• Books: Bury the Chains by Adam Hochschild, Endless War: Hidden Functions of the "war on terror" by David Keen, Capital Vol. 1, Tin Drum by Günter Grass, What is Islam? by Shahab Ahmed, Desiring Arabs by Joseph Massad, Spies, Soldiers and Statesmen by Hazem Kandil, La Condition Humaine by André Malraux, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, Imagined Community by Benedict Anderson, Culture and Imperialism by Edward Said, The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon, The Richness of Life by Stephen Jay Gould, Children of the Alley by Naguib Mahfouz, The Mass Psychology of Fascism by Wilhelm Reich, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, 1984 by George Orwell, Noli me Tangere by José Rizal, Age of Extremes by Eric Hobsbawm, ذهنية التحريم لصادق جلال العظم, Karl Marx by Francis Wheen, وليمة لأعشاب البحر لحيدر حيدر, Candide by Voltaire, النزعات المادية في الفلسفة العربية الإسلامية لحسين مروة, Listen Little Man by Wilhelm Reich ..
  • Films: Alexanderplatz by Rainer Fassbinder, Clockwork Orange, Apocalypse Now, The Battle of Algiers, films by P. P. Passolini, Persepolis, Midnight Express, 1984, Papillion, Gangs of New York, Sophie Scholl, Life of Brian, Ivan the Terrble, Battleship Potemkine ...

Sunday, July 31, 2016

"Today´s ruling classes are not threatened from within. Thus, they can do what even fascists wouldn’t dare to do. They are smashing real wages, pensions, welfare systems, public schools, free healthcare, cheap public transport, cheap social housing and so on. Who will stop the ruling class?"

"These are middle class movements that fear and despise the lower classes and the poor. They are open partisans of the class society – class warriors from above. They aren’t proposing anything new, they are just defending the repression, the exploitation and the injustice of today. Look at the situation in Poland or in Hungary. Have these societies had become more generous, more cohesive, and more collectivist at least within the white middle class? Of course not. This is just rhetoric."

"Look at people like David Cameron, François Hollande, Miloš Zeman. These people have no idea, they’re just blundering around. This is really serious. Then look at all the decadence around us – the falling intellectual level of most institutions, the general cultural crisis and illiteracy of the middle class, including so-called professionals and so-called intellectuals."

An interview with Gáspar M. Tamás

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Globalisation and whose recovery?

Yes, some of the so-called recovery is based on low-paid jobs. Some of it is based on precarious jobs. 

A Bogus Concept?
The long depression

Via Michael Roberts

"Back in work, still out of pocket: Labour market recovery since the Great Recession - the jobs gap will not be closed until 2017 at the earliest AND the wages gap may never be closed. Some countries have real wages over 20% below where they would have been without the Great Recession and subsequent weak recovery. The UK scores worse than Greece on this relative measure.
According to a study by the OECD, the labour market recovery in OECD countries has been steady but slow since the Great Recession. More worrying is the fate of wage growth over the same period. 
The jobs recovery has been underway since the first quarter of 2010, when the OECD average employment rate reached its post-crisis trough, with only 58.6% of the population (ages 15-74 years) employed. This was 2.2% lower than the employment rate in 2007, corresponding to 20.3 million missing jobs. Despite the slow and uneven nature of the economic recovery, the jobs deficit had fallen to 5.6 million by the end of 2015 and the OECD Employment Outlook 2016 (OECD 2016) now projects that the jobs gap in the OECD area will close during the course of 2017. While this is welcome news, the fact that the Great Recession depressed employment for nearly ten years testifies to its severity and the price workers have paid.
The jobs deficit is still large in Greece, Ireland, and Spain (where the jobs gaps are currently 9%, 7.9% and 8.5% respectively, and projected to remain sizeable, albeit smaller, by the end of 2017). 
The crisis also adversely affected earnings and the resulting wage gap may be difficult to close. The Great Recession was characterised not only by severe job losses but also by widespread and often deep wage adjustments. 
Real wages fell sharply during the crisis in hard-hit countries such as Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and the Baltic States, but wages stagnated or barely grew almost everywhere. Comparing real wage growth between 2000-07 with that between 2008-15 suggests a sharp deceleration in a number of countries, including the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, and the United Kingdom. By 2015, real hourly wages in these countries were more than 25% below where they would have been if wage growth had continued at the rate observed during 2000-07, and this wage gap exceeded 20% in Greece, Hungary, and Ireland. "

