Showing posts from March, 2017
Tunisia This has existed for many years , if not decades, especially in the capital and in the big coastal cities, but the Daily Mail has just discovered it.
The value of Capital
Photography St Petersburg, Russia
Keynes, civilisation, and the long run
How treating students as customers turns the idea of meritocracy into a joke
Depth and substance vs shallowness
How did the West usurp the rest? Abstract: Traditional explanations of the “ rise of the West ” have located the sources of Western supremacy in structural or long-term developmental factors internal to Europe. By contrast, revisionist accounts have emphasized the con- junctural and contingent aspects of Europe ’ s ascendancy, while highlighting intersocietal conditions that shaped this trajectory to global dominance. While sharing the revisionist focus on the non-Western sources of European develop- ment, we challenge their conjunctural explanation, which denies differences between “ West ” and “ East ” and within Europe. We do so by deploying the idea of uneven and combined development (UCD), which redresses the short- comings found on both sides of the debate: the traditional Eurocentric focus on the structural and immanent characteristics of European development and the revisionists ’ emphasis on contingency and the homogeneity of Eurasian societies. UCD resolves these proble
" The suicide attacker, as Richard Boothby has written, short-circuits this relationship between master and slave. The uneven dialectic is based on the formula: your freedom or your life. But it is uneven because, if you choose the former, you can't have either. In a suicide attack, the attacker abruptly proves willing to give up her life to end the stand-off; turning her corporeality, her body, into a weapon. Jacqueline Rose made the point, writing about suicide attackers some years ago, that every such attack is "an act of passionate identification -- you take your enemy with you". Which could be interpreted as meaning, you take a bit of their whiteness, their being, with you. You claim a share of being, seemingly always precarious, always endangered, through death. Lone wolf suicide attackers may not kill many people compared to the apparatuses of military full-spectrum dominance, or militarised policing. But they evoke a particular horror because they upend the
"Brexit reinforces Britain's imperial amnesia"
Eurocentric modernism
" The essay seems to vacillate between the urge to expose the hypocrisy or mendacity of power in its use of humanitarianism as char- ter for invasion and domination, a critique that might still leave a (liberal) concept of the human intact, and a drive to expose a deeper, constitutive, and unredeemable involvement of the very concept of the human (and in particular, the suffering human) in the violence of geopolitical power. Repeatedly, though not consistently, Asad’s essay reaches for this sense of a deeper crisis of the modern concept of the human and its wider constellation rather than its (cynical, partial, and hypocritical) manipulation by power. But whether or not he subscribes to any version of the posthuman paradigm currently in vogue remains utterly unclear... Throughout the essay, as in much of Asad’s writing, one gets the sense that there are only these two sociocultural realities (and modes of thinking) in the world: the liberal-secular-modern (which is im
  A few interesting things in this narrative ,   but why does it avoid to mention the global capitalist system as the context?
This is about one among the hundreds of thousands of victims of that "secular leader, the lesser evil" who has not been included in the Western regime change, and supported by a few liberals and leftists worldwide.
Mosul's children were shouting beneath the rubble. Nobody came.
" [Y]ou don’t bring about major political change simply by changing people’s minds. It’s their interests that need to be assailed, not their opinions. " Universities can’t get critical leverage in a situation of which they have become an integrated part, any more than a Picasso hanging in the lobby of the Chemical Bank can make an implicit comment on finance capitalism. By and large, academic institutions have shifted from being the accusers of corporate capitalism to being its accomplices. They are intellectual Tescos, churning out a commodity known as graduates rather than greengroceries." — Terry Eagleton Terry Eagleton was forced to retire from his post as John Edward Taylor Professor of English Literature at Manchester University in July 2008 Death of the intellectual
Yet in 2015, only eighty-one thousand workers participated in strikes, and only 170,000 days were lost to labor action.  These figures  represent the fewest strikers and the second-smallest loss to productivity since records began in 1893.  “The legal framework works against workers,” argues Chris, an IWW organizer. “It’s tailored toward management, but also toward compromise. If you reject that framework, then you can operate in a way that is actually really effective.” The rise of the unorganizable
" To be sure, Miéville, like everyone else, concedes that it all ended in tears because, given the failure of revolution elsewhere and the prematurity of Russia’s revolution, the historical outcome was ‘Stalinism: a police state of paranoia, cruelty, murder and kitsch’. But that hasn’t made him give up on revolutions, even if his hopes are expressed in extremely qualified form. The world’s first socialist revolution deserves celebration, he writes, because ‘things changed once, and they might do so again’ (how’s that for a really minimal claim?). ‘Liberty’s dim light’ shone briefly, even if ‘what might have been a sunrise [turned out to be] a sunset.’ But it could have been otherwise with the Russian Revolution, and ‘if its sentences are still unfinished, it is up to us to finish them." The Russian Revolution: What's Left?
