• 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 ...

Friday, September 30, 2016

"My work as a historian has convinced me that ways of thinking about race are the most destructive legacy of Britain’s imperial past. In the wake of the Brexit vote we have witnessed a deeply disturbing increase in the number of hate crimes committed against Poles, Muslims and racial minorities. Globalisation, with all the losses it has brought for so many, has clearly acted as a trigger for this upsurge of rage and resentment, the wish to “take back control” and “secure our borders”.
The legacy of slavery is the dehumanisation of others and assumptions of white superiority, as well as terrible disparities of wealth and power. These could not be starker than they are today."

The racist ideas of slave owners are still with us today
Dr Hickel (LSE) argues that through the MDGs, the UN has misrepresented the true extent for poverty and hunger. “By massaging the numbers, the UN has created a good news narrative that justifies the present economic order and its logic of growth, liberalisation, privatisation and corporate power."

"Challenging the UN good story about poverty and hunger"

See also

"Neoliberalism ans the end of democracy"
In the so-called 4/5 economy in the world

"Wealth of people in their 30s have halved in a decade"

Thursday, September 29, 2016

"Servicing warfare and neoliberalism is a terrific path to scholarly eminence. Those who condemn warfare and neoliberalism become uncivil goblins, impenitent radicals, sloppy polemicists, immature agitators, scourges on the good name of the profession. Ruling-class sycophants, meanwhile, don’t encounter trouble for their service to power.

It’s the same around the world: dissenters are the ones to get fired, arrested, even murdered. It’s almost comically obvious, and yet plenty of academics persist in recycling the mythological virtues of tone and civility as criteria for fitness as an academic, as if those descriptors are detached from norms of power — as if using a civil tone means you can’t articulate ugly ideas."


Six ways to unsettle colleagues and irritate administrators

Six ways of resistance, but the eradication of corportae universities should be the solution.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A very good analysis that avoids economic determinism.

"But the truth is sometimes uncomfortable. Cultural attitudes aren’t always "caused" by anything else in some immediate or obvious sense. To explain how people "got" to believe in racist and xenophobic status hierarchies is to explain hundreds of years of Western history and the complicated story of how race and national identity were made in the West.


As a result of this history, many people value their culture and identity as much as they value economic security. When their vision of the way the world should work is threatened, they see it as a personal threat. They’re racist because race and hierarchy and group identity have come to play integral roles in how humans understand the world.
To deny that is to deny that both identity and the past matter, to assume everything is reducible to some kind of material or economic ultimate cause. History has shown, conclusively, that this is a mistake."

However,

"Western governments can’t simply ignore the far right. Brexit proved its ability to destabilize major Western institutions and the global economy. Most importantly, these parties threaten the most cherished values in Western society: our all-too-recent embrace of equality and tolerance."

The author seems to have quickly forgotten that those very same governments he appealing to to do something to stop the far-right, are the one that have laid the ground for the wave of immigration through their wars and caused economic instability in the first place. They are the very same intolerant governments which have bombed a score of countries and imposed economic policies for decades in a post-colonial set 
up. "Equality"? Well, the author himself has cited evidence of the unprecedented level of inequality.

White riot
I am almost certain that the 21st century battle for the Middle Earth will be fought between the Burkinists and their allies and the nudists and their allies.
Context: there will soon be a park for nudists in Paris.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

"Beyond the racist and exclusionary borders of Tower Europe, there are other insiduous ways of silencing and marginalising the voices of people from the Global South, namely the Eurocentric framing of discussions, hearing from one or two voices from the Global South at the end of the day (after dinner and wine), not giving enough time to discuss important questions of colonialism and race, etc. I am becoming very pessimistic with everything coming from Europe (or almost). Fanon has been right after all: let's leave this Europe and its ways!" — Hamza Hamouchene

