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The white-Left Part 1: The two meanings of white

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

From Counterpunch to Unz Review: The descent of the white Left to outright racism

Are you familiar with the Unz Review? I wasn't until recently. It's like an on-line National Enquirer for white supremacists. Until I investigated, I also wasn't aware of its connections to a number of well-known progressive bodies and left-wing authors, or how white supremacist money was buying influence in left-wing circles.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, the principal backer of Unz Review, Ron Unz “has embraced hardcore anti-Semitism, that “has denied the Holocaust, endorsed the claim that Jews consume the blood of non-Jews, and has claimed that Jews control the media, hate non-Jews, and worship Satan.” He founded Unz Review in 2013, after he was purged from The American Conservative for being too extreme. 

He made his name among white nationalists when he published California and the End of White America in Commentary Magazine in 1999. In this diatribe in support the anti-bilingual education Proposition 227, he spoke of “the coming of white nationalism,” and warned that an “ethnic-grievance movement among America’s emerging white minority is likely, perhaps inevitable." He has been promoting this movement, and fearmongering “white genocide” claims for more than twenty years now.

When Unz ran for Harvard’s Board of Overseers is 2016, the Harvard Crimson did a background check:
Over the course of his career as a conservative intellectual and political activist, Ron K. Unz ’83—now a candidate for Harvard’s Board of Overseers and U.S. Senate in the state of California—has donated tens of thousands of dollars to an organization he describes as “quasi-white nationalist.”

Unz’s public tax filings connect the Silicon Valley multimillionaire with VDARE, a group the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as an “anti-immigration hate website,” in addition to several writers who have published articles arguing that white people are genetically superior and homosexuality is a transmittable disease, among other extreme views.

Ben Sixsmith wrote about Unz Review anti-Semitism in Spectator, 15 September 2018. He described one article as:

[A]n approving appraisal of the Nazis’ treatment of France that never once mentioned their millions of murders in Central and Eastern Europe, long articles implicating Mossad in the killings of John and Robert Kennedy and a series of analyses of Jewish history which concluded that Judaism entails ‘the enslavement or execution of all non-Jews’, that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is ‘a classic of political thought’, that the Holocaust almost certainly did not take place in a recognisable form and that anti-Semitism has in general been well-founded.

Sixsmith cites three methods Unz uses in his conspiracy theories. They are worth noting because they are also widely used by other right-wing outlets:

  1. Take an interesting fact, strip it from its context and frame it in the way that is worst for one’s targets.
  2. Cite a source without properly representing its contents.
  3. Cite a controversial source without question. 

These techniques are also widely employed by the white Left, and various authoritarian governments.

The column one headline in Unz Review this day is “Don’t Fall for the Establishment’s Tall Tales. There Was No “Violent Assault on the Capitol” and There Is Abundant Evidence of Electoral Fraud,”   which, in addition to advancing Trump's lie that there was “enormous fraud in the swing states where the election was stolen,” presents “Antifa, and BLM as threats to be unleashed” by “the Establishment,” and claims that the violent assault on the Capitol was “a staged” event. Don't believe your own eyes. We are told it was “orchestrated,” As proof, we are told that agent provocateur John Sullivan, spotted in the Capitol, is an “Antifa leader.” This Big Lie, that “Antifa and BLM” faked the Trumpist insurrection in the Capitol, has lost any credibility it might have had as those in the Capitol, beyond Sullivan, have been identified. 

The raw truth of the 2020 election is that African American voters overcame decades of voter suppression to come out in record numbers. Even Trump got more votes from them than he had before. 

But first they gave a down-for-the-count Biden campaign the Democratic nomination in South Carolina, and other Southern primary races, and them they handed him the White House by turning out in Atlanta, GA, Detroit, MI, and Philadelphia, PA, giving him three key battleground states. Then, for an encore, they gave him the Senate.

Those filled with white resentment that things aren't the way they use to be, when America was “great,” can't accept that. So, they invent tales of a manipulated vote, and stolen election. Those that don't see the black citizen as their equal, don't see the black vote as legitimate for reasons they can't openly admit, possibly even to themselves. This leaves them open to claims of fraud and stolen elections in Philly, Atlanta, and Motor City, because it “feels right,” and those feelings can stand as proxy for the deeper hidden reasons. In this regards, Unz Review is pushing the same Trumpist nonsense about the election you'll find on Fox News, NewsMax, or ONN.

When Trump supporters, at some level, face the reality that white voters won't be the majority in the United States going forward, many of them are ready to abandon democracy for a strongman and stolen elections, provided they think he's their strongman. That was the other sad truth revealed by the 2020 election.

Beyond the post-election coverage, the link to the RACE/ETHNICITY section of Unz Review confirms that it has become an organ of white supremacy hiding behind its focus on stoking white grievances. The top headline today is  “The Fifth-Generation War on White People,” by Marcus Apostate, 18 January 2021. Describing himself as a “more or less normal White guy” trying “to resist the organized deluge of anti-White propaganda and policies,” he compares the current situation in the US with that of Germany in the 1920's, and wonders “if the media and education system were as biased at that time against German-Austrian interests as they are against White American interests in the US today.” He continues, “Rereading Mein Kampf,.. it seems to me that Hitler felt much the same way that I do now.  Check the link, I'm not making this stuff up. These people are hardcore!

