Archive for December, 2014

it’s been another good week for the site, thank you for visiting, I’ve had more countries to cross off the list including humanity’s mother Ethiopia, I’m very grateful 😍

here’s some Žižek…

the highest form of freedom is in fact love.

Comment Is Free ► http://bit.ly/CIFguardian

Slavoj Žižek Absolute Recall ► http://bit.ly/zizekrecall


The 8th December is Jim Morrison’s birthday so I can’t let that pass without a Doors tune


Black Friday, is peak abhorrent behaviour.

We look on with a mixture of disgust and voyeuristic pleasure at the ‘dregs’ of society battling it out for a pointless piece of shit bargain. A friend of mine pointed out the hypocrisy of “middle classes” judging the scrums from their armchairs (like myself).

“A question for those who were disgusted by peoples’ actions: What’s a more blatant example of rank consumerism – cramming into a supermarket in the middle of the night to get 70% of a vacuum OR cramming into a German Xmas Market stall on a Saturday and Sunday morning to pay £8 for a hotdog and £50 for an ornament your four year old could make at school for a fiver?”

There seems to be a Gladiatorial element to this, the rich watch on and tut and giggle as the plebs fight for the scraps, like the Cambodian pauper children paid to beat the hell out of each other for pennies. This doesn’t explain or excuse the vileness of Black Friday though.

The scenes across the UK show signs of a society that is sinking past the ability to make any common emotional connection on the basis of anything other than fetishisation, competition and ownership of objects. The, must have, society of the spectacle.

***

Instead of people working together to provide for each other, have a nice time and a festive season, our consumerist system has managed to bring us to its’ desired conclusion. We are not to feel sensible or rational any longer – we are to fight like dogs for pieces of trash that will never fill the emotional void, the Lacanian lack, in our lives – or ease the ever diminishing bank account.

We punch and kick each other to buy things we don’t need! with money we don’t have! for a festival we’ve long forgotten the meaning of if we ever knew in the first place!!!

Funnily enough up until the Victorian era, Christmas had little to do with presents, and it was deemed too pagan and too Catholic to celebrate for centuries after the Reformation.

Cynics are not wrong to suggest Christmas was a holiday built up in the Victorian era to sell picture cards, though thanks to Dickens it was given a charitable feel.

Dickens’ popularity re-introduced the ideas of festivity, gift giving and charity. So Christmas is a weird hotch potch festival, of northern European paganism, Catholic Christianity and Victorian charity and revival.

The only Black Friday I’d ever heard of was the last day of work when all the factories and industry clocked off early and everyone went binge drinking in the towns and the violence and wife beatings that followed gave the day it’s name!

Consumerism and inequality has always been at the heart of the modern Christmas as well, though – Christmas trees were introduced by the German/English Royal Family and copied by the populaces of the US and Europe and St Nicholas (Father Christmas) had his coat changed from green to red by Coca Cola’s advertising company!

***

For many, and definitely me, modern consumerism is just too much. Unlike the middle class arbiters of taste, I actually don’t have two pennies to rub together. Never have had much.

When I was married and working full time in R&D we were still up to our eyes in debt. For many people it won’t be a holiday. Most of us have to force ourselves through a mire of family politics, separated from children, ranking presents and a constant eye on the bank account.

For others it will be a lot worse, old people freezing through winter, deciding to heat or eat, women and children in sheltered homes, homeless people trying to find a place to sleep where they won’t be beaten up, or moved on by police and have their belongings confiscated.

The last two months (at least, probably three) was non-stop buy, buy, buy, like in someway it’s going to fill the gap that a genuine connection to other human beings might fill.

It is an old familiar trope, and we’ve all heard it before, whether we’re buying our German Xmas hotdog, or our shite ASDA widescreen TVs, we don’t seem any happier. And we certainly ain’t better off.

