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How We Stay Blind to the Story of Power
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If one thing drives me to write, especially these blog posts, it is the urgent need for us to start understanding power. Power is the force that shapes almost everything about our lives and our deaths. There is no more important issue. Understanding power and overcoming it through that understanding is the only path to liberation we can take as individuals, as societies, and as a species.

Which is why it should be simply astonishing that no one in the media, supposedly a free marketplace of ideas, ever directly addresses matters of power – beyond the shadow play of party politics and celebrity scandals.

And yet, of course, this lack of interest in analysing and understanding power is not surprising at all. Because the corporate media is the key tool – or seen another way, the central expression – of power.

Very obviously, power’s main concern is the ability to conceal itself. Its exposure as power weakens it, by definition. Once exposed, power faces questions about its legitimacy, its methods, its purposes. Power does not want to be seen, it does not want to be confined, it does not want to be held accountable. It wants absolute freedom to reproduce itself, and ideally to amass more power.

That is why true power makes itself as invisible and as inscrutable as it can. Like a mushroom, power can grow only in darkness. That is why it is the hardest thing to write about in ways that are intelligible to those under its spell, which is most of us, most of the time. Because power coopts language, words are inadequate to the task of describing the story of real power.

Ripples on the surface

Notice I refer to power, not the powerful, because power should be understood more as an idea made flesh, an ideological matrix of structures, a way of understanding the world, than a set of people or a cabal. It has its own logic separate from the people who are considered powerful. Yes, politicians, celebrities, royalty, bankers and CEOs are part of its physical expression. But they are not power, precisely because those individuals are visible. The very visibility of their power makes them vulnerable and potentially expendable – the very opposite of power.

The current predicaments of Prince Andrew in Britain or Harvey Weinstein in the US are illustrative of the vagaries of being powerful, while telling us little meaningful about power itself. Conversely, there is a truth in the self-serving story of those in power – the corporate executives of an Exxon or a BP – who note, on the rare occasions they face a little scrutiny, that if they refused to do their jobs, to oversee the destruction of the planet, someone else would quickly step in to fill their shoes.

Rather than thinking in terms of individuals, power is better visualised as the deep waters of a lake, while the powerful are simply the ripples on the surface. The ripples come and go, but the vast body of water below remains untouched.

Superficially, the means by which power conceals itself is through stories. Its needs narratives – mainly about those who appear powerful – to create political and social dramas that distract us from thinking about deep power. But more fundamentally still, power depends on ideology. Ideology cloaks power – in a real sense, it is power – because it is the source of power’s invisibility.

Ideology provides the assumptions that drive our perceptions of the world, that prevent us from questioning why some people were apparently born to rule, or have been allowed to enclose vast estates of what was once everyone’s land, or hoard masses of inherited wealth, or are celebrated for exploiting large numbers of workers, or get away with choking the planet to the point at which life itself asphyxiates.

Phrased like that, none of these practices seems natural. In fact, to a visiting Martian they would look pathologically insane, an irrefutable proof of our self-destructiveness as a species. But these conditions are the unexamined background to our lives , just the way things are and maybe always were. The system.

True, the individuals who benefit from the social and economic policies that uphold this system may occasionally be held to account. Even the policies themselves may occasionably be held up to scrutiny. But the assumptions behind the policies are rarely questioned – certainly not in what we are taught to call the “mainstream”.

That is an amazing outcome given that almost none of us benefit from the system we effectively sanction every time we turn out to vote in an election. Very few of us are rulers, or enjoy enormous wealth, or live on large estates, or own companies that deprive thousands of the fruit of their labours, or profit from destroying life on Earth. And yet the ideology that rationalises all that injustice, inequality and immorality not only stays in place but actually engenders more injustice, more inequality, more immorality year by year.

We watch this all unfold passively, largely indifferently because we believe – we are made to believe – we are powerless.

Regenerating like Dr Who

By now, you may be frustrated that power still lacks a name. Is it not late-stage capitalism? Or maybe neoliberalism? Globalisation? Or neoconservatism? Yes, we can identify it right now as ideologically embedded in all of those necessarily vague terms. But we should remember that it is something deeper still.


Power always has an ideological shape and physical structures. It has both faces. It existed before capitalism, and will exist after it (if capitalism doesn’t kill us first). Human history has consisted of power consolidating and regenerating itself in new form over and over again – like the eponymous hero of the long-running British TV sci-fi series Doctor Who – as different groups have learnt how to harness it, usurp it and put it to self-interested use. Power has been integral to human societies. Now our survival as individuals and as a species depends on our finding a way to reinvent power, to tame it and share it equally between us all – and thereby dissolve it. It is the ultimate challenge.

By its very nature, power must prevent this step – a step that, given our current predicament, is necessary to prevent planetary-wide death. Power can only perpetuate itself by deceiving us about what it has done in the past and will do in the future, and whether alternatives exist. Power tells us stories that it is not power – that it is the rule of law, justice, ethics, protection from anarchy or the natural world, inevitable. And to obscure the fact that these are just stories – and that like all stories, these ones may not actually be true, or may even be the opposite of truth – it embeds these stories in ideology.

We are encouraged to believe that the media – in the widest sense possible – has authority alone to tell us these stories, to promote them as orthodoxy. It is the lens through which the world is revealed to us. Reality filtered through the lens of power.

The media is not just newspapers and TV news broadcasts. Power also exerts its hold on our imaginative horizons through all forms of “popular” entertainment, from Hollywood films and Youtube videos to social media and video games.

