How is the Chinese regime forcing nations to choose between the Chinese and American models, and punishing countries like Australia and the United Kingdom that fail to comply with its demands?
How is the Chinese Communist Party exploiting the protests and riots in America following the killing of George Floyd for propaganda?
How has the concept of racism in America been altered by far-left radical groups to fuel the race-equivalent of communist class struggle?
In this episode, we sit down with Joshua Philipp, an award-winning investigative reporter at The Epoch Times and host of the show “Crossroads.”
This is American Thought Leaders, and I’m Jan Jekielek.
Jan Jekielek: Joshua Philipp, great to have you back on American Thought Leaders.
Joshua Philipp: It’s a real pleasure, Jan.
Mr. Jekielek: We’re going to talk about China today. We’ll also talk a bit about “cancel culture,” I’ll say that in quotes, and of course all of this stuff that has happened after this terrible killing of George Floyd, and I think we’ll also branch a bit into talking about Antifa. I want to tackle China first, because it remains a massive issue: what China is doing throughout this whole coronavirus period and so forth. Let’s dive into that. A big event that happened just recently is this indictment of the Harvard professor, a top nanotechnology expert in the world. Tell me a little bit about the significance of that.
Mr. Philipp: That is Dr. Charles Lieber. He was the head of the chemistry department at Harvard. It is significant for several reasons. First off, in and of itself [it is significant], because a top professor at one of the top universities in the United States if not the world was indicted. He wasn’t indicted for his ties to the Chinese regime; he was indicted for the slap on the wrist charge, like lying to investigators. What he was doing … was taking money, allegedly—of course he hasn’t been found guilty yet but allegedly—from the Chinese Communist Party under its Thousand Talents Program.
This has shone a light on the issue of Chinese academic espionage. It has the whole country, at least to some extent, aware now that the Chinese regime has been buying off our professors and that the Chinese regime has actual programs like the Thousand Talents Program, [and] there are many others meant to get into our universities and compromise professors, academics, researchers and so on. One thing that’s interesting now is the Department of Education is going through the different universities, and they’re investigating top to bottom whether individuals have received gifts from foreign governments—China being the largest—that they were not disclosing. What they’re saying now is Dr. Charles Lieber is the tip of the iceberg.
Mr. Jekielek: It’s remarkable. I saw some preliminary research that’s being done by a number of people that reached out to me. We’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars in anonymous donations, so to speak, from China.
Mr. Philipp: You’re talking billions of dollars when it comes to foreign gifts across multiple years. I’ve seen some numbers, I think that it is around $6 billion to these different universities. It’s not just China; it’s also Russia, it’s also even the U.K., but China is the largest one, and China is of course the most nefarious one when it comes to this, because they’re using it for things like economic espionage and propaganda. [They want] to have academic support their narratives.
It’s a very devious, very deceptive system, because the Chinese regime is trying to push these different narratives. Then you have what appears to be a very intelligent person in a major university go to a news outlet and give an interview. They seem [to be] a trusted source; they are a professor of this branch that’s irrelevant to this topic at a major university, and they’re giving us an interview on this topic saying, “Oh, no, China’s not that bad. This is what’s really happening.” You don’t realize that maybe they’re receiving undisclosed gifts from the Chinese regime that very likely compromised their integrity. If they were to say otherwise, of course the Chinese Communist Party, being the Chinese Communist Party, is going to blacklist them; they’re going to cut off the finances.
Even for a journalist going to China, there’s a line you can’t cross. There are no-go topics; there are things you can’t report on. There are things that if you say them, you get blacklisted, you get kicked out of the country, you’re never allowed back, your visa gets denied, and you’re never allowed to report there again. The same thing happens with academics; the same thing happens with professors.
Dr. Steven Mosher, I think you’ve had him on before, I think he was the first academic to be kicked out of China, because he went and exposed their whole one-child policy and what that really entails, which was a lot of times forced abortion. It’s sometimes even post-birth killing the child. He exposed that, and he’s never allowed back in China because of that. You have to think about what it means for these supposed experts to be going and talking to our media, taking undisclosed gifts from the Chinese regime, sometimes on a regular payment basis, month by month, like this Dr. Charles Lieber was allegedly taking. I think he was getting $50,000 a month from the CCP, again allegedly. Again, this is the tip of the iceberg. This is happening on a very large scale in our universities.
Mr. Jekielek: This is one piece of something that a lot of people are describing as this “New Cold War” with China or the Chinese Communist Party. Of course, you and I know that at least on China’s side, this stuff isn’t very new. It’s been happening for some time. Why don’t you break down for me what you think about people saying there’s this New Cold War?
Mr. Philipp: I think we should define the battlespace. When people think of “war,” they think of conventional war a lot of time. They don’t think about the whole-of-nation type war that could take place. When people think of the Cold War, some of them know the deeper details, but for most people, you’re thinking spies; you’re thinking nuclear threats; you’re thinking threats of military action.
All of those things are happening to an extent with China right now. … Even very recently, there have been many Chinese spies arrested. Even Dr. Charles Lieber being charged with some form of being involved with the Chinese regime’s overseas spy systems. Of course, [there is also] academic espionage, economic espionage, economic theft, and also threats of war. The United States now is even reviving its nuclear weapons testing, allegedly—they’re talking about it now. From the surface standpoint, it is very much a Cold War, but the real battle is on the deeper stuff.
… During the Cold War, we should look at what was really happening. You had the Soviet Union pushing for the global communist revolution, and a lot of that is based on ideology. Now, one unfortunate fact when you’re dealing with, say, even a lot of military guys, these days they don’t think ideology matters anymore. They don’t think your viewpoints or your worldview matters.
But when it comes to the CCP, the Chinese talk about worldview warfare. … In fact, it is adopted into their military code as a “three warfares doctrine,” which is media warfare, psychological warfare and legal warfare. It is the war for hearts and minds as we would call it, but on a very, very large scale, integrated fully into their military and done outside of the spectrum of normal warfare.
