"Since today the workers’ movement is very much weakened and the revolutionary threat non-existent, big capital has no interest in supporting far-right movements and thus the risk of a brown offensive is non-existent. This is, once again, an economistic reading that does not take account of the autonomy of any political phenomenon – electors can, indeed, choose a party that does not have the big bourgeoisie’s backing – and one that seems to ignore the fact that big capital can accommodate to all sorts of political regimes without too much soul-searching. "

Ten theses on the far-right in Europe
Iran 1999, 2009, 2011-12, 2018

are episodes which have marked the long crisis of the regime.
I wouldn't speculate on any external influence, but, what is evident, is that not only calls for "democracy" and "freedoms", etc led mainly by middle class Iranians have driven those protests, but the socio-economic crisis, coupled with corruption and high inequality, has deepened. 
A book review

... by means of deploying “big data”, neoliberalism has tapped into the psychic realm and exploited it, with the result that, as Han colourfully puts it, “individuals degrade into the genital organs of capital”. Consider that the next time you’re reviewing your Argos purchase, streaming porn or retweeting Paul Mason. Instead of watching over human behaviour, big data’s digital panopticon subjects it to psychopolitical steering.

Psychopolitics: Neoliberalism and the Power of New Technologies

And here is what John Lanchester wrote in details a few months ago,

You are the product
"Universities are businesses. Students are customers. The more customers, the better the business does.
And of course, the best way to retain a customer is to keep her happy. I’d suggest that happiness for students might arise from challenge, from hard work fairly rewarded, or from the acquisition of new skills. But there is of course a quicker route: you keep students happy by not failing them. And then – surprise! – when they graduate they are not literate, or numerate, or knowledgeable enough to perform the work they have been studying for."
'The difficulty is the point'
A balance sheet of Britain's colonial history?

“As the project’s own description makes clear, the aim here is to provide a rehabilitation of the British empire as largely a force for moral good, which in turn can be used to justify present-day military interventions.”

Oxford University is accused of backing apologists of British colonialism
Austria

In my last holiday I met an Austrian woman who was spending 6 weeks in Thailand. She had replaced all of her teeth there. She is chauvinistic, but she claims she is not racist. She thinks that "there are too many Muslims in Austria!" "Muslim men taking welfare money and doing nothing all day long!" "A big damage is taking place". The woman herself is not working and gets 500 per month for her 18-month-old daughter. She has been in Mexico, Peru, Argentina and other countries. She didn't know that Londoners elected a Muslim as a Mayor.
(Ko Samui, June 2017)

Meanwhile, our close friend Saudi Arabia has been the main criminal behind a one million case of cholera in Yemen (a figure by the ICRC). This is not a bad thing in reality. Less Yemenis will make it to Europe. Therefore, Europeans shouldn't worry too much about the rise of nationalism and neofascism!
"It is interesting to note that the majority of the businessmen were from a Sunni background, with the exception of the inner circle of crony capitalists. According to an analysis published in the Syrian magazine Al-Iqtisad Wa Al-Naql in 2011, from the list of the 100 most important businessmen in Syria, 23 percent of them were children of high officials, or their partners or acting as their “interfaces”; 48 percent were new businessmen, but for the majority they had close and corrupt relationships with the security services; 22 percent were part of the traditional bourgeoisie from before the nationalization policies of the sixties, some of whom also had corrupt relationships with the leaders of the state; and seven per cent had their main business activities outside of Syria. In terms of religious sects, the percentage was the following: 69 per cent were Sunni, 16 percent Alawi, 14 percent were Christians, 1 percent Shia, while there was no Druze, Ismaili or Kurdish presence. It is important to note that among the 10 wealthiest businessmen in Syria, a majority were Alawis and most probably closely linked to the Asad family, such as Rami Makhluf. In regional distribution, the wealthiest sections of businessmen were first from Damascus, then Aleppo, Latakia, and finally from the cities of Homs and Hama, while there was not a single businessman from the eastern regions of Ar-Raqqa, Deir Az-Zawr and Al-Hasakah (Seifan 2013: 112-113).

After more than six years following the uprising, the alliance between the regime and fractions of the Sunni bourgeoisie was maintained although with changes.

