Jul 072014
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

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Introduction

There is no question that over the past decade and a half, Europe, the US and Israel have engaged in a series of bloody wars, inequalities have increased throughout the globe, economic crisis has become endemic and, more recently, right-wing military and civilian regimes have swept to power throughout Asia, North Africa, Europe and Canada.

Yet, despite this generally gloomy picture, important positive developments have emerged raising the possibility of fundamental changes to reverse the current reactionary wave.  I will proceed by outlining these positive developments, taking account of the retrograde context in which they occur.

Reaction and Progress in Asia

The macro-political-economic picture in Asia could not be darker: Right-wing regimes rule in all the major countries. There is a military junta in Thailand and a military-civilian regime in Pakistan.  In Japan, a right-wing Prime Minister is committed to re-arming and expanding its military power.  Rightwing rulers have taken power in Australia, Indonesia, South Korea and India.  In China, inequalities intensify while the number of billionaires and millionaires will soon exceed those in the US.  Regimes in Afghanistan and Pakistan support US military intervention and drone attacks within their territory.

In the face of this reactionary setting, there is the rising class struggle of millions of Chinese workers, who have secured major gains in salaries and wages in the course of the last decade, averaging over 10% per year.  The cumulative gains have led to the doubling of monthly wages.  The main reason worker wages have increased can be found in their willingness to engage in strikes, demonstrations and other forms of militant class action.

Rising wages in China have enormous positive global consequences.  Many corporations have relocated from the coastal cities to the interior, thus ‘proletarianizing’ the provinces and widening and deepening the scope for militant labor action.  Meanwhile, many foreign and Chinese corporations have relocated their factories to low wage countries like Cambodia, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Laos, bringing intensified class struggle. In recent years, militant strikes and violent protests have broken out in Cambodia, Vietnam and Bangladesh.

There are indications that US capitalists may be ‘on-shoring’ their investments, i.e. re-locating factories and business back to the US, as wages and militancy rise in China and decline in the US.  With the drying up of China as the world’s reserve pool of passive, cheap workers, the global labor market tightens increasing the capacity of workers to successfully struggle for better working conditions and wages.

Chinese outflows of capital this year will exceed inflows, for the first time.  These outflows include speculative investments in high-end real estate in the West and greater investments in extractive sectors in Africa, Latin America, Oceana, Asia, Southern Europe and Ukraine.  This expansion of productive investments will expand the working class and lead to more workers struggles.

In summary, the sharp and sustained rise in Chinese wages, resulting from the class struggle, has world historical significance as it ripples through the global economy by setting in motion a chain of positive socio-political movements.

The Larger Significance of the Afghan War

The prolonged US war in Afghanistan, now in its 13th year, and Washington’s defeat and retreat in the face of an unconquered Taliban national resistance, has enormous consequences for US empire-building, as well as domestic public opinion and nationalist resistance movements worldwide.

First and foremost the war has turned the vast majority of Americans against new military interventions, especially those involving ground troops.  The “Afghan Syndrome” (replacing the ‘Vietnam Syndrome’ of the 1970’s and 1980’s) has become an obstacle to the launching of new military empire-building projects.

Obama’s ‘humanitarian’ intervention in Libya was confined to bombing cities and infrastructure while unable to send American ground troops to effectively occupy the country, set up a secure puppet government and seize the valuable oil fields.  As a result, its flimsy puppet government in Tripoli has collapsed and Libyan oil production is minimal.  Libya is a fragmented ‘failed state’ ruled by tribal armies with its once modern infrastructure in ruin.

Likewise the US is forced to wage war against the secular nationalist government in Syria via proxy jihadi mercenaries, as the “Afghan Syndrome” blocks greater and more direct US troop involvement.

Despite enormous pressure on the US President and Congress to launch a war against Iran from Israel’s fifth column, the so-called ‘Israel Lobby’, the ‘Afghan syndrome’ has limited Washington to rely on economic sanctions.   The uncontrolled, violent deterioration in the Middle East caused by US overt and covert wars has forced an opening for diplomatic negotiations with Teheran – to the fury of militarists in Tel Aviv and their US agents.  In other words, the defeat of the US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, as well as the enormous and destructive cost of a prolonged occupation to the US economy, has weakened the capacity of the US Empire to invade, occupy and pillage resource-rich adversaries, today and in the near future.

How Middle East Wars for Israel Weaken the US Presence in Latin America and Asia

Washington has thrown away trillions of dollars of public money and suffered major casualties in pursuit of endless wars in the Middle East, which were vigorously promoted by the domestic Zionist power configuration at the behest of Israel.

Because of this influential power configuration, the US has lost significant economic, political and diplomatic influence in its traditional spheres of control in Latin America and Asia.  US market shares in both regions have declined.  New regional organizations, excluding the US, have proliferated throughout Latin America.  China has expanded its own lucrative trade relations throughout both regions, further eroding US hegemony.

While Zionist influence over US policy is pernicious, eroding domestic sovereignty and undermining democracy within the US, the focus of US policy on the interests of Israel has clearly undermined the US presence in Latin America and Asia.

As long as the US continues to intervene in the Middle East, it will be unable to effectively intervene against popular uprisings and center-left governments in Latin America.  By channeling its resources to prop up hereditary tyrants in the Gulf and Egypt’s brutal military junta, the US has not been able pursue its more traditional role in Latin America.

The US has plenty of regional allies and clients in the Middle East and North Africa, but they lack popular legitimacy and rule through terror and repression.  In Turkey, mass protests have erupted against the Erdogan regime, including important sectors of the militant Turkish working class.  Kurds, Islamists and leftists have gained influence inside Turkey and along its borders.  Meanwhile, Turkey’s regional trading partners, such as Iraq, are in turmoil and trade has collapsed.  While Prime Minister Erdogan may win elections, his legitimacy among the population is tarnished and his ambition to be a major regional leader is severely diminished.

Israel continues to extract billions of dollars in annual US aid (tribute) while dispossessing and starving the Palestinians. Nevertheless the growing internationalboycott and divestment movement is undermining the power of Tel Aviv’s overseas “lobbies” to direct US and EU policy.  Israel has never been so isolated, feared and despised in the eyes of the world’s people.  International public opinion polls have repeatedly ranked Israel’s policies as a major source of war and instability in the world today.

In the US and EU, more voices than ever are speaking out against Israel’s crimes against humanity, despite the campaigns by major Zionist organizations to blacklist, threaten and punish critical voices.  Increasingly the power of the Israel lobby relies on its numerically small Zionist power elite – the millionaires and billionaires who own the mass media and who bankroll its political campaigns.  The leaders of major Jewish organizations in the US are facing a significant decline in membership especially among young generations of American Jews, unwilling to commit their energies and resources to a militarist, racist Israel.

The Gulf States:  Precarious Clients, Dubious Allies

            The Gulf States, including Saudi Arabia, have offered “paper” support for US wars in the Middle East at a cost.  Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Bahrain rule over their restive populations by coercion.  Majorities are demanding democratic freedom and, in some cases, have engaged in large-scale protests despite brutal repression.  US military bases in the region will be vulnerable when these pro-democracy majorities finally overthrow the family-based monarchic dictatorships.

Moreover, the Gulf regimes are playing a dangerous double game:  They publicly support the US while secretly funding the Sunni Islamist terrorists opposing US proxies, (the ‘moderate’ rebels) in Syria and the puppet government in Iraq.  The Gulf States financed the bloody ‘regime changes’ in Egypt and Libya, while the US may have been content (and better served) to arrange power-sharing agreements.  The Saudi monarchy has joined with Israel in trying to sabotage any US negotiations with Iran.  While, on paper, the US may have ‘clients and allies’ throughout the Middle East, these lack legitimacy, stability and trust . . . weak foundations from which to project US power.  They are a constant drain on financial resources and have no public sympathy among the US electorate.

Europe:  Crisis, Expansion and Resistance

While the European Union expands its territory with the de-facto annexation of the western Ukraine and Moldavia, and NATO stations its military facilities on the frontiers of Russia, the EU’s economy is suffering from the longest and deepest period of recession and stagnation since the Great Depression.

After six years of crisis with no end in sight, objective reality refutes any remaining notions of capitalism in Europe as a ‘self-rectifying’ system capable of sustaining growth and prosperity.  On the contrary, with inequalities widening and wages, salaries and the social safety net in sharp decline, class polarization is growing.  All the objective conditions for a revival of class struggle are present.

With even harsher retrograde measures (“austerity”) imposed on the populations by oligarchs in Brussels, workers and salaried employees, in both the public and private sectors, are showing uneven and sporadic signs of mass resistance.  This will lay the groundwork for more general and systematic confrontations in the not too distant future.

Even as the European Union overextends itself, seizing control of the western Ukraine via a repugnant and brutal proxy putsch regime, it has ignited a partisan revolt in the industrial eastern Ukraine.  Workers and employees have set up a popular democratic republic and are engaged in a war of national resistance against the EU collaborator junta in Kiev.

