Enzo Traverso says, "the Stalinist legacy, made up of a mountain of ruins and dead, did not erase the origins of communism in the tradition of the Enlightenment and eighteenth-century rationalist humanism.


By contrast,  "[N]ationalism and imperialism, Pan-Germanism and the idea of `living space', `redemptive' anti-Semitism and racism, eugenics and extermination of the `lower races', hatred of the left and charismatic dictatorship are tendencies that had appeared, in more or less developed forms, from the end of the nineteenth century on. Nazism did not create them, it simply radicalized them.


If Nazism achieved a fusion of three different struggles - a colonial assault on the Slavic world, a political struggle against communism and the Soviet Union, and a racial fight against the Jews - into a unique war of conquest and extermination, this means that its model could not be Bolshevism. It would be more relevant and coherent to find its `model' in the colonial wars of the nineteenth century, which were actually conceived by the European imperialist powers as the appropriation of `living space', a colossal plundering of the conquered territories, a process of enslavement of the indigenous peoples and, according to a Social Darwinist model, the destruction of `inferior races'.


Such colonial wars have often taken the form of extermination campaigns by European armies that were convinced they were carrying out a `civilizing mission'. In a completely different historical context, they were inspired by the same fanaticism and crusading spirit that characterized the Nazi war against the USSR. `Exterminate all the brutes!': this slogan, evoked by Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness, was applied by Europeans in Africa in the second half of the nineteenth century before being adopted by the Nazis in Poland, Ukraine and Russia during the Second World War.


In contradiction to his own thesis, Nolte himself recalls this essential aspect of the German war, emphasizing Hitler's aim of transforming the Slavic world into a kind of `German India'. He quotes Reich Commissar Erich Koch, who claimed to be carrying out a colonial war in Ukraine, `as among niggers'. During the first period of the war on the Eastern front in 1941-42, Hitler's `table talks' with Martin Bormann were riddled with references to Eastern Europe's future, as an empire for the Germans comparable with what Asia, Africa and the Far West had been for the British, French and US.


The historical laboratory for Nazi crimes was not Bolshevik Russia but the colonial past of Western civilization, in the classical era of industrial capitalism, imperialist colonialism and political liberalism. Formulating it in Nolte's own words, we could appropriately describe this historical background as the `causal nexus' and the `logical and factual precedent' for Nazi violence. But it is not at all surprising that the new anti-communist paradigm completely ignores this historical genealogy.

The New Anti-Communism: Rereading the Twentieth Century
This was written in 1984: 

The extent of criticism varies greatly from one part of the Left to another, but there is at least no disposition now to take the Soviet regime as a “model” of socialism: indeed, there is now a widespread disposition on the Left to think of the Soviet regime as an “anti-model.”
How could it be otherwise, given some of the most pronounced features of that regime? The socialist project means, and certainly meant for Marx, the subordination of the state to society. Precisely the reverse characterizes the Soviet system.
Moreover, the domination of the state in that system is assured by an extremely hierarchical, tightly controlled, and fiercely monopolistic party aided by a formidable police apparatus. Outside the party, there is no political life; and inside the party, such political life as there exists is narrowly circumscribed by what the party leadership permits or ordains — which means that there is not much political life in the party either.
Essential personal, civic, and political freedoms are limited and insecure. Intellectual freedom in any meaningful sense is virtually nonexistent; and the treatment of “dissidents” of every kind is a scandal and a disgrace for a country which proclaims its dedication to socialism and Marxism. Much the same, with greater or lesser emphasis, is also true of all other Communist regimes. To call this “socialism” is to degrade the concept to the level assigned to it by its enemies.

Anti-communism is also grossly selective in its view of Communist regimes, and systematically presents a highly distorted picture of their reality. In particular, it casts into deep shadow or ignores altogether their positive side and their economic, social, and cultural achievements. The two-sided nature of Soviet-type regimes is an intrinsic part of their being. As in the case of the Stalinist era in the Soviet Union, there is, in most if not all Soviet-type regimes, advance and progress as well as dictatorship and repression.

