Translation: Ana for The Saker Latin-American Community
“Ecumenism” is a term that means “universalism” as an agreement on universally accepted values. That is, in religious terms it means interreligious dialogue on common minimum beliefs that unite all religions; in philosophical terms as a value system based upon common minimum values of humanism, and so on. Thus, as a “universal agreement” of humanity, it is considered as a step forward in the direction of progress.
But what is the “real” ecumenism in the world today? in the political arena? Today (perhaps with the exception of the UN nebula) there is no entity that can sentimentally link or identify an inhabitant of Burkina Faso with one of Finland; not even two or three strong transnational major entities that can develop a “cultural and political dialogue” among them (the West does not accept the OCS of Eurasia or the Latin American ALBA-CELAC to be considered as “equal”).
However, this does not mean that no “world cultures” or “universal vocation” exist. And what makes a particular culture become, in plain language, “global culture” or “universal”? The force. The economic, political and military one. This is what makes a particular culture an “international” or “global” one, it is the past or present hegemony of imperialist type (classical colonialism) or ideological (of this second type, we have, in philosophy the Greek antique times or the German one in more recent times; for early liberalism it was the French, at the time of the Russian it was socialism …). Nowadays, it is the West or “Europe” (including the US at least in the cultural field) the only culture with sufficient strength to become a “global” culture, that is, the only culture capable of being extended (or imposed?) in the world through its system of cultural values. The so called “Western culture” draws especially from the individualistic enlightenment of the Illuminism, liberalism, the industrial revolution (1), the market economy, colonialism and victory in the Cold War (less, despite the extended opinion that victory in World War II brought about the universal values which attempted to be established after the Second World War, such as anti-colonialism, the self-determination of people, and universalization of social rights were more a contribution of the USSR than of the West. On the other hand, as Italian thinker Domenico Losurdo has proved, Nazism is not alien to Western values, but rather conceived within this framework). Therefore, aseptically (undefined), when this type of “ecumenism” is invoked, we must pay close attention that we do not advocate total supremacy of the West. The concept of “ecumenism” without any limitation, was claimed by the imperialist ideologue Bernard Henri Lévy in this interview with the newspaper “El País” in 2014.
During the Cold War, the biggest excuse used to destabilize or weaken socialist countries was the defense of “democracy” or “freedom”; which makes sense, since at that time the Western brandished liberalism, while his enemy was anti-capitalist and anti-liberal. However, today, anything that can get into the concept of “Human Rights” is used, any progressive cause: in Yugoslavia was self-determination, elsewhere the “fight against corruption” or “fighting authoritarianism” elsewhere “popular revolts” and so on. Today, the imperialist interventions are not made only in the name of “anti-communism” (a concept with conservative dyes), but a range of progressive concepts used to justify such interventions. And who would defend these causes or progresses better than the Western powers? This is the imperialistic root upon which “ecumenism” is based today. As Jean Bricmont says, we live in the era of “humanitarian imperialism”. According to the Belgian anti-imperialist critic Bricmont, the “humanitarian imperialism” is based on the criterion of Western states to possess a supposed “moral superiority” that would enable them to intervene anywhere in the world.
According to the Belgian Jean Bricmont, “humanitarianism” began to be used for military purposes in the nineteenth century. At that time, it was not used as a main argument, but “civilization” was (peoples to colonize were presented as “barbarians”), as well as “trade”, according to the more cynical or ‘honest’ ones. Already then, among some liberal Illuminist philosophers of the time, the concept of “humanitarian war” began to appear; for example, one of the philosophical fathers of liberalism, John Stuart Mill, defends it. One of the most important politicians of the British Empire, Lord Salisbury, defined the war against the Boers of “humanitarian war”. However, it was with during the Cold War when the “humanitarian war” or “humanitarian interventionism” peaked. Today, there are two distinct factors: first a single global ideology (resistant countries do not form a single coherent ideological bloc) and on the other side after decolonization, it cannot be claimed that wars aim “to civilize”; therefore, instead of “civilizing” phrases like “intervene on behalf of the people” or “help on its way to democracy” are used instead.
Before we continue with this issue, we will make an interval to look at one example, 1999. In 1999, NATO began a war against Serbia, bombing Belgrade and other cities from the air, thereby punishing the Serb population, because Serbia did not accept the “peace proposal” established by NATO in Kosovo (“peace” which opened the door to NATO’s troops, something which reminds of the Austrian ultimatum of 1914). After 70 days, Serbia relinquished (NATO’s representative Martti Ahtisaari said: “as you do not accept, we will bomb Belgrade down to sea-level”); those bombings killed about five thousand Serbs (mostly civilians). That war was quite justified in the West, as “a war for principles.” For instance, the spiritual leader of anticommunism and former president of Czechoslovakia Vaclav Havel,said the following during that same 1999: “In this war, NATO does not act on material interests. This war has been made by humanitarian concerns. In this war we have prioritized the principles of state sovereignty. That makes it legitimate to attack Yugoslavia”. Afterwards, he also said: “we have put the rights of the people above States” (2). This aspect was well captured by the prestigious Serbian journalist Miroslav Lazanski is his article “From Gernika to Paris“: “On behalf of supra-nationality (…) Europe has bombed an old European city (Belgrade). On behalf of the supranational Europe, it destroyed state borders and sovereignty of States (…) The supranational Europe is a murderous idiocy “(3).
