"Down with the regime and the opposition... Down with the Arab-Islamic nation ... down with the Security Council... Down with the world... Down with everything."
(A banner held by protesters in Kafr Nabl, 14 October 2011)

Life of a mother fleeing bombardment in Idlib
(North Syria 2018-2019)
Brazil's state violence
Last October, Wilson Witzel, a 51-year-old conservative former judge and marine, was elected governor of Rio de Janeiro state, promising to be tough on crime. During his campaign, he said the authorities would “dig graves” to bury criminals if necessary.


Days after being elected, he vowed to “slaughter” anyone caught carrying a rifle. “The police will do the right thing,” he told a newspaper, “aim at their little heads and fire! So there’s no mistake.” Legal experts argue that shooting at people is unlawful if officers are not acting in self-defence.

Witzel has an ally in Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, a former army captain and congressman for Rio, who also took office in January. They agree on many things, including that officers should not face charges if they kill on duty. “A policeman who doesn’t kill,” Bolsonaro once said, “isn’t a policeman.”


"Between January and July, police operations resulted in 1,075 deaths, an average of five per day, the highest number since official records began 20 years ago. Most of those who die are male, black and young. And while many are suspected criminals who have died in confrontations, there is also an unknown number of unarmed people and bystanders among the victims."


Male, young, black, from the favelas of Rio. It is when class and race oppression converge.

“When will [Witzel’s] police stop killing our sons? Ask Witzel. When will the police stop killing workers? Fathers?”

Lethal Force in Brazil's Favelas

"Salvini is attempting to mould an aggressive Catholicism around a hyper-masculinised personality cult. The crucifix and the rosary become emblems of far-right Crusader-style military erotica, to be wielded by real men against the limp humanitarianism of Pope Francis who has spoken out on behalf of refugees and, most famously, in 2013  lamented ‘the globalisation of indifference’ at an open-air mass in  Lampedusa, held against the backdrop of the hulks of shipwrecked migrant boats."

Wilhelm Reich's The Mass Psychology if Fascism comes to mind.

White supremacy, racial patriarchy: two sides of the same coin
"Ms. Mayer, a staff writer at The New Yorker, presents the Kochs and other families as the hidden and self-interested hands behind the rise and growth of the modern conservative movement. Philanthropists and political donors who poured hundreds of millions of dollars into think tanks, political organizations and scholarships, they helped win acceptance for anti-government and anti-tax policies that would protect their businesses and personal fortunes, she writes, all under the guise of promoting the public interest."

The philanthropists of today, who are they working for? Who will be working for when the shit hits the fan?


Like Krupps, Siemens, Hugo Boss ...
 


The Koch brothers who helped build the Nazi's third largest refinery
Arundhati Roy, Pakistani military, 1971 genocide

Two years ago, Arundhati Roy made a blunder, and some blunders are unforgivable. "The Pakistani military was never used against its own people in the way the Indian army was," she declared.

 In 1971 the Paksitani army carried out a genocide, with U.S complicity.


Karl Marx Walks London

There is some exaggeration in the wordings on the front page. However, I was in two walks a few years ago and I recommend you go on one, for it inspires to read Marx and to question the prevalent perceptions about his ideas.
Global capitalist economy

A well-known economist, Nouriel Roubini, with a career at the World Bank and IMF (notorious institutions), is unable to provide a solution! Could it be because there might be something flawed in determining the causes? After all, when someone is well into the system and merely wants to help managing it is not supposed to question the fundamentals.


Related:
It's all going pear-shaped
The nation-state: e.g. Britain

"The liberal-nationalist hope is always that one can have the fantasy of social harmony and enjoying-together without the exclusionary Othering. Even if nations are, by definition, exclusive, the hope is that they need not be chauvinist about it."

"Behead those who insult the nation-state"
Algeria

Here is one of the reasons that the Algerian protest movement is unable to carry out a revolution:

The protesters "call for" and "demand". That is not what the history of revolutions inform us about how to "remove a ruling elite."  

