Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A clarification by Richard Seymour
"When a wing of the left criticises "identity politics", they usually mean the kind of politics that reduces oppression to representation and that, as such, is apt to celebrate the inclusion of a right-wing fundamentalist woman in Trump's team because she is a woman and hence "diversification". They want a more substantive attack on racism, sexism, oppression of all kinds.
When a wing of the liberal centre criticises "identity politics", they usually mean to criticise what they think of as the overly clamorous and over-hasty demands of women, gays, African Americans, migrants and others for justice. This, they claim, puts 'progressives' in a difficult position when it comes to building coalitions (with racists, homophobes, etc) and achieving real reforms.
When the Right attacks "identity politics", they mean any concession whatsoever to the idea that anyone other than white bourgeois men are "created equal". They mean welfare handouts and laws banning lynching. They mean attempts to reduce police violence."
"With what moral right can the rulers of a nation speak of human rights when within it the millionaire and the beggar coexist, the Indian is exterminated, the black man is discriminated against, women are prostituted and large masses of Chicano, Puerto Ricans and Latin Americans are scorned, exploited and humiliated? How can this be done by the rulers of a nation where the Mafia, gambling and child prostitution predominate, where the CIA organizes subversion and universal espionage plans and where the Pentagon creates neutron bombs capable of preserving material assets while exterminating human beings, in an empire
that supports reaction and counterrevolution throughout the world, that protects and encourages the exploitation by monopolies of the wealth and human resources on all continents, unequal trade, a protectionist policy, an incredible squandering of natural resources and a system of hunger for the world? How can this be done by the representatives of a capitalist and imperialist society whose essence is the exploitation of man by man and, with it, egotism, individualism and total absence of human solidarity? How
can such watchwords be written by those who train and send military supplies to the most reactionary, corrupt and bloody governments in tie world such as those of Somoza, Pinochet Stroessner, the Uruguayan gorillas, Mobutu and the shah of Iran, to mention only a few cases?
How can there be talk of such rights by those who maintain close relations with the South African racists who oppress, discriminate against and exploit 20 million Africans, by those who supply the Zionist aggressors with large quantities of sophisticated weapons with which they dislodged the Palestinian people from their lands and who refuse to return to the Arab countries [applause] and they refuse to return to the Arab countries the territories they have taken by force.
How can the leaders of a nation speak of human rights when their
intelligence agencies organized attempts against leaders of other nations and their armies dropped explosives in Vietnam many times the equivalent of the nuclear bombs dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing millions of Vietnamese, without even having the dignity of apologizing for the one and indemnifying the other? How can the leaders of such a nation speak of human rights when they have traditionally intervened in the nations of Latin America, subjugating the peoples of this continent to their exploitation, and who are responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of children each year through illness and hunger? In fact, how can the imperialist government that maintains a military base by force on our territory and subjects our people to a criminal economic blockade speak of human rights?" Fidel Castro, July 26, 1978.
Now, shall we talk about "human rights" since 1978?

Turkey

Torture in the wake of the failed coup

1. If the coup succeeded, I think, the military would have done as much or probably more.
2. Now even the progressive opposition in Turkey is being subjected to brutal repression.
3. The main Western powers were late in condemning the coup. Russia and Iran, for their own strategical interests, were among the first to come against the coup. That was one of the elements which drove Erdogan to heal Turkey's relations with Russia.

Monday, November 28, 2016

France

BBC website: Mr Fillon is "proposing dramatic economic reforms that include slashing 500,000 public jobs, ending the 35-hour week, raising the retirement age and scrapping the wealth tax.
On foreign policy, he advocates closer relations with Russia."

It sounds great! Probably 40% of the electorate will vote for that.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

"Once debts have been subtracted, a person needs only $3,650 to be among the wealthiest half of the world’s citizens. However, about $77,000 is required to be a member of the top 10% of global wealth holders and $798,000 to belong to the top 1%.  So if you own a home in any major city in the rich North on your own and without a mortgage, you are part of the top 1%.  Do you feel rich if you do?  This just shows how poor the vast majority of people in the world are: with no property, no cash and certainly no stocks and bonds!"