For example, China Daily has finally disclosed it’s FARA documents showing money it was giving to different news outlets to run its propaganda. China Daily was already registered as a foreign agent from the Chinese Communist Party. More recently, under the State Department, it’s now classified as a foreign mission of the CCP. When you’re a foreign mission, you’re a branch of the Chinese government. Major U.S. newspapers were taking hundreds of thousands of dollars each, collectively millions of dollars, from what is really a branch of the Chinese government, the Chinese Communist Party, to publish its propaganda under “China Watch,” they call it.
Now, from their standpoint, they would say, “Oh, it’s labeled as advertisement. It’s an advertisement.” The question is, these are some of the same outlets that are making a big deal about Russian disinformation affecting our elections. If you look at this question, well, you think Russian disinformation is a problem, [but] you don’t think Chinese disinformation is a problem? You’re taking money from a foreign government to publish it when it’s very hostile to this country?
Mr. Jekielek: It’s a stamp of approval. If you’re going to take advertising for somebody, you’re saying, “This is legit,” right?
Mr. Philipp: Yeah, and of course, moving on to the bigger picture, you’re talking about this Cold War. There’s many, many elements to it. There’s political warfare. Again, we made such a big deal about the idea that Russia may have interfered with our elections. Now, I should note too, Facebook, Twitter, [and various] social networks were given a lot of money as well, according to the China Daily document showing how much money they were given. They’re for advertisements of course, and so they’re not free of blame.
There’s a lot of doublespeak going on, to use the old Orwellian term. There’s a lot of doublespeak going on where … they’re saying two contradictory things while basically violating the thing they’re claiming to oppose [others violating]. That was happening the whole time, and it wasn’t really being shown to the world.
On the broader picture, there’s also political warfare. The Chinese Communist Party has the general political department, under what they call the “liaison department.” We heard about Russian interference in elections. The general political department of the Chinese Communist Party, under its liaison department, is a full-scale operation for political warfare. It has an entire military branch dedicated to political warfare, the exact thing that people were trying to warn about with Russia. There’s an entire military branch under the Chinese regime dedicated to that.
The bigger picture during the Cold War with the Soviet Union, between the U.S. and the Soviet Union mainly, was what the Soviets called “ideological subversion.” This is the idea of how do you wage war on a country? How do you spark revolutions in a country? How do you change the culture of a country without waging open warfare on them? These days they have what they call “short of war” tactics where you’re pushing your aggression and your hostilities right to the boundary of what would constitute open warfare, but you never crossed that line. Russia does it; Iran does it; many countries do it; China is very aggressive on it.
The Chinese regime would call it “Unrestricted Warfare.” The term comes from a document written by two Chinese colonels in 1999 … . They actually recently updated it, matter of fact, but it outlines three different categories of warfare, non-military, trans-military and unconventional military, and it includes things like economic warfare; … cultural warfare; drug warfare; psychological warfare.
Take drug warfare, for example. Where does fentanyl come from? Where do these synthetic drugs come from? They come from China. Where do the drug cartels in Latin America get their precursor chemicals from? China. In fact, there was an interesting story just recently saying that the cartels are having trouble manufacturing the drugs right now, because they were getting their ingredients from a factory in Wuhan where the epicenter of the virus is. They can’t get their ingredients for their drugs right now.
What is cultural warfare? How do you impact the culture of a country? Who controls Hollywood right now? Who controls a lot of the talent houses? The Chinese Communist Party, through their different companies, controls a lot of the talent houses; AMC Theaters is under one of their major companies.
If companies, if films want to get into the Chinese market, which they need these days for the box office, they have to follow all the Chinese regime’s regulations on films. This includes supporting “core socialist values” as the CCP would call it. The standards are so tight and also not clearly defined, which means that a lot of them have incentive to go above and beyond normal censorship with self-censorship. Some of them even co-produced films with Chinese studios so that they can be sure that they’re in line with what the Chinese regime is looking for. That is cultural warfare. In fact, they talk about it openly. They don’t even try to hide this stuff.
[There is also] psychological warfare. Psychological warfare isn’t just lying to you; it’s not just propaganda as we would normally think of it. Psychological warfare is changing the way you interpret information, so that you and I could be looking at the exact same set of data and we would come to wildly different conclusions on it.
For example, with this virus right now, this pandemic, you’re looking at the Chinese regime’s handling of the virus. We’re looking at the exact same data. Now do you interpret it as being a sign of “oh, the Chinese regime did all it could in its power. It took very strong measures to ensure that the virus didn’t spread and the rest of the world is just being unfair to it,” or do you think, “The Chinese regime lied to the world. The Chinese regime arrested doctors, disappeared journalists,” and these types of things.
If you were following only the information the CCP was releasing, and some of the organizations that support the CCP, what they were saying, you would view it in line with the pro-CCP viewpoint. If you were following all the real data, … for example, their cover ups, their lying to the world, their manipulation of data and numbers, you would understand, “Okay, they were misleading the world, they were very dishonest about it, and no, absolutely, they did not handle it well.” The idea that they handle it well, you’d only believe that if you believed all of the lies that they were telling the world, most of which have been exposed.
Mr. Jekielek: Josh, you’re just making me think here about the WHO recently publishing this report that asymptomatic transmission of the virus is rare, which is kind of stunning, because it undermines the whole premise of the lockdowns. It’s an astounding thing. … At the same time, I’m thinking to myself, “Wait a second.” I don’t trust these guys for anything because it’s been demonstrated, we have this whole infographic, you even went over on your show recently, the evidence of how the WHO has been compromised by the Chinese Communist Party. I guess this is part of its political warfare? I’m not sure which discipline this is, but it’s astounding.
Mr. Philipp: Well, this would be pretty much the whole gamut of protecting the CCP using ideological war. You could say there’s a political warfare element to it where being an international organization, the WHO can influence politics. The WHO was defending the CCP’s policies on the political level while criticizing the policies of other countries. For example, when the U.S. shut down travel from China coming into the U.S., the WHO came out and criticized them for that. When other countries wanted to do the same, the WHO demanded that those countries provide them, at the government level, the scientific evidence justifying their actions.