In the US, for example, almost all media is owned by a handful of corporations that have diverse interests related to power. Power expresses itself in our modern societies as wealth and ownership. And corporations stand at the apex of that power structure. They and their chief functionaries (for corporate executives do not really control power, it controls them) own almost all of the planet’s resources, they hold almost all of the wealth. They typically use their money to buy attention for themselves and their brands while at the same time buying invisibility for deep power.

To take one example: Rupert Murdoch’s power is visible to us, as are his negative personal qualities and occasionally the pernicious influence of his newspapers. But it is not just that his media outlets play a part in shaping and controlling what we talk about on any given day, for good or bad. They also control – all the time – what we are capable of thinking and not thinking. That is true power. And that role will never be mentioned by a Murdoch organisation – or any of his supposed rivals in the corporate media. It is the preserve of blogs like this one for very obvious reasons.

That makes media corporations a key pillar of the matrix of power. Their journalists are servants of corporate power, whether they know it or not. Mostly, of course, they do not.

The veiling of power

These thoughts were provoked by a rare comment from a prominent corporate journalist about power. Jonathan Freedland is a senior columnist at the supposedly liberal Guardian, and a British equivalent of Thomas Friedman or Jeffrey Goldberg. His job is to help make deep power invisible, even as he criticises the powerful. Freedland’s stock-in-trade is using the ephemeral dramas of political power to veil true power.

It was therefore intriguing to see Freedland actually try to define “power” in a recent column intended to dissuade people from backing Bernie Sanders as the Democratic nominee. Here is what he writes in reference to power:

“If recent events have reminded us of anything, it’s that in politics, power is the whole ballgame. …

“Most significant of all, a [political] party in power has the ability to create the conditions that ensure it keeps it. …

“It’s understanding the power of power, a truth so obvious that it should barely need stating, that is driving some battle-hardened veterans of past left campaigns to despair. ‘Nothing. Without power, there is nothing,’ fumed James Carville, who ran the last successful Democratic effort to oust a sitting Republican president when he masterminded Bill Clinton’s victory back in 1992.

“But the first step is to accept its importance, to recognise that winning power is the sine qua non of politics, literally the thing without which there is nothing.”

Notice that from the outset Freedland limits his definition of power in ways that are designed to assist power rather examine or scrutinise it. He states something meaningful – the importance of “understanding the power of power, a truth so obvious that it should barely need stating” – but then resolutely obscures the “power of power”.

What Freedland addresses instead is a lesser form of power – power as visible political drama, the illusion that we, those who currently have no real power, can exercise power by voting for candidates already selected for their ideological subservience to power, in a political and economic system structured to serve power, in a media and cultural landscape where those who try to address or challenge real power either end up being dismissed as “conspiracy theorists”, or “tinfoil hat-wearing” leftists, or crazed socialists; or end up being locked away as subversives, as a menace to society, as has prominently happened to Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange.

A small hint that Freedland is veiling power – from himself too – is his unthinking reference to Bill Clinton’s election adviser as running a “left campaign”. Of course, stripped of a narrative that serves power, neither Clinton nor his campaign could ever have been described as of the left.

While Freedland frets about how political power has moved to the right in the US and UK, he also indulges the deceptive consolation that cultural power – “the media, the Academy, entertainment”, as he refers to it – can act as a liberal-left counterweight, even if an ineffective one, to the right’s political power. But as I pointed out, the media and entertainment world – of which Freedland is very much part – are there precisely to uphold power, rationalise it, propagandise for it, and refine it so as to better conceal it. They are integral to the shadow play, to the veiling of real power. The left-right dichotomy – within the severely circumscribed limits he and his colleagues impose – is part of that veiling process.

Freedland’s seeming analysis of power does not, of course, lead him to consider in any meaningful way the most pressing and vital issues of the moment, issues that are deeply entwined with what power is and how it functions:

* how we might upend economic “orthodoxy” to prevent the imminent collapse of a global financial system fallaciously premised on the idea of infinite growth on a finite planet,

* and how, if we are to survive as a species, we might deal with corporate power that is polluting the planet to death through the aggressive cultivation of rampant, profit-driven consumerism.

These issues are only ever addressed tangentially in the corporate media, in ways that do not threaten deep power.

Glitches in the system


The kind of power Freedland focuses on is not real power. He is interested only in taking “power” away from Donald Trump to give it to a supposedly “electable” candidate for the Democratic party, like Pete Buttigieg or Michael Bloomberg, rather than a supposedly “unelectable” Sanders; or to take “power” from Boris Johnson through a “moderate”, pliable Labour party reminiscent of the Tony Blair era rather than the “alienating” democratic socialism he and his colleagues worked so relentlessly to undermine from the moment Jeremy Corbyn was elected Labour leader.

In other words, for Freedland and the entire spectrum of the corporate media, the only discussion they care to have is about who might best serve a superficial, ephemeral political power – without actually defining or even alluding to real power.

There is good reason for this. Because if we understood what power is, that it depends on ideas that we have been force-fed our every waking moment, ideas that enslave our minds and are now poised to kill us, we might decide that the whole system of power, not just its latest pretty or ugly face, needs to be swept away. That we need to start with entirely new ideas and values. And that the only way to liberate ourselves from our current pathological, self-destructive ideas is to stop listening to the loyal functionaries of power like Jonathan Freedland.

The current efforts to stop Sanders from winning the Democratic nomination do at least help to open our eyes.

