• 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, September 10, 2017

"Like anyone who has lived through war, I dream that future generations will one day be at peace, will abandon the weapons of war. But I know my dream is impossible. As a writer and especially as a veteran, I know that underneath the beautiful green meadows of peace are mountains of bones and ashes from previous wars and, most awful to contemplate, the seeds of future wars."

The First Time I met Americans
The Saudi trillions
including the Western complicity

Friday, September 08, 2017

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Capital expansion has no religion

"The treatment of the Rohingya is sometimes described as a crime against humanity. But we need to interrogate its sources. If we bring in some of the larger trends affecting modest rural communities, two major facts stand out. One is the far larger numbers of Buddhist smallholders who have also been expelled from their land in the last few years. And the other is the fact that large-scale timber extraction, mining, and water projects are replacing the expelled."

Is Rohingya persecution caused by business interests rather than religion?
Back to university

Verso student reading list
Yes.

An Egyptian filmmaker is planning a rejoinder to the Hollywood blockbuster American Sniper, with a film focusing on the "other side of the story" - the Iraqi fighter said to have killed dozens of American soldiers during the occupation.

'Iraqi Sniper': An Egyptian film-maker plans a response to American Sniper

Tuesday, September 05, 2017


If the "civilised" treat their own people in this way, then one should understand the indifference to the 400,000 Iraqi children or the similar number killed by a Syrian regime they did not want to remove. Or, the 500,000 to a million killed in a genocide in Rwanda. Mechanisms have included sanctions, aid, debt, celebrities "saving Africa and defending human rights" ... There are exceptions though when there is a profit to make out of some people or a demographic need combined with hostorical guilt (Germany).


In the mid-19th century British capitalism deliberately legalised opium trading in China that turned millions of Chinese into addicts and made British commerce huge profits. The Chinese fought an unsuccessful war against the British to stop the trade.
Well, in the 21st century there is another legal opium trade operating in the heart of America. It has produced an opioid epidemic across working-class middle America. And it has been created by big pharmaceutical companies and profit-making doctors to produce opiate addiction on a grand scale.

Sam Quinones gives all the devastating details in his book, Dreamland.
As Marilyn Gates, Professor of Anthropology at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada, comments: "we have been reminded of the insidious and pernicious nature of opiate addiction and that Big Pharma and even doctors can be more concerned with profits and managed care than patient well-being".
The answer of state governments to this has been incarceration, not rehabilitation. Addicts with additional psychiatric conditions are particularly vulnerable.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Religion Fights Back

From Fields of Blood — Religion and the History of Violence by Karen Armstrong
Politicians and pundits in the West, observes Zarni, long ago adopted Aung San Suu Kyi as “their liberal darling — petite, attractive, Oxford-educated ‘Oriental’ woman with the most prestigious pedigree, married to a white man, an Oxford don, connected with the British Establishment.”

"Burmese nobel prize winner turned an apologist for genocide" (?)

Those liberals and leftists who had a brilliant analysis of the regime in Burma and knew very well that the Lady broke up with the regime or that the regime was dismanteled. 

Who else is a Nobel Prize winner that comes to my mind? Sadad of Egypt and Obama. 

See also

Earlier this year, when a team from the United Nations Human Rights Commission carried out research into alleged human rights violations in Rakhine state, it refused to use any photographs or video it had not taken itself, because of the problem of authenticating such material.
Their report gives meticulous details of their methodology. 
Yet its findings, of "devastating cruelty" towards the Rohingya community, and actions it said could amount to crimes against humanity, were rejected by the Myanmar government, which then refused to issue visas for a fact-finding mission to Rakhine state.

"Varoufakis explains how he gradually convinced Tsipras, Pappas, and Dragasakis not to follow the orientation adopted by Syriza in 2012, then in 2014. He explains that along with them, he worked out a new orientation that was not discussed within Syriza and was different from the one Syriza ran on during the January 2015 campaign. And that orientation was to lead, at best, to failure, and at worst to capitulation."

