US

"In this realm domestic and foreign policy cannot be cleanly separated; presenting an economically secure alternative to military service is the key to advancing the cause of justice both at home and abroad."

A strong welfare state could be a blow against imperialism

Iran

"A recent “Letter Against US Imperialism” by leftist intellectuals such as Angela Davis, Vijay Prashad, Robin Kelley, and Hamid Dabashi denounces the latest Iranian mass uprising and continues the old pattern. It attributes the latest protests in Iran to “Iranian native informants and cheerleaders who serve as functionaries of US imperialism.” It argues that the Iranian masses only want “stability” and “reform” but not regime change. The claims in the letter simply do not match the reality on the ground."

Shameful, to say the least. 

Why the latest uprising in Iran matters

Anti-Semitism

Raine "never makes clear his explanation for where modern anti-Semitism originates, what structures give rise to it, and therefore – by extension – where one should focus energy to challenge it. The very movement between anti-Semitism and Jewophobia throughout the piece captures something of this lacuna. At times, Raine seems to describe a cultural phenomenon that he feels always already exists, and is not in fact constructed and imposed. As such he describes it variously as an ‘unconscious phobia of Jews’, ‘a structure of thinking’, a form of ‘anti-political pessimism’, and as a ‘discourse’, never rooting these in anything structurally identifiable.  This leaves the reader with the impression that anti-Semitism can be explained by means of mere ideas, or via culture, rather than requiring a material explanation and history."

Recentering the state

Europe

Northern Ireland

"Northern Ireland currently has the worst hospital waiting lists in the UK and last month hospital waiting times reached an all-time high according to figures from Stormont's Department of Health.
One in every six people in Northern Ireland is currently waiting for a first appointment with a consultant and more than 100,000 of them have been waiting for more than a year.
On average, there is a four-year wait for a knee or hip operation.
In emergency departments, no patient should wait more than 12 hours for treatment, but in September 2019 almost 3,500 patients waited longer."

MENA Region

US Imperialism in Afghanistan

Global Capitalism

If this article is supposed to stress the contradictions of capitalism yet its progress to an ever better world, it is a mediocre attempt. Quoting Marx and Engels is meant to support the bourgeoisie's  violence, not to condemn it. Thus when the author speaks about how progress has come at a cost, he minimises the scope and depth of that cost. He could have added that the existing system with a cost is better than any alternative.

The author has ignored too many negative effects from waste to exploitation, from persisting poverty to wars and proxy-wars, to creating the conditions of more wars, from stress, depression, precarity to insecurity, inequality, and stagnating wages, from monopolies to corruption, from the rise of neo-fascists, nationalism, xenophobia, racism and hate crimes, building more borders to persisting slums, oppression of women, child labour and human trafficking, from proliferation of narcissism and indifference to commodification of everything, normalising pornographic violence and symbolic forms of violence ...

11 Criticisms of Capitalism

1. Capitalist class relations perpetuate eliminable forms of human suffering.
2. Capitalism blocks the universalisation of conditions for expansive human flourishing.
3. Capitalism perpetuates eliminable deficits in individual freedoms and autonomy.
4. Capitalism violates liberal egalitarian principles of social justice.
5. Capitalism is inefficient in certain crucial aspects. [generates a huge amount of waste, e.g. millions of unsold products, and manufactures "needs".]
6. Capitalism has a systematic bias towards consumerism.
7. Capitalism is environmentally destructive.
8. Capitalist commodification threatens important broadly held values.
9. Capitalism, in a world of nation states, fuels militarism and imperialism.
10. Capitalism corrodes community. [and undermines solidarity]
11. Capitalism limits democracy.

—Erik Olin Wright, Envisioning Real Utopias, Verso 2010, p. 37


Climate Change as Violence

"No other region has documented such a long and spatially extensive drought. 
Evidence points to Western industrial aerosol pollution, which cooled parts of the global ocean, thereby altering the monsoon system, as a cause.

Africa will be hardest hit by climate change, but has contributed the least to causing that change."

Richard Washington, the BBC, 15 December 2019

"Development" of some at the expense of others.

Recommended reading
Late Victorian Holocausts by Mike Davis

الكردي

ليس للكردي إلا الريح


UK

"Reasons to hope and why euthanasia should be legalised:

18-24-year-olds: Lab: 57 per cent/ Tories 19 per cent
25-31 olds: Labour 45 percent/Tories 30 percent
45--54-year-olds: Tories 45 percent/ Labour 35 percent
60 and above: Tories:62 percent/ Labour 18 percent."