The Democratic party is one of the two national US parties whose role, like the corporate media, is to conceal deep power. Its function is to create the illusion of choice, and thereby keep the viewing public engrossed in the drama of politics. That does not mean that there are no differences between the Republican and Democratic parties. There are, and for some people they are meaningful and can be vitally important. But those differences are completely trivial from the perspective of power.

In fact, power’s goal is to magnify those trivial differences to make them look like major differences. But whichever party gets into “power”, the corporations will keep despoiling and destroying the planet, they will continue driving us into profit-making wars, and they will carry on accumulating vast wealth largely unregulated. They will be able to do so because the Republican and Democratic parties’ leaderships rose to their current positions – they were selected – by proving their usefulness to deep power. That is the power of power, after all.

That is not to say there are never glitches in the system. Mistakes happen, though they are usually corrected quickly. The system is not all-powerful – not yet, at least. Our situation is not necessarily hopeless, though the struggle is immensely difficult because most of us have not yet worked out what power is and therefore have no idea how it might be confronted.

Power has had to make historic compromises, to take defensive actions in the hope of maintaining its invisibility. In the west, it eventually conceded the vote to all adult men, then women, to ensure its legitimacy. As a result, power shifted from expressing itself through implicit or overt threats of physical violence to maintain order and moved towards manufacturing an ideological consensus – our current passivity to our imminent self-destruction – through education systems and the corporate media.

(The threat of violence is only veiled, and can be made explicit against those who doubt the legitimacy of power or try to stop its descent into self-destruction, as Extinction Rebellion will increasingly find the more it pushes for deep and systemic change.)

Power’s relentless drive to feed the insatiable appetite it has created for us as consumers, and its obsession with technological fixes as a way to maximise efficiency and profits, sometimes create these glitches. They open up new possibilities for exposing power. One recent example is the information publishing revolution embodied by social media. Power is now desperately trying to stuff that genie back into the lamp with self-serving narratives about “fake news” on the left (made more credible by conflating it with power-serving fake news on the right), as well as making drastic changes to algorithms to disappear the left’s rapidly emerging counter-narratives.

And most importantly, power is struggling to maintain the illusion of its benign nature, of normal service, in the face of real-world facts, such as the planet heating up, runaway fires in Australia, balmy winter temperatures in the Antarctic, the mass die-off of insects, and the tide of plastic choking the oceans. Its efforts to exploit the wealth-generating opportunities offered by the climate and wider environmental emergencies, while refusing to acknowledge that it is entirelyresponsible for those emergencies, may yet backfire. The question is not whether we wake up to the role of power, but whether we do so before it is too late to effect change.

The Sanders threat

Sanders is one of those glitches. Just like Jeremy Corbyn was in the UK. They have been thrown up by current circumstances. They are the first signs of a tentative political awakening to power, sometimes dismissed generically as “populism”. They are the inevitable outcome of the ever greater difficulty power faces in concealing its self-destructiveness as it seeks to remove every last limit to its voracious acquisitiveness.

Once upon a time, those who paid the price of power were out of view, in disenfranchised, urban slums or far-off lands. But the accelerating contradictions of power – of late-stage, global capitalism, if you prefer a specific name – have brought those effects much closer to home, where they cannot so easily be ignored or discounted. Growing sections of western societies, the central locus of power, understand that there needs to be serious, not cosmetic, change.

Power needs to be rid of Sanders, just as it previously had to rid itself of Corbyn because both are that rarest thing – politicians who are not imprisoned within the current power paradigm. Because they do not serve power cultishly like most of their colleagues, such politicians threaten to shine a light on true power. Ultimately, power will use any tool to destroy them. But power prefers, if possible, to maintain its cloak of invisibility, to avoid exposing the sham of the consumption-driven “democracy” it engineered to consolidate and expand its power. It prefers our collusion.

The reason the Democratic party establishment is trying to bring down Sanders at the primaries stage and crown a power-functionary like Buttigieg, Biden or even Elizabeth Warren – or if it must, parachute in a billionaire like Michael Bloomberg – is not because Sanders would on his own be able to end the globe-spanning power of pathological capitalism and consumerism. It is because the nearer he gets to the main shadow play, to the presidency, the more power will have to make itself visible to defeat him. (Language makes it difficult to describe this dynamic without resorting to metaphors that make power sound fancifully human rather than structural and ideological.)

As the other candidates increasingly look unsuited to the task of toppling Sanders for the nomination, and rigging the primaries has proved much harder to do covertly than it was hoped, power has had to flex its muscles more publicly than it likes. So narrative is being marshalled to destroy Sanders in the same way that the antisemitism and Brexit narratives were used to halt Corbyn’s grassroots movement in its tracks. In Sanders’ case, the corporate media is preparing a readymade Russia narrative against him in case he gets nearer to power – a narrative that has already been refined for use against Trump.

(Trump’s relation to power could be the basis for an entirely separate post. He is not an ideological threat to power, he is one if its functionaries. But he is a potential Harvey Weinstein or Prince Andrew. He can be sacrificed if needs be. The Russiagate narrative has served two purposes useful to power. It has tamed Trump’s ego-based politics to ensure he does not threaten deep power by making it more visible. And it has created a compelling political drama that channels and dissipates the “resistance” to Trump, satisfying much of the left’s own need to feel they are doing something, when in fact they are simply strengthening Trump and deep power.)

