Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Another amusing headline from foreignpolicy.com (27 June 2016)

"Years after promising democratic reforms, Bahrain’s government is going after its critics with a new vigor. Yet Britain and the United States are doing nothing about it,"

Monday, June 27, 2016

"Its perhaps understandable why xenophobic rhetoric appealed to some Brexit supporters. Resolution’s Bell found that even though pro-Brexit voters weren't from places that had ​recently gotten poorer since the mass immigration wave, they were from places that had ​historically been poor — going back to the 1980s. These people have good reasons to be angry about the status quo. They’re looking for someone to blame, and immigrants are an easy scapegoat."

"Irrational Xenophobia, not Real Economic Grievances"


Here is what is missing in the analysis above:

Support for UKIP "is even higher among the self-employed and business owners than the working class, and that is quite high even in the professional and managerial classes, who because are their substantial numbers actually provide the biggest bloc of UKIP’s class-based support. For all of these reasons the Conservatives, not Labour, have most to fear from UKIP ...

Working class voters are a little more likely to support UKIP than other classes, but there is stronger support among the self-employed and business owners, who were Mrs Thatcher’s hard-core supporters, not Labour’s. Even within the working class, the strongest UKIPers are the lower supervisory category, who are not the disadvantaged semi- and unskilled workers that have been thought to provide the core of UKIP support." 

Now, have a look at the 20th century fascist movements in Europe.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

 One should always keep the bigger picture in mind and not get dragged into the swamp of the mainstream discourse, repeated ad nauseum. Yes, there is the social factor resulting from the economic crisis and the failure of decades of economic policies, but geo-politics too has played a major role.

Terrorism, individual or state terrorism, financial terrorism, austerity, racism, wars, social dislocation and marginalization, imperialist reality (mainly Western 'invasions/bombings'), and imperialist nostalgia (e.g. Hilary Benn), the Brexit vote, etc... are all manifestations of a general global crisis of a system, a consensus defended by the liberals, the conservatives and the mainstream left, prolongued by the general passivity and indifference of the people, who accept the existing power structure and power relations and, occasionally, express themselves within those same frameworks of power through the voting process, believing in "democracy". So they vote for this or that criminal party again although they had seen/experienced its criminal policies at home and abroad.

Most of the time, people in general accept killing, destroying countries, plunder of public assests, the unprecendented level of inequality, the wealthy getting wealthier, the control of the big corporations on their lives, the destruction of the environment... There are also some tools which keep the general public passive or diverted: long-working hours, fear and insecurity, precarious jobs, football, floods of new commodities (consumerism), myths ("greatest nation on earth"), "extremists" (homegrown and foreign) who are against "our way of life", capitalist freedom and democracy, championing the middle class by liberals and non-liberals, mediocre TV programmes and movies, bestsellers, referendums... 
Only when their narrow and conseravtive interests are hurt, people, or a significant number of them, express their dissatifaction or rejection when the opportunity arises. 

How Western Military Interventions Shaped the Brexit Vote

Saturday, June 25, 2016

"I am going to be a discordant voice and what I am going to say is not meant to provoke or be contemptuous to nobody. I don't pretend to hold the absolute truth. I just would like to advance a different perspective as most of what I have seen or read on this platform in the last few days seem to be very Eurocentric (or at least influenced by a Eurocentric imaginary) and somehow reformist. 
Most people were saying that both options (Remain and Brexit) are bad but we need to go for the least worst for different reasons (including tactics). For me, both options are not only shit but a horror and I cannot be asked to adopt a lesser-evil mentality to choose between the two because I strongly believe that this attitude won't advance the struggle of emancipation of humanity. In the contrary, it always legitimises bourgeois elections (fought on reactionary terms for the interests of the ruling class, not the downtrodden and the oppressed) and ends up breathing new life to the capitalist imperialist system that we pretend to fight.

Both choices: Britain (on its own) or Britain inside the EU represent the imperialist system that is oppressing my own people in the Global South and plundering their wealth and resources. Those who say, we need to remain in the EU in order to reform it or to fight together are deluded in my view. We cannot reform IMPERIALISM, we overthrow it. Sticking with the lesser evil mentality (by invoking tactics reasons) is not serious if we are truly committed about radical transformation and revolutionary change.
I truly hope that the EU project will disintegrate. Call it nihilism or call what you want. May be then, we can start thinking seriously about a revolutionary alternative that will place the oppressed in the Global South at the heart of our strategies and tactics. Then we can be decolonial!
In Solidarity." — Hamza Hamouchen.
"Britain – or what is left of it – will now take a sharp turn to the right,"
Correction: Britain has been right wing for decades. It has been the most aggressive neo-liberal regime in Western Europe both at home and abroad. Both the Conservatives and the Blairites presided of that aggression. Now, it is just going to take a sharper turn to the right.

