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Showing posts from June, 2017
"The Nazis used it, we use it"
Socialism's Future May Be Its Past    (NYT)
An impending catastrophe
France transformed
There’s cladding everywhere. Political cladding, Economic cladding, intellectual cladding — things that look good But have no centre, have no heart, only moral padding. They say the words but the words are hollow. They make the gestures and the gestures are shallow. Their bodies come to the burnt tower but their souls don’t follow. Those who were living are now dead Those who were breathing are from the living earth fled. If you want to see how the poor die, come see Grenfell Tower See the tower, and let a world-changing deed flower Grenfell Tower A poem by Ben Okri

Syria

The war's worst kept secret
Gaza: Darkness before the Storm
At The British Library 'There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.' – Lenin Russian Revolution: Hope, Tragedy, Myths
Passing the baton
Ibn Khaldun and the Myth of "Arab Invasion"
"[T]he current blockade is a play by Saudi Arabia and the UAE to fully assert their hegemony over the region and to put Qatar back in its place. But this is not just about Saudi Arabia and the UAE; it fundamentally expresses a general counterrevolutionary process that has been present since the beginning of the uprisings — restoring the status quo of authoritarian neoliberal states that has served the interests of the GCC as a whole (including Qatar) for several decades. All of this must also be seen through the lens of the Gulf’s continued and ever-strengthening alliance with the US and other Western powers." The Qatar crisis
Destabilizing the Middle East (yet more)
حوار مع مظفر النواب — الجزء الأول
Assad attends Eid prayers in Hama
The secret life of young IS fighters
Rashid Khalidi on U.S. peace blocking
Hamas goes to Cairo
Collecting Cairo's discarded images
Turkish schools to stop teaching evolution, says official
Low-wages are "return to pre-industrial Britain", says Bank of England economist
Film exposes London's sex industry underworld
Moroccan fish canner DOHA drops charges against union leader - now the company must reinstate 540 dismissed workers!
Some good and valid arguments, including facts. I wonder though why investment (the engine for growth) and the rate of profit (the life blood of capitalism) are totally absent in the article. Has western-style democracy become too expensive for capitalism?
"Syria and the crisis of global liberal democracy"
Saudi palace coup: the sequel
An act of social murder and Flats acquired for survivors But a few are not happy at all " Speaking to  The Guardian,  one woman said: “We paid a lot of money to live here, and we worked hard for it. “Now these people are going to come along, and they won’t even be paying the service charge."
"Other critics, especially on the left, complain that Morton’s conception of the Anthropocene glosses over issues of race, class, gender and colonialism by blaming the entire species for the damage inflicted by a privileged minority. The focus on the human enshrined in the term Anthropocene is a particular target for critics. By referring to humans as a unified whole, they argue that Morton effaces distinctions between the affluent west and the other members of humanity, many of whom were living in a state of ecological catastrophe long before the notion of the Anthropocene became trendy on campuses in Europe and North America. Others say that Morton’s notion of politics is too woolly, or that the last thing we need when facing ecological challenges are abstract musings about the nature of objects."