I don’t like the imported concept of Black Friday. I think it’s a shame that it’s a fad over here now. But I acknowledge – People feel poor. When things are cheap (especially before Xmas), they buy them. It’s a shame that we live in a society where we are defined by what we own,

It is easy and enjoyable to feel superior, and tut and scorn, but, let’s actually try and challenge the conditions that create this need and desire for cheap goods. We need to organise, not moralise.

I hear that there will be a push to organise for an austerity Christmas next year – BUY NOTHING, support strikes for the living wage, spread solidarity. Now that’s a Christmas I could enjoy!

War by media and the triumph of propaganda

Why has so much journalism succumbed to propaganda?

Why are censorship and distortion standard practice?

Why is the BBC so often a mouthpiece of rapacious power?

 

full transcript: http://johnpilger.com/articles/war-by-media-and-the-triumph-of-propaganda

 

Why has so much journalism succumbed to propaganda? Why are censorship and distortion standard practice? Why is the BBC so often a mouthpiece of rapacious power? Why do the New York Times and the Washington Post deceive their readers?

 

Why are young journalists not taught to understand media agendas and to challenge the high claims and low purpose of fake objectivity? And why are they not taught that the essence of so much of what’s called the mainstream media is not information, but power?

 

These are urgent questions. The world is facing the prospect of major war, perhaps nuclear war – with the United States clearly determined to isolate and provoke Russia and eventually China. This truth is being turned upside down and inside out by journalists, including those who promoted the lies that led to the bloodbath in Iraq in 2003.

 

The times we live in are so dangerous and so distorted in public perception that propaganda is no longer, as Edward Bernays called it, an “invisible government”. It is the government. It rules directly without fear of contradiction and its principal aim is the conquest of us: our sense of the world, our ability to separate truth from lies.

 

The information age is actually a media age. We have war by media; censorship by media; demonology by media; retribution by media; diversion by media – a surreal assembly line of obedient clichés and false assumptions.

 

This power to create a new “reality” has building for a long time. Forty-five years ago, a book entitled The Greening of America caused a sensation. On the cover were these words: “There is a revolution coming. It will not be like revolutions of the past. It will originate with the individual.”

 

I was a correspondent in the United States at the time and recall the overnight elevation to guru status of the author, a young Yale academic, Charles Reich. His message was that truth-telling and political action had failed and only “culture” and introspection could change the world.

 

Within a few years, driven by the forces of profit, the cult of “me-ism” had all but overwhelmed our sense of acting together, our sense of social justice and internationalism. Class, gender and race were separated. The personal was the political, and the media was the message.

 

In the wake of the cold war, the fabrication of new “threats” completed the political disorientation of those who, 20 years earlier, would have formed a vehement opposition.

 

In 2003, I filmed an interview in Washington with Charles Lewis, the distinguished American investigative journalist. We discussed the invasion of Iraq a few months earlier. I asked him, “What if the freest media in the world had seriously challenged George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld and investigated their claims, instead of channeling what turned out to be crude propaganda?”

 

He replied that if we journalists had done our job “there is a very, very good chance we would have not gone to war in Iraq.”

 

That’s a shocking statement, and one supported by other famous journalists to whom I put the same question. Dan Rather, formerly of CBS, gave me the same answer.  David Rose of the Observer and senior journalists and producers in the BBC, who wished to remain anonymous, gave me the same answer.

 

In other words, had journalists done their job, had they questioned and investigated the propaganda instead of amplifying it, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children might be alive today; and millions might not have fled their homes; the sectarian war between Sunni and Shia might not have ignited, and the infamous Islamic State might not now exist.

 

Even now, despite the millions who took to the streets in protest, most of the public in western countries have little idea of the sheer scale of the crime committed by our governments in Iraq. Even fewer are aware that, in the 12 years before the invasion, the US and British governments set in motion a holocaust by denying the civilian population of Iraq a means to live.

Those are the words of the senior British official responsible for sanctions on Iraq in the 1990s – a medieval siege that caused the deaths of half a million children under the age of five, reported Unicef.

