Tag Archives: Politics

La sinistra ovvero l’essere di destra a propria insaputa

Fascista o meno che sia, il pensiero che anima Salvini è comunque schiettamente autoritario e strumentalmente nazionalista. Drammaticamente, proprio a questo pensiero si sono consegnati sia il Movimento 5 stelle sia il Partito democratico, aiutandone e persino anticipandone la costruzione, sebbene in tempi diversi. Ciò rappresenta già oggi un problema almeno quanto potrebbe rappresentarlo Salvini in futuro.

È cosa nota che la Lega sia da sempre abitata da un sentimento di destra, di una destra che si nutre di slogan i quali fino a non molto tempo fa chiunque o quasi avrebbe avuto pudore di pronunciare a mezza bocca, figurarsi urlarli nelle piazze. Basterebbe ricordare lo scandalo che diedero anni fa alcune iniziative di personaggi come Mario Borghezio mai risarcite, almeno nella pancia del partito, da giovanili appartenenze a formazioni di sinistra, e addirittura al Partito comunista, attribuite a certi altri dirigenti leghisti. Che di questo si trattasse, che si avesse a che fare con un partito i cui esponenti se ne andavano armati di disinfettante a sterilizzare i sedili dei treni utilizzati dagli extracomunitari, lo si sapeva come si sapeva di certi slogan razzisti a proposito dei meridionali e delle invocazioni al Vesuvio o all’Etna affinché nettassero la terra. Son tutte circostanze difficilmente derubricabili a forme di goliardia, sebbene adesso molti preferiscano credere che così fosse. Tutto ciò lo sapevano anche i grillini i quali, anche per il suo esser di destra, scelsero proprio il leghista come alleato per andare al governo. Ce lo dimostrano molte circostanze e, più di ogni altra cosa, il contratto di governo.

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Posted by on August 12, 2019 in European Union, Uncategorized


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The imperial rivalry between the US and China means the left must choose the EU it wants

The US has declared China a “currency manipulator” — which, on the face of it, is like a bear declaring that another bear defecated in the woods. But the formal act of designation is a big deal.

Under a law passed in 1988, when the US first discovered that its global dominance might be under threat from trade competitors, the president is empowered to “initiate negotiations … on an expedited basis” to force China to raise the value of the renminbi against the dollar.

The act includes sanctions such as banning Chinese firms from US contracts, and was described at the time by critics as “the economic equivalent of civilian bombing”. But in truth the economic war between China and the US is already under way, and is wholly framed by Trump’s skewed vision of American geopolitics.

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Posted by on August 7, 2019 in Asia, Economy, European Union, North America


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The Weaponization of National Belonging, from Nazi Germany to Trump

This past week I found myself in Stuttgart, an industrial city in southwest Germany. As I usually do in a European city I haven’t visited before, I went to the local history museum to see how the story of the Second World War is presented. Stuttgart’s museum opened just last year, and its handling of the Nazi era is more circumspect than that of older German memorials. The period from 1933 to 1945 comprises a small set of displays, perhaps ten per cent of the entire exhibition. The tone is neutral.

“After 1933, National Socialism pursued Hitler’s anti-Semitic, racist, and imperialistic ends in Shtuttgart, too,” a caption explains in English. “Despite their Social Democratic past, many citizens endorsed and profited from the new policies.” Only a third of Stuttgart’s residents voted for the Nationalist Socialists, but this was enough to make the party dominant in the city. “In 1933 began the marginalization, persecution, and murder of Jews, political opponents (social democrats and communists), and other groups,” another caption states, using an impersonal construction that makes marginalization, persecution, and murder sound like forces of nature rather than acts of man. Members of Hitler’s party defaced the entrances to Jewish shops and then rallied in the town square.

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Posted by on August 7, 2019 in North America


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From Trump to Johnson, nationalists are on the rise – backed by billionaire oligarchs

Seven years ago the impressionist Rory Bremner complained that politicians had become so boring that few of them were worth mimicking: “They’re quite homogenous and dull these days … It’s as if character is seen as a liability.” Today his profession has the opposite problem: however extreme satire becomes, it struggles to keep pace with reality. The political sphere, so dull and grey a few years ago, is now populated by preposterous exhibitionists.

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Posted by on August 7, 2019 in Uncategorized



Yanis Varoufakis: “Never before have we had so much money, yet so little investment in what humanity needs”

Laura Siegler: With the economic rift seemingly still expanding between Southern Europe, on the one hand, and the ‘core’ European countries (Germany, Benelux, France, Scandinavia) on the other, what is the scope for a common environmental agenda of the European left?

Yanis Varoufakis: This question is not just global but also within Europe, because the fragmentation of oligarchy — of capitalism and financialised capitalism — is detrimental to any attack against the climate extinction we are facing. We have a remarkable disconnect, an imbalance, between the amount of liquidity, of money which is available, and the amount of investments — the things the humanity needs. Never before have we had so little investment in what humanity needs, in relation, as a percentage, to the available money. We have the highest amount of savings in the history of capitalism, and the lowest levels of investments, in comparison, especially in the technology of the future that will prevent the climate catastrophe.

