Punch The Empire In The Fucking Face: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Caitlin Johnstone
6 min readJul 21, 2023

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Listen to a reading of this article (reading by Tim Foley):

Speech is violence and cluster bombs are peace. Homelessness and war are normal and opposing nuclear armageddon is treason. You’re a serious person if you believe our brains are being scrambled by Russian ray guns and a kooky conspiracy theorist if you’re skeptical about UFOs.

US officials talking about UFOs and aliens should make people more skeptical about UFOs and aliens, not less — especially in the early stages of a new cold war and a race to militarize space. If they have been lying about UFOs this whole time, there’s no basis for the belief that they’ve suddenly ceased having a good enough reason to keep lying.

I am 100 percent wide open to the possibility of extraterrestrials and otherworldly vehicles zipping around our skies. What I am not open to is the claim that the most depraved institutions on earth have suddenly opened their mind to telling us the truth about these things, either out of the goodness of their hearts or because they were “pressured” by UFO disclosure activists.

That Israel is an ethnonationalist apartheid state is so self-evident it shouldn’t even need to be said, let alone be controversial. An objective look at its government, laws and tier system makes that clear, which is why mainstream human rights organizations call it an apartheid state.

There’s really no argument to the contrary. You can’t reasonably argue that Israel isn’t an apartheid state which oppresses people based on race; if you want to defend Israel on this front all you can do is try to argue that sometimes apartheid and racism are good and that Israel’s apartheid and racism are the good kind.

People say I’m always ranting against US warmongering toward China because I’m a socialist. I don’t oppose US warmongering against China because I’m a socialist, I oppose US warmongering against China because I’m not a fucking moron. I’d oppose US warmongering against China if China was the most capitalist country on earth.

It’s important to despise liberal political and media institutions and the capitalist, imperialist, authoritarian ideology they promote. It’s also important that that hatred not become your only guidance for understanding the world, because it’ll turn you into a dopey Republican. I’ve watched so many people transform from bright-eyed supporters of Sanders, Corbyn etc into braindead wingnuts because their hatred of what passes for the “left” in the mainstream west led them to start taking up the opposite position from that faction on all issues. Don’t do this.

One of the biggest lies in western politics is the political “moderate” or “centrist”, because those who get labeled as such are reliably in favor of extreme imperialist violence and global tyranny. They’re the exact opposite of moderates; they’re violent extremists.

The only reason such worldviews are mainstream is because vast fortunes are poured into making them mainstream via propaganda, and the only reason they’re viewed as “moderate” is because we live under a violent extremist empire.

In theory both mainstream political parties compete to make your life better than the other does so you’ll vote for them; in practice both parties openly oppress and impoverish you while focusing on murdering foreigners, and compete for your vote based on your feelings about artificial wedge issues. They’ve rigged the political currency they’d normally use to obtain votes in a way that guarantees the continuation of the status quo in every meaningful way, so the gears of the empire keep turning uninterrupted while the riff raff argue about hot-button wedge issues which don’t affect power, like “wokeness”.

It’s important to keep a clear vision of how much better it could be, though. Imagine if they were competing with each other to improve your quality of life and give you a nicer country to live in, so that they could take credit so you’ll support them. That’s how it should be.

To be clear, when I talk about how both mainstream political parties are used to advance the same agendas I am not saying that they are the same. I like to compare them to the jab and the cross in boxing; they’re two different punches thrown from different hands, and they’re used in completely different ways. But they’re both being used by the same boxer, and they’re both being used to knock you on your ass.

The cross, which happens to come from the right hand for an orthodox fighter, is a damaging knockout punch. But in boxing it’s generally worthless on its own; it might be useful in a pub brawl, but against a skilled boxer you need to set it up with the jab.

The jab — the left hand for an orthodox fighter — is a swift, stunning blow. You don’t see many knockouts with it, but you see it land with great frequency because it’s thrown by the hand that’s closest to the other fighter. And the beauty of the jab is that it can be used to set up the cross — the famed “one-two”, the most common combination in boxing.

That’s how the two mainstream parties work together to knock the public on their ass. The “left” party sets them up, and then comes the crushing knockout blow. Democrats fight off all efforts to move the US to the left when they’re in power, then Republicans come in and move it even further to the right. Democrats refuse to codify Roe V Wade, and Republicans come in to kill it. Democrats “reluctantly” give Bush war powers, he uses it to invade Iraq. Democrats inch up the brinkmanship against China, Republicans do whatever horrifying thing they’re going to do when they take power.

I’m simplifying things here for the sake of the argument (Obama was a horrific warmonger etc), but the left hand can do damage in boxing too. Ukraine was more comparable to a one-two from a southpaw fighter; Trump set it up with cold war escalations and by arming Ukraine, and Biden followed with the left cross.

Over and over and over again you see this happen, and over and over and over again you’re told that the solution to this problem is for everyone to simply never vote for Republicans. This despite the fact that the population is continually herded into an exact 50–50 political split by domestic propaganda, guaranteeing a continual pendulum between the two factions as opinions shift slightly based on who’s in office.

Saying that all you have to do is never have anyone vote for Republicans is like telling a boxer to go into a fight and only worry about the right hand. If you go in against a skilled boxer with an educated jab and only focus on avoiding the cross, you’re 100 percent guaranteed to get smashed to pieces by both the jab and the cross.

No boxer would ever do this. Instead, they focus on their opponent as a whole. That’s how you have to be about the two parties; stop thinking about them as two separate, competing entities and start looking at them as two weapons on the same enemy. Stop staring at one hand and start watching your actual opponent. Start watching their movements, start making some reads, and start figuring out ways to put some leather in that fucker’s face.

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