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)

————————————————————————–

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

————————————————————————–

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)

————————————————————————–

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

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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

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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

Jun 082014
 

By William Blum, 99GetSmart

Edward Snowden

2,w=650,c=0.bild

Is Edward Snowden a radical? The dictionary defines a radical as “an advocate of political and social revolution”, the adjective form being “favoring or resulting in extreme or revolutionary changes”. That doesn’t sound like Snowden as far as what has been publicly revealed. In common usage, the term “radical” usually connotes someone or something that goes beyond the generally accepted boundaries of socio-political thought and policies; often used by the Left simply to denote more extreme than, or to the left of, a “liberal”.

In his hour-long interview on NBC, May 28, in Moscow, Snowden never expressed, or even implied, any thought – radical or otherwise – about United States foreign policy or the capitalist economic system under which we live, the two standard areas around which many political discussions in the US revolve. In fact, after reading a great deal by and about Snowden this past year, I have no idea what his views actually are about these matters. To be sure, in the context of the NBC interview, capitalism was not at all relevant, but US foreign policy certainly was.

Snowden was not asked any direct questions about foreign policy, but if I had been in his position I could not have replied to several of the questions without bringing it up. More than once the interview touched upon the question of whether the former NSA contractor’s actions had caused “harm to the United States”. Snowden said that he’s been asking the entire past year to be presented with evidence of such harm and has so far received nothing. I, on the other hand, as a radical, would have used the opportunity to educate the world-wide audience about how the American empire is the greatest threat to the world’s peace, prosperity, and environment; that anything to slow down the monster is to be desired; and that throwing a wrench into NSA’s surveillance gears is eminently worthwhile toward this end; thus, “harm” indeed should be the goal, not something to apologize for.

Edward added that the NSA has been unfairly “demonized” and that the agency is composed of “good people”. I don’t know what to make of this.

When the war on terrorism was discussed in the interview, and the question of whether Snowden’s actions had hurt that effort, he failed to take the opportunity to point out the obvious and absolutely essential fact – that US foreign policy, by its very nature, regularly and routinely creates anti-American terrorists.

When asked what he’d say to President Obama if given a private meeting, Snowden had no response at all to make. I, on the other hand, would say to Mr. Obama: “Mr. President, in your time in office you’ve waged war against seven countries – Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Syria. This makes me wonder something. With all due respect, sir: What is wrong with you?”

A radical – one genuine and committed – would not let such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity pass by unused. Contrary to what his fierce critics at home may believe, Edward Snowden is not seriously at war with America, its government or its society. Does he have a real understanding, analysis, or criticism of capitalism or US foreign policy? Does he think about what people could be like under a better social system? Is he, I wonder, even anti-imperialist?

And he certainly is not a conspiracy theorist, or at least keeps it well hidden. He was asked about 9-11 and replied:

The 9/11 commission … when they looked at all the classified intelligence from all the different intelligence agencies, they found that we had all of the information we needed … to detect this plot. We actually had records of the phone calls from the United States and out. The CIA knew who these guys were. The problem was not that we weren’t collecting information, it wasn’t that we didn’t have enough dots, it wasn’t that we didn’t have a haystack, it was that we did not understand the haystack that we had.

Whereas I might have pointed out that the Bush administration may have ignored the information because they wanted something bad – perhaps of unknown badness – to happen in order to give them the justification for all manner of foreign and domestic oppression they wished to carry out. And did. (This scenario of course excludes the other common supposition, that it was an “inside job”, in which case collecting information on the perpetrators would not have been relevant.)

The entire segment concerning 9/11 was left out of the television broadcast of the interview, although some part of it was shown later during a discussion. This kind of omission is of course the sort of thing that feeds conspiracy theorists.

All of the above notwithstanding, I must make it clear that I have great admiration for the young Mr. Snowden, for what he did and for how he expresses himself. He may not be a radical, but he is a hero. His moral courage, nerve, composure, and technical genius are magnificent. I’m sure the NBC interview won him great respect and a large number of new supporters. I, in Edward’s place, would be even more hated by Americans than he is, even if I furthered the radicalization of more of them than he has. However, I of course would never have been invited onto mainstream American television for a long interview in prime time. (Not counting my solitary 15 minutes of fame in 2006 courtesy of Osama bin Laden; a gigantic fluke happening.)

Apropos Snowden’s courage and integrity, it appears that something very important has not been emphasized in media reports: In the interview, he took the Russian government to task for a new law requiring bloggers to register – the same government which holds his very fate in their hands.

Who is more exceptional: The United States or Russia?

I was going to write a commentary about President Obama’s speech to the graduating class at the US Military Academy (West Point) on May 28. When he speaks to a military audience the president is usually at his most nationalistic, jingoist, militaristic, and American-exceptionalist – wall-to-wall platitudes. But this talk was simply TOO nationalistic, jingoist, militaristic, and American-exceptionalist. (“I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being.”) To go through it line by line in order to make my usual wise-ass remarks, would have been just too painful. However, if you’re in a masochistic mood and wish to read it, it can be found here.