Anti-communism not only understates or ignores altogether the advances that are made, but also pays very little if any attention to the conditions and circumstances in which they have been made. Communist regimes have generally come to power in countries the vast majority of whose population has traditionally suffered from varying degrees of economic underdevelopment, in some cases of an extreme kind, from fierce local and foreign exploitation; and from one form or other of authoritarian rule, including colonial rule. Moreover, many of these countries were ravaged by civil war and foreign intervention before or after coming under Communist rule, as in the case of the Soviet Union, China, Korea, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia; and their regimes were also subjected to economic warfare, waged under the leadership of the United States, as in the case of Cuba.
Why I stopped contributing to wikipedia

I have edited some sections on wikipedia, but I have particularly created new ones, especially sections related to the Arab uprisings:
  • added the last part that begins with "contrary to ..." in this section.
  • and the last two sections: "The Arab Spring: reform or revolution" and "Space and the city in the Arab uprisings".
  • added more info to "Symbols, slogans and songs" section and created "Commentary" section for Algeria 2019 protests page.
  • On "Humna rights in Egypt" page I created "International complicity" section.

When I edited the war in Yugoslavia page and there was a copyright issue, my editing was removed, but I was informed and an explanation was given.

But it seemed that I touched a taboo when I edited Gadi Eizenkot's page, using only two mainstream sources: Haaretz newspaper and the Goldstone report, a United Nations Human Rights Council well-known publication.

Goldstone report quoted Eizenkot saying on the 2008-2009 assault on Gaza:
[w]hat happened in [Dahiye] will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on. […] We will apply disproportionate force on it and cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases. […] This is not a recommendation. This is a plan. And it has been approved.
This was called a Dahiya Doctrine.

My editing of Eizenkot's page was removed and for about a month now I have received no explanation.
Beyond Brexit: an existential crisis

I don't know though who the author refers to when he uses "we" and "our".
England: corruption
"But the fact is that the cases so far brought by the NCA are probably the tip of an iceberg of suspected corruption.
Of the properties owned by overseas companies in England and Wales, two-thirds are registered to firms in the British Virgin Islands, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man - which means it can be difficult to work out who ultimately benefits from the asset 
The government is supposedly committed to banning the ownership of British property through shadowy companies - but nothing has been done. 
Until there is more clarity on who owns what, already-stretched financial crime investigators will struggle to seize the suspected billions of stolen loot washing around the British property market."
Nationalism

Stephen Rosen: [W]hat is nationalism? And what nationalism is actually Western invention. Imperial China had no nationalism. Where do they get their ideas of nationalism? Well, they got their ideas of nationalism from the Japanese, which emerged as a national state in the 19 [century]. Well, where did the Japanese get their ideas about nationalism, which were then translated into Chinese? They got it from the Germans. So what they imported was a 19th-century version of social Darwinism in which race is of the fundamental basis of nationality and there are very – when you hear Xi Jinping [a communist/Marxist?] and other Chinese leaders talking about cultural pollution, when you talk about the natural affinity of all Chinese people wherever they are, you begin to worry that there is this submerged, and sometimes not even so, some racialist component.


The historian Lord Acton put the case against "nationalism as insanity" in 1862.

Bertrand Russell criticizes nationalism for diminishing the individual's capacity to judge his or her fatherland's foreign policy.


Albert Einstein stated that "Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.


George Orwell: Nationalism is power hunger tempered by self-deception... God, the King, the Empire, the Union Jack — all the overthrown idols can reappear under different names, and because they are not recognised for what they are they can be worshipped with a good conscience. Transferred nationalism, like the use of scapegoats, is a way of attaining salvation without altering one's conduct. 


Isam Al-khafaji: Nationalism...is a very amorphous and slippery concept that an infinitely wide—and sometimes conflicting—variety of schools of thought can fit under it.

Fred Perlman: Nationalism was [and is] perfectly suited to its double task, the domestication of workers and the despoliation of aliens, that it appealed to everyone - everyone, that is, who wielded or aspired to wield a portion of capital

Syria: just another news item while I am sitting comfortably at a café in a rich city sipping coffee...

