Nov 212014
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

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Introduction

There are clear signs that a major war is about to break out in Ukraine: A war actively promoted by the NATO regimes and supported by their allies and clients in Asia (Japan) and the Middle East (Saudi Arabia). The war over Ukraine will essentially run along the lines of a full-scale military offensive against the southeast Donbas region, targeting the breakaway ethnic Ukraine-Russian Peoples Republic of Donetsk and Lugansk, with the intention of deposing the democratically elected government, disarming the popular militias, killing the guerrilla resistance partisans and their mass base, dismantling the popular representative organizations and engaging in ethnic cleansing of millions of bilingual Ukraino-Russian citizens. NATO’s forthcoming military seizure of the Donbas region is a continuation and extension of its original violent putsch in Kiev, which overthrew an elected Ukrainian government in February 2014.

The Kiev junta and its newly ‘elected’ client rulers, and its NATO sponsors are intent on a major purge to consolidate the puppet Poroshenko’s dictatorial rule. The recent NATO-sponsored elections excluded several major political parties that had traditionally supported the country’s large ethnic minority populations, and was boycotted in the Donbas region. This sham election in Kiev set the tone for NATO’s next move toward converting Ukraine into one gigantic US multi-purpose military base aimed at the Russian heartland and into a neo-colony for German capital, supplying Berlin with grain and raw materials while serving as a captive market for German manufactured goods.

An intensifying war fever is sweeping the West; the consequences of this madness appear graver by the hour.

War Signs: The Propaganda and Sanctions Campaign, the G20 Summit and the Military Build Up

The official drum- beat for a widening conflict in Ukraine, spearheaded by the Kiev junta and its fascist militias, echoes in every Western mass media outlet, every day. Major mass media propaganda mills and government ‘spokesmen and women’ publish or announce new trumped-up accounts of growing Russian military threats to its neighbors and cross-border invasions into Ukraine. New Russian incursions are ‘reported’ from the Nordic borders and Baltic states to the Caucuses. The Swedish regime creates a new level of hysteria over a mysterious “Russian” submarine off the coast of Stockholm, which it never identifies or locates – let alone confirms the ‘sighting’. Estonia and Latvia claim Russian warplanes violated their air space without confirmation. Poland expels Russian “spies” without proof or witnesses. Provocative full-scale joint NATO-client state military exercises are taking place along Russia’s frontiers in the Baltic States, Poland, Romania and Ukraine.

NATO is sending vast arms shipments to the Kiev junta, along with “Special Forces” advisers and counter-insurgency experts in anticipation of a full-scale attack against the rebels in the Donbas.

The Kiev regime has never abided by the Minsk cease fire. According to the UN Human Rights office 13 people on average – mostly civilians – have been killed each day since the September cease fire. In eight weeks, the UN reports that 957 people have killed – overwhelmingly by Kiev’s armed forces.

The Kiev regime, in turn, has cut all basic social and public services to the Peoples’ Republics’, including electricity, fuel, civil service salaries, pensions, medical supplies, salaries for teachers and medical workers, municipal workers wages; banking and transport have been blockaded.

The strategy is to further strangle the economy, destroy the infrastructure, force an even greater mass exodus of destitute refugees from the densely populated cities across the border into Russia and then to launch massive air, missile, artillery and ground assaults on urban centers as well as rebel bases.

The Kiev junta has launched an all-out military mobilization in the Western regions, accompanied by rabid anti-Russian, anti-Eastern Orthodox indoctrination campaigns designed to attract the most violent far right chauvinist thugs and to incorporate the Nazi-style military brigades into the frontline shock troops. The cynical use of irregular fascist militias will ‘free’ NATO and Germany from any responsibility for the inevitable terror and atrocities in their campaign. This system of ‘plausible deniability’ mirrors the tactics of the German Nazis whose hordes of fascist Ukrainians and Ustashi Croats were notorious in their epoch of ethnic cleansing.

G20-plus-NATO: Support of the Kiev Blitz

To isolate and weaken resistance in the Donbas and guarantee the victory of the impending Kiev blitz, the EU and the US are intensifying their economic, military and diplomatic pressure on Russia to abandon the nascent peoples’ democracy in the south-east region of Ukraine, their principle ally.

Each and every escalation of economic sanctions against Russia is designed to weaken the capacity of the Donbas resistance fighters to defend their homes, towns and cities. Each and every Russian shipment of essential medical supplies and food to the besieged population evokes a new and more hysterical outburst – because it counters Kiev-NATO strategy of starving the partisans and their mass base into submission or provoking their flight to safety across the Russian border.

After suffering a series of defeats, the Kiev regime and its NATO strategists decided to sign a ‘peace protocol’, the so-called Minsk agreement, to halt the advance of the Donbas resistance into the southern regions and to protect its Kiev’s soldiers and militias holed-up in isolated pockets in the East. The Minsk agreement was designed to allow the Kiev junta to build up its military, re-organize its command and incorporate the disparate Nazi militias into its overall military forces in preparation for a ‘final offensive’.  Kiev’s military build-up on the inside and NATO’s escalation of sanctions against Russia on the outside would be two sides of the same strategy: the success of a frontal attack on the democratic resistance of the Donbas basin depends on minimizing Russian military support through international sanctions.

NATO’s virulent hostility to Russian President Putin was on full display at the G20 meeting in Australia: NATO-linked presidents and prime ministers, especially Merkel, Obama, Cameron, Abbott, and Harper’s political threats and overt personal insults paralleled Kiev’s growing starvation blockade of the besieged rebels and population centers in the south-east. Both the G20’s economic threats against Russia and the diplomatic isolation of Putin and Kiev’s economic blockade are preludes to NATO’s Final Solution – the physical annihilation of all vestiges of Donbas resistance, popular democracy and cultural-economic ties with Russia.

Kiev depends on its NATO mentors to impose a new round of severe sanctions against Russia, especially if its planned invasion encounters a well armed and robust mass resistance bolstered by Russian support. NATO is counting on Kiev’s restored and newly supplied military capacity to effectively destroy the southeast centers of resistance.

NATO has decided on an ‘all-or-nothing campaign’: to seize all of Ukraine or, failing that, destroy the restive southeast, obliterate its population and productive capacity and engage in an all-out economic (and possibly shooting) war with Russia. Chancellor Angela Merkel is on board with this plan despite the complaints of German industrialists over their huge loss of export sales to Russia. President Hollande of France has signed on dismissing the complaints of trade unionists over the loss of thousands French jobs in the shipyards. Prime Minister David Cameron is eager for an economic war against Moscow, suggesting the bankers of the City of London find new channels to launder the illicit earnings of Russian oligarchs.

The Russian Response

Russian diplomats are desperate to find a compromise, which allows Ukraine’s ethnic Ukraine- Russian population in the southeast to retain some autonomy under a federation plan and regain influence within the ‘new’ post-putsch Ukraine. Russian military strategists have provided logistical and military aid to the resistance in order to avoid a repeat of the Odessa massacre of ethnic Russians by Ukrainian fascists on a massive scale. Above all, Russia cannot afford to have NATO-Nazi-Kiev military bases along its southern ‘underbelly’, imposing a blockade of the Crimea and forcing a mass exodus of ethnic Russians from the Donbas. Under Putin, the Russian government has tried to propose compromises allowing Western economic supremacy over Ukraine but without NATO military expansion and absorption by Kiev.

That policy of conciliation has repeatedly failed.

The democratically elected ‘compromise regime’ in Kiev was overthrown in February 2014 in a violent putsch, which installed a pro-NATO junta.

Kiev violated the Minsk agreement with impunity and encouragement from the NATO powers and Germany.

The recent G20 meeting in Australia featured a rabble-rousing chorus against President Putin. The crucial four-hour private meeting between Putin and Merkel turned into a fiasco when Germany parroted the NATO chorus.

Putin finally responded by expanding Russia’s air and ground troop preparedness along its borders while accelerating Moscow’s economic pivot to Asia.

Most important, President Putin has announced that Russia cannot stand by and allow the massacre of a whole people in the Donbas region.

Is Poroshenko’s forthcoming blitz against the people of southeast Ukraine designed to provoke a Russian response – to the humanitarian crisis? Will Russia confront the NATO-directed Kiev offensive and risk a total break with the West?

James Petras latest book is THE POLITICS OF IMPERIALISM: THE US, ISRAEL AND THE MIDDLE EAST (CLARITY PRESS:ATLANTA)

Nov 202014
 

By William Blum, 99GetSmart

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“Russia reinforced what Western and Ukrainian officials described as a stealth invasion on Wednesday [August 27], sending armored troops across the border as it expanded the conflict to a new section of Ukrainian territory. The latest incursion, which Ukraine’s military said included five armored personnel carriers, was at least the third movement of troops and weapons from Russia across the southeast part of the border this week.”

None of the photos accompanying this New York Times story online showed any of these Russian troops or armored vehicles.

“The Obama administration,” the story continued, “has asserted over the past week that the Russians had moved artillery, air-defense systems and armor to help the separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk. ‘These incursions indicate a Russian-directed counteroffensive is likely underway’, Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, said. At the department’s daily briefing in Washington, Ms. Psaki also criticized what she called the Russian government’s ‘unwillingness to tell the truth’ that its military had sent soldiers as deep as 30 miles inside Ukraine territory.”

Thirty miles inside Ukraine territory and not a single satellite photo, not a camera anywhere around, not even a one-minute video to show for it. “Ms. Psaki apparently [sic] was referring to videos of captured Russian soldiers, distributed by the Ukrainian government.” The Timesapparently forgot to inform its readers where they could see these videos.

“The Russian aim, one Western official said, may possibly be to seize an outlet to the sea in the event that Russia tries to establish a separatist enclave in eastern Ukraine.”

This of course hasn’t taken place. So what happened to all these Russian soldiers 30 miles inside Ukraine? What happened to all the armored vehicles, weapons, and equipment?

“The United States has photographs that show the Russian artillery moved into Ukraine, American officials say. One photo dated last Thursday, shown to a New York Times reporter, shows Russian military units moving self-propelled artillery into Ukraine. Another photo, dated Saturday, shows the artillery in firing positions in Ukraine.”

Where are these photographs? And how will we know that these are Russian soldiers? And how will we know that the photos were taken in Ukraine? But most importantly, where are the fucking photographs?