Instead I offer you part of a commentary from Mr. Jan Oberg, Danish director of the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research in Lund, Sweden:

What is conspicuously lacking in the President’s West Point speech?

  1. Any reasonably accurate appraisal of the world and the role of other nations.
  2. A sense of humility and respect for allies and other countries in this world.
  3. Every element of a grand strategy for America for its foreign and security policy and some kind of vision of what a better world would look like. This speech with all its tired, self-aggrandising rhetoric is a thin cover-up for the fact that there is no such vision or overall strategy.
  4. Some little hint of reforms of existing institutions or new thinking about globalisation and global democratic decision-making.
  5. Ideas and initiatives – stretched-out hands – to help the world move towards conflict-resolution in crisis areas such as Ukraine, Syria, Libya, China-Japan and Iran. Not a trace of creativity.

Ironically, on May 30 the Wall Street Journal published a long essay by Leon Aron, a Russia scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington. The essay took Russian president Vladimir Putin to task for claiming that Russia is exceptional. The piece was headed:

“Why Putin Says Russia Is Exceptional”

“Such claims have often heralded aggression abroad and harsh crackdowns at home.”

It states: “To Mr. Putin, in short, Russia was exceptional because it was emphatically not like the modern West – or not, in any event, like his caricature of a corrupt, morally benighted Europe and U.S. This was a bad omen, presaging the foreign policy gambits against Ukraine that now have the whole world guessing about Mr. Putin’s intentions.”

So the Wall Street Journal has no difficulty in ascertaining that a particular world leader sees his country as “exceptional”. And that such a perception can lead that leader or his country to engage in aggression abroad and crackdowns at home. The particular world leader so harshly judged in this manner by the Wall Street Journal is named Vladimir Putin, not Barack Obama. There’s a word for this kind of analysis – It’s called hypocrisy.

“Hypocrisy is anything whatever may deceive the cleverest and most penetrating man, but the least wide-awake of children recognizes it, and is revolted by it, however ingeniously it may be disguised.” – Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoi, (1828-1910) Russian writer

Is hypocrisy a moral failing or a failing of the intellect?

The New Cold War is getting to look more and more like the old one, wherein neither side allows the other to get away with any propaganda point. Just compare any American television network to the Russian station broadcast in the United States – RT (formerly Russia Today). The contrast in coverage of the same news events is remarkable, and the stations attack and make fun of each other by name.

Another, even more important, feature to note is that in Cold War I the United States usually had to consider what the Soviet reaction would be to a planned American intervention in the Third World. This often served as a brake to one extent or another on Washington’s imperial adventures. Thus it was that only weeks after the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, the United States bombed and invaded Panama, inflicting thousands of casualties and widespread destruction, for the flimsiest – bordering on the non-existent – of reasons. 1 The hostile Russian reaction to Washington’s clear involvement in the overthrow of the Ukrainian government in February of this year, followed by Washington’s significant irritation and defensiveness toward the Russian reaction, indicates that this Cold War brake may have a chance of returning. And for this we should be grateful.

After the “communist threat” had disappeared and the foreign policy of the United States continued absolutely unchanged, it meant that the Cold War revisionists had been vindicated – the conflict had not been about containing an evil called “communism”; it had been about American expansion, imperialism and capitalism. If the collapse of the Soviet Union did not result in any reduction in the American military budget, but rather was followed by large increases, it meant that the Cold War – from Washington’s perspective – had not been motivated by a fear of the Russians, but purely by ideology.

Lest we forget: Our present leaders can derive inspiration from other great American leaders.

White House tape recordings, April 25, 1972:

President Nixon: How many did we kill in Laos?

National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger: In the Laotian thing, we killed about ten, fifteen [thousand] …

Nixon: See, the attack in the North [Vietnam] that we have in mind … power plants, whatever’s left – POL [petroleum], the docks … And, I still think we ought to take the dikes out now. Will that drown people?

Kissinger: About two hundred thousand people.

Nixon: No, no, no … I’d rather use the nuclear bomb. Have you got that, Henry?

Kissinger: That, I think, would just be too much.

Nixon: The nuclear bomb, does that bother you? … I just want you to think big, Henry, for Christsakes.

May 2, 1972:

Nixon: America is not defeated. We must not lose in Vietnam. … The surgical operation theory is all right, but I want that place bombed to smithereens. If we draw the sword, we’re gonna bomb those bastards all over the place. Let it fly, let it fly.

“Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.” – Michael Ledeen, former Defense Department consultant and holder of the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute 2

Help needed from a computer expert

This has been driving me crazy for a very long time. My printer doesn’t print the document I ask it to print, but instead prints something totally unrelated. But what it prints is always something I’ve had some contact with, like an email I received or a document I read online, which I may or may not have saved on my hard drive, mostly not. It’s genuinely weird.

Now, before I print anything, I close all other windows in my word processor (Word Perfect/Windows 7); I go offline; I specify printing only the current page, no multiple page commands. Yet, the printer usually still finds some document online and prints it.

At one point I cleared out all the printer caches, and that helped for a short while, but then the problem came back though the caches were empty.

I spoke to the printer manufacturer, HP, and they said it can’t be the fault of the printer because the printer only prints what the computer tells it to print.

It must be the CIA or NSA. Help!

Notes

  1. William Blum, Killing Hope, chapter 50
  2. Jonah Goldberg, “Baghdad Delenda Est, Part Two”National Review, April 23, 2002
Jun 042014
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

Violence mars Brazil anti-World Cup rallies

Violence mars Brazil anti-World Cup rallies

Introduction

For decades social critics have bemoaned the influence of sports and entertainment spectacles in ‘distracting’ workers from struggling for their class interests.  According to these analysts, ‘class consciousness’ was replaced by ‘mass’ consciousness.  They argued that atomized individuals, manipulated by the mass media, were converted into passive consumers who identified with millionaire sports heroes, soap opera protagonists and film celebrities.

The culmination of this ‘mystification’ – mass distraction –were the ‘world championships’ watched by billions around the world and sponsored and financed by billionaire corporations:  the World Series (baseball), the World Cup (soccer/futbol), and the Super Bowl (American football).

Today, Brazil is the living refutation of this line of cultural-political analysis. Brazilians have been described as ‘football crazy’.  Its teams have won the most number of World Cups.  Its players are coveted by the owners of the most important teams in Europe.  Its fans are said to “live and die with football” . . . Or so we are told.

Yet it is in Brazil where the biggest protests in the history of the World Cup have taken place.  As early as a year before the Games, scheduled for June 2014, there have been mass demonstrations of up to a million Brazilians.  In just the last few weeks, strikes by teachers, police, construction workers and municipal employees have proliferated.  The myth of the mass media spectacles mesmerizing the masses has been refuted – at least in present-day Brazil.

To understand why the mass spectacle has been a propaganda bust it is essential to understand the political and economic context in which it was launched, as well as the costs and benefits and the tactical planning of popular movements.

The Political and Economic Context:  The World Cup and the Olympics

In 2002, the Brazilian Workers Party candidate Lula DaSilva won the presidential elections.  His two terms in office (2003 – 2010) were characterized by a warm embrace of free market capitalism together with populist poverty programs.  Aided by large scale in-flows of speculative capital, attracted by high interest rates, and high commodity prices for its agro-mineral exports, Lula launched a massive poverty program providing about $60 a month to 40 million poor Brazilians, who formed part of Lula’s mass electoral base.  The Workers Party reduced unemployment, increased wages and supported low-interest consumer loans, stimulating a ‘consumer boom’ that drove the economy forward.

To Lula and his advisers, Brazil was becoming a global power, attracting world-class investors and incorporating the poor into the domestic market.

Lula was hailed as a ‘pragmatic leftist’ by Wall Street and a ‘brilliant statesman’ by the Left!

In line with this grandiose vision (and in response to hoards of presidential flatterers North and South), Lula believed that Brazil’s rise to world prominence required it to ‘host’ the World Cup and the Olympics and he embarked on an aggressive campaign. . . Brazil was chosen.

Lula preened and pontificated:  Brazil, as host, would achieve the symbolic recognition and material rewards a global power deserved.

The Rise and Fall of Grand Illusions

The ascent of Brazil was based on foreign flows of capital conditioned by differential (favorable) interest rates. And when rates shifted, the capital flowed out.  Brazil’s dependence on high demand for its agro-mineral exports was based on sustained double-digit economic growth in Asia.  When China’s economy slowed down, demand and prices fell, and so did Brazil’s export earnings.

The Workers Party’s ‘pragmatism’ meant accepting the existing political, administrative and regulatory structures inherited from the previous neo-liberal regimes.  These institutions were permeated by corrupt officials linked to building contractors notorious for cost over-runs and long delays on state contracts.

Moreover, the Workers Party’s ‘pragmatic’ electoral machine was built on kick-backs and bribes.  Vast sums were siphoned from public services into private pockets.

Puffed up on his own rhetoric, Lula believed Brazil’s economic emergence on the world stage was a ‘done deal’.  He proclaimed that his pharaonic sports complexes – the billions of public money spent on dozens of stadiums and costly infrastructure – would “pay for themselves”.