The assault on Idlib and its consequences

See also

Inside Syria's Secret Torture Prisons: How Bashar al-Assad Crushed Dissent
Russia

"A lot of the continuities I see are really more focused on the internal evolution of the system. I think that a lot of what people, certainly in the West, criticize Putin for certain kinds of authoritarian behavior, reining in the regions, control of the press, galloping corruption–all of these things were not only present under Yeltsin, but actually the foundations were laid during the Yeltsin years for what then developed under Putin. The clearest example I can think of this is the constitution. That was imposed after this slightly dodgy referendum in 1993. All of Putin’s presidential power derived from that moment where Yeltsin resolved the conflict with the Parliament by force.
If you want to undo this contrast between Yeltsin, the democrat, and Putin the authoritarian, all you’ve got to do is look at that moment and then you understand that in that particular moment when a liberal, or someone committed to a liberal free market transformation of Russia, when Yeltsin was in charge of this quite authoritarian constitutional setup, that was perfectly fine. When someone with a slightly different emphasis is placed in charge of the same structure, the West suddenly has a totally different attitude. But fundamentally, that structure, what Russian leaders were able to do is legally the same."
Russia Without Putin
An interview with Tony Wood
Poland

He fought within Solidarność for a peaceful transformation of the system, where strong workers’ organizations and widespread civic participation would lead to a democratic socialism, based either on continued state ownership or extensive social democratic-type economic intervention. (There were plenty of hothead activists in the movement, Modzelewski later recalled, “but nobody called for the privatization of the economy, or reprivatization of property confiscated by the state in 1945. Nobody.”)

"I Didn't Sit Eight and a Half Years in Jail to Build Capitalism"
It is the richest country by GDP, not in a state of war, with one of the "best" education system in the world,  47% of women at work, "the rule of law", an army of missionaries who have been "liberating women" in "backward" countries...

Top 10 most dangerous countries for women
Contrary to its title, the "interview" is mostly about art in a social context.

But you’re an artist making commodities even though you despise neoliberal commodification. “It’s a system I’ve benefited from, no question. We risk becoming further cogs in the wheel of production. Only poetry and the more serious classical music seem able to resist becoming commodities. There’s a sense that art has been eroded by the market. The world that Steve Bannonwants is here. And it’s our fault.” Whose? “Liberal lefties like me. I’m going to dare the art world is a part of it.” Part of what? “The ruin of art’s ability to stand opposed to the order of things.”

Anish Kapoor: "If I was a young Muslim, would I feel angry enough to join ISIS? "
Socialist Strategy and the Capitalist Democractic State

I added a comment at the end of the blog.


More propaganda against the UK. This time by an expert from the United Nations.

We are all in it together! We are the sixth economy by GDP. If there are some people in poverty, it is because we have to help other people in far away countries, including Yemenis. Things will get better. We have many friends in the Gulf, who will pour money in our economy. If there are some people in poverty, many of them have to blame themselves and get on a bike and look for a job.

I like the use of the word "normalisation". 

Poverty in the UK
Unpatriotic propaganda by The Guardian against our "thriving liberal democracy" and "tolerance"

And this is only public racism, i.e. racism by people who have courage. Who knows about the hidden one.

Racism rising since brexit vote, nationwide study reveals
Queen Victoria's "willingness to learn [about Islam] was not always matched by a wider society which believed Islam to be a violent religion."

Haha! At that time the British empire was subjugating hundreds of millions of people peacefully and benevolently, showering them with development and prosperity.

The British Victorians who became Muslims

Related:
The Blood Never Dried
For 'Palestinian peace process' read 'Iran war process'

My comment: I would add one important element to enlarge the "international relations" picture: control of the region by the US, a hegemon, and Israel, an ally, has to be viewed vis-a-vis a rival or rivals. Iran is one, but China and Russia are two others and it is very crucial that their powers is undermined. The US has lost is loosing its primacy is south east Asia. The Middle East has to remain a levrage for its geo-political and economic primacy, not for oil (America doesn't need Middle Eastern oil), and not only for the arms industry (the arms sales is still a fraction of the American GDP), but of capital outflows (as the author mentioned. It assist the more or less stagnating Western, especially European economies and maintaining domestic consent/stability/wealth) and hegemony and/or over others.