Caught in a trap

Late last week, as the landslide in Nevada for Sanders was imminent, the western media uncritically reported claims, based on unnamed “US officials”, that the Vermont senator is seen by the Russians as an “asset”, and that the Kremlin is trying to help either him or Trump to get elected. No one making that claim was identified, no explanation was offered of how Sanders could serve as an asset, nor was evidence cited for how the Russians might be able to help Sanders win. Power doesn’t need facts or evidence, even when its claims are self-evidently disruptive to the democratic process. It exists chiefly in the realm of narrative and ideology. This is a story, just like Corbyn’s “antisemitism crisis”, that is made true simply through repetition.

Because power is power, its narratives can defy the most elementary rules of logic. After all, how could an unverified, evidence-free narrative about Russian interference on behalf of Sanders’ campaign be more important than actual interference by anonymous “US officials” intended to damage Sanders’ campaign? How could such undemocratic, unaccountable efforts to interfere in the outcome of the US election be so readily peddled by the media unless the entire press corps is incapable or unwilling to engage their critical faculties in favour of the democratic principles they claim to uphold? Unless, in truth, they are not there representing us, the people, and our interests, but are instead simply servants of what amounts to a power-cult.

As I have documented many times before, Corbyn found himself caught in a trap of the kind now faced by Sanders. Any supporter (including Jews) who denied that the Labour party Corbyn led was antisemitic, or argued that the antisemitism claims were being weaponised to damage him, was cited as proof that Corbyn had indeed attracted antisemites to the party. Concluding that Corbyn’s Labour party was not antisemitic, based on the evidence, was treated as evidence of antisemitism. But as soon as Corbyn agreed under media and party pressure to accept the alternative – that an antisemitism problem had taken root on his watch – he was also implicitly forced to concede that something about him and his values had allowed antisemitism to take root. He found he was damned either way – which is precisely how power makes sure it emerges the winner.

Unless we can develop our critical faculties to resist its propaganda, power holds all the cards and can play them the way that best suits its interests. The Russia narrative can be similarly written and rewritten in any way needed to damage Sanders. If he dissociates himself from the Russia narrative, it can be cited as proof that he is in the Kremlin’s pocket. But if Sanders supports the claims of Trump’s collusion with Russia, as he has done, he confirms the narrative that Vladimir Putin is interfering in the election – which can then be twisted when necessary to present Sanders as another of Russia’s assets.

The message is: A vote for Trump or Sanders will put Putin in change of the White House. If you’re a patriot, better to choose a safe pair of hands – those of Buttgeig, Biden or Bloomberg. (Paradoxically, one of the glitches might be a US presidential election campaign between two billionaires, a “choice” between Trump and Bloomberg. Should power become too successful in engineering the electoral system to serve its interests alone, too successful in allowing money to buy all political influence, it risks making itself visible to a wider section of the public than ever before.)

None of this should be seen as sinister or conspiratorial, though of course it sounds that way to those who fail or refuse to understand power. It is in the logic of power to exercise and consolidate its power to the greatest extent possible. And power has been accumulating power to itself over centuries, over millennia. Our failure to understand this simple truth is really a form of political illiteracy, one that has been engendered by our submission to, our worship of, power.


Those caught up in the drama of politics, the surface ripples – which is almost all of us, almost all of the time – are actors in, rather than witnesses to, the story of power. And for that reason we can see only other actors, the battles between the powerful and the powerless, and between the powerless and the powerless, rather than power itself.

We watch the drama without seeing the theatre in which that drama is unfolding. In fact, power is much more than the drama or the theatre. It is the unseen foundations on which the theatre is built. To employ another metaphor, we are like soldiers on the battlefields of old. We slaughter – or are slaughtered by – people no different to us, defined as an enemy, cheered on by generals, politicians and journalists in the service of a supposed ideal we cannot articulate beyond the emptiest slogans.

Power is the structure of the thoughts we think we control, a framework for the ideologies we think we voted for, the values we think we choose to treasure, the horizon of imaginations we think we created. Power exists only so long as we consent to it through our blind obedience. But in truth, it is the weakest of opponents – it can be overcome simply by raising our heads and opening our eyes.

Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is

(Republished from Jonathan Cook by permission of author or representative)
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  1. U-turn says:

    There is nothing inherently malignant or sinister in power; it is simply the ability to get things done. A seed, for instance, has the power within it to produce a tree and our senses, passing their information on to our brains create our personal perception of reality. Without power, nothing can happen.

    When power used in malignant ways, it is not power itself that is malignant but the motive behind its use.

  2. Yes, but what is Deep Power, the one below the the foolish surface effects of journalists and politicians and campaign managers and eevil Murdoch media — oh, and rich lefty billionaires?

    For instance what Deep Power brought forth the Great Enrichment of the last 200 years that has increased real per capita income by 30 times in the rich countries, and which has reduced global poverty to 10 percent? Whose cunning plan was that? Baldrick’s?

    What Deep Power ran the Soviet Union, and ran it unto the ground? Can Deep Power be that stupid? Or was it ruined by the cunning Deep Power of the evil United States and its cunning “intelligence community” of which we’ve heard tell?

    Now I argue that the left represents a Great Reaction with an foolish nostalgia for past ages. Thus socialism is a return to slavery; the welfare state a return to serfdom; identity politics a return to tribalism, etc. You could look it up on my personal website.

    Could it be that real Deep Power is like the power that keeps a human organism functioning from moment to moment, day to day, and through the whole arc of life from birth to reproduction to death? And how would we explain and understand that Deep Power, given that we really don’t know how the human body works, and what the organizing principle of life is — as compared to non-life?

    The fact is that power — not to mention “the meaning of life, the universe, and everything” — is a complete mystery to us, and likely to remain so.

