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Showing posts from December, 2016
U.S. Sold $40 Billion in Weapons
your “mind” isn’t confined to your brain, or even your body
Syria Demonstrations on Friday 30 December 2016
إنها ليست حربا أهلية
The "leftists" admirers of Assad's Syria
Jeff Halper "lays out the case for Israel’s centrality to the system of transnational economic hegemony by following up his initial question with a section entitled, “The Global Pacification Industry,” which explores capitalism’s accumulative process, alongside the changing nature of global conflict. As state to state engagement involving tanks and conventional armed forces has receded, Halper argues it has been replaced by the increasingly important role of what he terms “securocratic wars,” located in the “global battlespace,” which aim at nothing less than the pacification of the world-wide population to which his title refers." War Against the People See also My interview with Jeff Halper (2008)
American, Canadian, and European arms sales to the Middle East 2011-2014
Imaginary friends An underground amusement park in Syria
Dicing Syria into spheres of influence
A Palestinian student has almost destroyed the Israeli state
The system is broken
The US and Israel's settlements A settler-colonial state is advising another settler-colonial state: It is not about what you are doing; it is about how you are doing it.
Pope Francis on capialism
Did we ever really do God in Christmas ?
أصنامنا التي قتلت الثورات
A project "to eliminate" trade unionism at the University of São Paulo
Nos destins sont liés
" In the land of Law and Justice [political party], anti-intellectualism is king. Polish scientists are aghast at proposed curriculum changes in a new education bill that would downplay evolution theory and climate change and add hours for “patriotic” history lessons. In a Facebook chat, a top equal rights official mused that Polish hotels should not be forced to provide service to black or gay customers. After the official stepped down for unrelated reasons, his successor rej ected an international convention to combat violence against women because it appeared to argue against traditional gender roles. ... "Yet nothing has shocked liberals more than this: After a year in power, Law and Justice is still by far the most popular political party in Poland. It rides atop opinion polls at roughly 36 percent — more than double the popularity of the ousted Civic Platform party."
Bare life in Aleppo and in the Mediterranean and "Demystifying the Syrian Conflict" At the time Erdogan receives a Syrian child who got out of Aleppo ...
Syria Massacring the arguments of those who have been supporting the Assad regime and Russia's intervention, orgasmically celebrating "the liberation of Aleppo". Justifying the unjustifiable Also,  Stop the War Coalition's failure to actively campaign against the wars crimes of Syrian and the Russian regimes " My friends in Aleppo would rather die than captured by Assad's militias." — Zeina Erhaim, a Syrian journalist Here are some of the arguments put by those who defend the Syrian regime: Apart from "the terrorists" of the armed rebel forces, "The Assad family belongs to the tolerant Islam of Alawid orientation. • Syrian women have the same rights as men to study, health and education. • Syria women are not forced to wear the burqa. The Sharia (Islamic law) is unconstitutional. • Syria is the only Arab country with a secular constitution and does not tolerate Islamic extremist movements. • Roughly 10% of the Syrian populat
Still relevant "The uses of Al-Qaeda"
Sowing the seeds of dissent "The economic roots of the Syrian revolution"
"In the same way that Robinson [Crusoe] was able to ob­tain a sword, we can just as well suppose that [Man] Friday might appear one fine morning with a loaded revolver in his hand, and from then on the whole relationship of violence is reversed: Man Friday gives the orders and Crusoe is obliged  to work. . . . Thus, the revolver triumphs over the sword, and even the most childish believer in axioms will doubtless form the conclusion that violence is not a simple act of will, but needs for its realization certain very concrete preliminary con­ditions, and in particular the implements of violence; and the more highly developed of these implements will carry the day against primitive ones. Moreover, the very fact of the ability to produce such weapons signifies that the producer of highly developed weapons, in everyday speech the arms  manufac­turer, triumphs over the producer of primitive weapons. To put it briefly, the triumph of violence depends upon the pro­duction of armam
The neo-Nazi murder trial revealing Germany's darkest secret
"Chesnais finishes his book with two themes. One is a lament on the lack of Marxist study in universities and the lack of journals in which Marxist studies of capitalism can be published. This is true enough, and I am glad not to have been an undergraduate university student in the past few decades! Even apparently radical journals such as the UK’s  Cambridge Journal of Economics  are basically rather conservative in outlook, and are dominated by a facile Keynesian approach that dismisses a Marxist perspective out of hand if it upsets their advocacy of ‘progressive’ policies for the capitalist state to consider. Repeating radical consensus nonsense will get a pass; revealing the imperial mechanism of power has to jump a hundred hurdles to be an acceptable journal article. Such is the almost universal climate in academia today, despite the evidently destructive outcomes from the system they claim to be analysing. [6]  Ironically, this is why the most trenchant and incisive critiqu