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


"Marx the Moor"

There is an interesting reading of Marx on Islam and Muslims in History of Islam in German Thought by Ian Almond

“And without total abandonment of the law of the Koran [argues opposition MP Cobden], it was impossible to put the Christians of Turkey upon an equality with the Turks.” We may as well ask Mr Cobden whether, with the existing State Church and laws of England, it is possible to put her working-men upon an equality with the Cob- dens and the Brights?
—Marx, The Eastern Question, p. 260 

Monday, July 25, 2016

In 1993 Halim Barakat wrote: 

"One may also suggest that the greater the socioeconomic inequalities in mosaic societies, the more the likelihood of uprisings. However, such uprisings are more likely to result in civil wars (in which one controlling elite is substituted for another), rather than popular revolutions (in which society is transformed, and the dominant order is replaced by a new order). The reverse pattern is more likely to emerge in relatively homogeneous societies. In the latter, the greater the inequalities, the greater the class solidarity, mobilization, and prospect of revolution. If these assumptions are correct, one should expect the first Arab popular revolution to take place in Egypt or Tunisia. This does not, however, exclude the possibility that revolutions may occur in more pluralistic societies as well." 

— Halim Barakat, The Arab World: Societ, Culture and State, pp. 15-17, 1993.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

"Regardless of whether Erdogan is at its helm, Turkey will continue down its expansionist path, a path that was unlikely to be short-circuited by a haphazard coup led by a motley group of Islamists and nationalists. Turkey is on this course, at this stage in history, because geopolitics wills it. But nobody said it would be a smooth ride... Thus [Turkey's policy] contradictions will "become more frequent, and Turkey's actions may appear almost schizophrenic.

A Coup as Audacious as Turkey's Future

Friday, July 22, 2016

"What does it mean that Trump has done well among middle-income and higher-income voters but not the most-educated? This suggests that his real base of support is small-business owners, supervisory and middle-management employees, franchisees, landlords, real estate agents, propertied farmers, and so on: those who are not at the executive pinnacle of corporate America (who largely have MBAs and other similar degrees) and those who are not credentialed professionals (doctors, lawyers, and the like), but the much wider swath of those people whose livelihood is derived from independent business activity or middle-band positions in the corporate hierarchy."

From Slump to Trump
The persistence of communal cleavages "complicates rather than nullifies social class consciousness and struggle. This persistence of communal cleavages and vertical loyalties in some Arab countries is owing to the perpetuation of traditional systems in which communities are linked to their local za'ims (traditional leaders) through patron-client relationships. To the extent that constructive change can be introduced in these areas, such traditional systems will give way, increasingly, to other social and class relationships. 

"... Western functionalists ... view these communal cleavages as 'a premodern phenomenon, a residue of particularism and ascription incompatible with the trend toward achievement, universalism and rationality supposedly exhibited by industrial societies.' Western sociologists whose point of departure is a sociobiological paradigm have argued that ethnic and racial solidarity are extensions of kinship sentiments. For instance, Pierre van den Berghe asserts that there 'exists a general behavioral predisposition, in our species as in many others, to react favorably toward other organisms to the extent that these organisms are biologically related to the actor. The closer the relationship is, the stronger the preferential behavior.' He concludes, therefore, that 'ethnic solidarity is an extension of kin-based solidarity—that is, of nepotism.' But he realizes that as human societies grow, the boundaries of ethnicity become 'increasingly manipulated and perverted to other ends, including domination and exploitation.' I would argue, however, that just because ethnicity is more primordial than class does not mean that it is always more salient. As distinct principles of social organization, class and ethnicity interpenetrate in complex and varying ways. This interplay becomes one of the most difficult problems facing sociological analysis of complex societies. (My emphasis, N.M)

"Nevertheless, examination of the Arab situation in depth reveals a clearly pyramidal social class structure. This means that the majority of the people are relatively poor. The middle class, in turn, is significantly small in size. Wealth and power are concentrated in few hands. This kind of triangular class structure differs sharply from the diamond-shaped structure that indicates the presence in society of a significantly large middle class—the configuration for which Westerners interested in class analysis always look. In both structures, however, social class formations proceed from contradictory relationships and antagonistic interests." — Halim Barakat, The Arab Society, 1993.