Firstly, no mass defections by crony capitalists and businessmen close to the regime occurred; on the contrary, they played an increasingly political role. They first funded the regime’s orchestrated mass rallies and public relations campaigns, while their private media tried from the first days of the uprising to undermine the message of the protesters and promote the regime’s propaganda (Iqtisad 2015)."

The Syrian regime is still reliant on fractions of the Sunni bourgeoisie
Another review of 

Against the Grain
Apparently, Ahed Tamimi has a history of terrorizing Israeli soldiers (see photo below) and making their lives and the lives of their families unbearable. She was seen in many occasions dragging soldiers at knifepoint, handcuffing them and even kidnapping some of them. She used to deprive the kidnapped soldiers of sleep and water. 

Armed with knives, and sometimes with smart stones, she and her known Palestinian gangs occupied some plots of "the promised lands" of "the chosen people" with the intention of converting those plots of land into settlements, with no outcry from the "international comunity". 

The Israelis feel so frightened that they cannot even travel outside Israel by sea, land or air. "I feel I am in prison," an Israeli woman told journalists.

"The leaders of the free world" have expressed their concern, but said, "Well, this has been going on for decades, but we cannot stop it because the Palestinians are our friends, and, look, she is blonde like us! She must be defending herself. Also, she doesn't really look like a dirty Arab!"


Ahed Tamimi 

Sorry, we cannot afford it! After the Olympics, money spent on bombs, a few billions on the bankers, channelling more wealth to the top, austerity has not saved us much money to house you. Plus, we need to prepare for the second expensive sports event, the Commonwealth Games. Commonwealth my arse!
"While climate change is a disaster for humanity, stopping climate change is a disaster for capital."

Burn
"The report presented by GFC, Financing Investment: Interim report, provides us with a meticulous investigation of the failure of British capitalism to invest productively to deliver better productivity, incomes and employment.  The report exposes the failure of the UK banks to direct lending into productive sectors instead into speculative financial and unproductive property assets.  Thus, UK productivity performance is extremely poor, R&D spending is low and innovation is limited."

Labour's interim report pn the UK economy
"The disagreement between Coates and me is clear: any analysis or vision of our world that omits the centrality of Wall Street power, US military policies, and the complex dynamics of class, gender, and sexuality in black America is too narrow and dangerously misleading. So it is with Ta-Nehisi Coates’ worldview.
Coates rightly highlights the vicious legacy of white supremacy – past and present. He sees it everywhere and ever reminds us of its plundering effects. Unfortunately, he hardly keeps track of our fightback, and never connects this ugly legacy to the predatory capitalist practices, imperial policies (of war, occupation, detention, assassination) or the black elite’s refusal to confront poverty, patriarchy or transphobia."

Ta-Nehisi is the neoliberal face of black freedom struggle
"What gets dismissed or ignored here are Marx’s arguments that the people who happen to be running the system at any particular moment are not really in control of the situation. What are really in control are the “laws of capitalist production.” Individual personifications of capital––and this includes atypical personifications such as individual state capitals and worker-run enterprises––must submit to these laws or relinquish their “control.” The most important law is the “law of value,” the determination of value by labor-time. It compels a business, whoever owns or “controls” it, to minimize costs in order to remain competitive, and therefore to lay off inefficient or unnecessary workers, speed up production, have unsafe working conditions, produce for profit instead of producing for need, and so on."

On the Relevance of Marx's Capital for Today
I like this to-the-point piece.
It hits the nail on the head of what is fundamental: capital, class and the state.

"Parties on the left can carry on believing that capitalism can be tamed at a transnational level, even though all the available evidence is that this is not going to happen. They can seek to use the power of the state for progressive ends, even though this will be strongly resisted. Or they can sit and watch as the predators munch their way through their prey. Even for the predators, this would be a disastrous outcome."

Think that governments can no longer control capitalism? You've been duped.
قصة قصيرة
أنطون تشيخوف


منذ أيام دعوتُ الى غرفة مكتبي مربّية أولادي (يوليا فاسيليفنا) لكي أدفع لها حسابها
 قلت لها : إجلسي يا يوليا … هيّا نتحاسب … أنتِ في الغالب بحاجة إلى النقود ولكنك خجولة إلى درجة انك لن تطلبينها بنفسك .. حسناً .. لقد اتفقنا على أن أدفع لك (ثلاثين روبلاً) في الشهر
 قالت : أربعين 
- 
قلت : كلا .. ثلاثين .. هذا مسجل عندي … كنت دائما أدفع للمربيات (ثلاثين روبلاً) …
 حسناً

 لقد عملت لدينا شهرين
 
قالت : شهرين وخمسة أيام

 قلت : شهرين بالضبط .. هذا مسجل عندي .. إذن تستحقين (ستين روبلاً) ..
نخصم منها تسعة أيام آحاد .. فأنت لم تعلّمي (كوليا) في أيام الآحاد بل كنت تتنزهين معهم فقط .. ثم ثلاثة أيام أعياد .