Varoufakis Account of the Greek Crisis: A Self-Incrimination
After decades of robbery, plunder and selling of Arab oil on the cheap to the West, another big sell-off is coming. Heads must roll if the Arabs want to control their wealth.

Saudi Arabia's big privatization plan to go head

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Saudi Arabia is applying for a $10 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund!
"The post-67 radical movements in the Arab world can also be called 'creeping': no 'big nights,' no general strikes or coordinated revolution ..." 

Actually, there were general strikes (in 1978 in Tunisia, for example) and there were "bread uprisings" in Tunisia and Egypt. The problems was that the left was already weak as a pole of attraction, the Islamist organization had attracted more members and had more money. The balance of forces was significantly in favour of the regimes (there were brutal and also supported by external powers to maintain stability). Despite their superiority, a few Islamist organisations either adapted to the regimes repression and containment or were crushed (Algeria with the help of the French), or both (i.e. they joined the regimes parliament in spite of being repressed, e.g. the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt).

Also missing in the summary the blunder of the Iraqi Communist Party in the 1950s althought it was the biggest party and could have taken power.

In English and en français

The Arab Left after 1967 defeat

Friday, September 01, 2017


See comments in the previous post.

An example of how we do business in Britain

A BBC Panorama undercover investigation, has just reported that  abuses and assaults on asylum seekers by G4S staff in a detention centre near Gatwick Airport.

Many have heard of the Olympics 2012 scandal by the same security firm. However, the trail of crimes of G4S is long and that has not prevented the British government from encouraging crime. 

What other examples do we have: the crimes of the banks (triggering the 2008-09 crisis and austerity), HSBC banks money laundering, Panama Files, a court ruling that selling arms to the Saudi monarchy is legal (although we know it used in killing Yemenis), most aggressive neoliberal regime and the second least regulated product market in the EU 


I have just finished reading The Mosaic of Islam (the ebook version)

I have some comments and a couple of corrections.


P. 38: "most Muslims do not understand Islam correctly." I find this shocking. It assumes that there is a correct Islam. There is a historical Islam not a correct or a wrong one. As Ahmad Shahab put it beautifully there are contradictions and coherence of what Islam is in most Muslims. It has been the case in most of Islam's history. And the spectrum is so wide from Mauritania to Indonesia..

P. 58: There is no socio-political explanation of the reason(s)/background behind the emergence of Muhammaed and Islam. There is no mention at all of the state and the character of the new society as if the changes in the juriprudence just sprung from a Caliph's brain with no connection to the material life.


P. 66: "Part of the reasons where there is so much chaos ..." How does the beginning of the chaos in Libya (an uprising and NATO intervnetion), Syria (a non-religious uprising and the brutal repression of the regime), Iraq (invasion, occupation and the destruction of the social fabric of the Iraqi spciety), and Yemen (poverty and marginalisation and Saudi intervention with imperialist support) relate to understanding Shari'a or not understanding it? 

Furthermore, there is no mention of historical factors which led to this: colonialism, failure of the renaissance, the encroachment of capitalist modernity, fragmentation of the umma, etc.

P. 144: Regarding the "violence of M. Ibn Abdu -al-Wahhab. "Ibn Abd al-Wahhab had preached a return to the pristine Islam of the Prophet and repudiated such later developments as the Shiah, Sufism, Falsafah, and the jurisprudence (fiqh) on which all other Muslim ulema depended. He was particularly distressed by the popular veneration of holy men and their tombs, which he condemned as idolatry. Even so, Wahhabism was not inherently violent; indeed, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab had refused to sanction the wars of his patron, Ibn Saud of Najd, because he [Ibn Saud] was fighting simply for wealth and glory. It was only after his retirement that Wahhabis became more aggressive ..." Karen Armstrong, Fields of Blood, Vintage ed., 2014, p. 337


P. 161: an issue of precision should be established. Muhammad, the first name of Ibn Abdu al-Wahhab should be added to the name. His brother Sulayman actually disagreed with him on the fundamental issue of calling other Muslims heretics and Jihad must be launched against them. 