The official’s name is Carne Ross. In the Foreign Office in London, he was known as “Mr. Iraq”. Today, he is a truth-teller of how governments deceive and how journalists willingly spread the deception.

“We would feed journalists factoids of sanitised intelligence,” he told me, “or we’d freeze them out.”

The main whistleblower during this terrible, silent period was Denis Halliday. Then Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and the senior UN official in Iraq, Halliday resigned rather than implement policies he described as genocidal.  He estimates that sanctions killed more than a million Iraqis.

What then happened to Halliday was instructive. He was airbrushed. Or he was vilified. On the BBC’s Newsnight programme, the presenter Jeremy Paxman shouted at him: “Aren’t you just an apologist for Saddam Hussein?”

The Guardian recently described this as one of Paxman’s “memorable moments”. Last week, Paxman signed a £1 million book deal.

The handmaidens of suppression have done their job well. Consider the effects. In 2013, a ComRes poll found that a majority of the British public believed the casualty toll in Iraq was less than 10,000 – a tiny fraction of the truth. A trail of blood that goes from Iraq to London has been scrubbed almost clean.

Rupert Murdoch is said to be the godfather of the media mob, and no one should doubt the augmented power of his newspapers – all 127 of them, with a combined circulation of 40 million, and his Fox network. But the influence of Murdoch’s empire is no greater than its reflection of the wider media.

The most effective propaganda is found not in the Sun or on Fox News – but beneath a liberal halo. When the New York Times published claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, its fake evidence was believed, because it wasn’t Fox News; it was the New York Times.

The same is true of the Washington Post and the Guardian, both of which have played a critical role in conditioning their readers to accept a new and dangerous cold war. All three liberal newspapers have misrepresented events in Ukraine as a malign act by Russia – when, in fact, the fascist led coup in Ukraine was the work of the United States, aided by Germany and Nato.

This inversion of reality is so pervasive that Washington’s military encirclement and intimidation of Russia is not contentious. It’s not even news, but suppressed behind a smear and scare campaign of the kind I grew up with during the first cold war.

Once again, the evil empire is coming to get us, led by another Stalin or, perversely, a new Hitler. Name your demon and let rip.

The suppression of the truth about Ukraine is one of the most complete news blackouts I can remember. The biggest Western military build-up in the Caucasus and eastern Europe since world war two is blacked out. Washington’s secret aid to Kiev and its neo-Nazi brigades responsible for war crimes against the population of eastern Ukraine is blacked out. Evidence that contradicts propaganda that Russia was responsible for the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner is blacked out.

And again, supposedly liberal media are the censors. Citing no facts, no evidence, one journalist identified a pro-Russian leader in Ukraine as the man who shot down the airliner. This man, he wrote, was known as The Demon. He was a scary man who frightened the journalist. That was the evidence.

Many in the western media haves worked hard to present the ethnic Russian population of Ukraine as outsiders in their own country, almost never as Ukrainians seeking a federation within Ukraine and as Ukrainian citizens resisting a foreign-orchestrated coup against their elected government.

What the Russian president has to say is of no consequence; he is a pantomime villain who can be abused with impunity. An American general who heads Nato and is straight out of Dr. Strangelove – one General Breedlove – routinely claims Russian invasions without a shred of visual evidence. His impersonation of Stanley Kubrick’s General Jack D. Ripper is pitch perfect.

Forty thousand Ruskies were massing on the border, according to Breedlove. That was good enough for the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Observer – the latter having previously distinguished itself with lies and fabrications that backed Blair’s invasion of Iraq, as its former reporter, David Rose, revealed.

There is almost the joi d’esprit of a class reunion. The drum-beaters of the Washington Post are the very same editorial writers who declared the existence of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction to be “hard facts”.

