Birmingham Clean Air Zone through the lens of Techno-Tyranny

Introduction

On the 1st June 2021, Birmingham (UK) introduced a ‘Clean Air Zone’. The plan is to charge vehicles that emit too many greenhouse gases a fee for every day that they enter the city centre. The supposed motivation for this is to lower emissions and improve air quality, thus improving the quality of life of people who live in Birmingham. As with any capitalist state initiative, however, we have to look beneath the surface, and in this case there is a link to the Smart City agenda.

Birmingham Clean Air Zone

The Birmingham Clean Air Zone – which came into force on the 1st June – will charge any non-compliant household vehicle that enters into the zone or drives within the zone £8 per day. Non-compliant vehicles are those that are (considered to be) non-fuel efficient and so emit too much carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. There are various exemptions to these rules, but for our purposes they are not important.

The main aspect which I will focus upon in this article is the mechanism by which the Clean Air Zone will be enforced. According to the BrumBreathes website, the official website for the changes:

Vehicles that do not meet the emission standards for the zone will be detected by an ANPR camera (automatic number plate recognition).

Number plates that are non-compliant with the low emissions zone will be flagged for a fine.

What precisely is ANPR? The RAC has an article discussing the basics of the technology.

ANPR technology converts an image of a number plate into machine-encoded text, this is called optical character recognition.

The technology can be used across CCTV, traffic enforcement cameras and ANPR-specific cameras. Infrared illumination can help cameras to capture a clearer image.

ANPR cameras are used to monitor speeding vehicles and handing out fines based on that basis. The police also use them to monitor stolen vehicles.

A Step Towards Smart Cities

Smart Cities – cities with endless sensors and monitoring managed by AI – are a dream of the global elite. Institutions such as the World Economic Forum are promoting the smart city concept through the creation of a ‘Pioneer Cities’ program. While smart cities are promoted as the solution to humanity’s problems, in reality, they will lead to the end of privacy – as every single device, even a kettle, will be hooked up to the ‘Internet of Things’ for monitoring. One of the main narratives being used to drive the smart city is the Official Covid Narrative – with smart cities being sold as ‘pandemic management’.

However, another idea being used to sell smart cities is the ‘green’ agenda. A significant proportion of Western populations are concerned about genuine environmental issues such as pollution and plastic waste, and this can be leveraged by Smart City promoters to push their agenda. For example, this article from 2018 talks about how the ‘Internet of Things’ is the best way to improve the environment by making everything more efficient. In reality, smart cities would devastate the environment due to the large amount of rare earth metals required for chipping everything and the creation of 5G networks, but that aspect is ignored by smart city promoters.

It is clear that the Birmingham Clean Air Zone is being used in such a manner, due to the fact that its surveillance policies will automatically slap online payable fines on non-compliant cars through ANPR processes. These cameras will be able to collect a large amount of data on drivers which allows for a higher level of privacy violation, a key concept of the Smart City.

On an even more sinister level, the idea of the Clean Air Zone may begin to normalise the exclusion of individuals from certain areas for not meeting certain criteria. This is being pushed extremely hard in Britain at the moment through the attempted normalisation of vaccine passports – preventing people from going to social events unless they have had the Covid-19 vaccine. The Official Covid Narrative and the ‘green’ agenda may merge with the concept of the ‘climate lockdown’ – an idea already being promoted and normalised in the mainstream media.

Conclusion

An initially innocuous idea – that of reducing pollution in the Birmingham City Centre – is actually tied into deeper agendas for the introduction of ‘smart cities’ and ramping up mass surveillance under the guise of ‘protecting the planet’.

Free Palestine London 12 June 2021

I went to London to attend the Free Palestine event organised by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign. The event started at 1 o’clock and took place outside Downing Street.

According to an announcement made by one of the organisers, there were 8,000 people at the event. This was a lot smaller than I expected given that the last London protest had around 180,000 people according to media reports. I happened to see Gordon Dimmack at the protest and he told me that the previous protest was far larger.

I arrived about 1 o’clock. I walked down Whitehall approaching Downing Street from Trafalgar Square. On the way there were a few signs of the protest including a banner from the Jewish Socialist Group and also some flags.

When I arrived there it was obvious that every left wing groupuscule was at the event. They generally had tents. The ubiquitous Socialist Workers Party, the International Bolshevik Tendency, Counterfire etc. The group The People’s Assembly were there handing out flyers – left wing Covid narrative believers overlapping with the Kill the Bill movement.

The Palestine events I have been to this year have an interesting demographic mixture. The events attracted Muslim protesters but also some people who would be considered ‘woke’: there were some people with signs like ‘Queers for Palestine’. (Of course, not all Muslims are socially conservative, but as a generalisation, in the UK they are more than average.)

There were several different speakers, from union activists, Palestinian activists, and politicians. Both John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn were there. Here is John McDonnell speaking with some crowd footage.

(Bitchute Equivalent)

The rapper Lowkey was also at the event, which was awesome. He was at the first event that I went to in London, the Free Assange march on February 2020. He did some of the lines from his song ‘Long Live Palestine’.

(Bitchute Equivalent)

It was very hot on and off (the clouds going over reduced some of the heat). I wandered around the protest several times to the extent it was possible (bollards were put up, so later on it was difficult to get round the back). I have some footage filmed from the back of the event earlier on, of some marchers joining the main protest.

(Bitchute Equivalent)

To be honest I was hoping for more people to turn out at this event, given the size of the previous protest. The movement needs to make sure that it can maintain the momentum to pressure the government to stop selling weapons to Israel (the bare minimum demand). The truth is, it is easy to forget about Palestine because we are not facing the consequences of what is happening there. There are more organised events coming up in early July, so we need to keep up the pressure on this government:

IOn

On the plus side it does seem like more ordinary people are supporting Palestine than there have been previously. I am hoping that the smears of all Palestine activists as anti-Semitic are starting to fail, although many right-wing outlets are trying to maintain that connection. The occupying of factories producing weapons to sell to Israel is also a very positive sign that shows there are people who are willing to take risks to defend Palestine.

