We are Spartacus

We are Spartacus now. Are we? Spartacus is the resistance of ordinary people against a fascism that seldom speaks its name. The answer to this question – whether or not we are prepared to resist – is the most important of our age.

By John Pilger

Spartacus was a 1960 Hollywood film based on a book written secretly by the blacklisted novelist Howard Fast, and adapted by the screenplay writer Dalton Trumbo, one of the ‘Hollywood 10’ who were banned for their ‘un-American’ politics. It is a parable of resistance and heroism that speaks unreservedly to our own times. 

Both writers were Communists and victims of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s House of Un-American Activities which, during the Cold War, destroyed the careers and often the lives of those principled and courageous enough to stand up to a homegrown fascism in America.

‘This is a sharp time, now, a precise time …’ wrote Arthur Miller in The Crucible, ‘We live no longer in the dusky afternoon when evil mixed itself with good and befuddled the world.’

There is one ‘precise’ provocateur now; it is clear to see for those who want to see it and foretell its actions. It is a gang of states led by the United States whose stated objective is ‘full spectrum dominance’. Russia is still the hated one, Red China the feared one. From Washington and London, the virulence has no limit. Israel, the colonial anachronism and unleashed attack dog, is armed to the teeth and granted historical impunity so that ‘we’ the West ensure the blood and tears never dry in Palestine. British MPs who dare call for a ceasefire in Gaza are banished, the iron door of two-party politics closed to them by a Labour leader who would withhold water and food from the children of Palestine.

In McCarthy’s time, there were bolt holes of truth. Mavericks welcomed then are heretics now; an underground of journalism exists (such as this site) in a landscape of mendacious conformity. Dissenting journalists have been defenestrated from the ‘mainstream’ (as the great editor David Bowman wrote); the media’s task is to invert the truth and support the illusions of democracy, including a ‘free press’.

Social Democracy has shrunk to the width of a cigarette paper that separates the principal policies of major parties. Their one subscription is to a capitalist cult, neoliberalism, and an imposed poverty described by a UN special rapporteur as ‘the immiseration of a significant part of the British population.’

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War today is an unmoving shadow; ‘forever’ imperial wars are designated normal. Iraq, the model, is destroyed at a cost of a million lives and three million dispossessed. The destroyer, Blair, is personally enriched and fawned over at his party’s conference as an electoral winner. Blair and his moral counter, Julian Assange, live 14 miles apart, one in a Regency mansion, the other in a cell awaiting extradition to hell.

According to a Brown University study, since 9/11, almost six million men, women and children have been killed by America and its acolytes in the ‘Global War on Terror’. A monument is to be built in Washington in ‘celebration’ of this mass murder; its committee is chaired by the former president, George W Bush, Blair’s mentor. Afghanistan, where it started, was finally laid to waste when President Biden shop-lifted its national bank reserves

There have been many Afghanistans. The forensic William Blum devoted himself to making sense of a state terrorism that seldom spoke its name and so requires repetition:

In my lifetime, the United States has overthrown or attempted to overthrow more than 50 governments, most democracies. It has interfered in democratic elections in 30 countries. It has dropped bombs on the people of 30 countries, most of them poor and defenceless. It has fought to suppress liberation movements in 20 countries. It has attempted to murder countless leaders.

Perhaps I hear some of you saying: that is enough. As the Final Solution of Gaza is broadcast live to millions, the small faces of its victims etched in bombed rubble, framed between TV commercials for cars and pizza, yes, that is surely enough. How profane is that word ‘enough’?

Afghanistan was where the West sent young men weighed down with the ritual of ‘warriors’ to kill people and enjoy it. We know some of them enjoyed it from the evidence of Australian SAS sociopaths, including a photograph of them drinking from an Afghan man’s prosthetic.

Not one sociopath has been charged for this and crimes such as kicking a man over a cliff, gunning down children point-blank, slitting throats: none of it ‘in battle’. David McBride, a former Australian military lawyer who served twice in Afghanistan,  was a ‘true believer’ in the system as moral and honourable,  He also has an abiding belief in truth, and loyalty. He can define them as few can. On 13 November he is in court in Canberra as an alleged criminal.

‘An Australian whistleblower,’ reports Kieran Pender, a senior lawyer at the Australian Human Rights Law Centre, ‘ [will face] trial for blowing the whistle on horrendous wrongdoing. It is profoundly unjust that the first person on trial for war crimes in Afghanistan is the whistle blower and not an alleged war criminal.’

