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The Not So Young Turks. Some Notes on Alternative News Media and the Democratic Socialists.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s a damned shame that a field as potentially dynamic and vital as journalism should be overrun with dullards, bums, and hacks, hag-ridden with myopia, apathy, and complacence, and generally stuck in a bog of stagnant mediocrity.”

— Hunter S. Thompson

“That said, my greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good, hard-working Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state.”

— John Angelos



Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian are the primary public faces of The Young Turks, an alternative non—establishment information and opinion media platform. Similar in style if not tone to Sam Seder and The Majority Report, they inhabit the corner of the media universe defined primarily by being available on YouTube, and for being far more verbally passionate, and honest than the corporate media.

To be fair the corporate media is generally as passionate as a box of stale donuts but credit where it’s due The Young Turks and Majority Report are relatively more honest than the establishment media.

Majority Report and The Young Turks are not only against the usual suspects – Trump, republicans, corporate tyranny, media dullness in the service of the corporate dictatorship, etc, but are also fairly disgusted with the democratic party establishment – best summed up by Nancy we’re capitalists get used to it Pelosi.

In other words, they support Bernie, Alexandria OC, universal healthcare, saving the environment, marriage equality, equal protection under the law, elimination of corrupt debt-slavery, etc, and can be loosely defined by labels like Progressive and Democratic Socialists.

And that’s where things get sticky.

And not because what’s wrong with Sanders and AOC and Democratic Socialism are evil as defined by both the traditional conservatives the liberal Wall Street drones or the extreme right. But because, they aren’t left enough.

To be clear, they are not advocating communism or a dictatorship of the proletariat. The liberals, the conservatives and the fascists are all politically color blind and view anyone left of center as if they were all wearing a series of masks that begin with Trotsky, pass through Castro to Guvera, and end with either Stalin or Mao. For an example of just how head up the ass moronic these attempts to smear with a broad rhetorical brush are, watch (if you can stand it) a few minutes of knucklehead extraordinaire Jordan Peterson, rail about the evils of “Postmodern-Marxism” which of course can be found right next to the Yeti, Bigfoot and unicorns.

The irony being that when you drill down, or when you listen as The Young Turks & Co start to tell you what they think, you discover that they sound pretty much like liberals with an attitude and a (slightly) left of center agenda. And it is important to note that while they aren’t leftist firebrands, given how dead on arrival Pelosi is, being even a little left of center makes you sound like Rosa Luxemburg at a Tupperware convention.

In the stunning shift that is the election of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, many of these people were given the opportunity, if not forced, to answer the usual nonsensical and absurd accusations of the center and the center right. They responded by pointing out with a wholly justified tone of aren’t you ridiculous, that they were in favor of such “radical” concepts as universal healthcare, as healthcare is a right not a form of profit, basic levels of wage and tax fairness to restore a stable social base and middle class, to prevent a collapse of the system, into a full-blown corrupt corporate dictatorship, environmental sustainability to (hopefully) prevent the destruction of the planet, and so on.

In other words, liberalism with a new coat of paint, more anger, more passion and a sense that the center and its allies cannot hold and that in the face of Trump’s demagoguery and fascism if things are not dealt with now, through the ballot, then they will be dealt with later through the bullet.

And, all well and good, except for when you get into the details.

And no dear reader we are not setting you up for a defense of the current system.

The current system is a catastrophe and it’s going to get worse before it gets better and that’s assuming it’s going to (ever) get better.

The problem with The Young Turks & Co is that they keep telling everyone that they love capitalism. They just want to tweak it. Which is not so very different from what the Clintons were selling or the rest of the democratic machine advocates on any given chat show any day or hour in the cable-sphere.

And a word here to the Clinton hating Progressives. Yes, NAFTA has been a disaster even if it was less of a disaster than doing nothing. And yes neoliberalism is the child that murdered its parents and then demanded sympathy for being an orphan. But we recall ol Bill on an episode of Oprah Inc, explaining to the audience in his aw shucks, down home style, that a partnership between the government and the public was the way to solve so many problems that shoot ya’ll should jist sign up to this little program I got here called…socialism. Except he didn’t call it that. He did some slight of hand mumbo jumbo, called it something else and it worked.

And they lapped it up; loved it, clapped, hooted, hollered and came back for seconds.