They not only criticized the U.S. for taking measures that now we’re seeing were probably necessary, but even criticized and demanded scientific evidence from countries that were considering doing the same thing, maybe preventing countries from locking down and taking measures that may have saved probably thousands of lives by this point had they done so. …
Then of course, there’s also the social level, different social media platforms, for example, would have censored you—still might censor you—if you question the scientific data from the WHO, despite the fact that their integrity has been compromised as we’ve noted in that infographic, for example by showing how they were just repeating the CCP talking points. It’s coming out now that the WHO even knew that the CCP was lying to them, and they’re actually talking about this publicly now… Despite the fact that they were questioning that, they were not acting as an objective agency doing independent research during that time. They were just repeating whatever the CCP was saying, which is what that infographic shows. That does bring into question: Can we trust them? Can we trust their data?
Yes, they came out now, and one of the individuals was saying, “There’s no real evidence that asymptomatic cases can really spread.” … They’re taking that back now and saying, “Well, based on our models, we could say there’s up to 40 percent maybe spreading,” and so on. Nobody trusts it anymore. In the end, a lot of people don’t trust them, maybe not everyone but a lot of people don’t.
Yes, it does undermine the entire reason for having the lockdowns, because part of the reason for the lockdowns, where you’re locking down people who are not showing symptoms, was based on the idea that … you should lock down everybody, because … they may have the virus but just not showing symptoms. You have to lock down everybody in fear that they might be spreading the virus as opposed to just locking down people who are sick. That’s the difference between normal quarantine and the type of quarantine we had where you’re locking down entire countries.
If the justification was on the idea that asymptomatic cases can spread the virus, and that’s now false, what does that mean for everybody who lost their businesses, who went through very likely harsh financial troubles, and at the very least, a lot of mental pressure during this time? Also, what does it mean if the Department of Justice may even be backing lawsuits against governors that went too far, as Barr stated, when it came to the measures they took?
Again we’re also seeing double standards with them where, for example, in New York, … you weren’t allowed to hold protests against the lockdowns. If you did, you were “killing grandma” because young people may not show symptoms, but older people may get sick and die. So, “You’re putting your grandparents’ lives at risk if you go out and protest,” but suddenly it’s okay to go out and protest when it fits the opposite political views or different political viewpoints. Was this a political move? Was this a political bias move? We are seeing political bias when it comes to this. I do think going forward, there’s going to be a lot of questions that this society has to address when it came to that. … Unfortunately the virus was politicized, but how much of an influence did politics have in the measures that were taken to lock people down, and in terms of governments selectively going after people for violating the lockdowns?
Mr. Jekielek: Actually, we’ll dive into the America focus when we talk about the so-called “cancel culture,” and maybe we can even dig into this a little bit further. Before we jump in there, we both remarked on Secretary of State Pompeo’s open letter. I think this is something that flew under the radar of a lot of people.
Mr. Philipp: It was good.
Mr. Jekielek: It’s a fascinating thing, and Josh, I think you’re the perfect person that could just give us a quick overview here.
Mr. Philipp: The Chinese regime has been using the protests against the death of George Floyd in its propaganda. … The Chinese regime’s main narrative is that having a totalitarian communist system is more stable than having the free society of the U.S. where people are allowed to make their own decisions to a larger extent and have some form of self-governance. They need to justify the totalitarian system. They need to say that you can only have a stable and harmonious society when you have absolute control over it from the government level. They need to justify that.
If people living under the CCP believe that, “Okay, maybe a free society is more stable.” … The U.S. has its problems, we do have parts of socialism here as well, but we have more freedoms than in China of course. If they can look across the ocean and see that the U.S. is stable, that the U.S. is harmonious, that the system of individual rights and freedoms is more stable and able to create a better society, then they start questioning the legitimacy of the CCP. It was the same thing during the Soviet Union—they had the same issue. They had to make it appear that the U.S. was in chaos, that if given the right to freedom to assemble … and these types of things, people will not make the right decisions, and you’re going to have chaos, and so they will try to pump up that image of chaos as much as they possibly can.
The other side they try to harp on [is to counter] one of the big criticisms against the Soviet Union and against the CCP now: human rights abuse. In the Soviet Union, human rights abuses involved the gulags, the persecutions, the genocides, killing people who opposed the political system, throwing them in gulags, killing the kulaks, the wealthy peasants, and so on. Different movements killed millions of people. In The CCP, 50 million to 70 million were killed just under Mao Zedong. How do you justify that … when another government is criticizing you for your abuses of your own people? The CCP is now persecuting religious minorities, persecuting cultural minorities, persecuting even democracy activists on a very large scale now. How do you justify that when the U.S., for example, is criticizing you for that?
Well, you try to say, “You have your problems too. You can’t criticize me unless you’re absolutely perfect.” One of the things they harp on, and the Soviet Union also harped on, is racism in America. They try to pump up this image that “you criticize us for persecuting this guy or that guy, but you have racism and you persecute people based on their race.” The Soviet Union pumped that up full-on as hard as they could; the CCP is doing the same right now.
That’s what Pompeo was addressing in his letter to the CCP. The point he made was that in China, if you hold mass protests, the CCP will brutally crush it. It will brutally crush it. The most clear image is the Tiananmen Square Massacre, where they went and killed 10,000, estimated at least now, Chinese students calling for democracy. There’s what they did in Hong Kong right now where they’re destroying Hong Kong’s autonomy. They’re violating this agreement they had with the Hong Kong people, where they’re not supposed to intervene until 2049. Now they’re mass arresting the Hong Kong people coming out to protest. … They weren’t looting, they weren’t burning, they weren’t robbing people—peaceful protests almost across the board. There were some minor exceptions to that but they are mass arresting them.
Bill Barr called them out for that. He said [that] in the U.S., yes, there have been issues; yes, they have their problems. The police are not massacring people on the streets; the police are not arresting every single person going out and protesting. Yes, they’re arresting people who get violent, they’re arresting people who burn down buildings or are robbing people or shooting people, but they’re not mass arresting every protester coming out. The CCP’s attempts to create this comparative analysis when it comes to this is nonsense, because they’re trying to say that “The same thing we’re doing, you’re doing,” when it’s not the case. You would only see it as the case if you didn’t understand the depth to which the CCP abuses its own people, and Barr called them out on that.
