Saturday, 29 October 2011

The war in Oakland: a turning point

To describe the actions of the police forces in the city of Oakland, California, on October 25 2011, as police brutality, would be an understatement. It was more an all out combat assault, ordered by the state to suppress , intimidate and attack the Occupiers in the region; men, women, children, elderly and disabled people among them. Severely injured with tear gas, military grade flash grenades, and shotguns loaded with rubber bullets, additionally exacerbated by plainclothes provocateurs.


The man shot in the face in the above video is Scott Olson, a marine veteran of the Iraq War, who following the attack was at one point hospitalized in critical condition. He may very well suffer from a slight to moderate degree brain damage for the rest of his life. The war did not do this to him. His life or welfare was never scarred or taken on the battlefield. But the government that easily uses, discards and ignores the service and sacrifices of those in the military, has done so. The doublespeak is how national leaders would condemn scenes such as these occurring in Arab nations, as during the Egyptian and Tunisian regimes, but excuse and ignore it when it occurs in their own. But the Egyptians who overthrew the Mubarak dictatorship have not. This is why on the 28th of October, they marched on the United States embassy in Tahrir, for the same reason they have done in defence of their brothers and sisters struggling in Yemen, Bahrain and Syria.



'The Same Goal'. Whether it calls itself the Arab Spring or the Occupy Movement, we can declare the revolutionary goal an international one. Against corruption and authoritarian power, for social justice and individual freedom. Where governments cannot deceive, indoctrinate or conceal, they manifest corporate power in fear and violence.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Manufacturing Dissent: Why does Chomsky dismiss social media?




Through Twitter, I discovered that Professor Noam Chomsky would be giving a speech at the Occupy Boston camp in his native Massachusetts. Through a link on the #OccupyBoston hashtag, I watched a live stream of his speech, and read the in time quotations of his lecturing through others also posting and watching live. Through this discussion and promotion his wisdom was forwarded throughout the Occupy movement as a whole. 

It therefore seems shortsighted for Chomsky (as I read in an article linked to by Roger Ebert), to dismiss Twitter, or social media in general, as superficial, shallow, evanescent.” Of course, nobody should naively consider the internet as a replacement, or an equally effective method of campaigning, as advocacy, activism, at length speaking and publication, and indeed direct action. It is a worthwhile critique and grounding for journalists like Evgeny Morozov to remind us that retweeting something, or "liking" a cause on Facebook, is not equatable to taking to the streets in favour of it. That said, in his Newsnight interview with Jeremy Paxman , Chomsky noted the April 6 Youth Movement, a Facebook group created in 2008, even before the Iranian Green Movement, by a technologically directed younger generation supporting the strikes by Egyptian trade unions against the injustices and stagnation of Honsi Mubarak's rule. Such campaigns, uniting labour movements with modern activism, were arguably foundational to the facilitation and organization of Egypt's revolutionary protest demonstrations. There is a primary reason why authoritarian regimes impose censorship or total prohibition of the internet. China has already been quick to block all search engine terms relating to "Occupy".

Friday, 21 October 2011

Gaddafi and the problem of vengeance

The problem with the killing of dictators, extrajudicially or otherwise, is the empathy those executed can claim from them. Whether it be a mobbed Mussolini hung up like a slaughtered pig on a petrol station, the trapdoor giving way in the middle of Saddam reciting his prayers, an unarmed Osama bin Laden shot in the face, or a pitiful Colonel Gaddafi dragged out of a sewer pipe bathed in blood. These final, individual acts of brutality are a concentration of the inhumanity these individuals and regimes inflicted. They are much different to the cowardice of Hitler's suicide. Any semblance of compassion for them in these undignified fates is contrasted to their psychopathic absence of this morality that they committed en masse. In this we can define a civilized preference to see the forces of totalitarianism in the docks of courts of justice instead.

Take Slobodan Milošević tried by the International Criminal Court:


This is a sight I find far more satisfying.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

I live in the United States and have a U.K. related question. Do U.K. politics revolve around a two party system, where one is strictly conservative, and the other strictly liberal?

