• Books: Bury the Chains by Adam Hochschild, Endless War: Hidden Functions of the "war on terror" by David Keen, Capital Vol. 1, Tin Drum by Günter Grass, What is Islam? by Shahab Ahmed, Desiring Arabs by Joseph Massad, Spies, Soldiers and Statesmen by Hazem Kandil, La Condition Humaine by André Malraux, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, Imagined Community by Benedict Anderson, Culture and Imperialism by Edward Said, The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon, The Richness of Life by Stephen Jay Gould, Children of the Alley by Naguib Mahfouz, The Mass Psychology of Fascism by Wilhelm Reich, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, 1984 by George Orwell, Noli me Tangere by José Rizal, Age of Extremes by Eric Hobsbawm, ذهنية التحريم لصادق جلال العظم, Karl Marx by Francis Wheen, وليمة لأعشاب البحر لحيدر حيدر, Candide by Voltaire, النزعات المادية في الفلسفة العربية الإسلامية لحسين مروة, Listen Little Man by Wilhelm Reich ..
  • Films: Alexanderplatz by Rainer Fassbinder, Clockwork Orange, Apocalypse Now, The Battle of Algiers, films by P. P. Passolini, Persepolis, Midnight Express, 1984, Papillion, Gangs of New York, Sophie Scholl, Life of Brian, Ivan the Terrble, Battleship Potemkine ...

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Financial Times:  "Social class, defined today by one’s level of education, appears to have become the single most important social fracture in countless industrialised and emerging-market countries."

Richad Seymour: "This is, of course, the way that social class is talked about in the US, but it isn't a helpful way to proceed. Apart from overlooked the glut of uneducated managers, supervisors, CEOs and owners, and forgetting the deliberate expansion of higher education to skill up workers, the trope allows one to say that the working class are a bunch of thickos. Trump's support came from diverse social classes. Education wasn't that big a predictor of the outcome either: college graduates were *overrepresented* in Trump's support (in part because they are overrepresented in the electorate). The big thing that happened with the working class in this election is that most of them didn't vote." 

Richard Rorty, a philosopher and social democrat, wrote in 1998:
"Members of labor unions, and unorganized unskilled workers, will sooner or later realize that their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported. Around the same time, they will realize that suburban white-collar workers — themselves desperately afraid of being downsized — are not going to let themselves be taxed to provide social benefits for anyone else. At that point, something will crack.

The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for — someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots . . . One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out. Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion . . . All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet."

Adam Shatz:

"According to the polls, Trump’s most devoted supporters aren’t the very poor but the lower middle class – the class traditionally most attracted by fascism.

Although class resentment is one of the ties that bind the inhabitants of Trump world, the greatest injustice for Trump’s followers isn’t that society is deeply divided along class lines (a fact hidden by the dominant but increasingly fragile ideology of the ‘middle class’) but that power is sliding out of their hands, a weakness evidenced by their demographic decline."

Priyamvada Gopal: "This is what you are avoiding if you keep on treating race as a separate category from 'neoliberalism,' whether as subsidiary, secondary or supplementary. Capitalism was forged out of a terrifying, brutal, violent and lethal racialized exploitation of labour. Capitalism was always already racial. Slavery- and empire-- were fundamental to its emergence and growth. If you overlook this--or think it isn't relevant in the present-- as many leftists still keep doing, then you have a very serious analytical deficit, in addition to whatever messed up race politics you are playing as you stroke your Hegel lovingly. No, it is 'not only about race'. It was never 'only about race', whatever the hell that means, but race was and remains fundamental to the workings of capitalism. So whatever your race politics, if this is what you're doing, your analysis of capitalism is ahistorical and flawed. That, at least, ought to worry you."

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This is funny, but it also refletcs how deep the level of political degeneration has reached.