Thursday, July 21, 2016


The report is written by a liberal institution. Contrary to the report, in my opinion the Guardian and the Daily Mirror, are not left-wing (itself a loose term). The Guardian, for example, gives voice to some left-wingers, but it is generally liberal.
The last few decades has made anyone who is not (neo)liberal, a left-winger. The dominant press of the 5 families have redefined what a left-winger is. 

Journalistic Representation of Jeremy Corbyn in the British Press
The Revolutionary Projects of Two Lebanese Communists
Note: you may need a free subscription to download the PDFs file.
When Martin Wolf and the FT say this, it means the ruling class is worried.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

“We attacked a foreign people and treated them like rebels. As you know, it's all right to treat barbarians barbarically. It's the desire to be barbaric that makes governments call their enemies barbarians.” — Bertolt Brecht

The 'war on terror' (i.e, state terrorism) goes on.
Now it's almost draw*. Nice attack will definitely be the last attack in France and in the West in general.

*The French pilots are not using smart enough weapons to kill only 84 civilians. 

Obviously, you do not have to be with ISIS or a similar organization to carry out such attacks**. Personally, I have grievances and been angry since 1991. Life in a Western country has made me more radical. 

**According to what we know about the Orlando and Nice attacks that the perpetrators did not have a record of being Islamic activists. 

Update: no word on the bbc yet.
Erdogan is not Chavez, but one should remember how a few of the Guardian columnists vilified Chavez using the same jargon of populism and authoritarianism.
It has been entertaining to see the liberals reactions to Trump. The  liberals preach capitalist democracy, but they would oppose it if people elected the wrong person. 
London housing: the collusion between councils and capital

Aysen Dennis loves her flat. Two bedrooms, a neat kitchen-diner, a cosy living room, lots of light, a separate toilet and bathroom, and a much broader hallway than in the poky million-pound Victorian houses that surround her in south London – all for £110 a week, plus £30 heating and service charge. Her flat is warm, and no one can see into it. “I feel free in my home,” she told me recently. “I can take off my clothes without worrying about curtains.” She still has the original 1960s kitchen cupboards, miracles of space-saving and clever joinery. South London hipsters would love them.
Dennis is not a hipster. She is 57, single, and has been unemployed for four years. She used to work in a women’s refuge. 

Before that, three decades ago, she came to London from Turkey: a leftwing activist fleeing the aftermath of a military coup, during which she had been shot at and imprisoned, and some of her friends had been killed. After a few uneasy years in squats and shared properties – “the husband of my last housemate was a racist” – she moved into her flat in the spring of 1993.

“At night time, I look out of my window and see red lights all around in the distance – the red lights of cranes. Gentrification is happening everywhere in London.” She glances at her precious 60s kitchen cupboards. “I want to take them with me if I have to leave.”

Then she rallies: “We will delay and delay Southwark. We’ve already delayed them for over 15 years. And when we stop them, the Aylesbury will get a proper repair.” It is possible, just, that the infamous, unlovely Aylesbury will be where the long war against council estates comes to an end.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

"Typically, however, neither the US nor the EU condemned the coup before it became clear which side was going to win... as long as the military bases remain open, the fight against ISIS is not undermined and the flow of refugees stemmed." — Umut Ozkirmili

If the coup had succeeded, would the US have played along?

"A look back at the United States’ relationship with Turkey over the last half-century makes it clear that democracy is most definitely not a requirement for NATO membership. Whatever Obama said Friday night, history suggests that, come Saturday morning, Washington would have found a way to work with whoever emerged the winner in Ankara. With a vengeful Erdogan now once again at the helm, a stormy period in U.S.-Turkish relations is almost certain. But history gives Turkey’s president little reason to fear that Washington will take a firm stand on democracy so long as U.S. interests in the region remain dependent on his country’s cooperation." — foreignpolicy.com

Sunday, July 17, 2016

"One of the most important questions regarding political parties is their “opportuneness” or right-ness for the times”; that is to say, the question of how they react against “habitude” and the tendency to become mummified and anachronistic. In practical terms, political parties come into existence [as organisations] in the wake of historical events that are important for the social groups they represent, but they do not always know how to adapt to new epochs or historical phases, or they are unable to develop in accordance with the ensemble of the relations of forces [and therefore with congruousm forces] in their particular country or in the international sphere. In this analysis, one must make distinctions: the social group; the mass of the party; the bureaucracy of general staff of the party. The latter is the most dangerous in terms of habitude: if it organises itself as a separate body, compact and independent, the party will end up being anachronistic. This is what brings about the crises of parties that suddenly lose their historical social base and find the ground taken from under their feet."
— Gramsci's Prison Notebooks (vol. 3, p. 78, seventh notebook, note 77). 
Why does France keep being attacked?