Students movements on Lebanese campuses
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العلوية السياسية
Stalin, Castro, Barbie
Two young English men in their early twenties in a conversation - I have been drinking every night since Thursday. - Really, - yes. -... Arsenal [the football club] was shit... Me: I consider that part of "our British values"
" What a miserably grey one-dimensional place it would be if the dominant model of middle-of-the-road liberal secular capitalism became the only acceptable way of living." Assimilate now. Or else. See also "don't get too comfortable. Your existence here is conditional"
Pessimism and confusion of a social-democrat
"When Theresa May sets off to embrace the autocrats in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and the other Gulf countries, the democratic opposition in these countries will be even less heard." — Anna Lehman, the Guardian, 18 December 2016 Ah, because this embrace is a new thing! Previous governments were champions of "human rights", trying to overthrow those autocratic families and were always supporting progressive oppositions until Brexit and Theresa came.
"As Hitchens said, those who secretly cheer Assad’s takeover of Aleppo don’t know what they are talking about. Or they forgot what it is like to live under a regime that kills and tortures in times of peace as it does when it is embattled. People in Syria rose up because they wanted their country to be free. What happened later, including the rise of extremism and lawlessness, was a product of the way the regime responded to the demands of young men and women." Note : Christopher Hitchens supported the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq thus he was the camp of "the liberal defence of murder".  Using Hitchens' argument for the Syrian situation excludes the fact that an uprising/a revolution aimed at overthrowing the regime. It also implies that there is no way for the Syrians, or any other people who rise up against dictatorship, to achieve anything without the help of the Western imperialism. The "Western states" should always do something. No t
Against liberal nostalgia "[T]he neoliberal variant of capitalism was not the result of a a “corporate coup.” It is the result of the familiar, systematic workings of a capitalist state seeking to resolve a crisis and restore the system to 'health'... ... to say that the last thirty years of neoliberal policy were not simply the result of a “corporate coup” does not mean that Donald Trump is simply a “boilerplate” Republican. If he were, how could we explain the tremendous fight the GOP establishment waged against him? Trump did   not receive a single donation   from a Fortune 100 CEO, while a broad range of top military brass and   establishment Republicans  — including George Bush, Mitt Romney, Colin Powell, Paul Ryan, Hank Paulson, Bill Kristol, and others — either endorsed Clinton or suggested they couldn’t support Trump. All this indicated a wide-ranging consensus among the capitalist class behind Clinton, founded upon maintaining the status quo abroad (“free trad
An interview with Leila al-Shami
The sixth anniversary of the start of the Arab uprisings
Sara Ginaite Lithuanian Jewish Partisan
Sisi's Egypt
“We would see the defenders of the homeland sooner or later become its enemies, constantly holding a dagger over their fellow citizens, and there would come a time when we would hear them say to the oppressor of their country: “If you order me to plunge my sword into my brother’s breast or my father’s throat, and into my pregnant wife’s entrails, I will do so, even though my right hand is unwilling.” — Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, 1755
"The People Who Shaped the Islamic Civilisation"
Alep: les pro-Poutine en france
Bernard: But sometmes, Willy, it's better for a man just to walk away. Willy:     Walk away? Bernard:  That's right. Willy:      But if you can't walk away? Bernard:  I guess that's when it's tough. — Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman
"This sad story of betrayal and opportunism by Arab and international Marxists has made Sadiq al-Azm an isolated voice among Marxists who initially were confused about how to respond to the Arab uprising after peaceful protests against Bashar al-Assad started all over Syria and gradually found themselves supporting the brutal regime directly or indirectly." Good-bye Sadiq Jalal al-Azm
"Can one speak meaning- fully of “Islamic violence”? As long as the Muslim actor is making his act of violence meaningful to himself in terms of Islam—in terms of Pre-Text, Text, or Con-Text of Revelation—then it is appropriate and meaningful to speak of that act of violence as Islamic violence. The point of the designation is not that Islam causes this violence; rather it is that the violence is made meaningful by the actor in terms of Islam—just as the prodigious violence undertaken by soldiers of democratic nation-states is made meaningful for them and by them in terms of the nation-state, and may, therefore, meaningfully be called “democratic violence” or “national violence” (or may meaningfully be designated in terms of the particular nation-state as “American violence” or “Israeli violence”). In the case of violence, as with everything else, one Muslim may disagree with another Muslim over whether his mode of meaning-making is legitimate—th
Qui sont les rebelles syriens?
