Dear readers: You may have noticed that I have taken something of a hiatus from writing for the last two months. This was due to a coalescing of several factors, some personal, others professional, not least of which is my now considerable graduate school workload. You might have also noticed that I have remained conspicuously silent on the situation in Ukraine. This has been in part because I believe that there are ultimately no good guys in this conflict — neither the Ukrainian government and its Western backers nor Vladimir Putin’s Russia. It is also because, while I believe strongly that this all could have been avoided had the West honored its post-Cold War promise to leave Ukraine out of NATO, I also do not wish to appear to endorse the decision to invade or the actions of the Russian military throughout the course of the conflict. Moreover, these arguments have already been well made by others more qualified to do so than I and so I have decided not to repeat them myself. However, I have decided to break my silence and contribute something that I hope provides a unique perspective that has received less attention in both the corporate-owned and independent media — namely, an assessment of what led to the rise of Vladimir Putin in the first place.
In this essay, published at Popular Resistance, CounterPunch and LA Progressive, I hope to provide a compelling account of the historical context in which this happened. I ultimately conclude that the best hope for the country’s future is for the Russian people to elect a Communist Party-led government. Saying this, however, does not constitute an adulation of the Soviet system, an excusal of the many errors that its leaders made (especially during the counterrevolutionary Stalinist period), or an endorsement of communism as an ideology. But the fact remains that the Communist Party has gone through a process of reform and modernization and now advocates for a more moderate form of socialism. It has, however, retained its name in order to neither disavow nor deny its history and also, as I hope to show, because of the lasting popularity of some aspects of the Soviet era. Finally, I wish to make clear that this essay is a piece of independent political analysis and I do not speak for or on behalf of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. Thank you for your continued support and interest in my writing. Peter Bolton, New York City, March 30, 2022
Click here to read the essay in full
As The Canary has extensively reported, the ongoing war in Yemen has seen Saudi-led forces commit atrocity after atrocity. But on 21 January, the Saudi dictatorship appears to have reached a new low in an attack that killed scores of civilians.
Given that Saudi Arabia is the US’s second biggest ally in the Middle East, its conduct in the war exposes the US’s brazen double standards when it comes to human rights. The war itself, meanwhile, stands as a testament to the US’s shameless use of proxy wars to further its own geostrategic interests.
As The Canary has consistently reported, the US-backed coup attempt in Venezuela has been degenerating into an increasingly pathetic and embarrassing spectacle. Now, in one final gasp of desperation, Juan Guaidó has called for a fresh round of protests next month. But it looks like he and his dwindling band of followers’ hopes of toppling the government will soon be dashed. Because there are now growing calls for his prosecution for crimes including treason.
Washington and its mouthpieces in the corporate-owned media will surely crow that this somehow constitutes ‘proof’ of the Venezuelan government’s authoritarian nature. But the reality is that the US is, if anything, even less tolerant of the kind of behavior that its proxies in Venezuela have engaged in as part of their attempt to seize power.
As The Canary extensively reported during Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party, figures from the Conservative Party, the Labour right, and the establishment media orchestrated a transparently politically-motivated smear campaign against him. Their weapon of choice was employing a litany of bogus accusations of antisemitism to paint the lifelong anti-racism campaigner as some kind of bigot.
The purpose of the campaign was straightforward – they sought to derail his chances of becoming prime minister and distract attention from his (widely popular) policy proposals. Their motive was equally straightforward – they rightly feared the threat that a Corbyn-led government would pose to the status quo and their own political and economic interests. Now, one of the major players in this campaign has admitted that its whole underlying premise was false all along.
Presidential elections in Honduras have resulted in a decisive victory for the race’s socialist candidate. This puts to an end over a decade of US-backed right-wing rule and offers hope for a better future for the beleaguered Central American nation.
But that hope should be tempered by the fact that Honduras has suffered from years of US intervention. In Latin America, meddling from the northern hegemon is a lingering threat for any country that refuses to bow to its power. Washington will likely soon be looking for ways to undermine this new government if it fails to uphold US economic and geostrategic interests.
On October 25, about two weeks before Nicaragua’s 2021 presidential election, the Socialist International (SI) released a statement titled Nicaragua: A Contemporary Victim of Absolute Power. Given the steady stream of tendentious twaddle about Nicaragua that’s been disseminated from Washington and dutifully repeated by the corporate-owned media, one might reasonably assume that the global federation of social democratic and labor parties would at least provide some semblance of balance.
But far from adding nuance, the statement reads as if it were a press release sent directly from the US State Department. Apparently, the SI isn’t interested in supporting socialist movements in other countries unless they are pro-Washington neoliberal-lite formations in the vein of Tony Blair’s Labour Party in the United Kingdom and Gerhard Schroder’s Social Democratic Party in Germany.
The publication of the Panama Papers in 2016, and then the Paradise Papers in 2017, revealed a huge amount of information about how the world’s ultrarich avoid tax and hide their wealth from regulators and public scrutiny. Now, an even bigger treasure trove of documents has been leaked to journalists. And as with the previous two leaks, amongst those implicated include some of the world’s most powerful political elites.
The US Congress just passed a bill to give Israel another whopping hand-out for military spending. And – as would be expected – it passed with a huge majority of both Republicans and Democrats. We shouldn’t be surprised. As The Canary has pointed out on numerous occasions, in the US there is essentially a bipartisan consensus for unconditional support for Israel.
Around the same time, the Labour Party in the UK showed that it still has some claim to be a supporter of Palestinian rights. In spite of its current (increasingly beleaguered) Blairite leadership, the party appears to still have a largely left-leaning membership as well as an active, albeit small, left faction amongst its MPs. And that shows just how isolated the US is on this issue when compared to one of its main European allies.
As The Canary extensively reported, throughout Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party, the corporate-owned press, Tories, and the Labour right alike targeted him with a vicious and protracted smear campaign. This campaign employed bogus accusations of antisemitism to try to derail his radical political project. This was one of the factors that led to Labour’s defeat in the 2019 UK general election, which in turn led to Corbyn’s resignation as party leader. But even now that he’s stepped down, the antisemitism smear campaign shows no signs of abating. Indeed, it has now morphed into a wider movement to attack the left more broadly. This includes, in particular, critics of Israel’s crimes against Palestinians.
The latest instalment in this sorry saga is a column in a right-wing US newspaper penned by a British comedian. It both represents a new low and highlights how the left will be the continual target of false accusations of antisemitism for the foreseeable future. We must continue to stand up to these pathetic and spurious attacks if we have any chance of rebuilding a movement for radical change.
On 11 September 2019, I wrote an article for a UK-based online publication called The Canary titled On the anniversary of 9/11, let’s remember that conspiracy theories are counterproductive. The article sparked an unexpectedly large amount of debate and, sadly, an even larger amount of abuse from followers of the so-called “9/11 Truth” movement.
In the two years since, I have learned more about both the attacks themselves and those who believe that they were some kind of “inside job.” For those of you reading who are expecting a full-blown recantation, I am afraid you will be disappointed. I still am not persuaded by the major pillars of the 9/11 Truth movement. But I am willing to offer some nuance as well as an appeal to those who still are.