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Tag Archives: Politics

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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Fear And Loathing At Effective Altruism Global 2017

San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run – but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world….There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning. And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. — Hunter S. ThompsonEffective altruism is the movement devoted to finding the highest-impact ways to help other people and the world. Philosopher William MacAskill described it as “doing for the pursuit of good what the Scientific Revolution did for the pursuit of truth”. They have an annual global conference to touch base and discuss strategy. This year it was in the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, and I got a chance to check it out.

Source: Fear And Loathing At Effective Altruism Global 2017 | Slate Star Codex

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2017 in North America

 

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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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A Letter to my Liberal Friends

It should not have taken this long. Right now, there are a lot of well-meaning people, people who desperately want to believe in their own goodness, who only opened their eyes to the reality of modern fascism when the world woke up to Nurembergian images of screaming white boys in polo shirts with torches marching on a college town. There’s only so long you can run from reality before it recruits you. It takes a lot to let go of your belief in the system. Moderate conservatives and a fair few market liberals are still clinging with quasi-religious desperation to their faith that the shuddering, mortgaged machine of Western democracy will stop bad things from happening, at least in their town. Many of the same people have persuaded themselves over the years that the young men publishing manifestos and gunning down civilians in cold blood were simply mentally ill “lone wolves.” Many of them doggedly insisted daylight would be the best disinfectant for abhorrent ideas about race and gender, mistaking those messages for some sort of smear on the windscreen of society rather than a fucking tree fallen in the path.

Source: A Letter to my Liberal Friends | Laurie Penny

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2017 in North America

 

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The problem with Venezuela’s revolution is that it didn’t go far enough

Back in the early 1970s, in a note to the CIA advising them how to undermine the democratically elected Chilean government of Salvador Allende, Henry Kissinger wrote succinctly: “Make the economy scream.”

High US representatives are openly admitting that today the same strategy is applied in Venezuela: former US Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger said on Fox News that Chavez’s appeal to the Venezuelan people “only works so long as the population of Venezuela sees some ability for a better standard of living. If at some point the economy really gets bad, Chavez’s popularity within the country will certainly decrease and it’s the one weapon we have against him to begin with and which we should be using, namely the economic tools of trying to make the economy even worse so that his appeal in the country and the region goes down … Anything we can do to make their economy more difficult for them at this moment is a good thing, but let’s do it in ways that do not get us into direct conflict with Venezuela if we can get away with it.”

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2017 in South America

 

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Christian conservatives don’t support Donald Trump despite his vulgarity – they support him because of it

How to account for the strange fact that Donald Trump, a lewd and morally destitute person, the very opposite of Christian decency, can function as the chosen hero of the Christian conservatives? The explanation one usually hears is that, while Christian conservatives are well aware of the problematic character of Trump’s personality, they have chosen to ignore this side of things since what really matters to them is Trump’s agenda, especially his anti-abortion stance.

If he succeeds in naming conservative new members of the Supreme Court, which will then overturn Roe v Wade, then this act will obliterate all his sins, it seems. But are things as simple as that? What if the very duality of Trump’s personality – his high moral stance accompanied by personal lewdness and vulgarities – is what makes him attractive to Christian conservatives? What if they secretly identify with this very duality?

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2017 in European Union, North America

 

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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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“The Battle Lines of the Future”

That Donald Trump is a grand disruptor when it comes to international affairs is now a commonplace observation in the establishment media. By snubbing NATO and withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, we’ve been told, President Trump is dismantling the liberal world order created by Franklin D. Roosevelt at the end of World War II. “Present at the Destruction” is the way Foreign Affairs magazine, the flagship publication of the Council on Foreign Relations, put it on its latest cover. Similar headlines can be found on the editorial pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post. But these prophecies of impending global disorder miss a crucial point: in his own quixotic way, Donald Trump is not only trying to obliterate the existing world order, but also attempting to lay the foundations for a new one, a world in which fossil-fuel powers will contend for supremacy with post-carbon, green-energy states.
http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176294/tomgram%3A_michael_klare%2C_%22the_battle_lines_of_the_future%22/

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2017 in North America

 

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The G20 From Hell

A future history of the G20 in Hamburg might start with a question posed by President Donald Trump – actually his speechwriter – a few days earlier in Warsaw: “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive.”What initially amounted to a juvenile/reductionist clash of civilizations tirade written by Stephen Miller – the same one who penned the “American carnage” epic on Trump’s inauguration as well as the original Muslim travel ban – might actually have found some answers in Hamburg.

Source: The G20 From Hell

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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