“If you wonder,” wrote Robert Parry, “how the world could stumble into world war three – much as it did into world war one a century ago – all you need to do is look at the madness that has enveloped virtually the entire US political/media structure over Ukraine where a false narrative of white hats versus black hats took hold early and has proved impervious to facts or reason.”

Parry, the journalist who revealed Iran-Contra, is one of the few who investigate the central role of the media in this “game of chicken”, as the Russian foreign minister called it. But is it a game? As I write this, the US Congress votes on Resolution 758 which, in a nutshell, says: “Let’s get ready for war with Russia.”

In the 19th century, the writer Alexander Herzen described secular liberalism as “the final religion, though its church is not of the other world but of this”. Today, this divine right is far more violent and dangerous than anything the Muslim world throws up, though perhaps its greatest triumph is the illusion of free and open information.

 

In the news, whole countries are made to disappear. Saudi Arabia, the source of extremism  and western-backed terror, is not a story, except when it drives down the price of oil. Yemen has endured twelve years of American drone attacks. Who knows? Who cares?

In 2009, the University of the West of England published the results of a ten-year study of the BBC’s coverage of Venezuela. Of 304 broadcast reports, only three mentioned any of the positive policies introduced by the government of Hugo Chavez. The greatest literacy programme in human history received barely a passing reference.

In Europe and the United States, millions of readers and viewers know next to nothing about the remarkable, life-giving changes implemented in Latin America, many of them inspired by Chavez.

Like the BBC, the reports of the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian and the rest of the respectable western media were notoriously in bad faith.

Chavez was mocked even on his deathbed. How is this explained, I wonder, in schools of journalism?

Why are millions of people in Britain are persuaded that a collective punishment called “austerity” is necessary?

Following the economic crash in 2008, a rotten system was exposed. For a split second the banks were lined up as crooks with obligations to the public they had betrayed.

But within a few months – apart from a few stones lobbed over excessive corporate “bonuses” – the message changed.

The mugshots of guilty bankers vanished from the tabloids and something called “austerity” became the burden of millions of ordinary people.

Was there ever a sleight of hand as brazen?

Today, many of the premises of civilised life in Britain are being dismantled in order to pay back a fraudulent debt – the debt of crooks.

The “austerity” cuts are said to be £83 billion.

That’s almost exactly the amount of tax avoided by the same banks and by corporations like Amazon and Murdoch’s News UK.

Moreover, the crooked banks are given an annual subsidy of £100bn in free insurance and guarantees – a figure that would fund the entire National Health Service.

The economic crisis is pure propaganda. Extreme policies now rule Britain, the United States, much of Europe, Canada and Australia.

Who is standing up for the majority?

Who is telling their story?

Who’s keeping record straight?

Isn’t that what journalists are meant to do?

In 1977, Carl Bernstein, of Watergate fame, revealed that more than 400 journalists and news executives worked for the CIA.

They included journalists from the New York Times, Time and the TV networks.

In 1991, Richard Norton Taylor of the Guardian revealed something similar in this country.

 

None of this is necessary today. I doubt that anyone paid the Washington Post and many other media outlets to accuse Edward Snowden of aiding terrorism. I doubt that anyone pays those who  routinely smear Julian Assange – though other rewards can be plentiful.

 

It’s clear to me that the main reason Assange has attracted such venom, spite and jealously is that WikiLeaks tore down the facade of a corrupt political elite held aloft by journalists. In heralding an extraordinary era of disclosure, Assange made enemies by illuminating and shaming the media’s gatekeepers, not least on the newspaper that published and appropriated his great scoop. He became not only a target, but a golden goose.

 

Lucrative book and Hollywood movie deals were struck and media careers launched or kick-started on the back of WikiLeaks and its founder. People have made big money, while WikiLeaks has struggled to survive.

