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Showing posts from April, 2016
Labour anti-Semitism crisis escalates as Jeremy Corbyn admits to sharing Hitler’s vegetarian belief The "Antisemitism" Panic How Israel lobby manufactured UK Labour Party’s anti-Semitism crisis
The future of our earth looks bleak, capitalism will be established in space in the near future. So will tax havens! " To evangelists of asteroid mining , the heavens are not just a frontier but a vast and resource-rich place teeming with opportunity. According to NASA, there are potentially 100,000 near-Earth objects — including asteroids and comets — in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars."
Everything Must Change: South Africa’s Fork in the Road See also Marikana massacre: the untold story of the strike leader who died for workers’ rights
Two amusing headlines by foreignpolicy.com,  Thursday, April 28 " U.S. servicemembers who were involved in the October 2015 strike on an MSF hospital in Afghanistan will receive counseling and letters of reprimand..." " Despite a conflict in South Suden [sic] that has left 50,000 dead, Washington is still hesitating to impose sanctions and an arms embargo on the country..."
A good analysis, but with a utopia. "But for all the clarity of this historical continuity, it cannot deliver us from the particularities of the present. The most obvious difference between the pre- and postmodern circulation struggles is the contemporary primacy of the “race riot.” That term too easily forgets the great inversion that occurs sometime after the world wars. From the nineteenth century on, the racialized riots of the United States featured white mobs attacking not just African-American but famously Asian and Latin American groups — events among which the Zoot Suit Riots are only the best-known example. It’s not until the ‘60s that the phrase fastens its current meaning. There is something bizarre and perhaps obscene in the extent to which the political memory of “the sixties” is in the US dominated by the free speech and antiwar movements. This is not to diminish such projects, but rather to underscore the historical forgetting of the great rebellions of Watts, N
Britain Jeremy Hunt doesn’t understand junior doctors. He co-wrote a book on how to dismantle the NHS
The Iraq War Never Ended: An Interview with Anand Gopal
No, you cannot separate race from class
  Europe’s Joint-Smoking, Gay-Club Hopping Terrorists What if “radicalization” doesn’t look anything like we think it does? The Abdeslam brothers, with their sudden escalation from dancing in nightclubs to killing in them over the course of a few months, seem to challenge this picture. They also raise a deeper and more troubling question for those seeking to understand the genesis of terrorist acts: What if they were not “radicalized” and underwent no dramatic metamorphosis at all? What if their violence had only the most tenuous connection to what they believed, whatever that was? What if the story of how they came to be involved in terrorism had no real coherent narrative arc? What if the script of terrorism doesn’t always feature the drama of radicalization? According to one of the two friends who filmed the nightclub footage, the Abdeslam brothers “were nice people.… I suppose you could say they lived life to the full.” The other friend, going by the name “Karim,”
Revolutionary care: Castro's doctors give hope to the children of Chernobyl
"In his story, Fischer quoted a UW philosophy professor saying Heller was so dedicated “He would have lived in a barrel, if necessary, to devote himself to teaching.” That’s a great tribute to the man, but an indictment of the system that it almost came to that." Gifted professor’s ‘life of the mind’ was also life of near destitution
US: Structure and Conjuncture
'My soul is in Damascus': portraits of life on the refugee trail
The Smug Style of American Liberalism
"The warmongering, corporate-funded, pro-privatization Democratic Party leadership has long made it loud and clear that it is thoroughly corrupt and reactionary." — Ben Norton
Self-Proclaimed Leftist Slavoj Žižek Makes Right-Wing Remarks About the Syrian Refugee Crisis See also The 'Taharrush' Connection: Xenophobia, Islamophobia,  and Sexual Violence in Germany and Beyond