More footage is available on Bitchute and Youtube.

Birmingham Protests 5th June 2021

It could be just me, but it seems as if there are a huge number of protests going on, more than ‘normal’. I don’t mean this from the point of view of one ideology or another. I just mean people protesting about things in general. It could be me simply being more aware of protests, but at the moment we have multiple Free Palestine events, Kill the Bill, Anti-Lockdown events, that have all drawn significant numbers of people.

There were two events on the 5th June, both taking place in Victoria Square at the same time (12 noon). (There was also a third protest going in in Kings Heath against the Low Traffic Neighbourhood organised by the Workers’ Party of Britain, and there were some Extinction Rebellion people hanging out and chalking near the intersection between New Street and Corporation Street.)

The two protests that took place in Victoria Square were by BrumLAG (Birmingham Leaseholders Action Group) and a group seeking to stop the deportation of Osime Brown to Jamaica.

The BrumLAG protest took place near the statue of Queen Victoria, off to the side of the square. It was pretty well attended, at least a few hundred were there.

BrumLAG protest about 12.20pm

The protest for Osime Brown was around 30-odd people and took place in the section of Victoria Square under the building.

Stop the Deportation of Osime Brown protest

The BrumLAG event was about the issue of cladding in homes. In 2017, Grenfell Tower, a tower block in London, set on fire. The fire was able to spread rapidly because of the type of cladding used in the building. 72 people were killed as a result of the fire.

Safety concerns regarding the risk of fire had been raised before the fire took place.

Many other buildings contain the same or similar unsafe cladding. This has caused serious worries to those living in such buildings due to the risk of a fire.

The BrumLAG protest was focused upon the issue of who pays for the replacement of the cladding. Leaseholders have been expected to pay and their properties have no value. BrumLAG have been making the case that the developers that should be paying for the changes to make the buildings safe.

BrumLAG leaflet. The other side says ‘Is your home worth £Zero?’

I did listen to some of the things that the speakers were saying. Unfortunately, they had a fairly low quality sound system. The recordings I made of the couple of speeches I managed to film on my tablet came out pretty garbled.

The Osime Brown event, on the other hand, had a much better sound system. The event was organised by some of the people involved in Kill the Bill and there were several of the same faces there as the event on May 1st.

I am going to be honest and say that I do not know a lot about this case. I will post the leaflet handed out by the organisers below so that you can read what they have to say:

Some of the speakers at this event were also at the Kill the Bill event. The woman with the bright coloured hair was speaking at Kill the Bill. I’m pretty sure the man with the yellow jacket introducing the speakers spoke there as well, or was involved in some way. Joan, Osime’s mother, also spoke at Kill the Bill and this is the first that I heard about this case.

I have embedded the videos below.

Here’s some Birmingham Leaseholders Action Group footage:

I am also trying to offer a Bitchute alternative for my footage, but am having some technical problems uploading.

The Problem with the Anti-Woke Right: The Demonisation of Anti-Imperialism as ‘Woke’

I have spent a lot of time on this website criticising the modern left. However, I have not as yet written much specifically addressing the modern right. This article will focus on a very notable trend within the modern right, which can be referred to as the ‘anti-woke right’. The argument of this is article is that the framing of ‘woke vs. anti-woke’ cannot convincingly address the anti-imperialist left argument.  

What is the Anti-Woke Right?

The anti-woke right is a modern trend within right wing thought, that is generally more popular among younger people. It has emerged out of the internet age, with Youtube commentators among some of the ‘pioneers’ of the anti-woke right.

The anti-woke right are generally libertarian leaning on economics, but their defining feature is that they put very heavy emphasis upon issues such as cancel culture and free speech and opposing woke attempts to redefine language and reality. The anti-woke right can be religious or non-religious. In the UK, significant examples of this tendency are the media outlet Spiked and the actor Laurence Fox.

The anti-woke right generally focus their critiques on issues that make people on the left look ridiculous. In some cases, those on the anti-woke right focus on genuine cases of left wing nonsense, such as criticising gender identity ideology – the idea that men are women if they say they are women. In fact, certain right wing outlets will publish articles on this issue that the left will not touch. For example, Spiked regularly runs articles by the excellent Jo Bartosch on this issue. Anti-woke right wingers will also criticise the ‘performative gesture’. For example, kneeling for Black Lives Matter.

Imperialism & The Anti-Woke Right

The recent focus on Israel and Palestine in the media has exposed one of the main problems with the anti-woke right. While the anti-woke right seems like a popular option when presented as an alternative to ‘woke liberalism’, in fact the anti-woke right normalises imperialism by portraying those who are anti-imperialist as merely ‘woke’ rather than taking a principled stand against imperialist aggression. While there are other examples of this trend, such as the attempt to shield Winston Churchill from the (factually true) criticism that he was a racist, this article will focus on the Israel-Palestine ‘framing’.

Laurence Fox tweeted out this comment about two Leicester City footballers who held up a Palestinian flag after Leicester’s FA Cup success:

Or give the ball chasing woke babies an atlas and ask them to pinpoint Palestine on a map.

The framing is obvious: opposing Israeli apartheid is not about anti-racism or anti-imperialism, it is ‘woke’.

This article in Spiked by Brendan O’Neill is a bit more complex in its argument. It starts by saying:

It [the modern left] sees prejudice everywhere except where it actually exists. State a biological fact and they’ll brand you transphobic. Criticise the burqa and you’re an Islamophobe. Fail to take the knee to Black Lives Matter and its every potty political belief and you’ll be called racist. Wear a sombrero and you’re cancelled. But chanting death to Jews? No biggie. 

The article then discusses examples of hatred of Jews from Palestine protesters. Whether or not these are genuine examples, or whether they are agents provocateurs I am not qualified to say.

It then equates these examples to opposition to the state of Israel itself:

Meanwhile, the Hamas slogan ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ – widely recognised as a hateful call to wipe Israel off the map – is being used more and more by the woke left.