Here are some conditions:

  • A regime has to face a mounting pressure that makes it implode from inside.
  • A revolutionary movement that paralyses the economic machine through a general strike.
  • A split in the military/winning of a significant section of the armed forces.
  • The regional and foreign intervention is weak or unable to prolong or co-opt the revolutionary movement. On the contrary, favourable international conditions have to exist. That is absent today.
  • The movement has a strong mass support because the majority/at least a coalition of social strata, including a section of the middle classs, not only desire change, but also believe in the viability and achievability of an alternative.
  • The movement produces leaders who do not compromise.
  • The movement does not call or demand the regime in place to do this or that; it takes over and occupies strategic centres of power, and builds democratic but revolutionary alternative organs.
  • A revolutionary economic programme of social justice, wealth redistribution, etc. Some revolutionary literature has to be produced in this regard. Such a programme has to be radical to counter the radicalism and extremism of the form of capitalism in the X country and has also to be expansive in countering the narrow "civil society" and "human rights" concepts as preached and imposed by imperial powers and their institutions.
  •  The momentum: a movement cannot go on protesting forever. It wears out at the end. Then comes a compromise, if not a crackdown, that promises or achieves cosmetic changes through the powerful propagated recipe of "organising elections and a democratic process."
Once the regime is overthrown the tasks are even bigger.

Recommended readings: 
— Tormented Births: Passages to Modernity in Europe and the Middle East by Isam Al-khafaji, 2004
— Revolution without Revolutionaries by Asef Bayat, 2017

Manufacturing consent and views

Here is an interesting and a telling comparison one should make: the way the mainstream, corporate media (from the Times to the BBC) have reported about some Westerners killed or kidnapped and the genocide* in Myanmar. 

Compare how many articles, number of words and images have been used to report on one British Muslim woman who had joined ISIS and the genocide against Muslims in Myanmar. 

*The United Nations and a Havard researcher, for example, have used the word genocide. 
A picture about Hong Kong, which incorporates sociology, political economy and international relations in one short piece is rare to find. A must read.

Hong Kong's resistance
The failed repatriation efforts come as a UN report revealed the extent to which the Myanmar military, known as the Tatmadaw, systematically used sexual violence, including the gang rape of men and women, as part of a strategy to intimidate the Rohingya during “clearance operations” in 2016 and 2017. It was these crackdowns that precipitated the exodus of more than 700,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh, where they still live in squalid camps.

Rohingya refugees turn down second Myanmar repatriation effort
Stray Dogs
By Tsai Ming-Liang


"A pact between M5s and the PD carries all manner of dangers for Italy. Should a deal between them prove impossible, the country faces early elections and a likely huge mandate for Salvini. This would finalise the Lega’s capture of the conservative middle classes, while reducing Berlusconi’s old party, Forza Italia, to a mere rump entity after its quarter-century domination of the right. Victory would also propel the Lega’s march into the once hostile southern regions."

Oh, those "middle classes", the engine of progress!   

2019 presidential elections in Tunisia

The lines below are from Reuters (21 August 2019) and what is between brackets is mine.


The struggling economy is at the top of many voters' priorities and Ennahda [the Islamist Party usually dubbed "moderate" in the Western mainstream media which defines what "democracy" is and where it exists and doesn't exist] and other secularists [whatever that means] support market-oriented reforms urged on Tunisia by the International Monetary Fund [in order to industrialise the country and make it propserous and competitive with South Korea, Italy and Taiwan] but strongly resisted by unions and the population [who think they know their interests better than the IMF and World Bank men and women do].

And [Nabil] Karoui [a media tycoon, "Tunisian's Berlusconi"], backed by his Nesma TV station, has positioned himself as champion of the poor in the neglected hinterland outside the capital -- Ennahda's strongholds.

[The two short paragraphs above appear at the very end of [an edited] Reuters piece. They are the only lines hinting to the socio-economic situation in Tunisia, which is today, after 8 years of "democracy" worse than before the 2011 uprising. Not a word about the economic programme of highlighted candidate in the article, Morou, only that bit that says his party supports "market-oriented reforms". But we know that he is a lawyer, speaks fluent German and likes Beethoven!]. 

Update: 24 August

Karoui, the media tycoon and presidential candidate, has been arrested in charges of tax evasion. The move has been described by trade unionist Hamdi Bechir Hamdi as "a gang of mafiosos battling each others and sorting their accounts out; it is a battle to redistribute the reigns of power among each other. They are those  people who inherited Ben Ali's machine. The talk about democracy, elections and the rule of law is a theater... After all, there are people who are more corrupt than Karoui."