So, about those Progressives.

They will tell you that their goal is a European style mix of state and private ownership. For example, the state would be in charge of things like healthcare and wages and prisons, and the “private” sector would go on making cool things like iphones and your clothes and hipster artifacts like overpriced small batch artisanal bourbon, and podcasts.

Sounds great.

Except that so long as the stock market exists the government and the “private” sector are not separate, and the stock market will continue to enforce the existence of a permanent underclass of wage slaves.

And they will do it because artificial scarcity of goods, services, and value, are the not so secret sauce of the market.

In order to maintain the value of stocks and commodities you must first declare things to be stocks and a commodity. And you must possess the means to make the declaration which means control of the media and the infrastructure. Then you must control access, and to do that you must control an army of lawyers and lobbyists who will help you to purchase Congress and the Senate, the White House and the judiciary, in order to pass laws that protect your ability to control the Congress, the Senate, the White House and the judiciary.

To maintain your control of all of that you will use your vast wealth to employ a series of interconnected private militias of thugs, drawn from the ranks of the military (foreign and domestic) law enforcement, and the intelligence agencies. All of whom of course are on the payroll of the government which you own and control, through a series of feudalistic levies which are financed by your control of the stock market.

You will buy and sell, and financially rape and pillage communities, in order to not only make and maintain a pirate’s treasure, but you will do it in order to both terrorize your opponents and to generate chaos from which you will draw a profit, which you will inject back into the system so you can repeat the process.

At the same time the Government Inc. will place on its subsidiary payroll a vast paramilitary force of federal and state police, empowered through “emergency decree” to spy on everyone, maintain a vast network of informants, engage in intimidation, violence, blackmail, extortion, and the threat of extreme fascist levels of power to stifle any and all attempts at change.

While all of that is going on the central core of the market will be used to create mass unemployment, job insecurity, wage slavery, pile on a devastating level of debt and run the country as an economic gulag from which there is no escape. While that is happening the government incorporated will bury the nation in still greater debt, destabilizing and debt inducing alliances that pump more profit into the market, while erasing life-sustaining environmental balance, and raise the costs for the underclass, tie the government into Gordian knots, generate more bureaucratic lethargy, and as an added burden pump the system full of drugs it declares illegal, that create addiction, lethargy, spiraling medical costs, corruption and act as an economic stimulus package for the paramilitaries and provide the pols with a subject to rail against.

And then it will devastate other countries through economic exploitation, unfair trade regulations, support for corrupt brutal dictatorships or spineless feckless bureaucracies, cause environmental devastation causing millions of people to flee, then declare those people a threat, that requires draconian responses that feed their own bloated corrupt systems of control and from which they and their cronies generate profit.

Rising from this fetid ocean are a series of questions.

For example, when Ana Kasparian and Cenk Uygur & Co, say they love capitalism, what exactly are they talking about?

When they say they want a mix of socialism and capitalism exactly where do they make the distinction – and no, not in regards to healthcare, “free college tuition” etc, but for example,where do they fit the stock market into their formula?

Consider one case study: Apple.

Apple is based on the slave labor of China.

Steve Jobs was a plantation owner. He owned slaves and outsourced his crimes to China.

Apple should be guilty of crimes against humanity (along with every other tech company and corporate barbarians like Walmart) but if they were, what would happen?

Well, first of all, the market would collapse.

Millions would be fired and Trump would rally his vastly expanded base to Hitlerian levels.

And, China would implode and as it did the ruling dictatorship would do what ruling dictatorships usually do – scapegoat and in the case of the PRC that means war in Korea and Taiwan. Or a revolution with millions of deaths and a few hundred nuclear missiles.

So, what then is a good socialist to do?

Well, for starters they could be honest and say their solution is really not much of a solution and is really a response to the fact that the flood has risen to the level where it impacts formerly safe White people who used to vote for the Centrist Inc.

And while universal health care should be a right and the environment needs saving and etc, the fact is that none of it is going to happen unless and until you get rid of capitalism.


There it is.

The Young Turks & Co like to point to Europe and say, see it can wok.

And they’re not wrong.

What they leave out is that (and we are choking as we write this) Trump is not wrong when he says the Europeans don’t pay their fair share for the collective defense of Europe.

