Saturday, January 21, 2017

Patriotism

"I propose the following definition of the nation: it is an imagined political community-and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign. It is imagined because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion.... Communities are to be distinguished, not by their falsity/genuineness, but by the style in which they are imagined.... Finally, [the nation] is imagined as a community, because, regardless of the actual inequality and exploitation that may prevail in each, the nation is conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship. Ultimately, it is this fraternity that makes it possible, over the past two centuries for so many millions of people, not so much to kill, as willing to die for such limited imaginings.”  — Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, pp. 25-6, Verso 2006 ed.

"No one can be a true nationalist who is incapable of feeling ‘ashamed’ if her state or government commits crimes, including those against her fellow citizens. Although she has done nothing individually that is bad, as a member of the common project, she will feel morally implicated in everything done in that project’s name." — B. A.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Sadly, last Friday Mark Fisher took his own life

"The first configuration is what I came to call the Vampires’ Castle. The Vampires’ Castle specialises in propagating guilt. It is driven by a priest’s desire to excommunicate and condemn, an academic-pedant’s desire to be the first to be seen to spot a mistake, and a hipster’s desire to be one of the in-crowd. The danger in attacking the Vampires’ Castle is that it can look as if – and it will do everything it can to reinforce this thought – that one is also attacking the struggles against racism, sexism, heterosexism. But, far from being the only legitimate expression of such struggles, the Vampires’ Castle is best understood as a bourgeois-liberal perversion and appropriation of the energy of these movements. The Vampires’ Castle was born the moment when the struggle not to be defined by identitarian categories became the quest to have ‘identities’ recognised by a bourgeois big Other.
The privilege I certainly enjoy as a white male consists in part in my not being aware of my ethnicity and my gender, and it is a sobering and revelatory experience to occasionally be made aware of these blind-spots. But, rather than seeking a world in which everyone achieves freedom from identitarian classification, the Vampires’ Castle seeks to corral people back into identi-camps, where they are forever defined in the terms set by dominant power, crippled by self-consciousness and isolated by a logic of solipsism which insists that we cannot understand one another unless we belong to the same identity group.
I’ve noticed a fascinating magical inversion projection-disavowal mechanism whereby the sheer mention of class is now automatically treated as if that means one is trying to downgrade the importance of race and gender. In fact, the exact opposite is the case, as the Vampires’ Castle uses an ultimately liberal understanding of race and gender to obfuscate class.  In all of the absurd and traumatic twitterstorms about privilege earlier this year it was noticeable that the discussion of class privilege was entirely absent.  The task, as ever, remains the articulation of class, gender and race  – but the founding move of the Vampires’ Castle is the dis-articulation of class from other categories.
This is a good long read. 

I have a thought though on the last parargraph: the writer delves into what formed Fanon, especially the context of colonization and how it shaped the mind, pshycology and plight of the colonized. The author, I think, fails to use the same method when it comes to "Davos" and "Dabiq" or Globalisationa and the so-called Islamic State. Is not the latter a product of globalization (global capitalism and imperialism). Davos is the context, Dabiq was spawned by Davos like the violence directed by Algerians against the colonizers and the settlers was born in the context of colonisation. Is it not the context of global capitalism and its functions that creates wars, invasions, dictatorships, neoliberalism, power struggles, geopolitics, "civil wars", uneven-development, neofascism etc?

Where Life is Seized

Thursday, January 19, 2017

"In the context of young parenthood, societies in Eastern Europe, in the Soviet era, were different from Western Europe in two important ways. Firstly, early parenthood in Eastern Europe does not carry the same social stigma that it tends to have in Western countries, as it was much more common. Secondly, Soviet countries had pro-natalist policies and tended to put greater investment into state resources available to families. This meant that relative to Western Europe, socio-economic differences, usually described as levels of inequality, were smaller and in particular young parents suffered fewer relative disadvanatges."

The mother of all problems?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

"As well as former Labour MP Mr Straw, the case brought by Mr Belhaj and his wife is against former senior MI6 official Sir Mark Allen, the UK security services, the Foreign Office and the Home Office - all have denied liability."

The rendition programme was/ has bren a well-known criminal, terrorist programme. The terrorist states of the US and Britain and others in collaboration with others states, inlcuding Arab and non Arab ones, have been involved in this programme. Denying any involvement is not a surpriss; history is full of such examples. Denial also demonstrates cowardliness.

For a background of the story, see

September 11 and the functions of the 'war on terror"

"Aid in reverse: how poor countries develop rich countries"

A good article. Useful data. In his 2013 book Globalisation in Africa Daniel Offiong mentioned that in every $1 that goes into Africa $10 leave the country.

I don't think the author's suggestions as a solution would work though. It is because the motive force of the capitalist system (led by corporations and especially Western governments and international instituions) is ignored. Corporations seek profit even if that happens at the account of people and the earth. A high enough rate of profit makes the system greased. Otherwise stagnation or crisis takes place. One should add of course the context of neocolonialism and the way it operates in making other countries dependent. The author, or probably the Guardian editor, has not used the appropriate terms to describe the situation: capitalism, imperialism (through institutions or violence), and neocolonialism, support of the status quo, including supporting coups (in the aftermath of the nominal independence) and co-opting uprisings or revolutions in poor countries. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

"As [Walter] Benjamin pointed out, fascism gave the masses an opportunity to “express themselves,” but only by abdicating themselves. This is true not only of fascism, but is endemic in modern politics."