US

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

A strong welfare state could be a blow against imperialism

Iran

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

Shameful, to say the least. 

Why the latest uprising in Iran matters

Anti-Semitism

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

Recentering the state

Europe

Northern Ireland

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

MENA Region

US Imperialism in Afghanistan

Global Capitalism

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

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

11 Criticisms of Capitalism

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

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


Climate Change as Violence

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

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

Richard Washington, the BBC, 15 December 2019

"Development" of some at the expense of others.

Recommended reading
Late Victorian Holocausts by Mike Davis

الكردي

ليس للكردي إلا الريح


UK

"Reasons to hope and why euthanasia should be legalised:

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

—Tariq Ali, 14 December 2019

"Civilised" Europe

Where children "want to die"

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

Sanders, Warren and US Imperialism

UK

"Get Brexit done" has won!

Related:


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

Alternatives to Capitalism

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

Understanding socialism

Related:
The works of Eric Olin Wright

Legendary Syrian Film-maker

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

UK 2019 Elections

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

France

The Middle East

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

The BBC way of reporting

Britain

Conservative women reflect a conservative country

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

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


Migration

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

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

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

—Alexander Zevin, New Left Review May-June 2018

UK

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

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

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

Liberalism

It looks a must-read book

Liberalism at Large
The World According to the Economist

Love Your Work And Be Happy

Just as the Protestant work ethic can be construed as an ideology propagated by the bourgeoisie and inculcated into the working classes, th...