The EU and the US threats of harsher sanctions against Russia have provoked furious criticism from major sectors of the capitalist class in Germany, France, the US, Italy and elsewhere.  The US National Association of Manufacturers and the US Chamber of Commerce have published editorials and full-page ads in all the influential financial media, arguing that new sanctions against Russia will lead to losses of billions of dollars in trade and investments and cost hundreds of thousands of US jobs.

The significance of this current break between the capitalist class and the imperial state clearly highlights the conflict between Washington based-militarists and market-based producers and investors.  If and when this conflict deepens, there will be the potential for a broad-based, well-financed coalition opposed to the militarist vision of ‘globalization’

In the meantime, Russia and China have moved toward a new political, economic and military alliance in response to sanctions.  Trade in rubles and renminbi (instead of dollars and euros) is expanding.  The domestic economy is becoming the motor force of China’s new growth model.  Local industry is replacing European imports via “import substitution” in Russia.

In sum, Washington and Brussels’ sanctions and bellicose threats against Russia and China are having a boomerang effect.  They are costing Western manufacturers and exporters significant market shares in large dynamic countries and fomenting deep internal divisions within the ruling classes in the US and EU.

Rising Class and National Struggles in the EU

Class struggle from below intensifies in the EU.  In Greece, the leftwing partySyriza, controls the municipal governments in Athens and throughout Attica, and currently leads in the national polls.  In France, the neo-liberal, militarist, so-called “Socialist” regime of President Francois Hollande has lost credibility and hovers at 19% public support.  It wallows in economic stagnation with double-digit unemployment and an unending series of scandals.  The popular revolt against “austerity” and the Brussels dictatorship grows . . . So far, unfortunately, this public anger has been most effectively capitalized by the nationalist Right, but hopefully, the nationalist left will be re-energized by the crisis, intensify class contradictions in the near future and seize the opportunity to organize and lead.

In Spain, the nationalist left movements in the Basque country and Catalonia are challenging the Rightist regime in Madrid and the ‘neo-liberal nationalists’ in Barcelona and Bilbao.  A state crisis looms, where the vast army of unemployed youth (50%) could play a major role in radicalizing the independence movement.

Latin America:  The Center-Left, the Right and the Left

Into the second decade of the 21st century, many of the illusions of the Left and its fears about US Empire have faded.  So-called ‘21st century socialism’, has not ‘socialized’ any economies while the US has not succeeded in orchestrating regime change and installing its neo-liberal clients in any major South American countries.  The exception is Honduras, a nation in shambles, with tens of thousands of refugees fleeing the US-installed military-civilian junta – including thousands of Honduran children crowding US deportation camps.

What has emerged is a triangular struggle between established center-left regimes backed by electoral majorities, US-backed rightist parties and leftist-backed social movements and trade unions.

The US has secured support for its new Trans-Pacific Alliance from Colombia, Chile, Peru and Mexico. However, this has not undermined the independent regional trade and cooperation organizations, which exclude the US, such as UNASUR and ALBA. Both Chile and Peru, close US ‘allies’, depend far more on their trade with China than with the US.

Over the past decade, Washington has succeeded in orchestrating two coups – Honduras and Paraguay – both marginal and in decline.  But it has so far failed in three much larger and vibrant nations:  Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador.

Washington maintains seven military bases in Colombia, but Bogota has signed trade, military and political agreements with Venezuela to end cross border military incursions and mutually respect their political sovereignty.

The center-left has consolidated political power in Uruguay and Bolivia, and to a lesser degree in Brazil and Ecuador.  Nevertheless, the center-left’s dependence on agro-mineral exports and foreign finance capital has caused domestic economic stagnation.  This has led to the growth of right-wing electoral parties and violent coup-attempts in some countries while promoting the growth of significant left-led social movements and direct action in others.  In Venezuela, the right has engaged in election violence, bloody attacks by hired thugs, destructive street demonstrations with the burning of clinics and power stations, as well as an elite-orchestrated campaign to sabotage the economy.  In the midst of double-digit inflation, political street violence and a crime wave, the center-left’s popular base has been eroded in Venezuela.

Washington has used its courts to attack Argentina by ruling in favor of the so-called ‘vulture’ capitalists or speculative investment funds which had purchased Argentine debt after its severe economic crisis and are now pushing the country toward defaulting on its current foreign debt or depleting its foreign reserves to reward the ‘vultures’.

President Obama continues the US half-century boycott against Cuba in splendid isolation at home and abroad, in spite of both international and domestic opinion in favor of normal relations with Havana. The growing violent right-wing opposition against the center-left in Venezuela and Argentina has polarized their political systems.  As the right-wing advances and the governments give way, popular movements and mobilizations intensify and increase political volatility.  While the danger of right-wing takeovers is growing, so are opportunities for the Left to gain significant support from the traditional mass base of the Center-Left.

Africa:  The Historic General Strike in South Africa

While the former-nationalist rulers in South Africa, Angola, and Mozambique continue to pillage the treasury and enrich themselves in partnership with the US-EU-Chinese mining corporations, South African mine workers are creating a potentially radical alternative.  For five months, the South African platinum miners have been engaged in the longest, most disciplined and most successful strike in the history of Africa.  Despite the brutal massacre of 39 miners by the ruling black bourgeois regime (African National Congress), the opposition of the biggest global mining companies in Africa and the sellout leadership of the trade union confederation, the miners have held fast.  Following their success, trade union militants are organizing a new trade union confederation and a new workers’ party. Their leaders have introduced a new spirit of hope and struggle among millions of poor, unemployed and marginalized black Africans.

The United States:  Small Victories Can Lead to Big Movements

It is tempting to be pessimistic about progressive change in the United States with its anemic and politically irrelevant trade union federation and co-opted peace movement; the decline of independent grass-roots organizations; the co-optation of Black and Latino politicians by the Wall Street-dominated Democratic Party and the successful State crackdown on the “Occupy Movement”.

At the international level the Obama regime has increased its support for direct and proxy intervention in Syria, Iraq and the Gulf region.  Washington has given over 2 billion dollars in military aid to the brutal Egyptian military junta. Obama has released another five hundred million dollars in aid to the armed mercenary forces invading Syria. Hundreds of US Special Forces and thousands of armed ‘contractors’ have been sent to Iraq and one thousand US Marines are ready ‘off-shore’…

On the other hand there are signs of hope on the horizon. Over 80% of the US public have rejected Obama’s war mongering, especially his ambitions to ‘re-enter’ Iraq.

It was US public opinion and letters to their Congressional representatives that blocked Obama’s plan to bomb Syria.  His callous embrace of the Egyptian coup and dictator has alienated the vast majority of secular democrats and moderate Muslims in North Africa and the Middle East.

Obama’s spineless support of Israel’s settler land grabs and the ‘business-as-usual’ complicity of US corporations with radical Jewish colonists in the West Bank are increasingly opposed by the European Union, leading Christian churches (the US and Canadian Presbyterians, among others) and by the growing world-wide Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement.

In local US elections, we have seen a real, consequential socialist elected to the Seattle City Council.  The Chicago teachers union is leading a massive city-wide struggle, based in the Black and Mexican-American neighborhoods, against the draconian school closures and teacher lay-offs initiated by the ex-Wall Streeter, former Obama ‘Chief of Staff’, US-Israeli dual citizen, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel.  A broad trade union – community based coalition has formed to challenge Emmanuel’s corrupt money machine and austerity policies in the forthcoming mayoral elections.

Alternate media web sites, critical of politicians pandering to Wall Street and deeply opposed to new wars, now inform millions of American citizens as they seek their place in popular movements.

For the first time, the two principle business lobbies, the National Manufacturers Association (NAM) and the US Chamber of Commerce (USCC) have come out in public opposition to Washington’s sanctions against Russia.  The fact that big and small, local and international businesspeople recognized that US military interventions, economic sanctions and boycotts hurt their profits, limit their access to markets and cost thousands of domestic jobs is a major political breakthrough.  For over two decades, US business interests, especially Big Oil, have been bullied into silence, while Israel’s thuggish “Lobby” has successfully pushed for sanctions against Iraq and then a full-scale invasion, and then more sanctions targeting Iran, Syria and Lebanon.  The recognition that this has hurt US investors, cut access to international markets, eliminated hundreds of thousands of US jobs and caused the price of fuel to soar for hundreds of millions of US consumers has finally been brought home.  The current push for sanctions against Russia does not have the rabid support of the pro-Israel lobby and US businesses interests are effectively finding their courage to face the politically-isolated militarists in Washington and certain sectors of the military-industrial complex.  Nevertheless, this might not bode well for the Zionist push for future wars and sanctions in the Middle East.

Our hope is not a Panglossian dream.

The institutional power of the warmongers and the Wall Street-Washington revolving door is a major entrenched force in the US.  But we also should recognize that we can win and we have won elections at the local level through new community-based organizations.  We constitute ‘the mainstream’ in our opposition to the new wars in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere.