These people see the world as a zero-sum game. If social justice demands white people must relinquish their former dominance of society, then any demand for social justice is an attack on white dominance, which they choose to interpret as an attack on all white people even though it's the one percent, which is mostly white, which exercises that dominance.

He lists the five generations of war against white people. “It started as a war against the hegemony of White Anglo Saxon Protestant Southern Males. Then it evolved into a war against White Anglo Saxon ...Christian males. Once that was secured, it evolved into a war against White Males. As the recent Karen memes and a million articles, books, and television clips ... demonstrate, the war is now simply against all White people.." 

In sum, “[t]he point is that this is definitely about race...”

That is certainly true about Unz Review. Other articles in its Race/Ethnicity include “23 Dead: December 2020—Another Month In the Death of White America,” “Voices of a White Awakening,” “Blacks Committed 73% of Mass Shootings In 2020. Many Cases Remain Unsolved. Where Is the FBI?” That one makes heavy use of method 3 above. It cites a website, mass-shootings.info, which doesn't tell us who is behind it or where it gets its “facts,” but claims there were 603 mass shootings in 2020, only 146 had “a known perpetrator,” and 116 of those were black. Such funny math and funny fact-finding from sketchy sources fill the pages in Unz Review. Other headlines include, “The Great Replacement: Baltimore,” “The Great Replacement: Milwaukee,” and “The Great Replacement: Los Angeles.” The Great Replacement is a meme about white genocide promoted by Patrick Crusius, the El Paso mass shooter, Brenton Tarrant, the New Zealand Mosque murderer of 50, and Andrew Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist who massacred 77. “What Would a President Harris Mean for Whites?” “Was 2020's Huge Murder Surge Due to Pandemic or BLM?,” “In Defense of Kyle Rittenhouse,” “United States of Africa: Black Crime Wave Overwhelms Virtually All Major American Cities.” I could go on, but you get the picture.

How this ugliness came to me

I first learned of Uni Review when a college comrade I've known for fifty years recommended a link to an article posted in Unz Review written by “very old friend and critical theorist, Carl Boggs.”  Although we've not been close for years now, I first friended Carl Boggs when I was an undergraduate radical at Washington University and he was a left-wing graduate student, or something like that, and again more recently after he moved to Los Angeles.  He has written for Counterpunch for more than thirty years, and I still have a number of books by him on my book shelf including “Imperial Delusions: American Militarism and Endless War,” and “The Crimes of Empire: Rogue Superpower and World Domination,” but his work for Unz Review had a decidedly different bent.

Published 13 November 2020, and titled “Lockdown Politics -- the Great Travesty," it's a very Trumpist defense of the policy of letting the novel coronavirus run wild among the general population in pursuit of a “herd immunity” as promoted by the infamous Great Barrington Declaration, and pretty much followed by the White House while the Fox News doctor, Scott Atlas, was Trump's chief pandemic advisor. 

This will give you the feel and logic of the Boggs' piece:

Meanwhile, it has become abundantly clear that lockdown rules – the very rules overlooked at times of street demonstrations and upheavals – apply only to Trump supporters, the great “super-spreaders”, wherever they gather. Those arbitrary directives have been cynically used by Democratic governors, mayors, and their health czars as a dictatorial political weapon – in part to bolster their own power, in part to subvert Trump’s second presidential run.

I would not have been at all surprised the read such an attack on the social justice protests, combined with the portrayal of Trump and his supporters as the victims of a covid conspiracy, on Fox News or Breitbart, but to see it penned by a friend I was more accustomed to reading in Counterpunch came as something of a shock. 

Boggs' piece also manages to incorporate most of the right-wing memes about the pandemic. Ten weeks ago, when the US pandemic death toll was about half what it is now, he accused “a power-mad elite” of “obsessively fixating on the virus,” so they can leverage it for a “global reset.” He calls the Great Barrington Declaration “well-grounded,” and declares “COVID – less risky than the ordinary flu.”

He is also extremely partisan for someone I use to think a Marxist. He sees only attacks on Republicans by Democrats; not one critique of Trump's management of the pandemic that killed more than 400,000 Americans on his watch, but California Governor Gavin Newsom was acting “senselessly,” and New York Governor Mario Cuomo was “brutally inept.”

The white supremacist view point isn't obvious in the Boggs' piece in the way it is with many other articles in the Unz Review. It is embedded more in what it doesn't say. It doesn't address the fact that COVID-19 is killing African-Americans and Latinx people in the US at twice the rate of white people, and that the burden of the policy he advocates will mean they will die at an even greater rate.

In “Belarus --- the Next Color Revolution,” 16 Oct. 2020, Carl Boggs paints the courageous mass resistance to the dictatorship of Alexander Lukashenko as pawns in “another infamous Color Revolution,” or NATO plot, “the ultimate target: Vladimir Putin’s Russia.” He explains:
The Color Revolution playbook has depended on an ensemble of CIA operatives, Soros-funded NGOs, a few subversive media outlets.
He suggests that this is ”what took place in Yugoslavia, Libya, Georgia, and Ukraine.” In other words, in all those cases, the masses that took to the streets in protest against their ruling regimes were the unwitting tools of the dark forces of western imperialism, although he doesn't exactly use the word “imperialism” when writing for Unz Review.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, this derogatory picture of an unidentified African American man, which accompanied an article by Ron Unz, “White Racialism in America, Then and Now,” 5 Oct. 2020, speaks volumes about the racist attitude of Unz Review. That image is a throwback to the racist caricatures of slavery. 