—Tariq Ali, 14 December 2019

"Civilised" Europe

Where children "want to die"

Let's get "Brexit done" before they die.

Sanders, Warren and US Imperialism

UK

"Get Brexit done" has won!

Related:


The UK is more regionally divided than any comparable advanced economy. Our analysis finds stark regional differences in productivity, income, unemployment, health and politics. We are not the only country to have regional divides, but our regional inequalities in productivity, income and health are far worse than in any comparable country.  

Alternatives to Capitalism

"The expropriators constitute a tiny percentage of the population, and they control what happens with that surplus value. It is this relationship of production, Wolff insists, that has thwarted the democratic promises of the American, French, and other bourgeois revolutions. And this system of minority rule over ownership of assets and people’s labour power is also the cause of the staggering inequality that afflicts the world now."

Understanding socialism

Related:
The works of Eric Olin Wright

Legendary Syrian Film-maker

"As fledgling postcolonial states committed to the Palestinian issue, the two countries had a just cause and a sound aspiration to prosperous independence. But beyond brute patriarchal force – a force embodied in the stinginess and cruelty of Deeb’s maternal grandfather – they had no way of articulating either. Moral certainty made them impotent, the film implies, and so they ended up hurting their own citizens more than the enemy."

UK 2019 Elections

"A key aspect of the current crisis—one which is regularly understated, if not effaced entirely—is the complicity of those of us residing in the global North in the collective punishment of over 81 million Iranians through and by means of one of the most comprehensive and unrelenting sanctions regimes in modern history."

France

The Middle East

"The grievances that drove 2011 uprisings never went away."

The BBC way of reporting

Britain

Conservative women reflect a conservative country

"since Momentum joined Labour, I find it a hostile party for moderates.”

It has been the so-called moderates who took Britain to war, privatised almost everything, incressed inequality, imposed tuition fees, ignored the City's corruption, bonused the banks despite the plunder and blunder, selling arms to autocratic friends, created a housing crisis ...imposed austerity ...


Migration

"Whereas immigration controls are usually about stopping people entering a country illegally, the new imperialism requires African nations to prevent people leaving their territory if they might be coming to Europe. It’s the 21st century’s version of the Berlin Wall slung across the African continent."

Europe's plan is working
Edward Luce, a leading Financial Times columnist and author of Retreat of Western Liberalism: ‘It was remarkably arrogant to believe the rest of the world would passively adopt our script’ after 1989, Luce writes. ‘Those who still believe in the inevitable triumph of the Western model might ask themselves whether it is faith, rather than facts, that fuels their worldview. We must cast a sceptical eye on what we have learned never to question.’

"The basis of Western democracy’s flourishing in the Atlantic world after 1945 was not ‘Western values’, but rising living standards and economic growth. Yet unstoppable economic processes—automation; the age of convergence with China and the rest—will put relentless pressure  on  wage-earners in the years ahead. Globally, Washington’s credentials as the world’s sheriff have been badly damaged by Bush’s pre-emptive wars and are now being trashed by Trump; a declining us is at risk of insecure over-reaction to the rise of China. But it would be a mistake to think all would have been well with Clinton in the White House. ‘The West’s crisis is real, structural and likely to persist’, Luce argues. The Retreat of  Western Liberalism aims to provide a clear-eyed account of what has gone wrong, in order to help Western establishments to ‘save liberalism from itself'."

—Alexander Zevin, New Left Review May-June 2018

UK

There is is a God. It is called profit and competitive market that determine our life.
At times it is called restructing and capital destruction capitalism needs for a "brighter future."

Related:
"Social progress" means the more we develop technological means and the more we produce, the harder our life gets.
"Toby Dodge, professor of international relations at the London School of Economics and a longtime researcher on Iraq, said the post-2003 system which embedded corruption in the Iraqi state, as well as sectarianism and coercion, was starting to break down – and violence was spiralling as a result."

Oh, but I thought, or I have been told by the media since the invasion of Iraq and the the war in Syria, that sectarianism is inherent and the main issue and that it goes back to post-Mohammed era. Now someone is blaming an imperialist occupation and (re)engineering of the Iraqi society. And a "revolution" is unfolding, i.e. class and social issues have become prevelant.

