Nov 182014
 

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:

10349961_10152653695342758_6951567233136190986_n

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

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

antisemitizme-durde

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

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

“Jew dogs can not enter”

“Jew dogs can not enter”

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

fishmantweet1

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

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

 

 

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

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

Nov 152014
 

Pic Blog Promo Barcelona 2015

1st International Symposium: Global Cities and Cosmopolitan Dreams

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

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

Enquiries: acc@alternative-academia.net

Monday 18th to Wednesday 20thof May, 2015

Venue: Betahaus BCN

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

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Call for Papers

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. The Ideal City: Image, Idea and Meaning

=> Historic Models, Modern Renditions

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

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

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

=> Utopias and Dystopias

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

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

2. Ethnic Enclaves, Multicultural Avenues

=> Negotiating Difference

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

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

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

=> Contestation and Conciliations

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

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

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

=> Cosmopolitanism

- How is cosmopolitanism to be defined?

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

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

3. City Limits

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

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

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

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

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

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

=> Sacred Spaces

- How are sacred spaces conceptualized in cosmopolitan cities?

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

4. Neighbors, Residents, Denizens and Citizens

=> Neighbors

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

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

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

=> Neighborhood Watch

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

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

=> Hospitality

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

=> Rights of Residents, Denizens and Citizens

- How is citizenship established within cities?

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

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

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

5. Street Life

=> Public and Private Spaces

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

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

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

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

=> Anonymity

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

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

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

=> Time and Place

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

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

=> The Art in/of The City

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

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

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

6. Model Cities

=> Case Studies

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

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

=> Resource Management

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

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

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

=> Fast Forward

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

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

- What dissatisfactions and longings fuel these imaginings?

=> Cosmopolitan Dreams

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

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

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

The Arrival City

=> Transition Points

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

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

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

=> Migration Patterns

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

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

City-Scapes: Urban Renewal and Future

=> Revival, Regeneration and Displacement

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

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

=> Home Territories

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

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

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

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

Please use the following template for your submission:

First: Author(s);

Second: Affiliation, if any;

Third: Email Address;

Fourth: Title of Abstract and Proposal;

Fifth: The 400 to 500 Word Abstract.

To submit an abstract online follow these steps:

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

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

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

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

5) Click on the Call for Papers for the Symposium

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope to meet you in Barcelona!

Symposium Coordinators:

Wendy O’Brien

Professor of Social and Political Theory

School of Liberal Studies

Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Email: Wendy.Obrien@humber.ca

Antonio Cuadrado-Fernandez

Independent Researcher

Ecopoetry Instructor

Norwich, England

Email: acfernandez36@gmail.com

Alejandro Cervantes-Carson

General Coordinator

International Network for Alternative Academia

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Email: acc@alternative-academia.net

 

*****

Informational Note:

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

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

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

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

Nov 152014
 

Pic Blog Promo Barcelona 2015

1st International Symposium: Re-Founding Democracy

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

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

Enquiries: acc@alternative-academia.net

Thursday 21st to Saturday 23rd of May, 2015

Venue: Betahaus BCN

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

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Call for Papers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Democracy, Ethics and Globalization 

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Empathy and Emancipatory Subjectivities

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

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

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

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

3. Economy, Distribution of Wealth and Democracy

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

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

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

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

4. Borders, Nations and Supranational Institutions  

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Art, Creativity and Democracy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please use the following template for your submission:

First: Author(s);

Second: Affiliation, if any;

Third: Email Address;

Fourth: Title of Abstract and Proposal;

Fifth: The 400 to 500 Word Abstract.

To submit an abstract online follow these steps:

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

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

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

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

5) Click on the Call for Papers for the Symposium

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope to meet you in Barcelona!

Symposium Coordinators:

Antonio Cuadrado-Fernandez

Independent Researcher

Ecopoetry Instructor

Norwich, England

Email: acfernandez36@gmail.com

Marina Kaneti

PhD Candidate, Politics

New School for Social Research

New York, New York

Email: kanem368@newschool.edu

Alejandro Cervantes-Carson

General Coordinator

International Network for Alternative Academia

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Email: acc@alternative-academia.net 

 

*****

Informational Note:

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

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

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

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

Nov 142014
 

Pic Blog Promo Barcelona 2015

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

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

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

Enquiries: acc@alternative-academia.net

Thursday 14th to Saturday 16th of May, 2015

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Venue: Betahaus BCN

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

Call for Papers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Life and Biography: Always Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Authorship, Authenticity and Authority

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Success and Failure: A History of Recognition?

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

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

- How are links made between recognition and success?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5.  Myths of Creation

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

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

- Does inspiration require legitimation?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please use the following template for your submission:

First: Author(s);

Second: Affiliation, if any;

Third: Email Address;

Fourth: Title of Abstract and Proposal;

Fifth: The 400 to 500 Word Abstract.