 

None of this was mentioned in Stockholm on 1 December when the editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, shared with Edward Snowden the Right Livelihood Award, known as the alternative Nobel Peace Prize. What was shocking about this event was that Assange and WikiLeaks were airbrushed. They didn’t exist. They were unpeople. No one spoke up for the man who pioneered digital whistleblowing and handed the Guardian one of the greatest scoops in history. Moreover, it was Assange and his WikiLeaks team who effectively – and brilliantly – rescued Edward Snowden in Hong Kong and sped him to safety. Not a word.

 

What made this censorship by omission so ironic and poignant and disgraceful was that the ceremony was held in the Swedish parliament – whose craven silence on the Assange case has colluded with a grotesque miscarriage of justice in Stockholm.

“When the truth is replaced by silence,” said the Soviet dissident Yevtushenko, “the silence is a lie.”

It’s this kind of silence we journalists need to break.

We need to look in the mirror.

We need to call to account an unaccountable media that services power and a psychosis that threatens world war.

 

In the 18th century, Edmund Burke described the role of the press as a Fourth Estate checking the powerful. Was that ever true? It certainly doesn’t wash any more. What we need is a Fifth Estate: a journalism that monitors, deconstructs and counters propaganda and teaches the young to be agents of people, not power. We need what the Russians called perestroika – an insurrection of subjugated knowledge. I would call it real journalism.

 

It’s 100 years since the First World War. Reporters then were rewarded and knighted for their silence and collusion. At the height of the slaughter, British prime minister David Lloyd George confided in C.P. Scott, editor of the Manchester Guardian:

“If people really knew [the truth] the war would be stopped tomorrow, but of course they don’t know and can’t know.”

 

It’s time they knew.

 

Follow John Pilger on twitter @johnpilger

Assassination as art? Or simply wrong?

That is the question many Brazilians have been forced to ask themselves after the country’s most important alternative art show displayed nine drawings depicting the assassination of world leaders.

Gabriel Elizondo, writing at Al Jazeera in 2010: – See more at: http://disinfo.com/2014/12/assassination-art-simply-wrong/#sthash.i42DdMXG.dpuf

What is art?

That is the question many Brazilians have been forced to ask themselves after the country’s most important alternative art show displayed nine drawings depicting the assassination of world leaders.

Each charcoal drawing shows the artist, Gil Vicente of Recife, Brazil, holding a weapon moments before assassinating a world leader.

The exhibition is titled “Enemies” and is seen in the photo above.

One drawing depicts Vicente, the artist, holding a knife to the throat of Brazilian President Lula da Silva. Others show the artist pointing a gun at Pope Benedict XVI, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Queen Elizabeth. Many have their hands and feet bound by rope.

The first piece in the series, completed in 2005, is a drawing depicting former US President George W Bush being shot. The most recent drawing, completed this year, depicts Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Another shows Ariel Sharon, on the ground, looking up at the artist pointing a gun at the former Israeli prime minister.

The exhibit is being shown at the Sao Paulo Bienal, which opened this weekend to the public. It’s the most important modern/alternative art show in the country, hosting dozens of different works from artists around the world. Organizers are expecting close to 1 million visitors before the show closes December 12.

A respected Brazilian legal organization asked that the ‘assassination’ works by Vicente be pulled from the exhibit, saying that freedom of expression has limits and the works incite violence akin to terrorism. The organizers, the Bienal Foundation, refused, saying while the views expressed by artist do not represent the organizers, it would be against free speech to pull the plug on the exhibit.

The assassination drawings are featured prominently on the third floor of the exhibit hall.

The artist, Vicente, has said he doesn’t hold a person grudge against any of the subjects of his drawings. He said he came up with the idea after being “disappointed” with world leaders.


http://blogs.aljazeera.com/blog/americas/assassination-art-or-simply-wrong

What is art?

That is the question many Brazilians have been forced to ask themselves after the country’s most important alternative art show displayed nine drawings depicting the assassination of world leaders.

Each charcoal drawing shows the artist, Gil Vicente of Recife, Brazil, holding a weapon moments before assassinating a world leader.

The exhibition is titled “Enemies” and is seen in the photo above.