Related (from the archive): 
My interview with the author about his book Hamas: A Beginner's Guide
Brexit

A YouGov analysis of more than 25,000 voters suggests the following division of leave voters in the referendum, linked to the 2017 election result.
 Middle-class leave voters: Conservative 5.6 million; Labour 1.6 million. 
 Working-class leave voters: Conservative 4.4 million; Labour 2.2 million. (A few of the remaining 3.6 million leave voters supported smaller parties; most did not vote in 2017.)

So the largest block of leave voters were middle-class Conservatives, followed by working-class Conservatives. Just one in eight leave voters was a working-class Labour supporter. To be sure, had even half of these 2.2 million voters backed remain, the result of the referendum would be different. But to suggest that the referendum’s 17.4 million leave voters were dominated by working-class Labour supporters is simply wrong.

Labout's Brexit tactics are "failing spectacularly"
Why the Gulf Wealth Matters to Britain [and the US]


A summary


Anglo-American interest in the enormous hydrocarbon reserves of the Persian Gulf does not derive from a need to fuel Western consumption.


The US has never imported more than a token amount from the Gulf and for much of  the postwar period has been a net oil exporter. Anglo-American  involvement in  the Middle East has always been principally about the strategic advantage gained from controlling Persian Gulf hydrocarbons, not Western oil needs.


What remains a US strategy: the US and Britain would provide Saudi Arabia and  other key Gulf monarchies with  ‘sufficient military supplies to preserve internal security’.


In a piece for the Atlantic a few months  after  9/11, Benjamin Schwarz and Christopher Layne explained that  Washington 'assumes responsibility for stabilising the region’ because  China, Japan and  Europe  will  be dependent on its resources for the foreseeable future: ‘America  wants to discourage those powers from developing the means to protect that resource for themselves.’

The developed Asian economies are heavily reliant on Persian Gulf oil and Qatari  natural gas. US dominance in the Gulf gives it decisive strategic influence over any potential Asian rival.


The US has a huge military presence in the region: United States Central Command is based  at al-Udeid airbase in Qatar, the largest air force  base in the world. Only  Iran, which broke away from the US system in 1979, houses no American military bases.


 It  was the cost of the military ‘protection’ of the Gulf that forced the end of Britain’s  formal empire there  in 1971, and the beginning of US hegemony.

Before withdrawing from its dependencies, the British  government placed retired  military officers as advisers  to Gulf  monarchs it had for the most part installed in  order  to protect  ‘oil  and  other interests’ and a  ‘very profitable market in military  equipment’,  in the words  of the  then foreign secretary, Michael Stewart. Even now, a  striking number of Middle East rulers are graduates of Sandhurst.


In 2016, Theresa May pledged  to increase Britain’s military commitments there,  ‘with more British warships, aircraft and personnel deployed  on operations than in  any  other part of the world’.

Britain’s residual  influence  in Saudi Arabia meant  that  during  the oil crises of the  1970s  the kingdom secretly broke its own embargo to supply Britain. Saudi Arabia  also  continued  to pump much of the massive surplus generated  by oil sales into  British financial  institutions.

Barclays received  £4.6  billion  from Qatar and  £3.5 billion from the  UAE,  helping  it  to avoid nationalisation. Qatar’s investments in the UK are many and conspicuous.


The  US’s  inherited mastery of the Gulf has given it a degree of leverage over both  rivals and allies probably unparalleled in the history of empire.

The Arab Gulf states have proved well-suited to their status as US client states, in part because their populations are small and their subjugated working class comes from Egypt and South Asia.

Western  oil companies  had  been  extracting  huge profits while the Gulf states  received  little more than an allowance. These companies have less power now,  except in Oman, where Royal  Dutch Shell still owns a third of the main oil company.


Saudi Arabia’s helotry to the West was one of al-Qaida’s preoccupations but the  US-Saudi alliance has if anything strengthened since the  group’s founding. The extreme  conservatism of the Gulf  monarchies, in which  there is in principle  no  consultation with the citizenry, means that the use of oil  sales to prop up Western  economies  – rather than to finance, say, domestic development  – is met with little objection.


Since the West installed the monarchs, and its behaviour is essentially extractive,  I see no reason to avoid describing the continued Anglo-American domination of the Gulf as colonial.


Saudi Arabia and the other five members of the Gulf Co-operation Council are  collectively the world’s  largest buyer of military equipment by a big margin.