P. 180: The argument of producing a counter to "Islamic terrorism" 
through producing a counter to its theology I think is very one-sided. It excludes or relegates to the background, the social, economic and political circumstances of such terrorism. It also excludes the structural violence (state terrorism, and the violence of poverty, dislocation, humiliation, unemployment, resentment, etc). 

The Crusaders had influenced Ibn Taymiyya's outlook. The presence of the US military in Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian suffering influenced Bin Laden. Why can't we say the same about the sanctions and the occupation of Iraq and the role that played in boosting "militant Islam"? Who are the thinkers behind the movement? What was the role played by the Arab regimes and their Western imperialist ones in supporting sime Islamist organisation to counter-weight the nationalist and leftist movements? What was the social background of Bin Laden and al-Baghdadi, for example? Where do the recruiters of "militant Islam" come from? Is the high rate of unemployed graduates and social marginalization a push factor towards joining "militant Islam"... See Assef Bayat's Life As Politics, for example. Compare this with Karen Armstrong's analysis and Jonathan Brown's Misquoting Muhammad.


P. 212: Inaccuracy: murabitun comes from the verb raabata and and thus the noun ribaat (the latter means rampart/the wall of the medina). Muraabit is one who is ready for a battle at a fortress or a rampart. 


P 232: remove "not" in "they even had not".


There is no mention at all whether ISIS was part (and partly a product) of the counter-revolution and the failure of the uprisings of 2011. Other forces include the regional regime and imperialist powers. As one reviewer put it, Mourad "is quite dismissive of the Arab Spring and does not really reference the catastrophic role of wider inter-imperialist competition." (Dave Weltman)


I recommend the book. I have learnt a few things from it. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Amartya Sen

"On the issue of liberalisation and the opening up of economies, Amartya has been rather mainstream. He hasn't raised very deep questions about the whole process and of globalisation in general. He's more of a mainstream economist than many people realise."

More substantial criticisms revolve round his role in the current globalisation debate. Richard Jolly, while being an enormous admirer, says: "On the issue of liberalisation and the opening up of economies, Amartya has been rather mainstream. He hasn't raised very deep questions about the whole process and of globalisation in general. He's more of a mainstream economist than many people realise."

Food for thought

Friday, August 25, 2017

"Zambia’s tourism minister Jean Kapata had a point when she suggested the reaction to Cecil’s slaying showed westerners care more about African animals than African humans."

Since "Westerners" have the means (technology, economy, power, etc) to selectively save themselves, some people other and some animals why should they care about Africans?


But that's not Morton's central theme in


Humankind
The tone of the article, almost explicitly, makes it sound that the Qatari regime is a force of progress. In fact, both the Saudis and the Qatari are theocracies and part of the rentier economies of the Gulf Council and part of the international financial system of oppression and inequality and at the service of the big powers. The level of Qatari investment in London alone is staggering, including 95% of Shard the new skycraper and Canary Warf, not to speak of investment and donations to universities, etc

Saudi Arabia's attempt at a Qatari coup backfired

Monday, August 21, 2017

"Last month in Germany, for example, lawmakers voted to approve gay marriage (and adoption) in a historic vote. The anti-Muslim populist party Alternative for Germany opposed the measure on ideological grounds, while all six Muslim members of parliament voted in support of the bill. Incidentally, Chancellor Angela Merkel, now widely seen as the pre-eminent guardian of western liberal values, voted against the bill."