The enemy, “capitalism”, is powerful, but it has manifestly failed to generate new well-paying jobs needed to sustain a decent, stable standard of living for the ‘99%’.  It cannot provide efficient, quality health care and educational opportunities for US citizens.  It cannot fund an adequate national pension system or protect and build secure communities and jobs.  No one buys into the capitalist “success stories” any more, stories that bamboozled our parents and grandparents from the 1940’s – 1990’s.  The main picture of capitalism today is one of economic breakdowns, home foreclosures, Wall Street swindles, impunity for corporate criminals, rampant corruption, prolonged crisis, declining living standards, stagnation and cut backs in vital social services.

Only in their splendid isolation, far from the American public, can the overpaid academic economists and financial media mouth-pieces boast of the victory of capitalism – but they are counting only the soaring profits and increasingly concentrated wealth of the top 1% while ignoring the impoverishment of the 99%.

We are united with the majority on the economy and in opposition to the launching of more wars abroad.  We share a clear understanding of the current oligarchical nature of the US political system.  When we move from our shared vision to effective organizing, from protest to politics, from narrow to broad issues, from Democratic Party hacks to genuine, independent grass-roots leaders, we can join the rest of humanity fighting with dignity for a better world.  We can find allies and inspiration among the hundreds of millions of Chinese workers successfully doubling their wages every seven years, among the courageous armed workers in Eastern Ukraine fighting for democracy and self-determination, among the militant miners in South Africa, among the majority of democratic socialists in Greece, among the left nationalists in the Basque and Catalan nations and the popular democrats in Egypt, Palestine, Iraq and elsewhere.

We are deeply aware of the obstacles, the human costs and the long road ahead.  Nothing is inevitable or pre-determined.  Progress depends on personal commitment and intervention.  We are not alone, we are gaining adherents and we are advancing.  Each of us has a particular national and cultural context, but we all share the universal values of freedom, social justice and solidarity. In the last analysis, it is the struggle for freedom that gives meaning to our everyday life.The institutional power of the warmongers and the Wall Street-Washington revolving door is a major entrenched force in the US.  But we also should recognize that we can win and we have won elections at the local level through new community-based organizations.  We constitute ‘the mainstream’ in our opposition to the new wars in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere.

The enemy, “capitalism”, is powerful, but it has manifestly failed to generate new well-paying jobs needed to sustain a decent, stable standard of living for the ‘99%’.  It cannot provide efficient, quality health care and educational opportunities for US citizens.  It cannot fund an adequate national pension system or protect and build secure communities and jobs.  No one buys into the capitalist “success stories” any more, stories that bamboozled our parents and grandparents from the 1940’s – 1990’s.  The main picture of capitalism today is one of economic breakdowns, home foreclosures, Wall Street swindles, impunity for corporate criminals, rampant corruption, prolonged crisis, declining living standards, stagnation and cut backs in vital social services.

Only in their splendid isolation, far from the American public, can the overpaid academic economists and financial media mouth-pieces boast of the victory of capitalism – but they are counting only the soaring profits and increasingly concentrated wealth of the top 1% while ignoring the impoverishment of the 99%.

We are united with the majority on the economy and in opposition to the launching of more wars abroad.  We share a clear understanding of the current oligarchical nature of the US political system.  When we move from our shared vision to effective organizing, from protest to politics, from narrow to broad issues, from Democratic Party hacks to genuine, independent grass-roots leaders, we can join the rest of humanity fighting with dignity for a better world.  We can find allies and inspiration among the hundreds of millions of Chinese workers successfully doubling their wages every seven years, among the courageous armed workers in Eastern Ukraine fighting for democracy and self-determination, among the militant miners in South Africa, among the majority of democratic socialists in Greece, among the left nationalists in the Basque and Catalan nations and the popular democrats in Egypt, Palestine, Iraq and elsewhere.

We are deeply aware of the obstacles, the human costs and the long road ahead.  Nothing is inevitable or pre-determined.  Progress depends on personal commitment and intervention.  We are not alone, we are gaining adherents and we are advancing.  Each of us has a particular national and cultural context, but we all share the universal values of freedom, social justice and solidarity. In the last analysis, it is the struggle for freedom that gives meaning to our everyday life.

Jul 032014
 

Posted by snakearbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:

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Due to legal obstacles in prohibiting social media shares from political dissidents in Turkey, the government has a new strategy: to act as internet pirates. Much different than the political pirate movement, Turkey will now try to hack into ISPs’ systems and surveil on users’ browsing/sharing habits. With this aim, recently the internet watchdog has sent “secret orders” note to ISPs, to prepare necessary software infrastructure in order to detect the users that share unwanted content on social media platforms. Daily Taraf’s Tunca Ogreten’s article reveals government’s plans to intervene in internet users’ privacy and basic freedoms yet again.

The method to intervene in between the user agreement which secures privacy of the user regarding the service s/he signs up for, will hack into the HTTPS protocol and surveil on user habits. The government’s request from ISSs to establish a bug that will work as a spyware is planned to enable browsing all user behavior and data without his/her consent. This includes not only the content of social media updates a person shares but also the e-trade flow and all related data; and the system is planned to be open for immediate interventions.

ISPs will be declared Guilty, not the State

Taraf writes that an ISP manager who does not want to share his name states that s/he has tried telling the TIB authorities that HTTPS security protocol breach is unlawful and a crime but internet watchdog still wants to carry on with the spying plans. The blunt answer from TIB is “there are countries that are able to breach HTTPS traffic, figure it out and do the same.” ISPs state that this is going to be a major violation of human rights and will create security risks. However the strangest part may be that TIB does not install this system by its own; demands the private companies to do it. When it becomes possible to intervene in banking processes and millions of users’ accounts get drained, the internet watchdog that is probably after political surveillance and censorship, will not even be responsible for causing a crash in the economy. On the other hand, the internet regulations bill that is updated last January allows such applications as the law is not clear as to how state will block access to certain content.

Putting Students under Pressure

Another new regulation regarding use of internet is prepared to put more pressure on the most vibrant protesting group in the country: the students. In a country where distribution of wealth is quite uneven, millions of students are urged to live in state-run dormitories, however with the new regulations if a student criticizes government policies or complains of the conditions of universities/dormitories that student will be kicked out of the place. In case of a mass protest at a university or a dormitory, the minister of youth will be allowed to close down the dormitories for a time the minister pleases.

The new regulations and preparations do not cite what methods will be used to surveil on students media, social media appearance. However in certain crowds there are parallels being drawn between real-time censorship, interventions and surveillance, and the recently revealed NetClean software purchase.

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

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

Jun 252014
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

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Introduction

There are two major beneficiaries of the two major wars launched by the US government: one domestic and one foreign.  The three major domestic arms manufacturers, Lockheed Martin (LMT), Northrop Grumman (NOG) and Raytheon (RTN) have delivered record-shattering returns to their investors, CEOs and investment banks during the past decade and a half.  The Israeli regime is the overwhelming foreign beneficiary of the war, expanding its territory through its dispossession of Palestinians and positioning itself as the regional hegemon.  Israel benefited from the US invasion which destroyed Iraq, a major ally of the Palestinians; the invasion provided cover for massive Israel’s settler expansion in the Occupied Palestinian territories.  In the course of its invasion and occupation Washington systematically destroyed Iraq’s armed forces and civil infrastructure, shredding its complex modern society and state.  By doing so, the US occupation removed one of Israel’s major regional rivals.

In terms of cost to the United States, hundreds of thousands of soldiers who had served in the war zones have sustained severe physical and mental injuries, while thousands have died directly or indirectly through an epidemic of soldier suicides.  The invasion and occupation of Iraq has cost the United States trillions of dollars and counting.  Despite the immense costs to the American people, the military-industrial complex and the pro-Israel power configuration continue to keep the US government on a wartime economy – undermining the domestic social safety net and standard of living of many millions.

No peaceful economic activity can match the immense profits enjoyed by the military-industrial complex in war.  This powerful lobby continues to press for new wars to sustain the Pentagon’s huge budget.  As for the pro-Israel power configuration, any substantive diplomatic peace negotiations in the Middle East would end their naked land grabs, reduce or curtail new weapons transfers and undermine pretexts to sanction or attack countries, like Iran, that stand in the way of Tel Aviv’s vision of “Greater Israel”, unrivaled in the region.

The costs of almost 15 years of warfare weigh heavily on the US Treasury and electorate.  The wars have been dismal failures if not outright defeats.  New sectarian conflicts have emerged in Syria, Iraq and, now, Ukraine – opportunities for the US arms industry and the pro-Israel lobbies to make even greater profits and gain more power.

The on-going horrendous costs of past and continuing wars make the launch of new military interventions more difficult for US and Israeli militarists.  The US public expresses wide-spread discontent over the burden of the recent past wars and shows even less stomach for new wars to profit the military-industrial complex and further strengthen Israel.