According to a U.S. army strategist: "In sum, U.S. policy in the Middle East is confused, contradictory, counterproductive, and dangerous. It could leave Washington involved in a war with Iran. (And given our recent wars in the region, imagine where that’s likely to land us.)" The worry is what would a war with Iran cost the U.S. Who cares of what would cost the Iranians? There are some interesting arguments though by this enlightened mind in the most dangerous imperialist army on earth. "America's Iran hysteria"
The movement of every refugee on earth since the year 2000
From December 2010 Cities for the rich
When the Roman "barbarians" met the Asian enlightenment
Egypt removes 25 January 2011 and 30 June 2013 events from school curriculum
How Western civilisation could collapse   (BBC)
France There are plenty of colourful characters in the Macron camp, ranging from a retired bullfighter in Arles, Marie Sara, to Rwandan refugee Hervé Berville, éclair entrepreneur Brigitte Liso and horror film producer Laurent Zameczkowski. One of the better known figures is mathematician Cédric Villani, known for his unique dress sense including large spider brooches. Having won over 47% of the vote in the first round, he looks unbeatable. "They tend to be very middle-class, very white on the whole, and half are absolute newcomers to politics," says Prof Marlière. (The BBC online) The politice of celebrities, of media image-making. " A physician, in order to be admitted to practice, must demonstrate his theoretical and practical knowledge of medicine. A politician, on the other hand, who, unlike the physician, purposes to decide the fate not of hundreds of people, but of millions, does not have to show such proof of knowledge. This fact seems to be one of t
17 June 1953
The destruction of the Yezidis
Kurds seeks to expand reach in northern Syria
"The coming together of Qatar, Iran and Turkey against Saudi Arabia and its allies, showed that coalitions now forming to compete with each other are not strictly based on the Shi’a-Sunni divide.  The alliances currently confronting each other are fighting over the control of the region, its capital,  and aim  to repress any movements for social justice." The threat of wider wars in the Middle East
"Take a step or two further back in the production process, and the picture gets bleaker still. To function at all, the smartphone—like all electronic devices—requires raw materials that have been wrested from the Earth by ruthlessly extractive industries. The cobalt in its lithium-ion batteries was mined by hand in the Congo, often by children; the tin in the soldered seams that bind it together most likely comes from the Indonesian island of Bangka, where the water table is irreparably fouled, 70 percent of the coral reefs have been destroyed by mine runoff, and on average one miner a week is killed on the job. The damage caused by the processes of extraction fans out across most of a hemisphere, mutilating lives, human communities and natural ecosystems beyond ready numbering. And so the polluted streams, stillborn children and diagnoses of cancer, too, become part of the way in which the smartphone has transformed everyday life, at least for some of us. Though these facts
"As a reporter on British politics and economics, I haven’t seen the ruling class of England in a panic like this for a long time." The British ruling class is in full panic mode
"The promise of Brexit was steeped in ideology from the very beginning, a fairy tale based on dark chauvinism. The Spanish Armada, Napoleon, Hitler and now the Polish plumbers who allegedly push down wages..." "A wave of anger crashes over Britain"
Hobsbawm's long century
A very political tragedy
McJihad: Empire and Islam between the US and Saudi Arabia The full chapter could be read here: McJihad
" Fewer than one in five perpetrators was a convert to Islam, with a significantly higher percentage in North America than in Europe.   However, the converts were significantly more likely to have a criminal background and to have served time in prison. Overall, most of the attackers had a prior criminal background." "Who was behind the jihadist attacks in Western Europe and North America?"
Morsi may die in prison, but Peter Osborne keeps banging on about "British values", "freedom", "human rights", etc
The buildng is not in Egypt or India.  The main causes are: - The developer - The cuts in the fire brigade services - People with authorities did not listen to the warnings of an action group in last November Playing with fire in London
"Communists believed that organizing the working class would work only if white workers realized that their liberation, too, was bound up with the fate of black workers. Facing this threat, anti-Communists and segregationists worked hard to sustain the fractures. They blamed Communists for fomenting "race mixing," evoking sexualized fears that social equality would mean black men having sex with white women--the very fears that put the Scottsboro Boys on trial. In turn, when black people agitated for civil rights, the Bull Connors of the world called such demands Communist-inspired, returning to the same narrative of dangerous outsiders." "The unexpected afterlife of American communism"   (NYT)
"The whole theme of Lebanese partying and consumerism that so many Western observers dutifully inflict on their respective audiences serves an important Orientalist function: Beirut may be “exotic” and different in its own way, but it’s also enough “like us” to render it a safe space for those wishing to travel without risking any fundamental alteration to their worldviews." How not to write about Beirut
" The most cherished myths of American culture tell us that, while war is terrible,  our  wars are noble, fought only under duress, and in the service of freedom, human rights, and democracy. If we fail in our ventures, as we did in Vietnam and Iraq and probably will in Afghanistan and Syria, that failure was not in our intentions, which were righteous, but merely in our execution. Our worst sins, in these myths, are not ambition, cruelty, or greed, but hubris and lack of foresight. Against such myths, which can be found articulated in the latest Hollywood movies, in the editorial pages of  The New York Times , in Brookings Institution essays, and in Amazon’s “Hot New Releases in World War II History,” Brecht’s ideological critique, which is founded in its own mythology of good and evil, can do little or nothing. Indeed, it’s not clear what one can do about such myths at all, since the power they have is precisely that which deforms and obscures reality into something comprehensi
Led by Islamists, thousands of Moroccans rally in support if northern protests
Egypt's economic crisis 
Qatar-Gulf stand off: Is it a crisis?