 

Photo: Brazilian President Lula da Silva.

One drawing depicts Vicente, the artist, holding a knife to the throat of Brazilian President Lula da Silva. Others show the artist pointing a gun at Pope Benedict XVI, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Queen Elizabeth. Many have their hands and feet bound by rope.

 

Photo: Former US President George W Bush

The first piece in the series, completed in 2005, is a drawing depicting former US President George W Bush being shot. The most recent drawing, completed this year, depicts Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Another shows Ariel Sharon, on the ground, looking up at the artist pointing a gun at the former Israeli prime minister.

 

Photo: Former Israeli prime minster Ariel Sharon.

The exhibit is being shown at the Sao Paulo Bienal, which opened this weekend to the public. It’s the most important modern/alternative art show in the country, hosting dozens of different works from artists around the world. Organizers are expecting close to 1 million visitors before the show closes December 12.

A respected Brazilian legal organization asked that the ‘assassination’ works by Vicente be pulled from the exhibit, saying that freedom of expression has limits and the works incite violence akin to terrorism. The organizers, the Bienal Foundation, refused, saying while the views expressed by artist do not represent the organizers, it would be against free speech to pull the plug on the exhibit.

 

Photo: Queen Elizabeth.

The assassination drawings are featured prominently on the third floor of the exhibit hall.

The artist, Vicente, has said he doesn’t hold a person grudge against any of the subjects of his drawings. He said he came up with the idea after being “disappointed” with world leaders.

 

Photo: Pope Benedict XVI

“Because they kill so many other people, it would be a favor to kill them, understand? Why don’t people in power and in the elite die?” Vicente told AFP news agency.

Vicente indicated the art was more about getting rid of something within himself. “My question was very direct, to expel the rage I had inside me,” he told Sao Paulo’s Folha newspaper. He doesn’t even consider himself a student of art.

“I don’t understand art. And I don’t read anything about art,” he told the newspaper.

This is not the first time I have come across outrageous things passed off as art.

Last year I was in Colombia when Cuban/American artist Tania Bruguera hosted an art ‘performance’ at a prestigious Bogota university. Bruguera lined up three people on a stage directly involved in Colombia’s armed conflict to talk about their experiences. But as part of art/performance/talk, hostesses with plates of cocaine then walked through the audience passing around cocaine for anybody who wanted it. You can see some of it on this You Tube clip.

It was part of the ‘performance,’ Bruguera claimed.

Bruguera is closely associated with the University of Chicago Department of Visual Arts.

Needless to say, Bruguera’s art performance (or dare I say, ‘shtick’) in Colombia caused some outrage and was seen by many as a foreigner coming to the country to glorify cocaine in the name of art.

(By some estimates as many as a half million Colombians have been murdered since 1990 as a direct result of the cocaine trade fueled by foreign consumption. And between 3 and 4 million Colombians have been forced to flee their homes because of the drug war).

But what I am writing now was not prompted by what happened last year in Colombia.

It was provoked by walking through halls of the exhibit in Sao Paulo this weekend.

As I gazed at the works by Vicente, it was hard not to feel little disturbed, to say the least.

I was thinking to myself, “Should I even be looking at this?”

Maybe that is exactly the internal response the artist wanted?

So I ask you the following questions:

  • Are his drawings simply in bad taste?
  • Should they even be shown at a major, public art exhibit?
  • Do they incite violence?
  • Or are the drawings art just as much as any other?
  • Or a publicity stunt that by the very nature of this blog post I am perpetuating?

 

I’ll let you decide.