I was disturbed by the content of Carl's article and its alignment with the Trumpist/Fox News propaganda line on the pandemic, but after I had a look at what turned up when I clicked on the “Race/Ethnicity Articles” button to the right of his article, I was appalled!

When I raised my objections to the website Carl's article is on with the comrade that sent me the link, she tried to defend his writing for Unz Review by saying that he had followed a number of other writers from Counterpunch to Unz Review. I know 'unity of opposites' is a dialectic thing, but I found this one most troubling, and decided to look into it further.

From Counterpunch to Unz Review

To my surprise, I found at least twenty authors that have been published in both Counterpunch and Unz Review.  They include Paul Craig Roberts, who penned the piece claiming abundant evidence of election fraud noted above. It was just one of 2,307 posts he's made to Unz Review. Here is another he wrote in Unz Review in June:

If white people are racist, how was Obama twice elected president of the United States? That such questions do not occur to those shouting “white racism” indicates weak minds, the presence of anti-whites out to make mischief, and people who speak on the basis of an unexamined assumption that has been drilled into their heads.

In “The November Election is About Whiteness, Nothing Else,” 2 Sept 2020, he sounds like a Fox News contributor:

...The November election is about whiteness. Trump stands up for white Americans. This is why the Democrats and the presstitutes hate him and hate those who voted for him. The Democrat Party is the anti-white party.

If you are a white American and you voted for Democrats to misgovern your town or city, you are too stupid to justify your existence. You are so utterly stupid that you are a dire threat to white ethnicities.

White Americans, unless they express anti-white sentiments, do not have freedom of speech and the freedom they have is only to denounce whites....

If white Americans do not wake up, become realistic, and find the confidence to defend themselves, they are going to be annihilated. This is true also for all white ethnicities in Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

In “PBS Assaults White Americans” 12 Feb. 2020 Roberts writes:

White people are the targets of Identity Politics—the political ideology of the Democrat Party. The demonization of white people is the main focus of “Black Studies” in universities and schools.
The demonization of white people is so out of hand that today white Americans and Europeans are demonized worse that Jews were demonized in National Socialist Germany. No good can come from this. Swedish women are already paying a huge price...
He calls white privilege “an amazing lie,” claims African slavery in the US “came from the black kingdom of Dahomey.” In another Unz Review piece “Did George Floyd Die from An Overdose of Fentanyl or from Homicide?” 6 July 2020, he claims officer Derek Chauvin, who choked Floyd to death, is being “lynched by the media serving as a black KKK.” In another post “Does Western Civilization Have a Future, or Is It Already in Its Grave?” 31 Aug 2020, Robert's praises the Clare Ellis book, “The Blackening of Europe,” and attacks “[t]he anti-white racist bosses at Sandia [National Laboratories]” for promoting diversity training.

While Paul Craig Roberts feels free to let it all hang out in Unz Review, he was also one of the “progressive” voices in Counterpunch, where he has over 721 posts as late as December 2017.

Mike Whitney is another “left voice” with both feet planted firmly in both camps, with 1017 posts to Unz Review, and 985 to Counterpunch. In Unz Review, “Mission Accomplished? Corporate-Sponsored BLM Has 'Vanished' the Emerging 'Anti-Globalist' Majority That Elected Trump” 4 Sept 2020, he writes of “defund the police", “the only people supporting this crazy idea have been the lying media and their wacko-BLM allies.” In this tirade against Black Lives Matter, he claims “BLM is led by fanatics that have no regard for the will of the people.” This champion of the working class also asserts:
The average guy is not worried about “systemic racism”, that’s way above his pay-grade. The average guy just wants to be safe. That’s it.
And he is full of praise for the authoritarian Trump:
Trump has never vacillated on his offer to deploy the National Guard to Democrat-run cities to quell the rioting and violence. Like him or hate him, Trump is a resolute leader who is willing to use an iron-fist to reestablish order.

We should never allow our cities to be incinerated by hooligans.
Then he backs his conspiracy theory about Black Lives Matter with a straight up lie:
[N]or should you be surprised that BLM burst onto the scene precisely 6 months before the general election. Pretty good timing, don’t you think? Clearly, the Democrats engineered this coup so they could confront Trump on an issue on which they think he is vulnerable: Race.
BLM was founded in 2013 after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin. It “burst onto the scene” in a very public way in 2014 following the deaths of two African Americans, Michael Brown—resulting in protests and unrest in Ferguson, Missouri—and Eric Garner in New York City.

He views both BLM, and the massive protests for social justice that broke out this summer in the wake of the murder of George Floyd as the result of manipulation and orchestration by a pro-imperialist body, in this case the Democratic party. 

I had my differences with Whitney years ago when I knew him only as a “leftist” from the “anti-imperialist” camp. He would always insist that the popular rebellions against the dictators Mummar Gaddafi in Libya, and Bashar al-Assad in Syria where false-flag operations orchestrated by western imperialists, and any Arabs involve were either duped or agents.  I criticized him in this blog in 2017 when he came to the defense of Assad in the pages of Counterpunch by calling Syrian chemical weapons attacks that killed thousands:
Assad’s imaginary chemical weapons attacks, attacks that were invented from whole cloth at one of Washington’s many neocon think tanks where these fake ideas are typically hatched. 

