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Alain Badiou: “Ultimately it is revolutionaries alone who offer a true balance sheet of revolutions”

On 16 January, a long and emotional gathering took place at the Théâtre de la Commune in Aubervilliers (Seine-Saint-Denis). Here, the philosopher Alain Badiou wanted to mark both his 80th birthday and the 50-year running of his famous seminar, offering the faithful a last session of public reflection.Launched in 1966, this seminar has moved between the Collège universitaire de Reims, the Université Paris-VIII, the Collège international de philosophie, the l’Ecole normale ­supérieure and, finally, here at the Théâtre de la Commune.All of this seminar work since 1983 is going to be published by Fayard, which has already published nine such volumes. The most recent one covers the years 2010-2012 and is entitled Que signifie “changer le monde”? Here, between two pieces commenting on current affairs, Alain Badiou works his way through Western texts from Plato’s dialectic to Lacanian psychoanalysis, via Rousseau’s novels and the theatre of Brecht. He does this in order to examine the future of “the old watchword of revolution.”

Source: Verso

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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How climate scepticism turned into something more dangerous

Last month Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord. For his supporters, it provided evidence, at last, that the president is a man of his word. He may not have kept many campaign promises, but he kept this one. For his numerous critics it is just another sign of how little Trump cares about evidence of any kind. His decision to junk the Paris accord confirms Trump as the poster politician for the “post-truth” age.But this is not just about Trump. The motley array of candidates who ran for the Republican presidential nomination was divided on many things, but not on climate change. None of them was willing to take the issue seriously. In a bitterly contentious election, it was a rare instance of unanimity. The consensus that climate is a non-subject was shared by all the candidates who appeared in the first major Republican debate in August 2015 – Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Mike Huckabee and Trump. Republican voters were offered 10 shades of denialism.

Source: How climate scepticism turned into something more dangerous | Environment | The Guardian

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Watch “Charlottesville: Race and Terror – VICE News Tonight on HBO” on YouTube

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2017 in North America, Uncategorized

 

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Fools, Cowards, or Criminals?

The main Nuremberg war crimes trials began in November 1945 and continued until October 1946. Rebecca West, who reported on the painfully slow proceedings for The New Yorker, described the courtroom as a “citadel of boredom.” But there were moments of drama: Hermann Göring under cross-examination running rings around the chief US prosecutor Robert H. Jackson, for example. Jackson’s opening statement, however, provided the trial’s most famous words: We must never forget that the record on which we judge these defendants today is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow. To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well. We must summon such detachment and intellectual integrity to our task that this Trial will commend itself to posterity as fulfilling humanity’s aspirations to do justice. How well humanity lived up to these words, after a good number of bloody conflicts involving some of the same powers that sat in judgment on the Nazi leaders, is the subject of The Memory of Justice, the four-and-a-half-hour documentary that has rarely been seen since 1976 but is considered by its director, Marcel Ophuls, to be his best—even better, perhaps, than his more famous The Sorrow and the Pity (1969), about the Nazi occupation of France, the Vichy government, and the French Resistance.

Source: Fools, Cowards, or Criminals? | by Ian Buruma | The New York Review of Books

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Why Aren’t We Talking to Our Kids About Porn?

Pornography accounts for 10 to 30 percent of the internet, depending on who you ask, and with web access available to more children than ever, it’s no wonder they’re watching it. In a 2008 study, University of New Hampshire researchers found that 93 percent of boys and 62 percent of girls reported being exposed to porn by the age of 18. And 26.9 percent and 23 percent of them, respectively, had been exposed by age 13.Research has shown that exposure to sexually aggressive porn may make it nearly six times more likely that young men will perpetuate the aggressive sexual behavior themselves. And in the UK and US, doctors have raised concerns over an increase in young girls seeking labiaplasty due to unrealistic expectations of what their vaginas should look like—potentially fueled by “exposure to idealized images of genital anatomy,” the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists warned.