Why am I so cynical? Because the Ukrainian and US governments have been feeding us these scare stories for eight months now, without clear visual or other evidence, often without even common sense. Here are a few of the many other examples, before and after the one above:

  • The Wall Street Journal (March 28) reported: “Russian troops massing near Ukraine are actively concealing their positions and establishing supply lines that could be used in a prolonged deployment, ratcheting up concerns that Moscow is preparing for another [sic] major incursion and not conducting exercises as it claims, US officials said.”
  • “The Ukrainian government charged that the Russian military was not only approaching but had actually crossed the border into rebel-held regions.” (Washington Post, November 7)
  • “U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove told reporters in Bulgaria that NATO had observed Russian tanks, Russian artillery, Russian air defense systems and Russian combat troops enter Ukraine across a completely wide-open border with Russia in the previous two days.” (Washington Post, November 13)
  • “Ukraine accuses Russia of sending more soldiers and weapons to help rebels prepare for a new offensive. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied aiding the separatists.” (Reuters, November 16)

Since the February US-backed coup in Ukraine, the State Department has made one accusation after another about Russian military actions in Eastern Ukraine without presenting any kind of satellite imagery or other visual or documentary evidence; or they present something that’s very unclear and wholly inconclusive, such as unmarked vehicles, or unsourced reports, or citing “social media”; what we’re left with is often no more than just an accusation. The Ukrainian government has matched them.

On top of all this we should keep in mind that if Moscow decided to invade Ukraine they’d certainly provide air cover for their ground forces. There has been no mention of air cover.

This is all reminiscent of the numerous stories in the past three years of “Syrian planes bombing defenseless citizens”. Have you ever seen a photo or video of a Syrian government plane dropping bombs? Or of the bombs exploding? When the source of the story is mentioned, it’s almost invariably the rebels who are fighting against the Syrian government. Then there’s the “chemical weapon” attacks by the same evil Assad government. When a photo or video has accompanied the story I’ve never once seen grieving loved ones or media present; not one person can be seen wearing a gas mask. Is it only children killed or suffering? No rebels?

And then there’s the July 17 shootdown of Malaysia Flight MH17, over eastern Ukraine, taking 298 lives, which Washington would love to pin on Russia or the pro-Russian rebels. The US government – and therefore the US media, the EU, and NATO – want us all to believe it was the rebels and/or Russia behind it. The world is still waiting for any evidence. Or even a motivation. Anything at all. President Obama is not waiting. In a talk on November 15 in Australia, he spoke of “opposing Russia’s aggression against Ukraine – which is a threat to the world, as we saw in the appalling shoot-down of MH17”. Based on my reading, I’d guess that it was the Ukranian government behind the shootdown, mistaking it for Putin’s plane that reportedly was in the area.

Can it be said with certainty that all the above accusations were lies? No, but the burden of proof is on the accusers, and the world is still waiting. The accusers would like to create the impression that there are two sides to each question without actually having to supply one of them.

The United States punishing Cuba

For years American political leaders and media were fond of labeling Cuba an “international pariah”. We haven’t heard that for a very long time. Perhaps one reason is the annual vote in the United Nations General Assembly on the resolution which reads: “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba”. This is how the vote has gone (not including abstentions):

Year Votes (Yes-No) No Votes
1992 59-2 US, Israel
1993 88-4 US, Israel, Albania, Paraguay
1994 101-2 US, Israel
1995 117-3 US, Israel, Uzbekistan
1996 138-3 US, Israel, Uzbekistan
1997 143-3 US, Israel, Uzbekistan
1998 157-2 US, Israel
1999 155-2 US, Israel
2000 167-3 US, Israel, Marshall Islands
2001 167-3 US, Israel, Marshall Islands
2002 173-3 US, Israel, Marshall Islands
2003 179-3 US, Israel, Marshall Islands
2004 179-4 US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau
2005 182-4 US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau
2006 183-4 US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau
2007 184-4 US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau
2008 185-3 US, Israel, Palau
2009 187-3 US, Israel, Palau
2010 187-2 US, Israel
2011 186-2 US, Israel
2012 188-3 US, Israel, Palau
2013 188-2 US, Israel
2014 188-2 US, Israel

This year Washington’s policy may be subject to even more criticism than usual due to the widespread recognition of Cuba’s response to the Ebola outbreak in Africa.

Each fall the UN vote is a welcome reminder that the world has not completely lost its senses and that the American empire does not completely control the opinion of other governments.

Speaking before the General Assembly before last year’s vote, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez declared: “The economic damages accumulated after half a century as a result of the implementation of the blockade amount to $1.126 trillion.” He added that the blockade “has been further tightened under President Obama’s administration”, some 30 US and foreign entities being hit with $2.446 billion in fines due to their interaction with Cuba.

However, the American envoy, Ronald Godard, in an appeal to other countries to oppose the resolution, said:

The international community … cannot in good conscience ignore the ease and frequency with which the Cuban regime silences critics, disrupts peaceful assembly, impedes independent journalism and, despite positive reforms, continues to prevent some Cubans from leaving or returning to the island. The Cuban government continues its tactics of politically motivated detentions, harassment and police violence against Cuban citizens. 1

So there you have it. That is why Cuba must be punished. One can only guess what Mr. Godard would respond if told that more than 7,000 people were arrested in the United States during the Occupy Movement’s first 8 months of protest in 2011-12 2; that many of them were physically abused by the police; and that their encampments were violently destroyed.

Does Mr. Godard have access to any news media? Hardly a day passes in America without a police officer shooting to death an unarmed person.

As to “independent journalism” – What would happen if Cuba announced that from now on anyone in the country could own any kind of media? How long would it be before CIA money – secret and unlimited CIA money financing all kinds of fronts in Cuba – would own or control most of the media worth owning or controlling?

The real reason for Washington’s eternal hostility toward Cuba has not changed since the revolution in 1959 – The fear of a good example of an alternative to the capitalist model; a fear that has been validated repeatedly over the years as many Third World countries have expressed their adulation of Cuba.

How the embargo began: On April 6, 1960, Lester D. Mallory, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, wrote in an internal memorandum: “The majority of Cubans support Castro … The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship. … every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba.” Mallory proposed “a line of action which … makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.” 3

Later that year, the Eisenhower administration instituted its suffocating embargo against its everlasting enemy.

The United States judging and punishing the rest of the world

In addition to Cuba, Washington currently is imposing economic and other sanctions against Burma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, China, North Korea, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Turkey, Germany, Malaysia, South Africa, Mexico, South Sudan, Sudan, Russia, Syria, Venezuela, India, and Zimbabwe. These are sanctions mainly against governments, but also against some private enterprises; there are also many other sanctions against individuals not included here. 4

Imbued with a sense of America’s moral superiority and “exceptionalism”, each year the State Department judges the world, issuing reports evaluating the behavior of all other nations, often accompanied by sanctions of one kind or another. There are different reports rating how each lesser nation has performed in the previous year in areas such as religious freedom, human rights, the war on drugs, trafficking in persons, and sponsors of terrorism. The criteria used in these reports are often political. Cuba, for example, is always listed as a sponsor of terrorism whereas anti-Castro exile groups in Florida, which have committed literally hundreds of terrorist acts over the years, are not listed as terrorist groups or supporters of such.

Cuba, which has been on the sponsor-of-terrorism list longer (since 1982) than any other country, is one of the most glaring anomalies. The most recent State Department report on this matter, in 2012, states that there is “no indication that the Cuban government provided weapons or paramilitary training to terrorist groups.” 5 There are, however, some retirees of Spain’s Basque terrorist group ETA (which appears on the verge of disbanding) in Cuba, but the report notes that the Cuban government evidently is trying to distance itself from them by denying them services such as travel documents. Some members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been allowed into Cuba, but that was because Cuba was hosting peace talks between the FARC and the Colombian government, which the report notes.

The US sanctions mechanism is so effective and formidable that it strikes fear (of huge fines) into the hearts of banks and other private-sector organizations that might otherwise consider dealing with a listed state.

Some selected thoughts on American elections and democracy

In politics, as on the sickbed, people toss from one side to the other, thinking they will be more comfortable.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

  • 2012 presidential election:
    223,389,800 eligible to vote
    128,449,140 actually voted
    Obama got 65,443,674 votes
    Obama was thus supported by 29.3% of eligible voters
  • There are 100 million adults in the United States who do not vote. This is a very large base from which an independent party can draw millions of new votes.
  • If God had wanted more of us to vote in elections, he would give us better candidates.
  • “The people can have anything they want. The trouble is, they do not want anything. At least they vote that way on election day.” – Eugene Debs, American socialist leader (1855-1926)
  • “If persons over 60 are the only American age group voting at rates that begin to approximate European voting, it’s because they’re the only Americans who live in a welfare state – Medicare, Social Security, and earlier, GI loans, FHA loans.” – John Powers
  • “The American political system is essentially a contract between the Republican and Democratic parties, enforced by federal and state two-party laws, all designed to guarantee the survival of both no matter how many people despise or ignore them.” – Richard Reeves (1936- )
  • The American electoral system, once the object of much national and international pride, has slid inexorably from “one person, one vote”, to “one dollar, one vote”.
  • Noam Chomsky: “It is important to bear in mind that political campaigns are designed by the same people who sell toothpaste and cars. Their professional concern in their regular vocation is not to provide information. Their goal, rather, is deceit.”
  • If the Electoral College is such a good system, why don’t we have it for local and state elections?
  • “All the props of a democracy remain intact – elections, legislatures, media – but they predominantly function at the service of the oligarchy.” – Richard Wolff
  • The RepDem Party holds elections as if they were auctions; indeed, an outright auction for the presidency would be more efficient. To make the auction more interesting we need a second party, which must at a minimum be granted two privileges: getting on the ballot in all 50 states and taking part in television debates.
  • The US does in fact have two parties: the Ins and the Outs … the evil of two lessers.
  • Alexander Cockburn: “There was a time once when ‘lesser of two evils’ actually meant something momentous, like the choice between starving to death on a lifeboat, or eating the first mate.”
  • Cornel West has suggested that it’s become difficult to even imagine what a free and democratic society, without great concentrations of corporate power, would look like, or how it would operate.
  • The United States now resembles a police state punctuated by elections.
  • How many voters does it take to change a light bulb? None. Because voters can’t change anything.
  • H.L. Mencken (1880-1956): “As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
  • “All elections are distractions. Nothing conceals tyranny better than elections.” – Joel Hirschhorn
  • In 1941, one of the country’s more acerbic editors, a priest named Edward Dowling, commented: “The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it.”
  • “Elections are a necessary, but certainly not a sufficient, condition for democracy. Political participation is not just a casting of votes. It is a way of life.” – UN Human Development Report, 1993
  • “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain!” I reply, “You have it backwards. If you DO vote, you can’t complain. You asked for it, and they’re going to give it to you, good and hard.”
  • “How to get people to vote against their interests and to really think against their interests is very clever. It’s the cleverest ruling class that I have ever come across in history. It’s been 200 years at it. It’s superb.” – Gore Vidal
  • We can’t use our democracy/our vote to change the way the economy functions. This is very anti-democratic.
  • What does a majority vote mean other than that the sales campaign was successful?
  • Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius: “The opinion of 10,000 men is of no value if none of them know anything about the subject.”
  • We do have representative government. The question is: Who does our government represent?
  • “On the day after the 2002 election I watched a crawl on the bottom of the CNN news screen. It said, ‘Proprietary software may make inspection of electronic voting systems impossible.’ It was the final and absolute coronation of corporate rights over democracy; of money over truth.” – Mike Ruppert, RIP
  • “It’s not that voting is useless or stupid; rather, it’s the exaggeration of the power of voting that has drained the meaning from American politics.” – Michael Ventura
  • After going through the recent national, state and local elections, I am now convinced that taxation without representation would have been a much better system.
  • “Ever since the Constitution was illegally foisted on the American people we have lived in a blatant plutocracy. The Constitution was drafted in secret by a self-appointed elite committee, and it was designed to bring three kinds of power under control: Royalty, the Church, and the People. All were to be subjugated to the interests of a wealthy elite. That’s what republics were all about. And that’s how they have functioned ever since.” – Richard K. Moore
  • “As demonstrated in Russia and numerous other countries, when faced with a choice between democracy without capitalism or capitalism without democracy, Western elites unhesitatingly embrace the latter.” – Michael Parenti
  • “The fact that a supposedly sophisticated electorate had been stampeded by the cynical propaganda of the day threw serious doubt on the validity of the assumptions underlying parliamentary democracy as a whole.” – British Superspy for the Soviets Kim Philby (1912-1988), explaining his reasons for becoming a Communist instead of turning to the Labour Party
  • US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis (1856-1941): “We may have democracy in this country, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.”
  • “We don’t need to run America like a business or like the military. We need to run America like a democracy.” – Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate 2012

