Taking notes 21: The dangerous dreams of Slavoj Žižek

by Jerome Roos When George Orwell first sent in his celebrated dispatches from revolutionary Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930s, the British socialist magazine The New Statesman infamously refused to publish them for being too critical of the Stalinist crackdown on the Trotskyist and anarchist militias. As editor Kingsley Martin put it in a letter to Orwell, “it is an unfortunate fact that any hostile criticism of the present Russian regime is liable to be taken as propaganda against socialism.” Still, Orwell, who had been embedded in the Trotskyist POUM and had fought the fascists side-by-side … Continue reading Taking notes 21: The dangerous dreams of Slavoj Žižek

Taking notes 7: Human Rights or Imperial Partnership?

by Zoltan Zigedy Amnesty International has a bee under its bonnet. A human rights advocate, educator, and labor attorney, Dan Kovalik, mustered the audacity to challenge the world’s most prominent and highly regarded rights-based advocacy group. Claiming over three million members since its birth in 1961, AI is the poster child for modern “non-governmental organizations” or NGOs: The hundreds of thousands of hazy entities that play an ever-growing, influential role in international affairs. Despite AI’s sterling reputation among middle class liberals in the English-speaking world, Kovalik was troubled by AI’s stance on the war in Libya and its role in … Continue reading Taking notes 7: Human Rights or Imperial Partnership?

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?

Marxism, the 21st century and social transformation

by Bill Fletcher, Jr. A discussion of the future of socialism and social transformation must be grounded in two realities.  The first reality is the broader economic, environmental and state-legitimacy crises in which humanity finds itself.  In other words, the convergence of these three crises means that the necessity for a genuine Left capable of leading masses of people is more pressing than ever.  It means that while one cannot sit back and wait for the supposed “final” crisis of capitalism to open up doors to freedom — since capitalism is largely defined by its continual crises — it is … Continue reading Marxism, the 21st century and social transformation

Understanding the Arab revolution

by Magid Shihade Despite a long history of revolutions in the Arab world in the last 100 years from Palestine, Algeria, Egypt to elsewhere in the region, it is correct to argue that not many scholars, commentators, and experts have expected the recent Arab revolution to take place. This is both true of Western and Arab/Muslim experts, commentators, and scholars alike. It is true that there were many studies and commentaries in the last two decades concerning the possible explosions of youth, with their overrepresentation demographically. But these were more warnings or fear of possible “chaos” and “extremism,” warnings about … Continue reading Understanding the Arab revolution

Insurrection as media spectacle

by Douglas Kellner In 2011, the Arab Uprisings, the Libyan revolution, the UK Riots, the Occupy movements may make it as memorable a year in the history of social upheaval as 1968 and perhaps one as significant. Henceforth, demonstrators could be assembled in flash mobs that could occupy any site at a moment’s notice and submit corrupt businessmen, politicians, and others to the wrath of the people. Political Insurrection as Media Spectacle “In societies dominated by modern conditions of production, life is presented as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has receded into a representation,” Guy … Continue reading Insurrection as media spectacle

The death rattle of the American mind

by Peter McLaren I regret to inform my liberal friends and colleagues that we have moved well beyond the return of a progressive Keynesianism. That the domination of post–World War II economics by Fordism/Keynesianism is over (as the production of profit no longer relies upon the production of commodities and their sale) should not be a revelation to the most astute observers of the contemporary political scene who have been examining in minute detail the collapse of our capitalist universe. Their most grim prognosis tells us that we have nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. Either we slay the … Continue reading The death rattle of the American mind