The vast majority? They are just losers; the are uneducated, they don't know how to be entrepreneurs ...

New figure reached by annual Credit Suisse global wealth report

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

"As we know, Trump supporters tend to be white, tend to be older, tend to be male, tend to live in households with slightly higher income, and tend to have less education. Interestingly, his base is also significantly more likely to be self-employed overall, among other whites, and among other Republicans. In key respects, Trump represents the revenge of Joe the Plumber — and indeed Joe supports him.
Many feel more comfortable casting his bid as some abhorrent anomaly. But Trumpism is no oddity. Instead it’s the expression of the anxieties of the petit bourgeoisie and a result of a break between two wings of the capitalist class in the Republican Party that began with the emergence of the Tea Party."

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

"Before Donald Trump was elected, stock markets went down every time he improved in the public opinion polls.  Finance capital did not want him to win.  But since his surprise election, stock markets have not slumped.  On the contrary, they have risen substantially along with a strengthening dollar.  It seems that ‘the Donald’ could be a good thing for Capital after all."
Testing Trumponomics


"Trump and Berlusconi are both men who came to power from business rather than politics, and both have presented their inexperience with the political establishment as a mark of purity. They have both insisted on their entrepreneurial success as the most evident proof of their qualification to rule the country. Like Plato’s tyrant, they both exhibit an ethos based on a dream of continuous and unlimited jouissance and an aggressive and hubristic eros (though Berlusconi prefers to think of himself as an irresistible seducer rather than a rapist).
They both indulge in gross misogynistic and racist jokes and have reshaped public language by legitimizing insult and political incorrectness as acceptable forms of political communication and by embodying an exhilarating return of the repressed. They both revel in kitschy aesthetics and don the orange hue of artificial tanning. And they both allied with the far right in order to advance a political project of authoritarian neoliberalism and unbridled capitalism.

The analogies stop here."
Education in Britain (source: bbc)
But researchers highlight some other questions muddying the waters.
Students do not enter university unshaped by what went before. 
How much of higher earnings in later life might be linked to coming from high-income parents, rather than anything to do with higher education?
A key finding of the income research was that graduates from wealthy families ended up earning more than than those from poorer families, even if they studied the same course at the same university.
But there is no escaping the growing sense of stratification in the university sector and differences in status.
Belonging to the Russell Group [i.e. elite universities] has become a kind of self-conferred status symbol for its membership.

Monday, November 21, 2016

"Here is the biggest problem with elevating sexism to the defining explanation of Mrs. Clinton’s loss: It lets her machine and her failed policies off the hook. It erases the role played by the appetite for endless war and the comfort with market-friendly incremental change, no matter the urgency of the crisis (from climate change to police violence to raging inequality). It erases the disgust over Mrs. Clinton’s coziness with Wall Street and with the wreckage left behind by trade deals that benefited corporations at the expense of workers." — Naomi Klein

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

"This process of appropriation includes many others: framing the Law of Value as something morally and politically valuable; mapping natural resources, translating Cheap Nature into a portable, readable format; codifying the limits of nature and society in laws and bills, so as the first remains cheap, and creating new institutional arrangements, which allow the market and the state to produce this logic through space and time. Appropriating Cheap Nature is not only a process of violent material dispossession. It is also a way to see the world which naturalises – and makes desirable – this process, upon which capitalist accumulation depends."

Capitalism as Ecology: Mexican Resistance at the Frontier

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Law says, “Go to the Mullā and learn the rules and regulations!” 
Love says, “A single word is enough: shut and put away all other books!” . . .
Law says, “Have some shame and decency: put out this light!”
Love says, “What is this veil for? Let the visions be open!”
Law says, “Come into the mosque and perform the obligatory prayer!” 

Love says, “Go to the wine-tavern, and having drunk, peform the superogatory prayer!” . . .
Law says, “O, Believer! go for Ḥajj—for you will have to cross the Ṣirāt Bridge!”
Love says, “ The door of the Beloved is the Kaʿbah, don’t move from there!”
Law says, “We strung Shāh Manṣūr up on the cross!”
Love says, “ Ten, you did well; for you sacrificed him at the Beloved’s 
door!” 