The Deadly ‘Demonstration Effect’:  Social Reality Defeats Global Grandeur

Brazil’s new president, Dilma Rousseff, Lula’ protégé, has allocated billions of reales to finance her predecessor’s massive building projects:  stadiums, hotels, highways and airports to accommodate an anticipated flood of overseas soccer fans.

The contrast between the immediate availability of massive amounts of public funds for the World Cup and the perennial lack of money for deteriorating essential public services (transport, schools, hospitals and clinics) has been a huge shock to Brazilians and a provocation to mass action in the streets.

For decades, the majority of Brazilians, who depended on public services for transport, education and medical care, (the upper middle classes can afford private services), were told that “there were no funds”, that “budgets had to be balanced”, that a “budget surplus was needed to meet IMF agreements and to service the debt”.

For years public funds had been siphoned away by corrupt political appointees to pay for electoral campaigns, leading to filthy, overcrowded transport, frequently breaking down, and commuter delays in sweltering buses and long lines at the stations.  For decades, schools were in shambles, teacher rushed from school to school to make-up for their miserable minimum-wage salaries leading to low quality education and neglect.  Public hospitals were dirty, dangerous and crowded; under-paid doctors frequently took on private patients on the side, and essential medications were scarce in the public hospitals and overpriced in the pharmacies.

The public was outraged by the obscene contrast between the reality of dilapidated clinics with broken windows, overcrowded schools with leaking roofs and unreliable mass transport for the average Brazilian and the huge new stadiums, luxury hotels and airports for wealthy foreign sports fans and visitors.

The public was outraged by the obvious official lies:  the claim that there were ‘no funds’ for teachers when billions of Reales were instantly available to construct luxury hotels and fancy stadium box seats for wealthy soccer fans.

The final detonator for mass street protest was the increase in bus and train fares to ‘cover losses’ – after public airports and highways had been sold cheaply to private investors who raised tolls and fees.

The protestors marching against the increased bus and train fares were joined by tens of thousands Brazilians broadly denouncing the Government’s priorities:  Billions for the World Cup and crumbs for public health, education, housing and transport!

Oblivious to the popular demands, the government pushed ahead intent on finishing its ‘prestige projects’.  Nevertheless, construction of stadiums fell behind schedule because of corruption, incompetence and mismanagement.  Building contractors, who were pressured,  lowered safety standards and pushed  workers harder, leading to an increase in workplace deaths and injury.  Construction workers walked out protesting the speed-ups and deterioration of work safety.

The Rousseff regime’s grandiose schemes have provoked a new chain of protests. The Homeless Peoples Movement occupied urban lots near a new World Cup stadium demanding ‘social housing’ for the people instead of new five-star hotels for affluent foreign sports aficionados.

Escalating costs for the sports complexes and increased government expenditures have ignited a wave of trade union strikes to demand higher wages beyond the regime’s targets.  Teachers and health workers were joined by factory workers and salaried employees  striking in strategic sectors, such as the transport and security services, capable of seriously disrupting the World Cup.

The PTs embrace of the grandiose sports spectacle, instead of highlighting Brazil’s ‘debut as a global power’, has spotlighted the vast contrast between the affluent and secure ten percent in their luxury condos in Brazil, Miami and Manhattan, with access to high quality private clinics and exclusive private and overseas schools for their offspring, with the mass of average Brazilians, stuck for hours sweating in overcrowded buses, in dingy emergency rooms waiting for mere aspirins from non-existent doctors and in wasting their children’s futures in dilapidated classrooms without adequate, full-time teachers.

Conclusion

The political elite, especially the entourage around the Lula-Rousseff Presidency have fallen victim to their own delusions of popular support. They believed that subsistence pay-offs (food baskets) to the very poor would allow them to spend billions of public money on sports spectacles to entertain and impress the global elite.  They believed that the mass of workers would be so enthralled by the prestige of holding the World Cup in Brazil, that they would overlook the great disparity between government expenditures for elite grand spectacles and the absence of support to meet the everyday needs of Brazilian workers.

Even trade unions, seemingly tied to Lula, who bragged of his past leadership of the metal workers, broke ranks when they realized that the ‘money was out there’ – and that the regime, pressured by construction deadlines, could be pressured to raise wages to get the job done.

Make no mistake, Brazilians are sports minded.  They avidly follow and cheer their national team. But they are also  conscious of their needs.  They are not content to passively accept the great social disparities exposed by the current mad scramble to stage the World Cup and Olympics in Brazil.  The government’s vast expenditure on the Games has made it clear that Brazil is a rich country with a multitude of social inequalities.  They have learned that vast sums are available to improve the basic services of everyday life.  They realized that, despite its rhetoric, the ‘Workers Party’ was playing a wasteful prestige game to impress an international capitalist audience.  They realized that they have strategic leverage to pressure the government and address some of the inequalities in housing and salaries through mass action.  And they have struck.  They realize they deserve to enjoy the World Cup in affordable, adequate public housing and travel to work (or to an occasional game) in decent buses and trains.  Class consciousness, in the case of Brazil, has trumped the mass spectacle.  ‘Bread and circuses’ have given way to mass protests.