McBride can receive a sentence of up to 100 years for revealing the cover-up of the great crime of Afghanistan. He tried to exercise his legal right as a whistleblower under the Public Interest Disclosure Act, which the current Attorney General, Mark Dreyfus, says ‘delivers on our promise to strengthen protections for public sector whistleblowers’. Yet it is Dreyfus, a Labor minister, who signed off on the McBride trial following a punitive wait of four years and eight months since his arrest at Sydney airport: a wait that shredded his health and family.

Those who know David and know of the hideous injustice done to him fill his street in Bondi near the beach in Sydney to wave their encouragement to this good and decent man. To them, and me, he is a hero.

McBride was affronted by what he found in the files he was ordered to inspect. Here was evidence of crimes and their cover-up. He passed hundreds of secret documents to the the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Sydney Morning Herald. Police raided the ABC’s offices in Sydney while reporters and producers watched, shocked, as their computers were confiscated by the Federal Police.

Attorney-General Dreyfus, self-declared liberal reformer and friend of whistleblowers, has the singular power to stop the McBride trial. A Freedom of Information search of his actions in this direction suggests an indifference to whether or not an innocent man rots.

You can’t run a fully-fledged democracy and a colonial war; one aspires to decency, the other is a form of fascism, regardless of its pretensions. Mark the killing fields of Gaza, bombed to dust by apartheid Israel. It is no coincidence that in rich, yet impoverished Britain an ‘inquiry’ is currently being held into the gunning down by British SAS soldiers of 80 Afghans, all civilians, including a couple in bed.

The grotesque injustice meted out to David McBride is minted from the injustice consuming his compatriot, Julian Assange. Both are friends of mine. Whenever I see them, I am optimistic. ‘You cheer me,’ I tell Julian as he raises a defiant fist at the end of our visiting period. ‘You make me feel proud,’ I tell David at our favourite coffee shop in Sydney. Their bravery has allowed many of us, who might despair, to understand the real meaning of a resistance we all share if we want to prevent the conquest of us, our conscience, our self respect, if we prefer freedom and decency to compliance and collusion. In this, we are all Spartacus.

Spartacus was the rebellious leader of Rome’s slaves in 71-73 BC. There is a thrilling moment in the Kirk Douglas movie Spartacus when the Romans call on Spartacus’s men to identify their leader and so be pardoned. Instead hundreds of his comrades stand and raise their fists in solidarity and shout, ‘I am Spartacus!’ The rebellion is under way.

Julian and David are Spartacus. The Palestinians are Spartacus. People who fill the streets with flags and principle and solidarity are Spartacus. We are all Spartacus if we want to be.

@johnpilger

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Views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House


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14 responses to “We are Spartacus”

  1. Rilme Avatar
    Rilme

    Does Palestine have the right to defend itself?

    1. me, again Avatar
      me, again

      By every means necessary

    2. Woopy Avatar
      Woopy

      Palestine has every right to defend itself because it has been invaded by white supremacists who murder Palestinian families, steal their land, and say it’s OK because they are God’s chosen.

  2. Gene Avatar

    Until he passed away recently at the age 94, my father used to say: “We [in the US-West] live under Fascist rule far worse than that of Adolf Hitler and the German Nazis”. My dad often added: “Fascism continues where it was left in different form serving those Anglo-Saxon regimes who used it very cleverly relying on the media and entertainment industry (Hollywood) to normalize it and make it acceptable”.
    Today, the Western media are playing a big role in dehumanizing Arabs and the Palestinians in particular and normalizing the ongoing Genocide by Israeli Jews and their U.S.-Western supporters. The Israeli Nazis are specifically targeting Palestinian. American scholar Norman Finkelstein accurately said Israel is worse than Nazi Germany and South Africa under Apartheid.
    Here in Australia, the country with the most Nazis-like anti-Muslims laws, the regime and the media (without exception) are fully behind the Nazis in Israel and make it very clear that they are proud of being complicit in the ongoing Genocide by the Israeli Nazis. Any sympathy for the Palestinians is unacceptable and have dire consequences.

    Western politicians and the media can’t imagine HAMAS being noble and chivalrous fighters, and Israelis being cowardly child-killing terrorists, though such is obviously the case. More than 5000 children and babies have been murdered. The UN Secretary Guterres said: Israeli Jews have turned “Gaza into a graveyard for children.” Israelis can’t acknowledge that the vast majority of the world disagrees with them for very good reasons, not because of “antisemitism.” More than 17000 Palestinian civilians have been needlessly killed. It doesn’t make sense and you can’t win war by killing women and children unless the aim is Genocide, a real in broad daylight Holocaust.

