China keeps aggressively surrounding itself with US bases: notes from the edge of The Narrative Matrix

Dec 2, 2022
U.S. Naval Base runway Subic Bay Philippines.

It still amazes me how many people who fancy themselves anti-establishment critical thinkers will spend all day mindlessly regurgitating mainstream media lines about China.

* There are Chinese people with real grievances against their government.

* The US empire’s propaganda machine will spin current protests in China to advance imperial agendas.

* Western intelligence agencies will become more and more involved in these protests the longer they go on.

I cannot emphasise enough how little respect I have for anyone who parrots US empire narratives about China and how completely dismissive I am of all their attempts to explain to me that it’s actually right and good to do this. Literally all of our major problems are because of the people who rule over us; if you’re buying into the narrative that who we should really be mad at right now is a government on the other side of the planet with no power over us, you’re a fucking loser. You’re a bootlicking empire simp. You’re worthless, bleating human livestock.

Why does China keep aggressively surrounding itself with US military bases?

Everyone knows the US has invaded countries completely unprovoked very recently and will definitely do so again, but we still have to pretend that Putin is the worst thing since Hitler.

It’s disturbing how many people I encounter who claim Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is worse than America’s invasion of Iraq because Ukraine is a “democracy”. How fucked up do you have to be inside to believe human lives are worth less because of their nation’s political system?

Leaving aside the fact that a nation which bans political parties, shuts down opposition media, imprisons opposition leaders, and is vastly more accountable to Washington than to its own people is in no way a “democracy”, that’s just a profoundly disturbed way of looking at life. A mother holding the remains of a child whose body has been ripped apart by military explosives does not care whether her country is considered a “democracy” by the western governments who are invested in that country’s military outcomes.

Rightists correctly believe that liberals subscribe to an artificially constructed worldview designed by the powerful in the service of the powerful, but incorrectly believe that they themselves do not.

Common debates:

* Which status quo party is best

* Which side of the culture war is correct

* How the western empire should act

* What capitalism should look like

Uncommon debates:

* Should status quo politics exist

* Should the western empire exist

* Should capitalism exist

* Should class war replace culture war

And it is of course entirely by design that the former are common and the latter are uncommon. Keeping everyone debating how establishment power structures should exist, rather than if they should, ensures the survival of those power structures.

It’s actually a really big problem that the most visible “left” in the US is completely worthless on war and militarism. When Americans who are critical of those things look right and see people like Rand Paul and Tucker Carlson doing something then look left and see AOC and Bernie doing nothing, which side do you think they’ll choose?

And of course this is because the so-called progressive Democrats are not “left” in any meaningful way, but your average mainstream American doesn’t know that, and perception is reality. The US is the nation where antiwar sentiment is most important and the most urgently needed, and it’s been buried on the left. Americans are trained that Clintonites are “centre-left” and AOC/Bernie are “far left”, and anyone further to the left than them on foreign policy is demonised by these progressives as a Russian agent. This creates the very understandable impression that the entire left is pro-war.

When you’ve got Ilhan Omar and AOC calling people who protest US proxy warfare at their rallies Russian operatives and antiwar leftists like Jill Stein branded as Kremlin agents, the message mainstream Americans come away with is that antiwar sentiment is only welcome on the right.

Again, I get this isn’t true and there’s lots of antiwar sentiment on the true left in the US, but nobody sees that left. It’s denied any media presence or political validity; mainstream Americans don’t know the difference between an anti-imperialist socialist and a Berner. This causes antiwar Americans to drift to the right; I’ve watched it happen in real time with some of my US followers. I do my best to make the case for the left, but I’m just one voice amid a surging deluge of messaging they’re getting that the real opposition is on the right.

Naming your war machinery after the Indigenous tribes your government genocided is the modern-day equivalent of wearing the skulls of your enemies on your war horse.

A lot of acceptance of the status quo worldview boils down to a failure of imagination. People literally can’t imagine the possibility that reality is as different as it is from what they’ve been told by their teachers, parents, pundits and politicians. It’s actually unfathomable to them, and that is because it’s so different. The world we’re trained to see by establishment perception managers is as different from the real world as any fictional world is.
The claim that capitalism is the best system for generating profits is basically correct; it’s hard to beat greed and starvation as a carrot and stick to get the gears of industry whirring. The issue here is that merely generating profits won’t solve most of the world’s problems, and in fact many of our problems come from the fact that capitalism is too effective at turning the gears of industry. Our biosphere is dying largely because capitalism values making lots of things but not un-making things; we’re choking our ecosystem to death because it’s profitable.

Capitalism has no real answers for problems like ecocide, inequality, exploitation and caring for the needful. Yes “let the markets decide” will generate lots of profits for those set up to harvest them, but profit-seeking cannot address those very serious problems. The “invisible hand of the market” gets treated as an actual deity that actually exists, with all the wisdom necessary to solve the world’s problems, but in reality the pursuit of money lacks any wisdom. It can’t solve our major problems, it can only make more stuff and generate more profit.

Find me a capitalist business plan for leaving a forest untouched. Find me a capitalist business plan for keeping someone free of illness, for ensuring that someone with nothing gets what they need, for giving resources to a struggling parent. You can’t. Capitalism can’t do this. These are the most important things in the world, and no possible iteration of capitalism has any solutions for any of them whatsoever, apart from “Well hopefully rich people will feel very charitable and fix those problems.” And how is that solution working out? It’s a joke.

The “Maybe the very rich will feel charitable and fix our problems for us” solution assumes that the very same people who are wired to do whatever it takes to claw their way to the top of the ladder will suddenly start caring deeply about everyone they stepped on to get there. Capitalism elevates sociopaths, because profit-seeking competition-based systems reward those who are willing to do whatever it takes to get ahead. That’s why we are ruled by sociopaths, and it’s why looking to “philanthropy” as a solution to our problems is a ridiculous joke.

When capitalism proponents tell socialists and communists “You don’t understand economics,” what they really mean is “You don’t understand that capitalism is the best system for generating profits.” But socialists and communists do understand this; it’s just that generating profits, in and of itself, is not sufficient.

If lack of wealth is your major problem, then capitalism can be a tool to address it; that’s what China is temporarily doing to keep up economically with the western forces who wish to enslave it. But such measures won’t solve ecocide, inequality, exploitation, and caring for the needful. For that other measures are needed.

If you want to make more of something (money, material goods), then capitalism can be a good way to do that. But if you need to make less of something (pollution, inequality, exploitation, sickness, homelessness, etc) it’s worthless, and other systems must be looked to.

You can say “But communist regimes are authoritarian blah blah” all you want, but that doesn’t change the fact that capitalism has zero answers for the most important problems facing our species. This still needs to be addressed, and moaning about Mao and Stalin isn’t an answer. Don’t like the iterations of socialism we’ve seen so far? Okay. Then find another answer, and remember we’ve already established that capitalism is not an answer; it cannot address the problems we’ve discussed here. So we need to find an actual answer that does actually work.

Dismantling capitalism, if we ever achieve it, will be the most difficult thing that humanity has ever accomplished. As hard as everyone becoming a buddha, and essentially not much different. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is existentially necessary for us to do so.

We’ll either move from competition-based systems to collaboration-based ones, eliminating all the obstacles necessary for us to do so, or we will go extinct. We are at our adapt-or-die juncture as a species.


First published by Caitlin Johnston on November 29, 2022

Caitlin Johnstone is a reader-supported independent journalist from Melbourne, Australia. She now lives in the US. Her political writings can be found on Medium.

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