Posts

Showing posts from April, 2017
European youth "ready to join mass revolt"
Abortion: how women break the taboo in Yemen
The world hasn't had this many people dying of famine and diseases since WWII "The international response? Essentially, a giant shrug of indifference." and Invasion of fall armyworms ravages crops in 20 African countries
"How  could Germany of all countries have become a paragon, politically stable and economically successful, of democratic capitalism in the 1970s – ‘Modell Deutschland’ – and later, in the 2000s, Europe’s uncontested economic and political superpower? Any explanation must have recourse to a Braudelian  longue durée , in which destruction can be progress – utter devastation turned into a lasting blessing – because capitalist progress  is  destruction, of a more or less creative sort. In 1945 unconditional surrender forced Germany, or what was left of its western part, into what Perry Anderson has called a ‘second round of capitalist transformation’ of the sort no other European country has ever had to undergo. Germany’s bout was a violent – sharp and short – push forward into social and economic ‘modernity’, driving it for ever from the halfway house of Weimar, in a painful dismantling of structures of political domination and social solidarity, feudal fetters which had held back
Note: there is no single word about media ownership in the country. For example, 80% of newspapers are owned by 5 families. Two papers, at least are owned by a Russian oligarch.  Freedom of speech! UK slips to 40th in press freedom ranking
The article implies that France, unlike Spain and Germany, has not carried out enough market reforms thus the clash will happen when  Macron will try to slash here and cut there. The Socialist Parti in France has been timid in implementing "neo-liberalism": "the public sectorbis still big, the unions are powerful, the social benefits are too good ..."  Despite of what has happened, the leading business and mainstream media defend the continuation of the "neo-liberal" project. For them the "centre" has to hold. In the case of France, Macron is their best candidate to save the Centre and implement the reforms the ruling class has been pushing for. " Social unrest is France's biggest risk "
The asylum detainee who shot a film in secret
" Andy Merrifield’s The Amateur is a quite different beast. Merrifield is a leftwing “urbanist” whose thinking has been influenced both by obvious figures (Marx and Weber) and more unexpected ones (Baudelaire and Kafka). The Amateur is an old-style polemic arguing that many ills of the modern world (inequality, rising levels of stress and depression) stem from the increased specialisation of knowledge — or what Merrifield calls the “professional” mindset. He advocates instead a return to amateurism — which he defines as the pursuit of ideas for their own sake, and the freedom to roam promiscuously between disciplines." See also this FT article on the 'gig economy'
Blood and treasure: Egypt's army See also  what Trump said when he met Al-Sisi
Brazil's first general strike in 31 years
Violence: theirs and ours
"the void of intimacy and the powerful distraction of our tech devices."
The remarkable career of Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Chinese capital, the US and Germany
How mainstream racism, the racism of the establishment, in France, made Le Pen's racism manistream, and helped her get into the second round of the elections. "Go back to September 1984, when the Socialist prime minister, Laurent Fabius,  told a TV interviewer  that the elder Le Pen, a card-carrying racist and neo-fascist, was posing the right questions but giving the wrong answers. A few years later, the Socialist president, Francois Mitterrand, declared that France had reached a  “threshold of tolerance”  in terms of the impact of immigrants. In 1991, after  clashes  broke out between French police and youths of Arab and North African descent, politicians from the left, right, and center fell over one another to denounce immigration and bash French Muslims. In June of that year, for example, it wasn’t the elder Le Pen who decried an “overdose” of immigrants who brought to France “three or four wives, some 20 children,” plus “noise” and “smell.” It was former center-rig
Here is what Tony Benn said about the Guardian newspaper (slide to read)
The Average Black Family Would Need 228 Years to Build the Wealth of a White Family Today
" The ruling class supports Macron because he can help transform the Fifth Republic’s political-institutional system and preserve its capacity to dictate government policy in the years ahead. Macron’s election would radically realign French politics, clearing the way for a reform agenda that has faced numerous obstacles over the past twenty years.  M acron belongs to the inner circle of the French ruling class, what Pierre Bourdieu dubbed the “ state nobility .” A number of sociologists, from  Ezra Suleiman  to  Pierre Birnbaum , have demonstrated that these high-ranking civil servants constitute the most powerful social group in France."