War Profits

The power and influence of the military-industrial complex in promoting serial wars has resulted in extraordinary rates of profit.    According to a recent study by Morgan Stanley (cited in Barron’s, 6/9/14, p. 19), shares in the major US arms manufacturers have risen 27,699% over the past fifty years versus 6,777% for the broader market.  In the past three years alone, Raytheon has returned 124%, Northrup Grumman 114% and Lockheed Martin 149% to their investors.

The Obama regime makes a grand public show of reducing the military budget via the annual appropriation bill, and then, turns around and announces emergency supplemental funds to cover the costs of these wars. . .thereby actually increasing military spending, all the while waving the banner of ‘cost cutting’.  Obama’s theatrics have fattened the profits for the US military-industrial complex.

War profits have soared with the series of military interventions in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.  The arms industry lobbyists pressure Congressional and Pentagon decision-makers to link up with the pro-Israel lobby as it promotes even deeper direct US military involvement in Syria, Iraq and Iran.  The growing ties between Israeli and US military industries reinforce their political leverage in Washington by working with liberal interventionists and neo-conservatives.  They attack Obama for not bombing Syria and for his withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.  They now clamor for sending US troops back to Iraq and call for intervention in Ukraine.  Obama has argued that proxy wars without direct US troop involvement do not require such heavy Pentagon expenditures as the arms industry demands.  The Obama regime has presented the withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan as a necessary step to reduce US financial and military losses.  This was in response to Wall Street’s pressure to cut the budget deficit.  Obama’s attempt to meet the demands of the US financial sector has come at the price of cutting potential profit for the military industrial complex as well as infuriating Israel and its fanatical supporters in the US Congress.

The Fight over the Military Budget:  Veterans versus the Complex and the Lobby

In the face of rising domestic pressure to reduce the budget deficit and cut military spending, the US military-industrial complex and its Zionist accomplices are fighting to retain their share by eliminating programs designed to serve the health needs of active and retired soldiers.  Soaring disability costs related to the recent wars will continue for decades.  Veteran health care costs are expected to double to 15% of the defense budget in the next five years.  The huge public cost of caring for soldiers and veterans means “bad news for defense stocks” according to financial analysts (Barron’s, 6/9/14, p. 19).

This is reason  why the arms industries promote the closure of scores of Veterans Administration hospitals and a reduction in retiree benefits, using the pretext of fighting fraud, incompetence and poor quality service compared with the ‘private sector’.  The same corporate warlords and lobbyists who clamor to send US troops to back to Iraq and to new wars in Syria and Ukraine, where young lives, limbs and sanity are at great risk, are also in the forefront of a fight to slash funding for the veterans’ medical care.  Economists have long noted that the more dollars spent on veterans’ and military retirees’ health care, the less allocated for war materials, ships and aircraft. Today it is estimated that over $900 billion dollars will have been spent on long-term VA medical and disability services for veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  That number is clearly set to rise with each new intervention.

The corporate warlords are urging Congress to increase co-pays, enrollment fees and deductibles for veterans, retirees and active duty personnel enrolled in military health insurance plans, such as Tricare, as well as limiting access to the VA.

The fight over Pentagon expenditures is a struggle over war or social justice:   health services for troops and veterans versus weapons programs that fatten corporate profits for the arms industry.

Jun 212014
 

Posted by snakearbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:

Is the Gothenborg-based NetClean software as innocent as it is presented or is it used for silencing political dissent?

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Are Turkey’s notorious attempts to limit freedom of expression on the Internet adopting yet another powerful tool? This is the question that comes to mind when reading the news of the Swedish digital security company NetClean’s possible deal with the Turkish government. It was announced on a pro-government media outlet, Daily Sabah, that the government is to purchase the software for €40 million in order to combat “unwanted content” in the digital public space. As usual, the excuse given to cover the censorship is “child pornography.”

Since last year’s Gezi Park protests and protesters’ intensive use of social-media tools to organize and regroup, Turkey’s government has been taking steps – including a full ban – to discourage millions from using social media to spread political dissent and criticism of government policies. As all other forms of public space and media are under almost absolute control of the governing AKP, social-media platforms and the Internet still serve as the only tool citizens have to express themselves with a degree of freedom.

The head of the Turkish government, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, declared that Twitter was a “menace to society, to all societies,” upon which the government began seeking new ways to prevent the use of the platform for political criticism. The excuse presented was that “all kinds of immorality takes place there, families get separated; this is against the party’s conservative agenda.”

By definition, NetClean presents itself as a company working on software that aims to create a more secure society in the digital sphere by scanning, analyzing and blocking content. Moreover, its primary goal is supposedly to fight child pornography. The software is purchased by governments and ISPs around the world. Yet at what expense?

When one considers the world map of censorship and surveillance, it is not hard to guess which countries would be among the top buyers of this software. The software extends the effects of censorship a step further than WhiteBox initially did. WhiteBox is a software application based on URL blocking that allows users to browse content through filters, using DNS spoofing and ban lists of unwanted URLs. While WhiteBox can be used globally to combat child pornography, various governments have declared intentions to purchase even more advanced software to block content in real time.

In Turkey’s case, one has to remember Prime Minister Erdoğan’s approach to social media platforms, calling them a “source of immorality” and threatening to “eradicate twitter-mwitter all of them.” Moreover, it is important to remember that Turkey’s top general called social media “a threat to state order.”

Last December was a month of chaos for Turkey’s intelligence service. Not only did the intelligence service fail to prevent the spread of news of Turkey’s biggest corruption fiasco yet, but it also proved incapable of detecting the source of the information leak. The leaked sound recordings were allegedly of the Prime Minister’s phone calls with several people, asking for bribes and telling his son to hide the money before a police raid. Although Turkey’s top science institute declared that the sound recordings were a montage, sound/video clips continued leaking and circulating online for months.

Upon the intelligence service’s inability to combat such information leaks, the governing party AKP passed a controversial censorship bill in the parliament in February, allowing state officials to ban Web sites with a simple order, with no requirement of a court warrant or statement of a reason for the blocking. Although this action is in direct violation of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey, the government has repeated its intention to block “unwanted content” and even remove it from the Web.

Currently Turkey leads the world in demands for removal of content from global digital corporations, even though in most cases these demands are in violation of freedom of expression or the right to acquire information. If the Turkish government showed more respect for democratic governance and human rights, perhaps use of this software would not have caused this level reaction from notable intellectuals, academics, NGOs and individual citizens. But censorship always seems to wear the mask of providing more security, while in fact stripping citizens of yet more liberties.

A question that needs to be answered is why Sweden, a country that claims to promote human rights and stand up for human dignity globally, has agreed to sell software that will obviously target political opposition in Turkey. Looking at current uses of censorship mechanisms in Turkey, it can be seen that content regarding Armenian newspapers, Kurdish political movements, LGBT rights and lifestyle, opposition parties’ Web sites and critical articles, anti-racist Web sites, etc. have been banned. One can’t help but wonder how many of these groups Sweden supports as a nation, yet will contribute to repressing in Turkey… Moreover, when one considers the fact that the company was founded with donations from Queen Sylvia of Sweden, the question arises of what statement Sweden’s royal head of state is making.

Lastly, it might make one issue very clear: Turkey is one of the top countries for censorship of pornography, yet also tops the charts for searches for porn content. The Turkish government cooperates with global allies to combat child pornography, yet unfortunately Turkey is the leading country when it come to searches for child porn. Obviously blocking access or applying censorship does not solve a sociological problem emerging from a mentality of prohibition in the country. If the Turkish government were sincere in protecting children, would it not be more useful to prohibit child labor and child marriage and imprison pedophile rapists rather than letting them go? When children are subjected to bullying and violence on the streets, in schools, and at home and are killed by policemen on streets, how sincere is the government’s attempt to implement a censorship policy with the excuse of combating child pornography when at the same time it declares political dissent illegal?

Many governments use the excuse of protecting children, but somehow the policy rapidly turns into a centralized structure of censorship and surveillance – a system of digital detention of citizens. While decentralization of the Internet is vital for the spread and defense of our liberties and knowledge as global citizens, governments’ policy of blocking access, removing content and censoring the Internet is the greatest obstacle to the advancement of democratic governance globally.

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

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

Jun 172014
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

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Introduction

Greece is experiencing a triple crisis which has a profound impact on the economy, society and political system.  The economy has experienced a deep, prolonged depression lasting six years and continuing.  Workers and employees have suffered a 40% loss in income and a commensurate decline in medical, pension, educational and welfare benefits.  The political system has witnessed a precipitous decline in electoral support for previously dominant right and center left parties and the rapid rise of  radical democratic-socialist and fascist parties.

The socio-economic effects of the crash of the economy have been exacerbated by the “austerity programs” imposed by the European Unions’ triumvirate. The economic cuts have undermined any economic recovery and accentuated the reductions in employment, social welfare and public investments.