Liberalism

It looks a must-read book

Liberalism at Large
The World According to the Economist

كم كنت وحدك

عن جميع الذين تاجروا بالقضية الفلسطينية ماضيا والذين في خندق التطبيع والتواطئ حاضرا

كم كنتَ وحدك


Joseph Stiglitz

"We must revitalise the enlightenment and recommit to honouring its values of freedom, respect for knowledge and democracy."
Joseph Stiglitz

Stiglitz, a renegade, has been attacking "neoliberalism" and intellectual orthodoxy.

I wonder though which part of "the enlightenment he wants to revitalise." Is it the Steven Pinker's way of cheriching "the enlightenment"?

"Recommiting to honouring the values of freedom." What were these "values of freedom" before the 40 years of "neoliberalism"? What were they in regard to what imperialism inflicted on what used to be called at that time "the third world" or the support of despotism, etc?

If the solution is some sort of a new social democracy, what socio-economic form of capitalism could be the foundation?

North Africa

Extractivism and resistance in North Africa
A paper available in Arabic, French and English

Uber in England

The BBC way of reporting

45,000 Uber drivers in London. Not a word on
Why there is so many unauthorised drivers,
What the working conditions are,
How many hours these drivers work
Whether they are insured or not
What the rate of exploitation of illegal drivers is
How much profit the company makes
...


Blaming Corruption

For decades the dominant view in academia and outside academia has been blaming corruption for the ills and problems in the MENA region. Up until the 1970s, cultural factors had blamed been for the failures of the region to develop. Cultural factors were also used to explain China's underdevelopment from a capitalist perspective.

It's been convenient for the centres of powers in the West and the international institutions to dessiminate such a view so that the structural roots and the form of capitalism (rentier economies) as well as imperialist domination is masked and not questioned.

I am glad to see that an opinion on bloomberg, a hardly Marxist website, that is sceptical of that dominant view. One thus has to think of the class structure in the MENA region, the lack of the political will to pursue a development path based on productivity and acquire the technology to be able to compete globally in a world where technological know-how and markets are monopolised by a handful countries and a few multinationals.

Further reading:

  • Issam Al-Khatib on the failure of state capitalism in Tormented Births (2004)
  • Robert Brenner on the transition from feudalism to capitalism in Europe
  • Currently, I am reading China Transformed by R. Bin Wong, a book where Wong is tracing the path(s) China has taken towards industrialisation and modernisation.

Appeal

Living Arabic, a multi-Arabic dictionary website, is a good source, but it is still a project that needs developing.

Please, try to support it here.

UK 2019 elections

West Bank

Looking at West Bank map, one should observe how cancer has been eating out Palestinian land and their livelihood and stripping them of their dignity, emprisoning a whole people for decades in the biggest prison in the world and kills those who resist with impunity. It is not only about the pace of the spread of this cancer; it is its unstoppable speead and effectiveness. A pace accelerated by an international favourable environment, especially in the core imperialist states led by a gangster and a normalisation pursued by some Arab regimes.

"Irish Famine"

Film review: Black 47

I think it is a bad history or lack of it, reducing the cause to colonial rule. Capitalist and pre-capitalist class relations, absentee landlords, landownership, "laisser-faire capitalism", etc were crucial factors besides colonial rule.

I recall what Shashi Thahroor said abour famines in India. Since the British left India in 1947, there has been no famine.

"As a result of what one can only call the British Colonial Holocaust, thanks to economic policies ruthlessly enforced by Britain, between 30 and 35 million Indians needlessly died of starvation during the Raj. Millions of tonnes of wheat were exported from India to Britain even as famine raged. When relief camps were set up, the inhabitants were barely fed and nearly all died.

"It is striking that the last large-scale famine to take place in India was under British rule; none has taken place since, because Indian democracy has been more responsive to the needs of drought-affected and poverty-stricken Indian than the British rulers ever were." 

Inglorious Empire, 2017, p. 150

Chinese State Violence

Stalinism

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch


Evo Morales

"A tiny bit of advice to Evo Morales' critics on the far left: always remember that he was removed by a police/military operation orchestrated by Washington NOT because of the mistakes but because of all the good things that were done and making Bolivia a country where the majority of citizens won political representation for the first time! Bolivia became sovereign and broke off relations with Israel (together with Venezuela) after one of the numerous massacres in Gaza. This is something that neither Turkey nor Egypt could do. Worth a thought.