You fool! I wouldn't ask a criminal imperialist state for an apology
"How Germany used Islam during World War I"
"U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said nearly 19 million people, or two-thirds of Yemen's population, needed emergency aid. One child under the age of five dies of preventable causes every 10 minutes, he said." (Reuters) It is more exciting to follow the French elections! Or Their children and ours Britain and other states sells weapons to Saudi Arabic. The latter is using them in Yemen.
AS:  I take your point, and clearly Europe to did see, as you call it, a great ‘sorting-out’, but of course that term as you’re using it describes a set of  different processes – or, I should say, historical events and catastrophes – ranging from the Final Solution, the extermination of European jewry to the ethnic cleansing that took place at the very end of and in the aftermath of the Second World War. But what all these events share is that they’re are not a sorting-out of primordial identities so much as they are political events, driven by war, state interests, racial ideology, etc. And so to bring the conversation back to the Middle East, I think there is, unfortunately, a danger in the West’s conversation about sectarian warfare, to treat these identities as if they were primordial and as if this conflict that we’ve been seeing in Iraq and Syria is somehow natural, this sorting-out is a natural process, when in fact Syrian and Iraqi Sunni and Shia Muslims and Christians lived
A very interesting book. And what has made it more interesting is this review in the Financial Times (a very revolutionary socialist website!) "So long as we persist in our tendency to hive off the study of economics from politics, philosophy and journalism, Marx, will remain the outstanding example of how to overcome the frangmentation of modern social thought and think about the world as a whole for the sake of its betterment."  — Mark Mazwoer, Columbia University, reviewing Gareth Stedman Jones's book Karl Marx, Greatness and Illusion , the Financial Times, August 5 2016 My comment: the fragmentation of social thought is not an accident; it is part and parcel of the substance of the dominant ideological thought which manifests itself, for example, in the academic sphere and how subjects of studies have been fragmented and delivered. That has a lot to do with the capitalist market and its relationship to reproduction of ideas and commodities.
China bans some Muslim names for newborns in Xinjiang (FT)
A heartfelt apology to Haaretz readers
This is very good! From Somerdale to Skarbimierz
“ This will repeat in other places ,” Dr. Monzer Khalil, a health official in rebel-held Idlib, said a day after treating victims of the recent chemical attack. “If Europe and America are honest, to preserve the values they are defending, they should fight this oppression. There should be political pressure on the regime.” >> One of many ways to perpetuate oppression is for "the oppressed people" themselves, consciously or unsonciously, to believe in crap.
"Populism in Iran shares much with populisms elsewhere in the world. It looks radical from outside, but its inner core is conservative. The obvious difference between present-day populism in the United States and in Iran is that while the former is a threat to the whole planet, the latter is a detriment mostly to its own people." Iran's Past and Present: An inteview with Ervand Abrahamian
The most justified social protest in Israel
When was America great?
France The best dissection I've read so far: Landscape of treason
Sex for rent? and London letting agents 'refuse black tenants'
Afghanistan When ones mentions Taliban, it seems that almost everybody has heard of them, but very few people would know how many times Western imperialist armies, and other armies, have interefed in Afghanistan, and the scale of destruction and instability those powers have left in the process. The British now have been defeated for the fourth time (incompetence of the "civilized to civilize" the recalcitrant? The Russians were also defeated, very badly. A defeat, let's not forget, that was helped by the Americans. The Americans and their allies have been defeated after the longest oocupation by the US imperialism, without establishing "peace", "democracy", or "liberating women", dogs, and the unfit in general. "For many decades during its recent past, when it was left alone, Afghanistan was one of the most peaceful and stable countries. History shows that what Afghanistan needs is less foreign interference, not more of it.&quo
" Colonialism as a form of violent foreign rule was legitimised by a racist ideology of European superiority ,’ says the board that greets you at the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin." And so does interventions (military or otherwise today). They are ligitimised by "defending our values and way of life", "liberating women", "figting terrorism", "defeding gay peopleand "reforming Islam" Besides the colonial legacy, fundamental features of global capitalism are being avoided by those who point to colonialism. Uneven and combined development, exploitaion, domination of finance capital and class, international institutions, debt, aid, NGOs, etc are playing crucial role in perpetuating national domination as well as the global one.