Of course plenty of less vile presidents have said the same thing and even the Europeans know it’s true. Just ask them as they head off on their six week paid vacations, and no doubt they’ll agree with you.

But, as is always the case, these things are complicated.

Why does NATO exist?

Well, as one diplomatic wit put it some years ago: NATO exists to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.

No one in their right mind, wants to trade six weeks of paid vacations and nice cars, for two weeks of paid vacations and panzers.

Not the Germans, not the rest of Europe, not the Russians and not a single American general who has spent time reading casualty lists from the last time the Germans had the ability to cross the Rhine or the Elbe, in force and numbers.

Of course The Young Turks & Co would probably agree with all of that and would say that it comes down to first things first. Start with universal healthcare and free college tuition – which is not free, but is paid for by the equitable payment of taxes so that the corporate goons can’t stash their fortunes offshore, and never pay a dime in taxes.

And who are we to disagree.

We don’t disagree.

What we are saying is you’re never going to get there from here without a wall, and a last smoke.

That’s the ugly truth.

Even if it’s a metaphoric last smoke and a wall, the fact is power, as they say, never surrenders to anything except greater power.

The liberal Wall Street drones will tell you the answer to the puzzle is to vote. Vote in sufficient numbers and you can change things.

Except of course that the corporate fascists have read the rule book, they get cable and they know that controlling the courts and protecting their gerrymandered districts and rotten boroughs, makes the vote almost irrelevant and on the verge of being dead on arrival.

Ask yourself how many more elections will the corporate drones steal before people stop bothering to participate?

George W. Bush was the public face of a private corporate junta put into power by a judicial putsch.

Merrick Garland was politically lynched.

And Trump stole and had stolen for him the last sham election, in which we were given the choice between relatively benign corporatism, and vile corporatism.

That is not a recipe for change.

That is a recipe for catastrophe.

The Young Turks, Bernie, AOC, and all the rest can go on telling everyone they want change and that while on the left they are not leftists.

And they will win some elections.

They may even get universal healthcare and some sort of tax credit based reduction in college tuition.

Hell, Bernie or one of his political clones may even win the White House – and four years of Mitch I am a Quisling McConnell, blocking everything he or she puts forward.

And Bernie knows that’s true.

During the last election when asked how, if he won, he was going to force the corrupt House and the decadent gentleman’s club of the Senate to agree to support his agenda, he came within a second of calling for his supporters to surround Capitol Hill.

But instead, he looked away, knowing that calling for a revolution would be political suicide, and he mumbled the same sorry truths that you could hear from Hillary or Obama.

But nothing is going to really change until or unless capitalism goes the way of any other bankrupt ideology.

And that is not going to happen unless it’s taken off life-support.

The world is in a death spiral.

Changing the flowchart, slapping on a new coat of paint, and being outraged are not going to save anything or anyone except the status quo.

If you want a more equitable society and a more open and responsive system of government than the stock market has to be eliminated, and the assets of its biggest members must be seized and used to pay to repair the damage the current system has caused.

And the only way that will happen is though a revolution.

And the revolution requires organization, a hierarchy of authority, married to flexibility of action and thought, and must be peaceful.

The system is vulnerable. It is vulnerable because it is overextended.

A large scale refusal to participate in using select aspects of the system like smartphones, will shake the machine to its foundations and force the system to act brutally and publicly, which will provoke blow-back contributing to change for the better.

But, that’s not going to happen. Smartphones are technology heroin and you can’t function in the current system without one.

The liberal corportists will never participate nor will they tap into their vast wealth to fund a revolution by creating a strike fund, and not only because they would risk injury, and financial loss and power, but because they are profiting from the corruption.

Liberals who scream about Trump are all invested in the market. They work for massive corporations who are the backbone of the market. They make money for the people who employ the lawyers and lobbyists and the paramilitaries.

They are complicit and they are collaborators with, and apologists for the regime. And worse still, they are hypocrites, denouncing Trump while getting phat off the system.

How does this end?

Standing on a balcony at Versailles, observing the crowds below, drawing closer, the king said to his minster: Is it a riot?

No your majesty, came the reply, it is not a riot. It is a revolution.


Update: 8/9/19

For a critique of the TYT cadre, from their left, see the video below from Zero Books:


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