تضرج وجه (يوليا فاسيليفنا) وعبثت أصابعها بأهداب الفستان ولكن لم تنبس بكلمة.
 واصلتُ …
 
نخصم ثلاثة أعياد إذن المجموع (إثنا عشر روبلاً) .. وكان (كوليا) مريضاً أربعة أيام ولم يكن يدرس .. كنت تدرّسين لـ (فاريا) فقط .. وثلاثة أيام كانت أسنانك تؤلمك فسمحتْ لك زوجتي بعدم التدريس بعد الغداء .. إذن إثنا عشر زائد سبعة .. تسعة عشر .. نخصم ، الباقي .. (واحد وأربعون روبلاً) .. مضبوط ؟

 إحمرّت عين (يوليا فاسيليفنا) اليسرى وامتلأت بالدمع، وارتعش ذقنها .. وسعلت بعصبية وتمخطت، ولكن … لم تنبس بكلمة 
قلت : قبيل رأس السنة كسرتِ فنجاناً وطبقاً .. نخصم (روبلين) .. الفنجان أغلى من ذلك فهو موروث ، ولكن فليسامحك الله !! علينا العوض .. وبسبب تقصيرك تسلق (كوليا) الشجرة ومزق سترته .. نخصم عشرة .. وبسبب تقصيرك أيضا سرقتْ 
الخادمة من (فاريا) حذاء .. ومن واجبكِ أن ترعي كل شيء فأنتِ تتقاضين مرتباً .. وهكذا نخصم أيضا خمسة .. وفي 10 يناير أخذتِ مني (عشرة روبلات)
  
همست (يوليا فاسيليفنا) : لم آخذ
 قلت : ولكن ذلك مسجل عندي
 
قالت : حسناً، ليكن
 
واصلتُ : من واحد وأربعين نخصم سبعة وعشرين .. الباقي أربعة عشر
 
امتلأت  عيناها الاثنتان بالدموع .. وظهرت حبات العرق على أنفها الطويل الجميل .. يا للفتاة المسكينة.
 
قالت بصوت متهدج : أخذتُ مرةً واحدةً .. أخذت من حرمكم (ثلاثة روبلات) .. لم آخذ غيرها
 
قلت : حقا ؟ .. انظري وانا لم أسجل ذلك !! نخصم من الأربعة عشر ثلاثة .. الباقي أحد عشر .. ها هي نقودك يا عزيزتي !! ثلاثة .. ثلاثة .. ثلاثة .. واحد ، واحد .. تفضلي .
ومددت لها (أحد عشر روبلاً) ..
فتناولتها ووضعتها في جيبها بأصابع مرتعشة .. وهمست : شكراً

انتفضتُ واقفاً واخذتُ أروح وأجيء في الغرفة واستولى عليّ الغضب

 سألتها : شكراً على ماذا ؟

 قالت : على النقود
 
قلت : يا للشيطان ولكني نهبتك .. سلبتك ! .. لقد سرقت منك ! .. فعلام تقولين شكراً ؟
-
 قالت : في أماكن أخرى لم يعطوني شيئاً
- 
قلت : لم يعطوكِ ؟! أليس هذا غريبا !؟ لقد مزحتُ معك .. لقنتك درساً قاسياً ..
سأعطيك نقودك .. (الثمانين روبلاً) كلها .. ها هي في المظروف جهزتها لكِ !! ولكن هل يمكن أن تكوني عاجزة الى هذه الدرجة ؟ لماذا لا تحتجّين ؟ لماذا تسكتين ؟ هل يمكن في هذه الدنيا ألاّ تكوني حادة الأنياب ؟ هل يمكن ان تكوني مغفلة إلى هذه الدرجة ؟

 ابتسمتْ بعجز فقرأت على وجهها : “يمكن”

