How can I write a review of Andre Vltchek’s new book Revolutionary Optimism, Western Nihilism? I am damned if I do, and damned if I don’t. Andre himself says that:
“There is nothing to add to the writing of maverick revolutionary philosophers. Hands off their work! Let them speak! Editions without prefaces and introductions, please; no footnotes! The greatest works of philosophy were written with heart, blood and passion! No interpretation is needed. If allowed to read them, even a child can understand.”.
He is speaking about the works of other great revolutionary writers, not himself. I think Andre is a great revolutionary writer, too. But, who am I to speak for Andre? Read his great works for yourself, and you will understand them without my introduction. You will find that Andre has the guts to put himself out there, let it all hang out, and expose his vulnerabilities as well as his wisdom…
But I am damned if I don’t write a book review for Andre’s book, because I told him I would give it a try. I don’t want to let him down. This is the best I can do. So, you can stop reading right here if you wish, and just buy Andre’s book and let him speak to you for himself.
Our struggling revolutionary artists whom still speak and write the truth need all the support we can give them. That goes for the alternative media site you are reading this on. We are in a war, an information and propaganda war. Truth tellers are an endangered species. The Empire is trying to shut them up and shut them down.
Now if you are still with me, I do have a few words to say. Take what I say that you like and leave the rest.
A lot of people are not going to like Andre’s book “Revolutionary Optimism, Western Nihilism”, I can tell you that right now. The first to hate it will be the Empire, because they fear truth-tellers more than bomb-throwers. The next who will not like Andre’s book will be the smug critics who want to nitpick his every word. I am not talking about the Deep State and its Mockingbirds. I am talking about the so-called liberal/progressives; especially the ones that never get off of the “proverbial couches of spinelessness”, which Andre speaks of. You have to be brave to put up with their shit. This is the time when we should be organizing and supporting each other, instead of criticizing, and letting the Empire divide us. Andre is a revolutionary writer and doer that is on a mission that is bigger than himself. It is called “life”. Look at his website “Vltchek’s World in Words and Images” to see what he has been doing with his life.
As Andre says: “Obedient and cowardly masses hate those who are different”. Different is an understatement to describe Andre Vitchek. You’ll not find many like him in Europe or North America. You may have to go to South America, Africa, Asia, or Russia to find such uniquely honest voices.
Russia is the perfect metaphor for Andre: Russia is neither Europe nor Asia; it is both and neither. Like Russia, Andre is unique. He is neither this nor that. He is a writer, philosopher, photo journalist, pamphleteer, activist, witness and doer. He is all of those things, but above all he is a humanist and an artist. He is an optimistic pessimist. Only a hopeless optimist would say:
“One day, hopefully soon, humanism will win over dark nihilism; people will live for other people and not for some cold profits, religious dogmas and “Western values”.
Western values, now that is an oxymoron if there ever was one. Andre is a pessimist that sees and writes about the anti-humanism and the soullessness of so-called Western values. He exposes it for what it is: gray, cold and without spirit.
Andre says he is a Communist in an era when being a communist is not fashionable. Most liberal/progressives are afraid to mention John Maynard Keynes, let alone Marx, Lenin and Mao.
For a while in 2016 pseudo-socialism was popular among supporters of Bernie Sanders, whom claimed to be a socialist. He promised his followers what every poll shows that most Americans want: universal healthcare, low cost higher education, better infrastructure, strong economic safety nets, and $15 dollars an hour minimum wage. Where have all these so-called socialists gone now that Bernie disillusioned them? Chasing illusionary Russian spies, it seems.
Sanders and his “Sandernistas” rarely talked about ending US illegal wars of aggression in 2016. If liberal/progressives had insisted that Bernie take an anti-war platform and a reduction of the Empire’s military-industrial-complex, then Bernie might well be in the White House now, instead of Trump. Instead most of the Sandernistas told liberal/progressives to shut up about the wars. They said it would be political suicide for Bernie to bring up war during a presidential campaign. Sandernistas said not to worry, because Bernie was secretly antiwar. We fell for that one with Obama, who committed more war crimes than George W. Bush.
Andre has the guts to say that liberal/progressives do not deserve free college, universal healthcare and all the goodies that Bernie was selling us, while also peddling the trillion dollar F-35 boondoggle. I agree with Andre, especially since Bernie sold out his loyal followers, and sheep dogged for warmongering Hillary. We do not deserve social programs at home, while the Empire is killing millions of people with all the US illegal wars of aggression. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said:
“A time comes when silence is betrayal— I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube.”
The Empire’s “destructive suction tube” is waging all sorts of wars: military, economic and propaganda. It is waging economic terrorism against the Global South. The Empire-backed World Bank, IMF and gangster banking monopolies force austerity on the poor of the world. Those poor countries in the Global South that are under attack by the Empire’s economic terrorist organizations do not get to have Bernie’s socialism. Not only do I agree with Andre that we do not deserve Bernie’s social programs, nor do we have funds or the energies for them. Bernie and the Sandernistas rarely spoke about rehabilitation of America’s poor; it was all about the middle class. Silence is betrayal.
Whatever the Empire does in foreign lands, sooner or later the chickens come home to roost. The Empire keeps crushing countries of the Global South whose leaders want to use their country’s natural resources for their own people. Anti-colonial revolutionaries like Castro, Che and Ho were personally vilified for not embracing the Empire’s neocolonial model of capitalism. The Empire conspires to overthrow governments that nationalize their country’s natural resources, and have social programs for the people.