Notes

  1. Democracy Now!, October 30, 2013
  2. Huffingfton Post, May 3, 2012
  3. Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958-1960, Volume VI, Cuba (1991), p.885 (online here)
  4. For the complete detailed list, see U.S. Department of State, Nonproliferation Sanctions
  5. U.S. Department of State, “Country Reports on Terrorism 2012, Chapter 3: State Sponsors of Terrorism,” May 20, 2013
Nov 182014
 

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:

10349961_10152653695342758_6951567233136190986_n

There has been a steep rise in anti-Semitic hate speech and attacks in Turkey over the last few years, especially during and after Israeli offensives in Palestinian lands. Most recently some racist and violent groups have taken up the excuse of the Al-Aqsa Mosque provocations and used this is a pretext to attack Turkish Jews and synagogues.

In order to protest against the rising anti-Semitism in Turkey and commemorate the horrific events of the past, the Say Stop collective held a protest meeting with dozens of participants. When activists gathered in Galatasaray Square in Taksim’s Istiklal, right next to the venue there were ten times more policemen than activists, as usual. The moment the banner was opened, interestingly enough some people came to ask questions in English, thinking anyone protesting anti-Semitism would come from abroad and not from within Turkey. It was also interesting to hear questions as to the meaning of the word “anti-Semitism,” as some of the passersby did not know what it means.

antisemitizme-durde

In fact, this happened to be a delayed protest. There was supposed to have been a protest meeting to commemorate the Kristallnacht and rising anti-Semitism in Turkey the week before. This commemoration would be taking place in the open air for the first time in Turkey, yet for several reasons it did not happen. As Say Stop, a collective of anti-racist activists, was preparing for the commemoration, attacks on Neve Shalom Synagogue came as an unwelcome surprise. On November 7 and 9, two attacks took place; the timing was also significant because it was just a week before the 11th anniversary of the Al-Qaeda attacks on Istanbul’s Neve Shalom and Beth Israel synagogues on November 15th, 2003, which left 27 dead and 300 injured.

There are unfortunately many groups that take courage from the anti-Semitic rhetoric and hate speech notable people engage in with impunity. Over the summer of 2014, when the Israeli offensive in Gaza killed thousands, the head of the constitutional commission from the governing AKP, Samil Tayyar, had tweeted “may your ancestors perish, may your Hitlers be abundant,” which then led to a wave of anti-Semitic posts on social media. Imitating politicians and musicians who engaged in such rhetoric at the time, over 30,000 people made similar remarks, most of which would be considered hate speech. This hate speech was later followed by one shopkeeper putting up a sign that stated “Jew dogs cannot enter.”

“Jew dogs can not enter”

“Jew dogs can not enter”

One might also remember other instances of anti-Semitism prevailing in Turkey, such as the incident right after the mining tragedy in Soma, when current President Erdoğan had said “Jewish sperm” to a mourning relative of a miner as an accusation towards him. One other incident that was also picked up on the news was when the head of the Physics department of Bilecik University, Ali İhsan Göker, got into a quarrel with a journalist who published a story on anti-Semitism in Turkey in an Israeli newspaper. Dr. Göker referred to Treblinka, where hundreds of thousands of people were killed, and tweeted “Treblinka will be ready soon. Constructing the railway to transport Jews at the moment.”

fishmantweet1

Say Stop, an all-inclusive collective of activists which had slowed down its activities for some months last year, has been campaigning against racism, nationalism, and discrimination. Just when activities were to be kick-started once again with the Racist of the Month “award,” 30 thousand candidates appeared in one month, which made things a little complicated. For the month of July, Say Stop declared all anti-Semites “Racist of the Month.”

And once again, the activists of Say Stop / DurDe will be with all those that are being targeted out of hatred for their origins, religion, language, choice, preference, status, etc. Just like the other groups that Say Stop campaigns in support of – such as Armenians, Roma, refugees, immigrants, and LGBTI individuals – the Jewish population is not alone.

 

 

More stories by Gürkan Özturan http://theradicaldemocrat.wordpress.com

More stories about Turkey @ http://99getsmart.com/category/turkey/

Nov 152014
 

Pic Blog Promo Barcelona 2015

1st International Symposium: Global Cities and Cosmopolitan Dreams

Part of the Research Program on: Space, Time and New Technologies of the Self

International Network for Alternative Academia – Extends a general invitation to participate @ http://www.alternative-academia.net/ocs-2.3.5/index.php/BCN2015/GCCD-1-1/schedConf/cfp

Enquiries: acc@alternative-academia.net

Monday 18th to Wednesday 20thof May, 2015

Venue: Betahaus BCN

Address: (Carrer de Vilafranca 7, Gràcia, 08024)

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Call for Papers

(Submission Period Opened: 29th of October, 2014)

(Abstract Deadline: Monday 13th of April, 2015)

This trans-disciplinary research project is interested in exploring the changing ideal of the city, exploring its ideological foundations, its physical construction, its social and political significance, its aesthetic value and its metaphorical meaning.

Massive, messy, polluting, alienating, cruel, yet open, experimental, pluri-perspectival, creatively and technologically fertile, this is the ambiguous and fascinating nature of global cities in the 21st century. Like arterial nodes in a network, global cities absorb and pump both destructive and constructive energies, for good and bad they have become an interconnected web of magnetic poles, galvanizing creativity and experimental reconfigurations; artistic, political and economic forces circulate through these globalised networks that link cities across the world.

As cities experience unexpected expansion and contraction, as their populations grow ever more diverse and their resources ever more scarce, it is necessary to consider the construction – both theoretical and physical – of new global cities and to reflect upon the cosmopolitan dreams or ideologies on which they are being built.

We invite colleagues from all disciplines and professions interested in exploring and explaining these issues in a collective, deliberative and dialogical environment to send presentation proposals that address these general questions or the following themes:

1. The Ideal City: Image, Idea and Meaning

=> Historic Models, Modern Renditions

- How has the ideal city been envisioned in both historic sources and in modern imaginings? What arguments have been employed in support of these models?

- Whom and what must the ideal city include? Whom and what must it exclude?

- What are the strengths and the weaknesses of the very idea of the ideal city? Why has the desire to construct such a city persisted?

=> Utopias and Dystopias

- What images of the ideal city have been perpetuated in and through the arts?

- What characterizes the dystopic city? What is the value of dystopias and their visions?

2. Ethnic Enclaves, Multicultural Avenues

=> Negotiating Difference

- How are difference and similarity mediated or negotiated within city limits, within neighborhoods?

- What are the strengths and weaknesses of the development of enclaves (based on ethnicity, nationality, religion or other forms of social identity)? How do these enclaves embody and deviate from the ideal of diverse cultural interactions or multiculturalism?

- What identifications and identities are forged in these various environments?

=> Contestation and Conciliations

- How is difference (along lines of national origin, residence, citizenship, ethnicity, religion, class, gender, sex, body ability, age) being conceptualized? How is it being lived within city limits? How is difference being conceptualized, managed and marketed outside city limits?

- What is the rhetoric of difference being employed in civic discourse?

- What factors and means are used to foster recognition and non-recognition in and through these policies and practices?

=> Cosmopolitanism

- How is cosmopolitanism to be defined?

- What are the ideals and values embodied in the concept of cosmopolitanism? What arguments have been employed to support this vision of urban life? How are these translated into social practices and urban policies? Do these hold a special value in contrast to other orientations, practices and policies?

- Have we entered into an era where cosmopolitan subjects, social relations, images and everyday life practices are created, experienced, renovated and redefined?

3. City Limits

=> Town and Country: Redefining the City (Part I)

- How have the urbanization of the rural and the infiltration of the rural into cities shaped the way divisions are drawn between town and country?

- How has the “greening” of cities affected understandings of this divide?

=> Cities and Nations: Redefining the City (Part II)

- How are the discourses indicative of regional disparities transformed into the ideals of a nation?

- Are we witnessing the once and future rise of the city-state?

=> Sacred Spaces

- How are sacred spaces conceptualized in cosmopolitan cities?

- How is the idea of the sacred being reconceived within its limits?

4. Neighbors, Residents, Denizens and Citizens

=> Neighbors

- How are neighbors defined? How are they identified? What distinguishes neighbors from denizens and citizens? What distinguishes neighbors from residents and strangers?

- How have social and political practices and policies shaped the discourse of neighbors?

- What are the obligations and responsibilities of neighbors to newcomers and strangers; and vice-versa?

=> Neighborhood Watch

- What are the processes of gentrification and displacement informing and how are they shaping the renovation of old neighborhoods?

- How are processes of renewal, revival and reconstruction shaping the conditions for belonging within cities and within neighborhoods?

=> Hospitality

- How is hospitality within the bounds of cities theorized? How is it practiced? How should hospitality be conceived and promoted: as a civic virtue, a valued social orientation, a normal social behavior towards newcomers, others and strangers?

=> Rights of Residents, Denizens and Citizens

- How is citizenship established within cities?

- What are the rights of citizens, denizens and residents? Should these be conceived and established in different ways, according to context, local needs and projects, responsibilities and contributions?

- How does citizenship differ from resident rights? How does the local place and cities establish different and perhaps new political bonds than the state and the nation?

- How are new technologies and transnationalism affecting and influencing ideals of citizenship and practices of (local or national) participation?

5. Street Life

=> Public and Private Spaces

- How are cities re-conceptualizing the distinction between public and private space?