Book review: The Long Depression by Michael Roberts   (a pdf file)
More on precise air strikes and the higher moral objective to save civilisation.  Some collateral damage is worth it.
"China has already overtaken in per capita GDP or in PPP all of the world's other largest developing economies - India, Indonesia and Brazil. By 2020 China's per capita GDP will be higher than several Eastern European countries. As China has 19 percent of the world's population, quite literally never in human history has anything approaching such a large proportion of the world's population had its conditions of life improved so rapidly. That will be the astonishing measure of China's success in achieving "moderate prosperity" - it is, without comparison, literally the greatest economic achievement in human history." What China achieving 'moderate prosperity' means
London I have received an email saying that the attack, which took place yesterday, was "an attack on the values of democracy and openess".  Theresa May, the PM, has said that "the attacker was inspired by the Islamic faith". The intellectual disability (or the fundamentalist discourse) of some people are just disgusting. Has the PM said something else? Yes, she spoke about "the oldest democracy", "freedom", "forces of evil", and some other things of that nature. The ones we heard after the previous attacks. Update: the Prime Minister also said that "we saw the worst of humanity." She is not pretending to be ignorant; she is just a representative of an imperialist and chauvinistic regime for which the rhetoric of "humanity" is a PR for public comsumption. More than 200 people just drowned in the Miditerranean
Iraqi militias have no place in Iraq, says Muqtada al-sadr
How World Cup workers are deceived  ... and exploited
What we found is a phenomenon that explains, with remarkable clarity, the rise of Donald Trump — but that is also much larger than him, shedding new light on some of the biggest political stories of the past decade. Trump, it turns out, is just the symptom. The rise of American authoritarianism is transforming the Republican Party and the dynamics of national politics, with profound consequences likely to extend well beyond this election. The rise of American authoritarianism
Minor news items do not appear on the BBC fronpage Or When the objective is part of a supreme civilisational mission, collateral damage is worth it. Mistakes happen! Let's remember that we have to terrorize the terrorists there so that they don't kill us in the West.
Surprise! Surprise! British banks handled vast sums of laundered Russian money
The recent attacks in Damascus are only the start Now compare that with this Syria's 'peace process' is Russia's new weapon
No easy answers, just bad history A reply to  Why left-wing economics is not the answer to right-wing populism
Iran's most wild and beautiful places
To foreign ministries in the global north, Sisi is a familiar face in an ever-more unfamiliar region – and one that they’re ready to do business with. In the past two years Egypt has signed major new arms deals with both the US and France. Donald Trump has labelled his Egyptian counterpart ‘a fantastic guy’. In late 2015, David Cameron rolled out the red carpet for Sisi at Downing Street; Theresa May has promised ‘a new chapter in bilateral relations’ between the UK and Egypt and as I speak Boris Johnson is in Cairo, drumming up trade deals. Italy did, thanks to popular pressure on the ground, temporarily withdraw its ambassador to Egypt in protest at Giulio’s murder. But between 2011 and 2013 alone, Italy sold Egypt more than half a billion euros worth of guns and bullets. The police trucks that many of the journalists and political prisoners I mentioned earlier found themselves locked up in after being dragged from their homes in the night are manufactured by the Italian company Ive
No, Poland's elites didn't try to save the Jews during the holocaust
" All you need to gain access to socialism for white people is a good corporate or government job. That fact helps explain how this welfare system took shape sixty years ago, why it was originally (and still overwhelmingly) white, and why white Rust Belt voters showed far more enthusiasm for Donald Trump than for Bernie Sanders. White voters are not interested in democratic socialism. They want to restore their access to a more generous and dignified program of white socialism." Interesting, but equally interesting is the writer's concept of "socialism".
