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Showing posts from May, 2019
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 col
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. Ess
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-
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 ."
Brexit New model party Politically parallels: Weimar Republic and Britain
More propaganda against Britain. This time is by Amnesty against the "amazing professionalism of our Royal Air Force." "Precision bombing" Raqqa is in ruins like Dresden
How One Palestinian University is Remaking "Israel Studies"
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  criticize
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
German Jews warned not to wear kippas
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 Yelt
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 sounds interesting. Unfortunately, a subscription is required. «Le capitalism, seul responsable de l'exploitation destructrice de la nature»
The Battleship Island A 2017 South Korean movie.
Ken Loach blames "fake left" politicians
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 Bannon wants 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
Sometimes some people somewhere do care Italians unions refuse to load Saudi ship carrying weapons to Yemen
We need to sell submarines and other hardware to Israel. Yes, we don't recognise the Palestinians right of return. We have a sense of guilt. Enjoy Eurovision! Germany rules BDS movement "anti-Semitic"
"There is no social backlash to anyone who hold Islamophobic views"
Egypt blackface sketch about Sudanese spotlights racism in region
US-China trade war
"India's Most Repressed Get Their Revenge" (?) Not yet.
Countdown to "full spectrum dominance"
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'
What kind of world are we living in?
"Calls to ban Muslim Brotherhood aim to criminalise US Muslim dissent"
Labour in Algeria's Revolt
What happened in Manitoba, a Mennonite colony in Bolivia ten years ago?
The rest of us knew Churchill was a villain
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 discou
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
Marx and the End of Orientalism
"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." "How we endured the McCarthy purges in the US"
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 protec
"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.
Who did what to defeat the Islamic State group
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
Britain, Britons, Brexit, Bonkers ... The conditions are ripe for the biggest backlash imaginable One decline is related to another Why Britain doesn't have a Huawei of its own
Class struggle (at a low ebb) Silicon Valley nonsense: Uber and exploitation
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 and 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 mo
"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
Universal Basic Income doesn't work

Middle East

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 o
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:  Rania Youssef threatened with prison sentence for wearing a revealing dress
" 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
"Capitalism has a moral basis, to be free, you have to be capitalist”.  God bless M. T.
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 org
I am a police officer in London
Bhaskar Sunkara explores socialism’s history and presents a realistic vision for its future
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
"Revolutionary Cycles Are Contagious"
Reading Hannah Arendt Is Not Enough
Heresy There is a glimpse of hope, sometimes. German SPD youth chief leader lambasted for proposing collective ownership of big firms
"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.
Venezuela Socialists reject the coup attempt without supporting Maduro
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
Jeffrey Sachs is not a marxist or even a socialist The headline of the interview is not accurate though, but one gets the idea. "A humanitarian catastrophe deliberately caused by the United States"
Salon is a liberal media group Boeing might represent the greatest indictment of 21st-century capitalism
“Never be deceived that the rich will allow you to vote away their wealth.” —Lucy Parsons
The Saudi's assistance in the expansion of the Israeli's state Zionist project
Nightingales and Pleasure Gardens