FTAC: A Comment on South Africa’s Feudal v Modern Dilemma


, , , , , , ,

A large part of the world remains feudal and no more so than in communist and fascist circles. The truth is modern South Africa has managed to embarrass from office a kleptocrat in the communist style, Jacob Zuma, and have in place very much a successful capitalist and modern personality, Cyril Ramaphosa.


In some quarters, the political habits and ideas of the past persist in a changed world. We have some here in the U.S. even for whom the white right south is meant to rise again. Apparently, some portion of the black population within the ANC has settled into a bad case of Mugabeitis, an illness too well known in neighboring Zimbabwe and only recently, perhaps, brought under control by a junta plenty tired of the old despot.

My concern: that white and blacks choose not to mirror the worst glimpses of one another and consider forming to fight political regress together.

Despite my idealism and hopes, I know the situation is bad for white property owners and certainly crazy for the criminals marauding them.


Also in Media

The other argument proposed for why black people can’t be racist, namely that they have no power, is wearing very thin 24 years into our democracy. For one, there are many black people with a lot of power in every sense of the word and a good number of whites with virtually no power of any description.

But as happens often, we’re still borrowing this argument from American political culture where black people are still in the minority.
I have never witnessed a black person cursing white people because he/she believes being black is superior, even where the words used would sometimes suggest that.

“Reverse racism” is thus not racism in the real sense of the word, but it could be described as intolerance, hatred or vengefulness based on race.

Du Preez, Max. “The myth of ‘reverse racism’.” News24, April 3, 2018.

LONDON — If Vicki Momberg had only unleashed a high-volume tirade at the South African police officers, video of it would have been of mere passing interest. But her repeated use of a racial slur — unfamiliar to most Americans, but explosive in South Africa — made her notorious, and led to demands to make her an example.

Perez-Pena, Richard. “Woman Becomes First South African Imprisoned for Racist Speech.” The New York Times, March 28, 2018.

For years, we’ve watched and seen white South Africa’s false solidarity with black people and absence from involvement on issues affecting blacks. White South Africans expect black people to join movements when the issue in question affects white communities yet remain silent, retreating to leafy or non-impoverished suburbs, when blacks face prejudice, lack of economic access or service delivery. In January 2018, residents from the Thembelihle informal settlement, south of Johannesburg, took to the streets in a service delivery protest demanding housing.

The 1994 ideology of “sameness” that was introduced post-apartheid to bring peace to a much-wounded nation has begun to show cracks, a clear indication that this was, for the most part, a one-sided concord dependent on whose privilege matters most.

Kambule, Samantha. “White South Africans Conveniently Ignore Racism.” The Institute for Justice and Reconciliation. n.d.

Posted to YouTube March 1, 2018.

Posted to YouTube July 28, 2018.

Posted to YouTube, November 28, 2017.

Related: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_capture ; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_capture#South_Africa

Related: “If not now, when?” Hillel The Elder (Wikipedia)

He is popularly known as the author of two sayings: (1) “If I am not for myself who is for me? And being for my own self, what am ‘I’? And if not now, when?”[4] and (2) the expression of the ethic of reciprocity, or “Golden Rule“: “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.”[5]

Related on BackChannels




On the Web | EnCHANTing |Glimpses of Counter-Protest


, , , , , ,

At the moment, the distribution of the feed appears blocked, so watch it on YouTube or on C-SPAN at https://www.c-span.org/video/?449694-1/dc-united-hate-holds-counterprotest-washington-dc.

Chop chop chop chop
This Racist Crap Has Got To Stop!

We still here, we still strong
Fightin’ White Supremacy until it’s gone!

Charlottesville – Live at Posting

Also on BackChannels: https://conflict-backchannels.com/2017/02/02/united-states-of-america-basic-training/


FTAC: MEC: Where’s the Hold-Up?


, , , , , , , ,

The Palestinians may end the occupation any day by ceding Israel to Israel and establishing peace between themselves in the Preoccupied Territories. Decency in governance would follow and the recognition of an authentic Palestinian state would follow on that.