To submit an abstract online follow these steps:

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

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

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

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

5) Click on the Call for Papers for the Symposium

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope to meet you in Barcelona!

Symposium Coordinators:

Wendy O’Brien

Professor of Social and Political Theory

School of Liberal Studies

Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Email: Wendy.OBrien@humber.ca

Oana Strugaru

Faculty of Letters and Communication Sciences

Stefan cel Mare University

Suceava, Romania

Email: strugaru_oana@yahoo.com

Alejandro Cervantes-Carson

General Coordinator

International Network for Alternative Academia

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Email: acc@alternative-academia.net 

 

*****

Informational Note:

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

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

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

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

Nov 142014
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

con-man-obama-e1313244448535

Introduction

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

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

Obama Embraces the Rightwing Agenda

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Democratic Electorate Strikes Back: 2010

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

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

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

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

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

Disenchantment Deepens

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

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

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

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

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

The Democratic Debacle of 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Post-Elections:  The Con-Man is Cornered

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 122014
 

Pic Blog Promo Barcelona 2015

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

Part of the Research Program on: Recasting Bonds

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

Enquiries: acc@alternative-academia.net

Monday 11th to Wednesday 13th of May, 2015 

Venue: Betahaus BCN

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

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Call for Papers

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

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

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

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

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

The Ontology of Love

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

- Is love an interpersonal phenomenon or an individual experience?

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

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

- Is love debt by another means?

Speaking of Love . . . 

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

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

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

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

- What are apt metaphors for love?

The Phenomenology of Love

- Where does love start?  Where does it end?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Look of Love: The Aesthetics and/of Love

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

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

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

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

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

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

Caring for Self

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

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

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

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

Small Intimacies 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bonds of Care

- What is the relationship between love and care?

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

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

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

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

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

Friendship

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

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

- Can there be friendship without desire?

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

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

- Is friendship premised on reciprocity of feelings?

Lessons on Love

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

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

- How is love merchandized?

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

- Is love measurable? Is it quantifiable?

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

The Politics of Love

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

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

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

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

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

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

Broad Venues

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

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

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

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

Please use the following template for your submission:

First: Author(s);

Second: Affiliation, if any;

Third: Email Address;

Fourth: Title of Abstract and Proposal;

Fifth: The 400 to 500 Word Abstract.

To submit an abstract online follow these steps:

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

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

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

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

5) Click on the Call for Papers for the Symposium

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope to meet you in Barcelona!

Symposium Coordinators:

Alejandro Cervantes-Carson

General Coordinator

International Network for Alternative Academia

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Email: acc@alternative-academia.net

Wendy O’Brien

Professor of Social and Political Theory

School of Liberal Studies

Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Email: Wendy.Obrien@humber.ca

Albin Wagener

Doyen

Faculté des Humanités

Université Catholique de l’Ouest

Angers, France

Email: awagener@uco.fr

 

*****

Informational Note:

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

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

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

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

Nov 082014
 

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:

20141029-1455-540x360

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

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

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

20141029-1408-540x360

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

Verification Problems

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

What happens under governmental pressure?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 062014
 

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:

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

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

Colorless milk ports flap furiously

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 042014
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

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Washington escalates its military interventions abroad, launching simultaneous air and ground attacks in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan; multiplying drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia; training, arming and financing proxy mercenaries in Jordan, the Gulf States and Iraq; and dispatching National Guard battalions to West Africa, ostensibly to combat the Ebola epidemic, though they lack the most elementary public health capabilities. All in all the US spent $3.5 trillion for military invasions over 6 years.

At the same time, the US domestic public health services have deteriorated. At the state and local level, like Dallas, Texas and at the national level, officials and major institutions demonstrate an inability to effectively detect and manage cases of Ebola infections among the general population in a timely manner. An infected Liberian immigrant was not diagnosed correctly when he presented to a major Dallas hospital emergency room. Instead he received irrelevant and unnecessary ‘imaging studies’ and was sent home with oral antibiotics. This confirmed the widespread belief that Emergency Room physicians and nurses are under pressure from their administration to order costly CT scans and MRI’s on patients as a way to make money for the hospital and to cover-up their incompetence at basic patient history and physical examination. Despite the patient’s informing hospital workers of his recent arrival from Liberia, an Ebola outbreak hot-spot, personnel did not put on basic protective gowns, gloves, hoods and masks and they allowed the febrile, vomiting, desperately sick man to contaminate large areas of the emergency department, waiting room and MRI suite. Quarantine was not even considered. . . .

The director of the Dallas hospital covered up for his organization’s incompetence by a series of victim blaming – the patient, the computer system, the nurses …  National health guidelines may have been inadequate at the time, but Ebola was clearly on the national radar and the CDC had provided basic guidelines and measures. All hospitals have infectious control committees, disaster preparedness committees and receive state and national alerts.