Bahrain and the International Institute of Strategical Studies
Freedom and democracy British Airways cabin crew to go on strike:  Earnings were advertised between £21,000 and £25,000 but, in reality, start at just over £12,000 plus £3 an hour flying pay, Unite said.  "Not surprisingly, the crew have rejected a 2% pay offer and on-board customer service managers are furious," the union said.  "They do not have collective bargaining rights. The managers have also endured a six-year pay freeze.  Meanwhile, Willie Walsh pocketed £8.8m. British Airways and the parent company IAG reported profits of £1.4bn, up 64% on last year. — the bbc online
Aleppo by Alaa as-Sayyed
"Please help the people of Aleppo, just like we helped the people of Kobani. Oh, hang on, Aleppo? Kobani? Oh, that’s right. In Kobani they were Kurds. Civilised, secular, “progressive”, feminists, even green warriors apparently. They were like “us.” “We” (western imperialists and western … “anti-imperialists”) understand them. Therefore, they deserved to be saved from ISIS beasts, said the imperialist leaders, and their “anti-imperialist” echo in unison. Aleppo? Facing a fasc istic enemy that has massacred twenty times as many people as ISIS fascists could ever manage, is not full of Good Kurds. It is full of Arabs. And we all know what western imperialist leaders, the far-right, neo-Nazis, Trumpists, racists, and “left-wing anti-imperialists” think of Arabs, especially when they live in Syria. They are all backward, blood-thirsty, barbaric, “jihadis” and “head-choppers,” *all* of the above categories tell us, yes, the left-fascists just as emphatically as any of the others. So t
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The spectacle: Children in Aleppo do not get a million like because they don't hold teddy bears... In Spain, however, animal rights activists do Or ...
" Assad and his wife have a remarkably similar background to many elite figures in the West . Like Libya's Gaddafi dynasty, the House of Assad has strong connections to the United Kingdom. Bashar was studying ophthalmology in London when his brother Bassel dashed his chances of becoming president by smashing his Mercedes into a roundabout at 80mph. His wife, Asma, is British-Syrian, went to a private school, studied at King’s College, London and spent time working as a banker before becoming First Lady. The regime has sought to capitalise on Asma and build up an image for her as a sort of Syrian Princess Diana, including through her involvement in charity work. Her philanthropy, alas, does not extend to asking her husband to stop gassing Syria's civilians. Even the regime's poisonous propagandist, Bouthaina Shaaban, was educated at the University of Warwick, and the language she uses in interviews with western media outlets suggests the extent to which she unde
A great Syrian writer and critic has passed away.  If you haven't read this piece of his, you should do so. Orientalism and Orientalism in Reverse He is also the author of the famous book (available in Arabic and English) Critique of Religious Thought A talk at LSE On Syria " The co ntradiction here is not in myposition , but in the position of those who once stood in support of the revolution of the Iranian people or the Liberation Theologists and their churches or for movements of national liberation almost everywhere, yet refuse to support the revolution of the Syrian people under the pretext that its demonstrations and protests spring from the mosque and not from the opera house or the national theatre, as Adonis justifies."  