Jun 022014
 

Posted by snakearbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:

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On the first anniversary of Gezi Park uprising, we the people, with collective consciousness, declared days ago that we wish to commemorate the victims of state violence at ground zero, Gezi Park. There is no need to repeat the fact that according to the Turkish constitution and universal human rights, any kind of peaceful protest can occur without asking for permission of anyone. While the AKP government previously employed plainclothes policemen as provocateurs to make it appear as if police were intervening to suppress violent protests, this time they did not even bother to cover the naked attempt at massacre.

Early on the morning of May 31st, with Gezi Park already closed and Istanbul in lock-down mode, with public transport cancelled, dozens of public buses kept deploying more and more policemen to Taksim Square from the airport where thousands of police officers were brought to Istanbul from all parts of Turkey. Prime Minister Erdoğan declared before the anniversary that anyone showing up on Taksim would have violated laws and that police had received orders to “do whatever it takes to get rid of the people on Taksim Square.”

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25,000 riot police, paramilitary forces, 50 TOMAs (water cannons), dozens of riot vehicles, work vehicles, fire trucks, helicopters, all laid siege to Taksim Square to prevent any citizen from entering the park. Except for the vicinity of Taksim, all major squares, surrounding gathering places, mosques, hospitals, and hotel lobbies were occupied by police so that they would not be used as infirmaries or to treat wounded protesters, as happened last year. Taksim Solidarity’s campaign calling for “1 million people to Taksim” must have been absolutely terrifying for Erdoğan to give such immoral orders to stop people at whatever cost. The plainclothes people armed with uniform backpacks, batons and gas masks unleashed all kinds of savagery and brutality arbitrarily against civilians around Taksim Square.

During the day, there were not many problems. Few incidents were observed. However CNN International’s Istanbul correspondent Ivan Watson was harassed on the air. While Watson was on live report to CNN, police came and harassed him, asking for his press card and passport and later kicking him and detaining him while he was on the air, because he was a foreign journalist. This action was part of a systematic sweep of foreign journalists from the area; the orders came from a government that severely criticized the Egyptian coup government that had given similar orders.

CNN’s Ivan Watson detained by Istanbul Police On-Air:

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Another significant incident that took place before there was even a protest was the raid of the Liberal Democratic Party’s building and the detention of two liberal activists. Several liberal activists from the 3H (Law Liberty Tolerance) Movement had asked for permission to hang a banner on LDP’s party building, reading in big letters “FEAR NOT!”; however only a minute after the banner was hung, police raided the building. When asked why the activists were being detained, police officers replied “we cannot detain you legally of course, so let’s go for a walk together towards the police station.” The activists were taken to the police station, their phones were confiscated and the data inside deleted (all the photos and videos of the banner being hung). Other movement members on Taksim Square taking photos of the banner were detained and the photos from their phones and cameras were deleted too.

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On Taksim Square, when police locked down the park, several young activists took out their books, sat in front of the police, and started reading. After a minute, several police officers started shouting at them, saying “Stop provoking us by reading provocatively, don’t get us nervous like this!” and not long after they pushed the activists away, trying to confiscate their books. Book reading in the park during the sit-in was quite popular on the first day of the Gezi Park protests last year and a Çapulling Library was established in the park during the occupation.

During the day there have been two occupations of train stations on the Anatolian side of Istanbul. While the largest number of policemen were deployed to the European side, the activists in Kadıköy quietly occupied the unaccompanied Haydarpaşa Train Station, which the government wanted to transform into a shopping mall or hotel. Not long after this occupation came a neighboring train station, Göztepe – also targeted by the government to be turned into a shopping mall.

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Until 7 PM, police kept pushing people down from Istiklal avenue, and at exactly 7 PM simultaneous attacks began and all hell broke loose. All of AKP’s armed forces started attacking randomly against everyone, gassing, shooting, beating. Dozens of people suffered terrible tortures in day time, in the middle of streets. The newly appearing plainclothes police – much like Iran’s “Basij” (Islamic revolutionary guards) forces – were armed with batons and wore the same yellow jacket. The ratio of the attacks was often ten on one – whenever a protester fell to the ground, 10 to 15 armed “security forces” would run and beat and kick them on the ground him for several minutes.

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While all these attacks on civilians were taking place, the media did not deviate from last year’s habit, continuing to show irrelevant programs and documentaries. However there were no reports on penguins this time; this year’s trend was a “strawberry documentary” on CNN Turk. The pro-government media broadcast the events in a completely different manner this time, showing empty/quiet areas and stating that nothing is happening and that the people have lost faith in the protests.