Saturday, September 24, 2016

"This inclusion of Islam in the Nietzschean catalogue of more 'honest', pre-, non- or even anti-European societies offers two further points of interest: first, that Nietzsche's remarks do not greatly differ from the kinds of observations a whole century of European Orientalists were making about Arabs and Muslims in general — that Islam is incapable of democracy, that is fanatical and warlike, that it is Frauenfeindlich and socially unjust, etc. Nietzsche's only difference, ironically, is that he affirms these prejudices instead of lamenting them. Nietzsche, who had never visited a Muslim country and whose closest brush with the 'Orient' was the 'southern' sensuousness of Naples, had to rely on an extremely unreliable canon of Orientalists for his information about Islam and Arab culture. The fact that Nietzsche's opposition to 'progress' led him to react positively to the kind of racial and generic defamations attributed to the Middle East by these 'experts' leaves us with an interesting dilemma: how do we interpret Nietzsche's anti-democratic, mysogynistic but nevertheless positive characterization of Islam? Do we condemn it for conforming to a whole set of nineteenth-century stereotypes concerning these cultures, or do we interpret it as an anti-colonialist gesture, turning around the heavy machine of European orientalism and using it to launch an itonic asault on the very modenity which produced it?

Nietzsche says very little about what Islam is, but only what it is not. Nietzsche's Islam is ultimately vacuous: a constructed anti-Christianity, admittedly associated with some figures and places, but fundamentally built on a certain Gefühl, one which feeds on anecdotes lifted out of Orientalist texts or gropes for symbolic figures like the Assassins or Hafiz in order to justify its assertions...

... Nietzsche seems not so much to be disagreeing with European Orientalism, as rather to be affirming and celebrating the very aspects of Islam they purport to deplore."

Ian Almon, The New Orientalists - Postmodern representation of Islam from Foucault to Baudrillard, 2007

Friday, September 23, 2016

"A major problem is that global warming, as with the associated environmental problems, can’t be solved within the capitalism that has caused, and is accelerating, the problem. All incentives under capitalism are for more growth and thus more greenhouse-gas emissions, and there is no provision to provide new jobs for the many people who would be displaced should the heavily polluting industries in which they work were to be shut down in the interest of the environment. The private capital that profits from environmental devastation is allowed to externalize the costs onto society, an inequality built into the system. The concept of “green capitalism” is a dangerous chimera."

Systemic Disorder

Thursday, September 22, 2016

"A fractious Europe, a failing currency, a challenged economy, populist parties on the rise, a divided left, migration from the east, an atmosphere of fear combined with social and sexual liberalism. The parallels between Britain today and Germany in the 1920s may well make this a compelling moment to revisit those postwar German thinkers who gathered in what was known as the Frankfurt school for social research – something akin to a Marxist think tank, [...] Little wonder, given the history of the 20th century, that the Frankfurt school gave us intellectual pessimism and negative dialectics. Jeffries’s biography is proof that such a legacy can be invigorating."  

– Lisa Appignanesi, Guardian

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

From the BBC

If he [Jeremy Corbyn] beats Owen Smith, he said he would be "the same Jeremy Corbyn that I've been through the last year and the last 30 years in Parliament", and that he would invite his critics "to come on board to work together".

"I have taken it on board, understood what they're saying and asking them to behave in a decent and responsible way and come together so that we do have an ability to take the fight to the Tories.

He expressed a hope that some of the front bench MPs who resigned would return, saying "we need to bring in many other talents" to the shadow cabinet.

My comment
No, and no. Corbyn is ready for a compromise with the Blairites and their allies although he is in a strong position.

Corbyn has the support of the majority of the Labour Party members. If he really has a long term view, he shouldn't compromise with the criminals, i.e. those who presided over the domestic and foreign policies, including wars, occupations, support of oligarchs and dictators, privatisation, austerity, tuition fees, banks' plunder, housing crisis ... You name it.

Corbyn should encourage more polarization not compromise. Compromise suggests weakness and invites defeat in today's British context. Such a compromise is undoubtedly advised by the like of Varoufakis. 
A book

The Poisoned Well - empire and its legacy in the Middle East

I think it is worth reading this book. 

My questions to the author after reading the review:


“He also briskly dismisses the fashionable ISIS/Daesh-driven exaggeration of the significance of the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement and other post-WW1 ‘lines in the sand’ to focus more sharply on the dismal shortcomings of the post-colonial era. Just one niggle: the ruling family of Saudi Arabia is (still) the Al (upper case, no hyphen) Saud, like the Al Thani in Qatar, and not to be confused with the more common Arabic definite article.”