As the crisis and public panic deepened, President Obama engaged in vigorous political fund-raising.  Meanwhile, Vice President Biden was preoccupied by his 40+ year-old son’s expulsion from the Navy Reserve for cocaine use. The Defense Secretary was busy picking targets to bomb in Syria and Iraq …

The Cabinet met over ‘National Security’ issues like ISIS, expanding military interventions around the world, while US medical personnel, international travelers and their family members, as well as average American citizens felt more threatened by the apparent breakdown of the public health system, both at the local and national levels, in the face of a deadly viral infection.

The inadequacy, indeed breakdown, of the US public health system as it confronts the first cases of Ebola in the US and the simultaneous escalation of military intervention in Syria and Iraq typifies, in microcosm, the demise of the US republic accompanying the rise of the US military empire.

The Dallas hospital, which had at first turned a desperately sick Liberian immigrant away, was run as a for-profit enterprise, directed by business managers eager for high returns and dismissive of basic health procedures and even more  of the advice of competent, experienced health workers: They had made their biggest investments in high technology and multi-million dollar equipment, irrelevant to the diagnosis and treatment of tropical and infectious diseases. The pressure to use the most expensive technology inappropriately and recoup the corporate investment, resulted in a deadly delay in diagnosis and contaminated at least a dozen health care workers. The corporate hospital director eventually apologized for their ‘mistakes’.  But the fault goes far beyond “bad decisions”: The procedures and protocols are built into the ‘for profit’ model emphasizing the need show a healthy ‘return’ on multi-million dollar advanced technological investments. There is a stark contrast between the high tech advances in imaging and surgery in a modern American hospital and the regressive, socially backward ignorance of the socio-medico context in which critically ill, infectious patients are embedded. It is as if such patients are not supposed to enter the techno-medical world where only the most highly remunerative procedures and protocols are available for those … who can pay.

At the deeper level, the entire national public health system is increasingly dependent on the formulation of rules and flows of information, corrupted and distorted by ‘market demands’ and political priorities heavily weighted toward  expanding the police state at home and militarism abroad. These political priorities in turn, are influenced by the massive shift in resources to support the permanent war policies of the Obama regime and the US Congress.

The proliferation and escalation of military interventions dominates the Obama Administration’s real agenda. According to Assistant Secretary of State for Eastern European Affairs, Victoria Nuland, six billion dollars of public money was spent on subverting the elected government of the Ukraine – $6 billion shifted from US domestic sectors, like health care and real disaster preparedness. Meanwhile hundreds of hospitals have been closed in most major US cities and rural clinics abandoned for lack of personnel. The entire health care system, in its current ‘for profit’ corporate form is devoid of competent, effective leadership. On the other hand, the US military is seen as the solution to the world’s (and increasingly domestic) problems, while the social roots of conflict and disaster are ignored with contempt.

The militarization of the minds of our political leaders has led to the most grotesque decisions: In the face of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the Obama regime has sent 2000 National Guard combatants to Africa. These are soldiers who lack the most elementary knowledge, skill, capability and training to deal with the complexities of a major public health crisis in a devastated, war torn part of the world. One must recall how Washington pressured the United Nations to send ‘Peace-keepers’ to Haiti after the earthquake – UN soldiers from Nepal, who brought not peace but an epidemic of cholera killing additional tens of thousands of Haitian civilians. The immediate question regarding US National Guard troops in West Africa is not whether they can build rural clinics or maintain camps of quarantined Africans, the real concern is whether these heavily armed ‘health aides’ can avoid being infected and bringing Ebola home. This concern has now led the Pentagon to impose mandatory quarantine on its own soldiers returning from West Africa – a knee-jerk reaction motivated more by fear-mongering than science.

In contrast, Cuba has sent hundreds of highly skilled health workers, who form teams with proven track records in confronting public health crises in the tropics and elsewhere. Cuban teams include skilled epidemiologists who develop effective local programs, based on real-time, on-the-ground fact-finding and assessment of available resources. The enormous differences between the Cuban and US responses to the Ebola crisis reflects the profound contrast in their social and health systems: Cuba has a free national health system and strong public health and civil defense structures using rigorous procedures and effective guidelines to set up clinics and camps appropriate to the objective conditions. They emphasize the social context of disease and are not invested in expensive high tech medical equipment and tests irrelevant to the challenges at hand. Their budget is not skewed toward promoting imperial wars: for the Cubans health and welfare is an integral political priority.

In contrast ‘health care’ in the US has become big business while military metaphysics dominate the minds and policies of the political and business elite. The deterioration of basic health care delivery in general and the public health sector in particular is not only a consequence of a failure of political leadership, it also reflects the recurring and deepening economic crises. Under the ‘War on Terrorism’ fear-mongering over bio-weapons, namely threatened Anthrax attacks, tens of billions of public money was diverted from public health at the national and state level and the corrupted, crippled system has never recovered.