How the 'homophobic Muslim' became a populist bogeyman

Sunday, August 20, 2017

"I've seen people share a photo of a MLK statue with the caption "Martin Luther King was against gay marriage should we take down his statue?" For some reason it's disproportionately annoyed me so I need to spell out why it's a stupid question.
Like I say, you people don't need to hear this I just have an abiding urge to say it.
MLK's life's work was for justice. He fought with every fiber of his being to right a world historic injustice knowing that he may well pay with his life - which he sadly did - but his contribution advanced his cause and allowed society to take real steps towards becoming a civilisation.
The life's work of various Confederate generals whose statues are under threat was to defend and extend slavery. They were willing to see millions die to keep millions in horrific conditions. Unlike MLK they lost and their legacy of hate is ashes.
People aren't advocating taking down those statues because they once said something they didn't like but because those statues glorify the worst aspects of a horrific chapter in American history. You can still read about them in books and fly their rancid flag if you like, but if we're giving out honours it should be to people like Tubman, Douglas, Brown and many, many others not those who literally fought for the right to enslave people.
I'm sure MLK said and did many things in his life that we could criticise (although at the time he died who *was* in favour of gay marriage? Almost nobody. There were no campaigns for it, no campaigns against it, no one thought really about it. It's hardly a surprise that a committed Christian in the 60's didn't share 100% the sensitivities of 21st century liberals). It's a non-issue. MLK is not celebrated because he was a saint but because he was an ordinary man who did extraordinary things.
He made the world a better place than when he found it. Confederate generals were murderers for an evil cause. No one cares about a tight textual analysis of their opinions - it's what they did in life that means we should remember them but never, ever honour them. Taking down their statues seems fine to me - drawing a moral equivalence between them and MLK? Well that just seems laughable." — Jim Jepps

Thursday, August 17, 2017

How the elite is created

Malala Yousafzai to study politics, philosophy and economics (PPE) at Oxford University. One day, she will probably join the elite of Afghanistan.

What is PPE?



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

In the-called  "communist" countries,

Women Had Better Sex (The New York Times)
"At the start of the 18th century, India’s share of the global economy was 23 percent – the size of all of Europe combined. By the end of nearly 200 years of British rule, first under the proto-multinational corporation East India Company and then, after 1858, direct governance by the British crown, India’s share had dropped to just over 3 per cent, following the deliberate destruction of thriving local industries by the British.

Perhaps most shocking is the section detailing the 30-35 million Indians who needlessly died in the series of famines under the British Raj, the most recent of which was the 1943-4 Bengal Famine. Tharoor calls these ‘British colonial holocausts’, comparing them to the 25 million people who perished in Stalin’s collectivisation drive and political purges."

Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Lenin's eco-warriors  (The New York Times)
Like the carving of the Arab countries, here is another criminal legacy of the British Empire:


"British judge Cyril Radcliffe was brought in to draw up the border between India and Pakistan.
It meant cutting two of India's most powerful and populous provinces in half; Punjab and Bengal.
Radcliffe had never been to India before and never returned.
This rushed partition would have repercussions for decades to come."

The Partition of India and Pakistan
Long live the middle class!

"only 25 black Caribbean students entering medicine or dentistry courses in 2014-15."

UK higher education: class and race

Monday, August 14, 2017

This is an interesting discovery. I have never heard of Leonardo Padura before. His words in this interview are of a very intelligent man, especially what he says about Stalinism and socialism.