    • Replies: @Sean
  3. Sean says:

    There is no higher authority to call on, that’s the whole of the problem Cook complain about. Peace would be easily achieved if the re was a World government or even a global hemon, but Cook wants the peace because of an alteration in ideology. Yet the fear of what another country intends or might come to intend in the future is perfectly rational.

    Phrased like that, none of these practices seems natural. In fact, to a visiting Martian they would look pathologically insane, an irrefutable proof of our self-destructiveness as a species. But these conditions are the unexamined background to our lives , just the way things are and maybe always were

    How indicative of your John Lennon’s Imagine mindset that you assume aliens would be friendly and not harvesting us, or just exterminating us as a precautionary measure. To Gorbachev, Reagan made the point that under extraplanetary attack, human beings would unite. But until then, or one mega power rules the world, the structure of the system means some people have to be given power to combat enemies, both foreign and domestic. The individual domestic enemy is put in prison or executed, while the foreign country is gone to war with.

    The more secure one country feels, the less secure others do–and they are right to. If the US stayed home and strictly minded its own business, Russia and China would simply take advantage to increase their power–and they would be fools not to. It’s a zero sum game, and quite stable if left alone.
    To put it in the broadest possible way, starting at least 30-40,000 years ago the “natural” human condition seems to have been inequality, not equality. On the other hand, attempts to change that condition often counted their victims in the millions, and led to general impoverishment; even so, hardly ever did they last for very long.

    The conclusion Scheidel draws from all this is worthy of an Edmund Burke. If, like Picketty and his followers, what you hope to achieve is equality, tread softly: or else the cure, for as long as it lasts, may very well be worse than the disease.

  4. Sean says:
    @Christopher Chantrill

    Could it be that real Deep Power is like the power that keeps a human organism functioning from moment to moment, day to day, and through the whole arc of life from birth to reproduction to death?

    We are a vehicle for our genes, and as individuals we don’t last very long. I suppose countries are a vehicle too, and they can suffer premature demise just as a careless person can. So just as our genes get us to perpetuate them, the populations of a country want to make sure the vehicle they are in is carefully steered.

  5. Big Daddy says:

    Mosca, Michels and Pareto were right. A small minority always rules. Beat them by massive decentralization with thousands of sovereignties, very strong property rights, and a wide open legal system in each with impartial adjudicators. So what if in one jurisdiction or 100 are collectivist hell.

    Name the two most segregated cities in the usa by housing: NYC and LA.

    Small, mostly or exclusively one religion and culture, and each little area will fight to the death to protect itself.

    Forget the one big earth baloney. See human nature for what it is.

    • Replies: @JasonT
  6. Corporations would hardly have the ability to do the things charged if they did not have the real power, based on violence or its potential, provided to them by the state.

    This writer’s solution is regulation of corporations-more statism.

    The tragedy of leftists and leftism, and the real reason the leftist intelligentsia (i.e., this writer) can never escape their fate: working to perpetuate that which they despise.

    • Agree: Kratoklastes
  7. melpol says:

    My power is the SS monthly check. It provide me with the ability to buy my essentials and pay for rent and utilities. Who cares about the more powerful, they are of no concern. Some say that I should badmouth the bankers and the Jews because they have more power. But those jealous people should get a job that earns them a little power. My ultimate power is when I spread my ladies legs apart and make her yelp with joy.

    • Replies: @The Grim Joker
    , @Answer
  8. Avianthro says:

    “POLITICS: n 1: social relations involving authority or power.
    We swim in “politics” like fish swim in water; it’s everywhere, but we can’t see it!” (Jay Hanson)

    “In fact, telling primates (human or otherwise) that their reasoning architectures evolved in large part to solve problems of dominance is a little like telling fish that their gills evolved in large part to solve the problem of oxygen intake from water. — Denise Dellarosa Cummins”

    “[Anything which] is a living and not a dying body… will have to be an incarnate will to power, it will strive to grow, spread, seize, become predominant – not from any morality or immorality but because it is living and because life simply is will to power… ‘Exploitation’… belongs to the essence of what lives, as a basic organic function; it is a consequence of the will to power, which is after all the will to life.”

    from Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil, s.259, Walter Kaufmann transl.

  9. I agree humanity needs to “reinvent power”, and that power has brought us here and is bringing towards our own destruction.

  10. JasonT says:
    @Big Daddy

    “very strong property rights, and a wide open legal system in each with impartial adjudicators”

    And how exactly is this to be accomplished? Every legal system can be and is corrupted by the small minority. Under such a system, “very strong property rights” contains the subtext “only for the ruling minority” and “impartial adjudicators” contains the same subtext.

    Even so, where the legal system cannot contain the vast majority, the small minority gathers its enforcers to do the job violence.

    Cook’s point is that unless the vast majority changes its thinking paradigm to a collective one, we will always be ruled by the small minority. The libertarian ideal you espouse is a non-starter and only enhances the power of the small minority by atomizing the power of the vast majority.

    • Replies: @Parfois1
  11. Liza says:

    Corporations would hardly have the ability to do the things charged if they did not have the real power, based on violence or its potential, provided to them by the state.

    Armies no matter how big or small are the ones with the real power (potential to do violence) to change things (for better or worse). Yet they hardly ever exercise it in their own interests. You can blame the top military people (generals) but the reality is that a reasonably sizable group of soldiers could change things mighty fast with a bit of well-planned mutiny. But they don’t. Viet Nam was a hellhole, especially to conduct warfare against the locals? Still, they went and they died in countless numbers or come back legless. Same with the ME.