Since the mid-1920s, the two main political parties in the UK have been the right-wing aristocratic/corporate Conservative Party and left-wing democratic socialist Labour Party. Before then, the Conservatives (Tories) vied for power with the Liberal Party (originally known as Whigs), the latter being nominally radical and progressive throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. The Liberal agenda and ideology has always been inconsistent however, sometimes reactionary. The Conservative Party currently govern in a coalition government with the deceitful, traitorous Liberal Democrats; we are suffering under their vicious "austerity" and authoritarianism, destroying the great institutions created by the post-war Labour government from 1945 to 1951. The Labour governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were in power from 1997 to 2010. Many, such as myself, are strongly disillusionment with the Labour Party, due to its Orwellian draconianism and appeasement of corporate vested interests in these 13 years. So directly addressing your question, our political situation is slightly less one-dimensional to that in the United States.

?

A scientific analyzation of corporate control


The network of global corporate control is a fascinating and concise scientific study, by  
Stefania Vitali, James B. Glattfelder and Stefano Battiston. It algorithmically charts the levels of influence by monopolizing transnational corporations, ranking them in terms of profit and control of political powers. Here are the forces that seek to control us exactly:

1 BARCLAYS PLC GB 6512 SCC 4.05
2 CAPITAL GROUP COMPANIES INC, THE US 6713 IN 6.66
3 FMR CORP US 6713 IN 8.94
4 AXA FR 6712 SCC 11.21
5 STATE STREET CORPORATION US 6713 SCC 13.02
6 JPMORGAN CHASE & CO. US 6512 SCC 14.55
7 LEGAL & GENERAL GROUP PLC GB 6603 SCC 16.02
8 VANGUARD GROUP, INC., THE US 7415 IN 17.25
9 UBS AG CH 6512 SCC 18.46
10 MERRILL LYNCH & CO., INC. US 6712 SCC 19.45
11 WELLINGTON MANAGEMENT CO. L.L.P. US 6713 IN 20.33
12 DEUTSCHE BANK AG DE 6512 SCC 21.17
13 FRANKLIN RESOURCES, INC. US 6512 SCC 21.99
14 CREDIT SUISSE GROUP CH 6512 SCC 22.81
15 WALTON ENTERPRISES LLC US 2923 T&T 23.56
16 BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON CORP. US 6512 IN 24.28
17 NATIXIS FR 6512 SCC 24.98
18 GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP, INC., THE US 6712 SCC 25.64
19 T. ROWE PRICE GROUP, INC. US 6713 SCC 26.29
20 LEGG MASON, INC. US 6712 SCC 26.92
21 MORGAN STANLEY US 6712 SCC 27.56
22 MITSUBISHI UFJ FINANCIAL GROUP, INC. JP 6512 SCC 28.16
23 NORTHERN TRUST CORPORATION US 6512 SCC 28.72
24 SOCIÉTÉ GÉNÉRALE FR 6512 SCC 29.26
25 BANK OF AMERICA CORPORATION US 6512 SCC 29.79
26 LLOYDS TSB GROUP PLC GB 6512 SCC 30.30
27 INVESCO PLC GB 6523 SCC 30.82
28 ALLIANZ SE DE 7415 SCC 31.32
29 TIAA US 6601 IN 32.24
30 OLD MUTUAL PUBLIC LIMITED COMPANY GB 6601 SCC 32.69
31 AVIVA PLC GB 6601 SCC 33.14
32 SCHRODERS PLC GB 6712 SCC 33.57
33 DODGE & COX US 7415 IN 34.00
34 LEHMAN BROTHERS HOLDINGS, INC. US 6712 SCC 34.43
35 SUN LIFE FINANCIAL, INC. CA 6601 SCC 34.82
36 STANDARD LIFE PLC GB 6601 SCC 35.2
37 CNCE FR 6512 SCC 35.57
38 NOMURA HOLDINGS, INC. JP 6512 SCC 35.92
39 THE DEPOSITORY TRUST COMPANY US 6512 IN 36.28
40 MASSACHUSETTS MUTUAL LIFE INSUR. US 6601 IN 36.63
41 ING GROEP N.V. NL 6603 SCC 36.96
42 BRANDES INVESTMENT PARTNERS, L.P. US 6713 IN 37.29
43 UNICREDITO ITALIANO SPA IT 6512 SCC 37.61
44 DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION OF JP JP 6511 IN 37.93
45 VERENIGING AEGON NL 6512 IN 38.25
46 BNP PARIBAS FR 6512 SCC 38.56
47 AFFILIATED MANAGERS GROUP, INC. US 6713 SCC 38.88
48 RESONA HOLDINGS, INC. JP 6512 SCC 39.18
49 CAPITAL GROUP INTERNATIONAL, INC. US 7414 IN 39.48
50 CHINA PETROCHEMICAL GROUP CO. CN 6511 T&T 39.78