 

extract from Post Anarchism: A Reader. Prologue to Chapter 5

Empowering Anarchy: Power, Hegemony and Anarchist Strategy
Tadzio Mueller
PROLOGUE: ANARCH-Y/-ISTS/-ISM
How does one define something that draws its lifeblood from defying
convention, from a burning conviction that what is, is wrong, and from the
active attempt to change what is into what could be? Definitions necessarily
try to fix the ‘meaning’ of something at any given point, and they imply that
I, who do the defining, have the power to identify the limits of ‘anarchism’,
to say what is legitimately anarchist. It is probably better, then, to start with
clarifying what anarchism is not: it is definitely not a question of ancient
Greek etymology, as in: ‘the prefix “an” linked to the word “archy” suggests
that “anarchism” means …’; neither is it a question of analysing the writings
of one dead white male or another, a type of approach that would look at
books written by anarchist luminaries like Kropotkin or Proudhon, and would
then proclaim that the essence of anarchism can be found in either one, or
a combination of the two;2 nor is it, finally, a question of organizational
continuity with the rebels who were killed in Kronstadt or the anarchists who
fought in the Spanish civil war.
This is not to say that a historical approach to anarchism is not relevant –
only that an attempt to seek a purely historical definition of anarchism would
in some sense commit an act of intellectual violence against those people who
today think of themselves as anarchist, anarchist-inspired, or as ‘libertarian
socialists’: most of those have not read Kropotkin, Bakunin, or even more
contemporary anarchists such as Murray Bookchin, or did not read any of
their works prior to thinking of themselves as anarchists. Barbara Epstein has
tried to come to terms with this relative lack of ‘ideological purity’ by arguing
that today’s anarchism is not really ideologically proper anarchism, but rather
a collection of what she terms ‘anarchist sensibilities’ (Epstein, 2001: 4).
However: in suggesting that today’s anarchists are not really anarchists, even if
they think of themselves as such, Epstein has made precisely the mistake that
academics frequently make when talking about activists, that is, to define a
‘proper’ way of doing/being/thinking, and then identifying the ways in which
activists diverge from the true path as identified by the intellectual elite.3
How can we then avoid this type of definitional ‘violence’, but still have
something to talk about, that is, something that is identifiably ‘anarchist’?
First, I suggest, by letting those people who actually think of themselves as
Post-Anarchism Hits the Streets
anarchists or acknowledge certain anarchist influences in their political work
speak and act for themselves. Because if anarchism is anything today, then it
is not a set of dogmas and principles, but a set of practices and actions within
which certain principles manifest themselves.4 Anarchism is not primarily
about what is written, but about what is done: it is the simultaneous negation
of things as they are, the anger that flows from viewing the world as riddled
with oppression and injustice, and the belief that this anger is pointless if one
does not seek to do something different in the here and now. What makes
these practices specifically anarchist in the eyes of today’s activists does of
course vary from group to group, from person to person. For now, however, I
will understand anarchist practices in the realm of political organization and
expression as those practices that consciously seek to minimize hierarchies
and oppose oppression in all walks of life, a desire which manifests itself in
various organizational forms such as communes, federations, affinity groups
and consensus-seeking structures.5 In other words, anarchism is a scream,
not one of negation,6 but of affirmation: it is about going beyond rejecting,
about starting to create an alternative in the present to that which triggered
the scream in the first place (‘prefigurative politics’).7 This is not to say that
anarchist practices always achieve that – in fact, the main body of this chapter
will deal with the question of which barriers there are in anarchism itself to
reaching its own goal. Instead, this merely gives a broad frame of reference to
a discussion of anarchism, a frame that will be refined as the chapter develops.
One disclaimer before the discussion starts: since I have suggested that it
is only by letting today’s anarchists talk and act that we can find out what
anarchism ‘really’ is, I have been forced to rely on the anarchists that I have
met, and those anarchist texts that I have been able to get and read, to gather
my ‘data’. These are, for a number of reasons, mostly from Europe and the
United States. The questions faced by anarchists that I will discuss in this
chapter come from this context, and the answers will be relevant, if at all,
only in that context.