- How are civic institution (administrative, policy making, education, health) being challenged and changed by new models of street life, local politics and cosmopolitan orientations?

- How does the concentration of population give rise to and/or confound the development and maintenance of the public eye?

- How is the value of privacy to be weighed against the call for public safety and the advancement of public goods in surveillance societies?

=> Anonymity

- Do cities encourage certain forms of participation and foster others of anonymity? Are these in conflict, can they coexist or be complementary?

- Who is rendered invisible within the structure of the city? How is social privilege and disadvantage linked to invisibility?

- Is the anonymity offered by and within the city one of the strengths or one of the weaknesses of urban dwelling; urban social and political bonds?

=> Time and Place

- In what ways are our notions of space and place being redefined within the city? What modes of experience, dialogues and encounters are thus encouraged? What forms of city life are discouraged?

- How are understandings of time being redefined/reconfigured in/through new models of city life?

=> The Art in/of The City

- How is the rise of street art challenging ideas of the city? How is it changing and reshaping the notion of art and the Art World?

- How does architecture shape and frame images of city life and ideals of citizenship? Can it foster cosmopolitan ideas and social orientations?

- How might the city be conceived of as a work of art? How can we define cities as works of art and how would these notions change our current understandings of art and the Art World?

6. Model Cities

=> Case Studies

- What cities serve as models of/for physical, social and political relations? What assumptions (psychological, philosophical and sociological) inform and direct the construction of these model cities?

- Are model cities better candidates to promote cosmopolitan ideals and experiences than other cities? Is cosmopolitanism in conflict with prescriptive understandings of moral behavior? How do conceptions of the good life work with cosmopolitan ideas?

=> Resource Management

- How can distributive justice be a permanent part of social life and the urban agenda in today’s global cities?

- What principles of distributive justice are being employed in the allocation of scarce resources including water, transportation, safety and security? What principles should be employed?

- Is there a place and a space for the sacred in the modern city? Why or why not?

=> Fast Forward

- What images and models of the city of the future are being envisioned by artists, planners and politicians?

- Which beliefs/ideologies frame these images? What is the place of utopia and dystopia in these futuristic scenarios? What about cosmopolitanism, can it be part of futuristic horizons?

- What dissatisfactions and longings fuel these imaginings?

=> Cosmopolitan Dreams

- Cities, like people emanate their desires. What hopes and aspirations fuel people to move to certain cities?

- What factors create an allure and foster migration to particular cities? How might it be linked to the metaphorical meaning attached to certain cities?

- How are conflicting images and expectations of the city negotiated within its bounds? How do critical perspectives, utopia and dystopia interlace with cosmopolitan visions?

The Arrival City

=> Transition Points

- What is the role of the arrival territories of impoverished migrants (city within a city: slum, favela, bustee, bidonville, shantytown, imijondolo, villa miseria, korogocho, chabolas) or the more established, yet transitory, immigrant neighborhoods, ethnic districts in the growth and development of global cities? What are their political, economic and social functions?

- What transitions do these cities on the edge of cities deploy and allow? What transitions do they thwart and how might they contribute to marginality and exclusion?

- How are transitory places and experiences eternalized, yet remain under conceptions of the temporary, “forever”?

=> Migration Patterns

- What are the political, social and economic ramifications of reverse migration trends on cities and rural communities?

- Why are people leaving and not migrating to global cities anymore? How are other smaller cities being affected by these trends?

City-Scapes: Urban Renewal and Future

=> Revival, Regeneration and Displacement

- How is city life being affected by urban renewal projects?

- What are the short term and long term effects on the development of identity and of a sense of belonging arising from the push towards revival and reconstruction?

=> Home Territories

- How is the concept of home being re-conceptualized in global cities?

- How is the process and understanding of leaving home and returning home being reshaped? What is the effect of such shifts on our experiences of belonging and rootedness?

- What new conceptions of belonging and its link to territory and home can be developed to better accommodate diversity and otherness within the parameters of the global city?

If you are interested in participating in this Annual Symposium, submit a 400 to 500 word abstract as soon as possible and no later than Monday 13th of April, 2015. (For justifiable cases, we do uphold a tolerance period of eight days.)

Please use the following template for your submission:

First: Author(s);

Second: Affiliation, if any;

Third: Email Address;

Fourth: Title of Abstract and Proposal;

Fifth: The 400 to 500 Word Abstract.

To submit an abstract online follow these steps:

1) Go to our webpage: www.alternative-academia.net

2) Select your Symposium of choice within the list of annual events (listed by period and city)

3) Go to LOG IN at the top of the page

4) Create a User Name and Password for our system and log in

5) Click on the Call for Papers for the Symposium

6) Go to the end of the Call for Papers page and click on the First Step of Submission Process button

7) Follow the instructions provided for completing the abstract submission process

For every abstract proposal submitted, we acknowledge receipt. If you do not receive a reply from us within three days, you should assume the submission process was not completed successfully. Please try again or contact our technical support for clarifications.

All presentation and paper proposals that address these questions and issues will be fully considered and evaluated. Evaluation of abstract submissions will be ongoing, from the opening date of Wednesday 29th of October, 2014. All Prospective Delegates can expect a reply time to their submission of three weeks.

Accepted abstracts will require a full draft paper by Monday 4th of May, 2015. Papers are for a 20 minute presentation, 8 to 10 pages long, double spaced, Times New Roman 12. All papers presented at the symposium are eligible for publication as part of a digital or paperback book.

We invite colleagues and people interested in participating to disseminate this call for papers. Thank you for sharing and cross-listing where and whenever appropriate.

Hope to meet you in Barcelona!

Symposium Coordinators:

Wendy O’Brien

Professor of Social and Political Theory

School of Liberal Studies

Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Email: Wendy.Obrien@humber.ca

Antonio Cuadrado-Fernandez

Independent Researcher

Ecopoetry Instructor

Norwich, England

Email: acfernandez36@gmail.com

Alejandro Cervantes-Carson

General Coordinator

International Network for Alternative Academia

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Email: acc@alternative-academia.net

 

*****

Informational Note:

Alternative Academia is an international network of intellectuals, academics, independent scholars and practitioners committed to creating spaces, both within and beyond traditional academe, for creative, trans-disciplinary and critical thinking. The Network serves to facilitate experimental and collaborative encounters that blur the boundaries and broaden the limits of how issues, themes and ideas can be articulated and reconfigured. Dialogue, discussion and deliberation define both the methods employed and the ethics upheld by this network.

Our annual symposia are forums that foster the development of new frames of reference and innovative structures for the production and expansion of knowledge. These meetings are small in scale, intensely interactive and based on a dialogical model of academic engagement throughout the entire period of each symposium. All delegates are presenters and constitute a critical and engaged audience for all delegate presentations.

INAA is an independent, autonomous and not for profit organization, based in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Registration Number: ESG65895088.

Visit our website at: www.alternative-academia.net

Nov 152014
 

Pic Blog Promo Barcelona 2015

1st International Symposium: Re-Founding Democracy

Part of the Research Program on: Protest, Justice and Deliberative Power

International Network for Alternative Academia – Extends a general invitation to participate @ http://www.alternative-academia.net/ocs-2.3.5/index.php/BCN2015/RFD-1-1/schedConf/cfp

Enquiries: acc@alternative-academia.net

Thursday 21st to Saturday 23rd of May, 2015

Venue: Betahaus BCN

Address: (Carrer de Vilafranca 7, Gràcia, 08024)

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Call for Papers

(Submission Period Opened: 29th of October, 2014)

(Abstract Deadline: Thursday 16th of April, 2015)

This trans-disciplinary research project aims to study the distinct and multiple forces that are currently reshaping political systems and challenging the fundamental structures of democratic life and political democracy, all over the world.

The global political environment of the early 21st century has been marked by two distinct yet interlaced phenomena. On the one hand, we are witnessing world-wide revolutions, of Arab Springs, Outraged (Indignados), Occupy Movements, incessant International Solidarity and Awareness Campaigns; interconnected activism, interlaced protest and political contestation of all sorts. On the other, there is a growing perception and emerging generalized sense that exclusive elites of very powerful and wealthy people govern the destiny of a disenfranchised and impoverished majority.

Worldwide, there are constant and systematic calls for the expansion and the re-invigoration of democracy; a global outcry for more, different and real democracy comes at a time when the institutions that are supposed to represent the will of the people are disconnected from and out of touch with the world and life experienced by citizens on a day to day basis. The very idea of democracy seems to be in crisis; these new times create new challenges to the structures of politics, bring new questions to the forms of representation and demand new, distinct and creative solutions for the possibility of legitimate governance.

For many, this is an exciting period of change and formation, of new and vibrant forms of political subjectivities and participation. For others, it is a time to defend old conceptions of authority and politics, whether democratic or not. Yet for others, this very same period is lived with fear and under conditions of intimidation, repression and lack of opportunities. Political change is sweeping the world over, but the direction, effects and consequences vary dramatically from context to context and from peoples to peoples.

We invite colleagues and activists from all disciplines and professions interested in exploring and seeking explanations to these issues in a collective, deliberative and dialogical environment to send presentation proposals which address these general questions or the following themes:

1. Democracy, Ethics and Globalization 

=>Are we witnessing the globalizing of democracy, the democratizing of globalization or neither? What would these trends mean and what would be their significant differences?

=>What role does ethics have to play in assessing processes of globalization at local and international levels? What role should it play?

=>How can democratic processes of representation, deliberation and participation be re-energized? How can they be taken seriously, made legitimate again, redirected and recalibrated?

=>How can democracies deal and manage with the growing phenomenon of “sans-papiers”, the “transient” and “the no-ones?” How are global migratory flows forcing us to re-conceive of democracy and the politics of belonging?

=>How can human need and environmental values be balanced in 21st century democracies? What are the ethical challenges of sustainability?

=>How do we define democracy in an interconnected world where competing representations of the good life inevitably collide? Should we redefine democracy under different global and ethical premises?

2. Empathy and Emancipatory Subjectivities

=>What new means and measures are open for selves to find others in the global Agora? How are intercultural encounters with self and other framing conflicts? How are they re-envisioning ideals and images of justice?

=>What are both destructive and creative tensions participating in the social constructions of collective identities?

=>How do we expand democratic horizons and political inclusiveness? How can we fight against stereotypes, forms of modern slavery, marginalization of migrants and foreigners? How can we participate in making the disenfranchised political agents of change, active participants of decisions and sources of cultural richness?

=>How are new social media and social networks re-framing our sense of belonging to political community and movements? How are technology and inter-subjectivity fuelling the articulation of new networks of resistance and change?

3. Economy, Distribution of Wealth and Democracy

=>What alternative spaces, procedures and forms for democracy are we witnessing? How are new social movements and global protest forcing us to consider a bottom-up re-articulation of globalization and to rethink north-south global relations?