We should note that before NATO’s bombing campaign, there was no ethnic cleansing against the Albanians in Kosovo, which was already reported by the OSCE. According to the OSCE (remember that the OSCE is also supported by Western powers) in Kosovo “serious violations of human rights” were given, but no genocide; and the perpetrators of such violations were on two sides, not just one. In 1998, according to the UK government, Albanian armed groups killed more people in Kosovo than law enforcement in Yugoslav and Serbia, and that was confirmed on March 24th, 1999 by the Minister of Defense of the United Kingdom George Robertson. Once the NATO bombing succeeded in forcing Serbian troops out from Kosovo, then the real ethnic cleansing against Serbs began: as denounced by the British newspaper “The Independent” in 1999, out of the 40,000 Serbs living in Pristina, the Kosovo capital, only 400 were left. In order to justify intervention in Kosovo, once and again the alleged “slaughter” in the village of Racak by the Serbs on January 15, 1999 was used (according to Serb troops as well as two forensic teams -Jugoslav and Belarussian- there was no slaughter, but a shootout between armed Albanian militants and Serbian troops, resulting in the death of several people. The report on Racak that the EU commissioned to a Finnish team, was not published and kept under secret). But let’s make the question: can Racak be taken as an example of “planned ethnic cleansing”? The answer is no. Even if admitted that there was a “slaughter”, there was no other like the “slaughter” of Racak. Thus, from January to March 1999, the fighting continued as in the pre-Racak phase. The same German Foreign Ministry said that “there is no massive persecution in Kosovo against Albanians by the mere fact of being Albanian”. According to Nicholas Wheeler: “Serbs did not cause more than 500″ of the 2000 deaths in Kosovo during the year before the bombings. Moreover, according to the specialist in the Balkans, Robert Hayden “the bombing has caused in three weeks more dead among Serbs than the previous three months of clashes between civilians from both ethnic groups, but no one says this is a humanitarian catastrophe”. All these data “have seen the light late”, or have been condemned to oblivion; since the “humanitarian imperialism” or ecumenism achieved through propaganda what he meant: that “everyone knows that the Serbs were doing the worst ethnic cleansing after the Second World War.” This message, repeated over and over again, in Goebbels style achieves its goal: that the “humanitarian imperialism” is accepted and that “the very people” requires that the Western powers “establish Human Rights there”, or “help those there “and so on. The Kosovo was not a unique case: Blair stated that in the “mass graves of Saddam Hussein” 400,000 Iraqi corpses were found. Gaddafi was also said to have “bombed his own people”. And also that Assad “made chemical attacks” or “he suppressed peaceful demonstrations with tanks.” This is false, of course, but it once had its logic: in repeating such lies, it was made believed that that the situation was untenable from the point of view of human rights, so on one hand the speech claiming it legitimized the intervention, it was “morally necessary”, and secondly, the belief that the occupation force “despite the mistakes, are more humane than the previous situation” stretched. These two impressions or beliefs are necessary for the ideology of ecumenism. The following sections describe the main actors and the thought of this ideology.
The priests of humanitarian imperialism
As already mentioned, the main expression of this hegemonic ecumenism in the field of thought is embodied by the French philosopher Bernard Henri Levy, someone who is able to take everything criticized by Bricmont and give it a positive sense (the term “ecumenism” I have borrowed from him). Bernard Henri Lévy has become known in recent years as a promoter of the coups of the West against the sovereignty of Libya, Syria and Ukraine. Still, the coup career of Bernard Henri Lévy is quite extensive. For example, in 1985 he called for intervention in Nicaragua against the Sandinistas, arguing that “The Sandinistas were a totalitarian party that aimed to establish a single Marxist-Leninist entity in Latin America.” They are also known efforts in the 90s to divide Yugoslavia and to introduce Muslim nationalists in Bosnia as “multiethnic non-nationalist” (it is known an interview he did in 1992 in Sarajevo “under the bombs”, which was revealed to be a montage (4)). Henri Levy perfectly explains his imperialist idea in this interview, already mentioned, of 2014, where he clearly states that he considers “Europe as the only ecumenical civilization” and is therefore forced to “intervene in world politics” if it wants to keep alive “the idea of Europe” (5). That is, according to Henri Lévy, Europe has, on behalf of “ecumenism”, the right and even the obligation to intervene in any State; since for the Zionist Bernard Henri Lévy, any system that is outside the “European Ecumenical ideology” it is in itself totalitarian.
Another of the fallacies of the ideology of “ecumenism” is seen more clearly if we focus on this contradiction: the values are universal and “universalizable”, but “the universalizers” are not; to this category belong only those who have the strength for it (what Marx described “mainstream society” in this area is represented by the “international community”, that is, in this case the Western powers). It is in the hands of these powers where the ideological power lies to define what these universal values are (since after the Cold War “there is no other possible system” according to Bernard Henri Lévy, “ours is the only ecumenical civilization”), and in addition to it all, they possess the military force. What this means is, Cuba’s vision of Human Rights (health and free education, socialist economy …) is not the prevailing view today within the “international community”. In the same way, Brazil or Chad cannot define what “universal values” are, and can even they could define them, nor can they impose them, because they have no strength for it. Therefore, “ecumenism”; or imposition of universal values as BHL praises and Bricmont and Lazanski denounce, is the extension of the monopoly of state violence (of the ruling class) beyond their state borders; it is the logical consequence that follows after tearing down what may be the last barrier against the international prevailing violence: national sovereignty.
