Rants

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Liberal Multiculturalism Masks an Old Barbarism with a Human Face Slavoj Zizek [This is the article referenced in the 10-17-10 "Democracy Now" interview with Zizek.] Across Europe, the politics of the far right is infecting us all with the need for a 'reasonable' anti-immigration policy. The recent expulsion of Roma, or Gypsies, from France drew protests from all around Europe – from the liberal media but also from top politicians, and not only from those on the left. But the expulsions went ahead, and they are just the tip of a much larger iceberg of European politics.
Building a Mass Movement Save the Planet, Fight Racism Anonymous Comrade I’ve spent forty years of my life as a serious activist. I’ve been to prison as a result and I’ve also had fun. I’ve been involved in one way or another in about every “issue” to come down the left wing pike during that time. I’ve seen some changes. I haven’t seen nearly enough. I’m tied of hearing about past movements. Though I was there, I’m tired of hearing about the 60s. The suggestions I’m about to make are aimed at folks one hell of a lot younger than me. Young activists have the energy, the spirit, the strength to make things happen. Young activists have not become cynical like so many of my compatriots. I should note that I come from a framework which I would describe as anti-racist, anti-imperialist, and Marxist. For me, what we used to call the primary contradictions are race and class. It is through that prism that I view the world.
From Barthes to Foucault and Beyond – Cycling in the Age of Empire Martin Hardie May 2009 'Whilst the onomania lasted, bickerings and divisions endured.' Barthes is right in that he tells us that there is an onomastics of the Tour. But in the time since Barthes, in a manner the semiotician may not have envisaged, that onomastics has descended from the heights of myth and epic having the status of Greek gods. They have descended from being these lofty signs of the valor of the ordeal, of beings signs of old European ways and ethnicity – Brankart le Franc, Bobet le Francien, Robic le Celte, Ruiz l’Ibere, Darrigade le Gascon; to being patronymics of the biopolitical, of homo sacer and the spectacle that sustains Empire. Although Barthes' idea of an onomastics of the Tour still holds fast, sadly, in the time in which we live, Barthes' classic piece on the Tour de France as Epic no longer depicts the essence of events such as la Grande Boucle.
From Precarity to Unemployment: the Great Recession and EuroMayDay Alex Foti Neoliberalism and monetarism have ended up ruining the world, like the antiglobalization movement always said they would: like two mad scientists, they proved socially, environmentally, and economically unsustainable. And so they fucked up majorly and have produced the worst economic crisis since the times of Roosevelt, Stalin, Hitler. Problem is that it's hard to cheer because the vast majority of those laissez-faire bankers and deregulating economists are still in charge, still dictating the terms of the game. Those who precipitated the crisis with their foolish policies of banking deregulation, welfare privatization, trade liberalization, labor deunionization are still at their desks! They tell us we should be quiet, accept layoffs and wage cuts, take some fiscal stimulus if we are lucky, and after 2010 we will again live happily under capitalism ever after. BULLSHIT! And they are throwing trillions at the banks who have made the riskiest of bets on real estate, paid off millions in bonuses to assehole CEOs and let the economy hang dry when the debts were called in. Trillions for bankers, cuts for people. This is the European equation. Not only this is scandalously immoral, it's economically counterproductive. Banks are hoarding liquidity for fear of going bust and don't supply new credit. As Keynes and Kalecki first showed, during great depressions monetary policy doesn't work, since it falls into a liquidity trap. Only social spending, public investment and redistribution away from profits and rents toward wages and transfers is gonna do the trick. For three decades, as they were happily pocketing the quantum leap in social productivity afforded by the information revolution, the élites said there was no public money for services, schools and the precarious many, while hedge funds and private equity funds were siphoning off zillions for the super-ritzy few. They said wages had to stay low, because global competitiveness demanded it, until income distribution became as absurdly unequal as it had gotten on the eve of the Great Depression. No wonder another major depression has ensued. This crisis is no random phenomenon, it was caused by the venality and stupidity of the financial and political elites.