Mother looks for her child among the
sarin victims | Erbeen, Syria, Aug 2013
Two days after Assad massacred over 1400 men, women, and children with sarin in the greater Damascus suburbs, Whitney wrote in Counterpunch that “the Syria civil war is an engineered catastrophe,” meaning engineered by the imperialists.  

At the time, I criticized this view, widely held in the white Left, that the “Arab Spring” revolts were the result of nefarious manipulation by imperialists and not the result of the masses acting in their own interest, as a racist one because it assumed the Arab masses were being duped into serving imperialist interest rather than acting on their own agency. Now, when we see the same conspiracy theories being called forth to explain last summer's upsurge in social protests, it only serves to highlight the blatant racism of that position.

In Unz Review, Whitney claims, “BLM is perfectly suited for its present task which is to provide the shock troops in a hybrid war aimed at sowing division across the country.” He says that “globalist puppet-masters” are behind the movement, and “BLM is merely a tool for achieving their objectives.” which is “exterminating the middle class, reducing the US to a smoldering third-world shithole,..” He assures us “BLM is not going to turn on its masters because BLM is the evil spawn of these masters,” just like those that protested dictatorships in Libya and Syria, or Russian domination of Ukraine. 

Whitney pursues this conspiracy theory further in “Is BLM the Mask Behind Which the Oligarchs Operate??,” 8 Sept 2020, Unz Review, when he claims:

[T]hat powerful agents — operating from within the state– are inciting racial violence to crush the emerging “populist” majority that elected Trump to office in 2016 and which now represents an existential threat to the globalist plan to transform America into a tyrannical third-world “shithole”.
We are experiencing a thoroughly-planned, insurgency-type operation that involves myriad logistical components including vast, nationwide riots, looting and arson, as well as an extremely impressive ideological campaign. “Critical Race Theory”, “The 1619 Project”, and Homeland Security’s “White Supremacist” warning are as much a part of the Oligarchic war on America as are the burning of our cities and the toppling of our statues.
He goes on to say “Operation BLM ... merely provides the muscle for implementing the transformative “Reset” that elites want to impose on the country.” This is the same white supremacist code word “reset” that Boggs employed in his piece, and like Boggs, he sees the pandemic as part of the plot:
So, just as the 3-year Russiagate hoax was about seizing power, and the failed impeachment proceedings were about seizing power, and the manipulations of the Coronavirus policy were about seizing power (Democrat governors ordered lockdowns that destroyed the economy.), so too, the Floyd incident is being used to exacerbate racial antagonisms to further demonize “evil” Trump and pave the way for a Biden victory in November. It’s all about power.

Linh Dinh is another writer that has worked both sides of the street with 106 pieces published in Counterpunch and 234 published in Unz Review. Here are a few selections to give you a feel for what he has to say in Unz Review. From “Your Black Future,” 14 June 2020:

If it’s a majority black neighborhood or city, as in Gary or Jackson, you can be sure it’s a disaster, but of course it’s all the fault of fudge packing white devils.

Just like Mao’s Red Guards, then, American rebels running amok do not threaten but serve a ruling clique. Look at their targets. They are destroying middle- and working-class stores and communities. They’re tearing down Main Streets.

Subverting society, the state derides all traditional standards and definitions of decency, as it normalizes or even celebrates criminals, savages and perverts.
In “Who Should be Shot?” 11 July 2020, he writes about the summer's BLM protests:
Broke and enraged, mobs swarm American streets, but instead of targeting those who are imploding their society, they pull down statues, break windows, deface walls, loot stores and attack cops or each other.
In “Next Month in Jerusalem!” 24 Nov. 2020, he really lets his anti-Semitism hang out:
As with the Holocaust and 9/11, the truth will come out, because it can’t be smothered forever by Jews with their meaningless charge of “anti-Semitism.”
In another piece, 5 June 2020, he promotes the GOP party line on the covid pandemic:
The disease—seems to me you have to be really unlucky to be seriously ill with this unless you are unfit, fat, diabetic, etc...it is like the common cold isn’t it?  No vaccine and everyone will get it eventually. 

The pandemic is a giant hoax,...
While he hasn't published in Counterpunch in seven years the seeds of his racism can be found even there.

Pepe Escobar is another well-known writer published by many left-wing “anti-imperialist” outlets, including 181 posts in Counterpunch. Here is a taste of what he's had to say in his 1012 posts in Unz Review:
Black Lives Matter, the organization and its ramifications, is essentially being instrumentalized by selected corporate interests to accelerate their own priority: to crush the U.S. working classes into a state of perpetual anomie, as a new automated economy rises.
He portrays the mass movement around Black Lives Matter in much the same way as he has portrayed every other mass movement that has opposed a Putin-friendly would-be dictator, “as a classic CIA/NED playbook color revolution.” He sees the unity of the people's struggles against Assad in Syria and Trump in the US, but to him they are both “infiltrated, and even weaponized against 'the regime'”:
Thus, in yet another priceless historical irony, “Assad must go” metastasized into “Trump must go”.
In another article he says “Black Lives Matter evolved as a marketing brand,” which “carries arguably zero, true revolutionary appeal.” He advances his attack:
In a nutshell; Black Lives Matter, the organization, today is fully sanitized; largely integrated into the Democratic Party machine; adored by mainstream media; and certainly does not represent a threat to the 0.001%.

He then implies “Black Lives Matter is intrinsically racist and even inherently violent,” and in a further dig at a movement Trump so detested, suggests “it’s also debatable whether taking a knee...really threatens the foundations of Empire.” This is the way you attack BLM from the “left” on a racist forum. 

