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Showing posts from August, 2017
The Empire Stopper
Recession on the horizon?
Scotland Yard reopen the case of the assassination of Naji al-Ali
Understanding the political economy of violence
Criminal and barbaric, but we have accepted it and we keep cheering How long would it take you to earn a star player's salary?
A review of Anne Applebaum's Red Famine
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
A critique of David Harvey's analysis of imperialism
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أسعد الوراق

Balfour Declaration

Another crime of the British ruling class, whose legacy continues to this day. "It's been nearly 100 years since the document changed the course of history, yet Britain still fails to acknowledge Israel's denial of the Palestinian right to national self-determination - and its own complicity." Balfour Declaration: a study in British duplicity
Portugal 1974-2017
من الأرشيف: الإنتاج الفني السوري أسعد الوراق يخلع مجده القديم
There are some similarities here with those Western leftists and liberals defending or appeasing Al-assad regime in Syria. Western leftists and China
Orientalism
Kurdish FSA commander loses his faction after refusing to fight
On hypocrisy and complicity The US is cutting some of the aids that gives to Egypt? Your tax dollars allow police brutality abroad
Labour and Class in Iran
" 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
In the New York Times, again. When the Harlem Renaissance Went to Communist Moscow
"Essentially bohemian"
Finally! For the first time ever, UK McDonald's workers are going on strike 
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CIA Covert Operations and U.S. Interventions Since WWII (made before the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq)
Left-wing Perspectives on Political Islam (Free subscription may be required to access the article)
Toppling statues? Here is why Nelson's column should be next Note: We should also add another reactionary exploit by Horatio Nelson: In 1799  King Ferdinand was put back again on the throne of Naples, thanks to the English help and of Horatio Nelson, in particular, that had defeated in the Abukir battle the French fleet preventing France. Meanwhile, Russians are erecting statues of the grave digger of the Revolution
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" We must teach them a lesson in free trade " — Her Majesty the Queen
American University of Beirut " Unlike old-fashioned missionaries toting textual material and a tradition of hermeneutics, AUB envisions a technocratic redemption.     It doesn’t value a life of ideas, but the drudgery of boldness, innovation, modernity, and other neoliberal buzzwords.     AUB is an offshore exemplar of U.S. capitalism." AUB Limited
Assessing Trotsky
"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
"Britain has built a national myth on winning the Second World War, but it's distorting our politics"
A book review Southern Insurgency: The Coming of the Global Working Class
" 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 somethin
غزل المحلة: معقل الحركة العمالية المصرية
Cambridge University Press accused of "selling its soul" over Chinese censorship Update CUP reverses the censorship move
Should Washington and Jefferson monuments come down? Yes, and should also Churchill, Havelock, "Clive of India", Thatcher statues and a few others 
Rape By the Syrian playwright Saadallah Wannous
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?
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
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
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 . An interview with the Cuban novelist Leonardo Padura
"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

Stalinism

A book review Good Communist Homes
We crossed a bridge and it trembled
A revolt of the well-off — not a 'terror campaign'
From the archive Celebrity culture: The Clooneys and human rights
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 ascript ive 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 po
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.
US higher education The Fruits of Commodification
This is an excellent dissection You are the product
La visite d’une délégation de l’UGTT au dictateur Assad trahit les aspirations populaires de tous et toutes de Tunis à Damas
I have read the Introduction and it sounds a very interesting book. The Political Economy of the Kurds of Turkey
DSA has become "the biggest socialist organisation in the US "
Foucault's  History of Sexuality : A Marxist Engagement
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. 
Understanding Ibn Taymiyyah as a Man of His Time
"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
The deal: Israel's endgame
An interesting perspective  Salafism and the Politics of Free Market Religion
Pre-2011 Syrian Regime Policy in Culture and the A rts
Reem exclaims to the audience, “We come from the Troy of this age . . . hundreds of thousands of victims . . . millions of refugees . . . everyone wants to bomb us but no one wants to accept us into their homes . . . only the sea opens his arms to us without any preconditions . . . When did it become normal to kill people?” Syria's 'Trojan Women'
The tragedy of Venezuela
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..." "
London's exodus
Hafter: Israel's new friend in Africa
Note: the author is mistakenly (or perhaps deliberately) calling al-Assad's regime secular. China's growing ties with Syria
The First Emperor of China
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 d
"I'm a Marxist — we are misunderstood on both the left and right"
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
"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