There are several aspects of pro-imperialist framing in this sentence alone. Firstly, equating the call to free Palestine and pro-Palestinian chants with ‘Hamas’ – the boogeyman of pro-Israel right winger. It is not about the Palestinian people and their cry to be free from oppression, but ‘Hamas’. The idea of ‘wiping Israel off the map’ is framed as anti-Semitic. Of course, stating that states should not be ethno-nationalist and that this includes a Jewish state is simply being consistent in opposing apartheid. This argument also erases Jews that oppose Israel, a group which includes many Orthodox Jews as well as secular left wing Jews.

Crucially for this article, the word ‘woke’ is used to describe this slogan. How precisely it is ‘woke’ to oppose apartheid and imperialism is not explained. For example, the other examples of ‘wokeness’ quoted above are ones that many on the (actual anti imperialist) left criticise. For example, Marxism is an inherently gender critical ideology – as it bases itself on material reality (biological sex) over idealism (gender identity).

Black Lives Matter has also been heavily criticised by leftists, in particular for its funding sources. It received money from the Ford Foundation – hardly an organisation out to advocate the end of imperialism. This article discusses BLM’s relationship with the Democrats and the fact that the key founders are part of the non-profit industrial complex. This is without mentioning their support for transgender ideology.

These ‘woke’ ideas are lumped in with the completely different issue of imperialism. In truth, the promotion of transgenderism, support for Islam, and declaring that Black Lives Matter are really about ideological constructs, whereas imperialism is about material reality. This is also fundamental to the distinction between liberals (the identity politics people) and the left (focused on class & imperialism rather than abstract ‘identity’). This is a distinction the anti-woke right (deliberately or otherwise) refuse to make. These members of the anti-woke right do not distinguish between performative nonsense as promoted by woke liberals and actual anti-imperialist activism as promoted by the left.

‘Woke Imperialism’

A fundamental flaw in this position – framing resistance to imperialism as a ‘woke’ belief – is the promotion of ‘woke imperialism’ by groups such as the CIA, FBI and military. ‘Woke Imperialism’ can be defined as putting a layer of ‘diversity’ upon dropping bombs on the Middle East and promoting coups in Latin America – it’s all good so long as a black trans woman is the one pressing the button.

The CIA have recently released adverts called ‘Humans of CIA’ in which a diverse range of people extol its virtues. These adverts use woke words and ideology. For example, this advert features a Latina woman who talks about her race and sex and refers to herself using the trans ideology buzzword ‘cisgender’. Another advert features a gay man talking about rainbow lanyards.

As we can see from this example, woke ideology is entirely compatible with the values of the CIA, whereas freedom for Palestine is most certainly not. In fact, woke ideology – by putting all of the emphasis on ‘identity’ rather than oppression grounded in material reality – benefits the CIA, as it allows them to pretend to be ‘progressive’ while promoting coups.

Conclusion

Woke ideology and anti-imperialist action are two separate categories – one of which is pseudo-progressive and the other which is actually progressive. The anti-woke right conflates the two in the same category as ‘woke’, which reveals the limitations of this ideological position.

‘Wait Two Weeks’: The Reasons Behind this Constant Refrain

Believers in the Official Covid Narrative – the idea that Sars-Cov-2 is a uniquely deadly virus that means lockdowns, mandatory masks, and mass vaccinations are necessary to prevent mass death – often revel in predictions of doom and gloom. We can call this the ‘Wait Two Weeks’ phenomena, as any time that a mass gathering has happened in the UK, a Covid Narrative believer pops up in the comments making the argument that in two weeks there will be a massive spike in Covid-19 cases.

The Argument

This argument began to emerge around 9 May 2020, with the celebrations of the 75th Anniversary of V.E. Day. It increased in frequency near the end of May and beginning of June 2020, with people flocking to beaches to enjoy the warm weather and the Black Lives Matter protests following the death of George Floyd. (Though, of course, the big dollop of hypocrisy from many on the BLM issue should be noted, as some defended BLM protests while condemning everyone else as ‘spreading Covid’.)

The argument has continued to be posted underneath every Twitter image that showed people ‘breaking the Covid rules’. It has particularly been employed as an argument against every single anti-lockdown protest, with narrative supporters claiming that this would lead to a huge spike in Covid cases and probably another lockdown.

The Reasons Behind The Argument

Needless to say, none of the people who make this claim have provided any evidence of a Covid spike caused by these events. Indeed, the very large anti-lockdown protest in London in April was a month ago, but zero evidence exists that this event caused a spike in Covid-19 cases, hospitalisations, or deaths. So why do people keep making this argument, when the argument has failed every single time to be substantiated by evidence two weeks later?

The first reason for the continuing repetition of this argument is that it has become a mantra of faith in the Covid Cult. Similarly to all other mantras, such as ‘Stay Safe’, it is repeated as a sign of loyalty to the cult.

Secondly, there is a sense of superiority when it comes to this mantra. The author of the post saying ‘wait two weeks’ is signalling that they would never be so devoid of virtue as to break the government’s regulations. There is also a large element of snobbery to this argument as well. It isn’t the virtuous middle class – who the author is part of – that is breaking the rules, it is those nationalist, Brexit-voting proles that want to celebrate V.E. Day. It is those ignorant working-class people who flood the beaches when there is nice weather, rather than staying at home in their non-existent garden.

We also see a perverse craving for the prediction to come true in these statements. They almost want the mass deaths from Covid to happen in order to validate their narrative. They long to say ‘I told you so’ to narrative critics, even though it would be much better for people if the narrative critics are correct. This desire comes from the denial of death. According to the Official Covid Narrative, death is preventable so long as we all follow ‘the rules’. This is what Covid narrative believers want: death to be preventable.  If death is contingent on the rules, it allows the speaker to deny their own death (as they do not ‘break the rules’) while at the same time perversely obsessing over the deaths of other people. This ‘death denial while obsessing over death’ phenomena is at the heart of the contradictory nature of the Official Covid Narrative.

