Caitlin Johnstone & Free Speech Exceptions
what free speech is NOT for
For the last year, I’ve read everything Caitlin Johnstone writes, which means almost daily. Located in Australia, she is refreshingly blunt, crude, funny and astute in her geopolitical analysis. Her writing lends well to the succinct pithy tweet. She’s also crafted some deeply human and gorgeously hopeful poetry. Yet we came this past week to a point of departure.
In her episode, Free Speech is for Fighting the Empire, she outlined three steps :
Step one is learning that the mainstream consensus worldview is a lie, and that we've been fed power-serving propaganda since we were children about our society, our nation, our government and our world. Most people haven't even made it to step one yet.
Step two is getting clear on how we've been lied to. A lot of people who make it past step one get mixed up here. Many fall for dopey right-wing narratives about Jews ruling the world, globalist pedophile cabals, elite conspiracies to make all our kids transgendered or whatever, because their ideology prohibits them from clearly seeing the real underlying dynamics of capitalism and the empire-building of their own government. They place far too much emphasis on things like vaccines and the future of transhumanism being used to someday create an Orwellian dystopia, because their worldview prohibits them from recognizing that we're already living in a power-serving mind-controlled dystopia.
Others simply don't go far enough in extracting the mainstream worldview from their minds and don't inquire deeply enough into what's really true. Plenty of self-identified socialists and anarchists still buy into bogus mainstream narratives about empire-targeted governments, or still buy into to the power-serving dynamics of party politics. Step two takes a lot of hard, sincere, intellectually honest work sorting out fact from fiction.
Step three is learning what to do about all this, and beginning to take action. This means working to spread awareness of what's really going on and helping others to make it through steps one and two, because the only thing that ever leads to lasting positive changes in human behavior is an expansion of consciousness. The more people make it to step three, the more people there are to help wake up everyone else.
She ended with:
It's easy to see how others are misguided and delusional. It's much harder to see how we ourselves are misguided and delusional.
The further away from ourselves we look, the easier it is for us to find fault. But it doesn't benefit anyone for us to find problems in the distant other. The closer to home we look, the more good we can do with what we find.
I posted in the comments:
In that same vein, perhaps we should be taking a closer look at anything we're NOT allowed to examine like the WWII official narrative that the good guys won and the bad guys lost, that the banking oligarchy—who are the Jewish aristocracy—is 'the ring to rule them all', Whitney Webb's credible journalism on pedophilia as blackmail over global leaders, and that the virus was the trigger but the vaccine was the gun.
I'm in full agreement with Caitlin on the issues she covers, having written my book on How to Dismantle an Empire. But her ridicule of those who take up the slack on issues she ignores is uncalled for. Like others, I've been dismayed that she lives in Australia and didn't cover the horrific takeover of Melbourne, the testing ground for sado-lockdowns.
Caitlin may feel that nuclear armaggedon takes precedence over everything else. Others feel that way about climate armaggedon. Personally, I don't think we can get out of fulfilling the world's purpose that easily—I'm joking, but not. If there's meaning, and I think Caitlin and I agree there is, it's not for the world to go up in toxic smoke. And the idea that we can change the minds of the warmongers by marching seems to me ... naive.
In sum, I think Caitlin should listen to a wise person who says, "It's easy to see how others are misguided and delusional. It's much harder to see how we ourselves are misguided and delusional."
In response, a commenter named Jean wrote:
Jesu Christa, she can’t do everything!!! I’ve always been so annoyed at the circular firing squad so prevalent among Lefties. Jeez. As if the woman isn’t doing enough already. And as if they were doing ANYTHING useful. And now, because Caitlin dares to outline what she thinks is an effective method of building a movement on the Left, the guns come out and we all get in our little narcissistic circles and start shooting. Me included. Why not take what she says and grow up. I personally admire the hell out of this woman and every step towards liberation that she facilitates. Nay sayers be gone. 🙀🧙♀️
Caitlin's written many times, Jean, about how those who criticize empire should stop cannibalizing each other. I completely agree with her. What I'm critiquing is her doing exactly what she says she's against. In Step 2, she says "Many fall for dopey right-wing narratives about Jews ruling the world, globalist pedophile cabals ... their ideology prohibits them from clearly seeing the real underlying dynamics of capitalism and the empire-building of their own government. They place far too much emphasis on things like vaccines and the future of transhumanism being used to someday create an Orwellian dystopia."
I don't think dismissing others with insults who ARE doing "a lot of hard, sincere, intellectually honest work sorting out fact from fiction" is building a movement. It's a cheap shot to not bother refuting their research and arguments but lump them all together as dopey right-wingers. None of us can do all of the research, but we can respect the people who are filling in the blanks between our own areas of expertise.
History has vindicated my decision to focus on the dangers of nuclear brinkmanship over lockdowns in an irrelevant part of the world that have been over for a long time and had no major consequence, regardless of how "dismayed" that makes your feelings feel. I have a zero-tolerance policy for gibberish about Jews ruling the world in my comments section; I will not let this become a gathering space for that bullshit. First and final warning.