Vassal States

"So Macron is worried that Britain might become a vassal state of the US. Which planet has he been on these last four decades and more? A process that began in 1956 after the Suez debacle was lovingly completed by Thatcher and Blair. Britain has been a fully-fledged vassal for a long time. And France, especially under Jospin and Hollande, was/is moving in the same way. Militarily, ideologically, culturally the US dominates most of Europe.

Britain's vassal status is enshrined on many levels and partially explains the hysteria that greeted Corbyn's election as Leader of the Labour Party and the non-stop attempts to denigrate and defeat him, of which the 'anti-semitism' campaign is the most recent. Even Corbyn will find it very difficult to break the shackles."

—Tariq Ali, 22 August 2019
"In September 2017 a YouGov poll commissioned by the Arab News and the Council for the Advancement of Arab British Understanding illustrated worrying attitudes and misunderstandings of Arabs and Muslims in Britain. Of the 2142 British voters polled in the survey, 63% stated that they believe Arabs have failed to integrate themselves into British Society, and 41% believed that their presence has not been beneficial. Despite these strong opinions, 81% admitted that they knew little or nothing about the region." (The British Arab Centre)


Is it surprising?


To my life experience in Britain, it is not. The sheer level of prejudice and lack of knowledge is horrifying. One begins with "oh, you don't look Arab!" Arabs are only brown-skinned people she thought. Another was when an educated person who told me in 2010, when I mentioned Edward Said and Orientalist views, "that was long time ago." Presumably because she felt we were living in a triumphing liberal age that put Orientalist views of Arabs and Muslims, and the Other in general, in the dusbin of history.


What is prevalent was and still is what a teacher told me: "human rights" or in the words of Justin Rosenberg "the empire of civil society". But they would never question their complicity in supporting authoritarian regimes,  repression, torture, etc while they are cherishing Fly Emirates and lifting no finger when their "leaders"  dine and wine with dictators and monarchs in their Western cities (that is reserved mostly for the Chinese and Russian regimes), and when their governments sell arms to protect those autocratic regimes and to engineer and fuel more violence in the region.

This is not restricted to Britain of course. In some European countries the situation is worse. After all, I have been living in a very multi-ethnic city, arguably the mos mixed city in the world, not in Budapest or Warsaw.


Then came the violent attacks carried out by Muslims in Western cities and Orientalist views got even worse, revealing even more ignorance, more racism, more Islamophobia. It was not shocking for me that 5 students from two different London universities studying Gender and Middle Eastern studies none of them was able to name a single Arab feminist, that a Dutch student approached me just after Charlie Hebdo attacks, saying, "what shall we do with Muslims?", that a History student burst in frustration upon encountering the variety of Arabic pronunciation, "now I understand why there are many conflicts in the Arab world. It is because there are many dialects," that a British woman said, upon hearing the word Guantanamo, "it is where they keep the terrorists," that two Germans and an English at the same time declared that "a benevolent dictator would be a good thing," that an Italian PhD student commented, "I cannot see life without neoliberalism," that another History student, an English who I met several times, asked me "why Afghan soldiers were killing dogs," not how may times Britain invaded Afghanistan, why Afghanistan is one of the poorest country on earth, why some Muslims carried out violent attackes in London, Paris amd Berlin, for example, or what I thought about the destruction of Iraq and the British role in it....


A German PhD student wanted to "empower women in the Middle East and Africa." She wasn't a revolutionary speaking about helping others overthrow repressive regimes and fighting for social justice, etc  No. But what is implied, naively or intentionally, is that Middle Eastern and African women are unfit to empower themselves; they need an educated white Westerner from an elite institution with a middle class outlook. That was how German women were "empowered" in the twentieth century; women from "higher, more civilised" countries went to Germany to empower German women.


That is a glimpse of how the dominant ideology is embedded in the education system. That is also what is reinforced in most of the middle class students or students with middle class way of thinking who are privileged or lucky to study in Western universities.


"Most wars in the Arab world are religiously based" is almost a common statement. When you mention the Arab uprisings, very few people have ever heard of them or even if they have they are unable to state any basic aspects of the uprisings. And all what is needed in this turbulent context is an Islamic scholar of the calibre of Boris Johnson, to demonstrate the relationship between "Islam" and "backwardness", with a profound analysis of capitalist development, nature of authoritarian regimes, the origins of Western capitalism, "liberal democracy", the history of violence, power relations, technological factors, and, in short, "why we developed and they have not."