    Power, I would think, comes from the capacity to see your own true interests – something farther down the pike than the next paycheck. And yet the military people with access to “the barrel of a gun” (millions of ordinary armed forces members) can’t see that.

    You need stupid people all around you to be able to exercise power. And there is no shortage of that. So, I’d say that power is all about intelligence VS stupidity (blindness).

    Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.
    Guess who is reported to have spoken those words.

    • Agree: renfro
    • Replies: @Parfois1
  12. George says:

    Politics Is for Power: How to Move Beyond Political Hobbyism, Take Action, and Make Real Change Hardcover – January 14, 2020 by Eitan Hersh (Author)

    • Agree: renfro
  13. @melpol

    This is the most intelligent comment I have read in this regard. Look, I agree with you. For example a work acquaintance of mine complained about the “power” of the corporation and the “power” of the boss. His problem was that he spent every cent he earned, the “powers” found out he was heavily in debt and so exploited him. If he had saved his money and had several months salary set aside they would have no hold over him.

    The boss tried that with me insisting at 4.55 pm on a Friday that I work all weekend on a project due Monday. I said no ! He could have fired me but it would have made no difference to my being able to pay my bills. Instead he gave it to my trusted colleague, the one with the credit card debt, monster mortgage, car payments and high flying wife.

    It seems to me people have power over you when they have something you want or must have. The trick in my mind is to eliminate that need. Hence I could give shit who has power and who does not.

    We all have the juice, most people dont think and never recognize the opportunities that exist to get out from under other people’s thumbs.

  14. Start by piercing the veil of anonymity by which title holders of real property conceal what they own.

    It should be all public on the internet. All lobbying and donations should require disclosure.

    Once people get used to power being exposed, the act of trying to conceal it immediately draws scrutiny.

  15. renfro says:

    ”The fieriest of Serpents can be destroyed by a swarm of ants”

    Unfortunately the ants have been on vacation for the past several decades.

  16. Power is okay if we can call out on it.

    We can call out on Wasp power, Russian power, Chinese power, Iranian power, the Cuban-American community, etc.

    Power is dangerous when we can’t call it out. So, what is that power? It is Jewish. It is also homo, but homo power is a proxy of Jewish Power.

  17. Speaking truth to power.

  18. @Beavertales

    Start by piercing the veil of anonymity by which title holders of real property conceal what they own.

    It should be all public on the internet. All lobbying and donations should require disclosure.

    Your comment reminded me of what William Guy Carr warned us about in his book entitled ‘Pawns in the Game’. He referred to the cancerous tool as the “joint stock holding company”.

  19. anarchyst says:

    Wall street sees “labor” as being a necessary evil, its true value to be minimized at all cost while valuing the CEOs and “stockholders” above and beyond their true worth.
    This even applies to CEOs, that run their corporations into the ground while still receiving massive “rewards” for their “expertise”.
    Let’s not forget the corporate vultures (a la Mitt Romney) that specialize in parting out viable businesses in order to maximize their “profits”
    Henry Ford “got it right” when he CREATED a market for his cars by making them inexpensive while paying his workforce a decent wage. He realized that a well-paid workforce would be able to buy his products, among other things. It could be safely argued that Ford, CREATED the middle class. Automobiles, once “playthings for the rich” were made affordable for the “ordinary common man”.
    Henry Ford KNEW who the banksters and vulture capitalists were and made no bones about calling them out and naming them, Father Charles Coughlin did the same thing and was ostracized by the Catholic Church for pointing out the TRUTH about our vulture capitalist society.
    “Vulture capitalism” can be defined as the owners of businesses and industries that collude with each other, also in collusion with the “money types” (banksters) depressing wages solely to increase their stockholder “profits” at the top while impoverishing those who actually WORK, producing their products.
    All one has to do is look at today’s CEOs, even in failing companies, being paid exorbitant salaries, along with stock options and other “perks” while pleading poverty, pushing down wages for their employees.
    Today’s capitalist “mantra” is that labor costs must be as cheap as possible while the “value” (profit) to the stockholder must be as great as possible. Sacrificing labor on the altar of “maximum profits” NEVER works in the long term.
    Of course, in the short term, with cheap Chinese goods flooding the market, the economy looks, good, but without CONSUMERS who hold jobs that pay reasonably well, all bets are off. There needs to be a balance between profits and labor.
    Presently, labor is looked upon as a “necessary evil” to be minimized at all costs. The problem arises-without labor there are no consumers. As I previously stated, a “balance” must be maintained. Labor is not evil, but a necessary component of capitalism.
    Pre-WW2 Germany’s economic successes and the rapid rise of the German economy was predicated on labor being assigned “value”and monetized-something that is (and has been) missing in capitalist societies today.
    If labor costs need to be trimmed to assure “profit” at the top, something is seriously wrong. In fact, in the well-paid American automobile industry, labor costs account only for approximately 10% of total costs.
    Offshoring production results in consumers (customers) being “lost”.
    As to “tariffs”, the American country ran on tariffs from its inception until 1913, when the “income tax” and “federal reserve” was established.
    The American economy is being propped up by the “social safety net” which obscures the TRUE economic situation in the U S .

    • Agree: Lost american
  20. Roger says:

    “They [Rupert Murdoch’s media outlets] also control – all the time – what we are capable of thinking and not thinking. That is true power.”