The Rotten Heart of Europe

And a forecast by Stratfor (October 2015)
  • In Europe, the process of integrating foreigners will remain problematic, especially because migrant workers tend to have fewer job opportunities than their native peers.
  • Right-wing parties and groups will continue to resist arriving foreigners, attack migrant shelters and protest immigration policies.
  • Although immigration can somewhat mitigate the effects of a shrinking and aging population, it cannot reverse it, nor will all EU members attract foreigners to join their workforces.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Turkey

Context of a failed coup

"This analytical framework is then used to examine the outcomes in four countries where modernizing, nationalist projects took shape under the direction of secular elites: Turkey, Iran, Egypt and Tunisia. By the closing decades of the twentieth century, all four had reached an impasse. The Egyptian and Tunisian regimes had largely discarded their nationalist trappings and become Western client states, in thrall to the Washington Consensus—especially Tunisia, which was, in Tuğal’s words, ‘the most orthodox neoliberal regime in the Arab world’ and something of a poster-child for the IMF."

See book review here

Note: It is likely that the failed coup in Turkey going to strengthen the AKP project: Islamism, 'neoliberalism' and more authoritarian rule.

Reactions:

"Portraying Erdoğan and the fascist AKP dictatorship as if they were democratic after this coup attempt is an approach even more dangerous than the coup attempt itself. Portraying the fight for power among authoritarian, despotic and anti-democratic forces as a fight between the supporters and enemies of democracy will only serve to legitimise the existing fascist and despotic government."
Fascist maybe is an exaggeration, but I see what they mean.

Dilar Dirlik,
" AKP supporters have lynched a coupist soldier in Istanbul and beheaded him! How quickly these "national heroes" who murder the Kurds have become traitors and enemies - within an hour!
I cannot believe I was born in this country. The disgusting ISIS mentality combined with the fascist nation state ideology has turned the people into brutal maniacs. Erdogan already announced increased authoritarianism and darker times will come.
Nobody should be happy about attempted coups because military coups have a long history in Turkey and have brought nothing but extrajudicial killings, torture in prisons, massacres and censorship. Similarly, nobody should expect anybody to be "on Erdogan's side" for this period. This fatalistic dogmatic dualistic thinking has left the entire world in a state of hopelessness: Trump or Hilary, Sisi or Morsi, Assad or ISIS! These are no choices. They are all murderers. And people who want radical change cannot wait for fascist moments such as coups to overthrow a government because these sorts of moments do not happen on our premises. We cannot surrender our schedule and action plans according to the clock of fascists and geopolitics that are not in our hand. But what we must do is create selfsufficient and self reliant politics, create our own self defense and lead a principled struggle. This is what we do in Rojava, this is what we will do in Bakur (Turkish occupied Kurdistan), no matter what, freedom will win. In this sense, as usual, resistance goes on!"

لنفترض أن العملية البشعة التي وقعت في فرنسا حدثت في اسرائيل.....لا شك أن الفيسبوك كان سيشتعل بالتهليل، وكان منفذ العملية سيسمى "استشهاديا"، والضحايا كانوا سيسمون "قطعان اليهود الصهاينة"، والعملية نفسها ستسمى "عملية فدائية"....وما الى ذلك....

هذا علما وأن مثل هذه العمليات التي تستهدف أناسا أبرياء سيكون من ضمنهم لا شك أغلبية من المسحوقين والفقراء، أي ضحايا النظام المستهدف، لا تؤدي إلا لتعزيز هذا النظام وتفتح له الباب لمزيد العسكرة والقمع والاحتماء بأكثر القوانين زجرية وكتم الأنفاس، وتعزز ما يسمى "بالوحدة الوطنية"، أي التوحد في حضن النظام، وتأجيج النزعات العنصرية والشوفينية سواء حدثت هذه العمليات في فرنسا أو اسرائيل أو في دولة على كوكب المريخ....

في فرنسا أو في اسرائيل، في أمريكا أو في تونس، المجموعات الارهابية لا يمكن أن تمثل عنصر تحرر، ولا تحمل في برامجها أي بديل تحرري للبشر من الاستغلال والطبقية، لذلك فعملياتها، أينما كانت، تصب حتما في خانة النظام السائد فتشد أزره بقدر ما تحطم معنويات الشغيلة وعموم الكادحين، وتفرض صراعا جانبيا يهمش محاور الصراع الطبقية ضد الرأسمال ودولته الارهابية، وتعطي ذريعة اضافية للدولة لتشديد قبضتها، وتعيد لأجهزة القمع مشروعيتها......