If teachers themselves have built up such pile of prejudices and Euro-centric views and if students, who are supposed to acquire scientific knowledge of historical processes and scientific tools to analyse social phenomena, think in this way, what about the rest?


Knowledge about the Middle East and North Africa based on reading history, sociology and power relations is almost zero, confined to a minuscule minorty such as those in academia or some of those who got immersed in an Arab country and combined that with a good sociological and historical account of society.

Arab cinema

In Papisha soon the "high energy wears off, as the story descends into repugnant cliches and orientalist pigeonholes. Meddour's world view is black and white: all men are bad, nearly all religious people are blood-thirsty monsters, and all the liberal-minded girls are valiant heroines.

There is no subtlety in her characterisations nor hint of intelligence in how she tackles Islamic radicalism, which is personified by a bunch of liberal men-hating women and women obsessed with having every girl in the country veiled. 

On the evidence of Papicha, Meddou's world view comes over as little different from the average white Western film-maker in its antagonistic stance against non-white masculinity, a toxic feminist stance which frowns down on anyone who does not share its ideals. By a long margin, Papicha was the low point of the Arab selection at Cannes this year."

Review of seven new Arab films

"Cannes, after all, is an awfully classist festival that segregates the press into groups defined by the number of hits their publications receive; that continues to coerce its female guests into wearing high heels for the Lumiere gala premieres; and whose line-up is largely fed by mega French distributors with enduring ties to the Cannes hierarchy."
—Joseph Fahim
"More migrants are threatening to jump overboard"

This should be considered use of violence by migrants who are terrorising the emotions of Europeans in order to force the latter to take them in. This use of blackmailing and arm twisting is not the method of a civilised people but a stronger race invading our shores.
Complicty in state violence

Like the World Bank, the IMF and others,

Google is deepening its involvement with Egypt's repressive regime
"Israel illegal arms trade in South Sudan"

It would be interesting to find a study about which has been more destructive and criminal, "legal" or "illegal" arms trade.
The Financial Times calls it "free market liberal democracy"

Costa Coffee is just one example. Two facts not mentioned in the article are: Costa is owned by Coca Cola and it does not allow trade unions. Not allowing trade union in some businesses to represent workers and defend their rights, etc has been going on for a long time in Britain, since the Maasricht Treaty in fact. That means EU labour rules have been applied differently in Britain. The zero-hour contract is another example.

Related:
What happens in order to maintain a minimum rate of profit and when productivity is not high enough.
Ungrateful Costa workers, many of them are foreigners who came to our country and gave them jobs, but they dare complain, saying that "they are not treated like humans."
In the unjust state of society the powerlessness and pliability of the masses increase with the quantity of goods allocated to them.

"The enslavement to nature of people today cannot be separated from social progress. The increase in economic productivity which creates the conditions for a more just world also affords the technical apparatus and the social groups controlling it a disproportionate advantage over the rest of the population. The individual is entirely nullified in face of the economic powers. These powers are taking society’s domination over nature to unimagined heights. While individuals as such are vanishing before the apparatus they serve, they are provided for by that apparatus and better than ever before. In the unjust state of society the powerlessness and pliability of the masses increase with the quantity of goods allocated to them. The materially considerable and socially paltry rise in the standard of living of the lower classes is reflected in the hypocritical propagation of intellect. Intellect’s true concern is a negation of reification. It must perish when it is solidified into a cultural asset and handed out for consumption purposes. The flood of precise information and brand-new amusements make people smarter and more stupid at once."

—Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment, 1944, 2002 ed., Preface, p. xvii

Capitalism's violence

The profoundest moments of iniquity are not performed by psychopaths, but by ordinary people as they come to accept the premises of the existing order. 



"Within neoliberalism’s vision of a prosperous global village, what remains unsaid is the desire for homogeneity, an compulsion to remake the ‘Other’ in ‘our’ image, whereby the space of ‘the peculiar’, ‘the exotic’, ‘the bizarre’ is repeatedly (re)produced through the relation of the ban in order to create a world with a single trajectory.


Blaming ‘others’ for neoliberalism’s failures and for its violence consequently becomes a primary mechanism in the articulation of power. 

