• 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 ...

Sunday, December 31, 2017

"Since today the workers’ movement is very much weakened and the revolutionary threat non-existent, big capital has no interest in supporting far-right movements and thus the risk of a brown offensive is non-existent. This is, once again, an economistic reading that does not take account of the autonomy of any political phenomenon – electors can, indeed, choose a party that does not have the big bourgeoisie’s backing – and one that seems to ignore the fact that big capital can accommodate to all sorts of political regimes without too much soul-searching. "

Ten theses on the far-right in Europe
Iran 1999, 2009, 2011-12, 2018

are episodes which have marked the long crisis of the regime.
I wouldn't speculate on any external influence, but, what is evident, is that not only calls for "democracy" and "freedoms", etc led mainly by middle class Iranians have driven those protests, but the socio-economic crisis, coupled with corruption and high inequality, has deepened. 
A book review

... by means of deploying “big data”, neoliberalism has tapped into the psychic realm and exploited it, with the result that, as Han colourfully puts it, “individuals degrade into the genital organs of capital”. Consider that the next time you’re reviewing your Argos purchase, streaming porn or retweeting Paul Mason. Instead of watching over human behaviour, big data’s digital panopticon subjects it to psychopolitical steering.

Psychopolitics: Neoliberalism and the Power of New Technologies

And here is what John Lanchester wrote in details a few months ago,

You are the product

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Syria

The picture drawn in this analysis precedes a recent major development: the beginning of an assault by the Syrian regimes and the militias allied to it, with Russian aid from the sky, on Idlib province, the stronghold of the opposition. That is more likely to change the facts on the ground as the opposition begins to lose areas which has controlled for the last two years.

Resisting Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham

Monday, December 25, 2017

"Universities are businesses. Students are customers. The more customers, the better the business does.
And of course, the best way to retain a customer is to keep her happy. I’d suggest that happiness for students might arise from challenge, from hard work fairly rewarded, or from the acquisition of new skills. But there is of course a quicker route: you keep students happy by not failing them. And then – surprise! – when they graduate they are not literate, or numerate, or knowledgeable enough to perform the work they have been studying for."
'The difficulty is the point'
A balance sheet of Britain's colonial history?

“As the project’s own description makes clear, the aim here is to provide a rehabilitation of the British empire as largely a force for moral good, which in turn can be used to justify present-day military interventions.”

Oxford University is accused of backing apologists of British colonialism

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Austria

In my last holiday I met an Austrian woman who was spending 6 weeks in Thailand. She had replaced all of her teeth there. She is chauvinistic, but she claims she is not racist. She thinks that "there are too many Muslims in Austria!" "Muslim men taking welfare money and doing nothing all day long!" "A big damage is taking place". The woman herself is not working and gets 500 per month for her 18-month-old daughter. She has been in Mexico, Peru, Argentina and other countries. She didn't know that Londoners elected a Muslim as a Mayor.
(Ko Samui, June 2017)

Meanwhile, our close friend Saudi Arabia has been the main criminal behind a one million case of cholera in Yemen (a figure by the ICRC). This is not a bad thing in reality. Less Yemenis will make it to Europe. Therefore, Europeans shouldn't worry too much about the rise of nationalism and neofascism!

Friday, December 22, 2017

"It is interesting to note that the majority of the businessmen were from a Sunni background, with the exception of the inner circle of crony capitalists. According to an analysis published in the Syrian magazine Al-Iqtisad Wa Al-Naql in 2011, from the list of the 100 most important businessmen in Syria, 23 percent of them were children of high officials, or their partners or acting as their “interfaces”; 48 percent were new businessmen, but for the majority they had close and corrupt relationships with the security services; 22 percent were part of the traditional bourgeoisie from before the nationalization policies of the sixties, some of whom also had corrupt relationships with the leaders of the state; and seven per cent had their main business activities outside of Syria. In terms of religious sects, the percentage was the following: 69 per cent were Sunni, 16 percent Alawi, 14 percent were Christians, 1 percent Shia, while there was no Druze, Ismaili or Kurdish presence. It is important to note that among the 10 wealthiest businessmen in Syria, a majority were Alawis and most probably closely linked to the Asad family, such as Rami Makhluf. In regional distribution, the wealthiest sections of businessmen were first from Damascus, then Aleppo, Latakia, and finally from the cities of Homs and Hama, while there was not a single businessman from the eastern regions of Ar-Raqqa, Deir Az-Zawr and Al-Hasakah (Seifan 2013: 112-113).