Does that mean the authors dismiss two fundamental aspects of the historical process: the artificial nation states in the region and the economic factors, i.e. the uneven development of capitalism and the core’s interests for stability in the region, a stability which guarantees the status quo and thus economic and geo-political interests? 


Does the author also dimiss the West’s role in co-pting the latest uprisings through support of the groups and organisations which do not challenge its interests (see the example of Egypt)? In case of Tunisia socio-economic demands where confined to almost one bourgoies element: freedom of speech, and its weak parliament. 


Does the author ever mention a single instance where the Western regimes ever supported a progressive or a socialist movement or party in the Middle East and North Africa? Obviously, imperialist regimes are by its nature reactionary and cannot support a progressive movement.


Does the author mention the role of the so-called NGOs in maintaining stability of the regimes in the region?

Does the author mention how likely an organisation like "Daesh" would have emerged if there had been no invasion and occupation of Iraq and the destruction of the Iraqi state? How likely was it? 1%? 10%? 50% 90%?


This is suppoed to be a discovery.

How the sugar industry shifted the blame to fat

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Two liberals lost in translation
When one acknowledges the existence of state terrorism (though I curiously want to know which states English has in mind), but does exclude it from his analysis when dealing with non-state terrorism. One does not certainly see the interaction between the two types of terrorism (nor can one be able to broaden the concept and practices of "terrorism". I know I am probably passing a premature judgement on English's take, but that's the impression I get from the reviewer and the quotes.
Nagel, on the other side, believes that Bin Laden and his colleagues "had stimulated the invasion of Iraq" (!!) That says it all.

"By Any Means or None"

Saturday, September 17, 2016

"On Wednesday a foreign affairs committee chaired by the Conservative MP Crispin Blunt delivered its excoriating verdict on David Cameron’s Libyan adventure. Few people will rush to Cameron’s defence. Yet the former prime minister might be forgiven for feeling a pang of irritation at the committee’s uncompromising verdict. In March 2011, when Cameron went to the Commons to propose bombing Libya, no fewer than 557 MPs voted with him. Just 13 voted against.
Those 13, just in case anyone is interested? They did not include Crispin Blunt. They did not include Theresa May. They did not include Owen Smith, Corbyn’s rival for the Labour leadership or Angela Eagle, who kicked off the leadership challenge (she abstained). But they did include Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. That’s what many of us call leadership.
A parliament full of criminals and they call it democracy

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

"The best of all possible worlds" (G. Leibniz)

All what matters is the income of the lower middle class. "Neo-liberalism" has survived thus no wonder the liberals, or most of them, find a reason for defending globalisation and capitalism in general.

Putting the blame on local institutions is pervasive. Before that the defenders of the status quo had used "the cultural backwardness" of Africa and the Middle East, for example, as the cause of underdevelopment. For them local institutions are isolated from the global institutions and the main powers control of finance, trade, terms and conditions, military power, etc as well as their interests in tacitly supporting local regimes. For "the masters of the universe" the law of combined and uneven development is non-existent.

The authors of this article ignore that the country which elevated more poor people out of poverty than any other (see UN reports on China) has done and that because the state controls the main levers of the economy and investment (see the Economist on China and the commanding heights). No, I am not a supporter of the Chinese regime!

The approach used in the article clearly excludes any criminal role of the regimes and the multinational capitalists, who advocated and excuted globalisation, in causing the wars and social dislocation because, according to them, that is also something to blame on local institutions. Are we supposed to ask the authors and the FT to have a dialectical approach to such issues? God forbid, that's the outdated argument of finance capital and imperialism.

The biggest plunder ever by governments and banks? Austerity? Fundamentalist drive in privatising everything? Corruption and tax havens? Media monopolization? Wars (globalisation has nothing to with wars so they do not deserve a mention)? Corporatization of education and undermining academic freedom? Destruction of the environment (globalisation has nothing to do with what has happened to earth and its ecosystem)? 