The political consequences resulting from the extremely harsh policies of the EU and their forceful implementation by the right and center parties have been dramatic.  A vast upheaval has shaken the entire political system.  Previously dominant mainstream parties have been increasingly rejected, while formerly marginal democratic socialist and radical right wing parties have made major advances.

The political consequences of the demise of Greek capitalism require a closer look at the prospects for an electoral victory for the democratic socialists in the immediate future.

The Rise of Syriza

The rise of the democratic socialists, more specifically Syriza, has been rapid and substantial.  Between October 2009 and 2014 it has grown by a multiple of five:  In the elections of October 2009 Syriza got 4.6% of the vote (315,665); in May 2012 16.8% (1,061,928) and in the most recent elections for the Euro parliament 26.l6% (1,516,699).  In contrast the two previously dominant parties, the rightwing New Democracy (ND) and the Panhellenic Socialist Party (PASOK) have experienced a precipitous decline.  In October 2009, combined ,they got 77.4%, (5,308, 261); in May 2012, 32% (2,025,555); and in the recent Europarlimentary elections 30.7% (1,753,592).

The Greek Communist Party has also declined, despite the crises, and the militancy of its trade union sector.  In the October 2009 elections, they got 8.4% (428,151); in the June 2012 elections 4.5% (277,227); and in the 2014 elections 6.1% (347,487).

In contrast the neo-fascist Golden Dawn has grown substantially over the same period.  In the October 2009 elections Golden Dawn got .5% (23,566); in June 2012 7% (440,966); and in the Europarlimentary elections of 2014, 9.4% (536,442).

The demise of the neo-liberal right (New Democracy) is accompanied by the rise of the radical nationalist right.  The collapse of the neo-liberal social democrats (PASOK) is accompanied by the rise of the radical left (Syriza) and a new self-styled “center-left”party calling itself “The River” (POTAMI).

The current electoral map of Greece is not defined by a dominant party or coalition.  The bi-party break-down is accompanied by fragmentation and polarization.  Moreover, the most intransigent opponents of the European Union’s austerity program and its executors in Greece are profoundly divided.  The Communist Party and Golden Dawn are mortal enemies of Syriza, thus eliminating any possibility of an “anti-EU” coalition.

The same problem is evident on the Right.  New Democracy and allied parties combine for only 27.4% of the electorate and are on a downward slope.

PASOK’s embrace of the neo-liberal agenda has led to the loss of nearly 85% of its voters (2.5 million) over the past 5 years. Many of their supporters among public sector employees have turned to Syriza.

The new ‘center-left’ party, “The River”, which gained 6.7% of the electorate has yet to decide which bloc to support, essentially bargaining to see with whom it can gain the most government posts.

Given the current dynamics of declining pro-EU support and increasing radicalization, what options does Syriza have, if it is to come to power?

Syriza:  Perspectives and Options

Syriza is the only realistic political vehicle on the Left with mass support, trade union backing and the electoral machinery for forming a government.  Its political trajectory has been in ascendance – up to point.

The fundamental problem is that after its spectacular rise between 2009 and 2012, it has stagnated.  In the June 2012 elections it got 26.9% and in the May 2014 elections 26.6%.  It appears that Syriza has hit an electoral barrier.  Despite the fact that it is Greece’s leading electoral party; it appears to be unable to advance further and secure a parliamentary majority.  This raises the question of alliances with political parties to the Left or Right.  Moreover, the internal divisions within Syriza complicate any overtures to possible electoral partners.  Syriza has drawn leaders, cadres and supporters from the former Maoist, Trotskyist and radical left.  Numerous PASOK middle level leaders and electoral supporters have flocked to Syriza.  Many defected as a result of PASOK’s responsibility for the crises and support for the “austerity” pact with the EU.  In addition a number of ex-Communist trade unionists are now backing Syriza as the only realistic alternative to the Right; many have repudiated Communist Party sectarianism and hostility toward other leftist formations.  The current leadership of Syriza has, so far, been able to maintain cohesion by balancing harsh critiques of the austerity pact, which satisfies the radical sectors, with a refusal to exit the EU, which accommodates the social-democratic wing of the Party.

At some point in the coming period Syriza will have to make some hard choices,if it is to form an alternative government.  Each of the following options has advantages and disadvantages, costs and benefits.

The Radical Option

Syriza opts to ally with the Communist Party.  This is a very difficult choice as the CP demands full compliance with its program, an equal sharing of key posts in a future government and recognition of its vanguard role.  Given the fact that, electorally, the CP represents less than one-quarter of the voting strength of Syriza these are totally unacceptable terms to all sectors of the democratic left.  The CP would have to accept that it will be a minority partner and that it would have to moderate some of its radical demands.  The CP fears that Syriza is just another version of PASOK – a party that gives left signals and makes right turns.  Its basic argument  that Syriza’s refusal to exit the EU is a sign of its basic opportunism, has some merit.  But it refuses to even consider tactical electoral alliances, or offer critical support in forming municipal governments.

In any case, even if the CP and other smaller radical left groups joined a Left  coalition, it would only add 8.6% to the electoral total, resulting in a precarious parliamentary majority subject to defections from the social-democratic wing of Syriza and face constant threats of defections by Communist maximalists.

The Moderate Option

Syriza could form an alliance with the so-called center-left parties – PASOK and River parties – on the bases of a minimum program which would involve a commitment to remain in the EU based on renegotiating debt payments and the austerity programs, increasing public spending and ending the privatization of strategic economic sectors.  This opening to the Right, would endanger the internal equilibrium of Syriza:  it risks a split with the powerful radical sector, thus reducing its overall representation in Parliament.

Even if the Syriza left were to be pacified by offers of ministerial posts and promises of ‘hard negotiations’ with the EU, it is not likely to succeed in securing substantial concessions from the EU.  Sectors of the latter are likely to welcome a Greek exit.  Others will insist on full compliance with only slight modifications regarding the size of budget surpluses, increases in public spending and the terms of privatization.  For the EU, the substance of the austerity program, the scope and depth of privatization, and the obligations to meet interest payments are non-negotiable.  In other words to remain in the EU, Syriza would have to continue the basic policies of its rightwing predecessor.  To remain in the EU Syriza would have to capitulate and become an updated version of PASOK – and lose its mass base in the next elections.  Syriza leaders could procrastinate, with phony  promises of a future break with the EU when ‘the time is more propitious’ or it could exit from the EU, losing its center-left allies, but hoping to recoup new supporters through alternative policies.

The ‘Middle Road’

Syriza could continue as an independent political movement, without radical left or center-left coalitions, working to accumulate forces from the stagnant Communists and the disintegrating right-center regime.  It could use its leadership of local and regional governments to demonstrate its effectiveness and capacity to govern and ameliorate harsh national policies.  It could transform its voting pluralities in Athens and Attica into majorities via community based councils, administrating social programs, food kitchens, public works, clinics and public security.

Conclusion:  Perspectives

Syriza, in government and out of the EU, could re-allocate debt payments, based on a debt moratorium, to public investments.  It could revert to a national currency and end the fiscal constraints of the EU strait-jacket on budgets, incomes and employment.  Control over monetary policy would allow Syriza to devaluate, to raise the effective taxes on the kleptocratic millionaires.  It could stimulate the economy and end the deflationary effects of the austerity programs.  Protective tariffs, foreign exchange controls and revitalization of public sector enterprises could stimulate the local market.  Flexible monetary policy could increase tourism.  The cut-off of funding from the EU could be compensated by a 50% cut in military spending and an exit from NATO.  The government could finance start-ups of high tech, small and medium size enterprises by the large numbers of educated Greeks currently overseas or unemployed.  Greece could increase its ties with non EU countries across the globe.  Greece would pay a price, especially from the financial markets.  In the immediate period liquidity , external financing and capital flows would dry-up.  Internal opposition from sectors tied to EU markets and imports would intensify.

No doubt sectors of the old right will turn to the neo-fascist Golden Dawn Party, as part of a sharper political polarization.  Sectors of the police and army, with the support of NATO, will conspire to destabilize.

But with mass support in civil society and the civil bureaucracy, with a majority in the armed forces and police backing the constitutional government, a Syriza led recovery of sovereignty and a robust stimulus package could defeat a destabilization conspiracy.

The key to a successful Syriza government is unity and internal cohesion, and sound and equitable economic policies which balance economic growth and job creation with the gradual recovery of social benefits.

Above all Syriza should resist the populist-clientelistic policies which some of its followers will demand.  It must not take the easy and disastrous road of expanding the public bureaucracy.  There must be greater reliance on highly skilled professionals and entrepreneurial local innovators who produce useful goods for the market.  Public firms must be reformed.  The trade unions must understand that the first priority of the economic recovery is to create jobs for the 60% of unemployed youth.

Syriza is Greece’s last best hope . . . because waiting in the wings are the EU aligned oligarchs, fascists and disloyal NATO military officials eager to take advantage of any misstep in order to seize power and turn Greece into another Egypt, Thailand or Ukraine.