After more than six years following the uprising, the alliance between the regime and fractions of the Sunni bourgeoisie was maintained although with changes.

Firstly, no mass defections by crony capitalists and businessmen close to the regime occurred; on the contrary, they played an increasingly political role. They first funded the regime’s orchestrated mass rallies and public relations campaigns, while their private media tried from the first days of the uprising to undermine the message of the protesters and promote the regime’s propaganda (Iqtisad 2015)."

The Syrian regime is still reliant on fractions of the Sunni bourgeoisie
Another review of 

Against the Grain

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Apparently, Ahed Tamimi has a history of terrorizing Israeli soldiers (see photo below) and making their lives and the lives of their families unbearable. She was seen in many occasions dragging soldiers at knifepoint, handcuffing them and even kidnapping some of them. She used to deprive the kidnapped soldiers of sleep and water. 

Armed with knives, and sometimes with smart stones, she and her known Palestinian gangs occupied some plots of "the promised lands" of "the chosen people" with the intention of converting those plots of land into settlements, with no outcry from the "international comunity". 

The Israelis feel so frightened that they cannot even travel outside Israel by sea, land or air. "I feel I am in prison," an Israeli woman told journalists.

"The leaders of the free world" have expressed their concern, but said, "Well, this has been going on for decades, but we cannot stop it because the Palestinians are our friends, and, look, she is blonde like us! She must be defending herself. Also, she doesn't really look like a dirty Arab!"


Ahed Tamimi 

Sorry, we cannot afford it! After the Olympics, money spent on bombs, a few billions on the bankers, channelling more wealth to the top, austerity has not saved us much money to house you. Plus, we need to prepare for the second expensive sports event, the Commonwealth Games. Commonwealth my arse!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

"While climate change is a disaster for humanity, stopping climate change is a disaster for capital."

Burn
"The report presented by GFC, Financing Investment: Interim report, provides us with a meticulous investigation of the failure of British capitalism to invest productively to deliver better productivity, incomes and employment.  The report exposes the failure of the UK banks to direct lending into productive sectors instead into speculative financial and unproductive property assets.  Thus, UK productivity performance is extremely poor, R&D spending is low and innovation is limited."

Labour's interim report pn the UK economy

Monday, December 18, 2017

"The disagreement between Coates and me is clear: any analysis or vision of our world that omits the centrality of Wall Street power, US military policies, and the complex dynamics of class, gender, and sexuality in black America is too narrow and dangerously misleading. So it is with Ta-Nehisi Coates’ worldview.
Coates rightly highlights the vicious legacy of white supremacy – past and present. He sees it everywhere and ever reminds us of its plundering effects. Unfortunately, he hardly keeps track of our fightback, and never connects this ugly legacy to the predatory capitalist practices, imperial policies (of war, occupation, detention, assassination) or the black elite’s refusal to confront poverty, patriarchy or transphobia."

Ta-Nehisi is the neoliberal face of black freedom struggle

Sunday, December 17, 2017

"What gets dismissed or ignored here are Marx’s arguments that the people who happen to be running the system at any particular moment are not really in control of the situation. What are really in control are the “laws of capitalist production.” Individual personifications of capital––and this includes atypical personifications such as individual state capitals and worker-run enterprises––must submit to these laws or relinquish their “control.” The most important law is the “law of value,” the determination of value by labor-time. It compels a business, whoever owns or “controls” it, to minimize costs in order to remain competitive, and therefore to lay off inefficient or unnecessary workers, speed up production, have unsafe working conditions, produce for profit instead of producing for need, and so on."

On the Relevance of Marx's Capital for Today

Saturday, December 16, 2017

I like this to-the-point piece.
It hits the nail on the head of what is fundamental: capital, class and the state.

"Parties on the left can carry on believing that capitalism can be tamed at a transnational level, even though all the available evidence is that this is not going to happen. They can seek to use the power of the state for progressive ends, even though this will be strongly resisted. Or they can sit and watch as the predators munch their way through their prey. Even for the predators, this would be a disastrous outcome."