If the Machiavelli (or Stuart Mill) of imperialist “ecumenism” is BHL, then his Medici (or Lord Salisbury) is the Hungarian-born US billionaire George Soros (6). Soros, after a career as a financial speculator (among other feats sank the Thai economy after speculating against bhat), now presents himself as a philanthropist, sponsoring all kinds of “good causes” for the world. Although Soros primarily directs the OpenSociety Institute and the discussion forum OpenDemocracy: (a list of sponsors of OpenDemocracy can be seen here: the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, some European states …) extends its shadow by hundreds of NGOs, think tanks, “civic action groups” and so on throughout the world. A feature of Soros is to fund any “good cause” if that cause is also “good for imperialism” or contributes to undermine or sow discord between anti-imperialists (eg. in Syria, Soros funds the “White Helmets” an organization that in theory “rescues corpses,” but is in reality a civil organization of Al-Nusra Front …. although facing the public does charitable work by “rescuing corpses and wounded”). Soros’ work is virtually identical to the one of NED (National Endowment for Democracy) launched by the US State Department “To openly do the work that the CIA used to do under cover”; only Soros does that work “independently”; no apparent ligations with the state, or “philanthropically” (as considered by himself, but the links between Soros and CIA are not limited to ideology, also back to yesteryear, when Soros helped subversion against Socialist states in the late 80’s). Soros cubs are quite special: one of his cubs is the “International Crisis Group”, where “senior experts”, politicians, journalists and economists (all Europe-US supporters gather, to see click here,here and here); but otherwise finances a diversity of “dissident” or “progressive” groups, almost all by the Open Society Foundation (eg. funds numerous movements around the so-called Arab Spring, some groups supposedly “critical of Israel” (which practically intend to reduce the Palestine problem to a problem of 1967 borders, forgetting the occupation and ethnic cleansing of 1948), environmental groups, pro-Human Rights groups, etc.). The truth is that Soros runs a real International, that is, an internationally coordinated network in favor of a doctrine (but in this case, instead of gathering parties together it gathers “social movements”, and instead of defending socialism, defends the anti-socialism and the destruction of the sovereignty of States that do not agree with the NWO).
The backbone of the International Soros Network are the different centers for “non-violent action”. It is known that all these activists pro- “nonviolent action” were the vanguard of the “color revolutions”. The relationship between these “democratic revolutions” and Soros is extensive and flagrant. Soros finances since long the Albert Einstein Institute of “nonviolent action” theorist Gene Sharp (this theorist is the author of two manuals for the “color revolutions” which have been translated into several languages). All these “non-violent” Westernizing subversion groups were inspired by the organization Otpor! from Serbia (which was from the beginning funded by both Soros and the Albert Einstein Institute). Soros has also funded all other subsequent color revolutions after the 2000 Otpor Revolution!; both in Georgia in 2003, as Ukraine in 2004, as well as recently the Euromaidan (on Euromaidan more here). After these revolutions, Soros is still related to the organization formerly known as Otpor!, now called “CANVAS” (Center for Application of Nonviolent Action and Strategies). CANVAS is directed by Srdja Popovic and Slobodan Djinović, ex-leaders of Otpor!, now devoted to “train” activists who want to make “color revolutions” in their countries, for example in Venezuela (7),Belarus and Vietnam. CANVAS has worked with “activists” from more than 50 countries; among others in Egypt (in 2011) and Lebanon (in 2008). CANVAS members have also appeared in the protest movement Occupy Wall Street (8).
In addition to this, between the latest campaigns by Soros is a destabilization against the Government of Syria. Earlier we talked about “human rights” as an excuse for imperialist interventions and Soros gives us an excellent example: just before starting the war in Syria, in 2010, gave 100 million dollars to the organization Human Rights Watch (100 out of the 128 million euros that HRW received in 2008,were donated by the Soros Foundation). And not only that, but the “International Soros” also supports Amnesty International. These two organizations have played an important role in the provocation against Syria, tried to provoke military intervention against the government of Bashar al Assad. For example, in 2012 Amnesty International began collecting signatures “to end the repression in Syria” (meant is the repression of the government, about Salafists head-cutting activities nothing was said), besides a campaign began in favor of journalists “dead in prison” (and found later alive, as the case Zeinab al-Hosni), also it was said that at hospitals “beating of the wounded in demonstrations against Assad” had occurred, and the number of killed in the initial protests by security forces were inflated, as well as Russia was asked to take position against Assad (information about it here). Human Rights Watch is on the same path; for example, stated the Houta etching was conducted by the Army of the Government of Syria (another source here); they also gave false information about the bombing of Syria. The last organization “pro-Human Rights” to come out, the White Helmets (or Syrian Civil Defense, about whom we have already written here), is also sponsored by Soros and it is clear that this organization is another excellent instrument of propaganda, as the other two. Besides being the civilian arm of Al-Nusra Front, the White Helmets have manipulated photographs and written false reports about the bombing of Homs (and if that were not enough, make appeals for foreign intervention).