Although violence is of course fragmented by variations and irregularities as part of its complex and unfolding nature, within the current moment of neoliberalism, violence is all too frequently imbued within the chaotic landscapes of globalized capitalism. In the case of Operation Blue Star, the assassination of Indira Ghandi, and the subsequent anti-Sikh riots, each of these violent moments exists along the timeline of inequalities and violences that coalesced to shake the ground as the neoliberalization of India unfolded."


Neoliberal shock and horror in India's anti-Sikh genocide 
How convenient for the liberal pundits to attack the far-right and the ideology of hatred. They tend to ignore the role of "identity politics" that has been used to plague the minds.

This was uttered by a liberal columnist in the Financial Times in 2009: “Immigrants also bring a lot of disorder, penury and crime … Muslim culture is unusually full of messages laying out the practical advantages of procreation … If you walk north across the Piazza Della Repubblica in Turin, you see, mutatis mutandis, what the Romans saw. To the east, two well-preserved Roman towers remain, and so do the walls built to separate citizens from barbarians. Today, in the space of about 60 seconds on foot, you pass from chic shops and wine bars through a lively multiethnic market into one of Europe’s more menacing north African slums.”


This was uttered by the perpetrator of the attack in El Paso, US, in August 2019: “This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas. They are the instigators, not me. I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion ... America is rotting from the inside out, and peaceful means to stop this seem to be nearly impossible.”


The following piece is good in an informative way, but it has not a single paragraph that contextualises the process of capitalist "globalisation" and global political economy and its impacts on social fabrics. It seems that 9/11 attacks, with some literature here and there, generated the myth of Eurabia and Islamophobia, the threat of the Other and the individual violence that has accompanied them. Such an approach is an example of the fragmentaion of social thought. An approach that examines a social-ideological phenomenon as if it is unique rather than like poverty, inequality, exploitation, destruction of the environment, riots, social protests... part and parcel of the same system.


There are also a couple of sloppy statements such as "the rise of Islam as a global force"!! Islamic armies and navies with nuclear weapons at the gates of Europe, Islamic multinationals taking over google, Amazon and Walmart, Islamic brands swamping the TVs and streets of the West...?


How the myth of Eurabia went mainstream
"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crises."

—Dante Alighieri, The Devine Comedy
Al-Jazarī الجزري
With English subtitles


Libya

A good beginning in putting the situation in a big picture of "civilisational" context. However, I always wonder why most writers do not qualify "democracy" as if everybody agrees with the existing order. The socio-economic formation in which this "democracy" functions is rarely questioned, especially in today's "neoliberal" form of capitalism that even liberal sccholars have attacked as a source of violence and destruction. The social groups/strata that formed the former Libyan regime and how the regime came about and why it took the features it took is fundamental in understanding why Libya could not have a capitalist democracy. Neither Egypt, Syria or China. The focus on individuals doesn't help that much because the individuals themselves work within the trappings they found before them. There is a difference between structure and moment.

Furthermore, one should not conflate the ideals of the French revolution and how capitalist democracy was established. Achieving full capitalist relations and social struggle enabled democracy/democractic rights to emerge. Capitalist democracy though was co-existing with the subjugation of hundereds of millions of people in India, Africa, the Middle East...

Finally, dealing with destruction and civilisation, shouldn't we mention the biggest destruction in history that toook place in the 20th century? What role did it play in the declaration of human rights and the furthering capitalist democracy?

"Libya - failed state par excellence"

Kar Marx was not flawless, but the question of methodology and approach in analysing social phenemona have always been crucial, not only for a scientific understanding of what is happening around us, but also in determing the social factors and groups responsible of this or that outcome and the actions (or the form of actions) carried out by those who advocate and work for a meaningful change.

"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." (my emphasis)

— Mark Mazwoer, the Financial Times, 05 August 2019
India-Kashmir
"What the BJP government has done is akin to what Serbia's Milosevic regime did in 1989 by unilaterally revoking Kosovo's autonomy and imposing a police state on Kosovo's Albanian majority. 
But the BJP government's approach to Kashmir goes beyond what Milosevic intended for the Kosovo Albanians: subjugation."
Union secretary Reni Desmiria, a young mother, has been successfully enrolling BMI workers in the government's mandatory health insurance program since she returned from maternity leave. In retaliation, Reni was arrested and jailed at the company's insistence on May 17, and is currently on trial. The indictment in this kangaroo court offers the judges multiple options on which to convict her. BMI is demanding 6 years' imprisonment – the maximum penalty – for an infraction she committed 8 years ago, when she submitted a fake high school certificate in order to get the job. It was never an issue – until the company had to start contributing to employee health care. BMI has told Reni she can go free if she resigns from her union position. She has refused.