Think that governments can no longer control capitalism? You've been duped.
قصة قصيرة
أنطون تشيخوف


منذ أيام دعوتُ الى غرفة مكتبي مربّية أولادي (يوليا فاسيليفنا) لكي أدفع لها حسابها
 قلت لها : إجلسي يا يوليا … هيّا نتحاسب … أنتِ في الغالب بحاجة إلى النقود ولكنك خجولة إلى درجة انك لن تطلبينها بنفسك .. حسناً .. لقد اتفقنا على أن أدفع لك (ثلاثين روبلاً) في الشهر
 قالت : أربعين 
- 
قلت : كلا .. ثلاثين .. هذا مسجل عندي … كنت دائما أدفع للمربيات (ثلاثين روبلاً) …
 حسناً

 لقد عملت لدينا شهرين
 
قالت : شهرين وخمسة أيام

 قلت : شهرين بالضبط .. هذا مسجل عندي .. إذن تستحقين (ستين روبلاً) ..
نخصم منها تسعة أيام آحاد .. فأنت لم تعلّمي (كوليا) في أيام الآحاد بل كنت تتنزهين معهم فقط .. ثم ثلاثة أيام أعياد .

تضرج وجه (يوليا فاسيليفنا) وعبثت أصابعها بأهداب الفستان ولكن لم تنبس بكلمة.
 واصلتُ …
 
نخصم ثلاثة أعياد إذن المجموع (إثنا عشر روبلاً) .. وكان (كوليا) مريضاً أربعة أيام ولم يكن يدرس .. كنت تدرّسين لـ (فاريا) فقط .. وثلاثة أيام كانت أسنانك تؤلمك فسمحتْ لك زوجتي بعدم التدريس بعد الغداء .. إذن إثنا عشر زائد سبعة .. تسعة عشر .. نخصم ، الباقي .. (واحد وأربعون روبلاً) .. مضبوط ؟

 إحمرّت عين (يوليا فاسيليفنا) اليسرى وامتلأت بالدمع، وارتعش ذقنها .. وسعلت بعصبية وتمخطت، ولكن … لم تنبس بكلمة 
قلت : قبيل رأس السنة كسرتِ فنجاناً وطبقاً .. نخصم (روبلين) .. الفنجان أغلى من ذلك فهو موروث ، ولكن فليسامحك الله !! علينا العوض .. وبسبب تقصيرك تسلق (كوليا) الشجرة ومزق سترته .. نخصم عشرة .. وبسبب تقصيرك أيضا سرقتْ 
الخادمة من (فاريا) حذاء .. ومن واجبكِ أن ترعي كل شيء فأنتِ تتقاضين مرتباً .. وهكذا نخصم أيضا خمسة .. وفي 10 يناير أخذتِ مني (عشرة روبلات)
  
همست (يوليا فاسيليفنا) : لم آخذ
 قلت : ولكن ذلك مسجل عندي
 
قالت : حسناً، ليكن
 
واصلتُ : من واحد وأربعين نخصم سبعة وعشرين .. الباقي أربعة عشر
 
امتلأت  عيناها الاثنتان بالدموع .. وظهرت حبات العرق على أنفها الطويل الجميل .. يا للفتاة المسكينة.
 
قالت بصوت متهدج : أخذتُ مرةً واحدةً .. أخذت من حرمكم (ثلاثة روبلات) .. لم آخذ غيرها
 
قلت : حقا ؟ .. انظري وانا لم أسجل ذلك !! نخصم من الأربعة عشر ثلاثة .. الباقي أحد عشر .. ها هي نقودك يا عزيزتي !! ثلاثة .. ثلاثة .. ثلاثة .. واحد ، واحد .. تفضلي .
ومددت لها (أحد عشر روبلاً) ..
فتناولتها ووضعتها في جيبها بأصابع مرتعشة .. وهمست : شكراً

انتفضتُ واقفاً واخذتُ أروح وأجيء في الغرفة واستولى عليّ الغضب

 سألتها : شكراً على ماذا ؟

 قالت : على النقود
 
قلت : يا للشيطان ولكني نهبتك .. سلبتك ! .. لقد سرقت منك ! .. فعلام تقولين شكراً ؟
-
 قالت : في أماكن أخرى لم يعطوني شيئاً
- 
قلت : لم يعطوكِ ؟! أليس هذا غريبا !؟ لقد مزحتُ معك .. لقنتك درساً قاسياً ..
سأعطيك نقودك .. (الثمانين روبلاً) كلها .. ها هي في المظروف جهزتها لكِ !! ولكن هل يمكن أن تكوني عاجزة الى هذه الدرجة ؟ لماذا لا تحتجّين ؟ لماذا تسكتين ؟ هل يمكن في هذه الدنيا ألاّ تكوني حادة الأنياب ؟ هل يمكن ان تكوني مغفلة إلى هذه الدرجة ؟