"Robin Yassin-Kassab examines the axis of useful idiocy that responds to the rise of torch wielding fascism in the U.S. with whatabout-Hillaryisms, that defends British chauvinism as a tactic to combat globalism, and that defends the genocidal Syrian Regime as a hedge against 'Zio-Wahhabi' imperialism.
"It isn’t surprising that the right sees every Syrian refugee as a potential terorist when the left has spent years opining that the Syrian revolution is run by al-Qaida (or American imperialism, or Zionism). These beasts feed each other. The greatest threats today are rising authoritarianism, whether it calls itself leftist or rightist, and the preference for ideology over human reality, for simplistic conspiracism over complicated facts.
This is going to get a lot more messy. We need answers to the politics of austerity and the undoubted tensions of a globalised and increasingly technologised economy. Nostalgia for the social compositions of earlier decades, and the era when national borders were impermeable, is by no means an answer. Yassin argues that democracy “retreats everywhere as soon as it stops progressing anywhere”. He speaks of a progressively “Syrianized” world.
It’s no suprise that today Western ‘realists’ think the regime which started the Syrian war should remain in power for the sake of stability; or that a childish and bullying reality-TV star is president of the world’s most powerful state; or that fascists are again gathering for torch-lit rallies. That’s what happens when you ignore human suffering in favour of stirring grand narratives." — 
Jonathan Hendrixson


A Syrianized world
A book review

Good Communist Homes

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Adolph Reed: "[Identity] politics is not an alternative to class politics; it is a class politics, the politics of the left-wing of neoliberalism. It is the expression and active agency of a political order and moral economy in which capitalist market forces are treated as unassailable nature.
An integral element of that moral economy is displacement of the critique of the invidious outcomes produced by capitalist class power onto equally naturalized categories of ascriptive identity that sort us into groups supposedly defined by what we essentially are rather than what we do. As I have argued, following Walter Michaels and others, within that moral economy a society in which 1% of the population controlled 90% of the resources could be just, provided that roughly 12% of the 1% were black, 12% were Latino, 50% were women, and whatever the appropriate proportions were LGBT people.
It would be tough to imagine a normative ideal that expresses more unambiguously the social position of people who consider themselves candidates for inclusion in, or at least significant staff positions in service to, the ruling class."
Ellie-Mae O'Hagan: "If 7% of the population goes to private school, then it seems only fair that 7% of Britain’s elite jobs should go to privately educated individuals. This would include chief executives, barristers, journalists, judges, medical professionals and MPs"

How Global Entertainment Killed Culture 
From Notes on the Death of Culture by Mario Vargas Llosa

Llosa is one of Latin America's best novelists, who moved from the left to become an advocate and enforcer of neoliberal policies in Peru.
"Identitarian politics"

The incident of the decade: a Canadian jouralist saw "religious women with headgear" shopping for lingerie and did a report on it.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

I have read the Introduction and it sounds a very interesting book.

The Political Economy of the Kurds of Turkey
The great recession: 2007-2017

“I know of no form of economic organisation based on the division of labour (he refers to the Smithian view of a capitalist economy), from unfettered laisser-faire to oppressive central planning that has succeeded in achieving both maximum sustainable economic growth and permanent stability.  Central planning certainly failed and I strongly doubt that stability is achievable in capitalist economies, given the always turbulent competitive markets continuously being drawn toward but never quite achieving equilibrium”.  He went on, “unless there is a societal choice to abandon dynamic markets and leverage for some form of central planning, I fear that preventing bubbles will in the end turn out to be infeasible.  Assuaging the aftermath is all we can hope for.” — the head of the Federal Reserve Bank (US) Alan Greenspan

My comment: you know in life there are only two options. Yes, that how the global bourgeois ideology has made most of us believe. 

"Central planning" or "free" market capitalism? There is no third or fourth option/alternative. You don't like capitalism, then what do you suggest, Soviet Union-type economy? North Korea? Cuba? What about democratic "central planning" of the main levers of the economy, "free market" for the rest, protection of the environment, a global economy for the needs of humanity rather than a profit-and-consumerism- driven one?

There has been a religious fundamentalism enmbedded in this ideology: you are are either a believer or an infidel.

We now know the consequences of that tinking globally (on social relations, culture, the environment, etc),  and the effects are going to remain with us for a while. It might even get worse.