حماس أو حزب الله، داعش أو القاعدة، جبهة النصرة أو أنصار الشريعة كلها مجموعات رجعية يستفيد منها النظام الرأسمالي بقدر ما تحدثه من فوضى وتشويش على النضالات الاجتماعية للمسحوقين....

محمد مثلوثي، تونس 15 يوليو 2016

Friday, July 15, 2016

Britain

Peter Taaffe: "It would be better if the Right resigned and formed their own full capitalist party, but failing that it would be much more preferable to have a Labour party which goes back to its socialist roots."

(an article published by the Express, a supporter of the Ukip and owned by the 48th richest person in Britain)

سيظل الفقراء والمسحوقين وقودا للحروب البورجوازية طالما أنهم لا يصارعون لحساب تحررهم الخاص والحركة القومية العربية بيسارها ويمينها هي الوجه الآخر للحركة القومية الصهيونية كلاهما يضع الشغيلة وعموم الكادحين رهينة نزاعاتهم التي هي ليست سوى نزاعات المنافسة الرأسمالية.....لنتذكر كيف أن دولة اسرائيل والبورجوازية الفلسطينية قد سارعا الى عقد اتفاقات بينهما للحيلولة دون تطور الانتفاضة الأولى والثانية (اتفاقات أوسلو) ولقطع الطريق أمام أي تضامن بين الشغيلة الفلسطينيين واخوانهم في اسرائيل الذين بدأت تظهر احتجاجاتهم وتنامت في صفوفهم موجة رفض الانخراط في الجيش ورفض القتال، وذلك بتغذية النزعات الأكثر شوفينية وعنصرية، علما وأن دولة اسرائيل هي من درب أولى دفعات الحرس الخاص بدولة فلسطين، وهي من يدفع لها شهريا جزء من ميزانيتها.


الحرب الحالية هي من جهة اسرائيل تأتي كرد على تنامي الحركة الاجتماعية من اضرابات واسعة وحتى مظاهرات ضد آثار الأزمة الاقتصادية التي تضرب بقوة منذ 2011، وهذا يهدف خلق حالة "وحدة وطنية" تسمح لآلة القمع بكتم كل نفس احتجاجي باسم الدفاع عن "الدولة المهددة بالعصابات الارهابية وصواريخها" ..ومن جهة فلسطين فالميليشيات النظامية المسلحة المسماة مقاومة وسلطة حماس خاصة تسعى لاعادة ترتيب موقعها الاقليمي الذي خسرته نتيجة انفصالها عن النظام السوري كما للتغطية عن فشلها في توفير الحاجيات الأساسية لعموم الجماهير بينما يتمتع قادتها وبيروقراطيوها وعسكرها بالامتيازات والموارد المالية الآتية من الخارج وخاصة من بعض دول الخليج وايران....

لا شيء يمكنه ايقاف المجزرة (وهي ليست الأولى) الا الانتفاضة الجماهيرية ليس ضد دولة اسرائيل فحسب بل ضد الدولة الفلسطينية نفسها سواء اتخذت شكلا رسميا او شكل ميليشيات مسلحة هي بمثابة الجيش الدائم المدفوع الأجر، وتطور الاحتجاجات الاجتماعية في اسرائيل وهو ما من شأنه أن يقوض كل الأساطير العنصرية المؤسسة لهذه الدولة. وكل ذلك مشروط بظهور حالة تضامن أممية على أساس طبقي في مواجهة النظام الراسمالي وبربريته الهمجية....

أما دعوات "المساندة" المنافقة والتي في أغلبها تنطلق من نفس النزعة العنصرية القومية (ايديولوجية دولة اسرائيل ايضا) فانها اضافة لكونها استثمار سياسي في دماء الفقراء، فهي المحفز للمجازر القادمة....أما هذه المجزرة واذا لم تتطور الى حالة انتفاضية فانها ستنتهي باتفاقات "تهدئة" كالعادة، وستكون تلك الاتفاقيات تجسيدا لموازين القوى مابين البورجوازيات اقليميا وعالميا

محمد مثلوثي، تونس 15 يوليو 2016
"nine truths about terrorism that nobody wants to hear"
Note: this does not include state terrorism.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Sanders' has officially endorsed Clinton?
Well, what about those who had illusions in him?
Being selective and picking up this or that point in his social democratic programme is not seeking real change, but it is trying to manage what you have in a slightly better way.
I've never trusted him since the day I read about his would-be Middle East policy.
The Brexit crisis (a free ebook)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Yes, not only in Greece and not only minimum wages.  