The economic crisis, gripping the US, the European Union (EU) and beyond, is clearly manifested in the stagnation of the US economy. The private corporate elite, who form the ruling class, are unable to sustain growth without massive US Treasury subsidies ($4.5 trillion dollars, according to the Financial Times (10/14/14). The US has experienced extreme volatility in its stock market, together with the impoverishment of its working class and diminution of its middle class. Heightened social inequalities are everywhere, especially in access to decent, effective health care. In the EU, Germany’s economy is plunging from zero to negative growth, while France, Italy and Holland are in deep recession. Greece, Spain and Portugal are in a prolonged depression, burdened by unpayable debts and unable to escape the downward social and economic spiral because of austerity programs imposed by Brussels.

Washington’s war policies, the concentration of state resources on financing military invasions and subsidizing the grossly inflated financial sector, account for the fatal deterioration of health and welfare services in the US. Growing majorities feel the pain, and many more are alienated from the Presidential and Congressional elite – as well as from their own corrupt, incompetent local elected officials.

To safeguard the power of the military-financial elite, the political rulers have resorted to a series of “Horror Shows” – orchestrating vast propaganda spectacles designed to strike fear and loathing of ‘external enemies’ among the American public, in order to secure their submission and obedience to police state policies.

Recently, there was the lurid media shock of the Muslim terrorists in ‘ISIS’ beheading two American captives. The public ‘horror’ was manipulated to justify the large-scale US military re-entry in Iraq and the air war against Syria – policies largely opposed by the war-weary US citizenry.

Close on the heels of the ‘beheading’ atrocities, came the spectacle of a fearsome African “Ebola” epidemic, spreading to the US and threatening Americans with brutally painful deaths … This was used to justify Obama’s sending of thousands of US National Guard to West Africa to act as “health workers”.

The total collapse of the public health systems throughout Africa follows decades of civil wars, fomented by US and EU military policies, in order to plunder Africa’s economies and rich natural resources – while marketing Western arms and mercenaries. Militarizing the problems of Africa and creating millions of refugees has naturally led to plagues – Ebola today, malaria yesterday and other infectious diseases and miseries tomorrow.

The immensely complex and catastrophic health crisis in West Africa is the stark backdrop to years of western propaganda hailing the massive growth of foreign investment in Africa’s extractive sectors – notably energy and mining. The business press (Financial Times, Economist, Wall Street Journal…) featured images of “Africa; the Sleeping Giant Awakes”, describing of emergence of wealthy mineral enclaves powered by large-scale foreign investments, creating vast private foreign and local fortunes while ignoring the sea of massive poverty, broken public health clinics, non-existent schools and devastating living conditions, as well as the war-lord ravaged masses of refugees fleeing the fights over mineral-rich lands. This created the ‘perfect storm’ for the emergence and spread of epidemics – like Ebola.

In Africa, under IMF and Western corporate dictates, entire budgets and foreign aid programs were channeled to finance infrastructure (roads, transport, ports, etc.) for extractive imperialism – while virtually nothing, in terms of public policy, was or is allocated to basic public health and preventative medicine. The ‘focused’ programs of the ‘Gates Foundation’ and others served to divert African health workers and resources to the ‘NGO’s, rather than national, priorities and encouraged the flight of African doctors and nurses to the West.

The recent cases of Ebola in the US highlight the deterioration of national and local public health systems – the result of deregulation, privatization and corporatization of the medicine. The ‘profit ethos’ permeates medical care in the US. Cutbacks in preventive medicine, divorcing medical care from the social context of illness, as well as the lack of accountability and transparency in the face of erroneous diagnoses and inappropriate or incompetent care are consequences of the larger failures in public policy. This also explains the emergence and rampant spread of multi-drug resistant bacterial infections within the hospitals and out in the communities. The preference for expensive, profitable techno-medicine (marketed as ‘personalized’ health care) over competent ‘hands on’, science-based medicine rooted in an understanding of objective social conditions, has fueled the crisis and spread mass confusion among the public.

When the government engages in long-term, large-scale wars abroad, when the Treasury allocates trillions of public dollars to Wall Street for the better part of a decade, when the government secures submission (“consent”) via horror scenarios that replace public accountability with fear and loathing, we, the US public pay a steep price in public health under autocratic elite rule.