Some good news Wealth of top billionnaires climbs to $7.7tn
The power thinker
Brexit means the end of single market access for London
UN report establishes Israeli apartheid
A new book Spain's Moriscos
India Modi rules, Harvard doesn't Aristotle: “Even if they have no share in office, the poor, provided only that they are not outraged or deprived of their property, will be quiet enough.” … “prevent the lower from getting more; they must be kept down, but not ill-treated. … Friendship [among members of the ruling class] we believe to be the greatest good of states and the preservative of them against revolutions.” Jlowry: " We should avoid designating India or any other capitalist state as a democracy . They are oligarchies i.e. states where the rich rule as opposed to democracies where the poor or unpropertied rule. As Aristotle notes in his ”Politics” it is quite inadequate to define democracies as the rule of the majority and oligarchy as the rule of the few; it is rather that the poor are many and the rich few, which is why he notes that the mark of a democracy is selection by lot, that of an oligarchy election by ballot , which the rich will usually win. Wal B
" Ideas and words are often products of their time. That is certainly true of heterosexuality, which was borne out of a time when American life was becoming more regularised. As Blank argues, the invention of heterosexuality corresponds with the rise of the middle class." (BBC online) The invention of 'heterosexuality'
Why left-wing economics is not the answer to right-wing populism
"Do not believe these croakers but give the lie to their dismal croaking by showing by our actions that the vigour and vitality of our race is unimpaired and that our determination is to uphold the Empire that we have inherited from our fathers as Englishment". In his view, the British would "continue to pursue that course marked out for us by an all-wise hand and carry out mission of bearing peace, civilisation and good government to the uttermost ends of the earth".  That man on the five-pounds note. Bath, England,  Speech of 26 July 1897
England On Owen Jones' Doncaster day out
21st century slavery propping up in Sicily: rape, beating and exploitation
Europe Competition to outperform the other is good. To achieve a high enough rate of profit is good. To have weak or obsolete unions is good. To have a reserve army so the workers accept their conditions is good. If regulations undermine profit, they are not good.   Drivers living in trucks for months
Is France's Marine le Pen far-right? This is a good analysis.
"You can spew your visceral hatred for Trump, Farage, Le Pen, Gert Wilders or other far-right “populists” – whom I prefer to call racists –  all you want, but an abandonment of the Syrian people using the age-old adage of “it’s all America’s doing” and absolving the crimes of such people puts you in cahoots with these very same bigots." That father
U.S. 1.5 million missing black men
Egyptian union leaders acquitted of criminal charges face retrial
Capitalism's next crisis
"From isolated group of fighters to Caliphate"
Learning from the Great Depression
" Assange is a man of what I once called the Chomskyan left and what modern critics call the  regressive left . He is against the west, often for good reasons. Like so many of his kind, however, he will then ally with any force, however reactionary, which opposes the west as well." Nick Cohen, the Guardian Yes, I agree that allying oneself with Farage and Trump makes you reactionary. I also conclude from the above that anyone who opposes "the west" is reactionary. For Cohen assumes that "the west" is progressive. I think not.  I think that Cohen is a defender of "the west", which means he allies himself with a history of state imperialism' crimes of western regimes: wars, invasions, plunder of public wealth, huge inequality, tacit backing of theocracies and dictatorships, enslavement through debt, harbouring of oligarchs, exploitation, instituional racism (especially in the US) ...  What is Cohen's "west" if not that global
Who's killing civilians in Syria?
" What then, do human rights do in a context in which both state and subject are being transformed by neoliberal governmental ratio- nalities? The problem with human rights today is not so much that they conceal their own reliance on national rights, I suggest, but that they have become a discourse that is used to justify both state violence and forms of conversion, including economic conversion, on a global scale." Human rights and the collateral damage of neoliberalism
Michael Roberts: Interesting insights into the nature and context of Trumpism by Paul Mason . Not sure about this policy prescription though!  "Make a strategic alliance with the remnants of neoliberalism to defend the rule of law, democracy and tolerance, similar to the Popular Front project sponsored by the Comintern in the 1930s." That did not do so well.