=>How are economies of war and new forms of economic and political destabilization giving rise to new forms of oppression and exclusion in the global context?

=>What are the new cartographies of political marginalization and repression, of poverty and anxiety, of migration and economic misery in the 21st century?

=>The hyper-concentration of wealth and the generalized impoverishment of majorities have divided territories, nations and the world in a wealthy 1% versus a 99% of struggling people: What new trans-cultural movements and networks are searching for alternative models and creating the conditions for new economic growth and equal development?

4. Borders, Nations and Supranational Institutions  

=>With the recent collapse of global financial institutions and the erosion of national sovereignty, how is the nation being reconceived? Is it being transformed to encompass new forms civic resistance or is it being built as a fortress of reactionary politics?

=>How are supranational political organizations (United Nations, European Union and the like) responding to new political challenges and the need to renew and reinvigorate democracy?

=>With increasing flows of people crossing borders, with new levels of migration and both up and non rootedness framing lived experience, what policies of inclusive and exclusive citizenship are being enacted? How is this changing the very idea of political participation and belonging, citizenship and nation?

=>The politics of environmental risk and the realities of the global financial crisis are making evident our need to rethink our understanding of negotiation and responsibility in a world scenario. More specifically, they demand recognizing how interlaced territories, regions and the life of people are, and require rethinking the nature of borders and frontiers. What new models of sovereignty can be offered to address these global phenomena?

=>Are we entering the era of Democracy 2.0? How is participatory democracy being re-envisioned? What is the role of social networks in the articulation of regional and cosmopolitan citizenship?

=>What does it mean today to belong to a multicultural nation? Who defines where a nation begins and where it ends? How can we come to terms and accept multiple belongings, multiple citizenships?

5. Art, Creativity and Democracy

=>How might art be considered a democratic strategy? How might it be employed to develop both local narratives and global concerns for empowerment and social change?

=>Is art politics by other means? Should it be considered and evaluated as such?

=>New technologies, cyberspace and the transformation of culture: Is the commodification of space by the cultural industry being contested? How and to what effect?

=>What artistic representations of placelessness, dislocation and trauma in the new geographies of exclusion are being developed?

=>How is art, globally and locally, representing the new emerging political subject; the need and demands for political democratic renovation?

=>How might art be employed to engage the public in environmental dialogue? What is the relationship between art, activism and civic life?

=>Art offers a means for advancing democratic ideals, but how can more democratic conceptions of art be developed?

If you are interested in participating in this Annual Symposium, submit a 400 to 500 word abstract as soon as possible and no later than Thursday 16th of April, 2015. (For justifiable cases, we do uphold a tolerance period of eight days.)

Please use the following template for your submission:

First: Author(s);

Second: Affiliation, if any;

Third: Email Address;

Fourth: Title of Abstract and Proposal;

Fifth: The 400 to 500 Word Abstract.

To submit an abstract online follow these steps:

1) Go to our webpage: www.alternative-academia.net

2) Select your Symposium of choice within the list of annual events (listed by period and city)

3) Go to LOG IN at the top of the page

4) Create a User Name and Password for our system and log in

5) Click on the Call for Papers for the Symposium

6) Go to the end of the Call for Papers page and click on the First Step of Submission Process button

7) Follow the instructions provided for completing the abstract submission process

For every abstract proposal submitted, we acknowledge receipt. If you do not receive a reply from us within three days, you should assume the submission process was not completed successfully. Please try again or contact our technical support for clarifications.

All presentation and paper proposals that address these questions and issues will be fully considered and evaluated. Evaluation of abstract submissions will be ongoing, from the opening date of Wednesday 29th of October, 2014. All Prospective Delegates can expect a reply time to their submission of three weeks.

Accepted abstracts will require a full draft paper by Thursday 7th of May, 2015. Papers are for a 20 minute presentation, 8 to 10 pages long, double spaced, Times New Roman 12. All papers presented at the symposium are eligible for publication as part of a digital or paperback book.

We invite colleagues and people interested in participating to disseminate this call for papers. Thank you for sharing and cross-listing where and whenever appropriate.

Hope to meet you in Barcelona!

Symposium Coordinators:

Antonio Cuadrado-Fernandez

Independent Researcher

Ecopoetry Instructor

Norwich, England

Email: acfernandez36@gmail.com

Marina Kaneti

PhD Candidate, Politics

New School for Social Research

New York, New York

Email: kanem368@newschool.edu

Alejandro Cervantes-Carson

General Coordinator

International Network for Alternative Academia

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Email: acc@alternative-academia.net 

 

*****

Informational Note:

Alternative Academia is an international network of intellectuals, academics, independent scholars and practitioners committed to creating spaces, both within and beyond traditional academe, for creative, trans-disciplinary and critical thinking. The Network serves to facilitate experimental and collaborative encounters that blur the boundaries and broaden the limits of how issues, themes and ideas can be articulated and reconfigured. Dialogue, discussion and deliberation define both the methods employed and the ethics upheld by this network.

Our annual symposia are forums that foster the development of new frames of reference and innovative structures for the production and expansion of knowledge. These meetings are small in scale, intensely interactive and based on a dialogical model of academic engagement throughout the entire period of each symposium. All delegates are presenters and constitute a critical and engaged audience for all delegate presentations.

INAA is an independent, autonomous and not for profit organization, based in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Registration Number: ESG65895088.

Visit our website at: www.alternative-academia.net

Nov 142014
 

Pic Blog Promo Barcelona 2015

2nd International Symposium: Creating Characters, Inventing Lives: The Art of the Self

Part of the Research Program on: Aesthetic Lives, Artistic Selves

International Network for Alternative Academia – Extends a general invitation to participate @ http://www.alternative-academia.net/ocs-2.3.5/index.php/BCN2015/CCIL-2/schedConf/cfp

Enquiries: acc@alternative-academia.net

Thursday 14th to Saturday 16th of May, 2015

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Venue: Betahaus BCN

Address: (Carrer de Vilafranca 7, Gràcia, 08024)

Call for Papers

(Submission Period Opened: 29th of October, 2014)

(Abstract Deadline: Thursday 9th of April, 2015)

This trans-disciplinary research project is interested in exploring the narrative construction of experience and self, the lessons we can derive from the creative process and identifying how productive it is beyond the boundaries of the work and creation itself.

Regardless of our awareness, our understanding of our selves, we have always been the product of creation – the result of the playful and subversive blurring of the boundaries between fiction and life, between self and other, between fantasy and reality. Who we are – how we tell the story of our lives – has always traversed the divides between artistic invention, personal reflection and historic fact; being as much the product of the creative process as the characters depicted by artists in their works. Yet, we have been resistant to this notion holding fast to the idea that the bonds between us are intransigent, that the self is impermeable to transformation, clinging to the idea of authenticity. New models of the self are necessitated — models that emphasize the creative and transformative process by which the self is created. This project locates this search at the intersection of artistic invention and theoretical reflection. What can we learn from the creation of characters about our sense of the real, the construction of self and our bonds with others? In what ways do these processes overlap? How do they diverge?

We invite colleagues from all disciplines and professions interested in exploring and explaining these issues in a collective, deliberative and dialogical environment to send presentation proposals that address these general questions or the following themes:

1. Boundary Playfulness (or Playing with Boundaries): Fiction and The Real

- Why do we create: to become, to be, to reveal, to conceive of our lives differently, to compensate what we do not have but want dearly, to conceal our flaws, to work through our weaknesses, to rediscover and, perhaps even, reinvent our selves and the bonds we have with others, to live a life we do not have and will never have?

- How do boundaries of life, context, intimacy and identity change in the act of creating and the emergence of a creation?

- Should we care about boundary modifications and movements between fiction and the real? Does it matter if one dimension seeps into the other?

- Where do the boundaries between fiction and reality stand? Do these still hold and how can one conceive, today, of these boundaries?

- How are notions of the real affected by the creation of characters, by the creation of other realities or the mimicry of the real, by the multiplication of what becomes fiction and reality?

- What is left of the identity of the creator after the process of creation? Is there a transference of both meaning and the site of recognition from the person to the creative work? How is identity modified and transformed?

- Is fiction (sometimes) more real than what we call reality? How does that happen and what can we learn from those unique experiences?

2. Life and Biography: Always Present

- Do I create because in the act of creating I would love or hope to become? Is it the fear of nothingness that moves me to create?

- Can we create without letting self and biography seep in or bluntly take over? Is this really a problem?

- How does the act of creating characters become an act of reflecting self and biography? Can this be different?

- Does the self become exposed, explored, consolidated and enhanced in and with the act of creating?

- Is creating therapeutically legitimate or a hoax for psychological therapy?

- What is autobiography? What is autobiographical creation? Is it the transference of identity from body to creation or the act of creating a new self? How does an author and artist relate to his/her autobiography or autobiographical work?

- How does the creative work itself constitute an experience of estrangement from the author and artist? Does the work become a haven offering protection from the world? Does it estrange the creator once it becomes independent, dislocated from the author or artist?

3. Authorship, Authenticity and Authority

- Don’t we all borrow from each other, from the long and deep traditions, from the canonical, from the new and yet to be acknowledged?

- Should we abandon tropes of the authentic and authenticity? Should we redefine what we mean today by authenticity? What meaning might it carry currently for the process of creation and in the creative work?

- How do power relations play into the notion of the authentic and authorship?

- Do creators and artists really know what effect their work will have? Should we call this pursuit off?

- Why do we still believe that the author, creator, artist has to have the last word on the meaning of their work, of their creation? Is there any legitimacy in this idea or claim?

- Is not meaning born by way and through the dialogue that happens with an audience, reader, listener, observer, interpreter, consumer of the creative piece and work?

- Can we live with a world of meaning unhinged from the author’s intention and actions?

- How is the new media altering, in significant ways, the creative process? How is it redefining the meaning of “creator”? How are the boundaries between the creator and the created being redefined?

- What effects does new media have over the creative bond between writer and reader, playwright and audience, painter and gallery visitor, filmmaker and cinema or video audience, music composer and listener, creator and consumer?

- How has electronic media transformed notions of the authentic and unique?

4. Success and Failure: A History of Recognition?

- In the world of historic value, why is death the best event for recognition? How can we reverse the set of principles that go into recognizing the greatness of authors and creators once they cannot speak, they cannot talk back?

- Is there any virtue in changing or reversing that logic: recognition in life?

- How are links made between recognition and success?

- What are the measures of success and how do these relate to recognition? Are these measures good for the recognition of creators and creative work; for fostering creators?

- How does the artist, the author, the creator understand perfection? What are the perversions of ideas and myths linked to perfection?

- Is there a perfect creation? Is there perfection in the creative process?

- What is the place of failure and the fear of failure in today’s creative process?

- What is an author prepared to do in order to achieve success? Would these be the same in order to obtain recognition?

- How much does recognition and success impact the creative process? Has this changed over time and through history?