Black Lives Matter protest in front of First Baptist Church in Venice | Sunday 7 June 2020

Jonathan Cook has appeared a lot more in Counterpunch than he has in Unz Review, 429 posts in the former versus 79 in the latter. In his 12 Nov. 2020, Unz Review post-election appraisal of the presidential election, he starts by marshaling the GOP/Fox News theme that Biden is in “significant cognitive decline.” He called the view of Trump as a “vile, narcissist businessman, in collusion with an evil Russian mastermind,” a “ratings-grabbing horror show.” Then Cook prophetically belittled what would happen at the Capitol on 6 January by supporting a right-wing commentator's ridicule of the fear that, even after having lost the election, Trump might seek to retain power by illegal means:

As Krystal Ball has rightly mocked, even now the media are whipping up fears that the “Orange Mussolini” may stage some kind of cack-handed coup to block the handover to Biden.

Here we get a glimpse of the core unity between Unz Review and Counterpunch. While the former has always openly backed Trump and his white supremacist backers, the latter has always belittled the threat and directed our attention elsewhere, as with the 2016 election when they promoted the defeat of Hillary Clinton as the No. 1 goal of the Left.

Jonathan Cook, like many Counterpunch writers, developed a strong allegiance to Russia back when it was leading a socialist union, and they missed the changes. In spite of its turn to imperialism, they have continued to see Russia as the “good guys.” One result of this is that they tend to brand any popular uprising against a Russian backed dictator, whether it be in Libya, Syria, Ukraine, or Belarus, as a “color revolution” orchestrated by western imperialists.  Another, is that they tend to back Trump, especially when it comes to the obvious “special relationship” he has had with Putin. Cook again:

Trump looked all too right in berating the establishment media for promoting “fake news”, especially as coverage of his presidency was dominated by an evidence-free narrative claiming he had colluded with Russia to steal the election.  

Evidence free? I don't even have time to go there, but didn't the Trump campaign share internal data with a Russian intelligence operative, to name just one quick example?

Using right-wing buzzwords galore, Cook also pits the class struggle against the social justice struggle that developed in opposition to the resurgence of white supremacy that Trump represents:
There will be some “woke” identity politics to prevent any focus on class politics and the struggle for real economic justice, as well as some weak, corporation-friendly Green New Deal projects, if Biden can sneak them past a Republican-controlled Senate.
I guess Cook's hopes for the Senate didn't pan out.

Philip Giraldi hasn't written for Counterpunch for more than 8 years, but he's written over a thousand for Unz Review. In his most recent pieces, he rails against what he calls “The 'Wokeness Wars'.” For example, when Confederate monuments were being removed, he complained, “historical monuments are about to be purged by vandals.” When Columbus Day got renamed Indigenous People's day, he called it “a slap at another perennial punching bag for the social justice warrior movement.”
Critical Race Theory has been fairly criticized as it pretends to be an antidote to systemic racism but is itself racist in nature as it opposes a race neutral system that equally benefits everyone.
It calls specifically for the “disruption and dismantling of white racism.” It is not intended to give everyone an equal chance and is rather trying to guarantee a certain outcome....

Anything that the left identifies as a manifestation of ‘white supremacy’ — and these days, what isn’t? — makes students who hold it targets of the system.
Franklin Lamb, who is also a big Putin fan, and has 388 pieces posted to Counterpunch, favored Trump's ties with Putin and support for Bashar al-Assad in the Unz Review:
Trump’s cozying up to Putin is being reciprocated via an emerging Russian “Trumpomania”
Putin is in a strong position to defend Trump’s weak reputation and widely questioned legitimacy while serving subtly as Trump’s mediator, advocate and protector, thus shoring up Trump’s presidency globally.
Trump has also been signaling support to Russia’s ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad...Trump regularly insists that the U.S. has no idea who its allies in Syria are, implying that Assad might turn out to be one...

Ray McGovern, a colleague of Philip Giraldi in Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), has 183 pieces posted in Counterpunch and 13 in Unz Review. He has been using his Unz Review space to promote Trump's alternate reality.

When Republican Congressman Devin Nunes made threats of criminal charges against Trump critics that never materialized, McGovern complained “Except for Fox, the corporate media ignored Nunes’s explosive comments."  When the Lisa Page-Peter Strzok FBI text messages were all the rage on Fox News, McGovern wrote as if he were auditioning for the network:

We suddenly have documentary proof that key elements of the U.S. intelligence community were trying to short-circuit the U.S. democratic process. And that puts in a new and dark context the year-long promotion of Russia-gate. It now appears that it was not the Russians trying to rig the outcome of the U.S. election, but leading officials of the U.S. intelligence community, shadowy characters sometimes called the Deep State.

...there indeed was a “deep-state coup” to “correct” the outcome of the 2016 election.

The Strzok-Page exchanges drip with disdain for Trump and those deemed his smelly deplorable supporters.

John Pilger has penned only 12 pieces for Unz Review as compared to 90 for Counterpunch. In Unz Review, he seemed to pick up right where Ray McGovern left off:

Today, false symbolism is all. “Identity” is all. In 2016, Hillary Clinton stigmatised millions of voters as “a basket of deplorables, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it”. Her abuse was handed out at an LGBT rally as part of her cynical campaign to win over minorities by abusing a white mostly working-class majority. Divide and rule, this is called; or identity politics in which race and gender conceal class, and allow the waging of class war.