 

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum – even encourage more critical and dissent views. that gives people the impression the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.”
– The Common Good by Noam Chomsky
(The limits of the debate is also known as Overton’s Window)
Video explains Chomsky & Herman’s “Propaganda Modelhttp://youtu.be/cpdCEPFdu3I
related quotes:
“Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the (U.S.) media”
Noam Chomsky
 
*****
I think we can be reasonably confident that if the (U.S) population had the slightest idea of what is being done in their name, they would be utterly appalled.”
Noam Chomsky
 
*****
“The rascal multitude are the proper targets of the mass media and a public education system geared to obedience and training in needed skills, including the skill of repeating patriotic slogans on timely occasions.”
Noam Chomsky

This  paragraph is in my mind a defining summary of what has come to be known as “classical anarchism”. A beautiful vision of human emancipation.

Emma Goldman’s (1869–1940) closing summary of anarchist principles, circa 1900, from her essay:
Anarchism: What it Really Stands for’ (link to the youtube audiobook (part 2of 3, part 3of 3)):

“Anarchism, then, really stands for the liberation of the human mind from the domination of religion;
the liberation of the human body from the domination of property;
liberation from the shackles and restraint of government.
Anarchism stands for a SOCIAL ORDER based on
* the free grouping of individuals for the purpose of producing real social wealth;
an order that will guarantee to every human being free access to the earth and full enjoyment of the necessities of life  according to; individual desires, tastes, and inclinations.” – (Goldman, 1969: 62)

Goldman critiques religion for oppressing us psychologically, capitalist economics for endangering our
corporal well-being, and government for shutting down our freedoms.

She also asserts that the purpose of anarchism is to liberate humanity from these
tyrannies. She posits a situated politics in which individuality differentiates endlessly,
according to each subject’s ‘desires, tastes and inclinations’.

What is freedom today? Slavoj Žižek | Comment Is Free

Published on Dec 3, 2014

Slavoj Žižek asks: are we really free to live our lives as we want?
We might think so, but the philosopher argues that our apparent freedom is actually governed by a complex series of conditions.

For Slavoj Žižek, a ‘pathetic, old romantic’, says the highest form of freedom is in fact love.
Comment Is Free ► http://bit.ly/CIFguardian

Slavoj Žižek Absolute Recall ► http://bit.ly/zizekrecall

 

 

Writer and activist George Monbiot discuss the TTIP with Russell Brand

http://youtu.be/Rh0InepmCwQ

Russell Brand The Trews (E201)
I’m joined by writer and activist George Monbiot as we discuss the TTIP – a treaty backed by David Cameron that would let rapacious companies subvert our laws, rights and national sovereignty.

In what has been criticised as disgusting opportunism in invoking WWI.

The chancellor of the exchequer of UK Government has said that it will ‘retire’ £218m of the UK’s £2bn First World War debt by refinancing bonds originally issued by Winston Churchill.
The UK has paid a total of £1.26bn in interest on these bonds since then.
The debt has not been paid off before because of the relatively low interest it incurs.
The Treasury plans to cut the annual cost of the debt by re-borrowing money at current market rates. It is the first such move for 67 years.
The bonds that Chancellor George Osborne has acquired have a lower rate than the 4% interest on the debt.
The continued existence of the war bond debt illustrates the lasting shadow cast by World War One.
According to the UK Treasury there are currently 11,200 registered holders of the bonds.
Winston Churchill first issued “4% Consols” in 1927 when he was Chancellor partly to refinance bonds from the First World War.
In addition to the war bonds, some of the debt being refinanced by the Treasury dates back to the 18th Century.
One of these bonds was issued by William Gladstone in 1853 to consolidate the capital stock of the South Sea Company, which was founded in 1711.
The South Sea Company collapsed during the South Sea Bubble financial crisis of 1720, leaving behind it a lot of debt.
In 1932 Chancellor Neville Chamberlain converted some war bonds into “perpetuals”. This gave the government the right not to pay back the loans, as long as they continued paying 3.5% interest on them.
Perpetual bonds, as the name suggests, pay a steady stream of interest forever.