Syria is not the only state that is in the crosshairs of Soros today. Nor are the human rights organizations the only Trojan Horse Soros has. This magnate uses all kinds of lobbyists, always in favor of “ecumenism” and against resistance (be it in the form of States or movements). Before we mentioned the involvement he had in the Euromaidan, but his career in Ukraine has not ended there. On October 29, 2014, when the People’s Republics were under threat, Soros called for “uniting Europe” and “deal with Russia” … to support economically and politically Poroshenko’s Junta. But the Soros animosity against Russia is not limited to the Ukrainian conflict, as in Russia itself he has made numerous attempts to change the government. In Russia he has supported both liberal opposition politicians (eg oligarch Khodorkovsky), as nationalists (Alexei Navalny), and even groups of anarcho-feminist action like Pussy Riot. Russia has had to ban companies of the Soros Foundation. Soros himself is an expert in co-opting groups: “left”, “progressive” or “pro-rights”; for example in Bolivia or Ecuador he has supported groups assumed indigenous or environmentalists against plans for development of Latin American sovereigntists Governments groups ( “defense of indigenous” … to deprive indigenous technological development; this is “green imperialism”); in the post-Euromaidan Ukraine publicizes some pseudo-anarchists (Denys Gorbach) or workers union members; to try to prove that in the Ukrainian Maidan “there are also leftists” (and thus un-ideologize the conflict, reducing the causes down to an alleged “Russian expansionism”). In these cooptation works, it is paradigmatic what was done with the “pro-Palestinian” BDS and Electronic Intifada organizations: this Zionist uses and promotes groups supposedly pro-Palestinian in order to deflect the real objectives of the Palestinian resistance and to limit the struggle of Palestine to issues of “apartheid” (rather than dispute the legitimacy of the occupation of 1948), to diffuse the claim of the 1948 refugees, and to promote the “two-state solution.” That image of “left” or “pro-rights” is essential for the “ecumenical evangelization” because that states that “progressive values” come from the hand of imperialism. “Progressives of the world, come to the West, we will protect you, as you cannot do it yourselves”.
It is mandatory in the campaigns promoted by Soros for campaigners or “activists” to present a “progressive” image and that such movements are not contrary to the geopolitical goals of the West (the real subversive campaigns are directed only against states like Bolivia, Venezuela or Russia). On the other hand, we have seen that Soros attempts to co-opt the “just cause” to divert it, to “reform” and wrest its potential. And doing so, funding both the summits of the powerful world leaders, as well as platforms and campaigns of various “progressive” activists in practice he accomplishes two things: firstly consensus around Occidentalism (extend Western democracy to all the world, or that activists of third world countries have the West as an example to emulate), and annihilate the class struggle, as both ruling classes (the financial elite and the big bourgeoisie, Soros himself is part of the Economic Forum in Davos) as well as potential revolutionaries (the “activists” of the street as protesters) would be united in the same goal; that is, in the “ecumenism of values” (where there is no room for class struggle).
Avaaz, the highest stage of “imperialist ecumenism”
The latest attempt this “ecumenism” brings to perfection, and therefore the highest point of perversion, is the NGO Avaaz. This organization (Avaaz in Persian means “Voice”) aims, as stated on their website, “mobilize citizens around the world to reduce the distance between the leaders and citizens (…) by gathering many small efforts via the Internet “. The idea of these campaigns is to make pressure on various world leaders to take a decision or uphold a “cause”. Yet the same Avaaz admits that “there is only one professional group that drives all campaigns“. This means that although the “members” have the illusion of “starting” cybernetic campaigns or have “a voice” (or button) on them, a professional group controls, selects and filters these “participatory” campaigns (we will later extend on the meaning of that “participation”). Thus, as Avaaz defines itself as a “global group (…) thanks to the Internet”, members can participate “in any country in the world” (again, ecumenism and the destruction of national sovereignty?). Moreover, although Avaaz states that “money only comes from its members” and that “donors who give money to Avaaz are not entitled to any greater influence on it” or even that “it does not receive money from corporations“; this is a trap. Avaaz finances grow continuously (therefore someone sees them as an effective tool for their plans): received $ 6.7 million in 2010 and$ 14.5 million in 2013; and it is nearly impossible that such a great amount comes only from a crowdfunding campaigns, “despite being a community,” so large (Avaaz does not break down its data). Avaaz founders are “NGOs” and “companies that support activism”; i.e. annexes of States and large companies. That means, it is a group supported by the Soros’ Open Society Foundation -and similar organizations, although this is one is not an officially recognized “enterprise” (Soros was already financing the “action groups” MoveOn.org and Res Publica, before these funded Avaaz). For example, the publicity company Purpose Inc. (founded by Avaaz Ricken Patel and David Madden), which together with the Soros Open Society Foundation organized The Syrian Campaign (where a special starring role was granted to the White Helmets / Syrian Civil Defense -of whose falsehood we have already spoken-) is closely related to Avaaz (9). The leader of Avaaz Ricken Patel clearly admitted in 2008: “The fellow traveler we have found for the Burma campaign … is the Open Society Foundation.”
Avaaz is an organization based on “clicktivism”. Thus, it appears that any person, wherever he is, can make his voice heard with just a “click”. So, anyone on the Avaaz web can join a request that is already online, or you can start a new request (to stop a concrete persecution, advocate for the rights of a particular minority, defend a particular freedom, protect a forest, condemn pollution …). But that does not mean that all requests are given equal importance. Although the leader Ricken Patel of Avaaz says “we do not have ideology, we were just born to close the gap between desires and power centers of the world”, the truth is that they do have an ideology. And that “gap closure” has its meaning: Avaaz makes many requests and campaigns to “put pressure on the leaders,” but it’s only “valid interlocutors” are the leaders of the West (the only bona fide requests are directed to). The presidents of Venezuela, Iran, Syria … are no “partner”, they will not be not treated as such, instead aimed to abate. It may be that Avaaz, in areas where a social consensus exists, starts a campaign “for climate” or “against privatization of Company X” (always limited to a reformist agenda), provided the goal would not be to attack the Empire or to change socioeconomic relations between classes or states, but to “recycle” the world’s dominant system (false opposition and “clean” campaign). However, wherever there is a political-ideological struggle, Avaaz supports the reactionaries. “In favor of good causes, provided that the good cause favors imperialism”.