    “Power exists only so long as we consent to it through our blind obedience. But in truth, it is the weakest of opponents – it can be overcome simply by raising our heads and opening our eyes.”


    If ‘Power’ can control–all the time–what we are capable of thinking and not thinking, then it would be impossible for us to overcome it by simply opening our eyes and raising our heads. If power can control our thoughts all the time, then we have no choice in the matter except to consent through blind obedience.

    These two statements are contradictory and it is the first, not the second, which is wrong. No single individual and no group of persons has the power to control what we are capable of thinking. In this sense, we are truly free because we can think whatever we want–all the time. Our thoughts are our own. We may have to submit to power externally, but our internal thoughts are exclusive to ourselves.

    • Replies: @Parfois1
  21. Parfois1 says:

    Cook’s point is that unless the vast majority changes its thinking paradigm to a collective one, we will always be ruled by the small minority.

    Finally somebody understands the message (in contrast with the obtuse comments afore). Cook is not questioning power itself: but he assails its use for furthering the interests of a clique that necessarily emerges to use it as an instrument of dominance, not for the common good.

    As you point out, as long as the “power game” is played (with the majority sitting on the stands applauding the scoring of goals) by the “opposing” cliques on the field nothing will change. Only when they dismiss the cliques and themselves play the game (open, direct, universal democracy; not representative) will there be a chance to bring power to the commons in a diluted and harmless form because of its distribution among the many. The evil of power is not power itself, it turns to evil when it is appropriated by a clique for its own purposes an interests in complete disregard for the common people.

    Of course, I’m alluding only to one dimension of power, the political one. But it would be the crucial first step towards the eradication of the malevolent abuse of total power.

  22. Parfois1 says:

    Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy. Guess who is reported to have spoken those words.

    Somebody we know who understood the power of power. (HK)

    Yes, the state (political) power is expressed through its enforcing agencies: police, armed forces, law, through legal violence. However, they are not a separate branch of power because of their subordination to the political, cultural and even economic power, the latter exemplified by the revolving door of “defence” and the weapons cartel (MIC). In the absence of external pressure, only in extreme cases of social disintegration would the military use their “violence power” and only to re-establish another or previous power structure. Coups typically are of temporary character for a “change of the guard”. Very rarely they are transformable agents for a radical change, as in the Russian Revolution.

    • Replies: @Liza
  23. Parfois1 says:

    Once people get used to power being exposed, the act of trying to conceal it immediately draws scrutiny.

    Good point. As Jonathan Cook stressed, the secret nature of Power is essential for its being. You cannot use power unless it evades the realm of banality and manifests itself through the actions of its physical agents who acted as the personification of the real Power (the eminence grise).

    Even the autocratic kings and emperors saw the need to bring mythical authority for their use of absolute power – e.g. the Pharaohs, Sun Kings, Holy Roman Emperors. The aura of authority, not different to the preamble of the US constitution, claiming divine origin!

  24. Parfois1 says:

    These two statements are contradictory and it is the first, not the second, which is wrong. No single individual and no group of persons has the power to control what we are capable of thinking. In this sense, we are truly free because we can think whatever we want…

    You are deluded if you think you are capable of independent thinking. It is an impossibility because our capacity to think derives from the cumulative effects impressed on us by our personal world (one’s worldview) in its physical and social context. In its most basic sense, the most you can think of is limited by language in its wider meaning: we cannot imagine things that are not expressible in some way by symbols (semiotics). We cannot transcend that that is beyond us, the personal world we created through those symbols imposed on us by socialization, education, mass media communication, cultural indoctrination, in short, the ideological foundation of our cognitive reality.

    The author used the “Murdoch press” in the limited sense of mediating a reality for you to internalize its interpretation of reality, defining the subject matter and its boundaries. It decides for you what you should (be allowed) to know. That’s as far as most people go to understand their world.

    However, the exercise of Power is not omnipotent; some of us, depending on our own personal experiences, may escape from the tyranny of the dominant ideology or religion or even culture. This can happen and it is assisted if one finds a replacement because we need a frame of reference to understand the physical and social worlds.

    We are in an universe made by others (our personal contribution is minimal) therefore it works like a cage beyond which you cannot reach. The only free thinker I can think of is the newly-born child left in a dark cave alone with enough sustenance to survive into adulthood. He’s free to think but understands nothing.

    • Replies: @Roger
  25. Liza says:

    @Parfois1. Well, it is hard to disagree with what you say. What about the exception, though, namely the Pretorian Guard during the Roman days. They were a segment of the Army, yet assassinated left and right in order to establish new and different governments. Maybe H.K. wasn’t correct ALL the time.

    Or am I getting too much of my History from films? 🙂 🙂 Or mis-remembering my high school history?

    However, they are not a separate branch of power because of their subordination to the political, cultural and even economic power, the latter exemplified by the revolving door of “defence” and the weapons cartel (MIC).

    Yes, I know. But there have always been an intelligent few who could see what was going on. They just needed to screw up their courage. I keep wondering what they are waiting for – the 2nd coming of Christ? Looks like it may come to that.

    Thanks for replying to me.

  26. Roger says:

    “…some of us, depending on our own personal experiences, may escape from the tyranny of the dominant ideology or religion or even culture. This can happen and it is assisted if one finds a replacement because we need a frame of reference to understand the physical and social worlds.”

    Have you ‘escaped’ the tyranny of the dominant ideology, religion, or culture? If so, how did you do it? What did you replace it with, since you must have a frame of reference? What is your frame of reference? What do you call your new dominant ideology or religion? What are its workings? Explain how you know, without doubt, that you have escaped so that you are free. Are you sure that you are free or have you just swapped one tyranny for another?