 ابتسمتْ بعجز فقرأت على وجهها : “يمكن”

 سألتُها الصفح عن هذا الدرس القاسي وسلمتها ، بدهشتها البالغة ، (الثمانين روبلاً) كلها .. فشكرتني بخجل وخرجت
 
تطلعتُ في أثرها وفكّرتُ : ما أبشع أن تكون ضعيفاً في هذه الدنيا
The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt

"The Brotherhood was designed to cut across class barriers. Social solidarity was essential to preserve unity. Members are obliged by article 10 of the Brotherhood's General Order to provide such solidarity. Upper-class members are encouraged to purify their souls by helping out those with lesser means, whereas the latter learnt to live contently under the paternalistic care of their social betters. To balance the potentially divisive drives of the upper and lower echelons, middle-class members, an organizational majority, managed the whole ... This brilliant arrangement made evryone happy: spiritual salvation for the wealthy; immediate relief for the poor; and political power for the aspiring middle-class."

— Hazem Kandil, Inside the Brotherhood, 2015, p. 76

Friday, December 15, 2017

In his classic The State in Capitalist Society, Miliband wrote: "In an epoch when so much is made of democracy, equality, social mobility, classlessness and the rest, it has remained a basic fact of life in advanced capitalist countries that the vast majority of men and women in these countries has been governed, represented, administered, judged, and commanded in war by people drawn from other, economically superior and relatively distant classes." These words were written in 1969, but, as we are ruled by a government dominated by daddy-bankrolled Etonians, they still seem somehow relevant.

Ralph Miliband: six key ideas
"Like other 19th-century believers in progress, Marx did not foresee the possibility of the human race growing so technologically ingenious that it ends up wiping itself out. This is one of several ways in which socialism is not historically inevitable, and neither is anything else. Nor did Marx live to see how social democracy might buy off revolutionary passion."

Indomitable
Terry Eagleton assessing Eric Hobsbawm

"Hobsbawm himself always argued that his historiography was inseparable from his Marxism and, indeed, only made possible by it. I argue below that he was essentially right in this judgment. For those of us on the anti-Stalinist left, Hobsbawm’s orthodox communism meant that his political judgements—his extraordinarily narrow conception of the working class, for example, or his belief that nationalism could be harnessed for progressive ends—had to be treated with deep suspicion; but much of his historical writing has to be afforded a great deal more respect."


Hobsbawm's unanswered question

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

"The most disgusting article I read in a long time [in the liberal Guardian]. All that is wrong with bourgeois liberal feminism which serves as nothing but being the tool of capitalism, militarism, and imperialism! Instead of saying "Women must smash NATO", it propagates that the same monstruous institution ' that is one of the most evil alliances to have blessed the universe and which is therefore one of the most direct causes for violence, conflict, and war - to help the poor poor woman. The only way NATO can help women is to disappear from the face of earth forever! 
Down with patriarchy - down with militarism - and down with the idiots who try to sell us evil with a gender friendly face!" — Dilar Dirik



To those "Westerners" who want "to liberate" other women and men. To the Jolies who are proud of NATO. 

"Two in five women in the UK say they have experienced unwanted sexual behaviour at work and only a quarter of them reported it, a BBC survey has found."

Add to that precarity, and banning of unions in many workplaces.

Sexual harrassment in UK workplaces
"I would like to use this opportunity in the run-up to International Human Rights Day to focus on the greatest threats to our common humanity, and why states need to throw their weight behind genuine international cooperation and human rights..."

"That’s why we must ensure that the powerful uphold and respect international rules and international law."


"Genuine corporate accountability must apply to all of the activities of their subsidiaries and suppliers. Impunity for corporations that violate human rights or wreck our environment, as in the mineral-driven conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, must be brought to an end."


"There are now more refugees and displaced people around the world than at any time since the Second World War."


No mention of the biggest human disaster since the genocide in Rawanda; the killing machine Al-Assad regime. One can list Brexit, Trump, climate change, etc, but fails to mention a brutal murderer and the complicity of the Russian state and the imperialist powers in preserving that regime.