We have several examples of this. In recent years, Avaaz has been very active with protests against Libya and Syria. In the case of Libya, they gathered a million signatures for the UN to declare Libya as “no-fly zone”. This request denied the legitimate government of Libya the opportunity to defend themselves, and as seen have brought the victory of the armies supported by foreign powers and the current chaos. Avaaz has not asked for any pardon. In the case of Syria, they have taken the lie of ” Assad’s chemical attack ” to start the campaign of provocation against Syria (in 2012 defended openly the “international intervention“) and to also ask for an “No Fly zone in Syria” (10). Against Syria they also used the alleged “massive rape perpetrated by the Army” (we have not heard about these massive violations, nor Avaaz’s petition to the imperialists to not intervene in Syria). That was in June 2013 (11). In 2014 Avaaz called the arms embargo against Syria. Avaaz has also played in the Latin American field, prompting protests against Morales.
But, who are the people who form the “only one global group” Avaaz? To begin with, we must say thatAvaaz has only 16 “workers” (this is the number of “militants” that go beyond a “click”). These are what really make the line, while the gigantic community is restricted to “clicktivism”. The founder and head of Avaaz Ricken Patel charges $ 190,000 a year, so it is unclear what kind of business “clicktivism” is. Patel is a member of the International Crisis Group founded by Soros, and besides that, has worked for the Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and Ford (source: Wikipedia) Foundation. Another boss is Tom Perriello, US Congressman by Virginia (Democratic Party). Perriello has made a career in the US State Department and the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. As a congressman has supported the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Perriello has also worked as advisor to the occupying army in Afghanistan. As stated in this source, Avaaz has its origin in the organizations created to support the Obama campaign (and sponsored by Soros) MoveOn and Res Publica (Avaaz was created following the merger of these two organizations). Therefore, we can say that Avaaz is created or controlled 100% by the US Democratic Party, which acts within the system’s organization. Moreover, we must bear in mind that in the era of Obama, the Democratic leader has maintained in office numerous neocon warmongers of the Bush era. That is, under Obama the Democratic Party has returned to the old doctrine of “globalization of rights” (if it ever was abandoned), that is, to increase the interventionist trend. Avaaz is placed in this trend, as it helps give a “progressive” image to such interventions. ‘It’s really wonderful this “global democracy” filtered by the political representatives of the powerful!!
The Avaaz model of militancy does not ask for more than a click from its “members”. This system of apparent democracy actually promotes political irresponsibility, because to participate in a worldwide campaign they do not need anything else, either active militancy, nor ideological formation, or any responsibility; because “everything is decided by an amorphous mass”. According to data provided from the Avaaz itself, most participants are people belonging to the upper-middle class of strong First World economies (i.e. countries where people have more resources to connect to the Internet) and middle-class or upper-middle-class (the great majority of people in the Avaaz community are, in this order, teachers, students, employees of technology, doctors and NGO workers; workers of the assembly sector such as laborers, publicans or janitors are far from the rank). The word “Avaaz” means voice, but this organization, by offering more voice to those who already have voice (the upper classes of the West) achieves to silence the voices of others. That is, the “democratization of external relations” is in practice a political operation aimed to erase international borders and enables the community of “financially stable” First World white men to decide everything (voting, of course). This is a perversion of democracy, the highest stage of imperialistic “ecumenism” turned into “democratic legitimacy” for the usual imperialists. Take an example, on the aforementioned case Avaaz campaigned against Libya’s sovereignty by pushing to declare Libya a “no fly zone”. In September 2012, a year after the murder of Gaddafi, he had 923,968 Avaaz members in the US but only 3,167 in Libya. Today Avaaz has 2,263,179 members in the US and 31,798 in Libya. As a result of the “global democracy activism” proposed by Avaaz, a majority of US citizens can decide on Libya … above the Libyans themselves!! In this case, it is not only the idea that “democracy” or “progressive values” come from the arm of the West, as Soros believes; but brought to them on time, voting … even voting destruction or looting of their country.
In Avaaz we see many similarities with the “color revolutions”, Otpor style! (Now KEDS). Both are practically a major pawn of the theory of fourth generation warfare. According to the theory of the war of fourth generation, in these asymmetric wars (where factors beyond the regular armies are particularly important because of the “asymmetricity” of war) population and its “acceptance” (or ” benevolent ” indifference) is of paramount importance. In such wars, the imperialist powers do not follow the classical scheme to decide first, and then intervene actively to justify that decision; but they present their actions as defensive actions of a preexisting “struggle” in favor of “democracy”, “peace” or “values”. In this regard, the “color revolutions” of organizations Otpor style! and Avaaz campaigns play the same role. However, there are some differences: the color revolutions only act in one country, while Avaaz has as its “field” the whole world. Another difference is that the imagery of the “color revolutions” is the insurrection, while Avaaz is “free discussion”, the “take the floor” and “Internet agora” (12). But after all, they both have the same goal: the extension of imperialism and make it easily “salable”, i.e., the manipulation of anti-imperialist consciousness using “ideological” masking of imperialism.
The ideological crisis of the left, ecumenism and imperialism
In addition, we can stand here in front of a very serious problem. This problem is brought by the post-May 1968 ideology, which became hegemonic throughout the left-thinking. Because of this ideology, everything belonging to the “old world”, including national sovereignty has been cut off, howsoever … without bringing any alternative. This is, in practice, it has opened the way to the ideological nihilism.