Conclusion

It has never been demonstrated by Covid Narrative believers that Covid spikes occur after outdoor mass gatherings. However, they repeat the claim that mass gatherings mean mass death constantly. This is because they have other psychological reasons to believe in this claim rather than its truth.

Black Lives Matter is a Transgender Organisation

The organisation Black Lives Matter is about protecting black people from police brutality, or that is their stated goal on the surface. Due to the media coverage of the death of a black man, George Floyd, at the hands of a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, BLM raised a large amount of money in 2020.

An account on Twitter drew my attention to the BLM 2020 Impact Report, about how they used the money that they raised.

It turns out that the majority of organisations that they support are LGBTQ* organisations, which means, in reality, that they are about trans identified males.

The Organisations That BLM Support

In this article, I have examined the organisations listed in the Black Lives Matter Impact Report for 2020. The report states that 6 figure grants were given to all of the organisations listed, so we are not talking about a trivial amount of money. In total, $21.7m was distributed, though some of that went to local BLM chapters.

I have cross referenced the list given on the BLM website with the list of organisations funded by the Arcus Foundation. This list was compiled by @StillTish at the Gender Critical Woman website. She has done excellent work in compiling this list and uploading an Excel spreadsheet for everyone to view.

What is the relevance of the Arcus Foundation? Why examine these two aspects together? The Arcus Foundation was created in 2000 by gay Big Pharma billionaire Jon Stryker. This organisation is one of the billionaire promoters of gender identity ideology. Billionaires (particularly Big Pharma billionaires) have a large interest in promoting this ideology, as the more people take hormones, puberty blockers and have transgender surgery, the more money goes into Big Pharma’s pockets (see also Big Pharma is no different from any other Capitalist Corporation).

As far as I can tell, four of the organisations on the BLM list are directly funded by the Arcus Foundation.

These four organisations are:

The Audre Lorde Project – Trans Justice: two $75,000 donations in 2016 and 2018, respectively. This website will not load for me but being as it’s called ‘Trans Justice’ I am going to assume it is a trans organisation or that the money is going specifically towards a trans cause.

BreakOUT: $150,000 from Arcus in 2017. The website states that it is a LGBTQ* org, but their vision clearly prioritises transgender without mentioning gay and lesbian people: “BreakOUT! envisions a city where transgender, gender non-conforming, and queer youth of color can live without fear of harassment and discrimination.” Only later on does it mention gay, lesbian and bisexual people.

BYP100: $200,000 from Arcus in 2017. Their about page initially focuses on anger about the death of Trayvon Martin. However then moves on to talking about a ‘Queer lens’. It doesn’t appear to be a 100% trans organisation but does have queer theory elements.

Arcus also funds the Transgender Law Center. Black Lives Matter funds the explicitly Black LGBTQIA* Migrant Project (listed as BLMP) which is part of this centre.

Four organisations may not seem like much in common, but the story does not end there. The Arcus Foundation also sends a large amount of money to Borealis Philanthropy. Borealis happens to donate money to many more of the organisations on the Black Lives Matter list:

Trans United (trans org)

Solutions Not Punishment Coalition (trans org)

Marsha P Johnson Institute (trans org)

Highlander Centre (from what I can see this one is not explicitly trans)

Black Trans Media (trans org)

House of Pentacles (trans org)

BraveSpace Alliance (explicitly states it is trans led)

Black Visions Collective (states trans led)                                                               

TAKE Birmingham (trans org)

Borealis also funds the BLMP & BYP100.

Borealis does not provide any information on how much money they send to each organisation on their website that I could find, but it does state in various blog posts that they have sent money to these various organisations.

Some of the money from Arcus is explicitly noted to go to the Borealis ‘Trans Generations Fund’ which then sends the money to trans organisations. While it is not explicitly stated on the Borealis website that the money went from Arcus through them to these other organisations, it is likely that this is the case.

Arcus/Borealis fund 13 of the organisations listed by BLM. BLM states that 23 of the organisations they funded are LGBTQ* led. If we exclude Highlander, as this one does not seem transgender focused, we have 12/23 organisations overlapping. If we exclude BYP100 as it is more ambiguous in its focus we have 11/23. Either way, half of the transgender organisations funded by BLM are also funded by Arcus/Borealis.

What’s the Problem?

Firstly, it is dishonesty. Black Lives Matter is an organisation that markets itself as working to end police brutality against black people in the US. Therefore, logically, their funds should go to activities that focus upon police brutality. No doubt most of the well-intentioned people who donated to BLM after the murder of George Floyd donated the money because they believed that it would go towards that cause. It is dishonest to raise money on the back of police brutality and then use the money to fund black trans people in the arts.

Secondly, the extent. The truth is that black trans identified males are a tiny minority of black people in the US. Yet most of the money that BLM granted to outside organisations went to trans identified male organisations. If BLM wants to focus on funding black organisations in general and not just organisations based around police brutality, then surely black woman led organisations that focus on women’s issues should receive some of the money given that women are half the population. However, women get nothing and trans identified males get most of the outside organisation funding. This we must ask critical questions about misogyny within this organisation.

Thirdly, the use of ‘LGBTQ*’ as a shield. Though the BLM organisation promotes these organisations in this way, in reality there is nothing specifically for black lesbians, gay men, or bisexuals of either sex. The term LGBTQ* is used as an attempt to make the funding look more diverse than it is. We also have to be asking questions about homophobia.

Finally, we have to ask the question “Why are a (supposed) grassroots organisation that grew up organically funding exactly the same organisations as the billionaire founded Arcus Foundation?”

Free Palestine Birmingham (Plus a little bit of Anti-Lockdown protests)

It looks like there have been protests all over Europe in support of Palestine, from Dublin, to Amsterdam, to France. There have also been protests in the UK as well, including in London.