The Empire always wants enemies. The public never seems to question why the most powerful military the world has ever known, supposedly has so many poor weak enemies threatening it. It is all a pretext for the Empire to extract wealth from the Global South for the benefit of oligarchs.
The Empire never stops plotting to overthrow revolutionary leaders. Venezuela, Iran, Yemen, Syria, Russia, Cuba and North Korea are under attack because they want to go their own way. There will be economic warfare, propaganda warfare, and political warfare, and when those don’t work to impose conformity and compliance; there is always the military option. For the Empire “all options are always on the table”, including the nuclear option. The Empire would rather see the destruction of the entire world, than to coexist with a threat to its hegemony.
Now the cry goes out that the Russians are coming! Those like myself that lived through the Cold War are seeing history repeated. The paranoia, propaganda, lies, repression, persecution and provocations are déjà vu. The US has encircled Russia with military bases, and plays war games on its border. We are told, and we are supposed to believe that Russia is the aggressor and an expansionist threat.
Georgia attacks South Ossetia, and we are told that Russia invaded Georgia. The US midwifes a coup against an elected government in Ukraine, but it is Russia that is blamed for destabilizing Ukraine. Crimea has a referendum to rejoin Russia, and we are told that the Russians used military force to annex Crimea. The US has criminally invaded Syria, but we are told that Russia invaded Syria, even though they are there legally.
We are supposed to be afraid that Putin will “destroy the West’s democracy” by sowing dissention, chaos and meddling in US elections. If anybody wants to destroy America’s democracy, then they are several decades too late. It has already been mostly destroyed. The Bill of Rights has been eviscerated, except for the 2nd Amendment, which is enabling the worst fascistic elements in the US to heavily arm themselves. The police are militarized. The US has secret police, secret courts, and secret prisons.
Nationalism that breeds repression at home and wars abroad is running amok. The people no longer have the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Protesters are restricted to so-called free-speech zones, and they are subject to indiscriminate mass arrest. The people are told to obey the government, but it is the government that is supposed to obey the people in a democracy. Those that don’t worship the flag, and praise militarism are accused of being unpatriotic.
Andre has much to say on all the above issues in his book “Revolutionary Optimism, Western Nihilism”. The book is a collection of many of his great writing of the past few years. Shorter versions of his essays have been published in articles by non-Western media, such as the New Eastern Outlook (NEO) as well as Western alternative media such as The Greanville Post.
Andre writes about the Empire’s many crimes. Terrible crimes have been committed against millions of people who have done the West no harm, and were of no threat. The Empire and its vassal states punish people of the Global South for being born in countries with vast natural resources that the Empire covets. Andre gives these victims a voice and a human face.
Andre’s writings are not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach. He will pound the truth into you on every page, and you may not be able to put his book down, as I could not. The reader realizes that Andre is on a mission. Part of that mission is to be the conscience of the world, and to make sure that the victimized are not forgotten and that they are not alone. Andre has a great capacity for empathy. His writing, videos and documentaries cry out for the world to have empathy too. The world is empathy deficient.
Even for those that already intellectually know the truths that Andre writes about, will have that truth pound into their hearts and souls. Unfortunately, the people that are ignorant of the truth are the most likely ones not to read Andre. We all know people like that. They are our brother-in-law, neighbors, and the students and professors in our institutions of so-called higher learning. Our schools do not teach the important truths and philosophies anymore. They have just become vocational schools turning out accountants, lawyers, propagandist, stockbrokers, and super sales people to keep churning money in the economy, so that it flows up the food chain.
In every direction one turns now they face a barrage of propaganda put out by the Empire. Most Americans are isolated and know very little about the rest of the world. For many people the mainstream media is their only source for information. What they get is a steady stream of propaganda that Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Yemen, Syria, North Korea and Russia are evil. They believe it, just like when I was a child, I believed the US propaganda during the Cold War. Russia was both feared and ridiculed when I was growing up. I was told that communism never works, and that Russia cannot even make toilets that flush. Imagine how surprised I was when I finally went to Russia and found out that their toilets work just fine.
When I mentioned the above story to someone who was regurgitating anti-Putin propaganda he asked me a rhetorical question:
“As for Russia, besides the toilets flushing, was there anything you wanted to buy there besides vodka and nesting dolls? Or do they have anything that you would wish that we imported (like Japanese cars or Chinese clothing or Swiss watches, etc.)?”
I know that Andre gets the stupidity of that question. In the Empire one is only valuable for what they have to sell. It is all about dollars and cents, and the logic of the market. The market determines the value of everything, including people. If it has a market price, then it has value. If not then it is worthless and of no value, according to the market.
Andre writes about things that are priceless and have great value. They are the things of life that make us human, instead of robots. There is no market for love and living a fulfilling life. It is free if one knows how to find it. Andre helps to show us the way.
Besides Revolutionary Optimism, Western Nihilism Andre has written many other books, such as Exposing Lies of the Empire, a novel titled Aurora and many other books. Andre is a world class philosopher, novelist, filmmaker, investigative journalist, poet, playwright, and photographer. He is a true revolutionary. He is a human being. His website is http://andrevltchek.weebly.com/ .