"The high Conservative vote, and some signal defeats for Labour in the areas where working class xenophobia is entrenched, indicate this will be a long, cultural war. A war of position, as Gramsci called it, not one of manoeuvre. But in that war, a battle has been won. The Tories decided to use Brexit to smash up what’s left of the welfare state, and to recast Britain as the global Singapore. They lost. They are retreating behind a human shield of Orange bigots from Belfast." "Corbyn has won the first battle in a long war" But he is "A mainstream [Scandinavian] social-democrat"
 "Liberalism is okay with reducing murderously oppressive structures into mistakes and shrugging off the oppression of Indigenous people, as long as it has a progressive face." The Success of Wonder Woman proves liberals are OK with imperialism
In Kashmir, India is Witnessing its General Dyer Moment
Sheldon Wolin and Inverted Totalitarianism
Climate change and capitalism
Qatar crisis: A new era of thuggery?
The book of Jeremy Corbyn
1967 War "One of the methods Israel used to deal with the Egyptian prisoners was rounding them up and killing them en masse" The part about the Oslo Accords is weak and the proposals to end the Israeli occupation won't work. A change in the power relations in the Arab countries as well as of the imperialis states which support Israel. Personally, I don't think there is anything that could come from within the Israeli society to impact a radical change in the balance of forces which could favour a sort of justice to the Palestinians.
Imeprialist and criminal regimes have to be inconsistent sometimes. That is build in they strategical calculations whether at home or abroad. Gaddafi, Manchester, etc and the lesson the British still to learn?
Is 'imperialism' a relevant concept today?
British capital in disarray
Wonder Woman : to boycott, or not to boycott
"Religious conservatism doesn't make a terrorist ..." Another view that looks at the issue partially. There is no mention of structural violence.
The ultrarich are hiding way more money overseas ...
"IS might find itself being pushed back militarily, but its logics are not only still firmly intact, they are being bolstered by the very forces that allegedly seek to destroy them. And it's the logics, beyond videos on internet sites or radical preachers, that are visible for almost everyone in the world to see - to Muslims, they are even more striking. IS is a product of counter-revolution - an active symptom of savage destruction of hope. If the Arab revolutions represented progressive antagonism towards a regional order determined by the brutal denial of basic liberties, IS are fed by the brutal backlash against this." Inetresting to read, but the healine is not
Iraq: US military admits failure to monitor over $1 billion of arms transfer
Settler-colonialism and neoliberal capitalism ( Scroll down to read it)
Jospeh Stiglitz says that the British people should vote Labour ... Changing the rules of the game?
To understand 'brexit', look to Britain's tabloids
Aux origines de néolibéralisme en Chine
"I stood on those Lesbos beaches in floods of tears" Note : You should read the most liked comment after reading the article. A comment that reflects a lot of how many British people think. And this is not the Daily Mail or The Sun.
In the West we solemnize the deaths of our regular troops carefully and recurrently honor the memory of the soldier who dies for his country. Yet the civilian deaths we cause are rarely mentioned, and there has been no sustained outcry in the West against them. Suicide bombing shocks us to the core; but should it be more shocking than the deaths of thousands of children in their homelands every year because of land mines? Or collateral damage in a drone strike? “Dropping cluster bombs from the air is not only less repugnant: it is somehow deemed, by Western people at least, to be morally superior,” says British psychologist Jacqueline Rose. “Why dying with your victim should be seen as a greater sin than saving yourself is unclear.” The colonial West had created a two-tier hierarchy that privileged itself at the expense of “the Rest.” The Enlightenment had preached the equality of all human beings, yet Western policy in the developing world had often adopted a double standard so that
More than a spat Qatar and its Gulf neighbours See also The deal
Macron, or the coronation of America: A conversation with Régis Debray
"[T]ere is something that still resonates about the work of the Frankfurt School. The insight to which it called its readers to awaken was that human consciousness in the age of mass society was becoming wholly enclosed within the walls of an ideological fortress, caught in the endless circulations of capitalist exchange and those repetitive entertainments and distractions that were designed to obscure the truth. Nothing about the theory of the culture industry lacks traction in a world where the commodity form reigns supreme. Blockbuster CGI movies; the relentless extrusion of Greatest Hits CDs by the megastars of the recording industry; the all-encompassing mania for video gaming, in which mature adults have been co-opted into the shamelessly infantile principle of mindless play; the transmutation of collectivity into social media’s mere connectivity: these are the lineaments of a culture that is not the spontaneous production of free human beings, but rather something done to
" In breaking the Greek Resistance, the British had precipitated a civil war that would last — in open or latent forms — for some thirty years, with a brief lull between 1963 and 1965. It would only end with the fall of the colonels’ dictatorship in 1974. This “coup in Athens” reminds us that through its history, modern Greece has only enjoyed a very limited sovereignty. This, indeed, is its painful experience once again today." How Churchill broke the Greek resistance
Theresa May: " We are experiencing a new trend in the threat we face as terrorism breeds terrorism."   For the first time ever, I am in agreement with  May. I will only be more accurate in future. I will try to avoid the term "terrorism". I will use "violence" instead.