 سألتُها الصفح عن هذا الدرس القاسي وسلمتها ، بدهشتها البالغة ، (الثمانين روبلاً) كلها .. فشكرتني بخجل وخرجت
 
تطلعتُ في أثرها وفكّرتُ : ما أبشع أن تكون ضعيفاً في هذه الدنيا
The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt

"The Brotherhood was designed to cut across class barriers. Social solidarity was essential to preserve unity. Members are obliged by article 10 of the Brotherhood's General Order to provide such solidarity. Upper-class members are encouraged to purify their souls by helping out those with lesser means, whereas the latter learnt to live contently under the paternalistic care of their social betters. To balance the potentially divisive drives of the upper and lower echelons, middle-class members, an organizational majority, managed the whole ... This brilliant arrangement made evryone happy: spiritual salvation for the wealthy; immediate relief for the poor; and political power for the aspiring middle-class."

— Hazem Kandil, Inside the Brotherhood, 2015, p. 76
In his classic The State in Capitalist Society, Miliband wrote: "In an epoch when so much is made of democracy, equality, social mobility, classlessness and the rest, it has remained a basic fact of life in advanced capitalist countries that the vast majority of men and women in these countries has been governed, represented, administered, judged, and commanded in war by people drawn from other, economically superior and relatively distant classes." These words were written in 1969, but, as we are ruled by a government dominated by daddy-bankrolled Etonians, they still seem somehow relevant.

Ralph Miliband: six key ideas
"Like other 19th-century believers in progress, Marx did not foresee the possibility of the human race growing so technologically ingenious that it ends up wiping itself out. This is one of several ways in which socialism is not historically inevitable, and neither is anything else. Nor did Marx live to see how social democracy might buy off revolutionary passion."

Indomitable
Terry Eagleton assessing Eric Hobsbawm

"Hobsbawm himself always argued that his historiography was inseparable from his Marxism and, indeed, only made possible by it. I argue below that he was essentially right in this judgment. For those of us on the anti-Stalinist left, Hobsbawm’s orthodox communism meant that his political judgements—his extraordinarily narrow conception of the working class, for example, or his belief that nationalism could be harnessed for progressive ends—had to be treated with deep suspicion; but much of his historical writing has to be afforded a great deal more respect."


Hobsbawm's unanswered question

"The most disgusting article I read in a long time [in the liberal Guardian]. All that is wrong with bourgeois liberal feminism which serves as nothing but being the tool of capitalism, militarism, and imperialism! Instead of saying "Women must smash NATO", it propagates that the same monstruous institution ' that is one of the most evil alliances to have blessed the universe and which is therefore one of the most direct causes for violence, conflict, and war - to help the poor poor woman. The only way NATO can help women is to disappear from the face of earth forever! 
Down with patriarchy - down with militarism - and down with the idiots who try to sell us evil with a gender friendly face!" — Dilar Dirik



To those "Westerners" who want "to liberate" other women and men. To the Jolies who are proud of NATO. 

"Two in five women in the UK say they have experienced unwanted sexual behaviour at work and only a quarter of them reported it, a BBC survey has found."

Add to that precarity, and banning of unions in many workplaces.

Sexual harrassment in UK workplaces
"I would like to use this opportunity in the run-up to International Human Rights Day to focus on the greatest threats to our common humanity, and why states need to throw their weight behind genuine international cooperation and human rights..."

"That’s why we must ensure that the powerful uphold and respect international rules and international law."


"Genuine corporate accountability must apply to all of the activities of their subsidiaries and suppliers. Impunity for corporations that violate human rights or wreck our environment, as in the mineral-driven conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, must be brought to an end."


"There are now more refugees and displaced people around the world than at any time since the Second World War."


No mention of the biggest human disaster since the genocide in Rawanda; the killing machine Al-Assad regime. One can list Brexit, Trump, climate change, etc, but fails to mention a brutal murderer and the complicity of the Russian state and the imperialist powers in preserving that regime.

Regulation and accountability for the coporations? The powerful must uphold and respect international rules? I doubt it very much that Jeremy Corbyn is sincere here.