In the time of the fall in the rate of profit, wages in general and everywhere, have to stay as they are or decrease in relative terms.

"Destructive creation" in general has to accelerate if we want investment to resume and capitalist growth to follow suit.

That's the recipe. Take it or leave it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

"All human societies, whether tacitly or overtly, assume that nature has ordained their social arrangements. Or, to put it another way, part of what human beings understand by the word ‘nature’ is the sense of inevitability that gradually becomes attached to a predictable, repetitive social routine."


Those who create and re-create race today are not just the mob that killed a young Afro-American man on a street in Brooklyn or the people who join the Klan and the White Order. They are also those academic writers whose invocation of self-propelling ‘attitudes’ and tragic flaws assigns Africans and their descendants to a special category, placing them in a world exclusively theirs and outside history—a form of intellectual apartheid no less ugly or oppressive, despite its righteous (not to say self-righteous) trappings, than that practised by the bioand theo-racists; and for which the victims, like slaves of old, are expected to be grateful. They are the academic ‘liberals’ and ‘progressives’ in whose version of race the neutral shibboleths difference and diversity replace words like slavery, injustice, oppression and exploitation, diverting attention from the anything-but-neutral history these words denote. They are also the Supreme Court and spokesmen for affirmative action, unable to promote or even define justice except by enhancing the authority and prestige of race; which they will continue to do forever so long as the most radical goal of the political opposition remains the reallocation of unemployment, poverty and injustice rather than their abolition. 
The creators and re-creators of race include as well a young woman who chuckled appreciatively when her four-year-old boy, upon being asked whether a young friend whose exploit he was recounting was black, answered: ‘No; he’s brown.’ The young woman’s benevolent laughter was for the innocence of youth, too soon corrupted. But for all its benevolence, her laughter hastened the corruption whose inevitability she laments, for it taught the little boy that his empirical description was cute but inappropriate. It enacted for him, in a way that hand-me-down stereotypes never could, the truth that physical description follows race, not the other way around. Of just such small, innocuous and constantly repeated rituals, often undertaken with the best of motives, is race reborn every day. Evil may result as well from good as from ill intentions. That is the fallibility and tragedy of human history—or, to use a different vocabulary, its dialectic.
Nothing handed down from the past could keep race alive if we did not constantly reinvent and re-ritualize it to fit our own terrain. If race lives on today, it can do so only because we continue to create and re-create it in our social life, continue to verify it, and thus continue to need a social vocabulary that will allow us to make sense, not of what our ancestors did then, but of what we ourselves choose to do now.

Slavery, Race and Ideology in the United States of America

Monday, July 11, 2016

Capitalist democracy

Around 70 percent of Britain’s newspapers are owned by just three companies: Rupert Murdoch’s News UK, the Daily Mail’s General Trust, and Trinity Mirror.

A university professor told me the other that we had a "participatory democracy". He didn't at least say "a representative democracy" as the dominant version goes.

These people who believe in the system are in denial. It is no about reality or facts anymore; it is about belief and having faith in the system. 

The Media Against Jeremy Corbyn


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Here is another one-dimensional way of thinking: A piece that never mentions the why (i.e. the geo-politics, the global and regional context, the so-called 'national-interest' cover or motive, etc) behind the belief, but focuses on the individual's neurons and the way that belief is held.

Note also that Blair is a trained barrister by profession. His main skill is to know how to plead in court, using arguments and rhetoric not just knowledge of the legal system. Lawyers in general work within the system and they rarely challenge it. In fact they work to justify it most of the time.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

مقتطف من رواية ”وليمة لأعشاب البحر“ لحيدر حيدر

أحدهما كان يحدق عبر السهب وانعكاسات أصيل الشمس على أثباج الماء، وهذا الغروب المتكرر الذي يليه شروق، وفي مواجهة هذه القامات المحنية، قامات البشر المجوَّفة من الداخل والمكسورة بتعاقب الزمن الذي لا يحمل غير الفقدان وانتصار الأعداء وجراثيم الخيانة والمذابح الأهلية الفاشلة والبكاء على الضحايا والمفقودين والذين رحلوا بلا عودة.