Pilger called Obama “the smooth operator from Chicago via Harvard” and accused him of “pushing white workers into an ‘identity’ of white nationalism and helping the neo-fascists to organise them”. This piece was actually republished from Counterpunch with permission. Other Pilger gems it plucked from Counterpunch with permission include:

In May 2016: “The election of Trump or Clinton is the old illusion of choice that is no choice: two sides of the same coin...yet the danger of Clinton may be more lethal for the world.”

In August 2016: “Bill and Hillary Clinton’s record of racism and extremism can out-trump Trump’s any day.”

In October 2016: “Clinton may well become the most dangerous president of the United States in my lifetime...”

Sometimes it was simple unity of purpose that brought Counterpunch writers to Unz Review. In the case of the 2016 US presidential election, Unz Review was working hard to make sure Donald Trump won the election, and Counterpunch was working hard to make sure Hillary Clinton lost the election. More about the relationship between Counterpunch and Unz Review later.

Unz Review was also happy to republish Alexander Cockburn's 2012 Counterpunch Diary “Gay Marriage – It May Destroy Western Civilization, But It Sure Is a Wonderful Fundraiser." This particular Cockburn has penned 377 pieces for Counterpunch and 581 for Unz Review. His two younger brothers also work both sides of this same street. Andrew Cockburn has only 2 pieces in Unz Review, and 55 in Counterpunch, while prolific Patrick Cockburn has 1079 in Counterpunch and 1345 in Unz Review.

Robert Fisk has been published 473 times in Counterpunch, and a few times in Unz Review.  I think they particularly liked his references to “our head-chopping mates in the Gulf” and “the head-chopping Saudis.”

Michael Hudson has written 160 pieces for Counterpunch and 531 for Unz Review. In one of those, he forgets about the market crash that happened on Bush's watch in 2008 so that he can complain “the Obama Depression began with the bank bailout in 2009.”

Dave Lindorff has published 1257 times in Counterpunch and a couple of times in Unz Review. In 2016, it was keen on his “Hillary is a serial liar...her use of a private server for all her private and official emails...she had used her own Blackberry phone...it is up to the people of the United States to decide whether we want such a greedy woman — a confirmed serial liar ready to say anything necessary to obtain power — to be our next president.” Again, there was a commonality of purpose; forces at both Unz Review and Counterpunch wanted to see a white supremacist regime installed in the White House in 2016.

Ramzy Baroud [U-1 C-683], Noam Chomsky [C-31 U-8] and Counterpunch editor Jeffrey St. Clair [U-31 C-660+377] have all contributed to both publications. Ron Unz has even penned 3 pieces for Counterpunch himself. Ironically, in Counterpunch he creates the specter of the FDR presidency as a “period when America’s government was heavily influenced by Communist agents," 

Finally, we have Ralph Nader, and although he has only 2 articles in Unz Review, as compared to 868 in Counterpunch, the story of how Ron Unz lured Nader into his orbit is unique, and tells us something about the way he cultivated compromise on the Left.

In 2016, Ron Unz was a Republican with an anti-immigration theme running for a California Senate seat. He had no chance. A Harvard graduate, he also organized a slate of five candidates, including himself, to run for the Harvard University’s Board of Overseers. Politico reported:

Under the banner “Free Harvard, Fair Harvard,” the five-person group is pushing to cut Harvard’s tuition to zero for all undergraduates and to increase transparency about the admissions process.

But truth be told, the “fair Harvard” bit was a thinly veiled attack on affirmative action, the “free Harvard” was just a cynical bribe to attract the students. About the “Free Harvard, Fair Harvard” slate, the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard, a group of 500 alumni, wrote this:

We believe that Harvard should welcome a diversity of ideologies, but not those that promote racism or hate speech. We urge alumni to vote against the Unz-led slate and the hateful messages he funds.  

Most members of the slate were “conservative,” like Unz. Given this level of opposition, he needed someone to give his slate broader appeal, and Ralph Nader was also a Harvard graduate, so Unz pulled him into the ticket. Politico asked Nader what he thought about the anti-affirmative action aspects of the campaign:

In an interview, Nader insisted that he remains a backer of affirmative action, but he quickly deflected a question on the topic toward a discussion of elitism at Harvard.

“I’m only signing on for disclosure. In terms of any other stuff, they’re on their own,” said Nader.

Nader knew “any other stuff” included their white supremacist core beliefs, but for the bribe of a possible seat on the Harvard Board of Overseers, he was willing to overlook those.

Money talks.

We do know that some Counterpunch writers have come to Unz because of financial incentives.

Norman Finkelstein ended his run of 21 articles for Counterpunch in Nov. 2012, although he was interviewed by Counterpunch a dozen times, as late as August 2019. He has also penned 30 pieces in the Unz Review between July. 2015 and June 2017. While Finkelstein is certainly no anti-Semite, he is, for good reasons, very much anti-Zionist controlled Israel, and this is something Unz can skillfully use to boaster his own anti-Semitic and white supremacist platform, while appear to host a “left voice” as a show of “diversity.” 

Finkelstein likes the interview format. In an interview with Unz Review in 2016, while canvassing for Bernie Sanders, he accused “Black Lives Matter activists” of “radical posturing, posing and preening,” and declared:

The African-American vote has been the bulwark of reaction in this election.