Regulation and accountability for the coporations? The powerful must uphold and respect international rules? I doubt it very much that Jeremy Corbyn is sincere here.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Classical Egyptian cinema

Cairo Station by Youssef Shahine


"Onur Ulas Ince combines an analysis of political economy and political theory to examine the impact of colonial economic relations on the development of liberal thought in Britain. He shows how a liberal self-image for the British Empire was constructed in the face of the systematic expropriation, exploitation, and servitude that built its transoceanic capitalist economy. The resilience of Britain's self-image was due in large part to the liberal intellectuals of empire, such as John Locke, Edmund Burke, and Edward Gibbon Wakefield, and their efforts to disavow the violent transformations that propelled British colonial capitalism. Ince forcefully demonstrates that liberalism as a language of politics was elaborated in and through the political economic debates around the contested meanings of private property, market exchange, and free labor."

Forthcoming
Colonial Capitalism and the Dilemmas of Liberalism

Thursday, December 07, 2017

"Virtually all existing countries have to face difficult questions over how to relate to past instances of violence, injustice and oppression – often publicly sanctioned."

I still think that moving statues to museums is a much better way.


How to diffuse controversial monuments

So, a statue of Mussolini is considered controversial?
The latest from the book of hypocrisy

The so-called international community, world leaders and others talk about "peace" and condemn Trump. Orwellian.

Imperialist criminal states that supported a settler-colonial states for decades with different means, in collaboration with so-called Arab leaders who have been complicit and sanctioned one betrayal after another from Camp David to Oslo, disagree with Trump!

"The vulgar economists of capitalism have tried to deny this contradiction of capitalist production ever since it was hinted at by the likes of Sismondi, and logically suggested by the law of value based on labour, first proposed by Adam Smith and David Ricardo. The apologists dropped classical theory and turned to a marginal utility theory of value to replace the dangerous labour theory.  They turned to equilibrium as the main tendency of modern economies and they ignored the effect of time and change.  Only the market and exchange became matters of economic analysis, not the production and exploitation of labour."

Grossman on capitalism's contradictions

Monday, December 04, 2017

Syria

UK money 'diverted to extremists',says the BBC

Well, it must be an exception not a pattern :)
A student of Arabic thought that the word "madrasa" in the Arab countries was like the Afghan "madrasa".
No.
The Washington Post reported in 2002:
The United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings ….
The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books ….
The Council on Foreign Relations notes:
The 9/11 Commission report (PDF) released in 2004 said some of Pakistan’s religious schools or madrassas served as “incubators for violent extremism.” Since then, there has been much debate over madrassas and their connection to militancy.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

After nearly a year of the Trump presidency, do you regret your criticisms of Barack Obama? 
"Oh, no. I told the truth. When I said drone strikes are crimes against humanity, when I said Obama bailed out Wall Street rather than Main Street — I shall forever support that. I was just speaking to the reality that people are hurting, and we have to do the same thing under Trump as we did under Obama.
They tried to make me the darling of the liberal establishment. I refused it.
— Cornel West, in an interview with The New York Times
Despite "having adopted a philosophical worldview predicated on the sanctity of individual autonomy and a constraint on sovereign power, Egyptian liberalism has from its inception been a project inextricably reliant on a dictatorial state apparatus to do its bidding."
It seems that the author hopes that one day the Liberals in Egypt overcome their contradictions and become a progressive national bourgeoisie. I think not.
Terrorists of feather flock together.

How Britain did Gaddafi's dirty work

Ian Cobain is the author of


Saturday, December 02, 2017

"Scholars schooled in the Western canon, but who are ideologically and methodologically anti-imperialist, often struggle with Conrad’s beautiful writing yet horribly racist views. Conrad was honest about the colonial brutalities he witnessed, but his admiration for empire is hardly hidden. Several European writers suffer such ambivalence. George Orwell’s Burmese Days, or his essay “Shooting an Elephant,” are examples: the reality of imperialism is dirty, possibly immoral, but the work must be done and empire must be defended. E. M Forster’s Passage to India and Rudyard Kipling’s Kim can also be mined for such ambiguities and complexities. But isn’t it time to stop feeling ambivalent about empire? Why are we again and again attracted to this ambivalence when the proof of empire’s destructive and dehumanizing power is all around us?"

Empire and ambivalence
Germany

"The AfD is not classically fascist – and does not need to be. Hitler needed his stormtroopers to take on and defeat the most organised labour movement, and biggest communist party, in Europe – and he did so amid double-digit unemployment. But to construct the essential alliance between the “elite and the mob” – as Hannah Arendt described it – the AfD just needs to go on normalising hate-speech, recruiting well-heeled people from business and the military, and disrupting the status quo."