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There was no resistance like there was last year. This year’s call for commemoration was simply a day of mourning for the hundreds of miners buried alive as a result of the government’s lack of inspections and indifference towards work-related deaths and for the latest victim of Gezi Park protests: Elif Çermik (64) died in a coma after 159 days as a result of a heart attack caused by tear gas. To commemorate all the deaths that are caused by government’s orders, people wanted to leave flowers in the park, and it is in fact quite a miracle that more deaths did not happen due to uncontrolled police in systematic violation of human rights and attempting to drive all media away from the vicinity.

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When the houses of several citizens were raided by people with batons and yellow jackets, they asked who they were and where their permission/warrant papers were. The answer they received was “We have all kinds of permission from the Chief, so you never mind…”

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There was another alternative protest in Istanbul as well, to commemorate the Mavi Marmara flotilla, which was raided by Israeli Defense Forces. Nine Turkish citizens were murdered on board by Israeli soldiers. A pro-government NGO held a protest rally to commemorate the loss of lives and campaign for the transformation of Hagia Sophia into a mosque as well as to voice their hatred and threats towards Israel. Thousands marched on the streets from the Sultanahmet, frequented by tourists, to where the Mavi Marmara is harbored, Sarayburnu. No police intervened, no one attacked, no one was hurt… But then again, this was an action in line with the government’s agenda. Double standards are a fact of AKP governance.

As the police had been deployed from across the country to Taksim Square very early during the day and served all day non-stop as protests kept spreading to other districts from Taksim, towards midnight they were getting tired and Taksim Solidarity members were actually able to just walk by into Gezi Park. A couple of hours later there was a group of more than 100 people in the park leaving their flowers… When people entered the park, no one was hurt, and a whole day’s unnecessary use of excessive use of force served to illustrate Erdoğan’s claim to his dictatorial throne, by his very own definition:

“If I were a dictator, would you be able to roam around freely on squares?” (24.05.2014) R.T. Erdoğan

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

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

May 302014
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

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Introduction

The European parliamentary elections witnessed a major breakthrough for the right-wing parties throughout the region.  The rise of the Right runs from the Nordic countries, the United Kingdom, the Baltic and Low countries, France, Central and Eastern Europe to the Mediterranean.

Most, if not all, of these emerging right-wing parties mark a sharp break with the ruling neo-liberal, Christian and Social Democratic parties who have presided over a decade of crisis.

The ‘new Right’ cannot be understood simply by attaching negative labels (‘fascist’, ‘racist’ and ‘anti-Semitic’).  The rise of the Right has to be placed in the context of the decay of political, social and economic institutions, the general and persistent decline of living standards and the disintegration of community bonds and class solidarity. The entire existing political edifice constructed by the neo-liberal parties bears deep responsibility for the systemic crisis and decay of everyday life.  Moreover, this is how it is understood by a growing mass of working people who vote for the Right.

The so-called ‘radical Left’, usually defined as the political parties to the left of the governing Social Democratic parties, with the exception of SYRIZA in Greece, have failed to capitalize on the decline of the neo-liberal parties.  There are several reasons that account for the lack of a right-left polarization.  Most of the ‘radical Left’, in the final account, gave ‘critical support’ to one or another of the Labor or Social Democratic parties and reduced their ‘distance’ from the political-economic disasters that have followed.  Secondly, the ‘radical Left’s’ positions on some issues were irrelevant or offensive to many workers: namely, gay marriage and identity politics.  Thirdly, the radical Left recruited prominent personalities from the discredited Labor and Social Democratic parties and thus raised suspicion that they are a ‘new version’ of past deceptions. Fourthly, the radical Left is strong on public demonstrations demanding ‘structural changes’ but lacks the ‘grass roots’ clientelistic organizations of the Right, which provide ‘services’, such as soup kitchens and clinics dealing with day-to-day problems.

While the Right pretends to be ‘outside’ the neo-liberal establishment challenging the assumption of broad powers by the Brussels elite, the Left is ambiguous: Its support for a ‘social Europe’ implies a commitment to reform a discredited and moribund structure.  The Right proposes ‘national capitalism’ outside of Brussels; the Left proposes ‘socialism within the European Union’.  The Left parties, the older Communist parties and more recent groupings, like Syriza in Greece, have had mixed results.  The former have generally stagnated or lost support despite the systemic crisis.  The latter, like Syriza, have made impressive gains but failed to break the 30% barrier.  Both lack electoral allies.  As a result, the immediate challenge to the neo-liberal status quo comes from the electoral new Right parties and on the left from the extra-parliamentary social movements and trade unions.  In the immediate period, the crisis of the European Union is being played out between the neo-liberal establishment and the ‘new Right’.

The Nature of the New Right

The ‘new Right’ has gained support largely because it has denounced the four pillars of the neo-liberal establishment:  globalization, foreign financial control, executive rule by fiat (the Brussels troika) and the unregulated influx of cheap immigrant labor.