Meanwhile in Germany...
Giroux reminds us of Horkheimer and Adorno’s insights that liberalism and capitalism have inherent fascist potential, that fascism is a terroristic version of capitalism, that fascist potential has not ceased to exist after the end of World War II, and that “whoever is not willing to talk about capitalism should also keep quiet about fascism” (Horkheimer).

For almost 19 years in London, the people I have met have never wanted to talk about capitalism. Most of the students I got across hold a strong belief in it. What is mainly required is for capitalism to be managed properly by the right people and, in countries in Africa, Asia and the MENA region, it is mainly about the state and the institutions and the right implementaion of recipes.

People want to hear about the "freedom" they enjoy, how "tolerant" their society is, the cheap flights, iphones, music, a T.V series or a sitcom......and don't want to feel uncomfortable hearing about capitalist violence manifested in the results of the Syrian regime's neoliberal policies, the cheap clothes we get from the sweat and blood of Bangladashies, the Valentine flowers harvested by exploited Colombians, their acceptance of exorbitant tuition fees, banning of trade unions, massive financial corruption, the Western institutions and individuals in collaboration with local rulers involved in indebting countries, the indifference to the plight of the refugees, dispossession of land and destruction of the environment...the destruction of Iraq... hypocrisy...! For them there is nothing structural about capitalism and imperialism.

When Brexit came and Trump was elected, suddenly I saw people upset. They know who I am, but no one in my 19 years ever apologised for the actions of the regimes they have supported, be it the American, the French, the British ...
"Whoever is not willing to talk about capitalism should also keep quiet about fascism” (Horkheimer) or fascistic tendencies, and "terrorism".

The Culture of Neoliberal Fascism 
Or, The Terror of the Unforeseen
"Utopians used to insist that the internet would be a paradise of connectivity, “where minds, doors and lives open up”. Instead, it is, at best, a virtual Las Vegas casino, enticing us to enrich the big tech behemoths by playing their inane games; at worst, it has become a sickbay for neurotics addicted to “cyber-crack”, a training camp for alt-right crazies and a battlefield."

—Peter Conrad, reviewing The Twittering Machine, the Guardian 11 August 2019
I am a terrorist أنا إرهابي
(ana' irha'bii)

The West cries in fear when I make a toy from a matchbox
While they [the West] make a gallows of my body using my nerves for rope 
The West panics when I announce one day that they have torn my galabia 
While it is they who have urged me to be ashamed of my culture 
And to announce my joy and my utmost delight when they violate me. 
The West is sorely grieved when I worship One God in the stillness of the prayer niche.
While from the hair of their coattails and the dirt of their shoes 
They knead a thousand idols that they set atop the dung heaps made of the titled ones 
So that I become their slave and perform amongst them the rituals of flies. 
And he, they will beat me if I announce my refusal. 
If I mention among them the fragrance of flowers and grass 
They crucify me, accusing me of terrorism! 
Admirable are all the deeds of the West, and of its tails 
As for me, as long as I am related to freedom 
Everything I do is considered Terrorism
They have destroyed my world 
Let them reap what they have sown. 
If on my lips and in the cells of my blood 
The globalization of destruction has borne fruit. 
Here I say it, I write, I draw it I imprint it upon the forehead of the West with my wooden shoe:
Yes, I am a terrorist!


—The Iraqi poet Ahmed Matar (the Arabic version is available on the CIA website)




Some good points here, but I think it lacks a crucial aspect. There is also contradiction among the ruling class(es). Currently, the US-China trade war, the major Western and regional powers role in Libya and Syria are only two examples of conflicting interests.

Climate crisis means the ruling class has failed
The Iranian Revolution 1979-2019

"Saffari’s methodological approach to Shariati’s and neo-Shariatis work is that of dialogical comparison. Drawing on this framework as developed by comparative political theorist Fred Dallmayr, Saffari seeks out the border-crossing and binary-shattering implications of Shariati and his followers who, in conversation with other critics of Western hegemony and Eurocentrism, offer responses to modernity that challenge rather than reproduce global relations of power."

