10 Facts About Caitlin Johnstone, From The Guy Who Knows Her Better Than Anyone
Forgive me everyone, but I’m knackered. I’m going to take the morning off, slide my aching body into a bath with the book my sister loaned me ages ago and get lost in one of Liane Moriarty’s finest. However, my worse half Tim Foley has requested he take this opportunity to say some things that have been rattling around in that world-class brain of his.
This is Tim Foley, Caitlin’s husband, soulmate, collaborator, and the voice with the American accent in her podcast. As Caitlin has said many times, I help her with her work a lot and am involved in most of the things she publishes to some extent. In my more arrogant moments I secretly think of myself as the Kathleen Brennan to her Tom Waits. We do everything together.
So, while I am admittedly extremely biased, I also happen to be the world’s foremost authority on Caitlin Johnstone among individuals not named Caitlin Johnstone. Since some profoundly depraved characters have been viciously hounding my beloved in a way she hasn’t quite figured out how to deal with just yet, I would therefore like to lend my voice to making it clear what Caitlin is, and what she is not, from the perspective of someone who knows her infinitely better than her detractors.
Here are some things I would like to say:
1. Caitlin is not a Nazi.
Come the fuck on. Troll harder.
2. Caitlin is not a Nazi apologist, a racist, a fascist, a white supremacist, or a “Strasserist”.
Nobody who reads Caitlin’s work actually believes that she is any of these things. The only people who claim that she is any of the above are the people who desperately want potential readers to think horrible things about her for reasons which have nothing to do with those allegations. Caitlin’s deep compassion toward all disadvantaged groups is evident in her writing.
The only reason her haters dust off obscure labels like “Strasserist” to pin on her is because they know they look ridiculous straight up calling her a Nazi. The label hasn’t been Godwin’s Lawed to death so most folks are unaware that it’s just a fancier, more erudite-looking way of calling someone a Nazi. It is absurd.
I met Caitlin on Facebook, long before she got involved in this writing gig and long before I took a permanent trip to the land of strange marsupials and bad Mexican food to be with her forever. During that time she was frequently posting about Aboriginal rights, the mistreatment of refugees on Manus Island, white privilege, and police brutality in America.
It hurts her when people call her racist because it goes against every fiber of who she is as a person. It works as a bullying tactic specifically because it is not true.
3. Caitlin is the most deeply, pervasively good human being that I have ever met.
I spent a significant portion of my early adult life seeking out extraordinary people to teach me how to be a good and holy man, and living in the San Francisco Bay Area there was never any shortage of teachers and gurus being funneled through the satsang circuit to meet. This overlapping interest in spiritual development was how I met Caitlin in a Facebook group years ago, and in spite all of the frenetic guru-hopping I did in America, I have never met anyone like her.
Everything in her is pointed at health and good will. Acting in what she calls “the highest interest” is her singular guiding principle in life. She’s never hesitant to loudly put someone in their place when they are acting in a malignant way (including me), but if you spend time in her physical presence you get the distinct sense that there isn’t actually anything hard or angry in her at all. She radiates health and is always working toward the greater good. Being around her feels like being with someone who made of pure heaven. I don’t know how else to describe it.
Her life reflects her pervasive goodness. Watching the grace with which she raises her two wonderful children is awe inspiring, and the complete absence of fixed patterns in her mental behavior allows for the most amazing surprises to come toward us every day. I won’t get into all the miracles I’ve seen this woman work because they’re so extraordinary it would take on a life of its own, but I don’t believe anything like her exists in this world and I am unspeakably grateful to be able to spend my life with her.
4. Caitlin is not paid by the alt-right, the Kremlin, WikiLeaks, Assad, Iranian Mullahs, Soros, or any of the other bizarre conspiracy theories I’ve seen around.
The only thing dumber than the “Caitlin is a secret Nazi” conspiracy theories are the “Caitlin is a paid agent of X shadowy group” conspiracy theories. Ordinary people send her money via Patreon, Paypal and book sales because they like what she writes, and her audience grew as rapidly as it did for the same reason.
There are a lot of no-talent, boring wannabes on the leftist political commentary circuit, and I can understand how tempting it would be for these losers to want to spread these rumors after watching her zip past them with ease, but it’s pure bullshit. You don’t get people interested by always making sure you share the consensus opinions of the academic elite in your particular sect of leftism and writing a low-energy article about it every few weeks (see virtually everything in CounterPunch if you want examples), you do it by creating high-quality, insightful and interesting content every single day. If you happen to have a smart, sexy husband to assist you with your work, that helps too.
5. The “Caitlin doesn’t understand US politics because she’s not from here” smear is inherently illegitimate.
Hi, hello, Caitlin’s collaborator here, and I’m as American as mass shootings. I co-sign everything Caitlin writes. You can claim we’re wrong, but you can’t legitimately claim that we’re not informed by an American perspective.