This actually ties into something that I’ve been saying for a long time. This is the real significance of that. The Chinese Communist Party has a glass jaw. It is extremely, extremely fragile, but nobody dares to touch on the point that is the fragile point, and the fragile point is ideology. The fragile point is the CCP’s abuses of its own people. Why does it have the Great Firewall? Why does it feel the need to withhold information from its people on a massive scale? Why does it feel the need to control every news outlet? Why does it not allow independent news coverage in its country? Why does it not tolerate even low-level dissidents, even blind human rights lawyers, calling it out? Why can it not tolerate any small degree of criticism to the extent that it will arrest any individual, even a blogger, for criticizing it? Why does it do that? Because its actions, its lies, and its abuses cannot stand the light of day.
If the Chinese people are able to access free information, and they see what the CCP has done to them, what the CCP has done throughout history, if they see the true nature of the CCP, that will be the end of the CCP and the CCP knows it. The U.S. for a long time hasn’t really called out the Chinese Communist Party on its abuses of its own people. As soon as that comes out fully, if they ever really go into it fully—you’re talking about Muslim slave camps right now as we speak; you’re talking about live organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners and others, Falun Gong being the main victims; you’re talking about burning down Tibetan temples, ancient Tibetan temples; you’re talking about tearing down churches of House Christians, you have about 100 million Christians in China—if the Chinese people ever fully see what the regime has done to them, that will be the end of the Chinese Communist Party.
Mr. Jekielek: This brings to light a bigger question too, where the Chinese Communist Party is using this moment basically to force people to pick sides. … I think in Australia, actually, there’s a great report that has recently come out about Chinese influence. It’s pretty fascinating with alot of implications for the rest of the world. Tell me about that.
Mr. Philipp: The Chinese Communist Party has an interpretation of the main battle in the entire world right now, the main battle for the future, what they would call “China 2025,” which includes for example, what they’re doing with the One Belt One Road initiative. … Really the main motivation behind all of its overt and covert operations to change the nature of societies and get into businesses around the world. What is the real objective of this? It is to validate the “China Model,” to make the “China Model,” as they call it, the main system of global governance.
In their eyes, the world right now is led by the Pax Americana—the peace under America. This [includes the] idea of individual rights and this idea of protecting basic rights of people around the world. This American system has influenced the culture of the whole world Post-World War II, whether you like it or not, and whether Americans even care or not. I think Americans are probably the least aggressive global hegemon we’ve ever had in history, because they kind of don’t even want it, but the American idea has influenced the entire world. The American idea of individual rights has influenced the entire world.
The Chinese Communist Party’s China Model is the opposite of that. It says governments can do whatever they want to the people; you will not be sanctioned; you will not be punished; that is your own business. You can massacre your own people today—we don’t care. We will still trade with you. We will still engage with you. You can monitor your people to the extent that the CCP does with things like the social credit system.
In fact, part of the One Belt One Road initiative is to install these types of systems and technological infrastructure in order to export that model of government. The CCP right now is not just exporting this idea of a totalitarian communist system and trying to get other countries to adopt parts of it, but even when it comes to the technical standpoint of their form of government. [This is] through the One Belt One Road initiative, having Huawei put into place these different … critical infrastructure systems that would allow for [totalitarian communist rule]—they’re building that.
Countries in Latin America already have parts of the social credit system, the CCP system for monitoring and maintaining social control. Darwin, Australia, is implementing parts of it, and people aren’t even talking about it. Parts of Africa already have it. Parts of Asia already have it. The CCP is pushing to undermine the U.S. system of global governance and putting its own system into place, and it’s a system that really goes against the entire idea of individual rights. It’s a system that justifies government abuses of their own people.
Yes, a big part of this is they’re going to different countries and saying, “You have to choose. Do you support the United States or do you support the Chinese Communist Party?” A lot of Latin America is going through this. For example, they have the Foro de São Paulo, which is the where socialist or far-left organizations meet, and it was one of the main organizations behind the Pink [Tide] that really swept most of Latin America with these far-left or socialist governments. Venezuela … came into power through that Pink [Tide].
The CCP regime actually has a lot of influence over Iran, and the CCP has been very active compromising governments all throughout Latin America. They’ve done the same thing in Africa; they’ve done the same thing in Asia, different parts of Asia; they’re trying to do it in Europe; they’re trying to do it in Australia; trying to do it in other places. They’ve been more or less successful in some areas. In the Western world, they’ve only just really started. But the main idea they’re going at is this, that you need to choose: Do you support the United States or do you support China?
[There are] a few examples of this. There’s public reporting in Israel right now that Israel needs to choose between the CCP or the United States. Israel, being surrounded by countries that don’t like it, they’ll take friends where they can get them. If China’s friendly to them, they’ll work with China. That’s just the fact. The U.S. is friendly to them, they’ll work with the U.S. They haven’t really chosen sides. They’re now being told, “You need to choose a side.” There’s public reporting in Israel on this.
In Australia, this is part of the mainstream news discussion. Do we align ourselves with China or do we align ourselves with the U.S.? In a lot of countries, New Zealand for example, … they’re saying, “Well, we can do both.” But when they try to do that, the CCP comes out and says, “No, you cannot. You have to choose. Do you want to work with us or do you want to work with the U.S.?” If they dare question the CCP, for example, Australia calling for investigations into the origin of this virus, the CCP will punish them. The UK. is going through the same thing right now.
One of the main narratives coming out now in Europe, in different parts of the EU like Germany is that the friendly veneer of the Chinese government has fallen off. They’re now seeing that if you align with the CCP, you are not allowed to question the CCP. If you’ve taken anything from the CCP, they expect absolute subjugation basically from you, that you are a subordinate to their narratives.