He was irked that African American voters clearly favored Hillary Clinton, who explicitly called out Donald Trump's racism, and also had the best chance of beating him, over Bernie Sander and his progressive agenda. He thought that Bernie's calls for “a jobs program, universal health care and free college education” should more than outweigh his failure to directly challenge the resurgence of white supremacy represented by the Trump campaign.

Of course, if he was of a mind to call out white supremacy he could start with that interviewer, but he might shrink from doing that because the Unz Foundation, a 501(c)(3) run by Ron Unz, had paid out at least $72,000 in grants on Norman Finkelstein between 2012 and 2014.

Just from the publicly available 990-PF forms non-profits have to file with the IRS, we know that between 2009 and 2015 the Unz Foundation awarded grants totaling $72,000 to Philip Giraldi, $126,000 to Paul Craig Roberts, another $54,000 to Roberts'  Institute for Political Economy, as well as $105,000 to Counterpunch itself.

Another “Left” favorite of the Unz Foundation has been Antiwar.com. In that same period the foundation gave $160,000 to its publisher, the Randolph Bourne Institute (RBI), and then in 2017 another $10,013 directly to Antiwar.com itself. That kind of cash buys a lot of influence, even in white Left circles.

Over the years I have written more than a dozen posts criticizing Antiwar.com's “anti-imperialist” politics. In August 2013, I criticized their claim that a “confused” Obama was the real force behind the movement to overthrow Assad in Syria. The day after Assad carried out a sarin attack that killed more than 1400 Syrians, including more than 400 children, in Ghouta, Antiwar.com disparaged the attack, implied it was a fabrication. I wrote:
I am reprinting an AntiWar.com blog post in full because I think this one should haunt them forever.
The next month they promoted a conspiracy theory being peddled by Assad-friendly Mint Press, and had to apologize when called out on it. In December 2013, I wrote “AntiWar.com's excuse for Assad's barbarity defies belief.” That same month the Assad regime spread claims that opposition fighters had carried out massacres in Adra. It was a lie, but one happily promoted by Antiwar.com. After we helped expose much of the “photo evidence" of the “massacre” as having originated in other places and other times, I wrote:
Those that promote this stuff, like Jason Ditz and AntiWar.com, should know that they are in the brutal business of helping a fascist regime use murder as a weapon of mass suppression and cover up its crimes.
In May 2015, they made my list of Bashar's Buddies. That same year they joined the Assadist attacks on the White Helmets. In 2016, I critiqued a Trump-friendly piece by RBI Fellow Justin Raimondo in Antiwar.com in my “fake Left's "Peace Candidate" starts a new nuclear arms race!” and so it went. The views they promoted always took the agency and legitimacy out of the hands of the Syrian people and made them pawns of Western imperialism, so it fits that white supremacist money has been backing them all along.

Much the same can be said of Counterpunch. In his 26 October 2020 pre-election piece in Counterpunch, Green Party candidate  Howie Hawkins complains “Whatever Happened to Left Solidarity?” because so many on the Left were refusing to repeat their 2016 mistake of voting for Jill Stein and thereby allowing Trump to win. He also referred to African Americans as “downscale people," whatever that means.

In my 2 Nov. 2017 blog, I wrote:
In election year 2016 Counterpunch was focused on denying Hillary Clinton the White House, and they succeeded.

To pursue this strategy, they had to seriously downplay the virulent white supremacy of Hillary Clinton's main opponent, so now that that strategy has help to put a white supremacist regime in the White House, it is not surprising that they are downplaying that result,..
The title of that post was “How Counterpunch soft peddles white supremacy in the White House.” In that I addressed the “how,” now I have a much better understanding of the “why.”

In my 15 Oct 2013 post “How CounterPunch makes Syrians invisible, Again!”, I critique “Israeli Factor in Syrian Conflict”, saying:
This is CounterPunch's latest attack on the Syrian Revolution. Unsurprisingly, it sees Israel and the United States as the main forces behind the conflict in Syria. The Syrian government and people are a victim of this sinister plot. As usual, the Syrian people are given no agency. There is no revolutionary movement, no Syrian movement against dictatorship and for democracy that should be recognized in its own right.
In “Counterpunch: So Wrong on Syria.” 4 April 2013, I wrote:
In a disconnect with reality that rivals those that think atomic bombs don't explode and the moon landing never happened, they see the Syrian Revolution as “Obama's War” and they blame him, not Assad, for the murder of 70,000 Syrians.
Counterpunch would have you believe Obama is the puppet master running the whole show...
Counterpunch is laying responsibility for the deaths of more than 70,000 Syrians, not on the Assad regime or those that supply him with the cluster bombs and Scud missiles doing much of the killing, but on the US and anyone else they think is supporting the resistance to the Assad regime.
Counterpunch ignores that fact that the Syrian people were tired of being dragged from their homes and tortured for the slightest suspicion.
Counterpunch is pushing the Assad line that all of his troubles are the result of a US plot.
Counterpunch lets us know that they are predisposed to blame any chemical weapons use on the resistance.
Child victims of Assad's sarin attack| 21 August 2013
Assad had killed 70,000 then. Now it is easily 10 times that number. 78 days after that post, Assad did use sarin to kill over 1400, and Counterpunch did blame it on the resistance.
As you can see, I've had my differences with the well-financed Counterpunch, I now see there is likely a connection between those differences and their finances. As Marxists like to say: They have a material base. 