- Is it possible to argue that both recognition and success are and have always been substantive parts and endless motivators for the creative process? What about failure and the fear of failure?

5.  Myths of Creation

- How has inspiration survived the pass of time and history? How much do we still believe or hold on to notions of inspiration? What are the current ideas that circulate and inhabit creators’ minds and lives?

-Is there a place for inspiration today? What kind of definition would it have? What kind of re-tooling would it require in order to have acceptance and legitimacy?

- Does inspiration require legitimation?

- What or who is a muse or a nymph? Where do they live and what territories to they inhabit? Why do they decide to hide from the naked eye?

- What is the current place of old and new mythologies in the creative process?

- How do “Narcissus” and “Pygmalion” make their presence known in creations and creative processes?

- What about other mythological figures that have found current embodiments?

- How do authors, creators and artists contribute to the reproduction of mythologies?

- Are mythologies eternal and substantial to creation itself and to the system of belief that foster creative, critical and artistic work?

If you are interested in participating in this Annual Symposium, submit a 400 to 500 word abstract as soon as possible and no later than Thursday 9th of April, 2015. (For justifiable cases, we do uphold a tolerance period of eight days.)

Please use the following template for your submission:

First: Author(s);

Second: Affiliation, if any;

Third: Email Address;

Fourth: Title of Abstract and Proposal;

Fifth: The 400 to 500 Word Abstract.

To submit an abstract online follow these steps:

1) Go to our webpage: www.alternative-academia.net

2) Select your Symposium of choice within the list of annual events (listed by period and city)

3) Go to LOG IN at the top of the page

4) Create a User Name and Password for our system and log in

5) Click on the Call for Papers for the Symposium

6) Go to the end of the Call for Papers page and click on the First Step of Submission Process button

7) Follow the instructions provided for completing the abstract submission process

For every abstract proposal submitted, we acknowledge receipt. If you do not receive a reply from us within three days, you should assume the submission process was not completed successfully. Please try again or contact our technical support for clarifications.

All presentation and paper proposals that address these questions and issues will be fully considered and evaluated. Evaluation of abstract submissions will be ongoing from the opening date of Wednesday 29th of October, 2014. All Prospective Delegates can expect a reply time to their submission of three weeks.

Accepted abstracts will require a full draft paper by Thursday 30th of April, 2015. Papers are for a 20 minute presentation, 8 to 10 pages long, double spaced, Times New Roman 12. All papers presented at the symposium are eligible for publication as part of a digital or paperback book.

We invite colleagues and people interested in participating to disseminate this call for papers. Thank you for sharing and cross-listing where and whenever appropriate.

Hope to meet you in Barcelona!

Symposium Coordinators:

Wendy O’Brien

Professor of Social and Political Theory

School of Liberal Studies

Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Email: Wendy.OBrien@humber.ca

Oana Strugaru

Faculty of Letters and Communication Sciences

Stefan cel Mare University

Suceava, Romania

Email: strugaru_oana@yahoo.com

Alejandro Cervantes-Carson

General Coordinator

International Network for Alternative Academia

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Email: acc@alternative-academia.net 

 

*****

Informational Note:

Alternative Academia is an international network of intellectuals, academics, independent scholars and practitioners committed to creating spaces, both within and beyond traditional academe, for creative, trans-disciplinary and critical thinking. The Network serves to facilitate experimental and collaborative encounters that blur the boundaries and broaden the limits of how issues, themes and ideas can be articulated and reconfigured. Dialogue, discussion and deliberation define both the methods employed and the ethics upheld by this network.

Our annual symposia are forums that foster the development of new frames of reference and innovative structures for the production and expansion of knowledge. These meetings are small in scale, intensely interactive and based on a dialogical model of academic engagement throughout the entire period of each symposium. All delegates are presenters and constitute a critical and engaged audience for all delegate presentations.

INAA is an independent, autonomous and not for profit organization, based in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Registration Number: ESG65895088.

Visit our website at: www.alternative-academia.net

Nov 142014
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

con-man-obama-e1313244448535

Introduction

The meteoric rise to power of Barack Obama in 2008 was propelled by one of the greatest demagogic US Presidential campaigns of all time: To millions of young Americans, he promised to end the US wars in the Middle East. To millions of working and middle class voters, he promised to end the economic crisis by confronting Wall Street. To women, he promised to protect and expand their social rights and end the gender gap in wages and salaries. To human rights and civil liberties activists, he promised to end police state surveillance and torture, and to close the Guantanamo concentration camp, which had denied political prisoners a fair and open trial. To blacks, he promised higher living standards and greater racial equality in income. To Latino-Americans, he promised immigration reform facilitating a path to citizenship for long-term residents. Overseas he spoke in Cairo of a “new chapter” in US policy toward the Muslim world. To Russia, he promised President Putin he would ‘reset relations’ – toward greater co-operation.

Obama’s rhetorical flourishes attracted millions of young activists, women and minority voters  and leaders to work for his election and the Democratic Party. He won a resounding victory! And the Democrats took control of the House and Senate.

Obama Embraces the Rightwing Agenda

The rhetorical exercise was a massive smoke screen. For his electoral campaign Obama raised over one billion dollars from the ‘1%’ – Wall Street bankers, Hollywood media moguls, Silicon Valley venture capitalists, Chicago Zionists and the Mid-Western business elite. Obama was clearly playing a double game – talking to “the people” and working for ‘the bosses’.

A few analysts cut through the demagogy and identified Obama as the ‘Greatest Con-Man of recent times”, the Washington counterpart of the great contemporary Wall Street swindler Bernard ‘Bernie’ Madoff.

According to the somewhat more skeptical liberals and progressives, Obama would have to ‘choose’ between those who elected him and those who groomed and bankrolled him.

Obama quickly and decisively resolved the progressives’ ‘dilemma’. He re-appointed the two central officials who designed disgraced President Bush Jr’s war policy and Wall Street bailout: Robert Gates was confirmed as Secretary of Defense and Timothy Geithner was renewed as Treasury Secretary. Obama followed by teaming up with the head of the Federal Reserve, Benjamin Shalom Bernacke and Treasury Secretary Geithner to launch a multi-year trillion dollar bailout of Wall Street, while hundreds of thousands of Obama voters had their mortgages foreclosed and millions of workers, who voted Democratic were fired and remained unemployed, because Washington prioritized Wall Street recovery of profitability over funding job-creating public works.

In response, millions of indignant citizens repudiated the Washington bailout and Congress temporarily shelved approval. However, the White House and the Democratic majority in both Houses, reversed course and approved the biggest State –to- Bankers handout in US – or for that matter, world – history.

If the Obama’s ‘First Wave of Reaction’ appointed powerful Wall Street clones and Pentagon war hawks to his cabinet and the ‘Second Wave of Reaction’ led to sacrificing workers’ incomes, employment and living standards, so that Wall Street could return to profitability, and the ‘Third Wave of Reaction’ was the escalation of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama has dispatched tens of thousands of US combat troops to ‘end the war by expanding the war’!

The Democratic Electorate Strikes Back: 2010

By the end of 2010, sufficient masses of Obama and Democratic voters were disenchanted to the point of notvoting in the Congressional elections: The Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives.

The most lucid and clearheaded progressives understood that nothing more was to be gained by waiting patiently ‘at the gate, like benighted pilgrims’ for their president Obama’s gaze to ‘turn left’ or for the Democrats to reverse course in Congress. Hundreds of thousands of citizens shook off the trickster’s spell and took to the streets blocking financial districts. ‘Occupy Wall Street’ – direct action in the streets, citizens clearly targeted the principle source of the economic crisis and the real power behind the demagogic rhetoric of the White House confidence man.

Federal, state and local police broke up, arrested and incarcerated the peaceful activists. The Occupy Wall Street movement, under massive and coordinated police-state siege, and without political direction, dispersed and disintegrated.

The ‘Fourth Wave of reaction’ was illuminated by the Snowden revelations of National Security Agency (NSA) intrusive spying into the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans as well as allied leaders in four continents – and unimaginable numbers of citizens in countries around the world. The White House gave unconditional backing to the entire, gargantuan police state apparatus and its unconstitutional intervention into everyday life of individuals and their families. Hundreds of thousands of civil libertarians, human rights activists and attorneys and millions of liberal democrats were shocked by Obama’s blatant refusal to rein-in or even acknowledge the enormous scope of illegal domestic spying.

The ‘Fifth Wave of Reaction’ was the cumulative impact of five years of nurturing Wall Street profits and ignoring working and middle class income and declining living standards. Thanks to virtually free federal ‘bailout’ money, Wall Street borrowed and invested overseas  -reaping returns triple the miniscule interest rates in the US. They speculated on the stock market. The ‘D-J boom’ continued for five years while real incomes of most Americans continued to decline. Young Democratic voters, who had believed the con-man, remained mired at entry level jobs barely paying room and board. The ‘Audacity of Hope’ became the ‘Humiliation of Return’ into their parents’ homes for millions of young workers unable to support themselves…

Disenchantment Deepens

            Millions of Latino citizens, who were conned into believing that Obama would provide a ‘road-map to citizenship’ for twelve million fellow immigrants, discovered that the real Obama  policy toward immigrants was a ‘road map to violent arrest, incarceration and deportation’: A record two million immigrants were expelled in five years, exceeding the totals of all previous Presidents, even the most rabid rightwing Republicans.

Probably the most egregious and cynical con-job of all was the mega-con Obama perpetrated on Afro-Americans. More than any other group in the US, Afro-Americans have supported Barack Obama:  Ninety-five percent voted for the ‘First Afro-American President’.

Under President Obama, Afro-Americans have lost more personal wealth than under any president since the Great Depression. Many key indicators show that the economic conditions of Afro-Americans have worsened dramatically under Obama.

According to the US Federal Reserve’s survey of consumer finances, between 2009-2014, non-white household incomes have declined by nearly a tenth to $33,000 a year. Median incomes fell by five percent.  Data on net wealth – assets minus liabilities – tells an even more brutal story. The median non-white family today has a net worth of just $18,100 – almost a fifth lower than it was when Obama took office. In contrast, white median wealth increased by one percent to $142,000. In 2009 white households were seven times richer than blacks; that gap is now eightfold. Both in relative and absolute terms, black Americans are doing much worse under President Obama. His ‘Wall Street First’agenda (bailing out the banksters and mortgage swindlers) has relegated Afro-Americans to last place. Racial inequalities have deepened because Obama, who may have ‘shot some hoops’ on an urban ghetto playground and dressed up as a  ‘black role model’, in fact, oversaw an increasingly segregated and deteriorating school system. In Washington, he marginalized African-American concerns about double digit rates of unemployment in Detroit and other urban centers, while offering pompous, stern ‘moral’ lectures to unemployed blacks about their ‘family responsibilities’.