With mass mobilisations against the regime-change and the sovereign Bolivian parliament refusing to recognise the new President, the US victory might not last too long."


—Tariq Ali, 16 November 2019

I hope so.

History

Coup in Bolivia

Former President of Ecuador Raphael Correa: 
"Clearly what happened in Bolivia was a coup."

I am puzzeled though when he said there was no corruption in the United States or that he loved the the U.S. What does loving an imperialist and very unequal country mean? A country that is rife with  justice at home and it is policing global injustice!

Bolivia

"A coup is a curious thing. Those who make the coup never admit that they have made the coup. They claim that they are restoring democracy or that they are taking extraordinary means to establish the conditions – eventually – for democracy. This is precisely why the definition of the events are so fraught. But all coups are not the same. There are at least two types of military coups – the General’s Coup and the Colonel’s Coup."

"Bolivia does not exist"

"Human Rights" in UK

My own experience confirms this. 

I recall what a new colleague of mine, a white British man, told me about "human rights" in 2011.

“It’s hard not to feel like the government is doing it deliberately, not just to create a hostile environment for people who are here ‘illegally’ but [also] to make it more difficult for people supporting them … and I think everyone anticipates that at some point there will be legislation deliberately aimed at the organisations that support, for example, undocumented people, to make it more difficult for them to be accommodated and to make it more difficult for people to get advice.”

How UK immigration system is geared to reject

Related:
G4S in Qatar and the UAE

UK Government and Military

"Operation Northmoor was set up by the government in 2014 and looked into 52 alleged illegal killings.
Its closure was announced by the government before Royal Military Police detectives even had a chance to interview the key Afghan witnesses."
This is very interesting. Language and selectivity by a corporate machine are two of the tools that reflect power relations within an imperialist state (e.g. PR) and in its relation to other states.
The BBC article doen't even allude that the British regime and the military were in Afghanistan and Iraq as an ally with the American-led mission to fight "the terrorists" and "liberate" the people (in Afghanistan, especially women).
What happened after that and the chaos left until the present day was not the responsibility of the coalition forces. "We did our bit."
The "illegal killings" or "war crimes" must have occured in "very hard conditions" and "highly stressful situations" that "our boys" (and girls) were going through. "Mistakes were inevitable."
After all, what is 52 killings compared to what ISIS or Al-Asad's regime carried out?
More importantly, we are investigating the killings and trying to prosecute those responsible. We uphold "the rule of law." We conduct operations in making the world a peaceful place and we conduct other operations when things go wrong! 
British imperialism today abide by a different ethos—we are a "good force" in the world and mistakes happen. We have been doing our best in outsourcing violence to other regimes and private companies.

Iran

Sanctions work: One day, "the revolutionary American regime" will be boasting: "we instigated a revolution in Iran to protect our interests, Israel's interests, and Saudi ones, and helped give freedom to the Iranians," the way it has helped the Venezuelans, the Hondurans, the Iraqis, the Afghanis and others.

Chile

When a senior editor of a right-wing magazine argues for "taxing the better off" and "more public provision", it says something about the unease of the (international) ruling class.

Counting the cost of neoliberalism in Chile

German "Reunification"?

The German film-maker Thomas Heise sets out to challenge the official script of events. He recalls that when the demonstrators, overshadowed by Tiananmen Square, shouted “we are one people”, they were speaking not to West Germans — as was later claimed — but to police surrounding the demonstration. “This is the reality they want to suppress”, he says, “this moment in time when ordinary people put themselves on the line to speak about themselves. We’re not meant to remember that. We celebrate the Wall falling but not the fact that a sovereign people took it upon itself to fill a power gap. Nor how, following that, it was more about annexation than reunification. Law and order was re-established by destroying utopia. The Federal Republic could not allow a sovereign people to exist in a part of Germany because it would not have itself survived. The Wall was opened to prevent revolution.”