I didn’t respond, in part because I didn’t want to give Caitlin any possible reason to ban me and delete my comment, leaving readers to guess what anti-Semitic gibberish I’d posted. Three hours later, she added:
Also I think Whitney Webb would take great exception to having her work characterized as asserting that the world is ruled by a cabal of pedophiles.
Although she would ridicule it, my feelings feel sad for Caitlin. I think that she’s burned a lot of bridges in her response, and I don’t mean in the way of Norman Finkelstein’s new book, “I’ll Burn That Bridge When I Get To It”. First, calling her home country of Australia an ‘irrelevant part of the world.’ I keep re-reading that and trying to see it another way.
Second, saying that the lockdowns there ‘have been over for a long time and had no major consequence.’ I posted my comment in two places, as a reply to the top comment and 100 comments down the thread. To the latter, a commenter called The Black Flag posted:
I remember seeing on the news the ranks of grim, masked visaged police surrounding an apartment block in Melbourne, mainly comprising poor people and immigrants, and effectively sealing off the whole building. Why? Cos of a few covid cases. People inside were desperate, but the officials didn’t care. I knew then this was a war that primarily affected the working and 'lower' classes. The Ukraine narrative flows seamlessly from this. The new class war—the ten percent, backed by the new 'liberal, left lite, fascist class, vs the rest. Media considers true leftists and rightists as scum now, as being the same.
I answered with:
Yes, it's a heartbreaking story that I'm ashamed to say I wasn't aware of until one of my viewers asked me to watch Battleground Melbourne. I cried through it and cried relaying one of the testimonies from it in my video Down Under Torn Asunder.
Every person that Topher Field interviews in Battleground Melbourne is talking about the consequences of the lockdown: the economic devastation, the isolation, the lack of necessities, the depression, the suicides, of which they say everyone knows someone. Some of the most horrifying footage is of the protests, when they finally have had enough, and how the police kettle them into a canyon, where they can only escape in a narrow funnel where they’re beaten. Finally, a group surges and they break through.
My Australian viewer, Maria, said it made her question if they were intentionally disarmed, when Australia passed anti-weapon laws in response to a mass shooting, to make them the testing ground for how much people would tolerate. If activists answer Caitlin’s call for mass protests against nuclear weapons in Australia, will they also be sitting ducks for police brutality? Or will the police not care because it won’t make a difference?
The best collection of the consequences I’ve seen has been Margaret Anna Alice’s 4-part series, Down Under Edition, put into one post here:
Margaret introduces this with:
Given that Australia and New Zealand are serving as the trial run for one-world totalitarianism and that I have several loyal subscribers from Down Under, I decided to dedicate this issue to all you Aussies and Kiwis out there.
The petitions, videos, and articles focus on the present tyranny, while the cultural portion (book, movie, show, and music recommendations as well as the poem) reminds us of the beauty, humor, and resilience of Australians and New Zealanders. I hope the latter will assuage the souls of the despondent while inspiring the downtrodden to draw strength from their rugged heritage as they shatter their chains, depose the despots, and restore their liberties.
But the most long-term consequence of the lockdowns has been the vaccine. Australia is one of the most vaccinated countries in the world and is experiencing tragedy on an unprecedented scale. I can find the links and data if Caitlin is interested.
Margaret and Caitlin agree, however, that the official narrative of WWII is not to be questioned. It’s the only point on which Margaret and I have disagreed, although she didn’t issue me a first and final warning when I made my points. Let’s look at what my gibberish was that Caitlin characterized as ‘Jews ruling the world’: “the banking oligarchy—who are the Jewish aristocracy—is 'the ring to rule them all'."
Who are the oligarchies? Michael Hudson puts them in three groups: FIRE—Finance, Insurance, Real Estate; MIC—Military Industrial Complex and OGAM—Oil, Gas and Mining. In rock, paper, scissors, FIRE wins every time. Finance wins over Insurance and Real Estate. Banking at the level of the Fed, World Bank and IMF wins over any other form of Finance because it creates the money that the others suck up. So it’s certainly the ring to rule them all.
Second, do groups exist in any way that can or should be named? In her article terms she uses are Russia, Sweden, the US. She’s not talking about land masses or their populations but using a shorthand for unnamed officials acting within those countries. She uses “Westerners” and “Soviets” to distinguish groups of people assumed to have common beliefs and characteristics. When she says “an American UN official” she’s using a word describing two continents to say this person represents the interests of the United States, whoever that is.
Caitlin names the US military and US empire as the culprits for the Nord Stream bombings. Who does that mean? Is that a more specific group on which to lay blame than referring to the Jewish banking aristocracy? Myself, I would have pointed to Biden, Blinken and the Nod, Victoria Nuland. Also the entire Senate who voted unanimously to ‘stop the Nord Stream 2 in its tracks.’ That would have narrowed it down to individuals within the US who took specific actions for which they should be held accountable.