In  2017, the US and Saudi Arabia signed the largest arms deal in history, estimated to be worth $350 billion.


Arms sales are useful principally as a way of bonding the Gulf monarchies to the Anglo-American  military.  Proprietary systems  – from fighter  jets to tanks and  surveillance equipment  – ensure  lasting  dependence, because training, maintenance and spare parts can be supplied only by the source country.


The US made its guarantees of Saudi and Arab Gulf security conditional  on  the  use of  oil sales to shore up the dollar. In addition, the US compelled Saudi Arabia and the other OPEC countries to set oil prices in dollars, and for many years Gulf oil shipments could be paid for only in dollars. A de facto oil standard replaced gold, assuring the dollar’s value and pre-eminence.


—Tom Stevenson reviewing David Wearing's AngloArabia: Why the Gulf Wealth Matters to Britain (2019) London Review of Books, 9 May 2019


Given the above, would it be logical and practical for the US and its Western allies to support a genuine change in the Gulf? The Gulf monarchies, after all, have not witnessed uprisings. The Bahraini one was quickly put down with Saudi and Emirati assistance. Both Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been taking an active part in aborting uprisings and restoring military dictatorships. Any meaningful change would not only jeopardise the geo-politico-economic leverage the US has, but any leverage London and Washington have at home in shoring up their financial markets and their economies as a whole, and maintaining the consent of their populations.




Abortion

As Alabama, US, is passing a bill to ban abortion, it it useful to compare the US with other countries, especially "Muslim" countries.


Bahrain, Tunisia and Turkey vs.  Latin American countries (except Mexico and Cuba), Poland and even the United Kingdom.
Venezuela

"Across town, there is a small supermarket that sells imported products to those who can afford to treat themselves. Most of the clients are foreigners and wealthier Venezuelans. There are even so-called "Boligarchs" - the nickname given to the new oligarchy who have done well under Hugo Chávez's and Nicolás Maduro's "Bolivarian revolution" - who come in to get their fix of foreign produce."

A new oligarchy that has done well under Chavez and Maduro. That is what the mainstream media calls "socialism" and they keep repeating it in every article and news item so that you know what you should hate.
Generally a good piece, but saying that the US "has destroyed Iraq, Libya and Syria" is not accurate from Roy. The US has contributed in the destruction of Libya and Syria. In both countries the main destruction has been carried out by local and regional forces. That also ignores the role of Russia.

Literature provides shelter
By Arundhati Roy

"As Europe and America bear witness to populist politics, Professor Papanek says he would not discount the possibility that a McCarthy could one day return. 
He says should that happen, it would be very difficult to combat and would require resistance from Americans in all walks of life."
At the end of the academic year at an elite institution,

One student studying Development does not know where inequality comes from. Nor is she provided in the course with an alternative to what she called "dependency" of the underdeveloped countries or the Gates Foundation work.

A student burst in laughter upon hearing "social justice" in a sentence. Then she said: it is impossible to have social justice.

A student from France voted for Emmanuel Macron, and still supports him, because he hoped that he would legalise marijuana.

A student from another elite college came to class full of excitment after she attended a lecture by the King of Spain. She confidently said that the King "was giving them tools to change the world."
Hate or anger?
By Ernest Bloch
Syria and beyond


Many "leftists" in Britain, who keep marching for Palestinians, for example), viewed the Syrian regime as "progressive"with socialistic elements, anti-Western imperialism, and its main backer, Russia, as a balancer to American imperialism.


Many "liberals" viewed the Syrian regime as "secular", the lesser evil, the one whose leader and first lady were Western-educated and enlightened. After all, it was the Islamic State group that "threatened our way of life", not al-Assad.

Many now will consent to normalising relationship with the "victor": Some Arab states have already began such a process and Western ones will follow suit. Capital will thrive and old and new wealthy oligarchs will join hands. And, of course, the language of "human rights" and prosecuting the perpetrators are among those commodities which will accompany "reconstruction" and "normalisation".


Is protecfing Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and restoring "stability", has anything to do with counter-revolution? 