Crisis in Brazil "The Workers’ Party believed, after a time, that it could use the established order in Brazil to benefit the poor, without harm – indeed with help – to the rich. It did benefit the poor, as it set out to do. But once it accepted the price of entry into a diseased political system, the door closed behind it. The party itself withered, becoming an enclave in the state, without self-awareness or strategic direction, so blind that it ostracised André Singer, its best thinker, for a mess of spin-doctors and pollsters, so insensible it took lucre, wherever it came from, as the condition of power. Its achievements will remain. Whether the party will itself do so is an open question. In South America, a cycle is coming to an end. For a decade and a half, relieved of attention by the US, buoyed by the commodities boom, and drawing on deep reserves of popular tradition, the continent was the only part of the world where rebellious social movements coexisted with heterodo
Why our landed gentry are so desperate to stay in the EU
Keynes and Bretton Woods — 70 Years Later
'Though conclusive evidence is hard to come by, it is difficult to read Shakespeare without feeling that he was almost certainly familiar with the writings of Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Wittgenstein and Derrida.' — Terry Eagleton
Labour was “ a class party and the class is not my class.  The class war will find me on the side of the educated bourgeoisie.” — John Maynard Keynes ( Skidelsky p371 )
الطبقية في بريطانيا وطبقاً لما جاء في تقرير لمنظمة التعاون الاقتصادي والتنمية لعام 2010، تعتبر بريطانيا حقاً بين أسوأ الدول في معايير معينة للتغير الاجتماعي المتعلق بالانتقال من طبقة اجتماعية إلى طبقة أخرى، حيث وجد التقرير أن ثروة الوالدين تمنح الطفل فرصة لتعليم عالي المستوى ووظيفة براتب ممتاز. رغم ذلك، كان هناك معدل زيادة منتظم في عدد السكان بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية، توقع معه كل طفل أن يكون أفضل حالاً من والديه ولو بقدر يسير. ولسوء الحظ، فإن أعداد الأشخاص الذين انتقلوا بين الطبقات صعوداً أو هبوطاً يبدو أنها تتراجع. ويقول إرزيبيت باكودي، من جامعة أكسفورد: "أعداد أكبر من النساء والرجال ينتقلون من طبقات أعلى إلى طبقات أدنى وأعداد أقل من السابق تنتقل من الطبقات الأدنى إلى الأعلى". ويطلق باكودي على هذه الحالة اسم "الجانب المظلم من العصر الذهبي لحقبة الانتقال الطبقي". فكلما زاد عدد الناس الذين يتبوأون القمة كلما توقعنا سقوط المزيد من الناس إلى الهاوية.
The Caliphate Beyond ISIS: An Interview with Salman Sayyid   (Part Two)
التمييز كأداة للتسيير والإخضاع
Baghdad through Latif al-Ani's Lens
Coffee and qahwa: How a drink for Arab mystics went global Nestlé admits slave labour risk on Brazil coffee plantations
"The so-called Arab Spring has been most often described as a revolt of Westernized, secularized youth, the latest instance of the democratic wave which toppled authoritarian regimes in southern Europe in 1970s, southern cone in 1980s, Eastern Europe in 1990s. This explanation is very popular among Western and Westoxicated audiences. For them the pictures on CNN and BBC–showing young people in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, wearing jeans, using social media, seemingly captivated by the appeal of Western prosperity and democracy–was very seductive. This representation confirms for Westerners and the Westoxicated that the West is the ultimate source of liberation. Such beliefs are based on the assumption that liberation can only be achieved by imitating the West. Alas, for the rest of us on this planet, things are far-less clear-cut. Outside Eastern Europe, most of the people of the world have not experienced the West as the vanguard of emancipation; rather they have been the sub
Six Ways of Conceiving Marx and Foucault
معضلة اليسار الغربي وظاهرة بيرني ساندرز
How Boots Went Rogue
Neoliberalism — the ideology at the root of our problems See also Who Wants to Save Capitalism A Brief History of Neoliberalism (a free e-book)
The English are not so indifferent to those refugees stranded in Calais, those who drown in the sea, those who are sent back to Turkey or Syria. The English value art and history very much. Personally, I see this gesture as an English polite insult.