"Liberation Theology" Lia In Christianity's construal of Jesus Christ as humankind's deliverer from iniquity, Christ becomes humanity's Liberator as well as its Redeemer. Liberation theology, which is a school of theology within the Roman Catholic Church, embraces this conceptualization of Jesus Christ by understanding him as Liberator of the sinful and of the oppressed. As such, Christ becomes the ultimate vehicle or champion for justice. He is an advocate for the world's impoverished and subjugated. Accordingly, liberation theology constructs Christianity as integral to political activism and positions its tenets as the framework for and impetus behind social justice. In doing so, liberation theology exposes the utility of Christianity by relying on the religion a resource and inspiration in a variety of contemporary social movements, especially those in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa. Furthermore, as it grew out of the Second Vatican Council of 1963 to 1965, liberation theology demonstrates the potential for innovation and evolution within the Catholic faith. However, this school of theology did and does not go unchallenged; in fact, many Catholic perspectives disprove of liberation theology for its Marxist basis. Yet, regardless of one's views on its belief system and approach, liberation theology offers pioneering and alterative ways to understand the Catholic religion and pragmatically and inspirationally integrate its teachings in the contemporary world.
Beyond Shopping Bernard Marszalek The Financial Times reports that at Davos the treasure hunt, so to speak, was for that elusive plan to curb the worldwide financial meltdown. If the luminaries of world capital came away luckless and no better informed than when they arrived, I suspect that the half-wits and dead-beats in Washington (best exemplified by Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers) will not succeed either. No surprise that fewer politicians attended Davos this year than in previous years when Davos was a celebratory event. Nothing corrodes the finely spun verbosity of politicians swifter than the acidic spray of reality. The few politicians who did attend simply made fools of themselves with their exchange of accusatory remarks. Recession, Depression or Panic? Politicians speak only of recession as do most journalists. Popular columnists of a liberal bent define the crisis with a broader selection of terms, yet they are all snared in the traps of a poorly informed historic perspective. This insures that their endeavors to provide informed analysis will be fruitless. Quick fixes of a neo-Keynesian kind that they propose, may at best slow the hemorrhaging of world capital, but far more radical procedures are needed to save this patient.
Seven Resolutions for 2009 Geert Lovink 1. Radical makeover of Indymedia into an irresistible network of networks, aimed to link local initiatives, worldwide, that aim to bring down corporate capitalism. In order to do this Indymedia needs to go beyond the (alternative) news paradigm. This is the time to do it. If not now, when? The debate should be about the possible adaptation, or perhaps transcendence (think negative dialectics) of the social networking approach. Is it enough if we all start to twitter? Perhaps not. A lot of the online conversations at the moment circle around these topics. There is a real momentum building up here, and that's exciting. 2. Renaissance of theory, radical texts that appeal to young people and help them to dream again, aimed to develop critical concepts, cool memes and audio-visual whispers that can feed the collective imagination with new, powerful ideas that are capable to move people into action. Theory, in this context, means speculative philosophies, not academic writing or hermetic bible texts, aimed to exclude outsiders and those with the wrong belief system. Overcoming political correctness in the way that beats populism would be the way to go. 3. Dismantling the academic exclusion machine. With this I mean the hilarious peer review dramas that we see around us everywhere, aimed to reproduce the old boys networks, excluding different voices, discourses and networked research practices. We need to have the civil courage to say no to these suppressive and utterly wrong bureaucratic procedures that, in the end, result in the elimination of quality, creativity and criticism (and, ironically, of innovation, too). In the same way we need to unleash a social movement of those who dare to say no to all these silly copyright contracts that we're forced to sign. We should stop signing away our 'intellectual property' and begin to radicalize and help democratize and popularize the creative commons and floss movements.
An Expose of the Abuse Perpetrated by Bob Black, Written by One of His Victims Bill Brown One of the worst things about abuse (physical, emotional or verbal) is that the victim can rarely be counted on to come forward, identify his or her attacker, and describe what he or she was forced to endure. The victim was originally chosen because of perceived weakness. There is shame in realizing this, as there is shame in the very fact of being abused. There are fears about being abused again. And so, many victims of abuse find it easier to suffer their abuse in silence. Unfortunately, many abusive people are aware of this all-too-human tendency, and take advantage of it. Not only do they remain unpunished; they become brazen. They know that their crimes won't be reported to the precise extent that these crimes are shameful; victims of shameful crimes are ashamed to come forward; thus their victimizers feel comfortable with attacking them again and again, for many years in some cases.
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