Source: Why Aren’t We Talking to Our Kids About Porn? – VICE

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Village Atheists, Village Idiots

Something has gone badly wrong with our atheists. All these self-styled intellectual titans, scientists, and philosophers have fallen horribly ill. Evolutionist faith-flayer Richard Dawkins is a wheeling lunatic, dizzy in his private world of old-fashioned whimsy and bitter neofascism. Superstar astrophysicist and pop-science impresario Neil deGrasse Tyson is catatonic, mumbling in a packed cinema that the lasers wouldn’t make any sound in space, that a spider that big would collapse under its own weight, that everything you see is just images on a screen and none of it is real. Islam-baiting philosopher Sam Harris is paranoid, his flailing hands gesticulating murderously at the spectral Saracen hordes. Free-thinking biologist PZ Myers is psychotic, screeching death from a gently listing hot air balloon. And the late Christopher Hitchens, blinded by his fug of rhetoric, fell headlong into the Euphrates.Critics have pointed out this clutch of appalling polemic and intellectual failings on a case-by-case basis, as if they all sprang from a randomized array of personal idiosyncrasies. But while one eccentric atheist might be explicable, for all of the world’s self-appointed smartest people to be so utterly deranged suggests some kind of pattern. We need, urgently, a complete theory of what it is about atheism that drives its most prominent high priests mad.

Source: Village Atheists, Village Idiots | Sam Kriss

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Forget ‘the environment’: we need new words to convey life’s wonders

If Moses had promised the Israelites a land flowing with mammary secretions and insect vomit, would they have followed him into Canaan? Though this means milk and honey, I doubt it would have inspired them.

Source: Forget ‘the environment’: we need new words to convey life’s wonders | George Monbiot | Opinion | The Guardian

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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We’re the 99% and we’re not so united

Water boils at 100°C; that’s certain. But there’s little point expecting the behaviour of societies to conform to the laws of physics. That 1% of people command the majority of the world’s wealth does not mean that the 99% are a cohesive social group, still less a political force at boiling point.The 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement was built around an idea and a slogan: ‘We are the 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%.’ Studies just before it happened showed that almost all of the gains from an economic upturn had gone to the US’s wealthiest 1%. This wasn’t a historical aberration or a national exception. Almost everywhere a similar outcome has consistently been encouraged by government policy. In France, the tax plans of President Macron will largely benefit ‘the richest 280,000 households … whose assets are mainly in the form of financial investments and business shares’ (1).

Source: We’re the 99% and we’re not so united, by Serge Halimi (Le Monde diplomatique – English edition, August 2017)

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Take back power

“Care is such a radical idea,” says Naomi Klein. “I find it interesting that we struggle with the word. I’m not ready to let go of it. I feel like we need to grow into it.” Klein is as close to being a rock star as you can get on the radical left. She has been a public thinker since her first book, No Logo, achieved cult status in the anti-globalisation movement of the early 2000s, but she eschews her celebrity status as much as possible. We meet in early June at the People’s Summit, an enormous convention of American progressives in Chicago, a couple of days before her latest book, No Is Not Enough, comes out – but she is not on a promotional tour. She’s here, like everyone else, because she cares.
http://www.newstatesman.com/2017/07/take-back-power-naomi-klein

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Micro-targeted digital porn is changing human sexuality 

It was only a couple of decades ago, before WiFi or the static death shriek of dial-up modems, that fetishes were hard-won secrets. The porno most of us stumbled across in our formative pubescence – a Playboy left on a rural Greyhound bus, or a waterlogged bodice-ripper in a back-alley dumpster – was all hard silicon protuberances and breathy nonsense. It was sexual, so it was almost invariably scintillating. But it was also ultimately just a flattening manifestation of one grotesque, misogynistic fantasy. Figuring out what actually got your motor running required work and guts. You had to dig deep into the bargain boxes of porn shops, open up with strangers (or worse, those you loved), and pray that you could find someone who understood and would accommodate your desires.
https://aeon.co/essays/micro-targeted-digital-porn-is-changing-human-sexuality

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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