Voices from Russia

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Freedom No More

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As I write, with over 75 percent of all yesterday’s English local election results in, Labour has a net gain of 55 councillors compared to the high water mark of the 2014 result in these wards, while the Tories have a net gain of one seat against a 2014 result which was regarded at the time as disastrous for them, and led the Daily Telegraph to editorialise “David Cameron Must Now Assuage the Voters’ Rage”. Yet both the BBC and Sky News have, all night and this morning, treated these results, in which the Labour Party increased by 3 percent an already record number of councillors in this election cycle, as a disaster. What’s more, they used that false analysis to plug again and again the “anti-Semitism in the Labour Party” witch-hunt. Of course, it was the continuous exacerbation of this mostly false accusation by Blairite MP’s that… deliberately on their part… stopped the Labour Party doing still better. The Blairites are all over the airwaves plugging this meme again today. What’s more, Labour achieved this result despite the complete collapse of the UKIP vote, which collapse pundits expected to boost the Tory Party. In fact, the net loss of over 100 UKIP seats hasn’t resulted in overall net gains for the Tory Party, even though those ex-UKIP voters demonstrably did mostly split to Tory. The very substantial UKIP voter reinforcements simply saved the Tories from doing still worse. The Liberal Democrats are showing some signs of life.

Yesterday was World Press Freedom Day, and the tendentious media misrepresentation of the election results reminds me why I couldn’t get excited about it. A media with the extremely concentrated ownership we see in the UK can never be free, and certainly does not represent a wide spread of political opinions. Even the views of the official Leader of the Opposition are almost entirely outside the Overton window. In Scotland, the Scottish government is subject to unreasoning media attack, day in and day out, which contrasts strikingly with the treatment of Westminster ministers and issues.

There’s a seriously worrying example from Leeds of the decline of free speech, where Leeds City Council disgracefully banned a meeting discussing the bias of the corporate and state media because of its content. We aren’t allowed even to get together to discuss media bias. Retired Ambassador Peter Ford, Professors Piers Robinson and Tim Hayward, Vanessa Beeley, and Robert Stuart were to address the meeting at Leeds City Museum entitled “Media on Trial”. I can’t sufficiently express my outrage that Leeds City Council feels it’s right to ban a meeting with very distinguished speakers because it questions the government and Establishment line on Syria. Freedom of speech really is dead.

Truly, British society has changed fundamentally if a former British Ambassador to Syria is banned from speaking in public premises on his area of expertise. What’s still worse is the tone of this sneering report from Huffington Post, now firmly a part of corporate media, in which Chris York libels the speakers as “Assad supporters”, interviews none of the speakers and nobody to make the argument for free speech, but does manage to interview the “founder” of the jihadist “White Helmets”. In terms of banning dissent whilst simultaneously ramping up the official narrative, York has won himself top Establishment brownie points. The man… and I use the term loosely… is unfit for polite company.

4 May 2018

Craig Murray

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/05/37463/

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Princeton Prof in Hot Water for Using “Nigger” In Hate Speech Class

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According to local news outlet The Daily Princetonian, anthropology professor Lawrence Rosen at Princeton University landed in hot water after he used the word “nigger” during one of his classes. Several students decided to leave the class or even drop his course, while two of them filed a complaint. According to some of the students, during a class Rosen dedicated to the themes of hate speech, blasphemy, and pornography, he said “nigger” repeatedly. He allegedly asked his students a question:

What’s worse, a white man punching a black man, or a white man calling a black man a nigger?

He later repeated “nigger” several times and didn’t react to students’ requests to stop doing so or apologise, defending his use of the word:

I don’t think I need to apologise; I didn’t oppress anyone.

A university spokesman responded to the incident:

The disagreements that took place are part of the vigorous engagement and robust debate that are central to what we do. We’ll continue to encourage discussions about free speech and inclusivity with students both in Professor Rosen’s class and on the campus in general.

According to the Anthropology Department chairman, Rosen used such vivid verbal examples of oppressive symbolism for many years, but only this year did he face such a reaction from students, noting:

It may be an indicator of the level of racism targeting African-Americans in the USA, as none of the students reacted to the examples of anti-Semitism or anti-Americanism.

11 February 2018

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/viral/201802111061558792-princeton-professor-says-nword/

Editor:

This is prurient… it’s self-righteous sanctimoniousness. The prof used “nigger” to illustrate hate… he probably used the words “kike” and “spic”, too. It all depends on context and intent. The prof had no intent to demean anyone and it occurred within the context of a class on hatred and bigotry. These snowflakes have to get a life and understand that the world isn’t a sugar-coated airy-fairy Cloud Cuckoo Land. The university should’ve simply ignored such juvenile asshats. What a buncha maroons.