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Legal prostitution in Tunisia
البغاء القانوني في تونس

It looks an interesting book.

The Violent American Century
Alliance of Middle East Socialists - a founding statement
I have no problem with the statement, but the overwhelming majority of the foundrs are not in the Middle East!

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Arab poet who worshipped wine

and fornication with women and boys.
I am reading Debt, the IMF and the World Bank by Éric Toussaint and Damien Millet. It is an indictment of the IMF as an international criminal organisation of enslavement.

"Following the exigencies of the governments of the richest companies, the IMF, permitted countries in crisis to borrow in order to avoid default on their repayments. Caught in the debt's downward spiral, developing countries soon had no other recourse than to take on new debt in order to repay the old debt. Before providing them with new loans, at higher interest rates, future leaders asked the IMF, to intervene with the guarantee of ulterior reimbursement, asking for a signed agreement with the said countries. The IMF  thus agreed to restart the flow of the 'finance pump' on condition that the concerned countries first use this money to reimburse banks and other private lenders, while restructuring their economy at the IMF's discretion: these were the famous conditionalities, detailed in the Structural Adjustment Programs. The IMF and its ultra-liberal experts took control of the borrowing countries' economic policies. A new form of colonization was thus instituted. It was not even necessary to establish an administrative or military presence; the debt alone maintained this new form of submission." 

— Toussaint and Millet, 2010, p. 83

At universities there is "Post-colonial Studies", a misleading name for neo-colonial studies.

"Modern high-tech warfare is designed to remove physical contact:  dropping bombs from 50,000 feet ensures that one does not 'feel' what one does. Modern economic managemnet is similar: from one's luxury hotel, one can callously impose policies about which one would think twice if one knew the people whose lives one was destroying."

 — Joseph Stiglitz, Gobalization and Its Discontents, 2002. Quoted by Toussaint and Millet, p. 84

Sunday, November 26, 2017

In Iraq, as in the Philippines, as in U.S. occupied Haiti in 1914, we hear echoes of the words of Massachusetts Bay colony founder John Winthrop. The English had come to expropriate native land and resources, but somehow convinced themselves that their presence was benign. “So as God hath thereby cleared our title to this place, those who remain in these parts…have put themselves under our protection," said the Pilgrim-in-Chief.

Throughout the Middle East and in spreading regions of the globe, the U.S. invites the natives to a “feast” of “democracy” – at the point of a gun. Frustrated at native unwillingness to dine on the corpses of their own national sovereignty, the Americans threaten to punish those who demonstrate such “unthankfulness.”

In these times, we should remember the unthankful Pequot women and children roasting in the flames of their village, and the Wampanoag man, murdered by the Pilgrim saint Miles Standish, whose spiked head was displayed for years in Plymouth, the founding site of the national narrative and celebratory feast.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Saturday, November 25, 2017

I have just discovered some powerful and intriguing ideas by Andrea Micocci. Micocci has  just passed away, unfortunately.
Two of yesterday's bbc headlines:

Black Friday bonanza and a shooting in Oxford Circus, London (Britain)
230 people shot dead in a mosque (in Sinai, Egypt)

The one on the shooting in Oxford Circus is the main headline with a large photo. Next to it a small phone of the shooting in Sinai.

 The BBC after all is a national corporation of a nation state. Local news, however minor they are, are more important. What happens in other countries, especially in places where the victims are not Westerners is of a less importance. Another legacy of what the nation state has made of us.

The same conclusion persists: Some lives are more precious than others.

Black Friday bonanza is also significantly important because it reflects "our way of  life".

Friday, November 24, 2017

Part 3 follows an international solidarity caravan to the third stop of the trip: Oum Laarayes, another polluted and marginalised town in Tunisia's phosphate mining basin. Several issues were discussed in this episode – from the neocolonial nature of mining to the urgency of the requests sought by social movements including jobs, better infrastructure and access to water: 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