Classical Egyptian cinema

Cairo Station by Youssef Shahine


"Onur Ulas Ince combines an analysis of political economy and political theory to examine the impact of colonial economic relations on the development of liberal thought in Britain. He shows how a liberal self-image for the British Empire was constructed in the face of the systematic expropriation, exploitation, and servitude that built its transoceanic capitalist economy. The resilience of Britain's self-image was due in large part to the liberal intellectuals of empire, such as John Locke, Edmund Burke, and Edward Gibbon Wakefield, and their efforts to disavow the violent transformations that propelled British colonial capitalism. Ince forcefully demonstrates that liberalism as a language of politics was elaborated in and through the political economic debates around the contested meanings of private property, market exchange, and free labor."

Forthcoming
Colonial Capitalism and the Dilemmas of Liberalism

"Virtually all existing countries have to face difficult questions over how to relate to past instances of violence, injustice and oppression – often publicly sanctioned."

I still think that moving statues to museums is a much better way.


How to diffuse controversial monuments

So, a statue of Mussolini is considered controversial?
The latest from the book of hypocrisy

The so-called international community, world leaders and others talk about "peace" and condemn Trump. Orwellian.

Imperialist criminal states that supported a settler-colonial states for decades with different means, in collaboration with so-called Arab leaders who have been complicit and sanctioned one betrayal after another from Camp David to Oslo, disagree with Trump!

"The vulgar economists of capitalism have tried to deny this contradiction of capitalist production ever since it was hinted at by the likes of Sismondi, and logically suggested by the law of value based on labour, first proposed by Adam Smith and David Ricardo. The apologists dropped classical theory and turned to a marginal utility theory of value to replace the dangerous labour theory.  They turned to equilibrium as the main tendency of modern economies and they ignored the effect of time and change.  Only the market and exchange became matters of economic analysis, not the production and exploitation of labour."

Grossman on capitalism's contradictions
Syria

UK money 'diverted to extremists',says the BBC

Well, it must be an exception not a pattern :)
A student of Arabic thought that the word "madrasa" in the Arab countries was like the Afghan "madrasa".
No.
The Washington Post reported in 2002:
The United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings ….
The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books ….
The Council on Foreign Relations notes:
The 9/11 Commission report (PDF) released in 2004 said some of Pakistan’s religious schools or madrassas served as “incubators for violent extremism.” Since then, there has been much debate over madrassas and their connection to militancy.
After nearly a year of the Trump presidency, do you regret your criticisms of Barack Obama? 
"Oh, no. I told the truth. When I said drone strikes are crimes against humanity, when I said Obama bailed out Wall Street rather than Main Street — I shall forever support that. I was just speaking to the reality that people are hurting, and we have to do the same thing under Trump as we did under Obama.
They tried to make me the darling of the liberal establishment. I refused it.
— Cornel West, in an interview with The New York Times
Despite "having adopted a philosophical worldview predicated on the sanctity of individual autonomy and a constraint on sovereign power, Egyptian liberalism has from its inception been a project inextricably reliant on a dictatorial state apparatus to do its bidding."
It seems that the author hopes that one day the Liberals in Egypt overcome their contradictions and become a progressive national bourgeoisie. I think not.
Terrorists of feather flock together.

How Britain did Gaddafi's dirty work

Ian Cobain is the author of


"Scholars schooled in the Western canon, but who are ideologically and methodologically anti-imperialist, often struggle with Conrad’s beautiful writing yet horribly racist views. Conrad was honest about the colonial brutalities he witnessed, but his admiration for empire is hardly hidden. Several European writers suffer such ambivalence. George Orwell’s Burmese Days, or his essay “Shooting an Elephant,” are examples: the reality of imperialism is dirty, possibly immoral, but the work must be done and empire must be defended. E. M Forster’s Passage to India and Rudyard Kipling’s Kim can also be mined for such ambiguities and complexities. But isn’t it time to stop feeling ambivalent about empire? Why are we again and again attracted to this ambivalence when the proof of empire’s destructive and dehumanizing power is all around us?"

Empire and ambivalence
Germany

"The AfD is not classically fascist – and does not need to be. Hitler needed his stormtroopers to take on and defeat the most organised labour movement, and biggest communist party, in Europe – and he did so amid double-digit unemployment. But to construct the essential alliance between the “elite and the mob” – as Hannah Arendt described it – the AfD just needs to go on normalising hate-speech, recruiting well-heeled people from business and the military, and disrupting the status quo."

Global Poverty

The Science of (Not) Ending Global Poverty