The recent ‘police-state’ response to an American nurse, Kaci Hickox, highlights the corrupt arrogance of US politicians and opinion leaders, long accustomed to control via fear-mongering and criminalizing dissent. The fact that Nurse ‘Kaci’ arrived at ‘Liberty’ International Airport in perfect health from her months of heroic work in West Africa where she set up clinics and hospitals to help stem the Ebola crisis at its sources, did not dissuade the thuggish governor of New Jersey from confining her, like an animal, in a clear plastic cage in the parking lot of a Newark hospital. Her successful fight for freedom against this arbitrary confinement exposed Governor Cristie and his side-kick, New York Governor Cuomo, as ignorant bellowing thugs, intent on making her ‘an example’. Nurse Kaci Hickox’ victory of science and civil rights over brutal scare-mongering may be temporary – as the tendency has long been to militarize crises and erode citizen rights.

The American public is beginning to understand the relationship between this policy of scaremongering, the bail-out of billionaires and rampant militarism with the daily erosion of their standard of living, health and security and civil rights.It will take more than a Nurse ‘Kaci’ to reverse the tide, but one tough competent nurse has set a glorious example.

Nov 022014
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

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Introduction

The principal reason why Washington engages in military wars, sanctions and clandestine operations to secure power abroad is because its chosen clients cannot and do not win free and open elections.

A brief survey of recent election outcomes testify to the electoral unattractiveness of Washington backed clients. The majority of  democratic electorates rejects candidates and parties which back the US global agenda: neo-liberal economic policies; a highly militarized foreign policy; Israeli colonization and annexation of Palestine; the concentration of wealth in the financial sector; the military escalation against China and Russia. While the US policy attempts to re-impose the pillage and dominance of the 1990’s via recycled client regimes the democratic electorates want to move on toward less bellicose, more inclusive governments, which restore labor and welfare rights.

The US seeks to impose the unipolar world, of the Bush Sr. and Clinton era, failing to recognize the vast changes in the world economy, including the rise of China and Russia as world powers, the emergence of the BRIC and other regional organizations and above all the growth of popular democratic consciousness.

Failing to convince electorates by reason or manipulation, Washington has opted to intervene by force, and to finance organizations to subvert the democratic electoral process. The frequent resort to bullets and economic coercion when ballots fail to produce the “appropriate outcome testifies to the profoundly reactionary nature of US foreign policy. Reactionary in the double sense of ends and means. Progmatically, the imperial centered socio-economic policies deepen inequalities and depress living standards. The means to achieve power, the instruments of policy, include wars, intervention, covert operations, are more akin to extremists, quasi-fascist, far right regimes.

Free Elections and the Rejection of US Clients

US backed electoral parties and candidates have suffered defeats throughout most of the world, despite generous financial backing and international mass media propaganda campaigns. What is striking about the negative voting outcomes is the fact that the vast majority of adversaries are neither anti-capitalist nor ‘socialist’. What is equally striking is that all of the US clients are rightist or far-rightist parties and leaders. In other words the polarization is usually between center-left and rightist parties; the choice is between reform or reaction, between an independent or satellite foreign policy.

Washington and Latin America:  Masters of Defeats

Over the past decade, Washington has backed losing neo-liberal candidates throughout Latin America and then sought to subvert the democratic outcome.

Bolivia

Since 2005, Evo Morales the center left leader favoring social reforms and an independent foreign policy has won three Presidential elections against Washington backed rightist parties, each time by a greater margin. In 2008, he ousted the US ambassador for intervening, expelled the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in 2008, USAID in 2013 and the Military Mission after foiling an aborted coup in Santa Cruz.

Venezuela

The United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and its predecessor have won every Presidential and Congressional election (over a dozen) except one over the past 15 years despite US multi-million dollar funding of neo-liberal opposition parties. Unable to defeat the Chavez led radical-reform government, Washington backed a violent coup (2002), a boss’s lockout (2002/3), and decade’s long paramilitary attacks of pro-democracy leaders and activists.

Ecuador

The US has opposed the center-left government of President Correa for ousting it from the military base in Manta, renegotiating and repudiating some of its foreign debt and backing regional pacts which exclude the US. As a result Washington backed an abortive police led coup in 2010 that was quickly defeated.

Honduras

During democratically elected President Manual Zelaya’s tenure in office, a center-left President, Honduras sought to pursue closer relations with Venezuela in order to receive greater economic aid and to shed its reputation as a US dominated “banana republic”. Washington unable to defeat him at the ballot box, responded by supporting a military coup (2009) which ousted Zelaya and returned Honduras to the US fold. Since the coup Honduras has experienced more killings of popular leaders -200- than any country in Latin America.

Brazil

The center-left Workers Party has won four straight elections against US backed neo-liberal candidates beginning in 2002 and continuing through the 2014 elections. The US propaganda machine, including NSA’s spying on President Rousseff and the strategic state petrol company, Petrobras, and the international financial press went all out to discredit the reformist center-left government. To no avail! The voters preferred an ‘inclusive’ social liberal regime pursuing an independent foreign policy to an opposition embedded in the discredited socially regressive neo-liberal politics of the Cardoso regime (1994-2002). In the run-up to the 2014 elections Brazilian and US financial speculators attempted to strike fear in the electorate by betting against the currency (real) and driving the stock market into a precipitous fall. To no avail. Rousseff won with 52% of the vote.