The actions in the UK happened to be on the same date as anti-lockdown protests. I was not aware of any organised anti-lockdown protests in Birmingham, because although the weekend of the 15th May was the regional protests as well as London, there was no Birmingham protest mentioned on the list I saw.

I went into town because I wanted to pick up some stuff, though I was on the lookout for any protest actions. At 2:30pm I started hearing a lot of noise and had a look outside, there was a reasonably large group of anti-lockdown protesters near the Waterstones bookshop.

Protesters were holding banners and signs saying ‘No More Lockdown’, signs defending children and one woman with a sign reading ‘There’s nothing more unattractive than a muzzled up obedient man’. There was also someone with one of those smiley face flags that I saw in the London protest imagery.

I assume the protest took place earlier in the day and dispersed after this because I did not see them about afterwards. I finished what I was doing in town and then decided to look around to see if there were any protest actions still going on, I started walking towards Victoria Square. I could see a large number of Palestinian flags so I moved in that direction.

As I walked towards the square, the crowd began to walk in my direction. The crowd was way larger than I expected.

Crowd of protesters leaving Victoria Square

The march route. I believe it was this. Marked on the Wikimedia commons (ancient) Birmingham City Centre map:

The crowd must have been made up of a few thousand people. This was surprising to me because when I have been to or seen Free Palestine events in the past they have been small.

It took about an hour for the crowd to get round that route and back to Victoria Square. Here are a few more photos.

Colmore Row.
Near Station entrance (old Pallisades)
Approaching Victoria Square.

The crowd reached Victoria Square and there was chanting but there wasn’t any speeches or anything like that. There is thus not much to comment on in that regard.

Here’s Victoria Square.

It was good to see such large protest events in support of Palestine around the country and the world. The size of such protests compared to in the past perhaps warrants further examination as to why but would require further research.

Belarus: Regime Change Target

[A note on names. People did not like the Belarusian spelling Lukashenka that I used in my previous article. I did not use this spelling for any other reason than that I am used to spelling it that particular way. I have used the Russian spelling, Lukashenko, in this article to take this into account.]

[Another note on flags. For those who aren’t aware the opposition uses a different flag of Belarus to the government, referenced in the drawing above. The actual Belorussian flag is the one on the left (green and red). The flag used by the opposition is white-red-white.]

On the 17th April 2021, news broke of a planned coup against the leader of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko. Russian intelligence released videos of the plotters discussing plans to eliminate the Belorussian leader during the 9th May Victory Parade. This failed coup, however, is far from the first attempt to have Lukashenko replaced. There has been more than one attempt to remove Lukashenko through the Colour Revolution method due to his rejection of privatisation and neoliberal economics. The 2020 presidential election created another opportunity for regime change operators to cultivate a protest movement against the result. However, it appears that this movement has failed, leaving only the possibility of a coup to remove Lukashenko.

The History of ‘Colour Revolutions’ In Belarus: A Story of Failure

Due to Aleksandr Lukashenko’s overwhelming election victory in 1994, Belarus maintained a quasi-Soviet economy despite the collapse of the USSR. The ‘commanding heights’ of the economy, such as large industrial plants, remained under state ownership. The Belorussian system maintained high levels of employment, stable jobs, and comparative income equality. Lukashenko’s policy contrasts with countries such as Ukraine, where neoliberal privatisation led to the creation of a class of oligarchs. Furthermore, Belarus has aligned more with Russia than the West geopolitically, although there is more nuance to Russian-Belorussian relations than portrayed in Western media. Thus, the West has long been hostile to Lukashenko’s government.

The Colour Revolution model has been employed by Western leaders to remove governments that resist their ideology and demands, particularly in the post-Soviet space. This model ensured pro-Western leaders came to power in neighbouring Ukraine in 2004 (the Orange Revolution) and 2014 (The EuroMaidan). This model has also been attempted in Belarus. The approach has been simple: back a particular candidate against Lukashenko in elections, claim that that candidate lost due to fraud, and attempt to use the ensuing street protests as a means by which to get rid of Lukashenko.

Prior to 2020, the clearest example of a Western regime change operation in Belarus took place in 2006, that is, shortly after the successes of other colour revolutions in the post-Soviet space. The 2006 elections were contested between Lukashenko and Aleksandr Milinkevich, a pro-Western, pro-economic liberalisation candidate. The West gave some backing to Milinkevich, both in terms of funding for ‘democracy promotion’ in the country and working with Milinkevich’s election team. The New York Times reported that:

The Bush administration, which has labeled Belarus the only “outpost of tyranny” left in Europe, spent $11.8 million last year on democracy promotion and plans to spend $12 million in 2006. The National Endowment for Democracy, the Congressionally financed nonprofit organization that promotes freedom overseas, is spending $2.2 million more on 49 grants related to the Belarus election.

The leaders of the democratic opposition of Belarus were there to discuss politics with Terry Nelson, the national political director of Bush-Cheney 2004. In that campaign, Nelson oversaw the president’s strategy of creating a vast get-out-the-vote network by organizing volunteers. “We have neighbors talking to neighbors, and that’s the way to win a close race,” he said at the time.

The official results of the election gave Lukashenko 84.4% of the vote whereas Milinkevich received only 6.2%. The opposition immediately called the election rigged. There is no evidence that Milinkevich won the election, though the margin of victory may have been exaggerated. For example, in this poll after the election 58.2% stated they voted for Lukashenko.

The protests after the election were dubbed the ‘Jeans’ or ‘Denim’ revolution, the term deriving from one person using denim as a flag. This term was not only designed to invoke other Colour Revolutions, such as the Orange Revolution and the Rose Revolution, but also the idea of Westernisation (denim is often associated with the West in post-Soviet countries). These protests took place between March 19-25, 2006. US funded pro-regime change outlet Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFERL) estimated the protests as being between 20,000-30,000 at the largest. These protests were able to be successfully dealt with by the government, including the use of arrests, and they did not at any point create a real threat to Lukashenko’s rule.