Beyond Ali Shariati
"Now the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are over, almost all British troops are back home and the Americans are even about to do a peace deal with the Taliban, surely there’s nothing left to drive recruitment to the cause.
That argument is fundamentally flawed. British involvement on the ground is minimal, yes, but consider the huge shift in the last decade to remote warfare, the use of strike aircraft, armed drones, special forces and surrogates rather than tens of thousands of boots on the ground. Operations like these are scarcely reported in the mass media and you have to go to more specialised sources to understand what is happening. Oxford Research Group’s Remote Warfare Programme is one of the very few groups analysing this change, with Airwars and Every Casualty reporting on the consequences. 
From late 2014 through to the present – though the first three years were the most significant – a classic and largely unreported remote war, led by the US, has been fought to suppress Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The UK has been a key part of this, with the Royal Air Force heavily involved, operating from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus as well as bases in the Gulf states. Very few western troops have been on the ground, but according to US Special Operations Command this war has killed some 60,000 paramilitaries through a huge programme of air and drone strikes aided by special forces. Many thousands of civilians have also been killed, but the US, UK and other participants have been very reluctant to discuss them."
—Paul Rogers, 08 August 2019
If you are not radical enough
Lessons from Nicaragua to the Arab uprisings, Syriza, Venezuela ...

"The achievements of the Sandinista government between 1979 and 1990, while they allowed for significant improvements of the living conditions of most of the Nicaraguans, did not break with the export-oriented extractivist model dominated by big capital. Nor did they promote active citizen participation in the economic and political decision-making processes.

The fact that the political institutions and internal organization of the FSLN were left undeveloped allowed neoliberalism to regain a foot­hold. Further, there were no tools people could use to prevent the Ortega regime from corrupting the other government institutions."

Foxconn has done it again

So that Amazon can supply us with what we need.
Apocalypse Now at 40

“I always thought the perfect anti-war film would be a story in Iraq about a family who were going to have their daughter be married, and different relatives were going to come to the wedding. The people manage to come, maybe there’d be some dangers, but no one would get blown up, nobody would get hurt. They would dance at the wedding. That would be an anti-war film. An anti-war film cannot glorify war, and Apocalypse Now arguably does. Certain sequences have been used to rev up people to be warlike."


Apocalypse Now wasn't an anti-war movie, says Coppola

Toni Morrison

To be a good writer matters. To know on what side you are on also matters, and in some cases it is more important than being a good writer.

"Sad to read that Toni Morrison has passed away. Last met her and her son in Paraty, Brazil at a literary festival some years ago. While we were there Israel launched a serious attack on Gaza. A Palestinian poet an Egyptian novelist and myself wrote a short manifesto denouncing Israel in sharp language that would have failed the Labour Party test. Toni was the first to sign despite Christopher Hitchens attempt to stop her and others. Before I spoke I read out our statement and names of those who had signed it to loud applause. Met her again in New York and warned that Obama would be a huge disappointment to people like her. She wouldn't hear any of this, alas."
—Tariq Ali, 06 August 2019
Egypt

An opinion in the liberal Haaretz disagrees with the liberal free market reforms imposed by IMF. The solution is "real free market reforms"!

Basically, it doesn't matter the dictatorship and the repression. The "right" free market reforms would avert a new uprising because overthrowing the regime means instability in Egypt and it that is not good for Israel, either.

The IMF is "the real danger to the Egyptian regime"

Working-class people don't need to "break into the elite"

A critique of BBC2 broadcast
(I find it funny, but telling that the BBC classified this topic in Entertainment and Arts section)

Yes, it is about social structure. Nathalie Olah in her critique advocates social justice instead of social mobility. But could "social justice" be achieved within the existing capitalist socio-economic relations?


Sorrows of the Black City
By Mohammed Elfitory
"The prison camps are not just an anomaly from a nativist Trump administration, they are something that has been happening for years and years. I’m not only referring to short-term Border Patrol detention, but also the mass round-up, incarceration, expulsion, and banishment of non-citizens that has been happening in a sustained way in the United States since the 1990s, and through a variety of huge operations before then. And it’s not something that is just limited to the United States. While the concentration camp may vary from country to country, it is one of the cornerstones of a global border system designed to arrest and confine uprooted, displaced, and dispossessed people. Many are on the move because of the current global economic and political system (globalization and the free market neoliberal economic model) that has long privileged the wealthy elite and protected the interests of multinational corporations, all else be damned."