The myth of German reunification

Questioning Then and Now

Free yourselves from the indoctrination presented to you as innate knowledge. My generation lived through war and fascism. Through this experience, we reached the conclusion that there should never be war again. My generation experienced fascism, which at first we accepted. We didn’t know about what was going on in the concentration camps — there were no Jews in my Pomeranian village, and we didn’t know what was happening to Jewish people.
These were all realizations that I had to come to later. It was then that I came to the conclusion that this fascism — which was, of course, also an outgrowth from humanity — had an economic base supporting it. Where did the cannons come from, who built the bombers, who desired this? And who is alive today and profiting from war? Where do new developments come from?
Anyone sitting in their car today with their sat nav should be aware that this is a by-product of the production of weapons for war. So, the only advice I can give is to critically question things. That’s how we can understand the realities of this world and redesign it so that humanity can have a future.
—Hans Modrow, Die Linke, Jacobin Magazine interview, November 2019

Coca-Cola's Violence

11 November 1918

The 'end' of a war that was supposed to end all wars laid the foundations of the biggest slaughter in human history, WWII, when it imposed a humiliating and crippling treaty on Germany, a humiliation that was coupled with the impacts of the Great Depression, spawning the Nazis, who wanted a place under the sun, and propelled the U.S. to occupy a hegemonic place and displace the old empires.

"The structural reality is that the First World War took place over empires, for empires, and between empires. For a clear-eyed portrait of the world that it yielded, there is no better place to start than the opening chapter of Dominic Lieven’s study of Tsarist Russia’s road to war, To the Flame, the latest major contribution to the scholarship of the conflict. In it, Lieven lays out the codes and aims of conduct shared by the ruling classes of Europe, saturated with considerations of honour, prestige and virility, for whom territorial aggrandizement was an automatic criterion of status as a major power. As he shows, in 1914 the British realm bore more than a passing resemblance to the Austro-Hungarian—for Bosnia read Ireland. Even far weaker states such as Italy and Spain were bent on colonial expansion in North Africa. The competing militarism and annexationism of the European system, leading to repeated near misses at a general conflagration before 1914, answered to the logic of Schumpeter’s diagnosis of imperialism, as a reflex product of aristocracies whose values were still largely pre-capitalist. But this was a world of industrialized capitalism whose dynamic detonated the explosion of the system."
Alexander Zevin

Latin America

The Wall and Unification

An alternative analysis to the bourgeois media: an account by the last Premier of East Germany.
The take over of the GDR by the Federal Republic of Germany
"I have come to the conclusion that the economic difficulties in the GDR, as in the Soviet Union, were exacerbated by Perestroika, which was not an economic reform program, but stemmed from Gorbachev’s maxim that more democracy equals more socialism. He never really had an economic conception — he tinkered with democratic developments, the role of the Duma, or democracy within the economy, but did not focus much on the economy itself. It centered around what productive capability was needed to achieve certain social outcomes.
My view is that the developments of the 1980s led to an implosion. That is, there was no revolution in the GDR or in any other Eastern European state. We collapsed in on ourselves, as the relationship between the party and the population was no longer stable. The party leadership did not understand that popular mistrust of the party’s leading role was growing because the economy was being led in an increasingly scattered manner. This context, along with the downturn caused by Gorbachev’s Perestroika, was the final step in a collapse that began not in the GDR but in the Soviet Union."

An interview with Hans Modrow, 
The Last Communist Premier of East Germany

The Berlin Wall

"There is a striking discrepancy between the lack of feeling aroused by the deaths of tens of thousands of human beings—in their majority anonymous, unrecorded by the authorities and denied the dignity of a proper burial—with that excited by, say, the 1,000 lives lost in the crossing from East to West Germany during the Cold War. There is one obvious explanation: an African, an Arab or an Afghani who drowns in the Mediterranean, in flight from war, oppression or extreme poverty, is not seen as a human being in the same way as the Germans who were trying to flee ‘communism’ and were hailed as martyrs for liberty."
—Stathis Kouvelakis, New Left Review, March-April 2018

Today, the same powers that preached "freedoms" and "democracy" for the Eastern Europeans, have erected more and longer walls and fences. Fortress Europe, the American-Mexican border, and the Apartheid Wall built by the Israeli state have killed thousands of people, "unwanted", "undesirable", and even "terrorist hordes." It looks that "civilisation" has got better since the end of the authoritarian regimes of Eastern Europe.

Adam Tooze, a Left Liberal

"Liberalism has always contained different shades, and its dominant version has varied across countries and periods. In the capitalist world, going back to the eighties, the line of division separating a liberal politics from a politics of the left is their respective attitudes to the existing order of things: does it require structural change or situational adjustment?