In a previous article we mentioned two things. On the one hand, the “color revolutions” promoted by Soros created ideological confusion on the left, as they cleverly mask the coups, that is, by using the imagery of the revolutionary movements -barricades in the streets, songs, slogans, rioting against the police, thus delighting some of the left activists, achieving that the left would feel identified with that imaginary. On the other hand, that part of the current left repeated the mistake of the Russian Mensheviks, which is, believe that “without Europe there is no revolution (or transformation)”. This is, believe that all the revolutions come from Europe or Europeanized a particular society, never from a country outside the West or their value system (“reactionary cultures cannot generate progressive political projects”, and many believe that cultures that are not in the Western civilization are reactionary cultures in itself). Thus, there is a discursive way walking to justify the “Europeanization of a society”.
As explained by Jean Bricmont, critic of the imperialism, from the 60s on, the left stopped prioritizing the “distribution of wealth and social property” as well as their “attitude against imperialism” in favor of “defense of democracy, human rights and the rights of minorities”. This leaves us with two main problems; 1) that the defense of human rights or minorities has recently become abstract (hence aesthetic), and 2) on the other hand, this rhetoric leads us to fully assume the vision of the West on “Human Rights” as well as nesting different human rights. According to an example of Bricmont, in today’s Europe the industrial revolution and economic transformation occurred before achieving what the ideology of human rights defined as “completely democratic states”. That is, economic prosperity, which is the main legitimating argument of capitalism has its roots in a previous frame to democratization. So why should we condemn on behalf of “Human Rights” states such as Syria, Libya, North Korea or Cuba and its social achievements? Who has the right to set priorities to these states? (13)
We must also bear in mind that especially after 1968 (I speak about a historical period, not the effervescence of the struggles of the moment), the European radical left underwent two transformations: first, “complete” the class struggle with other struggles (the which led to set aside the class struggle), and on the other hand the “revolution of consciousness”. That is, the “personal coherence” was praised over social projects or material realities. This has left countless problems for the left, especially when the imperialism outlined the “trap of consciousness”: What to do when in the sovereign State X, the rights of group Y are neglected? (And when the imperialism says they are “neglected”, it has great means to make believe that).
To this, we can add another ideological “tic” of the 1968-movement: its anti-Sovietism. When these young people matured and put aside their Maoism, Trotskyism, or whatever other stream, that “tic” still remained, whereas, that well known adage: “in our left also crimes were committed”. Afterwards follows the coda: “beware of a radical movement that seized power, most likely it is a totalitarian one.” The death of utopias turned old utopians into monsters. At the end of the day, these people found a way to have their sins of the past forgiven in “humanitarian” imperialism, “We keep our commitment but changed labels to our enemy.” This is a way they still consider themselves “progressive”; by calling anti-imperialism “regressive” and they are able to be revolutionary and pro-system at the same time (the same can be said today about the radical left who condemns Marxism-Leninism: out of fear of “Stalinism” they agree with the right).
Following Marx, the Hibernian-French thinker Gearoid Ó Colmáin has said in this article that maybe instead of defending “Human Rights”, the left should defend “social rights”. To Ó Colmáin there is no concept as “human” in the abstract, so the concept of “Human Rights” is abstract (and contradicts the class struggle), since the human does not exist beyond the class or group. Therefore, behind the “Human Rights”, are “the essential rights for society to be as it is today understood” (that is, the rights of the individual human according to the bourgeois society … once again here we find liberalism that came with the rise of the bourgeoisie same social class risen to power by the “ecumenism” of the West). “Social rights” are instead specific rights for a class. As an example, the Parliament of Syria and its Constitution advocate a minimum of social rights (for example, according to the Syrian Constitution, strategic sectors must be under state control, in the Parliament of Syria there must be a minimum of workers and peasants, etc.). An intervention against Syria, in addition to subjugate Syria, will it bring some benefit to social classes defended today by the Syrian state? What class will benefit from the restoration of capitalism in Cuba? Would it benefit the Slav workers the destruction of anti-liberal and anti-oligarchic Novorossiya?
Therefore, we must retrieve a class point of view, since that is the best defense against deceptive ideology of “Human Rights”. According to Zoltan Zigedy in this issue of “rights”; the “right to property”, established by the ruling classes, is particularly important (in liberal democracies of the nineteenth century it was common for the vote were restricted to the owners). According to Zigedy, this “individualization of rights” is a product of the rise of the bourgeoisie; that is, after the fall of feudalism, when trying to apply certain “legal equality” among humans, the “human” is taken as custodian of certain individual rights, by the mere fact of being “human” (rather than by birth within an estate). Of course, the “right to property” and its derivatives (such as the right to inheritance) are contemplated within these rights. According to Zigedy, precisely here lies the problem of human rights, whether those rights are individual, how can they be reconciled with a “social contract” or the collective sense? If human rights are individual and universal, how can they marry different decisions made by governments? For example, for a state that is at war or under threat, for a State that seeks to protect its social property or social education or culture right, it may be necessary to prevent certain publication of opinion against that State. The “human right” to own property pierces the right to social property and vice versa (perhaps because of this Human Rights organizations call for “economic reforms” as indispensable) (14). Today, the ideology of “humanitarian imperialism” of “Human Rights” systematically prioritizes some rights over others. According to Zigedy, the ideology of “Human Rights” raises another trap here, since all (except perhaps life) “human rights” need some form of “social organization” to which they apply. And social organizations all exist within a reality of social classes which they cannot transcend (at least while social classes exist). As Lenin said, “there can be no equality between the exploiter and the exploited, either one of them commands” In a context of class struggle it is quite normal that some “human rights” of different kind collide with each other. As explained here by Jule Goikoetxea, law and rights regulate the current field of the class struggle, that is, capitalism. Therefore, the totemmization of “Human Rights” as we are used in Europe is not credible, since it is out of reality, and the idea that Europe is the homeland of “pure human rights” is totally unacceptable as well as the imperialist idea of exporting those rights. There are no universal “human rights” that transcend classes and nations and are uchronic in time; since they are the product of different social groups.