    1. alan Horton Avatar
      alan Horton

      Beautifully written Gene ,you made me feel a little less lonely,

  3. Bryan Mihalakis Avatar
    Bryan Mihalakis

    Watching our politicians climb over themselves to lick the boots of the Israeli government has turned my stomach. I have lost all respect for any of them. WE are the Evil Empire.

  4. Gene Avatar

    President Putin had an arrest warrant issued against him by the U.S.-West-controlled International Criminal Court (ICC) for bringing children out of Ukraine warzone. By contrast, Israeli Netanyahu is praised by the ICC and U.S.-Western regimes for murdering more than 5000 Palestinian children and babies. In fact, many heads of Western states visited Netanyahu and assured him of their unconditional support. More than 17,000 unarmed Palestinians have been killed by Israel in cold blood. The UN Secretary General Guterres said, Israel has turned “Gaza into a graveyard for children” and unarmed civilians.

    1. Woopy Avatar
      Woopy

      Gene, what you’re saying in your comments is very true. The real disheartening thing here is that if you’re a citizen and a taxpayer in the US, you’re in serious trouble. I am one of the unfortunate taxpayers in the US and there’s absolutely nothing that we can do about it short of a total bloody revolution that I can see. However, the good news is that over a period of time this government is just eating itself away. It’s so full of cancer that it it’s not going to survive. How long? Who knows.

  5. Dorian Gray Avatar
    Dorian Gray

    Now I understand what Israeli professor Illan Pappe revealed in his book THE ETHNIC CLEANSING OF THE PALESTINIANS, was trying to tell us.

  6. LittleRedWorm Avatar
    LittleRedWorm

    Thank you, to you and all the other whistleblowers, for their stand. In Dan 11:40; 12:1,2-4, 9,10, it says that the during the time of the end many would wake up to what is going on, and those with insight would shine like the brightness of the expanse, and those who are bringing the many to righteousness like the stars of heaven to time indefinite.

    So hang in there. Your work is absolutely vital to separate the righteous from the wicked. What is covered over must be uncovered. It won’t be long now. (Mat 10:26–30)

  7. Pip Avatar
    Pip

    JEWRY IS THE MOTHER OF MARXISM
    “Anti-Communism is anti-Semitism.”
    ~ Jewish Voice, July ~ August 1941.

    COMMUNISM AND CENTRAL BANKING
    This may seem strange. What can there be in common between Communism and the largest banks?! The Communism of Marx seeks an enormous centralization of the state, and where such exists, there must inevitably be a central state bank, and where such a bank exists, the parasitic Jewish nation, which profiteers from the labour of others, will always find a way to prevail. In reality, for the proletariat, this would be a barrack regime, under which the working men and the working women, converted into a uniform mass, would rise, fall asleep, work, and live at the beat of the drum.” ~ Bakunin (1814-1876)

    Marxism, to which all branches of Socialism necessarily adhere, was originated by Jew Karl Marx, himself of rabbinical descent and has been dominated by them from the beginning. Marx did not actually originate anything; he merely “streamlined” Talmudism for Gentile consumption.

    1. Woopy Avatar
      Woopy

      Pip your observation that Marx didn’t originate the Communist theory is valid. He simply climbed on and wrote it down. In fact, it really appears that most things are like that. For instance, you take the concept of the Virgin Mary and I’m not sure which churches adhere to her, however, that concept of Virgin Mary was here thousands of years before the Catholic Church ever showed up. Most things are like that.

  8. Prometheus Avatar
    Prometheus

    “Fascism is not in itself a new order of society. It is the future refusing to be born.”
    Aneurin Bevan

  9. Prometheus Avatar
    Prometheus

    “…the parasitic Jewish nation, which profiteers from the labour of others, will always find a way to prevail.”
    A dangerous$£y scapegoating simplification that feeds the white supremacist antisemitic projection of the bestiality within us ALL onto ye olde ‘chosen people’.
    You are confusing the Jewish people with a Jewish financial element of the international cartels of mobsters and war cults that come from all flat-earth tribalist arrested development precursors of humanity.
    The dominant Jewish diaspora culture was post-tribal, tolerant and humanistic before this throwback Zionism sprang from 16th century Reformation Puritan British Israelism, a literalist reading of biblical texts, more old than new testament.
    The same 19th century pseudo-scientific ‘genetics’ fed Hitler’s Aryan supernationalism as nourished Zionism simultaneously. The same global financiers, banKKKers and mercenary war industria£i$ts built Hitler’s war machinery as fed the traumatised survivors of his savagery into Palestine to garrison Suez and the regional oil.
    Dig a little deeper, before you duck down that rabbit-hole.

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