Nationalism, as embraced by the new Right, is tied to national capitalism:  Local producers, retailers and farmers are counterpoised to free traders, mergers and acquisitions by international bankers and the giant multinationals. The ‘new Right’ has its audience among the provincial and small town business elite as well as workers devastated by plant closures and relocations.

The ‘new Right’s’ nationalism is ‘protectionist’ – seeking tariff barriers and state regulations to protect industries and workers from ‘unfair’ competition from overseas conglomerates and low-wage immigrant labor.

The problem is that protectionism limits the imports of cheap consumer goods sold in many small retail shops and affordable to workers and the lower middle class.  The Right ‘dreams’ of a corporatist model where national workers and industries bond to oppose liberal competitive capitalism and class struggle trade unions.  As the class struggle declines, the ‘tri partite’ politics of the neo-liberal right is reconfigured by the New Right to include ‘national’ capital and a ‘paternalistic state’.

In sum, the nationalism of the Right evokes a mythical past of harmony where national capital and labor unite under a common communal identity to confront big foreign capital and cheap immigrant labor.

Political Strategy: Electoral and Extra-Parliamentary Politics

Currently, the new Right is primarily oriented to electoral politics, especially as it gains mass support.  They have increased their share of the electorate by combining mass mobilization and community organizing with electoral politics, especially in depressed areas. They have attracted middle class voters from the neo-liberal right and working class voters from the old Left.  While some sectors of the Right, like the Golden Dawn in Greece, openly flaunt fascist symbols – flags and uniforms – as well as provoking street brawls, others pressure the governing neo-liberal right to adopt some of their demands especially regarding immigration and the ‘deportation of illegals’.  For the present, most of the new Right’s focus is on advancing its agenda and gaining supporters through aggressive appeals within the constitutional order and by keeping the more violent sectors under control.  Moreover, the current political climate is not conducive to open extra-parliamentary ‘street fighting’ where the new Right would be easily crushed.  Most right-wing strategists believe the current context is conducive to the accumulation of forces via peaceful methods.

Conditions Facilitating the Growth of the Right

There are several structural factors contributing to the growth of the new Right in Europe:

First and foremost, there is a clear decline of democratic power and institutions resulting from the centralization of executive – legislative power in the hands of a self-appointed elite in Brussels.  The new Right argues effectively that the European Union has become a profoundly authoritarian political institution disenfranchising voters and imposing harsh austerity programs without a popular mandate.

Secondly, national interests have been subordinated to benefit the financial elite identified as responsible for the harsh policies that have undermined living standards and devastated local industries.  The new Right counterpoises ‘the nation’ to the Brussels ‘Troika’ – the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission.

Thirdly, ‘liberalization’ has eroded local industries and undermined communities and protective labor legislation.  The Right denounces liberal immigration policies, which permit the large-scale inflow of cheap workers at a time of depression level unemployment.  The crisis of capitalism combined with the large force of cheap immigrant labor forms the material basis for right-wing appeals to workers, especially those in precarious jobs or unemployed.

Right:  Contradictions and the Double Discourse

The Right, while criticizing the neo-liberal state for unemployment, focuses mainly on the immigrants competing with nationals in the labor market rather than on the capitalists whose investment decisions determine levels of employment and unemployment.

The Right attacks the authoritarian nature of the European Union, but its own structures, ideology and history pre-figure a repressive state.

The Right rightly proposes to end foreign elite control of the economy, but its own vision of a ‘national state’, especially one linked to NATO, multi-national corporations and imperial wars, will provide no basis for ‘rebuilding the national economy’.

The Right speaks to the needs of the dispossessed and the need to ‘end austerity’ but it eschews the only effective mechanism for countering inequalities – class organization and class struggle.  Its vision of the ‘collaboration between productive capital and labor’ is contradicted by the aggressive capitalist offensive to cut wages, social services, pensions and working conditions.  The new Right targets immigrants as the cause of unemployment while obscuring the role of the capitalists who hire and fire, invest abroad, relocate firms and introduce technology to replace labor.

They focus the workers’ anger ‘downward’ against immigrants, instead of ‘upward’ toward the owners of the means of production, finance and distribution who ultimately manipulate the labor market.

In the meantime the radical Left’s mindless defense of unlimited immigration in the name of an abstract notion of ‘international workers solidarity’ exposes their arrogant liberal bias, as though they had never consulted real workers who have to compete with immigrants for scarce jobs under increasingly unfavorable conditions.

The radical Left, under the banner of ‘international solidarity’, has ignored the historical fact that ‘internationalism’ must be built on the strong national foundation of organized, employed workers.

The Left has allowed the new Right to exploit and manipulate powerful righteous nationalist causes.  The radical Left has counterpoised ‘nationalism’ to socialism, rather than seeing them as intertwined, especially in the present context of an imperialist-dominated European Union.