"Normalisation" includes more Gulf states cooperation with the Israeli settler-colonial state. Designating Hizbullah, Hamas and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as terrorist organisations by the US is not about Sunni vs. Shi'a, but it is about protecting Israel's continuous expansion with minimum hindrance.

Restoring "stability" means no meaningful changes in the socio-economic setting of the region, but maintaining a decades-long leverage for certain powers against others. It is not about the flow of cheap oil and gas to the West, but the control of that flow in the world market by controlling clients, especially, its vital importance to rival powers (China is one). It is ensuring financial flow to Wesntern banks and a continous dependency on protection and provision of hardware (military bases and sale of arms).

Uprising shouldn't go too far to threaten client regimes. "We" define what revolution is: reforms that guarantee "democractic" elections (we decide what is democractic and what is not), and the rule of law in harmony with the "free market". In other cases military dictatorships are the best alternative.

********

Mariam Khleif, a 32-year-old mother of five from Hama, was repeatedly raped during her detention. Ms. Khleif said she had aided injured protesters and delivered medical supplies to rebels, acts that the government labeled terrorism.

For some conservative men, the conflict changed attitudes. Several survivors and male relatives say their families now honor sexual assault survivors as war wounded. Ms. Khleif hid nothing from her new husband, a former rebel.

“You are a medal on my chest, you are the crown on my head,” she recalled him telling her. “He cooked for me, massaged my face with oil. He made me my old self.”

"So long as we persist in our tendency to hive off the study of economics from politics, philosophy and journalism, Marx, will remain the outstanding example of how to overcome the frangmentation of modern social thought and think about the world as a whole for the sake of its betterment." 
— Mark Mazwoer, Columbia University, reviewing Gareth Stedman Jones's book Karl Marx, Greatness and Illusion, the Financial Times, 5 August 2016.
As Trump raises tariffs on Chinese goods (again), a big picture of world trade since mid-19th-century is very useful. After a historical level of a 'globalisation' wave/openess, the U.S. sees its hegemony threatened and its power in relative decline vis-a-vis the rising of new powers like China. Thus it wants reassert itself. That makes the possiblities of conflicts in the coming decade higher.

World trade and capitalism
The other criminals

The assault on Idlib, Syria
Sudan

Muslims, like those of 2011 uprisings before the counter-revolution, and like those in Algeria, are not led by Islamists a d are not demanding an Islamic state. Weird, isn't it?

Sudan's military rulers  "responded to a draft constitutional document presented to it by a coalition of protest groups and political parties."

The Transitional Military Council's leaders said "the document omitted Islamic law, which they said remained the bedrock of all laws."  

David Pilling from the Financial Times wrote: "there is a retro-revolutionary feel to a movement that has both a secular and a syndicalist tinge."

I am not opitmistic though when it comes to toppling the regime. There is no strategy to either take over state institutions or build a dual power. The army is still intact and there is no organisation to carry pit an insurrection.

Putting pressure would at most achieve modest reforms (see Tunisia). Genuine change requires a radical movement and a radical programme. This is even argued by a liberal scholar like Marina Ottaway, for example.

"Inside the Massive Sit-In Fuelling Sudan's Revolution"
"Rights groups have accused Paris of being complicit in alleged war crimes against civilians in Yemen, where around 10,000 people have died and millions been forced to the brink of starvation."

Who are these (leftist, ignorant) "rights groups" who do not know that we need strategic partners to preserve the values of "the free world" and of "Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité".


Haven't you seen the French chanting "Je suis Yéménite", "Je suis Sudanais(e)", "Je suis Algérien(ne)?


France ships (more) arms to Saudi Arabia
This is the kind of analysis we need: a well-established journalist at the Financial Times argues that there is a risk of "accidental" war in the Middle East. History, and the history of the region in particular, following Gardner's logic, tells us that wars happen by "accident", not by a cumulative process within a historical juncture and with a backgroound at home and abroad of the social-political forces at play.

What might be called an "accident" could be a trigger, but not the mechanism. Necessity is the main/fundamental factor, i.e. the cumulative process(es) of drives and contradictions  make war a necessity.

I am curious to find how many historians and analysts have found that 1948, 1967 and 1973 wars, the Iraq-Iran war (1982-1988), 1991 and 2003 wars/invasions happened "accidentally".