Argentina

In Argentina a massive popular revolt overthrew the US backed neo-liberal regime of De la Rua in 2001. Subsequently, the electorate elected the center-left Kirchner government over the rightist, US backed  Menem candidacy in 2003. Kirchner pursued a reformist agenda imposing a moratorium on the debt and combining high economic growth with large scale social expenditures and an independent foreign policy. US opposition escalated with the election of his wife Cristina Fernandez. Financial elites, Wall Street, the US judiciary and Treasury intervened to destabilize the government, after failing to defeat Fernandez’s re-election. Extra-parliamentary financial pressures were matched by political and economic support for rightist politicians in preparation for the 2015 elections.

Earlier, in 1976, the US backed the military coup and political terror that led to the murder of 30,000 activists and militants. In 2014 the US backed a “financial coup” as a federal judge sided with vulture funds, sowing financial terror in international markets against a democratically elected government.

Paraguay

President Fernando Lugo was a moderate former Bishop who pursued a watered-down center-left agenda. Nevertheless, he raised issues that conflicted with Washington’s extremist agenda, including Paraguay’s membership in regional organizations that excluded the US (MERCOSUR). He appealed to the landless rural workers and he retained ties to other Latin American center-left regimes. He was deposed by Congress in 2012 in a highly dubious ‘institutional coup’, quickly supported by the White House and replaced by a straight-line neo-liberal, Federico Franco with tight links to Washington and hostile to Venezuela.

Globalizing US Threats to Democracy

US subversion of democracy when center-left political formations compete for power is not confined to Latin America – it has gone ‘global’.

Ukraine

The most egregious example is the Ukraine, where the US spent over $6 billion in over a decade and a half. Washington financed, organized, and promoted pro NATO shock troops to seize power against an elected regime (President Yevtushenko) which tried to balance ties between the West and Russia. In February 2014, an armed uprising and mob action led to the overthrow of the elected government and the imposition of a puppet regime totally beholden to the US. The violent putschists met resistance from a large swathe of pro-democracy activists in the Eastern region. The Kiev junta led by oligarch Petro Poroshenko dispatched air and ground troops to repress the popular resistance with the unanimous backing of the US and EU. When the rightist regime in Kiev moved to impose its rule over the Crimea and to break its military base treaty with Russia, the Crimean citizens voted, by a large margin (85%), to separate and merge with Russia.

In both the Ukraine and Crimea, US policy was directed toward imposing by force, the subordination of democracy to NATO’s drive to encircle Russia and undermine its democratically elected government.

Russia

Following the election of Vladimir Putin to the Presidency, the US organized and financed a large number of opposition “think tanks”, and NGO’s, to destabilize the government. Large scale demonstrations by well-funded NGO’s were given wide play by all the Western mass media.

Failing to secure an electoral majority and after suffering electoral defeats in the executive and legislative elections, Washington and the EU, using the pretext of Russian “intervention” in the Ukraine, launched a full scale economic war on Russia. Economic sanctions were enforced in the hopes of provoking economic collapse and a popular upheaval. Nothing of the sort occurred. Putin gained greater popularity and stature in Russia and consolidated its ties with China and the other BRIC countries.

In sum in the Ukraine, Crimea and Russia, facing independent elected governments, Washington resorted to a mob uprising, military encirclement and an escalation of economic sanctions.

Iran

Iran has periodic elections in which pro and anti-western parties compete. Iran has drawn the wrath of Washington because of its support for Palestinian liberation from the Israeli yoke; its opposition to the Gulf absolutist states; and its ties to Syria, Lebanon (Hezbollah) and post- Saddam Hussain Iraq. As a result, the US has imposed economic sanctions to cripple its economy and finances and has funded pro-Western neo-liberal opposition NGO’s and political factions. Unable to defeat the Islamist power elite electorally, it chooses to destabilize via sanctions in order to disrupt its economy and assassinations of scientists and cyber warfare.

Egypt

Washington backed the Hosni Mubarak dictatorship for over three decades. Following the popular uprising in 2011, which overthrew the regime, Washington retained and strengthened its ties to the Mubarak police, military and intelligence apparatus. While promoting an alliance between the military and the newly elected President Mohammed Morsi, Washington funded NGO’s, who acted to subvert the government through mass demonstrations. The military, under the leadership of US client General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, seized power, outlawed the Moslem Brotherhood and abolished democratic freedoms.

Washington quickly renewed military and economic aid to the Sisi dictatorship and stregthened its ties with the authoritarian regime. In line with US and Israeli policy, General Sisi tightened the blockade of Gaza, allied with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf despots, strengthened its ties with the IMF and implemented a regressive neo-liberal program by eliminating fuel and food subsidies and lowering taxes on big business. The US backed coup and restoration of dictatorship was the only way Washington could secure a loyal client relationship in North Africa.