Reassessing Foucault: Modern Sexuality and the Transition to Capitalism
"[W]ith  Macron the void is not in contradiction with fullness of content, even if at the present moment when he does have to show something to the outside world, the void is greatly preferable. For the substance is the oligarchy’s: this is the fullness of a class’s project to persevere, in the very moment that everything condemns it, testimony to an era that has perceptibly reached its tipping point. In these conditions, for the oligarchic substance to maintain itself in the face of — and against — everything else, it needed an empty candidate, a candidate who said nothing, for what truly had to be said would be too obscene to present openly: the rich want to remain rich, and the powerful to remain powerful. That is this class’s only project, and that is its candidate Macron’s  raison d’être . In this sense, he is the spasm of a system pushing back its own death. He is its final response, the only way of disguising a continuity that has become intolerable to the rest of society,
Should we vote?  "Fundamentally, we should be indifferent to this demand, coming from the state and its organisations. By now, we should all know that to vote is but to reinforce one of the conservative orientations of the existing system. Brought back to its real contents, the vote is a ceremony that depoliticises peoples..." — Alain Badieu
By the author of Fields of Blood — Religion and the History of Violence. The myth of religious violence and An interview with Karen Armstrong
The other side of/the contradiction in "civilisation" Agriculture had also introduced another type of aggression: an institutional or structural violence in which a society compels people to live in such wretchedness and subjection that they are unable to better their lot. This systemic oppression has been described as possibly “the most subtle form of violence,”   and, according to the World Council of Churches, it is present whenever “resources and powers are unequally distributed, concentrated in the hands of the few, who do not use them to achieve the possible self-realization of all members, but use parts of them for self-satisfaction or for purposes of dominance, oppression, and control of other societies or of the underprivileged in the same society.” Agrarian civilization made this systemic violence a reality for the first time in human history. K. Armstrong, 214, pp. 13-14
"Percy Schramm a montré comment les cérémonies du sacre étaient le transfert, dans l’ordre du politique, de cérémonies religieuses.  Si le cérémonial religieux peut se transférer aussi facilement dans les cérémonies politiques, à travers les cérémonies du sacre, c’est parce qu’il s’agit, dans les deux cas, de faire croire qu’il y a un fondement au discours qui n’apparaît comme autofondateur, légitime, universel que parce qu’il y a théâtralisation — au sens d’évocation magique, de sorcellerie — du groupe uni et consentant  au discours qui l’unit." La fabrique des debats publics
Rewriting of history, erasing memory Jewish students killed in the Holocaust to be honoured — unless they fought the Nazis
One-third of the deal would be paid by German tax-payers as defense aid to Israel. ThyssenKrupp was originally Krupp, the one that collaborated with Hitler in both arms production and using the Jews as slave labour. Thyssen was one of the industrialists who funded Hitler. Germany doesn't recognize the Palestinians right of return. German-Israeli submarines deal
" War makes the world understandable, a black and white tableau of them and us. It suspends thought, especially self-critical thought. All bow before the supreme effort. We are one. Most of us willingly accept war as long as we can fold it into a belief system that paints the ensuing suffering as necessary for a higher good, for human beings seek not only happiness but meaning. And tragically war is sometimes the most powerful way in human society to achieve meaning.  Only when we are in the midst of conflict does the shallowness and vapidness of much of our lives become  apparent. Trivia dominates our conversation and increasingly our airwaves. And war is an enticing elixir. It gives us a resolve, a cause. It allows us to be noble." — Chris Hedges, What Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning , 2003  "The warrior in battle may feel connected with the cosmos, but afterward he cannot always resolve these inner contradictions. It is fairly well establish
الاستشراق في تأويل إدوارد سعيد ونقد مهدي عامل
"Americans have forgotten what we did to North Korea"
" As I listen I am so conscious that for me this is just one more terrible thread in a pattern I am still learning how to read. For them it is a nightmare that will never go away, an inescapable agony at the very centre of their lives. How must it be to wake every day into the knowledge that they, along with their whole society, have no place of refuge, nor expectation of respite, from these deep injustices and horrific crimes." "All that is human in me recoils from this" A background note : " By the beginning of the ninth millennium BCE, the settlement in the oasis of Jericho in the Jordan valley had a population of three thousand people, which would have been impossible before the advent of agriculture. Jericho was a fortified stronghold protected by a massive wall that must have consumed tens of thousands of hours of manpower to construct.38 In this arid region, Jericho’s ample food stores would have been a magnet for hungry nomads. Intensified agricul
I thought that Paul Mason's focus was "Post-capitalism". "Post-capitalism" or barbarism should be accurate if one always keeps in mind how human society moves. Being thrown into barbarism on a bigger scale than in Syria or Rwanda, is thinkable. Is Mason kidding himself when he hopes that Theresa May should abide by the non-proliferation treaty? I think he knows better than me how national interests to be protected and how geopolitics necessitates having a monopoly or near monopoly of the means of violence. "Nuclear war has become thinkable again"
"Civilisation is face to face with militant Mohammedanism", Winston Churchill asserted.  — Quoted in Frederick Woods, Young Winston's Wars, 1972, p. 30
The British PM calls for a snap eelection. — They are not only criminals, they are also clever and they know when to change their minds and to strike  when it is hot. — Another chance for "the public" to elect the criminals (again).