" Brazil has turned dramatically against the country’s first female president. Once one of the most popular leaders in the world, with approval ratings of 92%, Rousseff has since seen her support plunge as a result of economic recession, political turmoil and the  Lava Jato investigation into corruption at Petrobras , which has implicated almost all of the major parties. On a dark night, arguably the lowest point was when Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right deputy from Rio de Janeiro, dedicated his yes vote to Carlos Brilhante Ustra, the colonel who headed the Doi-Codi torture unit during the dictatorship era. Rousseff, a former guerrilla, was among those tortured. Bolsonaro’s move prompted left-wing deputy Jean Wyllys to spit towards him. Eduardo Bolsonaro, his son and also a deputy, used his time at the microphone to honour the general responsible for the military coup in 1964. Deputies were called one by one to the microphone by the instigator of the impeachment process, Cunh
Via Michael Roberts " New UN report finds almost no industry profitable if environmental costs were included. A new report by Trucost on behalf of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) program sponsored by United Nations Environmental Program, examined the money earned by the biggest industries on this planet, and then contrasted them with 100 different types of environmental costs. To make this easier, they turned these 100 categories into 6: water use, land use, greenhouse gas emiss ions, waste pollution, land pollution, and water pollution. The report found that when you took the externalized costs into effect, essentially NONE of the industries was actually making a profit. The huge profit margins being made by the world’s most profitable industries (oil, meat, tobacco, mining, electronics) is being paid for against the future: we are trading long term sustainability for the benefit of shareholders. Sometimes the environmental costs vastly outweighed
A Structuralism of Feeling? Alberto Toscano on Frédéric Lordon "In recognizing, with Spinoza, the irreducible role of the passions in human affairs, Lordon hopes to bid farewell to the allegedly utopian tendencies in Marx, insisting instead on the, at best,  regulative  character of communism. Lordon’s wager is that Spinoza’s theory of the passions can both elucidate our psychic investments in the capital-relation and delineate some parameters for the struggle against domination; yet the upshot is little more than schematic recipes for converting sad into joyful passions. Like many of his contemporaries, Lordon tends to over-estimate the psychic power of neoliberalism while under-estimating the force of misery evident in austerity; the relation of Marxian ‘need’ to Spinozian ‘passion’ remains untheorized. In contemporary conditions, Spinozist visions of radical democratic progress, understood as the ‘enrichment of life by joyous affects’, appear as considerably more utopian t
UK firm 'employed former child soldiers' as mercenaries in Iraq
Capitalism and Freedom
Protocols of Maschismo
"The most shocking thing about the Panama papers is not the likely criminality and drug laundering, but that it is legal.  It is legal in most countries to set up an ‘offshore’ account for a company or trust as long as the directors are not ‘resident’ in the country where taxes should be paid. The company may be subject to local taxes but these are minimal or non-existent..." A good post with facts and a solution Opening the Panama Canal
Europe's Shame
(in 4 episodes) The Coup   Greece vs Financial Terrorism
Cuba: My diary   (26 August - 12 September 2015) Unexpected Cuba After the Blockade
ما بين جورج طرابيشي وأدونيس
The NGO-ization of Resistance "The NGO-ization of politics threatens to turn resistance into a well-mannered, reasonable, salaried, 9-to-5 job. With a few perks thrown in. Real resistance has real consequences. And no salary." Related articles: " It was remarked that of the $150bn (£105bn) spent in aid globally,  still only 1%  directly reaches southern civil society organisations. I know from experience how frustrating southern NGOs find it when there’s always money to write a report or host a workshop; but never enough for more local staff. If poverty could be overcome from report writing, then we would have solved it long ago." — Deborah Doane, the Guardian, 13 March 2016 The Anti-Poverty Swindle The Power of a Dollar NGOs: In the service of imperialism
How French Secularism Became Fundamentalist A militant form of laïcité has taken hold in France, backed by everyone from intellectuals to government officials. Is this what the republic’s founders envisioned?
Wilhelm Reich: the man who invented free love
The Assad Files
Crisis in Brazil The trade unions, if somewhat more active under Dilma, were a shadow of their combative past. The poor remained passive beneficiaries of PT rule, which had never educated or organised them, let alone mobilised them as a collective force. Social movements – of the landless, or the homeless – had been kept at a distance. Intellectuals were marginalised. But not only had there been no political potentiation of energies from below. The style of the material benefactions of the regime created little solidarity. There was no redistribution of wealth or income: the infamously regressive tax structure bequeathed by Cardoso to Lula, penalising the poor to pamper the rich, was left untouched. Distribution there was, appreciably raising the living standards of the least well-off, but it was individualised in form. With the  Bolsa Família  taking the form of disbursements to mothers of school-age children, this could not have been otherwise. Increases in the minimum wage m
"Sure enough Sartre did have something for us: a prepared text of about two typed pages that – I write entirely on the basis of a twenty-year-old memory of the moment – praised the courage of Anwar Sadat in the most banal platitudes imaginable. I cannot recall that many words were said about the Palestinians, or about territory, or about the tragic past. Certainly no reference was made to Israeli settler-colonialism, similar in many ways to French practice in Algeria. It was about as informative as a Reuters dispatch, obviously written by the egregious Victor to get Sartre, whom he seemed completely to command, off the hook. I was quite shattered to discover that this intellectual hero had succumbed in his later years to such a reactionary mentor, and that on the subject of Palestine the former warrior on behalf of the oppressed had nothing to offer beyond the most conventional, journalistic praise for an already well-celebrated  Egyptian  leader. For the rest of that day Sartre
How a US President and JP Morgan made Panama: and turned it into a tax haven The Roosevelt/JP Morgan connection in the setting-up of the new state was a direct one. The Americans’ paperwork was done by a Republican party lawyer close to the administration, William Cromwell, who acted as legal counsel for JP Morgan. JP Morgan led the American banks in gradually turning Panama into a financial centre – and a haven for tax evasion and money laundering – as well as a passage for shipping, with which these practices were at first entwined when Panama began to register foreign ships to carry fuel for the Standard Oil company in order for the corporation to avoid US tax liabilities.