Obama’s demagogy and deceptive populist posturing  bamboozled most progressive voters for a period of time, but after five waves of reaction, many of the activists ‘wised up’ – first in the streets and then in the elections – by refusing to vote for Democrats running in the Congressional elections of 2014.

The Democratic Debacle of 2014

The major reason for the Democrat’s debacle in the ‘mid-term elections’ was the high rate of abstention and lack of activists getting out the vote.In many states, where the Democrats lost, the overall rate of abstention among eligible voters approached seventy percent. And there is reason to believe that the vast majority of non-voters (aka – the ‘none of the above’ voters) were Democrats, people disenchanted or hostile to Obama’s betrayals and, in particular, voters who believed that he had deceived or ‘conned them’.

Young people’s participation in this election, a major factor in mobilizing voters for Obama in 2008 and 2012 and doubly deceived, were notable by their absence: Young voters’ share of the electorate declined from 19% in 2012 to 13% in 2014. Parallel declines were documented in Latino-American and Afro-American turn-outs.

For those who voted, nearly half (45%) said that the ‘economy was the key consideration’ and by economy they didn’t mean Wall Street’s booming profits, or record high Dow Jones Stock quotes, which White House Democrats had hailed as their ‘economic success’. For the American middle and working class voters ‘ the economy’ that drove some to vote on November 4, 2014, was measured in the deterioration of affordable health insurance coverage and pension plans, the decline of living standards and the growth of ‘dead-end’ low-paid, contingent employment that rendered the lives and future increasingly unstable.

Most former Obama voters did not defect to the Republicans: They realized that both Democrats and Republicans were responsible for the domestic economy-busting decade-long wars and Wall Street hand-outs. They didnot vote: Most abstained!  Some former Democrats and Independents, and not a few Republicans, turned their anti-Obama animus into a rabid racist rant against the black President and extended their anger toward people of color in generalObama’s con game has aroused deep racist undercurrents in US politics.

If his image as the first African-American President inspired a moment of hope and promise for greater racial equality in this country, his reactionary economic policies in practice allowed rightwing politicians to divert white worker and middle class economic discontent away from the criminals and swindlers on Wall Street to racist hostility toward the beleaguered black communities.

Post-Elections:  The Con-Man is Cornered

The new Republican Congressional majorities will continue to implement the fundamental economic and foreign policies of the Obama regime. Wall Street profits will continue to grow, income disparities between capital and labor will continue to sharpen and the highly militarized foreign policy of the last six years will become more overtly bi-partisan. The Democratic President will join with the Republican Congress in pursuing military confrontations in the Ukraine and in sending more US troops to Syria and Iraq.  Under pressure from Israel and its powerful US supporters, increased sanctions against Iran will scuttle US negotiations with Tehran. Obama’s blockade of Cuba will continue, as will bi-partisan hostility to center-left governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil and Argentina. The grotesque narco-state terror and mass murder in Mexico and Central America will continue to fuel the massive refugee pressure on the US border and expose the hypocrisy of Washington’s humanitarian military missions in the Middle East.

The Republicans rode to power by exploiting discontent with Obama’s ‘Five Waves’ of reactionary policies; they will now co-operate with him in launching a ‘6th Wave’. The Republican Congressional majority will embraceObama’s proposal to ‘fast-track’ free trade treaties covering Asia and Europe, currently blocked by House Democrats and opposed by US trade unions.

The Republicans will join with Obama in backing corporate tax ‘reform’, which substantially reduces the tax on US multinational corporations’ overseas earnings in order to end the hoarding of profits in low tax countries – while intensifying austerity on American workers and the poor.

In other words, Obama will now openly coordinate with his Republican counterparts on an agenda they have shared from the first day he took office. This time Barack Obama, the Con-Man, will have to play it straight and cut the populist palaver –  Republicans and their business partners demand economic payoffs and overseas military victories. Obama, the ‘cowering Con-Man’, has been unmasked by progressives and is cornered by the Republicans … and they have no further use for his confab

James Petras latest book is the Politics of Empire:The U.S, Israel and the Middle East @ claritypress@usa.net

Nov 122014
 

Pic Blog Promo Barcelona 2015

5th International Symposium: Love, Lust and Longing: Rethinking Intimacy

Part of the Research Program on: Recasting Bonds

International Network for Alternative Academia – Extends a general invitation to participate @ http://www.alternative-academia.net/ocs-2.3.5/index.php/BCN2015/LLL-5/schedConf/cfp

Enquiries: acc@alternative-academia.net

Monday 11th to Wednesday 13th of May, 2015 

Venue: Betahaus BCN

Address: (Carrer de Vilafranca 7, Gràcia, 08024)

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Call for Papers

(Submission Period Opened: 29th of October, 2014)

(Abstract Deadline: Monday 6th of April, 2015)

While discussion of sex become ever more common, opportunities to explore the nature of love are still rare. When the topic is raised, most often the focus is on dramatic experiences or hard cases. The “epic” and the “mundane” are probably more intertwined in our experiences of love than cultural speech and literature admit. Yet, an imbalance continues to exist: we reflect little on the smallness of events that sustain love bonds. What goes unexamined as such are the ways in which love is spoken of and enacted in everyday life.

This trans-disciplinary research project is interested in exploring the lived experience of love considering the ways in which it is described and how it is practiced, identifying how love differs from and overlaps with concern, care, friendship and lust and raising questions about the ontology, expression and politics of love.

We invite colleagues from all disciplines and professions interested in exploring and explaining these issues in a collective, deliberative and dialogical environment to send presentation proposals that address these general questions or the following themes:

The Ontology of Love

- How best do we categorize our experiences of love? Is love a chemical reaction? A cognitive structure? A consumer product? A narrative strategy? A convenient fiction?

- Is love an interpersonal phenomenon or an individual experience?

- Is love the kind of thing/the kind of experience that can have a beginning? Is it the kind of thing that can be subject to an end?

- Is love something that can be “found”? Can it subsequently be “lost”?

- Is love debt by another means?

Speaking of Love . . . 

- Can we speak of love? Is to speak of love to attempt to say the unsayable? Is a language of love necessary?

- What is it about the experience of being in love that is so difficult to share and communicate?

- We speak of our experience of “being in love,” of “loving someone but not being in love with them” and of “making love.” How is the word “love” deployed in these contexts? Is it used synonymously?

- In an era marked by online dating, text messaging and friends with benefits, does Plato’s lexicon of love still apply? Is his account of three forms of love – eros, philia, agape – still sufficient? What should be added and what should be subtracted? How is the lexicon of love evolving?

- What are apt metaphors for love?

The Phenomenology of Love

- Where does love start?  Where does it end?

- What is the relationship between desire and love? How is this relationship played out in everyday life practice? How is it captured discursively?

- Why has lust been so often experienced and so quickly condemned?

- How do we describe/characterize the experience of “falling” in love? Is love an experience that we “fall” into? Is this an apt descriptor of this phenomenon?

- Does “romantic” love differ from experiences of “mature” love?

- What is the place of betrayal, cheating and infidelity in love? How do we deal with these? Do we deal with these with love? Should we? Why?

- Can love “fail”? Is to speak of “failure” in this context a sign that we have misunderstood the nature of love?

- How do we deal with love when death separates us from our beloved? How can we recognize love and care in mourning and bereavement?

The Look of Love: The Aesthetics and/of Love

- How is love best described? Is it reducible to words? Is it better captured by images or by sounds or by sensations and sensorial memory?

- What is the place of taste, presence, smell, aura, touch and other embodied sensations in the experience of love and its sensorial reconstruction?

- How has love been depicted across history? How has it changed? With what affect? Is it possible to recognize and acknowledge patterns in historical periods?

- What are the effects of the definitions of love on the conceptions of bonds and the nature of relationship?

- What are apt representations of love? How do we make such determinations?

- Why is love so often explored in the arts? Why is it so rarely the subject of philosophy or sociology?

Caring for Self

- What does it mean to love one’s self? Is this a misnomer?

- Is care of the self a necessary condition for the possibility of care of others? Can we advocate and promote the caring for self without compromising our caring for others?

- What is the relationship between Eros and Narcissus? How does one keep in check “Narcissus” while caring for one’s self? Should one keep Narcissus in check?

- Is love (or caring for oneself) a necessary condition for living happy and/or productive lives?

Small Intimacies 

- How are we to understand the logic of the kiss? Is the kiss a promise? Is it a question?

- Can we see, smell or feel the presence of love? What is the relationship between perception and this lived experience?

- What prefigures our experience of love and what extends it?

- What is the relationship between secrecy, intimacy and love?

- How does boredom and routine figure into our experiences of love?

- How do we deal with rejection? Are there other ways of accepting and dealing with the devastating experience of being rejected?

Bonds of Care

- What is the relationship between love and care?

- Is there a logic to/of care? Can it be subjected to reason and justification?

- What is the relationship between care and concern? How do need, responsibility, care and love differ? How do they overlap?

- Does care necessitate reciprocity? Does the refusal of care negate its existence?

- How can we deal with metaphors of blood, linage, family and heritage in care or love that might develop as loving care? Where to situate obligation and how to conceive it?

- Can we exercise choice and assume happenstance in our bonds of care?

Friendship

- Who is a friend? How is the term defined? How do we recognize a friend?

- Is friendship a form of love or is it a distinct virtue?

- Can there be friendship without desire?

- Is lust a necessary condition for friendship? Is it an inevitable outcome?

- Do sex and/or lust put friendship at risk? Why?

- Is friendship premised on reciprocity of feelings?

Lessons on Love

- How is love manufactured? How do books, films or TV series influence our ideals of love?

- How can we explain the increasing demand for a literature of/on love?

- How is love merchandized?

- Can we buy love? What assumptions inform our responses to this question?

- Is love measurable? Is it quantifiable?

- Can one live without love? Are there any discourses that explain life without love?

The Politics of Love

- Is equity a necessary condition for love? Does social inequality undermine intimacy and love?

- What is the role of power in relation to love and intimacy? Is love always and necessarily a tool of power?

- Can love and politics be extricated one from the other? Is the democratization of the bonds of intimacy, care and love possible?

- How are experiences of love framed by cultural and social discourses?

- How is the increasing number of intercultural relationships changing our understanding and practice of love? What are the benefits and challenges of intercultural love and of these cross-cultural practices?

- How are new information and communications technologies shaping our experiences of love?

Broad Venues

- Can we love collectives or is love applicable only to particulars?

- Is it possible to love what is divine or is love a uniquely inter-subjective human experience?

- What are the conditions for the possibility of agape? Can these conditions be met in contemporary society?

If you are interested in participating in this Annual Symposium, submit a 400 to 500 word abstract as soon as possible and no later than Monday, 6th of April, 2015. (For justifiable cases, we do uphold a tolerance period of eight days.)