Jun 162014
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

INAA - Angers Pic

 

Late Summer Period, August – September of 2014

Symposia Period: Monday 25th of August to Saturday 6th of September

Institutional Partner: Université Catholique de l’Ouest 

Venue: IPLV – UCO    

City: Angers, Pays-de-la-Loire, France

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Postmodern Madness and the Reconstruction of Subjectivities (PMRS)  

Symposium: 1st

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

Project Coordinators: Oana Strugaru & Alejandro Cervantes-Carson

Dates: Thursday 4th to Saturday 6th of September, 2014

(Abstract Deadline: Thursday 31st of July, Paper Due: Thursday 21st of August)

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International Network for Alternative Academia – Extends a general invitation to participate

1st International Symposium: Postmodern Madness and The Reconstruction of Subjectivities 

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

Thursday 4th to Saturday 6th of September, 2014

Angers, Pays-de-la-Loire, France

Partner: Université Catholique de l’Ouest 

Venue: IPLV, UCO (3 Place André Leroy)

Main Campus (Building: Bâtiment Scientifique)

http://www.alternative-academia.net/ocs-2.3.5/index.php/ANGERS2014/PMRS-1-1/schedConf/cfp

Enquiries: acc@alternative-academia.net

Call for Papers

(Abstract Submission Period Opened: Monday 3rd of March, 2014)

(Abstract Deadline: Monday 31st of July, 2014)

This trans-disciplinary research project is interested in exploring the links between madness, subjectivity, and postmodern narratives. Or, from a different angle, we seek to investigate the ways postmodern discourses encompass ideals of madness in relation to the construction of subjectivity. Schizophrenia, paranoia, perversion, deviation are often called upon and incorporated in the construction of the postmodern subject. How are these terms used to construct subjectivities in cultures in which anxiety, unreason, and disorder are the norm? How is meaning refashioned to pass from ‘clinical abnormality’ to forms of social ‘normality’? How is this concept employed in constructing the postmodern subject in literature, movies, music, photography, painting, and other forms of art?

The project tries to examine the concept of madness considering how it is linked to expressions of the self in postmodern discourses. Considering its relationship to deviance, difference and discourse, it explores how madness both shapes and is shaped by postmodern narratives and cultural framing.

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. Madness, Culture and Crisis

- How is madness defined by and through contemporary culture?

- While medicalization has been a pervasive process in the past two centuries, what are other shifts in the historical definition of madness that warrant investigation? How do the commercialization of illness and the legalization of culture figure in this process?

- How has mental illness been defined in relation to madness? How can we describe and understand the shifting boundaries between these concepts?

- What remains outside the scope of mental illness and medicalization?

- Should madness be conceived as a crisis or, in contradistinction, should it be considered a state of normality? Is it an expression of an abnormality or a reaction to normality? To what degree manifestations of subjectivity can be considered as deviations from normality?

- What is the relation between madness, authority and the subject? Is madness an interpretation of the anxieties of the subject in relation to authority? Is it premised on the acceptance of authority?

- Where is the line drawn between the non-conformist and the clinical cases of madness? Where do we place deviants, minorities, and eccentrics? Has their status changed over time?

2. The Discourses of Madness

- How has the linguistic shift from madness to mental illness altered our understanding of this experience? What are the benefits and weaknesses of this change in language? Do they refer to the same phenomenon or are they, in fact, different experiences?

- Is disorder of discourse constructing a new subject or is it just a sign of abnormality inscribed within an otherwise coherent subject? Is disorder constructing subjectivities at the border between ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’?

-What is normal? What is abnormal? How can we account today for definitions of normality and abnormality?  Does this binomial relation and dichotomy change over time? What happens when the ‘normal’ becomes ‘abnormal’?

- How do order and disorder change, inform, and deconstruct one another? Where does the subject stand in relation to this order and conflict? How is it altered? How does it incorporate both order and disorder?

-To what extent is madness employed in constructing discourses?

- Is there a difference in the vocabulary employed when dealing with different aspects of madness? How is meaning changed when crossing from the clinical into the realm of art in general and the fictional in particular?

- What are the different connotations of describing someone as ‘mad’?

- What makes a subject mad? Is there something underneath the veil of madness?

3.  Representations of Madness

- What are apt metaphors for madness in contemporary culture?

- Is madness a metaphor? Is it a punishment?

- How is madness represented in and through the media, corporate culture and the arts? To what affect?

- How do contemporary models of madness construct new subjectivities? Do they generate a crisis of representation?

- Madness implies a form of disorderliness. Language imposes order. Can we speak of madness as such? What language is apt in describing the experience of madness?

- How does a ‘mad sovereign’ alter reality to fit his own ‘madness’? What is the role of his ‘subjects’? What is the role of the mad jester?

- Is madness an expression of freedom? Does madness entail a certain kind of freedom? Is a ‘mad’ subject freer than a ‘normal’ subject? What relation does it have to authority from this standpoint?

4.  Madness and Coherence in Postmodern Cultures

- Can we expect coherence in/from madness? Should we have such expectations?

- If one of the defining features of postmodernism is incoherence, is ours a culture of madness?

- What is madness in relation to the world? Is it a way of interpreting the world? Does it construct new worlds apart from the ‘real’ one?

- What is the relationship between madness and imagination?

- In a culture of the particular, of the multiple, of fragmentary, does madness articulate alternative worlds that coexist rhizomatically within the subject?

- How is madness employed in the construction of the subject? How is it done from the bottom-up and as an exercise of agency? How is it done from the top-down and as an exercise of power?

- Is the madness of the subject a manifestation of the madness of the world? Does it function as a defense mechanism or as a tool of versatility?

5. Madness – Traversing Cultures

- From ancient literature to postmodern writing, madness has been a theme in constructing, interpreting and modifying worlds. How are the forms of madness in art and literature dependent of the status of the world and place madness has in the world?  How does it become an expression of the world from a form of ‘abnormality’?

- What role does madness play in social groups, communities and social formations?

- What are the cultural stereotypes of madness? What is the status of the mad, of the rebel, of the disrupter of the non-conformist? Does this status change in time? Is it interpreted differently across cultures and forms of art?

- How has madness transformed from mental illness to a social expression of difference? To what extent insanity becomes in art a celebrated form of freedom, of the different, of the state of difference?

- In what ways is it censured as toxic, sick, deviant and in need of correction? What forms of madness are celebrated and what forms are feared and repressed? Why?

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, 31st of July, 2014. (For justifiable cases, we do uphold a tolerance period of fifteen 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 Monday 3rd of March, 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 21st of August, 2014. 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 Angers!

Symposium Coordinators:

Oana Strugaru

Faculty of Letters and Communication Sciences

Stefan cel Mare University

Suceava, Romania

Email: oana_andriese@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 on current debates and key themes. We offer annual and biannual symposiums at sites around the world, providing forums that foster the development of new frames of reference and innovative structures for the production and expansion of knowledge. Dialogue, discussion and deliberation define both the methods employed and the values upheld by this network.

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

Jun 152014
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

INAA - Angers Pic

Late Summer Period, August – September of 2014

Symposia Period: Monday 25th of August to Saturday 6th of September

Institutional Partner: Université Catholique de l’Ouest 

Venue: IPLV – UCO    

City: Angers, Pays-de-la-Loire, France

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Love, Lust and Longing: Rethinking Intimacy (LLL) 

Symposium: 4th

Research Program: Recasting Bonds

Project Coordinator: Alejandro Cervantes-Carson, Wendy O’Brien & Albin Wagener

Dates: Monday 1st to Wednesday 3rd of September, 2014

(Abstract Deadline: Monday 28th of July, Paper Due: Monday 18th of August)

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International Network for Alternative Academia – Extends a general invitation to participate

4th International Symposium: Love, Lust and Longing: Rethinking Intimacy

Part of the Research Program on: Recasting Bonds

Monday 1st to Wednesday 3rd of September, 2014

Angers, Pays-de-la-Loire, France

Partner: Université Catholique de l’Ouest 

Venue: IPLV, UCO (3 Place André Leroy)

Main Campus (Building: Bâtiment Scientifique)

http://www.alternative-academia.net/ocs-2.3.5/index.php/ANGERS2014/LLL-1-1/schedConf/cfp

Enquiries: acc@alternative-academia.net

Call for Papers

(Abstract Submission Period Opened: Monday 3rd of March, 2014)

(Abstract Deadline: Friday 28th of July, 2014)

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, 28th of July, 2014. (For justifiable cases, we do uphold a tolerance period of fifteen 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 Monday 3rd of March, 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 18th of August, 2014. 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 Angers!

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

Directeur del’IPLV

Institut en Perfectionnement en Langues Vivantes

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 on current debates and key themes. We offer annual and biannual symposiums at sites around the world, providing forums that foster the development of new frames of reference and innovative structures for the production and expansion of knowledge. Dialogue, discussion and deliberation define both the methods employed and the values upheld by this network.