— (probably not actually authored by) the most widely sung Su poet of the Panjāb, Bullhē Shāh of Ḳaṣūr (1680–1758). Quoted in Shahab Ahmed's What is Islam?

Islam is thus not the simple structure so often portrayed.  Those who find the present fact of Islam adequately explained by the Koran and the life of Muhammad are simply beyond help.
— Carl Heinrich Becker 
Occasionally, I get across a rarity, a non-conformist among the complacents, the career-seekers:
"The point that you made about people blaming the ‘ignorant uneducated American’ is also very evident amongst my Facebook friends who are predominantly university-educated people. I feel that most of these people live in their university educated-upper class bubbles, completely oblivious to how neoliberal policies are affecting people that live in the ‘real world’." — Pieter Dockx, an LSE student.

Will Trump call Sanders? 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

"The tears of the Liberals at the emperor's departure"
Liberal crap

Putting the blame on those who did not vote. 
Clinton is not a friend of women; she is part and parcel of a criminal state. A state that implemented reactionary policies on wages, working conditions, commodification of women, imperialist policies towards women in the Middle East and elsewhere through killing by drones and IMF adjustment prgrammes, corporate lunder and exploitation, support of theocracies that oppress women... She is not a friend of women. Nor is Mother Theresa a friend of the poor.

Those who have been staunch defenders of the status quo wanted a continuation of the very same neoliberal injustice at home and abroad. The 50% or so who did not vote are fed up with the dictatorship of the two-party system. Conversely, those who wanted the status quo, the affluent and the rich support and backed Clinton to the hilt.

Paraphrasing Brecht, the liberals wish they could dissolve the people and elect another.

Richard Seymour: "This is part of a genre of liberal writing that is emerging now, and deserves to be challenged. *By all means* discuss the conditions produced over the long term, the considerable work and the collusion or overlapping of forces that helped Trump to power. But please don't, at the same time, overlook every single colossal advantage enjoyed by Hillary Clinton. 
The money, the media, the backing of the Democratic establishment, the support of much of the Republican establishment, the backing of practically every quarter of industry, the out-spending and out-organising of her rival, the social-demographic shifts in her favour, the fact that the neoliberal consensus she upholds has been the elite-produced common sense for decades, the fact that she had a completely unreasoningly loyal and infatuated fan base which she deliberately cultivated through her celebrity bid, the fact that a minority of middle class liberal feminists with prominent positions *systematically* white-washed her antifeminist record etc etc. With all this, she lost against an amateurish campaign run by the most hated man in American politics.
Please. Get over Clinton. She wasn't ever your champion. You were hers."

Saturday, November 12, 2016

France: Sarkozy/Juppé (status quo), or Trumpette?

"The FN has become the party of the working class,” says Bruno Cautrès, a political sciences researcher at Paris-based Sciences Po Cevipof. “The party offers a double explanation for their malaise: Europe has failed to protect their jobs from globalisation and failed to protect their way of life from Muslim immigrants.”  (the Financial Times)



EnglandNeoliberal vultures contnue their plunder, "legally". 


Crony capitalism






Friday, November 11, 2016

The Financial Times:  "Social class, defined today by one’s level of education, appears to have become the single most important social fracture in countless industrialised and emerging-market countries."

Richad Seymour: "This is, of course, the way that social class is talked about in the US, but it isn't a helpful way to proceed. Apart from overlooked the glut of uneducated managers, supervisors, CEOs and owners, and forgetting the deliberate expansion of higher education to skill up workers, the trope allows one to say that the working class are a bunch of thickos. Trump's support came from diverse social classes. Education wasn't that big a predictor of the outcome either: college graduates were *overrepresented* in Trump's support (in part because they are overrepresented in the electorate). The big thing that happened with the working class in this election is that most of them didn't vote." 

Richard Rorty, a philosopher and social democrat, wrote in 1998:
"Members of labor unions, and unorganized unskilled workers, will sooner or later realize that their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported. Around the same time, they will realize that suburban white-collar workers — themselves desperately afraid of being downsized — are not going to let themselves be taxed to provide social benefits for anyone else. At that point, something will crack.