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Posted by on August 7, 2019 in Economy, European Union


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Syriza’s defeat shows the left needs a plan to hold on to power, not just win it

The day after Jeremy Corbyn scraped together the parliamentarians’ names he needed to get on the Labour leadership ballot in 2015, he headed off in search of voters. “We didn’t have a campaign. We didn’t have an organisation. We didn’t have any money,” he told me. “All we had was my credit card and that lasted for about a week.”

He stood so that at least one candidate would make the argument that Labour should oppose austerity and shift to the left. No one ever expected him to win that argument, least of all him. But as the rallies grew, unions came on board and his polling numbers soared, the implausible started to look inevitable.

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Posted by on August 7, 2019 in Uncategorized


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The Case for Staying on Earth—With or Without Musk and Bezos

Elon Musk, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal and Tesla and founder
of SpaceX, wants to build a colony on Mars. Actually, make that a
civilization. Why? Because sooner or later, he said, “some eventual extinction event” will wipe out human life on Earth.

Your own extinction event may happen a lot sooner should you be one
of the intrepid richies to make the trip (projected cost, after all the
bugs are ironed out: $200,000). “The first journey to Mars is going to
be really very dangerous. The risk of fatality will be high. There’s
just no way around it,” Musk told
the International Astronautical Congress in 2016. “It would be
basically: Are you prepared to die? And if that’s OK, then you’re a
candidate for going.”

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Posted by on August 4, 2019 in Uncategorized



Every protest shifts the world’s balance

Scale it up and it’s revolution; scale it down and it’s individual
non-cooperation that may be seen as nothing more than obstinacy or
malingering or not seen at all. What we call protest identifies one
aspect of popular power and resistance, a force so woven into history
and everyday life that you miss a lot of its impact if you focus only on
groups of people taking stands in public places. But people taking such
stands have changed the world over and over, toppled regimes, won
rights, terrified tyrants, stopped pipelines and deforestation and dams.
They go far further back than the Peterloo protests and massacre 200
years ago, to the great revolutions of France and then of Haiti against
France and back before that to peasant uprisings and indigenous
resistance in Africa and the Americas to colonisation and enslavement
and to countless acts of resistance on all scales that were never

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Posted by on August 3, 2019 in Uncategorized


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‘Ja, de strijd verhardt’

Wat doe je als de fundamenten van het leven
stukje bij beetje lijken af te brokkelen. Als klimatologen vaststellen
dat we slechts twaalf jaar hebben om de ontwrichting van het klimaat te
voorkomen. Als ecologen waarschuwen dat één miljoen plant- en
diersoorten met uitsterven worden bedreigd. Als je ziet dat we, in
weerwil van alle internationale afspraken, ieder jaar méér CO2 de lucht
in pompen. Als je merkt dat politici economische groei belangrijker
vinden dan de levens van toekomstige generaties en dat we, ondanks het
onophoudelijke gelobby van milieuclubs, nog steeds op ramkoers liggen.
Als er een kans bestaat dat de aarde zo erg opwarmt dat het nog maar de
vraag is of de menselijke beschaving het überhaupt overleeft.

Dan loop je met een spandoek een druk kruispunt op om het verkeer
plat te leggen, lijm je jezelf vast aan het gebouw van Shell, spring je
in de gracht op het moment dat de koning langs loopt, of verschijn je in
ontbloot bovenlijf op de publiekstribune van het Lagerhuis. Dat is
althans de strategie van Extinction Rebellion, de burgerbeweging die
afgelopen april tijdens de zelfverklaarde ‘rebellenweken’ het publieke
leven in verschillende landen ontregelde om zo aandacht te vragen voor
de almaar groeiende klimaatcrisis. Als netjes demonstreren geen effect
heeft, dan wordt het tijd voor brutalere acties, vinden zij.

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Posted by on August 3, 2019 in Reportages


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The new left economics: how a network of thinkers is transforming capitalism

For almost half a century, something vital has been missing from leftwing politics in western countries. Since the 70s, the left has changed how many people think about prejudice, personal identity and freedom. It has exposed capitalism’s cruelties. It has sometimes won elections, and sometimes governed effectively afterwards. But it has not been able to change fundamentally how wealth and work function in society – or even provide a compelling vision of how that might be done. The left, in short, has not had an economic policy.Instead, the right has had one. Privatisation, deregulation, lower taxes for business and the rich, more power for employers and shareholders, less power for workers – these interlocking policies have intensified capitalism, and made it ever more ubiquitous. There have been immense efforts to make capitalism appear inevitable; to

depict any alternative as impossible.

In this increasingly hostile environment, the left’s economic approach has been reactive – resisting these huge changes, often in vain – and often backward-looking, even nostalgic. For many decades, the same two critical analysts of capitalism, Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes, have continued to dominate the left’s economic imagination. Marx died in 1883, Keynes in 1946. The last time their ideas had a significant influence on western governments or voters was 40 years ago, during the turbulent final days of postwar social democracy. Ever since, rightwingers and centrists have caricatured anyone arguing that capitalism should be reined in – let alone reshaped or replaced – as wanting to take the world “back to the 70s”. Altering our economic system has been presented as a fantasy – no more practical than time travel.

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Posted by on July 31, 2019 in Reportages