    Why should I believe you?

    • Replies: @anarchyst
  27. Parfois1 says:

    Why should I believe you?

    I’m not here to be “believed” by or convert others; only to try to open some windows for others to see wider vistas and extend their worldview. Others are reciprocating that task for me too. It is for each one of us to continuously integrate our personal observations and experiences into a coherent whole consistent with our own (not the dominant) ideological environment, mostly a subconscious effort, but also by reasoning. It means you have to step out of your comfort zone and be a full-time skeptic constantly adjusting your compass. Each one of us is unique – even identic twins – because our experiences in the world are exclusive (no other being can share them).

    I did not say I have escaped (only that some of us can do it) but the way out of the cage is a journey that each escapee has to take alone on a road without signposts. The first step is to renounce the existing belief system and start with an ideological “tabula rasa”.

    • Replies: @Roger
    , @Liza
  28. Roger says:

    You are advocating that each person has the ability to learn to think for themselves (which I said originally that we are free to do), yet you called me ‘deluded’ for saying so.

    I am a full-time skeptic, constantly questioning myself, my thoughts and opinions, and adjusting my compass to better align my present with what I believe to be true. Sometimes I have to abandon what I believe to be true and adopt something different. I’m not afraid of admitting I was wrong as long as I can see clearly that I was wrong and there is a better way ahead. Generally speaking, this is called seeking truth.

    Your roadmap is suspect. In your words, a person cannot travel through life without signposts or start from a blank slate, an ideological “tabula rasa”. Or, as the saying goes, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.

    “It is an impossibility because our capacity to think derives from the cumulative effects impressed on us by our personal world (one’s worldview) in its physical and social context.”

    The person who thinks he can simply wipe his mind clean of everything he has believed, thought, or lived by in the past and start over from nothing to chart a new course is, to put it bluntly, deluded. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to live in a world of such people, and apparently neither does society, since they are constantly weeded out in favor of more balanced types who don’t go off the deep end.

    I will reiterate what I said in my first post. I am free to think as I please and no one can deny me that or compel me to think what I don’t wish to. I have already escaped the cage.

  29. Liza says:

    The first step is to renounce the existing belief system and start with an ideological “tabula rasa”.

    Hmmm. I don’t know about that. Which “existing belief system” do you mean? In any case, we may think we are renouncing it, but the reality is that some things are embedded in our cortex which aren’t going anywhere.

    • Replies: @Roger
  30. anarchyst says:

    It’s called the TRUTH. Not “my” TRUTH, but plain unadulterated TRUTH. PERIOD.

    Most people accept the narrative “for public consumption” being pushed on us by “the powers that be“. No thinking is required, as many people believe that the “mainstream media”, politicians, and other “movers and shakers” would never lie to us or push an agenda. (yeah, right).

    I, for one, have been “free” for a long time by NOT accepting “the common narrative”, but investigating many historical events on my own and forming my own conclusions, based on “common sense“, no matter how difficult or even improbable.

    When I write for public consumption, I am careful NEVER to denigrate, name-call, or otherwise insult my readership. Doing so makes one lose the argument.
    I have been successful in opening minds up to the real “freedom” that is out there.

    Unfortunately, in other countries (even in Canada), one is not free to publicly express TRUTH, especially when it steps on jewish toes.

    A good example of this is those martyrs who expose so-called “jewish holocaust ™” lies, fabrications, and outright falsehoods. In may countries, publicly exposing the TRUTH about this non-event in history subjects one to prosecution and incarceration.

    This in itself exposes the greatest “scam of the 20th (and 21st) century”, the so-called “jewish holocaust ™“.

    Ernst Zundel, Monika Schaefer, Ursula Haverbeck, Sylvia Stolz, and David Irving have been subject to punishment for refusing to believe the “official narrative” of the “jewish holocaust ™” and publicly speaking out about the inconsistencies, false and impossible claims about this non-event in history.

    TRUTH is out there for the taking. One has to approach ANY claim to TRUTH with an open mind and willingness to modify one’s position if the FACTS of a particular situation prove otherwise.

    • Replies: @Roger
  31. Roger says:

    “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”–Jesus Christ

    Now, without ever engaging in a religious debate, there are three things about this statement which are true, if the statement is true. I believe it is.

    1. Truth is knowable. It can be found and understood. There is no one who cannot find it IF they are willing to search for it.

    2. Truth is objective. It is THE truth. Only objective truth is knowable. It is fixed, unchanging, 100% reliable and guaranteed. Everything else is a moving target, a will-o’-the-wisp. Subjective truth or relative truth cannot be known because it is always shifting and changing. It is undependable, here one day, gone tomorrow. It cannot be counted on when we need it most.

    3. Truth will set us free. Life is either a search for truth (which sets us free) or settling for what we have (which is a compromise and holds us back). Only when we have found truth–absolute, objective truth–can we be truly free.

    • Agree: anarchyst
  32. Roger says:


    Good point!

    As you say, it would be impossible to completely erase everything from our minds, conscious, unconscious, or subconscious, to start over from a “tabula rasa”. Unborn children are probably as close to a blank slate as we can get, but they have already started to learn and absorb knowledge before they are delivered. Even if one could go back that far, it would only mean that everything would have to be learned all over again. Someone else would have to teach, which would influence and guide our growth, which is exactly the system we have now.

    • Thanks: Liza
  33. Answer says:

    What is wrong with you.?

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