The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for — someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots . . . One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out. Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion . . . All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet."


Adam Shatz:

"According to the polls, Trump’s most devoted supporters aren’t the very poor but the lower middle class – the class traditionally most attracted by fascism.

Although class resentment is one of the ties that bind the inhabitants of Trump world, the greatest injustice for Trump’s followers isn’t that society is deeply divided along class lines (a fact hidden by the dominant but increasingly fragile ideology of the ‘middle class’) but that power is sliding out of their hands, a weakness evidenced by their demographic decline."


Priyamvada Gopal: "This is what you are avoiding if you keep on treating race as a separate category from 'neoliberalism,' whether as subsidiary, secondary or supplementary. Capitalism was forged out of a terrifying, brutal, violent and lethal racialized exploitation of labour. Capitalism was always already racial. Slavery- and empire-- were fundamental to its emergence and growth. If you overlook this--or think it isn't relevant in the present-- as many leftists still keep doing, then you have a very serious analytical deficit, in addition to whatever messed up race politics you are playing as you stroke your Hegel lovingly. No, it is 'not only about race'. It was never 'only about race', whatever the hell that means, but race was and remains fundamental to the workings of capitalism. So whatever your race politics, if this is what you're doing, your analysis of capitalism is ahistorical and flawed. That, at least, ought to worry you."

Thursday, November 10, 2016

"[T]he Intruder, characteristically an asylum seeker, an illegal immigrant, or increasingly a legal immigrant, who has been added to the ranks of the category of 'criminal’ while being housed and ‘protected’ by the Incompetents, enslaved as they are to doctrines of ‘Political Correctness’. Migration is therefore a central issue here. And neoliberalism contributes to the revival of far-right politics through the global, structural changes that it has carried through over the last 40 years. In particular, it is the connection between domestic socio-economic change, as reflected in the rescaling of welfare assistance, and the compulsions toward labour market flexibility, with the accompanying sense of individualized social insecurity for workers (Theodore, 2007: 252–53). 

Neoliberalism, then, has rested upon the opening up of labour 
markets within the mature capitalist economies to competitive pressures on the social wage through both offshoring production sources in low-wage zones and though encouraging migrants to enter labour markets contributing to further downward pressure on wages and driving up the level of exploitation. At the same time, neoliberal policies through the waves of structural adjustment supervised by the IMF and World Bank (and in the European case, the European Commission) have played an important role in compounding economic insecurities and inequalities within many of these countries, thus propelling many people to migrate to the richer zones of the core capitalist countries to secure their livelihoods." 

— Neil Davidson, Neoliberalism and the Far-Right: a Contradictory Embrace,  in the journal Critical Sociology, 2016

My conclusion:

Iraq, Syria and Libya: Barbarism produced more barbarism thus we have "a clash of barbarisms".
In Britain and the U.S., the hearland of Neoliberalism, reactionary socio-economic policies have begotten reactionary resistance.

7 Theses on Trump

It was the Democrats's embrace of Neoliberalism that won for Trump

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Making and Unmaking of the Greater Middle East

It is a good essay, but I wonder why one in concluding a 30-page essay does not insert three lines on the role of Russia and its support of the Assad regime.
After Brexit, here we have another product of neoliberalism (a form of capitalism). So far the effect has been in the two most aggressive countries where neloliberalism have been implemented. 

"Trump has won because a (just) sufficient number of people are fed up with the status quo.  Apparently 60% of voters asked at the polling booths reckon that the country “is on the wrong track” and two-thirds were fed up and angry with the Washington government – something Clinton personifies.

Like the vote of the Brits for Brexit, against all expectations, a sufficient number of voters in America (mainly white, older and in small businesses or working in failing industries in smaller central US states) have overcome the vote of the youth, the more educated and better-off in the big cities.  But remember hardly more than 50% or so of eligible voters turned out to vote.  A huge swathe of people never vote in American elections and they constitute a sizeable part of the working class.