"If you've got money, you vote in. If you haven't got money, you vote out"
"Brexit in the long run may not make a huge difference to the health of British capitalism, but right now it could help accelerate a new global recession.  And that would have a much bigger impact on the lives of those who voted for Brexit than the perceived problems of ‘overcrowding’ from immigration or regulation from Brussels."

The Impact of Brexit

Friday, June 24, 2016

Brexit

Here is another way to look at it: 17,410,742 have shown that they are radicalised and therefore refuse to integrate.

Europe without the Union (01 March 2016)

This adds to Britain's socio-economic crisis, a crisis caused by the form of capitalism adopted by both the Tories and New Labour: corruption, deregulation, outsourcing, banking plunder, speculation, parasitism, austerity, scapegoating the vulnerable, racism, murdochian propaganda, dismantling of the welfare system, tax havens ... The referendum was a diversion by the ruling class from the crimes they have committed. The referendum was within the framework of a specific power structure, and the criminals, in disarray, hoped to maintain the status quo.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

"[It] was the Civil War that brought this system crashing down 150 years ago. 200,000 freed slaves joined with hundreds of thousands of small farmers, workers, immigrants, and others in the Union Army and militarily crushed the slave owners. While slavery was defeated, racism was not. 150 years after the Civil War, there are more black men ensnared in the U.S. criminal justice system than there were slaves in 1850, as Michelle Alexander, the author of The New Jim Crow, has pointed out. Today, it’s Wall Street and their capitalist system that perpetuates the racist legacy of slavery."
1865: A Revolutionary Turning Point in U.S. History

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

"Our beauty comes from our strength, our strength from resistance"

That's one of the slogans used by protesting workers -- most of them women -- who work for the global cosmetics giant Avon in Turkey.  Last month, several were sacked as part of a union-busting drive by the employer.

The workers are demanding that Avon hire back the fired workers, register all the workers as permanent employees, and recognize the union. In addition, the union is campaigning for an agreement with the company to provide reasonable wages, hours, benefits and working conditions, and a woman-friendly and harassment-free workplace.

 Learn more and show your support for these workers
Nation: “a group of people united by a mistaken view about the past and a hatred of their neighbours”.
Patriotism, as conservatism, devotes something that is always changing and yet is felt to be mystically the same. (sorry Orwell)


What George Orwell had told me about the Western regimes and societies, especially the imperialist ones, before I lived in one of them.

"Nationalism is power hunger tempered by self-deception."

People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."

"The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them."

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

In my reading list: 

Guns, Germs and Steel (Jared Diamond, 2010)

The book sounds as a confirmation of the following premises.


"The premises from which we begin are not arbitrary ones, not dogmas, but real premises from which abstraction can only be made in the imagination. They are the real individuals, their activity and the material conditions under which they live, both those which they find already existing and those produced by their activity. These premises can thus be verified in a purely empirical way.

The first premise of all human history is, of course, the existence of living human individuals. Thus the first fact to be established is the physical organisation of these individuals and their consequent relation to the rest of nature. Of course, we cannot here go either into the actual physical nature of man, or into the natural conditions in which man finds himself – geological, hydrographical, climatic and so on. The writing of history must always set out from these natural bases and their modification in the course of history through the action of men.

"Men can be distinguished from animals by consciousness, by religion or anything else you like. They themselves begin to distinguish themselves from animals as soon as they begin to produce their means of subsistence, a step which is conditioned by their physical organisation. By producing their means of subsistence men are indirectly producing their actual material life.

The way in which men produce their means of subsistence depends first of all on the nature of the actual means of subsistence they find in existence and have to reproduce. This mode of production must not be considered simply as being the production of the physical existence of the individuals. Rather it is a definite form of activity of these individuals, a definite form of expressing their life, a definite mode of life on their part. As individuals express their life, so they are. What they are, therefore, coincides with their production, both with what they produce and with how they produce. The nature of individuals thus depends on the material conditions determining their production.

"This production only makes its appearance with the increase of population. In its turn this presupposes the intercourse [Verkehr] of individuals with one another. The form of this intercourse is again determined by production."
— K. M., The German Ideology

Monday, June 20, 2016

Brexit: A Fake Revolt

"Leaving the EU won’t guarantee a rise in wages, a cap on rents, or a fall in NHS waiting times and class sizes. The only thing it guarantees is more rightwing Tory control."

Yes, Paul. It's a fake revolt and I would add that it is reactionary. Remain is not progressive, either. It is a ruling class crisis as the referendum itself is a product of an economic and social crisis. 
Spain

"If the Socialists allow the PP to govern it is likely that big business will be relieved. But they will have set their party on a course towards decomposition. Their social base would never understand it.”


