’s happening in Niger is far from a typical coup
No U.S./French-Backed Invasion of Niger!
As Senegal Organizes Troops To Invade Niger, Violence Mars Order At Home https://popularresistance.org/as-senegal-organizes-troops-to-invade-niger-violence-mars-constitutional-order/
War in Africa and War in the Americas: Accelerating the End of White World Supremacy  https://www.blackagendareport.com/war-africa-and-war-americas-accelerating-end-white-world-supremacy  
‘The Greatest Fighting Force in Human History’ – The Perpetual Wars You Aren’t Supposed to Notice https://scheerpost.com/2023/08/17/the-greatest-fighting-force-in-human-history-the-perpetual-wars-you-arent-supposed-to-notice/
How Much Aid Has the U.S. Sent Ukraine? https://www.cfr.org/article/how-much-aid-has-us-sent-ukraine-here-are-six-charts
Seymour Hersh: Summer of the Hawks
Big Brave Western Proxy Warriors Keep Whining That Ukrainian Troops Are Cowards https://www.caitlinjohnst.one/p/big-brave-western-proxy-warriors 
White House Downplays CNN Poll Showing Majority of Americans Oppose More US Aid for Ukraine https://edition.cnn.com/2023/08/09/politics/white-house-responds-cnn-poll/index.html
The Crucifixion of Julian Assange https://chrishedges.substack.com/p/the-crucifixion-of-julian-assange
Wealthiest 10% Responsible For 40% Of US Greenhouse Gas Emissions https://popularresistance.org/wealthiest-10-responsible-for-40-of-us-greenhouse-gas-emissions/ 
EPA Finds at Least 26 Million People in US Have Toxic 'Forever Chemicals' in Their Drinking Water https://www.commondreams.org/news/epa-pfas
Last week's post This Is What Empire Looks Like was translated into French and posted at the Zanzibar Freedom of Speech Substack: https://zanzibar.substack.com/p/voila-a-quoi-ressemble-lempire  (Isn't that awesome? If you read French, tell us how well it was translated. Thanks.)
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Coming soon, the first book from The Revolution Continues blog:  The Little Red Book of Revolution

How can you get your e-copy? The easiest way is to subscribe to The Revolution Continues on Substack as a paying subscriber. Choose what level you'd like to subscribe at: https://therevolutioncontinues.substack.com

If you'd like to help out in the meantime, buy me a coffee!  https://ko-fi.com/therevolutioncontinues

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