Please use the following template for your submission:

First: Author(s);

Second: Affiliation, if any;

Third: Email Address;

Fourth: Title of Abstract and Proposal;

Fifth: The 400 to 500 Word Abstract.

To submit an abstract online follow these steps:

1) Go to our webpage: www.alternative-academia.net

2) Select your Symposium of choice within the list of annual events (listed by period and city)

3) Go to LOG IN at the top of the page

4) Create a User Name and Password for our system and log in

5) Click on the Call for Papers for the Symposium

6) Go to the end of the Call for Papers page and click on the First Step of Submission Process button

7) Follow the instructions provided for completing the abstract submission process

For every abstract proposal submitted, we acknowledge receipt. If you do not receive a reply from us within three days, you should assume the submission process was not completed successfully. Please try again or contact our technical support for clarifications.

All presentation and paper proposals that address these questions and issues will be fully considered and evaluated. Evaluation of abstract submissions will be ongoing from the opening date of Wednesday 29th of October, 2014. All Prospective Delegates can expect a reply time to their submission of three weeks.

Accepted abstracts will require a full draft paper by Monday 27th of April, 2015. Papers are for a 20 minute presentation, 8 to 10 pages long, double spaced, Times New Roman 12. All papers presented at the symposium are eligible for publication as part of a digital or paperback book.

We invite colleagues and people interested in participating to disseminate this call for papers. Thank you for sharing and cross-listing where and whenever appropriate.

Hope to meet you in Barcelona!

Symposium Coordinators:

Alejandro Cervantes-Carson

General Coordinator

International Network for Alternative Academia

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Email: acc@alternative-academia.net

Wendy O’Brien

Professor of Social and Political Theory

School of Liberal Studies

Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Email: Wendy.Obrien@humber.ca

Albin Wagener

Doyen

Faculté des Humanités

Université Catholique de l’Ouest

Angers, France

Email: awagener@uco.fr

 

*****

Informational Note:

Alternative Academia is an international network of intellectuals, academics, independent scholars and practitioners committed to creating spaces, both within and beyond traditional academe, for creative, trans-disciplinary and critical thinking. The Network serves to facilitate experimental and collaborative encounters that blur the boundaries and broaden the limits of how issues, themes and ideas can be articulated and reconfigured. Dialogue, discussion and deliberation define both the methods employed and the ethics upheld by this network.

Our annual symposia are forums that foster the development of new frames of reference and innovative structures for the production and expansion of knowledge. These meetings are small in scale, intensely interactive and based on a dialogical model of academic engagement throughout the entire period of each symposium. All delegates are presenters and constitute a critical and engaged audience for all delegate presentations.

INAA is an independent, autonomous and not for profit organization, based in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Registration Number: ESG65895088.

Visit our website at: www.alternative-academia.net

Nov 082014
 

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:

20141029-1455-540x360

One of the best outcomes of international gatherings in world-scale metropolises is new connections and emerging opportunities. The Digitaler Salon in Berlin’s Humboldt University is one of those outcomes. While in Berlin someone suggested I pay a visit to the Institute for Internet and Society and introduce myself. I was invited to a very exciting and informative event organized by the Institute. On the evening of October 29th, Digitaler Salon was held with the participation of three very successful experts from academia, journalism and blogging. The topic was Crisis Reporting with the comments of Christoph Sydow of Al Sharq, Thomas Wiegold, a journalist who covers defense and military policies, and Dr. Johanna Roering, a media researcher focusing on propaganda at Tübingen University.

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Out of my habit of not being able to rely on punctuality and effectiveness of public transport in many countries and cities, I left before the agreed time and arrived at the venue earlier than expected. The speakers greeted me and we started talking about the day’s topic, crisis and war reporting and the involvement of social media and bloggers, and also about how blogs are perceived and how the media are transforming. The discussion took place at the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, located right at the Bebelplatz, facing the infamous “book burning memorial” that was erected at the place where thousands of books were burnt in 1933, May 10.

The pre-discussion of course had a tendency to turn towards news from Turkey, as there was one particular participant in the audience who had brought much news from Istanbul to their attention previously. So talk began revolving around the level of press freedom, the number of journalists who have lost their jobs, government control over what gets published, and even controversial accidents journalists have had. As there was a professor present who focuses on “propaganda and media,” the 6,000 “social media experts” the Turkish government has hired were also mentioned in the context of manipulating media focus and online discussions. This is a negative example of the use of digital tools for journalistic purposes.

20141029-1408-540x360

After a few bretzels and some wine, the the actual session was ready to start. The coordinators were ready, cameras were rolling and everyone took seats in a very cozy atmosphere. Greetings were exchanged and participants were welcomed, and the talks began. While the topic in general was issues of reliability and verification of the news—comparing the limites resources of many bloggers to newsrooms’ advanced networks and resources—there was a special focus on media pluralism and press freedom in countries where there seem to be problems with freedom of expression and press freedom.

Verification Problems

It is an undeniable argument that bloggers lack the resources or the ability to build networks as reliable as the mainstream media. Yet verification has many levels and tools these days. A very useful book, HYPERLINK “http://verificationhandbook.com/”Verification Handbook, supplies a lot of information not only for newbie bloggers but also old-school journalists who might need further help. The book is being translated into several languages. Also, it is important not to have high expectations of bloggers and citizen journalists who mostly run their pages on a voluntary basis, unlike profit-oriented media outlets. Yet a blog post from the ground can also guide the professional journalist who might otherwise be unable to grasp the issue from the outside. In the end, real news should be a fine balance between what we see on the blogosphere and print (traditional) media.

What happens under governmental pressure?

When it comes to international news, and especially news related to defense strategies, the military, and security, it is true that traditional journalists have better connections and sources for supplying reliable information from the ground; however when the type of news changes to national scale, then the balance might be disturbed a little. At the Digitaler Salon the main focus of the discussion was on defense and military related news. But the situation in the streets in Hungary, for example, was being reflected in a completely different way the traditional media there and by bloggers during the same week. That could be a perfect example of what might go wrong with traditional media outlets where there is a lack of media pluralism.

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Basically a profit-oriented company that focuses on expanding revenues while trying to reach out to even more buyers/audience, and facing pressure from the national government, would not really reflect the psyche of the streets and would want to continue keeping friendly relations with the authorities. That being the case, it is likely that only the independent reporters in the country can reflect what’s actually going on there. Yet, if the independent journalist is not an expert on the region or country, or has not spent enough time there to really grasp what is going on, s/he will not be able to give an accurate report of an event. In that case s/he also relies on good contacts who might be able to share more information with the journalist, and this happens mostly in the form of blogs these days, apart from personal conversations.

In a similar fashion, citizen journalists and bloggers might also reflect on events with too much passion and misinterpret the situation. If the person reporting the news or events is coming from right in the middle of whatever might be going on, it would probably be hard for the person to give accurate information free from personal passion, grudges, and all other emotions. Or the reports may be subject to misinformation and unverified sources that may in fact cause more harm. And one important aspect not to be forgotten is how to differentiate citizen journalists from the traditional journalists they complain about; or what to do in order for anyone reporting from a crisis zone to avoid war-fetishism when it comes to reflecting on the pulse of the streets?

Overall, the Digitaler Salon was an opportunity for discussions revolving around journalism, media pluralism and press freedom in the 21st century. As a final comment, I can say that it was a valuable experience to be able to attend such an event, and express the hope that it can set an example for other parts of Europe. And in terms of sustaining media pluralism, a more internationalist approach could in fact help the coverage of issues that local authorities might object to seeing covered.

20141029-1419-540x360

More stories by Gürkan Özturan http://theradicaldemocrat.wordpress.com

More stories about Turkey @ http://99getsmart.com/category/turkey/

Nov 062014
 

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:

Recep+Tayyip+Erdogan+John+Kerry+Joe+Biden+8lsqgEUXHlbl

The notorious level of the media’s freedom in Turkey has proven their inability to report accurately many times in the last couple of years. On the national level it is a daily habit by now to witness the performance of the pool-media where, on certain days, all newspapers come out with the same headlines and main articles, and compare these pieces of “news” to the parody paper Zaytung. However, when it comes to international fiascos, one has to wait a few months for another example of scandalous reporting.

Colorless milk ports flap furiously

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Only a couple of months after the Gezi Park Protests, the daily Yeni  Şafak had won the gold medal in the propaganda Olympics by trying a long-shot attempt at proving Noam Chomsky’s “manufacturing consent” theory through an interview with Chomsky himself, yet failed to publish the answers to non-existent questions correctly. When it was discovered that some of the answers printed on paper did not actually belong to the internationally renowned philosopher, the editors published a Web page showing all the claimed-original answers, which included HYPERLINK “http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=6740″some really bad Google-translated sentences, one of which also included the word “milk port.” Later on this fiasco was referred to as “a general plot against national stability and security” by the editor-in-chief of the newspaper.

At the beginning of October, a video was shown of US Vice-President Biden at Harvard University talking about the Middle East and how some allies, including Turkey, have helped radical entities, and especially ISIL, in the region and explaining that this had expanded the scope of instability in the region. Upon these words, Turkish President Erdogan had said that the American Vice-President would be “history for me if he has indeed used such expressions.”

Towards midnight on the day this demand came from the Turkish President, all pro-government media started emergency broadcasts of the news, with news flashes of the apology that came from the US Vice-President. According to the reports, Joe Biden had called Erdogan and apologized for his “claims.” CNN Turk had broadcast the news, referring to White House spokesperson Josh Earnest and reporting that Joe Biden had apologized for misinterpreting a conversation with President Erdogan.

There were long articles as to why an American Vice-President would apologize to the Turkish President and how it took place. Many “experts” on all TV stations interpreted the situation as Turkey’s emerging as a giant power, and proving to the whole world what a marvelous neo-Ottoman state Turkey has become. The next day, it was possible to hear citizens on the streets talking about the strength of their state and their pride in making one of the strongest peoples on earth apologize to their “fatherland.”

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Yet, the milky dream lasted about a month before Biden was on the screens of CNN, this time stating that he never apologized. He said “There’s nothing I’ve said that I haven’t said that was truthful. And so sometimes – you know, everybody says they’re looking for authenticity. What I have done is where – if there’s been a general – genuine misunderstanding – let’s take the comment, you know – I’m told I – I apologized to (Turkish) President Erdogan. I never apologized to him. I know him well. I’ve dealt with him. I called him and said, ‘Look, what was reported was not accurate to what I said. Here’s what I said.’”

In the atmosphere of lack of media pluralism, I presume that not many reporters bothered to run a background check on the claims or demand a further comment from Vice-President Biden regarding the apology. On the other hand, in a country where the media are under a lot of pressure, it would be hard to ask for verification of the news when the claim is coming from the One Man of the country. Yet, it is enough to make the whole country the world’s laughing-stock once again, alongside all the other fiascos in every corner.

More stories by Gürkan Özturan http://theradicaldemocrat.wordpress.com

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