The fight for national independence, the break-up of the European Union, is essential to the struggle for democracy and the deepening of the class struggle for jobs and social welfare. The class struggle is more powerful and effective on the familiar national terrain – rather than confronting distant overseers in Brussels.

The notion among many radical Left leaders to ‘remake’ the EU into a ‘Social Europe’, the idea that the EU could be converted into a ‘European Union of Socialist States’ simply prolongs the suffering of the workers and the subordination of nations to the non-elected bankers who run the EU.  No one seriously believes that buying stocks in Deutsch Bank and joining its annual stockholders meetings would allow workers to ‘transform’ it into a ‘People’s Bank’.  Yet the ‘Bank of the Banks’, the ‘Troika’, made up of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF, set all major policies for each member state of the European Union. Un-rectified and remaining captive of the ‘Euro-metaphysic’, the Left has abdicated its role in advancing the class struggle through the rebirth of the national struggle against the EU oligarchs.

Results and Perspectives

The Right is advancing rapidly, even if unevenly across Europe. Its support is not ephemeral but stable and cumulative at least in the medium run.  The causes are ‘structural’ and result from the new Right’s ability to exploit the socio-economic crisis of the neo-liberal right governments and to denounce authoritarian and anti-national policies of the unelected EU oligarchy.

The new Right’s strength is in ‘opposition’.  Their protests resonate while they are distant from the command centers of the capitalist economy and state.

Are they capable of moving from protest to power?  Shared power with the neo-liberals will obviously dilute and disaggregate their current social base.

The contradictions will deepen as the new Right moves from positions of ‘opposition’ to sharing power with the neo-liberal Right.  The massive roundups and deportation of immigrant workers is not going to change capitalist employment policies or restore social services or improve living standards.  Promoting ‘national’ capital over foreign through some corporatist union of capital and labor will not reduce class conflict.  It is totally unrealistic to imagine ‘national’ capital rejecting its foreign partners in the interest of labor.

The divisions within the ‘nationalist Right’, between the overtly fascist and electoral corporatist sectors, will intensify.  The accommodation with ‘national’ capital, democratic procedures and social inequalities will likely open the door to a new wave of class conflict which will expose the sham radicalism of the ‘nationalist’ right.  A committed Left, embedded in the national terrain, proud of its national and class traditions, and capable of unifying workers across ethnic and religious ‘identities’ can regain supporters and re-emerge as the real alternative to the two faces of the Right – the neo-liberal and the ‘nationalist’ new Right.  The prolonged economic crisis, declining living standards, unemployment and personal insecurity propelling rise of the nationalist Right can also lead to the emergence of a Left deeply linked to national, class and community realities.  The neo-liberals have no solutions to offer for the disasters and problems of their own making; the nationalists of the new Right have the wrong -reactionary – answer.  Does the Left have the solution?  Only by overthrowing the despotic imperial rule of Brussels can they begin to address the national-class issues.

Post-script and final observations:

In the absence of a Left alternative, the working class voters have opted for two alternatives: Massive voter abstention and strikes.  In the recent EU election, 60% of the French electorate abstained, with abstention approaching 80% in working class neighborhoods.  This pattern was repeated or even exceeded throughout the EU – hardly a mandate for the EU or for the ‘new Right’.  In the weeks and days before the vote, workers took to the streets.  There were massive strikes of civil servants and shipyard workers, as well as workers from other sectors and mass demonstrations by the unemployed and popular classes opposing EU-imposed ‘austerity’ cuts in social services, health, education, pensions, factory closures and mass lay-offs.  Widespread voter abstention and street demonstrations point to a huge proportion of the population rejecting both the neo-Liberal Right of the ‘Troika’ as well as the ‘new Right’.

May 252014
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

This full length GRTV documentary looks at the fictitious land of Nulandistan that has been constructed out of Ukraine.The GRTV documentary deconstructs Nulandistan and the propaganda of the Obama Administration, the US Department of States, US officials, and their allies about the crisis in Ukraine and takes a look at their growing frustration towards the Russian media, particularly RT, for challenging their account of the events on the ground in what they have declared is an intensifying information war.

The full length documentary starts by looking at the self-benefiting description of the EuroMaidan protests that US officials have used and how it has grossly diverged from reality. Then the Odessa Massacre is deconstructed for audiences.

The documentary then looks at the situation in East Ukraine, including the violence and referenda. The events in East Ukraine are then contrasted to the positions of US officials and Russia.

This documentary shows how the reality of events in Ukraine has been been misappropriated and propagandized to support US foreign policy and to justify tensions against Russia.

To read articles by its producer, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, please click the following link:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/author/m…

PLEASE DISTRIBUTE AND SHARE THIS GRTV DOCUMENTARY