Empire of the Borders


Russia

A meaningful change in Russia is not coming after/through these coming elections, but there is discontent and there is some dynamic going on.

"Society should not perceive the situation as having only the authorities and the liberals, who support the same economic system but are unhappy with corruption. Our task is to show that there is a big role in the democratic process for left ideas and social demands.

On the whole, the society tends toward left social democracy. For me personally, that may be too moderate. But in any case, people want social transformations and a mixed economy."

The situation on the ground is not allowing more than being "too moderate". 
It is also good to be "too moderate"; otherwise, the bulk of Western media and "leaders"  would call you either an extremist or populist!

"Russia Needs Its Own Bernie Sanders."
This is a very interesting publication by Oxford.
Michael Roberts has reviewed some chapters with a focus on profitability, crises and financialisation.

The Oxford Handbook of Karl Marx
Berlin, Germany

It seems that the police of the strongest economy in Europe, which exports submarines, trains and surveillance equipments lacks the technologies to make arrests of far-rights criminals!

Ferat Kocak believes this is one reason why the violence here has flared up. "This is traditionally a very white middle-class area, but that's now changing, it is becoming more multicultural, with people with different lifestyles. These far-right guys don't feel comfortable with that."

I thought the problem was with the uneducated, the unenlightened!

Far-right violence in a Berlin district
"The professional who moves to a neighbouring city for work is not usually described as a migrant, and neither is the wealthy businessman who acquires new passports as easily as he moves his money around the world. It is most often applied to those people who fall foul of border control at the frontiers of the rich world, whether that’s in Europe, the US, Australia, South Africa or elsewhere. That’s because the terms that surround migration are inextricably bound up with power, as is the way in which our media organisations choose to disseminate them."

How the media contributed to "the migrant crisis"
Bab El-Maqam ("Passion") by Mohamed Malas

The story of the film takes place in a conservative neighbourhood in Aleppo, Syria, and with the loming 2003 war on Iraq. The murder of the woman in the film was based on a real event that occurred in 2001. 

Very good filming and outstanding acting.


"The problem with the 'cheap food' system is that, it is only 'cheap' for capital: it really isn't remotely cheap for most of the world's populations of people, animals and plants. It is in fact enormously expensive, and we are beginning to pick up the tab."

What, or whom, will we eat?

Related article:
Capital's hunger in abundance
Guendelsberger lays out in awful detail how a pathological desire for maximum profit over almost all regard for workers has trapped people like rats in circumstances where companies would rather install painkiller vending machines than alter their meat-grinder operations.

Low-wage work in America

This is a good picture of Britain's political-economic situation

There is a historical background prior to 2016 and the crisis that led to Brexit.

"There was now a clear division between those leaders who represented the interests of big business and the City of London wanting ‘free trade’ and a big role in the EU and rank and file Conservatives who  represented small businesses and the narrow nationalist and racist elements in small provincial towns. They wanted no truck with ‘Europe’ and harkened back to ‘good old days’ of a white imperial Britain ploughing its own furrow – something, of course, that had disappeared even before the UK joined the EU. This division was heightened by the bulk of the ‘popular’ press, whose moguls were either Australian-Americans like Rupert Murdoch, or aristocratic empire believers like the Rothermeres or the Barclay brothers."

The analysis also includes the impacts of "no-deal Brexit" on business and labour. A crucial argument is that Brexit will have a minimal damage to British economy, but another slump would be far more damaging.

Brexit will unlikely change Britain as the least-financially regulated country in the OECD. Nor will it change pensions of being the lowest compared to average income or current working conditions.

Brexit Britain
Syria

Despite the length of the war and the catastrophes it has brought, the deeper forces behind Syria’s conflict remain poorly understood, even on the Left. The protagonists are too often seen in the culturalist terms of “Sunnis vs. Shias,” or “Islamists vs. Secularists.” Just as often, the war is reduced to pure geopolitics, with the lead actors assumed to be mere proxies for America and its international opponents (or allies).
Rarest of all is any developed discussion of the class dynamics that shaped the Syrian state and society even before the 2011 conflict. Yet these had a decisive effect on the uprising and the regime’s ability to withstand it. Grasping these social elements of the conflict is just as important today if we want to understand the Assad regime’s strategy for the “new Syria,” and how it intersects with the plans of his Russian and Syrian allies.

Global Poverty

The Science of (Not) Ending Global Poverty