Libya

The US and NATO and Gulf allies launched a war (2011) against the independent, nationalist Libyan government, as the only way to oust the popular, welfare government of Colonel Gadhafi. Unable to defeat him via internal subversion, unable to destabilize the economy, Washington and its NATO partners launched hundreds of bombing missions accompanied by arms transfers to local Islamic satraps, tribal, clan and other violent authoritarian groups. The subsequent ‘electoral process” lacking the most basic political guarantees, fraught by corruption, violence and chaos, led to several competing power centers. Washington’s decision to undermine democratic procedures led to a violent Hobbesian world, replacing a popular welfare regime with chaos and terrorism.

Palestine

Washington has pursued a policy of backing Israeli seizures and colonization of Palestinian territory, savage bombings and the mass destruction of Gaza. Israel determined to destroy the democratically elected Hamas government has received unconditional US backing. The Israeli colonial regime has imposed racist, armed colonies throughout the West Bank, financed by the US government, private investors and US Zionist donors. Faced with the choice between a democratically elected nationalist regime, Hamas, and a brutal militarist regime, Israel, US policymakers have never failed to back Israel in its quest to destroy the Palestinian mini-state.

Lebanon

The US, along with Saudi Arabia and Israel, has opposed the freely elected Hezbollah led coalition government formed in 2011. The US backed the Israeli invasion in 2006, which was defeated by the Hezbollah militias. Washington backed the rightwing Hariri led coalition (2008 – 2011) which was marginalized in 2011. It sought to destabilize the society by backing Sunni extremists especially in Northern Lebanon. Lacking popular electoral support to convert Lebanon into a US client state, Washington relies on Israeli military incursions and Syrian based terrorists to destabilize Lebanon’s democratically elected government.

Syria

Syria’s Bashar Assad regime has been the target of US, EU, Saudi and Israeli enmity because of its support for Palestine, its ties with Iraq, Iran, Russia and Hezbollah. Its opposition to the Gulf despotism and its refusal to become a US client state (like Jordan and Egypt) has been another source of NATO hostility. Under pressure from its internal democratic opposition and its external allies, Russia and Iran, the Bashar Assad regime convoked a conference of non-violent opposition parties, leaders and groups to find an electoral solution to the ongoing conflict. Washington and its NATO allies rejected a democratic electoral road to reconciliation. They and their Turkish and Gulf allies financed and armed thousands of Islamic extremists who invaded the country. Over a million refugees and 200,000 dead Syrians were a direct result of Washington’s decision to pursue “regime change” via armed conflict.

China

China has become the world’s largest economy. It has become a leading investment and trading country in the world. It has replaced the US and the EU in Asian, African and Latin American markets. Faced with peaceful economic competition and offers of mutually beneficial free trade agreements, Washington has chosen to pursue a policy of military encirclement, internal destabilization and Pan Pacific integration agreements that excludes China. The US has expanded military deployments and bases in Japan, Australia and the Philippines. It has heightened naval and air force surveillance just beyond China’s limits. It has fanned rival maritime claims of China’s neighbors, encroaching on vital Chinese waterways.

The US has supported violent Uighur separatists, Tibetan terrorists and protests in Hong Kong in order to fragment and discredit China’s rule over its sovereign territory. Fomenting separation via violent means results in harsh repression, which in turn can alienate a domestic constituency and provide grist for the Western media mills. The key to the US countering China’s economic ascent is political: fomenting domestic divisions and weakening central authority. The democratization which Chinese citizens favor has little resonance with US financed ‘democracy’ charades in Hong Kong or separatist violence in the provinces.

Washington’s effort to exclude China from major trade and investment agreements in Asia and elsewhere has been a laughable failure. The principle US “partners”, Japan and Australia are heavily dependent on the Chinese market. Washington’s (free trade) allies in Latin America, name Colombia, Peru, Chile and Mexico are eager to increase trade with China. India and Russia are signing off on multi-billion dollar trade and investment deals with China! Washington’s policy of economic exclusion miscarried in the first month!

In sum, Washington’s decision to pursue confrontation over conciliation and partnership; military encirclement over co-operation; exclusion over inclusion, goes counter to a democratic foreign policy designed to promote democracy in China and elsewhere. An authoritarian choice in pursuit of unachievable Asian supremacy is not a virtue; it is a sign of weakness and decay.

Conclusion

In our global survey of US policy toward democracy, center-left governments and free elections we find overwhelming evidence of systematic US hostility and opposition. The political essence of the “war on terrorism” is Washington’s world-wide long-term pernicious assault on independent governments, especially center-left democratic regimes engaged in serious efforts to reduce poverty and inequality.