Monday, August 07, 2017

"Young men in Asia and Africa often joined the army under duress. The war was fought for freedom, but Indian political demands were brushed aside in the 1940s, with nationalists enduring heavy-handed policing and imprisonment.
The British state bungled food supply in its empire. In Britain, wartime food shortages caused hardship and great inconvenience; in India, they caused mass starvation. At least three million Bengalis died in a catastrophic famine in 1943, a famine that is almost never discussed. The famine's causes were a byproduct of the war, but as Madhusree Mukerjee has proved in her book "Churchill's Secret War," the imperial state also failed to deliver relief. Many soldiers signed up as volunteers to fill their bellies."

Dunkirk, the War and the Amnesia of the Empire (NYT)

A new Chinese nationalist action film


Saturday, August 05, 2017

Lack of democracy,
Lack of solidarity, 
Lack of a bold approach to the capitalist state 

From today’s perspective, it can easily be argued that Syriza’s attempt at achieving real change not only failed miserably; it also inflicted a major blow to the Left’s credibility on an international scale

and

"Despite election promises to end military cooperation with Israel, Tsipras maintained and even expanded this cooperation. Tsipras has referred to Jerusalem as “Israel’s capital”, something not even the United States have dared to do and, needless to say, a slap in the face of millions of Greeks in solidarity with the Palestinian cause. The architect of Syriza’s foreign policy, the “left nationalist” foreign minister Nikos Kotzias, is a true practitioner of Henry Kissinger’s realpolitik, constructing strategic alliances with the Israel state, the Egyptian junta and any other regional player perceived to be against Turkey, no matter how vicious and ruthless..."

"Syriza’s U-turns in both domestic and foreign policy are closely intertwined; by avoiding the necessary confrontation with Greek capitalism’s economic power – which flexed its muscles during the week before the referendum, as evidenced by the closure of the banks – it was only a matter of time before Syriza fully conformed to its geopolitical interests."

How Syriza stopped worrying and started loving the status quo

Thursday, August 03, 2017

This is an interesting argumentative essay on "Salafism". However, it is also a disappoitment.
If I was to give a score, it would be 50\100. It is a good essay in terms of arguments and counter-arguments, etc. I have learnt a few things from it. However, I find such a way of writing too horizontal as if ideas emerge from people's minds with no connection to real life in their respective societies. I do not accept the excuse that I often hear: "Dealing with the social, economic, political, class, background of ideas is beyond the scope of this essay." A history which we can learn from is a history that is holistic with its interactive components and ingredients. Otherwise, it is sterile. I recall reading Assef Bayat, for example, analysing the Islamic movements in Iran and Egypt or Karen Armstrong dealing with how "Religion Fights Back" or how "Jihād" went global. There is a background, there is the vertical and the horizental. I have been disappointed here. I will though read the other essays.

What is Salafism?

and this one too confirms the fragmentation of social thought. We cannot see even two pragrapghs about the social and political context in which the people we talk about lived.

Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Abdu al-Wahhāb brothers

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Varoufakis "speaks of how great it was to have the support of Larry Summers, Norman Lamont, and other figures on the Right, but it was support for whom, for what, and in whose class interests? Class analysis is far from the foreground of the picture sketched out here.

Closed rooms and class war

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

"30 years later, the point of conflict between Said and de Beauvoir is still hotly debated following Western assaults on hijabs, niqabs, burqas and other traditional Muslim attire. The defense of these garments, taken on by thinkers like Saba Mahmood and Lila Abu-Lughod is often deeply indebted to Said’s work on racist Western conceptions of the East."