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

Jun 132014
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

INAA - Angers Pic

 

Late Summer Period, August – September of 2014

Symposia Period: Monday 25th of August to Saturday 6th of September

Institutional Partner: Université Catholique de l’Ouest 

Venue: IPLV – UCO    

City: Angers, Pays-de-la-Loire, France

————————————————————————–

Risk, Dignity and Fragility: Searching for a New Ethics (RDF) 

Symposium: 1st

Research Program: Lost Virtues, Found Vices

Dates: Thursday 28th to Saturday 30th of August, 2014

(Abstract Deadline: Thursday 24th of July, Paper Due: Thursday 14th of August)

————————————————————————–

International Network for Alternative Academia – Extends a general invitation to participate

1st International Symposium: Risk, Dignity and Fragility: Searching for a New Ethics 

Part of the Research Program on: Lost Virtues, Found Vices

Thursday 28th to Saturday 30th of August, 2014

Angers, Pays-de-la-Loire, France

Partner: Université Catholique de l’Ouest 

Venue: IPLV, UCO (3 Place André Leroy)

Main Campus (Building: Bâtiment Scientifique)

http://www.alternative-academia.net/ocs-2.3.5/index.php/ANGERS2014/RDF-1-1/schedConf/cfp

Enquiries: acc@alternative-academia.net

Call for Papers

This trans-disciplinary research project is interested in exploring the nature and structure of an ethics for the 21st century. Ethics has most often been founded on a concept of the self as an agent that is secure, self-confident, and in control and on a view of the world as stable, unchanging and thus as knowable and predictable. Yet contemporary culture shows us a very different view of ourselves and of our environment. Caught up in a world in constant change where borders and boundaries, conditions and contexts are constantly changing and uncertainty is the norm, we find ourselves insecure, vulnerable as forces beyond our control direct and frame the moral decisions that we face. How must ethics be reconceived in light of our shifting ideals of the self and the world? Can there be an ethics under the conditions of uncertainty, flux, and instability?

This project takes up these questions considering how a new ethics for the 21st century might be envisioned and how it might be practiced.  Raising potent questions that engage in critical deliberations on alternative practices, pedagogies, performances, politics and processes it explores the development of new ethical frameworks grounded on the concepts of risk, responsibility and fragility.

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. Flux: A World in Motion

Traditionally, ethics has been grounded in a view of the world as something stable and solid – something known, knowable and thus predictable. However, scientific changes, technological advancements, social transformations, cultural shifts and political innovations have revealed the world to be in constant flux.

- How might we negotiate flux, change, fluidity, liquidity, and mutability as crucial dimensions of ethics?

- We increasingly live nomadic lives, transitioning cultural and political boundaries, finding ourselves members of transitory communities. Can an ethics be developed that allows for this mobility?

- How much flexibility can an ethics sustain? How much flexibility should it sustain?

- How do we explain the resistance to acknowledging the transitory nature of human existence?

- What new vocabularies must be developed in order to capture the flux that shapes the decisions we make and the lives we choose to live? What new discourses are emerging to capture this element of decision-making?

- Does the recognition of the flux of the world necessitate our adoption of some form of relativism? Why or why not?

- Are there trends and fashions in theory just as in clothing and décor?

- Can an ethics be sustained in a world that lacks stability?

- Are teleologies any longer conceivable in a world in which the consequences of our actions can never be known?

2. Reasonable Persons, Rational Minds

The development of an ethics seems to necessitate belief that agents and subjects are rational. Is such a belief well founded?

- Is rationality a necessary condition for the possibility of an ethics?

- Is the claim that individuals are rational well founded?

- What underlies and informs the need for ethics to deny irrational decision-making?

- What is the role of desire in considerations of what is good and bad, right and wrong?

- Does rational thought necessarily result in moral decision making? Does it result in just conclusions?

- What are the implications of the recognition that ethics is not founded on rational thought?

- Does acknowledgment of our irrationality negate the conditions for the possibility of deontologies?

3. Fragile Selves

The model of the self-sufficient, independent rational agent has framed our understanding of ethics and our practice of decision-making.

- Must ethics be grounded in a conception of the moral agent as ultimately self-sufficient?

- How might an ethics be developed premised on the concept of fragility?

- How might recognition rather than denial of our anxieties reconfigure our understanding of ethical choices?

- How would recognition of our vulnerabilities rather than our self-sufficiencies and mastery shift our understanding of ethical decision-making and of moral agency?

4. Interaction, Interdependence and Collaboration: Evolving A New Ethics

The independence of moral agents to make decisions and to suffer the consequences of their actions has been upended in contemporary culture.

- Is an ethics premised on individualism possible? Why or why not?

- How might the recognition of the inevitable intertwining of our desires, lives and projects change our conceptions of ethics? How might an ethics based on intersubjectivity be developed?

- What opportunities exist for revitalizing/re-envisioning community engagement?

- What challenges do we face regarding the development of an ethics as the intertwining of cultures and the meshing of values?

- How might we envision an ethics grounded on collaboration?

- What forces encourage and produce internal and external clashes and collisions at the intersections of value systems, beliefs, ideologies and political processes?

5. On (the) Edge: The Dynamics of Risk

As certainty and rationality give way, a new ethics that recognizes and embraces risk seems to be necessitated.

- Does risk negate the conditions for the possibility of ethics?

- How might our notions of risk be broadened beyond considerations of mere danger, threat and insecurity?

- How does recognition of the inevitability of risk change how we understand transgression, coercion, complicity and conversion?

6. The Language of Rights, The Institution of Law 

We have witnessed the codification of ethics through the language of rights and the implementation of moral principles across diverse populations via the institution of law.

- What have we gained and what have we lost from the creation and expansion of the language of rights?

- What alternative discursive practices might be developed for ethics?

- What have we gained and what have we lost from the legalization of ethics?

- How might ethics be reconceived if rather than focusing on rights it focuses on responsibilities?

- How might a new ethics be developed grounded in the discourse of dignity?

7. An Era of Uncertainty

Ethics has been premised on a sense of certainty – certainty about the nature of subjectivity, certainty about the world and about our place in it. Yet the world we encounter is one in which uncertainty seems the norm.

- What role has certainty played in framing traditional ethical theories?

- What are the advantages and disadvantages of adopting this attitude towards ourselves, others and the world in trying to determine how to act?

- Can there be an ethics without a sense of certainty? How would it be structured?

- What would be the relative strengths and weaknesses of grounding an ethics in uncertainty?

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, 24th of July, 2014. (For justifiable cases, we do uphold a tolerance period of fifteen 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 Monday 3rd of March, 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 14th of August, 2014. 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 Angers!

Symposium Coordinators:

Charlene Rajendran

Lecturer – Performance and Theatre Education

Visual and Performing Arts Academic Group

National Institute of Education

Nanyang Technological University

Singapore

Email: charlene.r@nie.edu.sg

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

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 on current debates and key themes. We offer annual and biannual symposiums at sites around the world, providing forums that foster the development of new frames of reference and innovative structures for the production and expansion of knowledge. Dialogue, discussion and deliberation define both the methods employed and the values upheld by this network.

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

Jun 122014
 

Posted by snakearbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:

unnamed

Taksim Solidarity is standing trial today. For raising their voices against all the injustice and crimes committed by the state against civilians. For trying to stop the unlawful destruction and demolition of public spaces. Members of Taksim Solidarity were detained illegally on false charges last year on July 8th, and one after another prosecutors refused to allow a case to be opened. Prosecutors were changed due to active pressure from the government, and finally the newly appointed prosecutor accepted the case and accused Taksim Solidarity of being a “terrorist organization.”

The 26 members of Taksim Solidarity began their defense with Mücella Yapıcı’s remarks. She gave a historical account of the movement and restated the fact that the organization was founded on February 15th 2012, and not on the day when the Gezi Park protests began, May 27th 2013. She emphasized the fact that people who are only making use of their constitutionally guaranteed human rights are being put on trial while murderers and those who gave the orders walk around freely. Yapıcı also stated that the initial aim of Taksim Solidarity was to stop an unlawful attempt to demolish the park and put pressure on authorities to respect the court’s decision to halt illegal construction projects.

Yapıcı continued by telling how she was detained in the first place. In her words, “When governor Mutlu stated that the park was clear and everyone can enjoy it now, we wanted to go to the park, when suddenly hundreds of police started surrounding us and we were arrested for going to the park. When we asked why we were told that we resisted arrest. I only turned my back on the police; if the police accept this I also do. When we were taken to the police station, they carried out a strip search. I was taken to the men’s toilet, where there was a camera. I have a heart condition and I was not given my medication on time.”

Later, when Ali Çerkezoğlu started his defense, he stated “Whereas it is the police, the governor, the mayor and the Prime Minister that are guilty and should be put on trial, we are the ones brought to court. This courtroom is not the place to judge this movement; it is on the squares that this trial should take place.”