What and who are holding up the Palestinians?

There’s no cliffhanger left in the above question.


You can get there from here

On BackChannels —

Set: Palestinian KGB


US | RF | Bikers, Clubs, Presidents | Impression


, , , , , , , , , , ,


In the order of screenshot appearance:

Pierce, Charles P. “The Russia Scandal Was Desperately Missing a Biker Gang Subplot. Well, Here It Is: Paging Hunter S. Thompson.” Esquire, June 28, 2017.


Dobrovolskaya, Lily and Nicholas Nehamas. “Russian official linked to South Florida biker club spent millions on Trump condos.” Miami Herald, June 22, 2017.

American-based, humanist, and classically liberal and democratic BackChannels here adds just one more biker video:

BackChannels Frame

Feudal-Medieval Political Absolutism


Modern Democratic Checked and Distributed Power

Between “Active Measures” and America’s inherent internal tensions, citizens may feel channeled toward a fascistic Far Right new nationalism or a dippy Far Left socialist revival, but BackChannels reminds that there may be — there should be — a more grounded and spacious Middle American Way and some wish to rediscover and renew that more coherent nation.

American Basic Training


Relay: “Senate Intel Hearing on Influence on Social Media” – Live at Posting


, , , , , , , , ,


FTAC: President Trump: Despite Himself, Understands Duty to Country


, , , , , , ,

There’s a slight possibility 🙂 that Trump understands his job, its duties, and his obligations as an American president.

Whatever his character, whatever he may say, and however he may feel, especially as regards feudal authoritarianism, he seem to err consistently with the greater American program in democracy. We have not left NATO; Ukraine has not been abandoned (and it has been receiving offensive weapons with America’s blessing); and Israel remains as it has for past American presidents, i.e., the persistent bridgehead of the west, an island of democratic processes and liberal values set against the absolutism of surrounding of dictatorships and generally repressive political cultures.

We may grant President Trump credit for doing his duty as the nation’s top elected official despite his many character issues and personal problems.

Related on BackChannels: https://conflict-backchannels.com/2017/02/02/united-states-of-america-basic-training/ !!!


NATO’s “New Nobility” – Erdogan, Orban, (Trump?) – and Peonage


, , , , , , , , , , ,

BackChannels acknowledges the book in which it first encountered the term:

Soldatov, Andrei and Irena Borogan. The New Nobility: The Restoration of Russia’s Security State and the Enduring Legacy of the KGB. New York: Public Affairs, 2010.

However, this post is not going to be about powerful and self-enriching KGB/FSB spies and their bureaucracies.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Viktor Orbán,  and Donald J. Trump seem to this blogger more the “New Nobility” that Russian President Vladimir Putin may have had also in mind as he launched his revenge on the western world for the demise of the Soviet Union on December 25, 1991 — a very good Christmas morning indeed for the United States of America and in the defunct godless realm then represented by the Kremlin a not very special day at all.

In the 26 years that have passed since that morning (for political purpose, it was over at noon), Russia and her leadership have had to think about what it has meant to be “Russian”.

“Old Vikings”?

Formed of conquest, contracting and expanding through the brutality of feudal wars, unable ever to police — mere civil policing — its territorial writs, Russia has been a state that has better known barbarism and the depths of inhumanity through violence (give a nod for the extra special dose brought by the Mongols) than civility through accommodation and trade.  In that regard, the “Vory”, the once brutalized mafia within, may in their inglorious legend represent the pure expression of the heart of the state.

Backing the tyrant in Syria?

Invading a settled Ukraine and baldly lying to the world about its purpose?

Bombing hospitals?

Pursuing feudal absolute power — unquestionable ownership of persons as things — with the Assahola in Tehran?

All of the above: true.

So what good new things has Russia brought to the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization?