Today, the two major vectors to which the individual’s identity is ascribed are the class and nation (or state). These two vectors have been weakened after 1968, partly because the ideology of class struggle is taken by “obsolete” or “totalitarian”, and secondly, because much of the current left has embraced the ideology of “united Europe”. As for a type of illustrated left, there are neither nations nor national problems, the existence of any nation is an obstacle, and therefore national sovereignty is a concept. Also, if the “internationalization” is done in the name of “democratic values” then even better (of course this is necessary to clarify who would be under the hegemony of the “supranational entities” and the “international community”). It is not uncommon that the most important “ecumenist” ideologues today (Daniel Cohn-Bendit, André Glucksmann, Joschka Fischer, Bernard Henri Lévy) have been members of the 68-generation. These people have taken the two 68 conceptions which last until today; one, the absolute condemnation of sovereignty as “reactionary nationalism” and the other a manipulated “internationalism”; an “internationalist” idea used to spread their ideas throughout the world (although now at the service of the ruling class). These ideas, in favor of the “supranational entities”, even though they bring a concentration of capital and income, are majority in the “academic left” or “media”, as Jule Goikoetxea complaints; and from that vantage point they have lost all contact with reality (the idealization of globalization, has brought the defense of, or at best, indifference to the destruction of the brakes to liberal globalization). Moreover, the current left is defenseless against this ideology, and often it is the radical left who craves its own participation in the feast of intervention (from their perspective, of course, but participates in the feast).
This radical left, who has lost its orientation of class politics on behalf of the “universal values”, who participates in the defamation of sovereignists or anti-imperialist leaders (that is, of those attacked by the West); sometimes for ideological purity, sometimes driven by Eurocentrism, and most times because once the aspects of class went forgotten, unconsciously they make common cause with the abstract rhetoric of “Human Rights”. This radical “co-opted” left have certain common features: A) this radical left moves in the wake of media and political priests of the West. That is, if for example it is Assad who is in the crosshairs of the West, makes public its equidistance between the two, or criticism of Assad using the slogan “neither NATO nor Assad”. If after NATO intervene directly or indirectly in Syria, it could achieve to oust Assad (hopefully not!), then these leftists would soon forget the situation left behind by NATO in Syria or to continue the struggle against NATO, as Asier Blas complaints in this article. B) The radical left, which has not managed a single victory in Europe since 1990 (with the partial exception of Novorossiya, which does not call for consensus among all the radical left), does not even have the ability to create an own project; because it is totally imbued with an “anti” ideology. The analysis has been replaced by desire. And otherwise he has internalized the idea that the “power”, all power is bad or suspicious in itself. Thus, lost contact with empirical projects, has been permeated an idealistic “opposition”, that is, it is enough to protest against something, or be against itself, or say “neither imperialism nor X: Revolution” to believe that weaken or overthrow this leader or that will bring the “real revolution, not helped by the West” or influence it. The truth is that “neutrality” or say that “both sides are evil” does not help the revolution desired by the radical left (on what forces is it based? We do not know!), but influences the groups in the West which mobilize against war; because it limits the potential of these (making them enter into discussions, making them lose credibility, etc.). For the radical left has lost perspective it is very comfortable to attack anything, and then feeling carefree. C) The radical left has missed the point of view of class. Because of that, behind every imperialist aggression does not see the class interests behind it, or analyze on that base, but limits all to a “power struggle”. D) Because it has lost any real notion of internationalism. This is, internationalism is not to impose one’s ideas to others, but to fight for equality of nations and for the emancipation of the working class. So we should ask ourselves what benefits brings to us to overthrow states that in the global balance favor the Bolivarian Revolution or Socialist Cuba.
Today, in the politics of the left, the axis of class is missing (or is relegated). Moreover, the traditional internationalism has been replaced by the BHL “ecumenism”. To recover the tradition of class struggle on the one hand, and self-determination of nations in its fullest sense on the other, is absolutely necessary to us.
(1) From this cannot be deducted that the author of this article is contrary to the Industrial Revolution, nor that he supports the neo-Malthusian environmentalism. Still, one cannot deny that the current capitalism in Western countries would be impossible without the Industrial Revolution. This does not mean that the signer is against all historical progress that was brought by capitalism, and is in favor of limiting socialism up to pure “anti-capitalism”. On the contrary, he is in favor of extending the Industrial Revolution to the third world and developing autonomous countries, and therefore support socialist, progressive and anti-imperialist countries to promote industrial development. The author agrees with Lenin on the assessment made of the technical progress of capitalism as valid for socialism.
One could argue that if the Industrial Revolution is to be considered as part of the “Western values” and that if the ideological basis of Western imperialism is ecumenism, then, why does the West not attempt to extend the Industrial Revolution to the Third World? Here we realize that ideology is instrument: We can ask the same question about democracy (the West has supported many dictators in the third world …).
(2) In 1990, Havel was in favor of the right wing in El Salvador and the support given to them (by then they had already killed Ellakuria and other Jesuits). Still, Havel was not the only political or intellectual in the West who defended the intervention; the philosopher of the “end of history” Francis Fukuyama, said “US, as a powerful state has an obligation to defend human rights anywhere. ”
3) Although positively from one side (Havel) and negatively from the other (Lazanski), both agree that NATO in Yugoslavia “has ended the nation-state,” we must bear in mind that, in the discursive field, the same NATO used the “nation-state ideology” against socialist multiethnic Yugoslavia; that is, for Socialist Yugoslavia, a State that included many nations, it was impossible to exist.