The trial is being held at the biggest courthouse in Europe, where the sound systems do not work, thus leaving observers unable to hear the statements. Moreover, only international observers and accredited media members are allowed in the courtroom. Among the observers is listed Amnesty International, which recently released a report stating that 5,500 people are on trial in Turkey for supporting the Gezi Park protests and started a campaign, “I am Taksim” (#IAmTaksim), defending freedom of expression globally and calling for solidarity with Taksim Solidarity. During the recess of the trial for lunch, authorities confiscated copies of Amnesty International’s report from representatives of AI.

Taksim Solidarity consists of over a hundred sub-organizations, including architects, engineers, doctors, lawyers, academics, researchers, etc.

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

Jun 102014
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

INAA - Angers Pic

Late Summer Period, August – September of 2014

Symposia Period: Monday 25th of August to Saturday 6th of September

Institutional Partner: Université Catholique de l’Ouest 

Venue: IPLV – UCO    

City: Angers, Pays-de-la-Loire, France

————————————————————————–

Inter-Cultural Dialogues (ICD)

International Symposium: 3rd

Research Program on: Recognition and the Politics of Otherness

(Abstract Deadline: Monday 21st of July, Paper Due: Monday 11th of August)

Dates: Monday 25th to Wednesday 27th of August, 2014

* Full information below

————————————————————————–

International Network for Alternative Academia – Extends a general invitation to participate

3rd International Symposium: Inter-Cultural Dialogues 

Part of the Research Program on: Recognition and the Politics of Otherness

Monday 25th to Wednesday 27th of August, 2014

Angers, Pays-de-la-Loire, France

Partner: Université Catholique de l’Ouest 

Venue: IPLV, UCO (3 Place André Leroy)

Main Campus (Building: Bâtiment Scientifique)

http://www.alternative-academia.net/ocs-2.3.5/index.php/ANGERS2014/ICD-3-1/schedConf/cfp

Enquiries: acc@alternative-academia.net

Call for Papers

(Abstract Submission Period Opened: Monday 3rd of March, 2014)

(Abstract Deadline: Monday 21st of July, 2014)

Call for Papers

This trans-disciplinary research project is interested in exploring the diverse ways in which notions of culture and cultural interactions have impacted, at global and local levels, ongoing constructions of identity, society and politics, as well as frameworks of knowledge, ideology and truth.

It has become a common place to speak about globalization as a process that has made the world smaller and more interconnected. But beneath such claims multiple processes remain analytically undefined and critically unexplored. We are interested in assessing how ideas of culture and cultural interactions shape identity, membership, place, rootedness and belonging while simultaneously encouraging misunderstanding, tension and conflict, estrangement, isolation and alienation. In particular, the project will investigate world transformations that have structured cultural flows, given rise to new forms of hybridity, increased nomadic lives and encouraged the proliferation of transitory and transversal interconnections.

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. Contemporary Reconfigurations of Culture: Who Cares?

- What new conceptions of culture are emerging?

- How can we account for the emergence of new and contemporary conceptions of culture? What kind of processes can explain why culture is seen today as multiple, polyvalent and even internally contradictory?

- How are contemporary conceptions of culture remaking conceptions of self and other, recasting our understanding of our links, bonds and relations, requiring us to rethink antinomies and antagonisms?

- How can we transform the binary perversions and contradictory forces of culture: diversity versus homogeneity, multiplicity versus sameness, alterity versus normality, recognition versus misrecognition?

- The textures of cultures in contemporary landscapes seem at one and the same time fixed and fluid, porous and hermetic, rigid and flexible, liquid and solid. How are these divisions to be explained? What factors hold them in play?

- How can we rethink the concept of culture, such that it overcomes its conceptual and historical limits?

- Do we really need the concept of culture? What does this concept help to reveal? What does the concept shroud?

2. Cultural Boundaries, Peoples and Places: Why Bother?

- With the push towards the dislocation and decoupling of culture and nation, of culture and place, of culture and history, how are new solidarities, new ethnicities, and new nations taking shape?

- As we witness the dismantling and de-mythologizing culture’s prominent place in nationally bound identities and histories, what is being offered to fill in the gap? If we are witnessing the death of national culture, what is being born to take its place?

- How can we understand the resurgence of the local, in light of the diminishing importance of the national and global?

- What does it mean, today, to be part of a culture and to be part of multiple cultures? Why does it matter?

- How are new forms of global migration influencing the development of the hybridity, helping to reconcile of cultural difference and cultural diversity?

- What are the political, social and ethical problems with the politics of imposing ‘culture’ onto others? Whose rights and responsibilities need to be addressed? How are these issues being resolved in practice via policies of assimilation, integration, adaptation in the case of the ‘forcing’ of native cultures on migrants?

3. Identities and Inter-Subjectivities: What Difference?

- Are we witnessing the fragmentation or the ever more stringent amalgamation of the self?

- How is the de-centering of the self influencing our understanding of the other, recasting the bonds between us, and reshaping the contours of our relationships?

- How do tensions, contradictions and conflicts in and between cultures influence identity formation and structure social membership?

- What new sources and forms of belonging do we see emerging from the re-definition of culture? What are the relative strengths and weaknesses of new forms of tribalism, localism, parochialism and communitarianism?

- How are bonds of care established across boundaries of inequality and exclusion, ideologies and religions, politics and power, nations and geography?

- Who am I if not in relation with others? How does relationality inform identity?

- How do silence, the adoption of subaltern positions and strategic subordinations affect identity formation? How do they affect perceptions of identity?

- Is non-recognition a form of cultural violence?

- How do we frame an ethics in an age of disrespect and entitlement?

- How are new forms of communication impacting the emergence of identities? What is the impact of social networks, video games and online communities on the display, performance and construction of identities?

4. Cultural Formations: Who Knows?

- What are the dynamics and processes that define the central tenets of a culture?

- How are cultures defined and redefined? Who participates in the social and political task of defining and redefining culture?

- What is shared within cultures? How are cultures shared? Who has access to the sharing of cultures?

- Who destroys culture? What processes and procedures are utilized in this process?
- How are symbols and significations used to connect people to cultures other than ‘their own’? What are the strengths of such attempts at unification? What are the weaknesses?

- How is culture shaped by ideals of destiny, happenstance, choice and politics in this process?

- Culture appears to be an infinite source for the production of contradictory signification and meaning. How is it employed for the construction of identity and membership? How is it employed as a means for exclusion?

5. Politicizing Culture: What Matters?

- How has culture been transformed into a battle ground for politics and the political? To what affect?

- Political battles over the principles and core values of a culture or over those principles that exist in across cultures pose challenges for government agencies and social groups. How are these battles being framed discursively? How are they being resolved in practice?

- The dynamics of cultural recognition and misrecognition preoccupy government agencies and social movements. How are these processes best conceptualized?

- What is the place of cultural claims in today’s forms of social and political membership?

- How are trans-cultural connections that escape institutional and political control formed? How viable and stable are the bonds forged in this manner?

- When cultural practices conflict with human rights claims, how are cultural heritage and political responsibility being balanced? How should they be balanced?

6. Art and Cultural Representations: Why Pretend?

- What is the role of the media in the construction of cultures and identities?

- What are the means of production and reproduction by which cultural recognition and misrecognition develop?

- How should the contested space of representing meaning and identity be negotiated?

- How can art, media challenge the rigid and impenetrable constructions of culture? How can it perpetuate such ideals of culture?

- How does art foster cultural membership? How can it be employed in reconfiguring and reshaping such identifications?

- Culture may be seen as fiction and fiction as culture. Given this is the case, is there the possibility for the truth in/of art?

7. Crossing Cultural Boundaries: Who’s Watching?

- How are cultural boundaries subject to interpenetration, overlapping, crossovers, interlacing, hybridization and interdependence? To what affect?

- How are emerging languages, idioms and images bridging the ‘invisible’ divide of cultures?

- How is recognition and respect across cultures fostered? How is it undermined?

- Can we revamp historical concepts such as tolerance, acceptance and hospitality to mesh with contemporary conceptions of cultural divide?

- How is the concept of time employed in the reinterpretation of culture? What is the role of nostalgia, memory and forgetting in the merging and emergence of new cultures?

- How might we develop an ethics for cultural relations?

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, 21st of July, 2014. (For justifiable cases, we do uphold a tolerance period of fifteen 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 Monday 3rd of March, 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 11th of August, 2014. 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 Angers!

Symposium Coordinators:

Albin Wagener

Directeur de l’IPLV

Institut en Perfectionnement en Langues Vivantes

Université Catholique de l’Ouest

Angers, France

Email: albin.wagener@uco.fr

Charlene Rajendran

Assistant Professor – Performance and Theatre Education

Visual and Performing Arts Academic Group

National Institute of Education

Nanyang Technological University

Singapore

Email: charlene.r@nie.edu.sg

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 on current debates and key themes. We offer annual and biannual symposiums at sites around the world, providing forums that foster the development of new frames of reference and innovative structures for the production and expansion of knowledge. Dialogue, discussion and deliberation define both the methods employed and the values upheld by this network.

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