Between states, the ‘liberal international order’ has for thirty years been the touchstone of geopolitical reason: free markets, free trade, free movement of capital and other human rights, policed by the most powerful nation on earth with help from its allies, in accordance with its rules and its sanctions, its rewards and its retributions. Within states, ‘neoliberalism’: privatization of goods and services, deregulation of industries and of finance, fiscal retrenchment, de-unionization, weakening of labour, strengthening of capital—compensated by recognition of gender and multicultural claims.


The first has reigned far more unchallenged than the second. Very few liberals have seriously contested the principles of free trade, the primacy of the United States, or the rule of international law as enshrined in a United Nations whose decisions the  us  has for the most part been able to determine at will. The liberal international order remains a precious icon."


This is a very good piece.


From Wilson to Bernanke

Or, Situationism á l'Envers?

Immigration

Two weeks ago, an Italian student at an elite university told a language teacher: "immigrants are incompatible with the Italian society." 

I immediately thought of how my iPad port is incompatible with my canon camera's lead. 


Hostile Environment

How Immigrants Became Scapegoats

French Structural Violence

I recall a colleague who a few years ago, pointing to photos of women wearing the headscarf, asked me: "Why are they still like this?"

In an era of globalisation and a triumphing "liberal democracy" "liberating" everybody, my colleague, a white Westerner, thought, and probably still does, that those women are resisting "freedom" and the "free world", preferring "backwardness" and "submission." 

"Today, behind the terrible shaming and violent treatment of a Muslim woman and her son, is the ongoing structural violence against Muslims and other people who speak out against inequality and injustice, couched in the corporatisation of everything (including war, which must be maintained for the secular system to profit)."


French fear and loathing of Muslim women

Finance

"The hegemony of finance—the most fetishized form of wealth—is only maintained by the public authorities’ unconditional support. Left to itself, fictitious capital would collapse; and yet would pull down the whole of our economies in its wake. In truth, finance is a master blackmailer. Financial hegemony dresses up in the liberal trappings of the market, yet captures the old sovereignty of the state all the better to squeeze the body of society to feed its own profits." (my emphasis)

—Cédric Durand, Ficticious Capital, 2017, p. 155 

Saving the Other

The following is a drivel by me, nothing of it gets closer to an analysis aimed at radical readers or intelligent people.
"The coalition task force fighting IS in Iraq and Syria reported on 26 September that it had conducted 34,573 air strikes between August 2014 and August 2019, and that at least 1,335 civilians had been unintentionally killed.
But Airwars believes between 8,214 and 13,125 non-combatants are likely to have been killed as a result of coalition actions over the same period."
But "the price is worth it." "Collateral damage" is inevitable and necessary. Saving coalition forces' lives is crucial. We are helping you to destroy evil, so you must make some sacrifices. I am sure those who lost their loved ones will understand the situation and the difficulty that faces pilots. We will give them some money. 
What about if some of them go and join the "jihadist" groups out of anger and frustration? We strike them... After 9/11 and the London bombing, the official line was it was imperative we went "there" and fought them "there" so "they" could not come here and bomb us again. 

But they came and killed our loved ones in France and England and other places.


Well, I guess because there is something wrong with "Islam"; something ideological that drives them to hate "our values."
But the Arab uprisings of 2011 and the recent and ongoing revolts in Sudan, Algeria, Lebanon and Iraq show otherwise. That it is not a religious issue at all. 

Yes, but look at Syria, Libya and Yemen and how they are killing each other over there for almost a decade now. Just look at Libya and how our NATO tried to help them and save lives.
And if we didn't do it, imagine how many lives would be taken by ISIS. Just look how we have destroyed the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, or the "insurgents in Iraq."

And when those people terrorised by ISIS, Taliban, A-Asad, Saudi-UAE air raids... flee their homes and seek refuge in Europe they are "sheltered" in detention centers and treated as aliens who are incompatible with "our culture". 


Because we cannot afford having all of them and because a siginificant number of our population do not accept more foreigners, especially Muslims. It is a hard choice. We cannot upset our people strengthen the far-right.


But over the last few decades all the talk was about a "prosperous" and "tolerant" Europe, a Europe of "liberal values", "human rights", "aid", and even "helping the Other develop".