U.N accuses Turkey of killing hundreds of Kurds
Imprisoned and tortured by the PA, executed by the Israeli occupying forces
England " Some 95% of the 1,054 heads, deputies and senior teachers responding to the survey said they had cut back on support services - including equipment and materials, as well as mental health and special needs support. More than eight out of 10 said class sizes had increased - a claim strongly refuted by the Department for Education. And more than two-thirds said they had cut back on activities like clubs and trips." (bbc online) The refugees fault? Too many foreigners breeding like rabbits? They wish they could privatise all schools like what they have been doing to the National Health Service. Where is Richard Branson to "fund" education? Higher education is already elitist, why not making all education elitist, i.e. only for those who can afford it?  These capitalists cannot afford even to be Keynesians. They have the money for wars and bombs. They tell us our aid and charities, and missionaries, are helping poor people in Africa and elsewher
In think Airwars is making too much fuss. The killing of civilians is "a collateral damage" in achieving the higher, ultimate goal of the civilized and liberating mission by defeating the so-called Islamic State whose militants have beheaded our men, and Yazidis, and whose "jihadists" have killed our people in France, Germany and the US. "The price is worth it". Coalition airforces kill "hundreds" of Mosul civilians
A book review Inglorious Empire: what the British did to India
Market, Debt, New Fundamentalisms
The "civilized" can afford to build memorials for those who fought for ".Queen and country"; who fought the "uncivilized" in order to liberate women, and dogs. The resources and the idelogical machine of "the civilized" can afford to glorify barbarism, destruction, state terrorism so they look just and legitimate. Then they can afford, with no shame and qualms at all, to have their criminals who have perpetrated the destrcution and the "liberation" to be "peace envoys" or preachers at universities. 
"Post-colonial Theory and the Specter of Capital"
The Scots do not want to live longer! " Scotland is facing an unprecedented mortality crisis, according to newly released figures which reveal that, in the past three years, life expectancy has failed to rise for the first time since records were published in 1861."  — The Sunday Times
30% of the Egyptian families have a woman as the only bread winner ( BBC Arabic )
The CIA Reads French Theory On the Intellectual Labor of Dismantling the Cultural Left
" Following what we’ve seen in Europe, it makes sense that when the populist right is in power, the center-left  moves to the right . The Democrats are a little bit different, in that you’re going to see some semblance of a leftward movement — doubling down on the social inclusion part of the Democratic Party — and resisting some of Trump’s nativism, while moving rightward on issues of political economy to try to win over moderate segments of the capitalist class. I think you’ll see a leftward and a rightward movement at the same time." Full interview here
Why the system will still win
" Turning and turning in the widening gyre   The falcon cannot hear the falconer;   Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;   Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,   The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   The ceremony of innocence is drowned;   The best lack all conviction, while the worst   Are full of passionate intensity." W. B. Yeats No, the Centre can still hold. The economic and political order since the 1980s, a form capitalism, has been accepted and supported by centre-right and centre-left governments of the same regime. The two movements which has opposed that order are now stigmatised as "populism". The revolutionary left is weak and divided.  Despite the crises (economic, social, theoretical, and political), Brexit, Trump, refugees, etc. there is no real threat to the established order to compel the Centre to resort to the fascist or semi-fascist forces. No, the general crisis can still be managed by the Liberal centre without us
" My main point was that the current dominance of finance capital was not achieved only by force but also by what Gramsci called “consent.” Against "progressive neoliberalism"
The Role of Oxfam, Unicef, Live Aid in the Systematic Destabilization of African Nations
Mutations of fascism
“Under conditions of terror most people will comply but some people will not… No more is required, and no more can reasonably be asked, for this planet to remain a place fit for human habitation.” — Hannah Arendt
" There is nothing socialist about this, nothing social democratic, nothing liberal, nothing progressive, nothing moral, nothing with any optimism or imagination." What is it?
A report suggesting the disintegration and regrouping of the EU . This is not an original analysis, but it is a confirmation of what some analysts think it would/is likely to happen. Stratfor had already forcast the future of the EU in terms of emerging blocs rather than complete disintegration.
"Free-market" values overwhelm Albania
The ideology of the end of ideology Pontecorvo/Godard/Fassbinder