"[T]he loss of US manufacturing jobs, as it has been in other advanced capitalist economies, is not due to nasty foreigners fixing trade deals.  It is due to the inexorable attempt of American capital to reduce its labour costs through mechanisation or through finding new cheap labour areas overseas to produce.  The rising inequality in incomes is a product of ‘capital-bias’ in capitalist accumulation and ‘globalisation’ aimed at counteracting falling profitability in the advanced capitalist economies. But it is also the result of ''neo-liberal'policies designed to hold down wages and boost profit share.  Trump cannot and won’t reverse that with all his bluster because to do so would threaten the profitability of America capital." Trump, trade and technology
Walls The Berlin Wall made the news every day. From morning till night we read, saw, heard: the Wall of Shame, the Wall of Infamy, the Iron Curtain... In the end, a wall which deserved to fall fell. But other walls sprouted and continue sprouting across the world. Though they are much larger than the one in Berlin, we rarely hear of them. Little is said about the wall the United States is building along the Mexican border, and less is said about the barbed-wire barriers surrounding the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla on the African coast. Practically nothing is said about the West Bank Wall, which perpetuates the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and will be 15 times longer than the Berlin Wall. And nothing, nothing at all, is said about the Morocco Wall, which perpetuates the seizure of the Saharan homeland by the kingdom of Morocco, and is 60 times the length of the Berlin Wall. Why are some walls so loud and others mute? — Eduardo Galeano, Mirrors
Greece has become the world's most corrupt country. In a complete ungrateful move to the benevolent "international creditors", the Greek prime minister announced a one-off Christmas bonus for 1.6 million low-income pensioners.
"The world’s refugee crisis, with its 65 million people on the move, more than at any time since 1945, knows no more sustained, sinister or surreal exercise in cruelty than the South Pacific quasi-prisons Australia has established for its trickle of the migrant flood ." (the NYT)
The spectacle consists of daily photographs and news items from a ten-time Guernica, Aleppo;  terrorist attacks in France, Egypt and Istanbul; countless refugees drowning in the sea; decades of a form of capitalism which have spawned more social dislocation, racism, Islamophobia, and far-right chauvinism, and more yet to come; Jennifer Lawrence's butt-scratching, which upset some viewers yearning for a merry Christmas.
Putting the hammer down on Cuba
The British government " relies on supine acquiescence to just about everything." England's Southern rails
Operation Carlota Gabriel García Márquez
The 'Heil Trump' Nazi Spencer had a debate with a Hillel rabbi , Rosenberg. Rosenberg tried to wash Spencer with the 'love and inclusion' which is sup posedly what 'Judaism teaches'.  “My tradition a teaches a message of radical inclusion and love,” Rosenberg said. “Will you sit down and learn Torah with me, and learn love?” Spencer declined the invitation, but offered a rejoinder in which he suggested that the objectives of Zionism and Jewish continuity were close to his own goals for white people. “Do you really want radical inclusion into the State of Israel?” Spencer said. “And by that I mean radical inclusion. Maybe all of the Middle East could go move in to Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. Would you really want that?” Rosenberg was silent. “You’re not answering,” Spencer said. “I’m not answering,” Rosenberg said. Spencer went on to argue that Jewish continuity is predicated on resistance to assimilation. “Jews exist precisely because you did not a
The hypocrisy of it. Just a week or two ago a leader columnist of the FT was defending " free market democracy " against Wolfgang Streeke's criticism.  Anyway, people are indifferent to this and are accepting the status quo. Even the far-right support is not coming from this aspect in the system.
الاضراب القانوني الذي تعتمده النقابات فيتم إعلام السلط به من خلال برقية قبل عشرة أيام، وتسبقه حتميا "جلسات صلحية" هو في الحقيقة الشكل النظامي للتحكم في حركة الشغيلة وضبطها، ومن جهة أخرى فهو طريقة لاستيعاب التمردات وحالة الغضب والتنفيس عنها بجرعات محسوبة ليتحول الاضراب، من شكل نضالي، الى حلقة من حلقات التفاوض بين السلطة والنقابة التي تكون قد أستولت لا على قرار الاضراب بل على امكانية تنفيذه، وهكذا يفقد الاضراب محتواه الحقيقي ويتحول الى مجرد تنفيذ لقرارات فوقية يتم الاعلان عنها  كما يتم سحبها من هياكل هي في الغالب مجهولة من أوسع جمهور العمال والموظفين الاداريين. الاضراب العشوائي، أو ما تسميه البورجوازية "الاضراب الوحشي" (وهو بالفعل وحشي وخطير)، هو ذلك الاضراب الذي يندفع اليه العمال في شكل جماعي وبروح نضالية عالية، فيتم تقريره وتنفيذه في نفس الوقت وبشكل فجائي وبمشاركة أغلبية العمال قرارا وتنفيذا، وبدل التفاوض يتم رفع المطالبات المحددة. وفي الغالب تتسم مثل هذه الاضرابات بطابع عنيف ومصادمات مع الأعراف أو مع قوات البوليس. قد يحقق الاضراب القانوني مكاسب أكبر من الاضر