According to Mr Garzón, a government led by Unidos Podemos would not push for radical or instant change to Spain’s social and economic model. “We know that capitalism won’t end overnight,” he says.

Instead, the group would aim to create 300,000 jobs through a public works programme, financed by raising taxes on capital income and closing tax breaks and deductions for businesses. “Pretty classical social democratic measures,” argues Mr Garzón.

Garzon's version of Marxism aside, clearly this is part of a social democratic programme, admits Garzón, opposing austerity and saving the EU's capitalism. A programme which include working with the same people who have implemented neo-liberalism, PSOE.


Saturday, June 18, 2016

"People are violent, and people can dress their violence up in any number of justifying causes that seek to relieve people of their personal responsibility because the cause or religion, be it Communism or Catholicism or Islam, is simply bigger than themselves." (Foreignpolicy.com)

I read that and smiled. The liberals too hide their heads in the sand and turn a blind eye on the violence of capitalism and imperialism since the inception of the system: the slave trade, slave labour, conquests and colonization, two world wars, and to this day the violence of the global system is both direct and symbolic and we can see its effects also on nature and on our Earth. Actually, a serious observer traces the emergence of Daesh not only to the Iraq occupation, but also to the neoliberal policies of the Assad regime, climate change and the drought in Syria.
"The ceremony was followed by a panel discussion about trade union rights in the Middle East in which I participated, together with three people who've been featured in LabourStart campaigns:
  • Nermin Al-Sharif, head of the Libyan Dockers’ and Seafarers’ Union, victim of an assassination attempt.
  • Kamal Abbas, founder of the Cairo-based Centre for Trade Union and Workers Services, arrested numerous times by the authorities for his work.
  • Mahdi Abu Dheeb, president of the Bahrain Teachers Association, just released after five years in prison."

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

An interesting blog written a year ago.
The Euro train: going off the rails?
"The Orlando shootings did not happen in a vacuum: we are being killed every day. We are being killed by a lack of social housing and increasingly punitive welfare reforms. We are being killed by inhumane austerity cuts to life-saving mental health services. Systematic homophobia, transphobia and racism come from the top. They come from policies ingrained with intolerance, and from right-wing and neoliberal ideologies. Only a grassroots, militant movement from the bottom up has any chance to disrupt it: the master’s tools will not dismantle the master’s house."
'All Cops are Bastards. Even the Gay Ones'
"It may seem absurd to conflate the fear and hatred of Muslims with the fear and hatred of Jews when the two groups are united in the popular imagination only by their fear and hatred of each other. But they both appeal to the same dark archetype in the European imagination: swarming, sinister, lecherous, and dirty. Both are supposed to have subverted the elites to strike at the common people. Both are supposed to constitute an existential threat to civilisation."

Monday, June 13, 2016

While the French police says that most of the violence in France was caused by Russian football fans...

"If the psychic energies of the average mass of people watching a football game or a musical comedy could be diverted into the rational channels of a freedom movement, they would be invincible. — Wilhelm Reich.

Orlando mass shooting:

US President Barack Obama described the attack as "an act of terror and an act of hate".

Nothing new here. Obama and co will continue to wrongly describe such acts and talk superficially.

"According to Omar Mateen’s father, the reportedly Islamic State-supporting terrorist had expressed revulsion at the sight of two men kissing. His co-workers have described his anti-gay comments. Omar Mateen could have chosen many clubs, full of people laughing and living, but he chose a LGBT venue. This was homophobia as well as terrorism. It is not enough to simply condemn violence: we have to understand what it is and why it happened.

"It wasn’t only Sky News at fault. In the New York Times’ original reporting, it didn’t even point out that a gay club had been targeted. The Daily Mail didn’t bother to put the atrocity – the worst terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11 – on its front page, instead opting to stir up xenophobia over Turkish immigrants and publicising an offer of “free pearl and white sapphire earrings”. This is erasure of LGBT people – pure and simple – after their community was horrifically targeted."

Owen Jones, the Guradian

Sunday, June 12, 2016

"Such visitations of providence as these no government can do much either to prevent or alleviate."

It did not end anytime soon. Famines recurred in 1869 and 1874. Between 1876 and 1878, during the Madras famine, anywhere from four to five million people perished after the viceroy, Lord Lytton, adopted a hands-off approach similar to that employed in Ireland and Orissa. 
By 1901, Romesh Chunder Dutt, another leading nationalist, enumerated 10 mass famines since the 1860s, setting the total death toll at a whopping 15 million. Indians were now so poor - and the government so indifferent in its response - that, he stated, "every year of drought was a year of famine."