You cannot question them anymore; you cannot criticize them anymore. If there’s a global pandemic and they’re not giving you information, you need to protect your own citizens, and [if] you dare question them on it, you will be punished by them. Australia right now is seeing things done to its trade. The CCP is putting restrictions on its trade because of this, and they’re seeing that. In different countries right now, they’re having to choose: Are you aligning with the United States or are you aligning with the Chinese Communist Party?
Mr. Jekielek: Josh, it’s very interesting. There’s clearly two very, very different systems we’re talking about. I guess it’s the liberal democratic system versus the Chinese Communist totalitarian system. [There’s] quite a bit of difference, yet I’m seeing some people drawing some similarities or pointing out some similarities, and I found that very interesting. For example, I had Bob Woodson on recently. I’ll read you what he said. He said, “The mantra of institutional racism has morphed into an orthodoxy like Communism. Are you a supporter of the party or are you not? It’s really sweeping the nation like a virus. This is our second pandemic in recent days.” What do you make of this?
Mr. Philipp: It’s a big thing to unravel. It’s a big thing to unwrap. For people on one side, it ties into a lot of things that they don’t understand when it comes to socialism or communism, and on the other side, it ties to a lot of things where they’ve been emotionally agitated, and so it’s very hard to talk to them. Maybe we could go into a bit of both of these.
Now first off, when it comes to communism, when it comes to socialism, the basic ideas of it are not just outright communist systems. They exist very, very much so in most of the world, including in the United States. It’s not just on the liberal side. Even the conservative side has some influence from this. One of the most famous writers on this, funny enough, is what we call the classical [liberal]. These days, you might even call him a libertarian, but he was a classical liberal in his time. Ludwig von Mises wrote many books on this. For example, his book “Socialism” goes into this; one of the great chapters he had on this planned chaos.
He explains the shift that had taken place in the world around the early 1900s, where different governments implemented different forms of the socialist idea. We should note that a lot of these systems do not regard the other ones as being communist or socialist. They say, “You’re not real communism. We’re the real one. You’re the fake one,” and so on. We’re talking about modern identity politics. The Trotskyites and the Stalinists oppose [other systems], because they think it’s moving away from the ideas of class struggle. They want communism to focus on class struggle.
A lot of the communists and socialists in the U.S. … want racial identity struggle, because they think that’s where the revolution is going to take place. A lot of people do not regard that as socialism. They think it’s just the normal debate around race and racism in this country. Yes, for a lot of people, that is the case, but for the groups pulling the strings, that is not the case. They’re seeing it as a movement with revolutionary potential. What does it really come down to? It comes down to agitation propaganda when it comes to politics on one side.
What drives politics in the US.? What drives political narratives in the U.S.? It’s two things: It’s fear and it’s hatred. It’s fear and it’s hatred, because those are the two things that drive people to the polls. Really, if you look at a lot of the conservative outlets, they’re driving fear. Maybe a little less so these days, because … the narrative has shifted more to opposing the socialist idea. Socialism has become one of the major points of debate in the U.S. and so that’s changed a little bit. But really, if you look at a lot of the media coverage, it’s fear. It’s pumping up this idea of fear that if you don’t go to the polls and vote, your family is at risk, your safety is at risk, your home is at risk, your property is at risk, and so on.
The other side, they’re promoting this idea of hatred, that you should hate white people, that white people are the enemy. They’re playing the fear thing as well: “White nationalism is on the rise.” Where were the white nationalists during the recent thing? Now people are talking about three of the Boogaloo Boys getting arrested, and that was about it, and it’s even arguable whether you call them “white nationalists.” There’s about three arrested. Where were the white nationalists?
The idea is you should agitate people in these different ways in order to drive them to the polls, because you could say people might not care that much about going to vote a lot of times. How do you motivate them? You have to get them emotionally agitated, so that you drive them into action. You notice that nobody’s talked about Black Lives Matter since the 2016 elections. Suddenly, they’re out again.
… The idea of pushing to extremes and the idea of labels, a lot of this ties into the real heart and soul of Marxism, the real heart and soul of Communism, which is dialectical materialism.
Also the alteration of words to create power-words. “Racism” has become a political word. It no longer means what it used to mean. As most people interpret it, yes, we oppose racism. Why would you judge a person’s character by the color of their skin? Obviously, most people could agree with that. Yes, black lives matter—absolutely. Yes, we absolutely care about black lives. Why would we even need to debate that? But … these terms do not represent that anymore.
The idea of racism is no longer that. People justify racism through the label of “racism.” When you’re looking at the way it is justified, racism is being used to make excuses for segregation. They want you to look at the color of people’s skin, to separate them and to judge them differently based on that. You’re looking at privilege. A white person is interpreted as being a “historical oppressor.” You need to be racist against white people. “In order to fight racism, you have to be racist against white people,” that’s what they’re telling you these days. You have to be racist in order to fight “racism”—that is the “doublethink” they’ve developed.
So jumping back to Ludwig von Mises, what did he talk about? He said that most of the world these days is dictated by the communist idea. He explained this very clearly. … In the West, we often debate communism and socialism only as economic socialism. We only debated on the idea of government control over businesses and the economy. That’s about it, and maybe some social justice platforms like free healthcare. That’s the extent to which we debate communism and socialism.
What is the real heart and soul of communism? Well, first off, Mises himself points of course to the Nazis. Yes, they were different from the communism we know. Yes, they were different from the socialists these days. Yes, they’re totally different from the democratic socialists; they’re different from the Trotskyites; they’re different from the Stalinists; they’re different from all these different branches. All these different systems would criticize the other systems. They all have criticisms of each other, but they’re all motivated by the same basic idea.
In the early 1900s, you have all these different movements springing up trying to validate their own interpretations of how to make this communist idea work. Nazism and Fascism were both part of that. Look at the idea of the shopkeeper under fascism where the government controls the businesses, and they assign someone to be in charge of it. The government is still dictating private industry. They had free healthcare; they had all these different things. They were absolutely communist, motivated by the communist idea but a different interpretation of it.