I've long argued that their fondness for seeing all popular uprisings against dictators favored by the white nationalists in Moscow as “color revolutions” in which the people are pawns in service of “western imperialists,” or “globalists,” or “the elites,” or “the deep state,” or whatever the favor is this month, smacked of white supremacy. Now I see that it is being paid for by white supremacists as well!

The Unz Foundation doesn't just make donations to left-wing causes, far from it. In 2012, it gave $20K to Mondoweiss, an “anti-imperialist” news website. It also gave money to CERSC, which has funded Mondoweiss, as well as Haymarket Books and International Socialist Review. Its biggest grant was for $600,000 in 2009 to Dr. Gregory Cochran an American anthropologist. The reason is a little vague. Perhaps it was to support his studies on race and intelligence, or maybe his notion that homosexuality might be caused by an unknown virus. It also gave $130,000 to the publisher of The American Conservative, and $81,000 to Steve Sailier,  a columnist for VDARE, a website associated with white supremacy, and regular contributor to Unz Review.

Unz's philanthropy for white supremacy goes back to as early as 1998, “when he invested $752,000 of his own money in a $1.2 million campaign to end bilingual education programs in California,” according to the LA Weekly.  From the public records I've seen so far, the Unz Foundation gave out over $1.7 million between 2009-2014. That could well be just the public tip of the iceberg, Unz has a lot of cash to spread around.

Ron Unz, one of the first 'quants' on Wall St. in the 1980's, founded a financial software company for designing “extremely intricate and extremely complex” mortgage securities that he sold to Moody's in Dec. 2006 for an undisclosed sum, “right before the big market crash,” according to Unz:
Steve: I guess you’re saying you were acquired for stock and not cash.

Ron: No, cash, cash. All cash.

Steve: Okay, but then you didn’t care so much what happened to Moody’s once the transaction was done.

Ron: Oh exactly, I was perfectly satisfied with it,..

The Big Short
Ron Unz made his money creating software that created the very complex mortgage-backed securities that played such a central role in the financial meltdown of 2008. If you saw, or read, The Big Short, you know the story. Unz described his software this way:

[I]t was a very deterministic system, more like an incredibly advanced form of a spreadsheet that would allow people, for example, to run specific scenarios, and then under those specific scenarios, determine the value of the securities involved while producing securities that were extremely complex, and slicing and dicing the cash flows in all sorts of different, highly complex ways — because many of those securities were getting extremely intricate and extremely complex — and doing that in a sufficiently user-friendly way that the designers of the securities could produce these incredibly complicated securities in a matter of minutes rather than a matter of hours...
He went on to say that his software gave a sense of order and predictability to chaos that couldn't be predicted, but he bears no more responsibility for the financial destruction that resulted from the use of his product than an arms merchant does for the destruction caused by the use of his weapons in wars:
So the way to think of it is — and that’s another metaphor I always provided people — we were sort of in the munitions business. We would go to these different firms and sell the munitions just like during wartime. Munitions vendors would sometimes sell bombs and explosives to all these people. And you know, how to use it is not really our business, and you know, they could use it in a dangerous and destructive way, which ultimate[ly] ended up happening. 

That's a very telling metaphor. Munitions are always used in a dangerous and destructive way, so maybe those who produce such products should bear some responsibility for the resulting carnage, in war or financial markets. 

The company Unz sold, Wall Street Analytics, became Moody's Analytics, which had $110.6 million in revenues in 2007. So, he probably made enough on the deal to contribute quite a bit to his pet political causes.

In conclusion

So, with Unz, we see a continuous thread that leads from fortunes made in the Wall Street bubble that resulted in the crash of '08, to the promotion of 21st century US capitalism's antidote for social unrest in times of crisis—white supremacy on-line, to corruption on the Left created by opportunism and greed for the money made in schemes that put many people out of their homes.

Much has been made of the “emerging Left-Right Alliance” since Ralph Nader started pitching it more than a decade ago. Peel back the shiny surface coating put on by its promoters and you will find that coarser considerations, like proximity to money and power, play a big role. The Right has the money because it serves the capitalist class. There are those on the Left that would like to converge with this money and power, so they are keen to find points-of-agreement with some on the Right, while carefully overlooking some of their uglier aspects. For these reasons, Assad and Putin have long had their supporters on the Left, and now so does Trump, and the new GOP he still leads.

Ron Unz is a white supremacist with deep pockets. He has developed a strategy of cultivating friends and influence with some Left forces. He uses them to paint himself as a centrist, interested in promoting outside views, but  he has an extreme agenda. He will give “left voices” a platform, provided they will overlook, and particularly if they embrace, its celebration of racism, anti-Semitism, and homophobia.     

One of the big problems with the white Left is that many in its ranks have made peace with the racists among them. Better the person of color should go than they break ranks. That's a big reason the white Left remains predominantly white. 

The Left in the United States will continue to fail at providing the leadership the people so badly need so long as it is dominated by those that see it as a way to justify themselves, accepts its own prejudices, and seeks common ground with the white supremacists in its midst.

The Left in the United States must be an anti-racist Left, and there is no place on that Left for organizations like Counterpunch that accept financial backing from white supremacist sources, or “left-wing” writers that embellish the Unz Review. 

In Solidarity,

Clay Claiborne

The white-Left Part 1: The two meanings of white
The white-Left Part 2: Why that is the best name for it

Kremlin troll gets pay docked over Counterpunch snafu