However, if you wish to deploy “kike”, “nigger”, and “spic” as pejoratives and bigoted spatter, you’ll have to get through me first. Nobody talks about my friends like that…

BMD

Friday, 26 January 2018

26 January 2018. Brother Ajamu on FB and Censorship

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If FaceBook’s move to kick TeleSUR English offline doesn’t outrage you, then, you deserve the fascist state that some wish to impose on the people of this country. While Trump’s theatrics diverted you, liberals collaborated with the state and corporate sector in an ideological war to make sure people believe that there’s NO Alternative to the capitalist order. All the powerful states are now engaged in censorship because of their fear of democracy and the people. Moreover, they should be because we’re coming for them.

24 January 2018

Ajamu Baraka

Facebook

Editor:

Has it ever occurred to you that Trump’s antics are DELIBERATE? Did you ever think that they’re a smokescreen behind which neoliberals can rob this country of its remaining freedom? The Clintons made a good start of dismantling democracy in the 90s… Hillary wanted to complete the job. Now, it’s clear that Trump has the exact same agenda… all power and money to the already-rich… no power to the people… the Establishment speaks and all others must listen. Note well that the “liberal” proponents of Hillary were all “peace n’ love” sorts back in the day. It tells you much about their character, doesn’t it? “Conservatives” such as Rod Dreher are merely crude and grasping… one can see their evil. The “liberal” cover their greed and grasping with a smarmy and “nice” exterior… that makes them twice as evil. As Ted Rall put it so well, Trump gives us clarity. His crudity and open mendacity make his agenda obvious. Note well that Hillary is a more-polished item… her evil wouldn’t be as glaring… but it’d be twice as rancid and dangerous. Keep focused… the times aren’t good.

BMD

Thursday, 10 March 2016

10 March 2016. It Happened One Day in Russia…

00 happy baba. 180715

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I saw this gem on FB:

In most western countries, we’re familiar with street-preachers, but yesterday, for the first time, I witnessed a Russian variation on this theme… a bus-preacher. I jumped on a bus to Belogorsk to celebrate International Women’s Day with members of the Crimean Tatar community there. International Women’s Day is MASSIVE throughout the former USSR. Anyway, in the minutes before the bus embarked, a Christian missionary got on the bus, and started delivering a spiel about salvation to the passengers. However, this guy wasn’t just your garden-variety street-preacher. His spiel wasn’t all just bluster and pious sentimentality. He actually knew his stuff. He referred to the writings of various Byzantine and Hellenised early Church Fathers, most particularly Gregory the Theologian. Most of the passengers on the bus emitted little or no response, but at the end of his spiel, something happened which surprised me… the passengers began to applaud.

To give some context to this, 57 percent of Russians identify as Orthodox Christians, but most aren’t particularly devout. Many are occasional, but not regular church-goers. Therefore, whilst it’d be reasonable to suppose that a lot of people on the bus broadly shared this young gentleman’s worldview, they probably didn’t share his level of devotion. Having spent a few years here, and having developed some sense of what makes the people tick, I can speculate that, even if most of the passengers agreed with the young missionary’s worldview, that wasn’t the central reason why they applauded. Whether they agree or not, Russians just respect and admire forthrightness. Within reason, Russians would applaud ANY person who was willing to stick their neck out and profess to the world something which they sincerely believed… within reason, it wouldn’t matter so much what the propositional content of the person’s worldview was, as Russians just respect and admire sincerity and forthrightness.

That helps to explain why the general standard of conversation here is so good. Russians disdain banality, and there’s absolutely zero horizontal censorship. When I lived in Lexina, before the referendum and the Crimean reunification with Russia, I used to go out to the balcony to smoke. Between the apartment-blocks, there were benches where grandmothers used to sit, energetically discussing history and alienation and partisan resistance. The proximity of the apartment-blocks worked like an echo-chamber. Everybody within a radius of 200 metres could clearly hear this furious debate between these grandmothers. The air was thick with down ’n dirty political discourse. As I was smoking and listening to these grandmothers express their opinions to the whole neighbourhood, it made me chuckle to myself, thinking “Western liberals think that self-expression is suppressed here”. 🙂

Padraig Joseph McGrath

Here are some of the comments:

  • Well observed! I’d add that Russians admire spirituality and depth, so any manifestation of it is very much greeted.
  • I agree. Even in secular contexts, that respect for forthrightness is, in itself, an indicator of духовность.
  • I’d really be concerned for the safety of any brave soul who decide to “censor” these babushkas or any other across Russia… such a person wouldn’t survive to see another day… they’d probably prefer to be dead! I’d never cross them!
  • I had a Russian friend in the USA some years ago when I still lived in the USA, who’d always say that he never felt as free as when he travelled back to Russia. It wasn’t that he was censored or oppressed in the USA, but in Russia he could express himself forthrightly without any political correctness. Therefore, you’re correct.
  • Knowing them Russkies, they were more than likely applauding his scholarship more than his forthrightness.
  • That was certainly a part of it… Russians respect scholarship, bigtime.

What more need I add than to remark that this is “read n’ heed” in a major way?

BMD

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