It wasn’t just limited to these things we recognize on the surface. There was also Christian communism; there was military communism; there were all these different branches of it. To an extent, it’s swept everything. … Even syndicalism and the idea of big businesses basically controlling everything, that is also part of the communist idea. People don’t recognize this anymore. You want to talk about big business and big corporations, these collectivist public companies, even the corporate models through the corporate reforms have elements of communism within them. It is an issue in this country, then when we try to debate these things.
Oftentimes people are recognizing problems of the same basic illness. They’re seeing different symptoms of the same basic problem, and they’re arguing over each other’s heads, because they’re both recognizing, or [we’re] all recognizing, legitimate problems with our society without recognizing that it comes from this basic idea that is rooted in communism, and having at the same time a fundamental misunderstanding of what communism is.
We go back to what they call the heart and soul of Marxism. What is it? It’s dialectical materialism. What is the real basis of that? It is to identify, contradict, and eliminate the middle. It is a way of creating conflict in society, of driving people into conflict to cause people to fight each other. It’s the struggle of opposites. For example, the Catholic Church in the early days would actually excommunicate you for being a communist. The basis of that was dialectical materialism.
… [Dialectical materialism] seeks to increase the antagonisms. It seeks to sharpen the antagonisms between different elements of society, because it ties into their own ideas of social evolution. If we believe in Darwinism and … survival of the fittest, if Marx believed in the idea of social evolution, how do you advance social evolution? He believed that there are five stages of civilization: primitive communism like the caveman, the agrarian society like Czarist Russia funny enough, … the capitalist system [or] the Consummate Empire Thomas Cole might call it, and then the socialist system, [followed by the fifth stage of communism].
The socialist system would be the dictatorship, the dictatorship of the proletariat—the stage where the government has seized control of all assets, and you have a totalitarian regime. Socialism is inseparable from that. The whole idea of socialism based on the five stages of civilization was a dictatorship. It was a totalitarian system that controls all elements of society, including the businesses. It does not do away with the businesses; it does not do away with the institutions; it doesn’t get rid of big corporations. It controls them.
The only difference between capitalism and socialism is that the government controls the businesses. What communist system has gotten rid of the factories? What communist system has gotten rid of big industry? This ties into the issue we have now where a lot of people don’t even recognize the Chinese Communist Party as a communist system, because they think if they have free markets, then it must not be a communist system, and that’s based on the fundamental misunderstanding of what this is.
Communism came about through the destruction of these things, but they would call the negation of the negation. We talked about, for example, the Hegelian dialectic. … There is your thesis, there’s your antithesis, and there’s your synthesis. The thesis is the idea of the evolution of societies, the antithesis is the destruction of the system, …. the synthesis comes about through the negation of the negation. This is getting complicated, but let me explain this.
Communism comes about through the destruction of socialism. The socialist system is designed to collapse. The collapse of society is what communism is supposed to be. … The real communists would argue, “We’ve never seen a communist system.” … They’re partly right and partly not right because the form of government [that] communism takes is socialism. … Communism comes about through the destruction of all previously existing institutions. That’s not just the economic systems, and that’s not just the cultural systems, it is the ideas of a society. It is all previously existing concepts. It’s a destruction of culture. It’s the destruction of family.
Any idea that would restrict a person’s thought or define a person’s thought is considered slavery in the definitions of Marx. That’s how they frame these things—that you’re enslaved by ideas; you’re enslaved by institutions; you’re enslaved by government; you’re enslaved by these things. They justified the creation of this totalitarian system that we know as socialism by saying, “People are already slaves. They’re slaves to ideas; they’re slaves to concepts; they’re slaves to culture; they’re slaves to religion. We’re enslaving them to free them. That was the idea. Then through that enslavement, we can use our totalitarian system to destroy all previously existing institutions to create the communist idea.”
Lenin talked about this openly. He had a paper, for example, soon after he took power where he said, “Can we advance to communism if we fear the stage of socialism?” So the socialist system becomes the form of government that communism takes, but its motivation is the destruction of previously existing institutions. Communist systems or communists, if they haven’t taken power in different parts of the world, will seek to destroy the previously existing institutions, culture, thought, family structures, social values, traditional moral values.
All these things become targets of destruction, which is why in every single case, who are the targets for destruction under communist systems? Usually religious believers, people they call [anti-leftist], people they call counter-revolutionaries, who refuse to [accept] the abusive actions of the regime. It is the good people of a society from the traditional sense who become the enemies of the state under communist systems. It is the good people that it kills, because it flips good and evil upside down, and if we understand it from the standpoint of Marxism, that is part of the design. When you get to the idea of what Marx really believed in, this again goes back to that.
What is dialectical materialism? Again, this idea of creating social disharmony—the struggle of opposites. You want people to hate each other; you want people to fight each other. Again, if we interpret it through the ideas of social Darwinism, survival of the fittest—as I just explained, Marx believed in this idea of social evolution—how do you speed up the process of evolution? You increase that dynamic of the survival of the fittest; you want there to be famine.
Lenin, for example, in the Black Book of Communism after the famine swept Czarist Russia soon after he took power, said, “It’s good because it will destroy not only their faith in the Tsar, but in God too.” The famine was a revolutionary thing. It benefited the communist regime because it helped destroy … people’s faith in God. In the ideas of Lenin, that was a good thing, and in the ideas of Communism, that’s what they want. That’s part of it. You also want people to begin hating each other. You want people to struggle against each other. Every single communist system has class enemies and they identify class enemies at every single stage of their struggle.
For example, Hitler, yes, was a socialist, the National Socialist Party. Yes, it is different from other socialist systems, and so yes, [modern socialists] could argue it’s different from what they believe in, but it was a socialist system. His whole idea was going against the Jews and saying that they have an unequal amount of wealth from the society, they’re overly represented in society, and they are a minority that has gotten an unequal amount of wealth, and so they justified seizing that wealth from them based on that narrative.