بينما يواصل الآخر رسم جبال وأشجار ومياه دفاقة، صائغا من صلصال خياله وموج رغباته بشرا آخرين. بشر صلاب، يتحركون بخطوات واثقة بين الجبال والكهوف ومجاري الأنهار وأنفاق المدن. بشر أينما هبطوا يوقدون النار ليردوا دوائر الظلمة الهابطة من حنايا الزمن، الزمن الذي لا بد من تحويل مجراه كي لا يُستعاد كما كان، وكما صُنع من خمائر الوحل والرماد والدماء المخثرة والحيض والبخور والصلوات وأصوات الندب والتخاذل والخيانات والتصدعات. ص ١٤٦

أمس نزلت إلى السوق وشفت الناس. رأيت الحوانيت الممتدة في شرايين المدينة ورأيت السلع المعروضة من آخر مبتكرات الموضة إلى السيارات الأمريكية والفرنسية وأجهزة التلفزيون إلى حوانيت الذهب والماس. لم أسمع ولم أر إلا خذ وهات. إله المال كان يصرخ صراخ وحش جائع في غابة. الإله السماوي. إلههم الذي يصومون له ويركعون من أجله في الجوامع، كان يُداس ويُجرجَر. كانوا خاشعين أمام الإله الجديد: الدينار. لم يتغير شيء. كل الناس كانوا هناك يبيعون ويشترون باجتذاب مغناطيسي. ضراوة التملك. ضراوة الاستهلاك. ضراوة النهب. صار السوق كل شيء في حياتهم. لقد تحولوا إلى ذرة تدور في مدار خذروف السلعة. كانوا مشدوهين أمام العرض. مسمرين أمام الأشياء التي تسلب لبهم ناسين الرب والثورة والأخلاق. إنهم يشترون ويشترون بحمى وشبق الجنس. كل الشعب كان هناك في سوق المدينة. هذا هو الوطن الآن. تسألني: ماذا فعلت إزاء هذا التحول الآميبي. حقاً ماذا فعلت! بعت كل ما أملك بدءاً من الشرف وانتهاء بالله والثورة واحتفظت بنفسي. إلى الجحيم. الوطن الذي صار سوقاً ليس وطني، وأنا لا ذنب لي. لقد سجلوه في الدوائر العقارية والمصارف باسمهم: العسكر والوزراء وجهابذة الحزب والمخبرون والتجار، ثم طوقوه بالأسلاك الشائكة والدبابات، أما وطني أنا فهذا البنسيون وهذا الجسد. ص ٢٤٩


Friday, July 08, 2016

Note: Jeremey Corbyn is not a radical leftist or from the hard left. He is advocating a social democratic programme, a programme of a project which social democrats have dismantled or in the process in dismantling (the latter process is happening even in countries like Sweden and Denmark).

Anatomy of a Failed Coup in UK Labour Party

Thursday, July 07, 2016

... of the absurdities in history, of the contradictions in humans ...


Jerusalem 2016
"The signifier ‘immigration’ has come to stand for all the powerlessness and immiseration experienced by a large segment of the British population, but rather than embodying the totality of oppression, all this does is ensure that all the anger and fury of a wounded impotence is sent screaming at the migrants themselves."

"Defend, free movement, without illusions"

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Interesting stuff

"There’s a basic article of faith in leftist thought, held especially dearly by most among the U.S. left. It is so entrenched and so seldom challenged that it has attained the status of myth, an unquestioned origin story on par with the Book of Genesis, as the latter must have been regarded within Christendom during the Middle Ages."

Brexit, Trumpism, Sanders, and the Decrepit State of Capitalism: Against Political Determinism

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

"Astonishingly, the US mainstream media have barely covered what everyone here calls “the massacre.” Make no mistake: If police in Venezuela had shot down 11 unarmed demonstrators, a pack of American reporters would have raced there."