"But la transición, as it is known, was left unfinished. Spain’s democracy, in contrast to much of postwar Europe, was not erected upon an anti-fascist consensus. Instead, its foundation required a pact of silence. In exchange for returning to democracy, Francoist elites kept positions of social and economic privilege; the dictatorship’s crimes went unpunished as a blanket of amnesty and amnesia extended over the civil war and the systematic repression that followed it. After the 1982 Socialist (PSOE) landslide victory, Fraga and his followers consolidated as the leading opposition party.
As a result, the PP became a peculiar conservative party. Unlike their French, German or even British counterparts, Spanish conservatives have never had to worry about electoral competition on their right flank. The party contains everything from center-right liberals and Christian democrats to far-right nostalgics for Franco’s dictatorship.
In 2007 parliament passed a law for historical memory which made it easier to find civil war graves, remove Francoist statues and open up archives. It was a long time coming—Spain remains second only to Cambodia in number of unearthed mass graves, according to Amnesty International. But the PP fought hard against it, arguing that remembrance of the dictatorship’s crimes unnecessarily divided the country. A minority of PP leaders have gone further, providing explicit support for Francoism.

Unsurprisingly, these authoritarian legacies condition the party’s approach to the Catalan question. As Juan Linz wrote in the 1970s, Spain is “a nation-state for a large part of the population, and a state but not a nation for important minorities.” Under Franco this complex reality was repressed through a brutal, centralizing drive.


As journalist Enric Juliana points out, adopting a hard line on the Catalan crisis has endowed the Rajoy government with a stronger raison d’être than its claim to preside over economic recovery in a country where many struggle with joblessness and austerity. The “Catalan challenge” allows the PP to justify its hold on power and deflect attention from systemic corruption scandals—in which Rajoy himself is deeply entangled.


The roots of Spanish rage

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Saturday, November 18, 2017

"The only politics that offers a way out of the dilemma of contemporary Third World sovereignty is an internationalism that recognizes that its subjects are political actors, not just suffering subjects; that the repression launched by struggling secularist regimes undermines secularism just as it invites intervention; that the beneficiaries of Western intervention are to be found in Moscow, Riyadh, Arlington, and Islamabad, not Homs and Benghazi; and that the struggles of global refugee diasporas are coextensive with the domestic political communities they were forced to leave behind."

How humanitarianism became imperialism

Friday, November 17, 2017

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Part 2 follows an international solidarity caravan to the second stop of the trip: the polluted and marginalised town of Redeyef in Tunisia's phosphate mining basin. Back in 2008, it was the site of the longest popular uprising in Tunisia's modern history, violently repressed by Ben Ali's regime.

Watch Episode 2 of Web Documentary Series "Paradises of the Earth" - Tunisia

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Regaining imperial power and glory has already proven to be a treacherous escapist fantasy – devastating the Middle East and parts of Asia and Africa while bringing terrorism back to the streets of Europe and America – not to mention ushering Britain towards Brexit.

We can no longer discount the “terrible probability” James Baldwin once described: that the winners of history, “struggling to hold on to what they have stolen from their captives, and unable to look into their mirror, will precipitate a chaos throughout the world which, if it does not bring life on this planet to an end, will bring about a racial war such as the world has never seen”. 

How colonial violence came home
Justice

'Justice?' The colonel was astounded. 'What is justice?'
'Justice, sir –'
'That's not what justice is,' the colonel jeered, and began pounding the table again with his big fat hand. 'That's what Karl Marx is. I'll tell you what justice is. Justice is a knee in the gut from the floor on the chin at night sneaky with a knife brought up down on the magazine of a battleship sandbagged underhanded in the dark without a word of warning. Garrotting. That's what justice is when we've all got to be tough enough and rough enough to fight Billy Perolle. From the hip. Get it?
— Joseph Heller, Catch-22

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

"The administration of President Hassan Rouhani, elected in 2013 and re-elected last summer, has been rocked by repeated rounds of teachers’ demonstrations. Teachers in Iran have a long history of protest reaching back to at least 1961. Yet, in terms of geographical breadth, the current round of protests appears unprecedented in the Islamic Republic. The 2009 Green Movement, which constituted the largest popular demonstrations since the 1979 revolution, as well as an earlier wave of teachers’ demonstrations in the early 2000s, were largely restricted to Tehran and a handful of major cities. Not so this time."

Protesting Education in Iran

"The BBC has uncovered details of a secret deal that let hundreds of IS fighters and their families escape from Raqqa, under the gaze of the US and British-led coalition and Kurdish-led forces who control the city.

A convoy included some of IS’s most notorious members and – despite reassurances – dozens of foreign fighters. Some of those have spread out across Syria, even making it as far as Turkey."

The liberals and all the other hypocrites of different colours have always opposed, resented and despised me when I call the US and British regimes criminals. 

Raqqa's dirty secret


The New Spirit of Capitalism