"Prospective imperialists can turn to his  authorized biographer  Niall Ferguson for answers. Harvard’s specialist in restoring the devil’s reputation — having done so previously for the  House of Rothschild  and the  British  and  American  empires —  argues  that if we weigh the good (the United States winning the Cold War) against the bad (the “loss of life in strategically marginal countries”), Kissinger comes out a hero. Fortunately, those of us unwilling to perform that calculus have Greg Grandin’s  Kissinger’s Shadow: The Long Reach of America’s Most Controversial Statesman .  The book avoids the trap of simply enumerating Kissinger’s crimes and actually takes its subject’s worldview seriously. Since the actual trial of Kissinger will never happen and the intellectual trial has  already  taken place, Grandin follows a different path: he traces how Kissinger’s ideas have come to dominate American foreign policy over the past fifty years. Using Kissinger as his protagon
The wrong kind of Universal Basic Income
"[T]he  aspiration of fractions of the Islamic bourgeoisie to strengthen their positions in the power structure, or rather to modify the place they occupy within the confessional political system, in order to better share the hegemony and not to change the system . . . This solution is not actually a solution; it will lead only to a worsening of the crisis of the system." — Mehdi Amel Hezbollah and the Workers

Britain

  Nationalism "in any imperialist society is bound up with chauvinism, and Britain is an imperialist society, with England its historical core, which has always been defined by its status in the imperialist hierarchy, whatever William Hague says to the contrary.  Orwell’s efforts to situate the basis for socialism on the terrain of culture and “Englishness,” which admittedly had a certain proto-Gramscian quality in its approach to popular culture as a strategic factor in political struggles, surely represent the last serious attempt to articulate something like a left-wing “Englishness.”  It was certainly light years ahead of the mawkish, demagogic detritus that passes for the same attempt these days.  Yet it failed rather badly, for two reasons.  First, because it misjudged the class basis for any post-war socialism, estimating that the perpetual growth of a functionary and technician class would be the basis for a rational yet national post-capitalist system.  This isn’t how th
"The Syrians who are fighting their state are indefensible. Too bearded to be trusted, fratricidal on top of that, they are defying the laws of geopolitics in the Middle East, and could very well provoke World War III. Syrians, then, must not be defended. But what can be done faced with the spectacle of indignity streamed almost live from Syria since 2011? This spectacle is unprecedented. Never before in history has a crime against humanity been filmed day by day, turned int o a spectacle with the cooperation of both victims and executioners, broadcast by the big television networks and streamed on social media, intercut with ad breaks, consumed by the general public, and commodified by the art market. At the time of Auschwitz, only God was supposed to see what happened in the showers. It was only after the liberation of the camps that accredited filmmakers could capture evidence of the crimes, which were recognized as such by the legal authorities. Those images, however, were co
The long depression and Marx’s law – a reply to Pete Green
Syria: the ground zero for a new world order
The cleaners at the London School of Economics Compare here: The CEO of Lloyds Bank got £6,000 per hour in 2014, dividents and bonuses included. That is calculated on the basis that he worked 40 hours per week.  Suppose a cleaner in London gets £21000 per year. It takes Cristiano Ronaldo 11 minutes to earn what a cleaner earns in a week.
The Long Depression in Italy
"Between the onset of the global Cold War in 1948 and its conclusion in 1990, the US government secured the overthrow of at least twenty-four governments in Latin America, four by direct use of US military forces, three by means of CIA-managed revolts or assassination, and seventeen by encouraging local military and political forces to intervene without direct US participation, usually through m ilitary coups d’état . . . The human cost of this effort was immense. Between 1960, by which time the Soviets had dismantled Stalin’s gulags, and the Soviet collapse in 1990, the numbers of political prisoners, torture victims, and executions of nonviolent political dissenters in Latin America vastly exceeded those in the Soviet Union and its East European satellites. In other words, from 1960 to 1990, the Soviet bloc as a whole was less repressive, measured in terms of human victims, than many individual Latin American countries. The hot Cold War in Central America produced an unprecede
The Middle East and North Africa
"About 90,000 people have signed a petition calling for tallow to be removed from bank notes." (BBC website).  But Churchill should remain on the five-pound note and in Parliament Square! " I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion ." — Winston Churchill