No, all can be justified because the lower middle class has done better than we thought. That the same FT, by the way, which tried to refute Picketty's data on inequality.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

نبيل الملحم:
ما أن يلتقي جون كيري وسيرغي لافروف، حتى يتهامسان، لا ندري إذا ماكان همسهما، لعبة من تبادل الأطباق:
- خذ طبقاً من الهوت دوغ، وهات طبقاً من الـ بلوف.
ثم تكون المائدة.
ولا ندري أية همسات مابين الأتراك والإيرانيين:
- خذ الشاورما، وهات الـ "ديزي".
والاثنان يُقسمان أنه اللحم الحلال.. ثم تكون المائدة.
هي السياسة هكذا، نعم، وبهذا التبسيط، وكل من يعتقد بغير ذلك فهو أبله، أو مثقف (ما يعني أبلهاً أنيقاً).
- أين الغرابة في كل ذلك حين نكون نحن هي الأطباق؟ الأطباق البشرية؟
ستقولون لي:"هي استحقاقات الجيوسياسة"، نعم، ومن قال بأنها غير أطباق من نوع ما؟
أطباق خطوط الغاز، مكامن النفط، صناديق المال، تبادل الزوجات، المعادن الثمينة، ولكل مائدة فقهاؤها، ولمزيد من العلم، فقد لعبت الكوكاكولا ماعجزت عنه ساحات القتال، وها نحن نضرم النيران والبخور من أجلها.. أعني من أجل الأطباق، ونتهامس كما يتهامسون:
- طبقاً ديموقراطياً من الأمريكان، ثم نستشهد بما قدموه لنا في كابول، بغداد، القدس، وها نحن نأكله طازجاً في دمشق، نأكله لنأكل بعضنا بعضاً في مأدبة هي عسر هضم التاريخ.
- طبقاً ديكتاتورياً من يد الروس، أليس صديقنا بوتين هو القيصر؟ ألم يكن الوارث الشرعي والوحيد لجوزيف ستالين؟
ثم طبقين لخليفتين يتنازعان الخلافة، أحدهما في أنقرة والثاني في طهران، ولا ندري إذا ماكانا يستخدمان "الجمل" في حربهما لتكون حرب جمل جديدة.. جمل يقطع الصحراء بالريبوت كونترول.
- ونحن؟ أيّ نحن؟
نحن السوريون، تعالوا نسأل:
- من نحن؟ ما الذي تبقّى منّا في لعبة الأطباق؟
"بشر ضلّوا طريقهم"، هكذا يصفنا هنري كيسنجر، مع أن الكثير من مطبّات الطريق كان قد رسمها هو، بشخصه، وقلمه، وإرادته، ثم أورثها للسيدة كونداليزا رايس، تلك الفاتنة الذهبية، وقد راقصناها في أفواهنا حتى جفّ منّا الكلام.
ومادام الأمر كذلك، فما هو الطريق الذي كان لنا وفقدناه؟
بالأساس ليس ثمة طريق، ومن يدّعي أن كان له طريق أو خارطة طريق فليتفضل ويسكتنا، فكل طرقاتنا لم تكن لتقود سوى إلى أشلائنا، من القومي، إلى اليساري، إلى الإسلامي، وما أن قال الناس، كل الناس سئمنا.. ما أن قالوها حتى رقصنا على ظهورهم، ومن قال إننا لانتذكر بالتفاصيل ميدان التحرير، هبّات شباب الميدان، رقصات ناس حمّام الشطّ وهم يبحثون عن الطريق فأغلقنا في وجوههم كل طريق؟
نعم، رقصنا على ظهورهم وحولناهم إلى أطباق، ولاننسى تلك الصرخة التي أطلقتها (مناضلة)، حملت (الثورة) فوق خصرها وهي تصرخ:
- هنري ليفي يمثلني؟ وكان ذلك في باريس.
واليوم.. مايزيد عن نصف مليون قتيل، ومن لم تقتله الحرب قتله السأم، ومن نجا من كليهما مات جوعاً او افتقد الدواء، وها نحن على مائدتهم.
مئات ويزيد من فصائل السلاح.. مئات ويزيد من فصائل الفنادق التي تلحس أقدام السلاح.. مئات ويزيد من حائرين في تهريب البشر وقطع االتبديل والآثار، ومازلنا بانتظار همسات المتهامسين.
- خذ الهوت دوغ وهات البلوف.
- خذ الشاورما وهات الديزي.
الطبّاخون يطبخوننا.. هو ذا الحال الذي لاينفع معه البتة ذاك الكلام:
- البحر من ورائكم والعدو من أمامكم.
ينفعنا أن نتجول في تخومنا، ربما لانكون مائدة للآخرين.