The rationale for why no one in power should ever be described as Jewish is that this will incite irrational violence against random Jews around the world, as the only race or religion that has continually been victimized throughout a history we’re not allowed to question. Does Caitlin’s blame of the US empire mean she’s put every US citizen at risk of random attack? Are we not smart enough to distinguish between those who are cogs in the system and those who designed it … and still control it?
To end, I want to analyze Caitlin’s three steps as the formula for every cult of superiority, as I also describe every organized religion. In Step One, she says we’ve all been fooled and lied to and only a minority of us have figured that out. By definition, by reading this, we’re already a member of that elite. We SEE what others don’t.
In Step Two, swaths of The Seeing Few get winnowed out. We’re told who we can feel superior to: those who don’t see “the real underlying dynamics of capitalism and the empire-building of their own government”; those distracted by vaccines, globalist cabals, transhumanism and dopey right-wing narratives about Jews ruling the world.
Instead, capitalism rules the world, a faceless entity self-organized by underlying dynamics no one designed or controls. Want to change it? Well, you can’t. It’s an empire with no one on top. Stop looking at the world and pretending there’s a hierarchy of those claiming ownership of the capital, or the assets that back the money. Focus on the empire-building of your own government, for which every US person is at fault!
In the enlightened Step Three, if you’ve rejected the dopethink of Step Two, you’re anointed to go out and spread the gospel of Caitlin. You can help others see the lies but not all of the lies, the approved lies but not the ones that are off-limits. You’re now one of the apostles, the select few. Go forth and convert others.
In every system of superiority, there’s a threat and a bribe. The threat is that, if you express the thoughts condemned, you’ll be ridiculed and ostracized too. First and final warning. The bribe is that, if you accept the authority of the person making the rules, you can be one of the smart kids and look down your nose at your inferiors.
We’re all at Step One, Caitlin. None of us have figured out how deep the lies go. We all have blind spots and we need each other to point them out, gently, respectfully, kindly. I’m grateful for all of the blind spots you’ve illuminated for me. You’re truly a one-stop shop on empire. In my experience, you’ve pioneered the refreshingly blunt and snarky style that calls it like it is. But you have blind spots too. And it’s only by recognizing that others are doing the “hard, sincere, intellectually honest work sorting out fact from fiction” that we’re ever going to break free.
Here is Down Under Torn Asunder:
Battleground Melbourne is a documentary by Topher Field on the lockdowns and police crackdowns in Australia. It tells the story through interviews of a dozen courageous people and video clips of police interactions. It won Best Documentary at the Berlin Indie Film Festival. I talk about their stories and only break down once, which is better than I did watching it. I also discuss Cafe Locked out and Margaret Anna Alice's Down Under Edition of Through the Looking Glass. And I end by talking about spirituality and bungee jumping to find the courage we didn't know we had.
In the same vein, I recommend When Did You Stop Being Wrong?
I look at the Art of Being Wrong as the sole (soul) measure of learning, which means to seek out opportunities to be wrong. I explain how I use my only dogma—that I am no better than anyone else—as a measuring stick to question narratives. The places where I differ from Matt Ehret and Cynthia Chung are in form, while we're in complete agreement on the content. In form, I agree with Ed Dowd that "CV19 Vax is Deadliest Fraud in History," but find his response of an investment strategy vaguely nauseating. I read Robert Malone's reflection on John Prine's death, and Ben Franklin's concluding address to the Constitutional Convention. I relate two areas where I'm daring to be alone in being wrong and hope that others join me.
and here is We Need to Agree to Agree:
As Ukraine and the Great Reset wreak havoc, we need to share a purpose, a process to separate truth from lies, and a plan. And perhaps, like the Queen in Alice in Wonderland, we need to consider six impossible things before breakfast. I look at things I never thought I'd question, like climate change and Elie Weisel. I debate good vs evil, big vs small, Franklin vs Hamilton, and Trump vs no one. And I wonder how to bring together the dozen journalists left who aren't deluded: Matthew Ehret, Robert Malone, Aaron Mate, Matt Taibbi, Glenn Greenwald and Russell Brand.
I wanted to like her, but at the end of the day she's got tunnel vision about a pet issue and ignored how COVID biofascism annihilated whatever vestiges of a culture of liberty her country had left.
I'm still raging about what happened in our country in the name of COVID but Australia blew my mind.
Very solid, Tereza. I turned off Caitlin Johnstone, along with several other leftists I used to respect and even admire, solely from her (non) response to the whole covid SCAM and, in particular, her silence (now confirmed as actual disinterest by your report here) during the mega lockdown in her own country and state. I could go on, but will only add that her characterization of your words about Whitney Webb is clearly distorted. Consider this "breakup" as, in a way, just another relationship/friendship biting the dust since January 2020. The psychic response to the "covid thing" has to be at the root somehow.