How the Bible Belt lost God and found Trump
Five films on the modern Arab world
That "secular" regime, that lesser-evil ... 
Al-Assad's Syria is not secular, sovereign or independent
A reminder from the aftermath of the Paris attack This article, which I had reposted before, mentions state terrorism in passing without making it a fundamental point besides/part of/a determinant "in the nine truths". Instead, it calls state terrorism "counter-terrorism".  That is aside,  the arguments ("the truth") are quite valid and accurate, I think.  The threat is already inside
Image
"الاستشراك"
France: the choice
Iraq's Shi'a clerics show no love for al-Assad
Economic well-being and brexit
BBC Radio 4 Rosa Luxemburg
State terrorism " The UK has conducted more than 1,200 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria since it became involved - more than any other coalition country bar the United States. In 2016 alone, the US dropped 12,192 bombs in Syria and 12,095 in Iraq, according to the American think tank Council on Foreign Relations." Keep bombing them so they don't kill us here ...
Let's remember that "What occurred is the rejection of the political establishment through mass abstention and a protest vote captured by a populist demagogue in a few key states. In other words, Trump signifies an upheaval at the political level, not a sudden, dramatic change in American society (as the Nazi party did in Germany, shifting from 2.6 percent to 37.27 percent of the popular vote between the elections of 1928 and 1932)."  The nightmare is real
Missing is the role of the economic growth or lack of it in South Africa Zuma is not the only problem
Germany's demographic

Syria

"[T]his  reactionary isolationism represents "a national-selfish attitude that doesn't care about what happens to the rest of the world as long as 'we' are not directly concerned and our well-being is not affected - or (the leftwing version) as long as our 'anti-imperialist' conscience is not troubled by any of the complexities of the real world."
I am crying for these middle class people
Top 10 books about the Russian Revolution I have read John Reed's book and it's good.
"My friend is an  adjunct . She has a PhD in anthropology and teaches at a university, where she is paid $2100 per course. While she is a professor, she is not a Professor. She is, like  67 per cent of American university faculty , a part-time employee on a contract that may or may not be renewed each semester. She receives no benefits or health care. In a  searing commentary , political analyst Joshua Foust notes that the unpaid internships that were once limited to show business have now spread to nearly every industry." Written in 2012 The closing of the American academia
"An  economic system is a set of dependent, interconnected economic relationships which, precisely because they are interconnected, arise more or less contemporaneously and disappear more or less contemporaneously, giving way to other relationships. The empirical dating of their emergence and dissolution enables us to fix the limits of a specific economic system in time. To construct the theory of a determinate economic system means to establish (always empirically) the fullest possible totality of dependent relationships present within the system, and to explain the connections between these relationships." — Wiltold Kula
"[I]f  grievance led explanations for the timing of the 2011 Arab Spring are correct, then the scope conditions for another mass uprising are seemingly in place." On the breadline in Sisi's Egypt
Israel's secret nuclear arsenal
African migrants sold in Libya 'slave markets' — BBC: "How do you stop this?" — Me: By more aid, more celebrities showing the way, more NATO interventions ... 
Bill Gates and 4bn in poverty
The end of the past
"Placing faith in either Putin or Trump as champions of humanity is seen by many in Syria as a losing bet." And those Arabs and Muslims, and Westerners, who placed faith in Obama and Hilary Clinton? Why Vladimir Putin won't back out of Syria?
