Monday, July 25, 2016

In 1993 Halim Barakat wrote: 

"One may also suggest that the greater the socioeconomic inequalities in mosaic societies, the more the likelihood of uprisings. However, such uprisings are more likely to result in civil wars (in which one controlling elite is substituted for another), rather than popular revolutions (in which society is transformed, and the dominant order is replaced by a new order). The reverse pattern is more likely to emerge in relatively homogeneous societies. In the latter, the greater the inequalities, the greater the class solidarity, mobilization, and prospect of revolution. If these assumptions are correct, one should expect the first Arab popular revolution to take place in Egypt or Tunisia. This does not, however, exclude the possibility that revolutions may occur in more pluralistic societies as well." 

— Halim Barakat, The Arab World: Societ, Culture and State, pp. 15-17, 1993.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

"Regardless of whether Erdogan is at its helm, Turkey will continue down its expansionist path, a path that was unlikely to be short-circuited by a haphazard coup led by a motley group of Islamists and nationalists. Turkey is on this course, at this stage in history, because geopolitics wills it. But nobody said it would be a smooth ride... Thus [Turkey's policy] contradictions will "become more frequent, and Turkey's actions may appear almost schizophrenic.

A Coup as Audacious as Turkey's Future

Friday, July 22, 2016

"What does it mean that Trump has done well among middle-income and higher-income voters but not the most-educated? This suggests that his real base of support is small-business owners, supervisory and middle-management employees, franchisees, landlords, real estate agents, propertied farmers, and so on: those who are not at the executive pinnacle of corporate America (who largely have MBAs and other similar degrees) and those who are not credentialed professionals (doctors, lawyers, and the like), but the much wider swath of those people whose livelihood is derived from independent business activity or middle-band positions in the corporate hierarchy."

From Slump to Trump
The persistence of communal cleavages "complicates rather than nullifies social class consciousness and struggle. This persistence of communal cleavages and vertical loyalties in some Arab countries is owing to the perpetuation of traditional systems in which communities are linked to their local za'ims (traditional leaders) through patron-client relationships. To the extent that constructive change can be introduced in these areas, such traditional systems will give way, increasingly, to other social and class relationships. 

"... Western functionalists ... view these communal cleavages as 'a premodern phenomenon, a residue of particularism and ascription incompatible with the trend toward achievement, universalism and rationality supposedly exhibited by industrial societies.' Western sociologists whose point of departure is a sociobiological paradigm have argued that ethnic and racial solidarity are extensions of kinship sentiments. For instance, Pierre van den Berghe asserts that there 'exists a general behavioral predisposition, in our species as in many others, to react favorably toward other organisms to the extent that these organisms are biologically related to the actor. The closer the relationship is, the stronger the preferential behavior.' He concludes, therefore, that 'ethnic solidarity is an extension of kin-based solidarity—that is, of nepotism.' But he realizes that as human societies grow, the boundaries of ethnicity become 'increasingly manipulated and perverted to other ends, including domination and exploitation.' I would argue, however, that just because ethnicity is more primordial than class does not mean that it is always more salient. As distinct principles of social organization, class and ethnicity interpenetrate in complex and varying ways. This interplay becomes one of the most difficult problems facing sociological analysis of complex societies. (My emphasis, N.M)

"Nevertheless, examination of the Arab situation in depth reveals a clearly pyramidal social class structure. This means that the majority of the people are relatively poor. The middle class, in turn, is significantly small in size. Wealth and power are concentrated in few hands. This kind of triangular class structure differs sharply from the diamond-shaped structure that indicates the presence in society of a significantly large middle class—the configuration for which Westerners interested in class analysis always look. In both structures, however, social class formations proceed from contradictory relationships and antagonistic interests." — Halim Barakat, The Arab Society, 1993.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The report is written by a liberal institution. Contrary to the report, in my opinion the Guardian and the Daily Mirror, are not left-wing (itself a loose term). The Guardian, for example, gives voice to some left-wingers, but it is generally liberal.
The last few decades has made anyone who is not (neo)liberal, a left-winger. The dominant press of the 5 families have redefined what a left-winger is. 

Journalistic Representation of Jeremy Corbyn in the British Press
The Revolutionary Projects of Two Lebanese Communists
Note: you may need a free subscription to download the PDFs file.
When Martin Wolf and the FT say this, it means the ruling class is worried.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

“We attacked a foreign people and treated them like rebels. As you know, it's all right to treat barbarians barbarically. It's the desire to be barbaric that makes governments call their enemies barbarians.” — Bertolt Brecht

The 'war on terror' (i.e, state terrorism) goes on.
Now it's almost draw*. Nice attack will definitely be the last attack in France and in the West in general.

*The French pilots are not using smart enough weapons to kill only 84 civilians. 

Obviously, you do not have to be with ISIS or a similar organization to carry out such attacks**. Personally, I have grievances and been angry since 1991. Life in a Western country has made me more radical. 

**According to what we know about the Orlando and Nice attacks that the perpetrators did not have a record of being Islamic activists. 

Update: no word on the bbc yet.
Erdogan is not Chavez, but one should remember how a few of the Guardian columnists vilified Chavez using the same jargon of populism and authoritarianism.
It has been entertaining to see the liberals reactions to Trump. The  liberals preach capitalist democracy, but they would oppose it if people elected the wrong person. 
London housing: the collusion between councils and capital

Aysen Dennis loves her flat. Two bedrooms, a neat kitchen-diner, a cosy living room, lots of light, a separate toilet and bathroom, and a much broader hallway than in the poky million-pound Victorian houses that surround her in south London – all for £110 a week, plus £30 heating and service charge. Her flat is warm, and no one can see into it. “I feel free in my home,” she told me recently. “I can take off my clothes without worrying about curtains.” She still has the original 1960s kitchen cupboards, miracles of space-saving and clever joinery. South London hipsters would love them.
Dennis is not a hipster. She is 57, single, and has been unemployed for four years. She used to work in a women’s refuge. 

Before that, three decades ago, she came to London from Turkey: a leftwing activist fleeing the aftermath of a military coup, during which she had been shot at and imprisoned, and some of her friends had been killed. After a few uneasy years in squats and shared properties – “the husband of my last housemate was a racist” – she moved into her flat in the spring of 1993.

“At night time, I look out of my window and see red lights all around in the distance – the red lights of cranes. Gentrification is happening everywhere in London.” She glances at her precious 60s kitchen cupboards. “I want to take them with me if I have to leave.”

Then she rallies: “We will delay and delay Southwark. We’ve already delayed them for over 15 years. And when we stop them, the Aylesbury will get a proper repair.” It is possible, just, that the infamous, unlovely Aylesbury will be where the long war against council estates comes to an end.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

"Typically, however, neither the US nor the EU condemned the coup before it became clear which side was going to win... as long as the military bases remain open, the fight against ISIS is not undermined and the flow of refugees stemmed." — Umut Ozkirmili

If the coup had succeeded, would the US have played along?

"A look back at the United States’ relationship with Turkey over the last half-century makes it clear that democracy is most definitely not a requirement for NATO membership. Whatever Obama said Friday night, history suggests that, come Saturday morning, Washington would have found a way to work with whoever emerged the winner in Ankara. With a vengeful Erdogan now once again at the helm, a stormy period in U.S.-Turkish relations is almost certain. But history gives Turkey’s president little reason to fear that Washington will take a firm stand on democracy so long as U.S. interests in the region remain dependent on his country’s cooperation." —