And we are still doing that, but we have to do it differently today. We have new challenges like climate change and economic stagnation facing us. Also, we should not dismiss the intricacies of geopolitics in a region like the Midle East and North Africa...


........


The circle has not finished. More is yet to come.

Saudi Aramco

Saudi Aramco made almost $47bn profit in the first half of 2019. We know where most of that profit goes.

A genuine revolution means overthrowing a family-regime that has been squandering a huge wealth at home, including purchasing of weapons, and capital flight to the Western banks and using that wealth instead in real development across the Arab region, doing away with nation states.

That would incorporate the Saudi women and other men and women in the Arab countries in the labour market where unemployment in some countries is high and one of the causes of the uprisings and migration.

Two Hitlers

Hitler by Brendan Simms and Hitler by Peter Longerich

And even Adam Tooze, an economic historian cherished by the liberal left, and some revolutionary leftists, has made a blunder.

"Contrary to common belief, Tooze argues, in Hitler’s mind the supreme enemy against which his mobilization of the Third Reich for continental war took aim lay not in the steppes to the east, but across the ocean to the far west. Not the bacillus of Bolshevism but the might of the United States, headquarters of world Jewry, was the existential threat to Germany that obsessed him, and governed his ambitions of aggression. The destruction of Communism and conquest of Russia was just a means, not an end, Operation Barbarossa no more than a way-station—the acquisition of a territorial  and resource platform capable of rivalling the vast open spaces of the American colossus, in the battle for world domination. Historically, then, ‘America should provide the pivot for our understanding of the Third Reich’. Projects of eastern expansionism, along with rabid anti-Communism and anti-Semitism, were generic features of the German right after 1918. What distinguished Hitler, defining ‘the  peculiarity and motivating  dynamic’ of his regime, was the centrality of America in his world-view as ‘the global hegemon in the making’, and ‘fulcrum of a world Jewish conspiracy for the ruination of Germany and the rest of Europe’."

—Perry Anderson, New Left Review, September-October 2019

UK General Election

If despite of what has happened since at least 2008-09, the young voters do not shift the balance and elect a Labour social democratic government, it will be a 'historic' confirmation of how conservative and reactionary the country is.

American state violence

Like with imprisonment, a radical examination of “counterterrorism” shows it fails to work even on its own terms: many more civilians have been killed as a result of the war on terror than the “jihadists” have killed, or could ever have hoped to kill. The wars, bombings, and covert operations pursued by the United States have killed nearly five hundred thousand people in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, according to a Brown University estimate. Families and whole swaths of communities within the United States have been devastated by domestic practices of intensive targeting and prosecution. Like the war on drugs, the war on terror at home does not reduce violence but spreads it; its impacts reverberate from schools to family life to diminished political power for Muslim-American communities. Under the guise of policing “homegrown terrorism,” it has dramatically expanded the politics of fear and suspicion around Muslims and the sphere of law enforcement around Muslim communities.

"Don't expand the war on terror in the name of antiracism"

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

The American state has done it again. They have saved the hapless and helpless Arabs and Muslims from a villain that cannot be a friend of the American regime, creating PR and American heroes in the process. The Americans are so powerful and they have the right to choose who is a friend and who is an enemy. 

In fact the assassaniation is a revenge for Americans and Westerners killed by ISIS. It is an act that serves American domestic politics, especially Trump's politics.


Like the assassination of Osama bin Laden, the intent and the instructions were to kill. No capture, no trial, no hearing, no "international law," no burial.


The Assassination of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

I agree with the blog editor's reply to those who do not consider the killing an assassination. It is like the word "terrorism": "When they do it it is terrorism. When we do it, it is fighting for freedom."


Related


A Syrian Refugee in a Nazi Camp

The first time I left the camp, I felt that crossing the fence was an adventure. But this adventure was sufficient to dispel any illusions I once had of “deliverance”. I walked away from the fence and headed through the woods towards the city and its bustling life. But little by little I was feeling more lonely and isolated, and I was realizing  that the Syrian lady was clueless and did not understand that the fence was not protecting us from evil Nazis outside, but it was protecting the outside from us.

A Syrian Refugee visiting a Nazi Camp

"What drives democracy?"