That's apart from the simplistic but convenient mainstream description of the "sectarian" nature of the conflicts.

Risks rise of an accidental war in the Middle East

(You might be asked to subscribe to read the article, but by googling the title and using different browsers I managed to get a free access)
Egyptian drama production (a report in Arabic)

How the military dictatorship is destroying the margin of variety and freedom that existed for decades. 

One company, with links to the state, now has a monopoly on the production of drama and owns/controls most of the network channels.

There has been a significant drop in production, actors and actresses have withrawn from the art's scene, and 1 million people working in the industry have been/will be affected in one way or another.

هل بات الإنتاج الدرامي في مصر تحت سيطرة الدولة؟


Erotic scenes and wearing revealing dresses used to be common in  Egyptian movies. New rules/codes after 2013 coup have been put in place.

Example: 


"South Africa has a general election tomorrow, 25 years since the end of apartheid and six years since the death of Nelson Mandela. In those 25 years, the aspirations and hopes of most black South Africans (90% of the 58m South Africans) and, for that matter, many white South Africans, have been disappointed. In those 25 years, the majority have not seen any startling improvement in their living standards, education, health and public services."

The dashing of a dream
Good, but I expected more on the geo-political economy.

Trump's America, Netanyahu's Israel
Social structuring in pre-capitalism "may look as an anomaly to a contemporary eye. But it is an anomaly only because we tend to take such notions as national space, nation, class and citizen as given, as the 'natural' way of social existence. Once one poses the question on the conditions and prerequisites that made these notions come to existence, i.e. once one poses the historicity of such notions, the pre-capitalist categories cease to be anomalies. The coming into age of an enlarged identity: the nation, has not done away with the need to exclude others, it only redefined otherness on grounds that look "natural to contemporary eyes, belonging to a common culture or speaking a common language, thus excluding 'others' from the right to compete for jobs and opportunities within the national space.

The non-dominance of capitalism on social formations imposes severe restrictions that prevent carrying a final assault on many forms of pre-capitalist social organisation.

— Isam al-Khafaji, Tormented Births: Passages to Modernity in Europe and the Middle East, 2004, p. 110
Venezuela

"While the official line was that the uprising was the work of the Venezuelan masses, everything the Trump administration did reinforced the message that it had been made in Washington."

Note that the liberals who wrote the article did not put the words "uprising" and "liberation" in inverted commas., and they don't seem to condemn the attempted coup. After all, Western regimes and some others have supported the interim president. That would enough to make a successful coup a "liberation". 

1. An "uprising/revolution", if it exists, should be judged by its class or social groupings character. It should be decided by the balance of forces inside a country.
2. An imperialist state is reactionary by its nature. And the American one nowadays is even more reactionary that 5 years ago. A reactionary force cannot by its nature support a radical progressive change. It would an anomaly if it does.
3. The support of Russia or China does not make the current Venezuelan regime progressive, either. It should be analysed by its social character and its policies withing a given juncture.

How the revolutionary Trumpists-Boltonists and their allies failed (so far)
"Thriving liberal democracy"

They're not only corrupt, money-launderers, vampiristic, they love women's blood.

HSBC's gende pay gap grows to 61%
First part of an interview with Venezuelan sociologist Edgardo Lander

He’s professor emeritus at the Central University of Venezuela, and a fellow of the Transnational Institute. He did his Ph.D. at Harvard University, and he is the author of numerous books and research articles on democracy, the myths of industrialization and economic growth, and left-wing movements in Latin America.

There are also some interesting comments at the end.
The Metamorphosis
The political education of Mario Vargas Ilosa
An event in London

Videogames industry, profit, class struggle, etc.

Consoles, Controllers and Class Struggle
A book by Jamie Woodcock
How the charge of antisemitism has been deployed in Great Britain and against grassroots social justice activism to silence Israel's critics.

Israel and the Antisemitism Playbook in Great Britain and Grassroots
Another example of collective punishment led by the leader of "the free world" to help people, especially "oppressed Iranian women",  "regain their freedoms".

And don't tell me that the American people are not complicit in this.

Six charts that show how hard US sanctions have hit Iran

Global Poverty

The Science of (Not) Ending Global Poverty