The 2020 Election: The Latest Attempt at Regime Change

The 2020 Belorussian election provided another opportunity to try to have Lukashenko removed through the colour revolution method. Lukashenko has broadly continued the same economic and geostrategic policies that caused the West to be hostile to his leadership.  

However, 2020 also offered another compelling reason to be rid of Lukashenko. As outlined in my previous article on Belarus, Lukashenko employed a limited response to Sars-Cov-2, rejecting lockdown policies as a solution. Furthermore, Lukashenko claimed in July 2020 that the International Monetary Fund demanded he carry out these policies, and he made clear that these terms for any loans were unacceptable to him.

Lukashenko stated:

The IMF continued to demand from us: bring forward quarantine, isolation and a curfew. What is this stupidity? We will not dance to anyone’s tune. The demands appear: you, they say, should do in Belarus what Italy did in the struggle with the coronavirus. God forbid, I do not want Belarus to repeat what happened in Italy. We have our own country and our own situation.

In terms of the reasons for his removal, Lukashenko is most analogous to President John Magufuli of Tanzania. Magufuli rejected the privatisation of mineral wealth as well as the Official Covid Narrative. Magufuli disappeared and then was pronounced dead several weeks later. He was replaced by Samia Suluhu Hassan, who seems to have the approval of Western capital and global institutions such as the World Economic Forum.

The mechanism for attempted regime change remained the ‘contested election’ model. The West’s candidate in the race was Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, celebrated in the media as the ‘housewife taking on Lukashenko’. Tikhanovkaya claimed to have limited aims. The BBC stated that:

The women have no political programme, just one plea: vote for Svetlana to oust Mr Lukashenko then she’ll call fresh, fair elections and free all the political prisoners.

Now deleted webpages seem to show, however, that economic privatisation and joining the EU and NATO was part of the opposition’s agenda. It is also worthy of note that although Tikhanovskaya became a candidate due to the arrest or exile of other figures, she speaks excellent English, making her well positioned to deliver press conferences to a foreign audience.

The election took place on August 9, 2020. The official results showed a landslide win for Lukashenko, with 80% of the vote, Tikhanovskaya receiving 10%. The opposition claimed that the election was rigged, and that Belorussians should get out in the street to overturn the fraudulent result. The actual truth of the result is not the main concern of this article, although the Russian opposition outlet Golos states that in the 1310 polling places available for analysis, Lukashenko received 61.7% and Tikhanovskaya 25.4% (though they still believe this to be doubtful, they do not present any further evidence on the question).  

Regardless of the truth, there were significant protests after the election result. Looking to US regime change publication RFERL again, it refers to more than 20,000 people on August 14‘tens of thousands’ on August 13, but referred to the protests on the night of the election as ‘difficult to estimate’. The opposition also created a ‘co-ordinating council’ as a government in waiting. There were calls from Western leaders for Lukashenko to step down.

What is the evidence of Western involvement in Belarus? USAID, one of the key operators of the American regime change complex, has given funding to several ‘partners’ in 2019-2020 in order to undermine the Belorussian government. These include many organisations that are interconnected with the US state. For example, Freedom House was one of the organisations that received the most funding. This money went towards things such as ‘supporting a free media’ and ‘developing political parties’. Another key member of the regime change complex, the National Endowment for Democracy, gave out multiple grants in Belarus during 2019. This included, for example, $16,000 to ‘sponsor an independent periodical’ and $50,400 for ‘strengthening independent online media’. The EU has also announced funding for Belorussian activists. The EU announced back in November that they were going to be spending money on bloggers, ‘independent’ media, and students.

US ally Poland is also playing an important role in undermining the Belorussian government. According to Covert Action magazine, Poland “became the base for two popular Belarusian-language news channels which have been leading a propaganda onslaught on the government in Belarus.” One outlet, Nexta, appears to have some financial backing as it is able to produce a large amount of content despite allegedly being a grassroots operation run by four people. Some of the individuals involved in these media outlets have links to the far right. One individual, Roman Protosevich, has significant connections to the Ukrainian fascist movement, including personally taking part in the Maidan protests. There have also been allegations that Ukraine has been involved in promoting disorder in Belarus made by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Lavrov claims that 200 far right extremists from Ukraine have been carrying out provocations in Belarus, and that these individuals have been part of training camps for such purposes in Ukraine.

The West is also seeking to assert leverage over the country through the mechanism of sanctions. For example, the European Union has placed sanctions on Belorussian officials, putting a travel ban and freezing their economic resources. The UK and US also have sanctions regimes in place against Belarus. As of yet, it seems these sanctions have been largely focused on officials, but Biden recently announced he would be putting sanctions on 9 Belorussian firms, indicating a possible ramping up of pressure on the government. 

The End of the Colour Revolution and Plans for Murder

This regime change effort initially looked superficially promising for the West, due to the significant turnout at protests and persistence in the presence of protest events. However, the regime change effort has not been successful.

Lukashenko was able to deal with the protests through some use of repression. The members of the ‘Co-ordinating Council’, designed to transfer power from the Belorussian authorities to itself, were either arrested or fled abroad. There was never a point where the government was significantly weak to be at risk of collapse or overthrow. Nor have there been any divisions within the Belorussian authorities that could have benefited the protesters. The far right – vital in the success of the EuroMaidan coup – is less prominent in Belarus than Ukraine. There have also been some protest events in support of Lukashenko. Significant numbers of Belorussians are aware that Lukashenko’s replacement with a pro-Western candidate will likely lead to huge economic problems for their country, mass unemployment and the creation of a class of wealthy oligarchs.

Opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya admitted that the protesters had ‘lost the streets’ after a decline in events in the beginning of 2021.

However, on the 17th April, there was a new development. Russian and Belorussian intelligence claimed to have foiled a coup planned for Victory Day, and Russian intelligence released video evidence of the plotters discussing having Lukashenko eliminated.

One of the videos, presumably recorded by a Russian bug, shows a meeting in Moscow, involving oppositionists Zyankovich and Feduta, along with figures believed to be Belorussian generals by Russian intelligence (an English transcript is available here).

