Taking notes 18: On the need for Infrastructures of Resistance

by Jeff Shantz The habitat in which twentieth century radicalism could thrive no longer exists in the form that previously sustained radical movements and ideas (Sears, 2008: 8). Anarchism and socialism, the forms of political radicalism that animated much resistance of the working classes, poor and oppressed, were vital as components of broader infrastructures of resistance. These infrastructures developed within contexts of particular organizations of life and work. The last few decades have ushered in significant changes in the organization of social relations and conditions of production, which have transformed the possibilities for specific political projects (Sears, 2008: 8). Emerging … Continue reading Taking notes 18: On the need for Infrastructures of Resistance

Taking notes 17: The good intentions that pave the road to war

by Diana Johnstone Opposing genocide has become a sort of cottage industry in the United States. Everywhere, “genocide studies” are cropping up in universities. Five years ago, an unlikely “Genocide Prevention Task Force” was set up headed by former secretary of state Madeleine Albright and former defense secretary William Cohen, both veterans of the Clinton administration. The Bible of the campaign is Samantha Power’s book, “A Problem from Hell”. Ms. Power’s thesis is that the U.S. Government, while well-intentioned, like all of us, is too slow to intervene to “stop genocide”. It is a suggestion that the U.S. government embraces, even to taking … Continue reading Taking notes 17: The good intentions that pave the road to war

Taking notes 16: The rebellion has started

by Jeffrey Harrod Rebellions are special social events. They are special because once they start they never end and because they provoke other events which eventually change the world. The Indian Rebellion of 1857 against the British heralded the defeat of the British some 90 years and millions of Indian deaths later. The power of a rebellion is that it confronts the supporting images of power of its invincibility, of its claimed logic of superiority and of its absolute control of subordination. A tactical but failed rebellious challenge is eventually a strategic victory. In the global political economy the rule … Continue reading Taking notes 16: The rebellion has started

Taking notes 15: Sad Cyprus

If it has not already, then the world should be taking note of the curious and disturbing situation that is developing in Cyprus. The latest is that some resolution has come to pass in which Cyprus can remain in the Eurozone and deposits over 100,000 euros, not guaranteed by EU governments, will be expropriated to help resolve the debt issue. Most of those who will be affected by this appear to be Russians who have deposited billions in Cyprus. But it does appear that we have what amounts to a never-ending Eurozone crisis where the savings of ordinary Cypriots (small … Continue reading Taking notes 15: Sad Cyprus

Taking notes 6: We are fine in Gaza — How are you?

by Magid Shihade In celebrating the 85th anniversary of the Communist Party in Syria and Lebanon, the Palestinian singer and writer — Khaled El-Hibr sang these words: We are fine in Gaza How about you? We are fine under attack How about you? Our martyrs are under the rubbles Our children now living in the tents And they ask about you We are fine in Gaza How about you? …. The sea is behind us But we fight back The enemy is in front of us But we still fight back We have all what we need: Food and arms … Continue reading Taking notes 6: We are fine in Gaza — How are you?

Taking notes 5: The truant insurrection

by Uri Gordon “When the government violates the rights of the people, insurrection is for the people and for each portion of the people the most sacred of rights and the most indispensable of duties”. — Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, Article 35 We live in a time when the last pretenses of elected governments to serve their citizens are falling away. A decade ago, an international coalition invaded Iraq on a fraudulent pretext, deaf to the protests of millions. Today, austerity measures and bail-outs transfer the cost of the financial crisis onto the people, blatantly ignoring … Continue reading Taking notes 5: The truant insurrection

Taking notes 4

There is an interesting casino scene in Thunderball where Connery’s Bond stares down the bad guy Largo and tells him that he sees the spectre of defeat behind the shoulder of his opponent. While egging his enemy on, the reference is also to the man’s organization: It is a cabal which stands for “Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion”. These words could even apply as an apt description of what that conglomerate — that includes most governments, banks, mega corporations and economists — has been in relation to the rest of humanity. However, with the unsolvable Eurozone crisis, … Continue reading Taking notes 4

Taking notes 3

There are many lines that need to be crossed for things to be made better. For some it is daunting and means ‘crossing the Rubicon’. Recently, it was the attempt to cross the ‘Buffett line’ (or impose the ‘Buffett rule’) which the corporate-owned American congress stopped Obama from doing. The US is predictably prevented from even a token stance of doing what is right by its political system that actively stymies the interests of the people. It has lost the chance to ensure that those making over a million dollars annually pay a minimum effective tax rate of at least … Continue reading Taking notes 3

Taking notes 2

With the recent downgrading of almost ten Eurozone states by Standard & Poor’s from their so-called triple-A ratings thanks to their debts, sage Euro policymakers have railed against them and the other two agencies, Moody’s and Fitch. The claim by these staunch Europeans is that these credit rating agencies were too quick in downgrading their debt ridden countries from their much coveted ‘AAA’ status despite these chronic economies succumbing to ‘bailouts and austerity programmes’. Coincidentally, as if by the magic of the ‘free market’ some new characters have appeared on the scene called Berger and Krall to launch a European … Continue reading Taking notes 2

Taking notes 1

The US dollar’s (USD) continued decline in international standing took the next inevitable step reflecting the systemic failure of capitalism. The predictable effects of unbridled capital accumulation in America manifests itself yet again in recent media reports that China and Japan are promoting direct currency exchanges to facilitate commerce and profits for their enterprises and boost bilateral trade. The move essentially is to replace the USD as a reserve currency and allows both East Asian economic giants to convert yuan and yen directly, and so by-passing currency conversion via USD. This also saves on currency conversion costs. The move effectively … Continue reading Taking notes 1