Some interesting arguments, but I think the take on Turkey is poor and superficial as it ignores Turkey's neo-liberal project, a state as a NATO member, its ties with Isreal, its role in the ongoing war in Syria and the geopolitical game has been playing to assert itself as a regional power, its record of repression of journalists and trade unions and, of course, its ongoing war on the Kurds.  "It   has to be remembered that liberalism has historically been compatible with racism, imperialism and colonialism. Liberalism without a commitment to a popular agency is not necessarily an emancipatory force." — Salman Sayyid Junaid Ahmad (JA): Dr. Sayyid, your earlier work, in particular  A Fundamental   Fear , was a scathing critique of existing accounts the rise of Islamism as well as what it signifies. It was a bold and innovative engagement with “critical theory” and the question of Islam and Islamism. But in some ways, your latest book is even more provocative and
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Financial Assests Transferred to Offshore Tax Havens.
Britain lecturing the world on morality? That’s rich
The World's Most Powerful Corporation " Imagine a company with the influence of Google or Amazon, granted a state-sanctioned monopoly and the right to levy taxes abroad – and with MI6 and the army at its disposal." See also The capitalist network that runs the world
Apples and Pears: the Economist on Profits
Tehran: Paradox City (1) Tehran: Paradox City (2)
Study shows human sacrifice was less likely in more equal societies
Reach-Me-Down Romantic
The Novel, Politics and Islam
Many a ruling class has sought to erase from historical memory the blood and squalor in which it was born. As Blaise Pascal admonishes with arresting candour in his  Pensées , ‘The truth about the [original] usurpation must not be made apparent; it came about originally without reason and has become reasonable. We must see that it is regarded as authentic and eternal, and its origins must be hidden if we do not want it soon to end.’   Kant, too, was wary of speculation on the origins of political power, which he thought a menace to the state.   It is not just that these are bloody and arbitrary; it is also the sheer scandal of an origin as such, for what was born can also die. It is certain, Hume writes in his  Treatise of Human Nature , that at the origin of every nation we will find rebellion and usurpation; it is time alone which ‘reconciles men to an authority, and makes it seem just and reasonable’.   Political legitimacy, in short, is founded on fading memory and blunted sensibi
Thirteen years of near-unbroken hostilities in Iraq have been desperately unkind to the environment. Heavily agricultural Nineveh and Kirkuk governorates, on the fringes of Iraq’s “Sunni Triangle,” were caught up in the chaos that followed the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. As far back as the 1980s, when Saddam Hussein press-ganged agricultural laborers into military service to fight Iran, landholders have had no choice but to adapt to the vagaries of war. For farmers still reeling from past troubles, the latest iteration of the conflict has plunged them even deeper into misery — and possibly sounded the death knell for agriculture in large parts of the country. At least a million acres of prime arable land has been rendered unusable as the Islamic State lays waste to huge swaths of Iraqi territory.   Systematic looting has robbed farms of much of the equipment necessary to renew operations. In an unprecedented development, some Iraqis have seen their land purposefully destroyed by th
More stupidity from Jacobin
"All of this goes a little way to explaining why Britain has, for  some time now , been considered the  global capital  for criminal money laundering among those in the know. Perhaps, with the release of the Panama Papers, the last sheen of respectability will finally be stripped away." The “Panama Papers” show that the sun never sets on the United Kingdom’s tax havens. [Republished without foreignpolicy permission] There is a temptation, when looking at the astonishing “Panama Papers,” to start by searching for politicians from your own country who are implicated. If you are British and approach the documents in this way, you’ll find slim pickings in the  information released so far . Among the many thousands of names listed in the leak as possibly implicated in dodgy tax deals, there can’t be any appearance less surprising than that of Baroness Pamela Sharples, the widow of the former governor of Bermuda. That is, until you get to Lord Michael Ashcroft — billionair