6. Caitlin has never spoken with Mike Cernovich.
Her haters talk about her like they’re buddies or something, but the two have never corresponded to any extent. She’s flagged his attention a few times when there’s some information she wants seeded throughout the MAGA community, and he retweets her frequently, but that’s the extent of their relationship. She is however friendly with Cassandra Fairbanks of “Find Dancing Man” fame, who (like Cernovich) is incorrectly labeled alt-right by numbskulls who are too far into their echo chambers to understand the difference between a garden variety Trump supporter and a white ethnonationalist like Richard Spencer (whom Caitlin has explicitly denounced). If you’re going to smear her for being chummy with a Trump-supporting internet celebrity, at least get it right.
7. Caitlin still maintains that the left and the right should collaborate in issues where their interests converge.
And she’s right. Everyone’s still shitting themselves because nine months ago Caitlin cited Mike Cernovich as someone that she personally wouldn’t mind working with on some specific issues, which her haters falsely twisted into “Caitlin wants the left to work with Mike Cernovich”, which they then falsely twisted into “Caitlin wants the left to work with the alt-right”, which they then falsely twisted into “Caitlin is a Nazi/racist/fascist/Strasserist”, but he was just an example and she explicitly said different people will have different degrees of comfort with whom they can work with on specific issues.
To this day Caitlin’s only collaboration with Cernovich consists of him sometimes retweeting her anti-interventionist arguments (including her opposition to interventionism in Iran), but there are many other conservatives with whom she collaborates to a much greater extent, like the Ron Paul Institute which frequently republishes her articles. This is a perfect illustration of ways individuals on the left and the right can magnify one another’s voices on issues of convergence against the Orwellian neoconservative warmongering centrists to whatever extent works for them.
Talking to people of differing ideologies is just being a normal adult human being. I always wonder how the people shrieking about Caitlin’s pointing this out function in society. Don’t they work? If so, how do they get through the day if collaborating with a conservative toward a common goal makes them a “Strasserist”? Do they refuse to go to Thanksgiving because one of their uncles voted for Trump, which makes him “alt-right” which makes you a Nazi for eating turkey near him? Their approach only makes sense inside the most warped echo chambers of an exclusively online forum.
8. The infamous interview with Cynthia McKinney and Robert David Steele was my fault.
In July of last year Caitlin’s nervous system was blasted out by the relentless smears and attacks just like it is now, but to an even greater extent. I had to basically carry her through the whole ordeal with tons of support, and I got some stuff wrong. She was really messed up from all the abuse she was suffering when she received a request to make an appearance on a video chat with Robert David Steele and Cynthia McKinney, who wanted to support her against all the attacks. She asked me what I thought, and I knew she badly wanted to talk to McKinney, whom she adores, so I said go for it.
Before we knew it there she was, with Steele talking about how “the alt-right and the alt-left” need to come together, a position Caitlin never held, but in too much of a mental fog to protest. Now whenever these smears come up Caitlin’s haters share a clip of the interview with Steele saying that crap with Caitlin nodding mutely along. They mock her shell-shocked appearance when they were the ones who caused it, and it guts me.
I am Caitlin’s partner and collaborator; it was my job to protect her from that in her frazzled state, and I failed. I felt really bad about it. I think I do a good job of helping her most of the time, but sometimes I screw up in a way she’s not able to catch and correct, and that was definitely one of them. The info she later needed to correct about Seth Rich’s Reddit posts getting deleted was another one of my fuckups as well. We’ve both been a lot more careful since then.
9. Caitlin has never plagiarized anything from anyone.
There’s someone named Nina Illingworth who we recently discovered had been telling her followers for months that Caitlin plagiarizes her writings. Neither of us knew anything about Illingworth (the name was vaguely familiar to Caitlin, I’d never even heard it), and we were both completely unfamiliar with her work. After viewing Illingworth’s website and Twitter page, two things were clear to us, and will probably be clear to you too: (1) Illingworth is clearly mentally and/or emotionally disturbed, (2) she can’t write for shit.
This hasn’t stopped a few relatively high-profile lefties from circulating Illingworth’s claims as fact. They did this not because those claims looked legitimate, but because they hate Caitlin and want to harm her reputation.
The only person Caitlin will shamelessly use the work of is me, and she does so with my permission. Her writings are born out of our ongoing daily conversations about life and politics, and I don’t copy anyone either.
10. Caitlin’s haters are assholes.
Okay, I guess this one’s a little more opinion than fact, but whatever. Fuck Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank and their CounterPunch stooges, fuck Benjamin Dixon and his Groupthink Army, fuck the humorless twat Ben Norton and the perpetually hateful Eoin Higgins, fuck Robbie Martin and his unbelievably wanky “let me spend years making an eight-hour documentary and then hide it behind a paywall so nobody knows it exists except my sister’s fancy friends” elitism, fuck Caitlin’s Facebook stalker Yoav Litvin, and fuck the rest of them as well. Fuck you all for hurting the most amazing person I have ever known. I hate you.