It was the same thing with Lenin in the kulaks, the wealthy peasants. That was the derogatory name we have: the kulaks. So same thing with the wealthy peasants. He said, “They’re more wealthy than you are, it’s justified to go and kill them based on that.” Stalin [went after the] Pol Pot—Pol Pot was the intellectuals, of course. Cambodia was a pretty early agrarian society at the time that the Khmer Rouge took power, so they didn’t have the capitalists to go after. They went after people in the cities, they went after people with glasses, they went after people with education, because that was the most privileged that they could identify to go and destroy.
You name it. Every single communist system at various stages always had to have a group that they identify as the class enemies and they justify hating those people. People feel justified in their hatred because they say, “These people represent hatred, these people represent discrimination, these people represent these things, and so you are justified to use discrimination to fight discrimination. You are justified to use hatred to fight hatred. You’re justified to use racism to fight racism.” They feel justified in doing the things that they believe that they oppose.
We see the same exact thing happening in our society right now. The entire idea of race politics is racist. You cannot have it without singling out a … group of people in society based on the color of their skin. You cannot have it without segregation, without separating people in society based on the color of their skin. You cannot have it without hating different parts of society because of the color of their skin.
Mr. Jekielek: Ostensibly, most of the people that are out there protesting against racial injustice at the moment are not thinking this way.
Mr. Philipp: Most of them, the overwhelming majority, 99.9% of them don’t think that way. I think all of them out there are legitimately opposing racism, as they see it. They legitimately want to erase the idea of racism from America. Really, from that standpoint, I think that says a lot about this country, that a lot of this country does oppose racism.
But there are people using this, I’d say the agitators, … some of the media outlets, some of the political actors, for example, the Democratic Socialists of America, some of the actual political movements pushing these things are using this for political gain. And so the idea of racism these days is being used as a power-word to drive forward a political goal. When they talk about racism, it has a very different meaning.
Now, in the traditional definition of racism, what is that? It is hating a person because of the color of their skin; it is discriminating against a person because of the color of their skin. Racism, as it’s being applied right now, justifies this segregation, it justifies judging people by the color of their skin, it justifies hating people by the color of their skin, because it’s saying you should hate white people. Now as part of a way to justify that action, they have to alter the meaning of racism. They have to say, “It’s not racist to hate white people.” They’re saying, “It’s not racist if you want to segregate people, if you want to judge people, and separate them and divide them by color.” They’re saying that’s not racism. They are actually promoting racism. They’re actually promoting racism, while convincing people that they’re “opposing racism.” This is a power-word.
This is what George Orwell talked about with “doublethink,” where a person can hold simultaneously two contradictory ideas: Yes, you oppose racism, racism is bad, we should oppose racism, we should stand against racism, but at the same time, you should hate people because of their race; at the same time, you should segregate people and separate them because of their race. You should view everything through the lens of race and basically reorganize society through the ideas of race.
It is an easy vehicle … for these socialist groups and these communist groups, because the things that they’re demanding could only be achieved if you alter the nature of what government is, for example, if you want to segregate all of society, or create community programs or businesses and these things. Government does not create businesses. Government may subsidize a company to go in and create businesses and build jobs. They might create financial incentives to bring in business to an area to create jobs. Government does not create that. Government typically should not be getting involved in the process of schools and bringing people in.
Normally, you would say that forbidding people to come in because of the color of skin would be racist. That is now being justified as a righteous action under these identity politics rules. Now, the funny thing is, the people who know what’s going on, a lot of them actually oppose it. The Trotskyites and the Stalinist for example, they’ve come out against some of this, again because they believe that communism should be about class struggle, not racial struggle. Even among some of the groups that promote this stuff, there’s disagreements.
When it comes back into the idea that I was getting out with power-words, “racism” has become a power-word. It is no longer a word that represents what it used to mean. I would argue that most people … don’t think about that. They’re out there for legitimate reasons; they’re probably very kind-hearted people. A lot of the political groups pulling the strings are fully aware of it, and their idea is absolutely not to get rid of racism, they want to use racism.
Now, the other idea is agitation propaganda. How do you motivate people into action? You might notice that Black Lives Matter and these different groups, you haven’t seen him since the last election cycle. They come out during election cycles, any election cycle that needs to be a big national thing, to rile people up to get them motivated to go and vote, and it’s going to take different forms.
The idea of agitation propaganda, it’s this Pavlov Dog theory, and so you want to get people to react to stimuli. You want them to react unconsciously to stimuli. How do you do that? Now media do it through new journalism. For example, governments do it through propaganda; they do it through things like power-words and things like that. They have all kinds of methods for that.
There’s also this above and below concept, where you will stage an incident on the ground, have politics react to it, [and] the reaction on the top is justified by the actions on the ground. Both of them can be fake in order to drive forward a political agenda. A lot of groups in the world use this, unfortunately.
Getting into the idea of agitation propaganda, how does it work? Now communism would do it where they’d have these struggle sessions, where they have these different sessions where they get together and they agitate people into virulent hatred … . Imagine it’s like charged a battery, you’re getting the battery charged up, and then you’re unleashing the energy from that hatred, from the agitation, onto a different segment of society. Hitler did it. Hitler did it by promoting the Protocols of the Elders of Zion by riling people up into hatred against the Jews, and saying [that] in order to fight against this tyranny that I’ve identified, you need to vote me into power, and we need to go and crush this because [this tyranny is] a threat; [this tyranny is] a risk if we don’t do it.
Different communist groups have done it, and under Mao Zedong and the Communist Party had these struggle sessions where they’d say [that] the landlords are the number one oppressors of society. … They’d have [to], for example, [alter] traditional Chinese plays like The White Haired Girl, traditional Chinese plays in order to become propaganda pieces to drive people into violent hatred. They’d say they agitate people emotionally [to] get them charged up. Then they’d say, “Okay, now, go kill your landlord,” and they’d go and kill their landlord. You want to drive people; rile them up. These days, it’s not something probably as bad as that, but they want to get people riled up and say, “Now, go to the polls and vote because otherwise, you’re at risk, your family’s at risk.”