Applying the concept of “Reflexive Control” with “Islamic Terrorism” for the convenient stimulus, BackChannels may suggest the four infamous retrogrades:

BREXIT: While Great Britain has been happy to pile on “Asian” labor, it has not been so happy with grooming gangs, suspect neighborhoods, and “Allahu Akbar” explosions, much less the impositions posed by the refugees of war in Syria.  Response: the Newest Nationalism expressed in renewed insularity and refreshed Anglican pride.

While it’s good for a state to recall what it’s about, some among the most zealous should factor in how they have been played by Moscow.

Erdogan: Prime Minister, President, and now, apparently, President for Life has never encountered serious resistance for his taking apart what Mustafa Kemal Atatürk bequeathed in bureaucratic and military legacy.  The empire’s back, baby, and dig the symbolic significance of the leaders new crib.


Dig this cool new statistic on press freedom in Erdogan’s new estate (italics added).

The 2018 index ranking marked Turkey’s 58 point-decrease over the past 13 years, lagging just behind Rwanda, Belarus and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-ranks-157-in-rsfs-press-freedom-index-down-two-places-from-last-year-130898 – 4/25/2018.

Pretty cool, huh?

If Erdogan’s New Old Turkish estate makes it all the way down to the bottom of the list, BackChannels will certainly make note of the prize.

Orban: In addition to other self-aggrandizing and self-enriching schemes, this NATO president has been working on an old home and estate.  Fave header from related online searching: “How Viktor Orban will tap Europe’s taxpayers and bankroll his friends and family: Plans for a lakeside development show how Hungary’s leader enriches those who stand behind him” (Reuters, Martin Dunai, March 15, 2018).

Trump: “You all just got a lot richer,” Trump tells friends, referencing tax overhaul  (CBS News, Kathryn Watson, December 23, 2017).  Who else: “Ivanka Trump’s Fashion Brand Will Not Be Impacted by Donald Trump’s Chinese Trade Tariffs” (Teen Vogue, Amira Rasool, July 9, 2018).  While the “optics” don’t look good in relation to nepotism, let’s be fair: negotiating business is a continuous process for both sides in complex transactions: other variables may apply to setting tariffs in Ivanka’s region of commercial interest: other brands are in the mix too.


Nonetheless, the American President’s behavior, personal as well as political, has left him also, as with the Erdogan and Orban, associated with the terms “autocratic”, “narcissistic”, and “nationalist”.  While it’s good to take pride in one’s nation and defend her interests with tough negotiations, it may not be so good for the head of a modern democratic state to promote the image of himself as a feudal lord, securing prizes for family and friends on the basis of loyalty, and doing out favors (“You all just got a lot richer”) to surrounding nobility.

President George W. Bush also made light of the “have and have mores”, but for Americans struggling with fixed retirements, healthcare premiums, perhaps the full suite of basic and complex costs of survival, and, for the young, jobs that fail to deliver even a modicum of financial  independence and pride, much less security, the implied further reduction to peonage must sting.

Posted to YouTube December 26, 2017.



FTAC: Old Worn Out Arguments About Nothing That Needs to Exist Purely


, , , , ,

As long as the terms are black v white / capitalism v communism-socialism, the conversation seems bound to be boxed in or circular as well as suffocated by events and personalities locked in the past and best left there as well. A better springboard would be to query the character and nature of potential political power as groomed today and whether “power” needs be responsible power.

I’ve tried this framing: “Feudal Political Absolutism v Democratic Checked and Distributed Power”.

It’s too much of a mouthful but fully observable in Syria, east v west “contests”, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the rifts of the Islamic Small Wars. All involve feudal personalities applying martial power to plowing forward into the more dismal regions of their own political pasts.

I’m a little lazy now and this summer believe I should be reading (on deck: Goldman’s Lord of the Flies, Brodie’s Thomas Jefferson), settling down, regathering myself for what beyond my 60+ years looks like a still daunting and frightening future for myself and tens of millions of Americans as well as the middle classes and the surviving and struggling of the nations worldwide.  Time seems to have produced too many drowning in arms and drugs, directly related insecurity against depredation, general economic dissolution and isolation, and general political miasma and upheaval.