In the clip, Zyankovich does most of the talking, outlining in detail what needs to be done to cause regime change:

Task number one is to eliminate the main leader [it is clarified later this means physical elimination]. Task number two is to block internal troops, to block OMON [riot police/anti-terrorist police]. Task number three is to occupy several symbolic locations in the city centre, in particular, radio station, television station, so that we can read out our address…and preferably – to block Minsk in order to prevent the bringing in of foreign troops.

How many people would need to be quickly interned is discussed, as well as the possibility of disrupting the power grid. They want to use their power to carry out reforms, such as judicial, constitutional, and within local government.

The plotters also show contempt for ordinary Belorussians, as Zyankovich states:

Our task is to transform society and the state. Because if now we were to hold an election, instead of Lukashenko, they will elect [another] Lukashenko, and we will still be in the same position in twenty-five years.

They even discuss possible ill-gotten gains belonging to ‘Our Sasha [Lukashenko]’ that they could ‘quietly take’ if available, and where they might be stored.

Other videos show Zoom meetings, where a possible transfer of power in Belarus is compared to the case of Anwar Sadat in Egypt (implying assassination). One of the alleged plotters in the Zoom meeting footage, Pavel Kulazhenko, stated that it was not a coup plan and it was simply a discussion about “the same things that are discussed every evening in every Belarusian family – how to speed up Lukashenko’s retirement.”

Lukashenko claims that the US Government is behind the attempted coup. While this claim is not proven, it does fit with past US behaviour of removing leaders that resist American hegemony. It is beyond doubt that the US would have immediately backed any post-Lukashenko regime that pivoted to the West.

It is also worthy of note that on the same date the coup plot was discovered by the Russians, the Czech government attempted to revive the Skripal narrative by bringing back Boshirov and Petrov, claiming that they were responsible for an ammunition dump explosion in 2014. The sheer ridiculousness of this story – for example, the idea that the Russian secret services just happened to deploy the same two agents for two completely different ‘missions’ – suggests that it was invented at short notice as a distraction from the coup story.

Conclusion

There is a concerted effort to have Aleksandr Lukashenko removed from power and replaced with a leader more pliant to capital. While claims from any leader and intelligence service cannot be taken at face value, and this applies as much to Russia and Belarus as it does the West, the evidence in this case makes it likely that the West is involved in fomenting discord against Lukashenko and possibly even in plotting his liquidation.

Election Nonsense

I suppose that I had better comment on what went on in the UK on Thursday, an election in which we had the grand choice between the pro-lockdown Conservative Party and the pro-lockdown Labour Party. And if you live in Scotland, you can toss the pro-lockdown Scottish National Party into the mix as well.

The Media Blather

The media was quite excited about the fact that the Conservatives won Hartlepool from Labour in a by-election. Hartlepool is a traditionally Labour constituency, part of the so-called ‘Red Wall’ that went partially Conservative in 2019 due to Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to stand up to the centrists sabotaging his campaign and endorsing a second Brexit referendum.

Of course, many liberals in the media claimed that if Labour got rid of the ‘loony left’ Jeremy Corbyn and replaced him with the ‘moderate and forensic’ Keir Starmer they would be much more likely to get elected. Now of course it’s good to poke fun at the media for promoting this nonsense. But really, what difference would it have made if Labour would have won this seat? None as far as I can tell – we would have a pro-lockdown Labour politician instead of a pro-lockdown Tory politician.

How Many People Voted for House Arrest?

I think what is significant about these elections is the amount of people who voted for pro-lockdown candidates, i.e. people that were willing to put their vote towards job destroying, working class impoverishing lockdowns. The answer seems to be: quite a lot.

I will focus this analysis on a couple of mayoral elections, simply for reasons of space and patience.

Let’s start with the London Mayoral election. The standard 4 pro-lockdown options were available: Labour (the utterly dire Sadiq Khan), Conservative (Shaun Bailey), Liberal Democrat (Luisa Porritt) and Green (the uber woke Sian Berry). However, there were several other candidates: The anti-lockdown, anti-woke actor Laurence Fox; the independent media personality Brian Rose (who I have to say I am not familiar with, though I have heard of London Real and am aware they oppose the ‘pandemic’ narrative); the anti-lockdown, climate change critic and vaccine sceptic Piers Corbyn; and the anti-lockdown, socially conservative David Kurten. In terms of other options, there was also a Rejoin EU party candidate (yawn), a Women’s Equality Party candidate, and some random joke candidates.  And some others.

Sadiq Khan was re-elected as London mayor, but that’s not really my main concern here. I am going to add up the vote for our four main pro-lockdown candidates. 1,013,721 for Khan (seriously?), 893,051 for Bailey, 197,976 for Berry, and 111,716 for Porritt. This puts the pro-lockdown vote at 2,216,464. The anti-lockdown candidates (the four mentioned above), when totalled, add up to 110,374. I do find this to be utterly depressing, especially as mayoral elections have first and second choices so you can still vote against Lab/Con for your second choice and pick an anti-medical tyranny candidate for your first choice. However turnout was only 42.1%, so nearly 60% did not vote at all.

I will look at one more mayoral election, the West Midlands election. In this election, there were 5 candidates, the four standard pro-lockdown party candidates and a Reform UK candidate who is anti-lockdown. The total for the four pro-lockdown parties was 600,722. Pete Durnell, the Reform UK candidate, scored 13,568 votes. Turnout was even lower in this election at 31.2%.

Conclusion

These elections show that there are a heck of a lot of people who are willing to vote for the destruction of their freedom, the destruction of their mental wellbeing, and the destruction of their children’s education by supporting pro-lockdown candidates (yes I am aware they may not have voted for the candidate on the grounds of their support for lockdowns, but there are some things that you just don’t endorse at the ballot box). I am hoping that the lockdown sceptics are more prominent among the non voters, because given the London protests, there has to be quite a lot of us.