Most significant, the most important issue (52%) for voters, when asked at the booths, was the state of the US economy, with terrorism next (but well down at 18%) and immigration (the Trump card) even lower.  Trump won because he claimed he could improve the conditions of those ‘who have been left behind’ by globalisation, failing domestic industries and crushed small businesses.  Of course, Trump is a billionaire and has no real interest or idea about improving the lot of the majority.  But anger at the establishment was sufficient (just) for this egoistic, misogynist, sexual predator, rich man’s son to win.

But it is still the economy, stupid.  Trump has been handed a poisoned chalice that he will have to drink from: the state of the US economy." 

Monday, November 07, 2016

Islamic State vs. Al-Qaida

Note: In the first paragraph, a wrong translation of "Rumiyya", an Islamic State's publication.
"ISIS and Clinton Foundation are both funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar"

Keep it leaking! 

Exposing the powerful, the criminal, the corrupt, etc is not whistleblowing; it the voice of dissent, and it should be encouraged and supported. Whether it is the Panama Files, or the banks and the politicians, or the oligarchs and the politicians, or the theocratic regimes and the Western governments ... in essence it is more facts about the real nature of the capitalist democracy. What we see, after all, is the tip of the ice-berg.
England
In a recent report on HMP Bedford, inmates claimed it was easier to get hold of drugs than clothes or bedding. (the BBC online)

Sunday, November 06, 2016

"Spain’s first Twitter hate-crime arrest was that of a 19-year-old student in Valencia who greeted Carrasco’s death with the tweet: “That’s the way! Kill them all.” The applause that greeted the murder in certain quarters owed much to the mindset of Spaniards who were fed up with politicians lining their pockets while they themselves scrabbled for jobs, had homes repossessed or coped with dramatic falls in income, according to Ángela Domínguez. Carrasco’s tyrannical reputation – and the corruption rumours – had helped make her a target. “Part of society saw it as an almost necessary ritual,” she said. “There is a shared responsibility.”

Although people in León complained privately about Carrasco, few had dared to confront her. Perhaps they feared that, without a pistol in their hand, they were always bound to lose. Rosa Seijas, who sued over the fixed exam system, sees a cowed society that has accepted cronyism as inevitable. “Everyone complains, but nobody does anything,” she said. “They just say that this is the way things work. In fact, all they want is to find a way to get their own offspring a civil service job.” Carrasco’s architect friend, Jesús Ramos, says that the poisoned atmosphere in León reflected what he calls Spain’s “familist” society – where a weak welfare state provides no real safety net. “Here, your family looks after you,” he said. That makes cronyism inevitable, even virtuous. In this case, it primed a mother to kill."
The Murder of Isabel Carasco
"Thus, increased specialization has led to increased alienation between not only professors and the general public, but also between the professors themselves.  
All of this is very unfortunate. Ideally, the great academic minds of a society should be put to work for the sake of building up that society and addressing its problems. Instead, most Western academics today are using their intellectual capital to answer questions that nobody’s asking on pages that nobody’s reading.
What a waste."

Saturday, November 05, 2016

“The connection between the human condition and labour is frequently forgotten, and for me was always so important. At 16, I went down a coal mine in Derbyshire and spent a day on the coal face – just watching the miners. It had a profound effect.” What did it make you feel? “Respect,” he says quietly. “Just respect. There are two kinds. Respect to do with ceremony – what happens when you visit the House of Lords. And a completely different respect associated with danger.” He says: “This is not a prescription for others, but when I look back on my life I think it’s very significant I never went to a university. I refused to go. Lots of people were pushing me and I said, ‘No. I don’t want to’, because those years at university form a whole way of thinking.” And you feel free from that? “Yes.”

John Berger: 'If I'm s storyteller, it's because I listen'


Friday, November 04, 2016

When Western governments, "NGOs", CIA, etc pour money and agents in some countries to influence elections outcomes and make sure that the winner is their ally, does no make it to the news headlines, but considered conspiracy theory. When suddenly something is unearthed because there are elelection in a Western country and rivals are at each others' throes, then it is news.

“I do not think we should have pushed for an election in the Palestinian territories. I think that was a big mistake,” said Sen. Clinton. “And if we were going to push for an election, then we should have made sure that we did something to determine who was going to win.” Hillary Clinton, 2006

European youth "ready to join mass revolt"