Image
Where are Syrian refugees registered?
Rather than bombing the Assad regime, Gourevitch says, let the  Syrian refugees  into the United States. What’s being advocated here is clear: no to empire, yes to refugees. Needless to say, I too subscribe to that notion and am against US imperial intervention. But I fear that these two positions are just  not enough . On their own, they constitute an impoverished politics. In order to explain why, let’s briefly apply the same principles to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. When Israel brutally  kills Palestinians , as it regularly does, do progressives in America  only  say “let those Palestinian refugees who manage to escape come to the US”? Absolutely not. Because they know that this would just aid Israel’s  colonial designs  and invite Israel to continue behaving with impunity in the region. Progressives stand in  solidarity  with the Palestinians, call for an end to Israel’s bombings, and demand that Israel be prosecuted for crimes against humanity. They also push their
What was Lenin thinking? Tariq Ali in the New York Times
Surprise! Surprise! German soldiers performing Nazi salutes
Every word in this article could be mine. Violence: theirs and ours See also this letter by Vijay to a Syrian written in Sep 2013 "The light that shines alone in palaces, Steals away the people’s happiness. Feigns its strength from other’s weakness. That kind of system, Dawn without light, I refuse. I deny."
The victorian view of same-sex desire
" Au fond, Piketty est un économiste bien plus conventionnel qu’il ne le croit. Son élément naturel, ce sont les statistiques relatives aux niveaux de revenus, les projets de taxation, les commissions chargées d’examiner ces questions. Ses recommandations pour réduire les inégalités se résument à des politiques fiscales imposées d’en haut. Il se montre parfaitement indifférent aux mouvements sociaux qui, par le passé, ont pu remettre en cause les inégalités et pourraient à nouveau jouer un tel rôle. Il semble même plus préoccupé par l’échec de l’Etat à atténuer les inégalités que par les inégalités proprement dites. Et, bien qu’il convoque souvent, à bon escient, des romanciers du XIXe siècle comme Honoré de Balzac et Jane Austen, sa définition du capital reste trop économique et réductrice. Il ne tient aucun compte du capital social, des ressources culturelles et du savoir-faire accumulés dont bénéficient les plus aisés et qui facilitent la réussite de leur progéniture. Un capit
The bombing was for domestic consumption
Trump is just being true to the unclear American imperialist strategy to the Syrian regime: “I really believe that we should have and still should take out his airfields and prevent him from being able to use them to bomb innocent people and drop sarin gas on them.”  — Hilary Clinton See also  American foreign policy under Obama
As long as the Assad regime remains in place, and millions of Syrians remain at its mercy , Isis and al-Qaeda will have a lot going for them.
The Young Marx: film by Raul Peck The first film ever about Karl Marx
Richard Seymour : "A few things to bear in mind. First, this bombing in Syria is not a departure from the existing policy. That is because the policy is the one left by the Obama administration, which included a number of lines of escalation and expansion within the terms of the existing strategy: medium footprint, bombing & auxiliary forces. The only major difference is that Trump has relaxed the political oversight exercised by the Obama administration on the military's actions: hence, the major bloodshed in Mosul and Raqqa recently. He has expanded the war along lines indicated by his predecessor, in Somalia and Yemen, and has changed the rules of engagement so that parts of these countries are deemed 'war zones' which can be targeted under the laws of war. Second, this bombing in Syria is not worse than the bombings in Mosul or Raqqa in terms of its death toll. The major significance is that, by punishing Assad, it is a slap in the face to Russia. But thi
The left's hollow anti-imperialism over Syria
No, wealth isn't created at the top
The writer, from the London School of Economics, is questioning the existent profit-based economic system. I wonder whether we can have capitalism without profit. I am curious to know if that is possible. Clean energy won't save us
This is intetesting. A "lone-wolf" doesn't emerge from a vacuum. Yes. What about the terrorist machine of the imperialist states? Is it manned by "lone-wolves"? Were Clinton, Bush, Blair, and Obama, for example, "lone-wolves" or part of a machine, a network? The myth of the "lone-wolf" terrorist
An animated introduction to Said's Orientalism  and beyond Said's Orientalism Orientalism and Orientalism in Reverse
Neither Mélenchon nor Macron know what laïcité [secularism] is