Big Pharma Is No Different From Any Other Capitalist Corporation

A left-wing perspective offers a structural critique of capitalist firms, arguing that they are focused only on profit, and not issues such as safety or the common good. In reality, however, the modern left has failed to sufficiently apply this critique to Big Pharma and their operations in creating medications – although they will sometimes acknowledge it in a haphazard way. What is not taken into account is the way that Big Pharma – in allegiance with the state – creates new medical ‘needs’ and new markets based on these needs, particularly in relation to the Covid-19 vaccinations.

The General Anti-Capitalist Viewpoint

The concern of any business is to make profit. The only way for any corporation to make profit is to effectively exploit their workers and extract excess labour from them (or to extract excess labour from other people’s workers – for example, banks). Other concerns must be subordinated to the need for profit. For example, product safety is not in itself a concern for a business. It would only become a concern to the extent that it affected profit – for example if people refused to buy a such a product, or if a government fined the company more than the profits made on the product for producing something unsafe.

In order to keep making profits, capitalist companies must create new markets. It is in the inherent nature of capitalism that it must keep expanding. The entire history of capitalism demonstrates this, as it expanded from Western Europe to the whole world. This is also why the capitalist world was locked in a death struggle with the USSR: not only because the socialist USSR offered a viable alternative to capitalism but also because the USSR and its allies represented untapped markets and resources. New inventions and the creation of new ‘needs’ can also be seen in the history of capitalism. Items like automobiles and mobile phones have become ‘necessary’ to human life in the West despite not actually being necessary in the technical sense.

Big Pharma and Capitalism

This logic applies as much to Big Pharma as any other corporation. One of the most important points to make specifically regarding Big Pharma is that the main market in Western countries is the state rather than individuals or private companies, due to state run healthcare services. This is different in the US due to their health insurance system. The relationship between the state and Big Pharma means that the attempt to sell more products will be centralised rather than dispersed, as it is with consumer products (this is similar to the arms industry).

There is a certain amount of genuine health issues within a population, whether caused by genetic factors or environmental factors. These health issues create demands for medications and other products sold by Big Pharma. While on the surface, the idea of a health issue is objective, in reality there is an element of subjectivity. This allows for the creation of new medications to treat these issues. If one wants to get more cynical, we can consider the idea of iatrogenic conditions, i.e. those that are created by medical treatment. This can create a market for more medical interventions to correct these iatrogenic conditions.  

The construction of the deadly disease ‘Covid-19’ has multiple uses, as I have discussed in previous articles. It is without doubt that this narrative massively benefits Big Pharma. Capitalist companies have ‘developed’ Covid-19 vaccines as quickly as possible in order to cash in on the market of selling these vaccines to the state for mass distribution. The Covid-19 narrative also promotes the idea that every single person in the country needs the vaccine which creates a massive market.

However, the Covid 19 narrative is more than just opportunistic. One function of the construction of this narrative – along with the pushing of transhumanist totalitarianism – is the transfer of wealth upward from ordinary people to capitalists. As has been known since the days of the early bourgeois economists such as David Ricardo, the rate of profit declines over time under a capitalist system. As capitalism has existed for centuries at this point this tendency has become significantly advanced. The recovery from the 2008 crisis was weak.

The ‘pandemic’ narrative was used to justify lockdowns, which have been an absolute disaster for the working class in terms of lost income. Importantly, lockdowns have helped to destroy small businesses, which has increased wealth centralisation. Under capitalism, capital becomes concentrated in fewer and fewer companies, banks, etc. as more successful firms drive weaker competition out of business. Lockdowns accelerate this process in several ways: closing small firms’ premises so forcing people to buy online, channeling purchases through a small number of businesses; causing small businesses to go bust so their assets can be bought on the cheap; and encouraging small businesses to take loans to ‘weather the pandemic’ which will mean their assets will be appropriated by banks.

The Covid-19 vaccinations then are just one part of transference of wealth into the pockets of a few large firms created by this narrative. Some might question this argument by saying that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was not developed for profit. However, as explained by Whitney Webb, AstraZeneca plans to make their profit further down the line through boosters given to people who received the original AstraZeneca jab. Their hope for profit was based on getting a wider spread of the vaccine due to the initial lack of profit, then doubling up on profit later – just another means to the same end.

Isn’t This Obvious?

Yes, I would consider the points raised about Big Pharma profiteering to be rather obvious. However, it seems that the Left needs a reminder of the realities of Big Pharma, and that they do not care about individuals’ health, only profit.

This is because many on the Left have fallen hook, line and sinker for the Official Covid Narrative, advocating any and all forms of capitalist ‘health’ authoritarianism so long as the government justifies it as ‘protecting us from a deadly virus’. Furthermore, the left has mocked anyone who questioned this narrative as a ‘conspiracy theorist’.

This puts the left in awkward position in terms of the profit motive behind the vaccines. The left has really pushed the idea of endless lockdowns, to the extent that it is difficult to see what would satisfy them (welding us in our homes, maybe?) This puts them in a position of having to support the vaccine because they are going to look ridiculous if they advocate for 50-year lockdowns until there is no more Covid (though of course, that doesn’t stop some of them – see the ‘Zero Covid’ fanatics).

People who question the vaccine, according to the left, are thus put in a bucket of being ‘Conspiracy theorists’, despite the obvious point that there is a certain motivation behind these vaccines that the left would have to admit: profit.

The left resolves this by unconsciously/cynically (take your pick) recognising the fact that profit is important for Big Pharma but only in terms of denying people the vaccine if they do not have the money to pay for it. The narrative involves criticism of Big Pharma in the sense that they have patented these vaccines and will not let generic versions of the vaccines be marketed because of their profit margins. The idea that the vaccine itself could be contaminated by profit motives is not considered.

Conclusion

The Covid-19 Narrative has created a windfall for Big Pharma, which is minimised by the left because they have fallen for the Covid Narrative. Although this minimisation is required given the support for the Covid narrative, it also warrants further explanation.