I love the English and their way of life
The other day someone, an English, was telling how marvellous the American soldiers were in treating dogs in Afghanistan.

One Syrian Photographer's Last Letter to the World

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Keynes’ 1930s optimism gained credence with the boom during a major world war and the subsequent post-war Golden Age that restored the profitability of capital for a generation.  Let’s hope it does not take another world war to confirm the optimism of the modern Keynesians like DeLong.
The end of globalisation and the future of capitalism
Capitalism "batters down all Chinese walls... In one word, it creates a world after its own image."
"All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life..."
A prayer for Mecca — the city that many pilgrims don't see

Also
Mecca for the rich: Islam's holiest site 'turning into Vegas'

Thursday, September 08, 2016

We should flatly refuse the situation to which the Western countries wish to condemn us. Colonialism and imperialism have not paid their score when they withdraw their flags and their police forces from our territories. For centuries the foreign capitalists have behaved in the under-developed world like nothing more than criminals.” 
—Frantz Fanon
“Imperialism after all is an act of geographical violence through which virtually every space in the world is explored, charted, and finally brought under control. For the native, the history of colonial servitude is inaugurated by loss of the locality to the outsider; its geographical identity must thereafter be searched for and somehow restored. Because of the presence of the colonizing outsider, the land is recoverable at first only through imagination.” 
—Edward Said

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Note that the Washington Post here is not questioning corporate education and how the system is organised to reproduce the elite in the US and in other countries. It is only questioning/exposing the excesses, which shouldn't be exploited by Trump in a context of electoral campaigns.
Good! The more they stink, the better.


Monday, September 05, 2016

Here is of the things the Liberals have done in the last 20 years.

IMF chief, Christine Lagarde, also blogged that “Weak global growth that interacts with rising inequality is feeding a political climate in which reforms stall and countries resort to inward-looking policies. In a broad cross-section of advanced economies, incomes for the top 10 percent increased by about 40 percent in the past 20 years, while growing only very modestly at the bottom. Inequality has also increased in many emerging economies, although the impact on the poor has sometimes been offset by strong general income growth”.

And what is their solution now? More globalisation. Some of them even argue for the colonization of Mars. That is what we can call a global economy of priorities that serves humanity!

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Mother Theresa has been made a saint by the Pope.

"MT was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction.
And she was a friend to the worst of the rich, taking misappropriated money from the atrocious Duvalier family in Haiti (whose rule she praised in return) and from Charles Keating of the Lincoln Savings and Loan. Where did that money, and all the other donations, go?" — Christopher Hitchens
A new exposé of Mother Theresa shows that she —and the Vatican—were even worse than we thought

Friday, September 02, 2016

"This is some deeply weird liberal saviour racism. All the agency in this representation is on the side of the intervening white person, while the Muslim woman is quiet, meek and passively grateful. The intervention doesn't challenge the racist politics of the abuser. Instead you're supposed to "ignore the attacker" and *talk about the weather*. The intervening white person doesn't allow that the Muslim woman might herself have something to say about the racism being directed at her. The whole strategy of "building the safe space" depends on her being quiet. And through these means, the racist attacker is supposed to give up and go away, fuming in "irrelevance". What if he doesn't? What if he keeps it up? What if he escalates? What if you end up having to shout at the top of your lungs about the weather because now he's screaming about sending them back? 

How useless is your solidarity then? Where is your safe space? And even if he does give up, in what sense is he irrelevant? He has just felt confident enough to embark on a racist attack, and his target knows that there are more people like him out there, and that many onlookers agree with him, and that she is regarded as an antinational menace by large numbers of people. And the best ally she has is some weak-assed liberal bullshit that tries to laugh it off and chatter about the fucking weather. It might, in some circumstances, be sensible to de-escalate and avoid confrontation. But to elevate this to a tactical principle is a form of verbal gentrification, smothering the nasty and necessarily politicised underside of daily life behind a facade of good manners, and leaving only the racist feeling more empowered as a result." 

— Richard Seymour

How the elite is created Malala Yousafzai to study politics, philosophy and economics (PPE) at Oxford University. One day, she will proba...