 Via Corey Robin
The fashionable fear in the media and academia of the working class as the bacillus of populist authoritarianism is very much in conflict with the empirical evidence of decades of history, including contemporary history:

"Many observers fear that [capitalist] democracy is currently at risk — including in the United States and some European countries. Some commentators blame less-educated members of the working classes for the democratic backlash....But are industrial workers really an anti-democratic force? In a new study, we systematically examine how citizens have sought to promote democracy in about 150 countries. Here’s what we find: Industrial workers have been key agents of democratization and, if anything, are even more important than the urban middle classes....We investigated all major mass protest movements around the world from 1900-2006, and recorded who dominated each movement — industrial workers, urban middle classes, rural laborers, ethnic groups, religious groups, etc. The strongest finding in our study is that protest movements dominated by industrial workers outperform all other protest campaigns in bringing about democracy."
—The Washington Post, 23 October 2019
(The article is behind a pay wall)

Revolution and Counter-Revolution in the Arab Region

Who are the international powers opposing political reform in the Arab region?
لا يذكر كاتب المقال قوى أخرى معادية  للثورة أو قوى تلعب دورا متذبذبا خلال المسار الثوري. شرائح من الطبقة الوسطى مثلا تعادي التغيير الثوري والبرامج الراديكالية أو  تتذبذب في مواقفها وتحالفاتها. توجد أحزاب إصلاحية وليبيرالية وأحزاب إسلامية  معادية للثورة  تكتفي بإصلاحات طفيفة وتعقد تحلافات مع الدوائر الدولية لمواصلة السياسات الاقتصادية والاجتماعية المعادية للتنمية الحقيقية والطبقات العمالية والشعبية .

End of White Dominance?

"White dominance is evident in the consumption of resources, in the balance of economic power, in capital flows, in the interpretation of conflicts, and in the writing of history. In all these areas, a new age is dawning," Charlotte Wiedemann writes. For centuries, Europe dominated the world politically and imposed on it a capitalist market economy, which to this day benefits itself more than anyone else.

Wiedemann has some very valid points, but speaking about "the end of white dominance" is premature. Yes, the world seems to be moving towards a multipolar world. However, economy goes hand in hand with military power. The U.S. and its European allies still have the upper hand. Although China looks as a rival, in reality it is still not a threat and it is not a power that could create an equilibrium in geopolitical terms. One has only to look at the American military budget and military bases around the world. That is coupled with NATO's military power.


She argues that a radical change is needed, but she sees no alternative. I disagree with that. Erik Olin Wright has written extensively on the subject of alternatives within and beyond capitalism in Envisioning Real Utopias and in other works. One would say that she is probably averse to any radical leftist alternative. 


"The end of white dominance" (?)

Lebanon

"The protests have been remarkable for their territorial reach and the absence of political or sectarian banners in a country often defined by its divisions."

Class remains the main determinant. "National unity" is a recipe of ignoring class and perpetuate the status quo in the name of "we are one nation, one people, etc. and let's all work together for Lebanon."

Egypt

Soviet Film Festival
Cairo, Egypt 1950s
Credit: Rene Burri


هل كُنْتُ في يوم من الأيامِ لي؟


Chile, Lebanon, Ecuador, Haiti

"Impossible to anticipate the spur for rebellion. In Lebanon, it was a tax on the use of WhatsApp; in Chile, it was the rise in subway fares; in Ecuador and in Haiti, it was the cut in fuel subsidies. Each of these conjunctures brought people to the streets and then, as these people flooded the streets, more and more joined them. They did not come for WhatsApp or for subway tokens. They came because they are frustrated, angry that history seems to disregard them as it consistently favours the ruling class."

There is something that's ours on the streets and we're going to take it back

Iraq

We went to Iraq in 2003 and we "liberated" it from a brutal dictator. In fact we had tried to "liberate" Iraq before that, in 1991.

16 years later  "protests earlier this month were brutally put down by security forces, leaving nearly 150 people dead," reported the BBC.

You see, there is no hope. These "backward people" even after helping them with training an army and security forces, they failed in front of the "Islamic State" and now they are killing their own people.



Raja Meziane

A very popular Algerian singer and political activist. She has been living in Prague since 2015.

I don't think the word "monarchy" in the lyrics is meant to describe Algeria as a country ruled by a royal family. 





This Arab woman needs, "empowerment," doesn't she?

Global Poverty

The Science of (Not) Ending Global Poverty