"The conscious capitalism model is appealing. It’s simple, easy. We can avert looming environmental catastrophe by becoming conscious consumers who frequent conscious companies. After all, shopping at Whole Foods is a heck of a lot more fun than lobbying for regulations on corporations or convincing people to consume less. More Whole Foods, less Walmart. Problem solved." Whole Foods' "conscious capitalism"
" Deamonte Driver’s death was the direct result of a system of commoditized dental care. Some 114 million people lack any sort of dental coverage in the United States, and about half of children on Medicaid did not receive a single dental service in 2012. We could implement a  system of universal coverage that would make treatment available on the basis of health needs, not means. But we have not. As Otto traces the history of modern dentistry, from eighteenth-century surgical experiments to the founding of the first American school of dentistry in 1840, she explains how the United States instead developed a “carefully guarded, largely private system,” one that is “enormously difficult to reach for those without mobility or money.” The state of our teeth, she argues, reveals—and reinforces—deep inequalities in society." Note: to be accurate, some dental treatment in the UK is free or cheap, and that depends on whether you have an income or unemployed, but implant, for exam
Reminder There is no money for infrastructure, free high education, more hospitals, housing, etc. "Assuming the £13tn mountain of assets [ hidden offshore wealth ] earned an average 3% a year for its owners, and governments were able to tax that income at 30% [like in the US, Brazil, India, for example], it would generate a bumper £121bn in revenues – more than rich countries spend on aid to the developing world each year." That is not a revolutionary solution, but one can see that it makes a significant difference.
The myths about tax and spend in Britain See also  "The most corrupt country on earth"
" The coming struggles will show the 90% of Parisians-for-Macron for what they are; an undreamt-of diversion, or a  transitional object , as psychoanalysts say when they talk about children’s comfort blankets. The fall to ground will be harder." Performances

Morocco

"Fishy neoliberalism in Morocco" A more accurate translation of the first slogan is "the people want to overthrow corruption".
The Political Theology of ISIS
Sexagon: Muslims, France and the Sexualization of the National Culture
This is not considered violence and it doesn't appear on the frontpages. Violence is mostly the one that hits the 'peaceful' cities and kills rich countries.
Matzpen , 1967: “Our right to defend ourselves against annihilation does not grant us the right to oppress others,” the ad stated. “Conquest brings in its wake foreign rule. Foreign rule brings in its wake resistance. Resistance brings in its wake oppression. Oppression brings in its wake terrorism and counterterrorism. The victims of terrorism are usually innocent people. Holding onto the territories will turn us into a nation of murderers and murder victims.” And in large font at the end: “Let us leave the occupied territories now.”
Note the loose use of the term "Islamism" in the article . "Were I 20 today, would I be attracted to Islamism or desire to become a soldier of Islamic State.? " Today’s angry young Islamists are not interested in the fight against austerity, the defence of the NHS or even in the struggle against racism. They are obsessed, rather, in showing solidarity with the peoples of Palestine and Chechnya and Syria. In an age in which anti-imperialist movements have faded and belief in alternatives to capitalism dissolved, radical  Islam  provides the illusion of being part of a global movement for change."
"Iranian Kurds march to war"