Mr. Jekielek: So Josh, it’s interesting that you mentioned struggle sessions, because this is something that’s actually been described in the media recently, though I’m not sure it’s exactly the way you’re describing it. With the Minneapolis mayor, Jacob Frey, … he’s been extremely supportive to the protesters, out with them, hanging his head, kneeling, these kinds of things. Then at the same time, he didn’t make the pledge to defund the police, and you see the protesters turn against him, “Go home, Jacob. Go home.” … This whole interaction of him admitting guilt and then the crowd turning against him is being described as a struggle session. [There was]something similar in Seattle more recently. … Is this what you’re talking about?
Mr. Philipp: Yes, that is very much part of it. … During the Cultural Revolution in China, they would have different people who represented the evil classes or the counter-revolutionaries, the people who stood against the objectives of the regime at that time, and they would bring them out, and they would publicly shame them. They’d take these professors, these academics, they put dunce caps on them, and they throw things at them, and they’d insult them, and they’d curse at them. They beat them sometimes; they’d kill them sometimes. It was the idea of making a public humiliation, making a public show to say this is what will happen to you, this could be you, if you dare speak out against what we choose to do. If you dare question what we do, this could be you.
Some people have pointed out as well that a lot of what the media does when they single out people, when they go after individuals and dox them, give their identities and go after them, for making non-politically correct comments on social media, it’s the same thing. You’re making political examples of people. You want to make people too afraid to speak out. You’re silencing people to support a political goal and really attacking them, destroying their lives, getting them fired from the jobs, in order to support that.
What’s interesting now is that it seems to some extent, this is just an observation, I think they’re pushing it too far. In fact, CNN even had an article questioning whether they went too far, whether the Democrats went too far with pushing this idea of defunding the police, because it comes out now that only about 16 percent of Americans support that. That has become the main narrative of these very large scale protests that they’ve incited, that they’ve been supporting in their media coverage.
Joe Biden actually had to come out and say that he does not support defunding the police. A lot of the major politicians on the Democrat side have come out and had to say that they will not support this, or are trying to dodge the question right now, because they risk fracturing their party if they do. This is of course being used by Trump. He’s calling them out [by] saying, “I support law and order; they support defunding the police.” Democrats are having to come out and say, “No, we don’t support defunding the police,” and a lot of their bases are saying, “Oh, wait, you don’t support defending the police? That’s what the whole movement’s about.”
They’re trying to pivot this now and change the direction of it. The question is whether they can, because they’ve already stirred up so much anger, they’ve already stirred up so much in people that it’s unclear whether they can still control the crowd. You’re watching the handlers, the puppet masters, the people pulling the strings—I’m not saying the Democrats per se—but a lot of the agitators seemingly going too far with it. It’s unclear where this is going to go.
This is not to call out the Democrats. They have their own ideas, their own values; the Republicans have their own values and so on. I don’t want to get involved in all that nonsense, personally. … But [the Democrats] are dealing with an issue where they’re really multiple parties, and they’re trying to make that not the case. They’re really very different political parties. You have people who are very extreme left, you have people who … bought into some of the Obama-era race politics, and you have people who are traditional Democrats or even traditional classical liberals who just identify with that system.
They all have their different motivations, they all have different ideas, but getting them to get along with each other is becoming more and more difficult. You can see the Democrats like Nancy Pelosi really struggling to maintain that when they have people with really radically different views like the Cortez types, for example, as opposed to the traditional Democrat types, butting heads calling each other out. Normally, they don’t criticize each other, but you’re seeing a lot of that happening now. It does appear that they’re trying to, one, maintain stability and cohesion among their party, while at the same time supporting these movements that are becoming increasingly radical and are taking on lives of their own.
I think as a society, we’re also dealing with the question of what is the trajectory of those very radical movements that have been started? If they do fracture and break off from the Democrats even at this point, which they might do, what do they become? I think we are seeing something interesting in our society, and it is having a large impact on the cultural ideas of our society going forward. Honestly, I don’t know where it’s heading. A very extreme movement with very extreme ideas has been launched, and it’s one that even the Democrats are trying to separate themselves from. We’ll see what the trajectory of that thing’s life becomes.
Mr. Jekielek: Any final thoughts before we finish up?
Mr. Philipp: I would just say this. This is something that I’ve wondered about as well. Communism works through the struggle of opposites. Real communism works through hatred; it works through division. If you really, as a society, as a world, want to get rid of these things, you need to not get pulled into it. Don’t let yourself be overcome with hatred. Observe yourself. Are you getting agitated? Do not let it do that to you. That is the purpose of these things. The real heart and soul of these things seeks to do that. Do not let that happen to you.
They want to push people to extreme opposites and to drive the opposites into struggle. That is the basis of dialectical materialism—the struggle of opposites. Lenin talked about partisanship. This idea of partisanship, dividing society into two extremes, pitting them against each other and telling people, “You cannot choose a middle ground. There’s no more middle ground.” Dialectical materialism says: identify, contradict, eliminate the middle. … They do not want there to be a middle ground.
The middle ground is where all of us should be, in my opinion, because the middle ground is where you’re not getting pulled into the struggle of opposites. You’re not getting pulled into the fights, into these conflicts in society. True communists would want an extreme right and an extreme left that fight each other in the streets, that is what they would want. I would say as a society, we need to reflect on ourselves.
It is complicated because you do need to call these things out. You do need to challenge them, you do need to stop them if the real revolution, the real violent elements, want to carry out what they claim they want to carry out and they talk about carrying out. But understand that the majority of people are not like that.
The majority of people are being pulled along because they legitimately believe they’re doing something good. They’re doing it because they’re kind-hearted people and they’ve been convinced that that is the right thing to do. Understanding that, and recognizing that, and having some degree of compassion for that, I think is something we should have as a society. Also, being able to have civil discussion with people who have different viewpoints than our own is something we need to have as a civil society. If we don’t have that, then that struggle of opposites is inevitable. That fighting on the streets is inevitable. That is the thing that I think we should be most concerned about happening.
Mr. Jekielek: Powerful place to finish up, Josh. Thank you so much.
Mr. Philipp: My pleasure.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.