4) Anti-Serb sentiment of Henri Lévy is pathological (he came to physically attack a Serbian cultural center in Paris in 1993), but has given him the opportunity to create and spread a false speech. According to this discourse, the Bosnian war would be a war of “multiculturalism” that is, “Europe”- against “extreme nationalism”, being the Muslim nationalist Izetbegovic side, the one he supports, the “universalist” side and “favorable to the multiethnic Bosnia” fighting against “ethnicist Serbs” (even more, “Bosnia against foreign invaders,” as if the Serbs who lived there since immemorial time, were not Bosnians). However, this makes us ask ourselves a question: if it is necessary to defend the “multiethnic Bosnia”, why had they not defended the existing multiethnic (Socialist) Yugoslavia? If the Bosnian Muslims have the right to self-determination and to their own identity, why not also the Bosnian Serbs? The shamelessness of Henri Lévy is so great that presents the Bosnian nationalists as successors of the Partisans of the 40s, again BHL misrepresents as follows: the war in the 40s was not a war between different ethnic groups, but a communist resistance war against the invasion of fascist Germany (or should we say “Europe”?), in which all ethnicities participated together with the partisans, especially Serbs, because they were all victims of genocides in Nazi Germany and its local partners. An article that criticizes the vision of BHL about Bosnia here.
(5) The manipulation of Henri Lévy in defense of “ecumenism” is so great that he even says that “Europe” liberated many countries from “fascism” (including Spain, which was not liberated). He forgets that fascism was conceived by the same Europe, and that the antifascist liberation was largely thanks to the USSR, whom he detests. For instance, he equates intervention in the Ukraine (“help Ukraine”) with the International Brigades, etcetera.
Still, when it better suits him, BHL can put aside the “ecumenism” and not refrain to support the toughest nationalist discourse … always to favor the geopolitical interests of the West. For example, in the speech he gave at the Maidan in Kiev, he endorsed the bases and extremist racist Russophobia of Ukrainian nationalism.
6) The joint article signed by Soros and BHL on Ukraine, here.
7) In this video of CANVAS, they set their sights to Venezuela.
8) This shows that Occupy Wall Street is a co-opted movement, which has hardly been a proposal against capitalism, but a dramatization of protest to appease the outrage against capitalism (the gamification of the protest is the de-politicization of protest: has OWS occupied anything?).
Moreover, the opinion of OWS on Libya, here.
9) The links between Purpose and Syria Campaign here. Syria Campaign uses posters made by the consulting Purpose for their campaigns, including posters that make extreme apology of Obama.
Moreover, in this link it is possible to see where the money used to found Avaaz came from. For instance, Soros gave $ 150,000 in 2008 to Avaaz, and $ 600,000 in 2009.
10) The “no fly zone” is another type of intervention, even if masked behind pacifist rhetoric; whereas further it is a violation of the sovereignty of a State (after all, who is the international community to ban anything to a legitimate state in its territory during wartime?), in operative terms, it makes it necessary to establish a control of the airspace of that State, this means to destroy the air defenses and anti-aircraft defenses of that State, and that can only be done through military intervention.
Here we have a comment from Ben Wikler, the director of Avaaz’s campaign for the imposition of the “no fly zone”; where besides saying “Gaddafi is killing civilians” and “is conducting war crimes” he states that “national sovereignty cannot be an obstacle to arrest war crimes”. Afterwards, without any hint of shame he states that “if this intervention is moved by interest in oil, Avaaz will be among the first to oppose it.” The intervention in Libya does not seem to have brought any peace, democracy, nor welfare to Libyans. However, we have no news of any protests against Avaaz for the current situation in Libya …
11) Avaaz has also produced fake videos in the case of Syria
12) With a “click” anyone can pop a war … as far away from home as possible.
13) Another actual debating point is the hypocrisy of USA and the West whenever “defending human rights”; which may confront arguments like “if they acted in Kosovo, why not in Kurdistan against Turkey?” or “military interventions will not be worth to bring democracy.” In this article we do not share such arguments, because although they are a partial refutation, in practice they strengthen ecumenical imperialist ideology of “Human Rights”; because they fuel the hope that “humanitarian intervention” fair or without hypocrisy (favorable to progressive causes) can really exist. Still, if we take for good this argument, we can answer that Soviet interventions in Hungary and Czechoslovakia, universally condemned in the West, caused far fewer victims than any current Western intervention.
14) The example proposed by Zigedy is related to the Cold War, since during the Cold War two concepts of “Human Rights” were in use, facing each other, one prioritized “individual rights” and the other one “social rights” (anti-colonialism, or in today’s Cuba, the collective welfare, health, etc.). To give a concrete example, according to Zigedy the German Democratic Republic educated many professionals and technicians, who became skilled due to their “right to education”, but in an egalitarian system, these were not paid the same salary they could have received in a capitalist country. Instead, the Federal Republic of Germany, which was not an egalitarian system, could afford to offer better salaries to these professionals. As a consequence, many of these technicians moved to the FRG from the GDR; making vain the resources invested in their education by the state. So, whose human rights come first? the rights of these escapees technicians to live and work wherever they wanted, or the rights of the people and the state of the RDA for him to pay back the investment made via its excellent education system (was West Germany unable to produce this amount of technicians?).