Rebellion spreads in Mexico after police massacre
"I asked Kadhim what he would do if he could meet Tony Blair. 
"I would say to him you are a criminal, and I'd spit in his face."
And what would he say to George Bush?
"I'd say you're criminal too. You killed the children of Iraq. You killed the women and you killed the innocent. I would say the same to Blair. And to the coalition that invaded Iraq. I will say to them you are criminals and you should be brought to justice." (Bitterness in Baghdad)
Yes, Khadim. And people in Britain and the US not only don't really care, they even vote the criminals back in office! They call it democracy, something you and your people cannot understand or have.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

"A second position argues against transition, which is transitology itself. It is well known—especially among economists—as the sudden mobilization of a considerable mass of experts who are generally foreigners,generally Western, who come to preach the good word and to propose ready-made models of democracy. The science of the transition has become a financial windfall, a market. And the word transition has of course become a reflex of language, a term of reference, a call for tenders (appel d’offres) to which the whole society was supposed to respond.  Consequently, the reticence that one can express is the following: our history is framed, transition is a heteronomy. Every democratic revolution is henceforth supposed to take a unique, imposed path, which is, at the same time, indistinctly democratic and liberal (or neoliberal). A more or less non-“negotiable” package. 
It is necessary to highlight the imposed character (and imposed from the outside) of this coming to transition. Yet, the problem is that, in so doing, one also expresses certain closures, and a response that is possibly counterproductive. If democratic transition is (or should be) a good thing, can one refuse it in the name of its injunctive character, of the paternalism of international organisms, and the numerous experts who come to sell it, or finance, verify and control its application? The unease with this concept comes from the unequivocal character of this model of the transition, sold as a ready-made product, which is a liberal capitalist model. At the same time, we remark that the debates on an alternative model are not so numerous in the Tunisian public space. Even though the World Social Forum was hosted twice in Tunis, in 2013 and 2015, it did not lead to vocal public debates regarding alternative models of transition. And the alternative experiences mostly concern the associative sector, often in the regional, rural, local peripheries, rather than the most visible central public sphere.
Today, barring a few exceptions, we all live in “aligned” countries. Here I am thinking of the informal meaning of the phrase: “to align someone,” (aligner quelqu’un), which means to subdue someone, make them conform (faire rentrer dans le rang)."

Saturday, July 02, 2016

[Upon] closer scrutiny, the operation of retrieving, commemorating and mourning proves to be deeply problematic and hypocritical. For this tragic loss of life was not an unfortunate “accident” but the result of political decisions taken, amongst others, by the very state actors who are now claiming a high moral ground by recovering and mourning the dead.


The forgotten 22,000
First of all, the 18th of April shipwreck is only one among many more incidents that have led to more than 22,000 documented deaths at sea over the last 25 years. These have been the structural product of EU migration policies that have denied legal access to EU territory to the impoverished citizens of the global South since the end of the 1980s. The militarization of border controls and their externalization to North African states has forced migrants wishing to reach EU territory to resort to smugglers and to take longer and ever more dangerous routes. Italy, as a “frontline” state of the EU, has for many years been a pioneer in these practices, and as such is deeply enmeshed in this deadly migration regime. But the responsibility of the EU and Italy, in particular for the loss of lives in the 18th of April shipwreck, lies not only in these long standing policies, but in a series of precise operational decisions that created the conditions in which this shipwreck was only waiting to happen.
Killing by Omission

Friday, July 01, 2016

From my flickr collections (a 2010-photo)


“Every industrial and commercial centre in England possesses a working class divided into two hostile camps, English proletarians and Irish proletarians. The ordinary English worker hates the Irish worker as a competitor who lowers his standard of life … This antagonism is artificially kept alive and intensified by the press, the pulpit, the comic papers, in short by all the means at the disposal of the ruling classes.”

"If remain had won, we would already have returned to pretending that everything was carrying on just fine. Those people who have been forgotten would have stayed forgotten; those communities that have been abandoned would have stayed invisible to all but those who live in them. To insist that they will now suffer most ignores the fact that unless something had changed, they were going to suffer anyway. Those on the remain side who felt they didn’t recognise their own country when they woke up on Friday morning must spare a thought for the pensioner in Redcar or Wolverhampton who has been waking up every morning for the last 30 years, watching factories close and businesses move while the council cuts back services and foreigners arrive, wondering where their world has gone to.

Leaving the EU does not diminish the power of the multinationals that moved manufacturing jobs overseas, or the financiers whose recklessness led to the closure of libraries and the shrinking of disability benefits. We have not opted out of global capitalism. Something will now be done about the free movement of labour – but capital will still have the run of the place."

When I use the word "crimes" in my comments I mean it. Here is some of the forensic:

A disaster decades in the making

Security for Whom? Unpacking the Gendered Impact of EU Securitized Migration