"A bitter disappointment": Edward Said on his encounter with Sartre, de Beauvoir and Foucauld

and 

Edward Said's diary 
Legalised crime


A couple of years ago, a teacher told me "it wasn't a problem if the bankers, the wealthy, etc engabe in tax evasion and tax avoidance because they create wealth and put it in the economy."
"Perhaps the biggest problem is that tax havens mostly benefit financial elites, including some politicians and many of their donors. Meanwhile, pressure from voters for action is limited by the boring and confusing nature of the problem. 
Sandwich, anyone?" —  (bbc online)

How much of the world's wealth is hidden offshore

Monday, July 31, 2017

"Nolan’s every film, from Following (1998) to Dunkirk (2017), reverses the anti-tradition of Roberto Rossellini, whom Jean-Luc Godard, in Godard on Godard, celebrates as a great artist because he trusts chance. “To trust chance is to hear voices,” Godard wrote, by which he meant the voices of other people. If Christopher Nolan hears any voice, it’s Margaret Thatcher’s from 1987."

Tory Porn / The Hobbesian anti-art of Christopher Nolan
Louis Proyect: "All me cynical but my take on the middle-class protests in Venezuela is that it is less interested in democracy than it is in ratcheting the Gini coefficient back towards one. I remain a committed Marxist but when it comes to Maduro versus Leopoldo Lopez, the opposition leader who was a key figure in the 2002 coup attempt, I’ll stick with Maduro—warts and all. Or I should say Boligarchs and all." 

Yes, but also have to be very critical of Maduro.




Afghanistan

"It was the deadliest single attack on a military installation in the entire 16-year history of the Afghan conflict." 170 Afghan soliders killed.

Last year a record number of Afghan forces were killed - 6,800 in total. That is three times the losses of American forces during the entire 16 years of this conflict."

 — the BBC website


Nicely put.

"That, however, was only part of the story. There are those who see modern history as an enthralling tale of progress, and those who view it as one long nightmare. Marx, with his usual perversity, thought it was both. Every advance in civilization had brought with it new possibilities of barbarism. The great slogans of the middle-class revolution—"Liberty, Equality, Fraternity"—were his watchwords, too. He simply inquired why those ideas could never be put into practice without violence, poverty, and exploitation. Capitalism had developed human powers and capacities beyond all previous measure. Yet it had not used those capacities to set men and women free of fruitless toil. On the contrary, it had forced them to labor harder than ever. The richest civilizations on earth sweated every bit as hard as their Neolithic ancestors."

Sunday, July 30, 2017


       حدوتة مصرية 

The British Empire's hidden history is one of resistance, not pride

Further reading


The History Thieves: Secrets, Lies and the Shaping of a Modern Nation by Ian Cobain


and

In the 1950s, the distinguished American sociologist Edward Shils decided that the explanation lay with a ruling class that was “unequalled in secretiveness and taciturnity”, whose members were so close and comfortable with one another that they had little fear of hidden secrets. Cobain largely supports this view. Class deference combined with a relatively benign and trusting view of the state’s behaviour may explain “why the peculiarly uncommunicative nature of the British state does not provoke greater resentment and unease among the British public and media”. 
Quoted by Ian Jack, the Guardian

Friday, July 28, 2017

I cannot disclose who said the following, but the arguments about the US and British armies today sound very interesting.

"The peasants [of the Russian army prior 1917] in uniform weren't mercenaries, but conscripts. The US and British soldiers [today] aren't conscripts, not the historical equivalent of the Russian imperial army, but the historical equivalent of Hessians or the Swiss guard. There's a huge difference between those two. Only a conscript is a worker in uniform - all the others are bourgeois cops with bigger or smaller guns.

Edit: I can't find any historical example where a revolution was won with the aid of professional soldiers - it was always won by defeating them, be they Hessians, the Swiss Guard or Cossacks...and some US soldiers are OK and have resisted imperialism - still doesn't change the US military's role as a whole...

I never said a soldier "can't act in favour of the masses because he wasn't conscripted" - I said they most often don't...I do think that an army which consists mostly of ppl who had to join it to escape a precarious situation with no affordable healthcare or education can have class consciousness - it DOES have class consciousness. Just not working class."

One should wonder what happened in the Egyptian, Tunisian and Syrian armies during and after the uprisings.

Couscous, capitalism and neoliberalism in Tunisia