Washington’s methods of choice range from financing rightist political parties via USAID and NGO’s, to supporting violent military coups; from backing street mobs engaged in destabilization campaigns to air and ground invasions. Washington’s animus to democratic processes is not confined to any region, religious, ethnic or racial group. The US has bombed black Africans in Libya; organized coups in Latin America against Indians and Christians in Bolivia; supported wars against Muslims in Iraq, Palestine and Syria; financed neo-fascist “battalions”and armed assaults against Orthodox Christians in the Eastern Ukraine; denounced atheists in China and Russia.

Washington subsidizes and backs elections only when neo-liberal client regimes win. It consistently destabilizes center-left governments which oppose US imperial policies.

None of the targets of US aggression are strictly speaking anti-capitalist. Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina are capitalist regimes which attempt to regulate, tax and reduce disparities of wealth via moderate welfare reforms.

Throughout the world, Washington always supports extremist political groups engaged in violent and unconstitutional activity that have victimized democratic leaders and supporters. The  coup regime in Honduras has murdered hundreds of rank and file democratic activists, farm workers, and poor peasants.

The US armed Islamic jihadist and ex-pat allies in Libya have fallen out with their NATO mentors and are at war among themselves, engaging in mutual bloodletting.

Throughout the Middle East, South Asia, North Africa, Central America and the Caucuses wherever US intervention has taken place, extreme right-wing groups have served, at least for a time, as Washington and Brussels principal allies.

Pro EU-NATO allies in the Ukraine include a strong contingent of neo-Nazis, paramilitary thugs and “mainstream” military forces given to bombing civilian neighborhoods with cluster bombs.

In Venezuela, Washington bankrolls terrorist paramilitary forces and political extremists who murdered a socialist congressional leader and dozens of leftists.

In Mexico the US has advised, finances and backs rightist regimes whose military, paramilitary and nacro-terrorist forces recently murdered and burned alive 43 teachers’ college students and are deeply implicated in the killing of 100,000 “other” Mexicans, in less than a decade.

Over the past eleven years the US has pumped over $6 billion dollars in military aid to Colombia, funding its seven military bases and several thousand special operations forces and doubling the size of the Colombian military. As a result thousands of civil society and human rights activists, journalists, trade union leaders and peasants, have been murdered. Over 3 million small land -holders have been dispossessed.

The mass media cover-up the US option for right wing extremism by describing ruling mass murderers as “center-right regimes” or as “moderates”: linguistic perversions and grotesque euphemisms, are as bizarre as the barbarous activities, perpetrated by the White House.

In the drive for world power, no crime is left undone; no democracy that opposes it is tolerated. Countries as small and marginal as Honduran or Somalia or as great and powerful as Russia and China cannot escape the wrath and covert destabilization efforts of the White House.

The quest for world domination is driven by the subjective belief in the “triumph of the will”. Global supremacy depends entirely on force and violence: ravaging country after country, from carpet bombing of Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya to proxy wars in Somalia, Yemen, Ukraine to mass killings in Colombia, Mexico and Syria.

Yet there are limits to the spread of the “killing fields”. Democratic processes are defended by robust citizens’ movements in Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia. The spread of imperial backed terrorist seizures of power are stymied by emergence of global powers, China in in the Far East and Russia in Crimea and eastern Ukraine have taken bold steps to limit US imperial expansion.

In the United Nations, the President of the United States and his delegate Samantha Powers rant and rave, in a fit of pure insanity, against Russia as “the greatest world terrorist state” for resisting military encirclement and the violent annexation of the Ukraine.

Extremism, authoritarianism and political insanity know no frontiers. The massive growth of the secret political police, the National Security Agency, the shredding of constitutional guarantees, the conversion of electoral processes into elite controlled multi-billion dollar charades, the growing impunity of police involved in civilian murders, speaks to an emerging totalitarian police – state inside the US as a counterpart to the violent pursuit of world power.

Citizens’ movements, consequential center-left parties and governments, organized workers, in Latin America, Asia and Europe have demonstrated that authoritarian extremist proxies of Washington can be defeated. That disastrous neo-liberal policies can be reverted. That welfare states, reductions in poverty, unemployment and inequalities can be legislated despite imperial efforts to the contrary.

The vast majority of the Americans, here and now, are strongly opposed to Wall Street, big business and the financial sector. The Presidency and the Congress are despised by three quarters of the American public. Overseas wars are rejected. The US public, for its own reasons and interests, shares with the pro-democracy movement’s world-wide, a common enmity toward Washington’s quest for world power. Here and now in the United States of America we must learn and build our own powerful democratic political instruments.

We must through the force of reason contain and defeat “the reason of force”: the political insanity that informs Washington’s ‘will to power’. We must degrade the empire to rebuild the republic. We must turn from intervening against democracy abroad to building a democratic welfare republic at home.