Saturday, June 11, 2016


!أنا لا أصلّي
أنا أتوضّأ، دون صلاة، وهذي شمالي
أعفّ وأطهر ممن يصلّي نهاراً
ويسرق في الليل خبز عيالي
...
!أنا لا أصوم
أنا صائم منذ ستين عام
أجوع وآكل
لكنني لا أبسمل عن لقمة بالحرام
...
أنا لا أزكّي
فمن أين لي؟
وحتى لحافي.. قصير على أرجلي؟

كاظم حجّاج
"With football, by contrast, there can be outbreaks of angry populism, as supporters revolt against the corporate fat cats who muscle in on their clubs; but for the most part football these days is the opium of the people, not to speak of their crack cocaine. Its icon is the impeccably Tory, slavishly conformist Beckham."

Football: a dear friend to capitalism
"Britain is a toxic place"
I agree from experience, Michael.
"Benzema received less tentative backing from the maverick Socialist politician and former Education Minister Benoît Hamon, who said Benzema had “evoked a reality.” We are, he continued, a nation in “denial over the rise of intolerance.” In today’s France, he concluded, “we can all too easily say that we don’t like Benzema because he has the mug of an Arab.” This is the same France, Hamon had no need to add, where former President Nicolas Sarkozy referred to Arab youths as “scum” and whose interior minister, Brice Hortefeux, once joked that: “One Arab is OK. It’s when there are more that there are problems.”

"Does French Soccer Have an Arab Problem?"


The culturalization of social antagonisms

Anti-Muslim Racism from Above and From Below


Racism: the achilles heel of middle class liberalism

"I sure as hell would not be able to sleep soundly if I thought my fate rested upon the European liberal middle classes."
"War is the continuation of business by other means." — Bertolt Brecht 
"War is business and business is good for America," [ Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Canada, Israel, and others]

"The latest Global Peace Index report finds that the economic impact of violence to the global economy was $13.6 trillion in 2015 in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). This is equivalent to $5 per day for every person on the planet, or 11 times the size of global foreign direct investment (FDI).
The toll of violence is typically counted in terms of its human and emotional cost, but the financial damage to the economy is yet another additional factor to consider. When counting the economic impact one must look at the costs of preventing and containing violence, as well as measuring its consequences. This is important because spending on containing violence, while perhaps necessary, is fundamentally economically unproductive.
How do you "add up" the costs of war?
IEP’s method is a comprehensive accounting exercise to "add up" those direct and indirect expenditures related to creating and containing violence plus its consequential costs. These include not just military spending but domestic expenditures on security and police plus the losses from armed conflict, homicides, violent crime and sexual assault.
The $13.6 trillion of expenditures and losses represent 13.3% of world GDP. To break this figure down, it’s the equivalent of $1,876 for every person on the planet. The numbers refer to the current expenditures and their estimated flow-on effects in 2015, and are represented in PPP international dollars.
These numbers are notable for two reasons. Firstly, over 70% of the economic impact of violence accrues from what is mostly government spending on the military and internal security. This shows that significant amounts of government expenditure are tied up to this end. In a perfectly peaceful world, these huge resources could be directed elsewhere.
Secondly, the remaining amount is consequential losses from violence and conflict and these, too, are enormous. They significantly outweigh the international community’s spending on building peace.
A quick examination of the numbers reveals that the world continues to spend vastly disproportionate resources on creating and containing violence compared to what it spends on peace. In 2015 alone, UN peacekeeping expenditures of $8.27 billion totalled only 1.1% of the estimated $742 billion of economic losses from armed conflict.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Leading Olympic expert Jules Boykoff takes the 2012 Olympics in London as a case study of corporate greed and popular resistance against Celebration Capitalism.
The development of capitalism has good news for "the developing countries". How the West will continue to rule.

"As the next industrial revolution unfolds, the model for economic growth that arose alongside globalization will offer a less certain path toward development. Though new technologies will not completely erase the benefit of cheap labor, they will reduce the number of opportunities countries have to industrialize, diversify and grow their economies."

The Rise of Manufacturing Marks the Decline of Globalization

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Cairo
C. 1900-1934

The accurate translation for Arabic meaning of Cairo is "the invincible".
"When 13th century Sufi poet Jalal al-Din Rumi wrote “See how the polestar is ogling Leo,” he was probably referring to the constellation, not Titanic star Leonardo DiCaprio. Or maybe the mystic was augering his legacy’s unfortunate future in the hands of Gladiator writer David Franzoni, who is working on a big-budget biopic of the poet, and who wants DiCaprio for the starring role."
An article on foreignpolicy.com

Thursday, June 02, 2016

“It is an astonishing sign of the depth of Eurocentrism that so many European scholars persist, in the face of all the evidence, in regarding nationalism as a European invention.”
— Benedict Anderson, “Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism.” Verso, 2011

“ This will repeat in other places ,” Dr. Monzer Khalil, a health official in rebel-held Idlib, said a day after treating victims of the re...