Saturday, 15 October 2011

How to abolish the deficit

The bailout of banks in the United Kingdom, whose corrupt greed and corporate incompetence on an international level caused the global financial crisis and ensuing near depression, cost in official figures to the country's taxpayers around £850 billion (including £107.1 million in "financial advice").  While according to Bank of England governor Mervyn King, this figure may have been as high as £1.2 trillion. Since the recession, the salaries and luxuriant lifestyles of multinational CEOs and investment bankers have risen, from taxation of the citizens suffering under the austerity of budget cuts and tax rises. The UK coalition government has lowered the rate of corporation tax while being complicit in multi-billion pound corporate tax evasion, lifted the cap on the billions bankers are permitted to pay themselves in bonuses, while raising VAT to 20%, hitting the incomes of working families the hardest.


The UK government uses the budget deficit as its robotically bleated propaganda line to excuse a vicious agenda of budget cuts and privatizations (the trebling of tuition fees being a most prominent example).

Office of National Statistics figures show the country's entire budget deficit, to be "£1105.8 billion, equivalent to 76.1 per cent of GDP. " In general terms, £1.1 trillion. 


A progressive government could implement a radical program of taxation and reform, or a New Deal, of the banking sector. Every penny of the £850 to £1 trillion that the banks were bailed out with would be reclaimed by the treasury, easily affordable from their greatly increased interest since then. Annually raised, would be £25 billion through a war on tax evasion, and  £20 billion from a Robin Hood financial transaction tax. £888 million subsidy of the arms trade that sells weapons to genocidal dictators and juntas would additionally end, while the £130 billion Cold War Trident nuclear weapons system would be abolished. (Many more multi-billions will occur to me through further research and consideration).


This revenue of £1.2 trillion could eradicate the deficit into budget surplus, with no devastating injustice and economic contraction caused by public service, jobs, education, welfare, culture and infrastructure cuts.


Update, on day of the beginning of the Occupation of the London Stock Exchange: this more comprehensively cited blog post by Dr Éoin Clarke sets out £400 billion of cuts. I primarily forgot to mention  the £217 billion spent on wasteful and inefficient "private finance initiatives" in the public sector. Make it £1.3 to 1.5 trillion.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

The fallibility of "crises"

It's an entirely false preconception to describe our economic situations as crises effecting the existence of a constantly presupposed economic system. These deteriorations of inhuman late capitalism, are inherent to its historical methodologies in political power. It is irrelevant and outmoded to human needs and existential direction. On this human level, there is a profound disillusionment with the constructed hierarchies of power, the futility of wage slavery and the manipulated algorithms of worthless currency and "credit", otherwise overwhelmingly accepted and indoctrinated without significant absence of complacency until now.

Late capitalism is essentially a corpse, being constantly reanimated on a metaphorical life support of shedded blood of the living and productive human organism (austerity).

Beyond this metaphor, the consciousness of this human being is waking, immediately and inherently opposing damaging conditions to its well being. Fundamental to the attempts of pacification is weakening of the metaphorical defenses to disease it imposes.

Violence manifests in varying forms: from the forces of the state against the people, the insurrectionism of those who believe it to be effective, and the kind directionless vandalism and materialism we saw in the summer riots.

Monday, 10 October 2011

World Mental Health Day

Anyone with psychological conditions and traumas must be directly honest and supportive with all others suffering or concerned with these struggles, and most importantly with themselves. There is a profound frustration to be seemingly inhibited from the actions and activities that actually make us happy, if so demeaned in guilt and sickness of whatever resentments, regrets or anxieties we have. I confront my depression, and know that in my will of living it will be overcome. We can never deny or importance and greatness to those who truly do care about us. Even if we have some confounded and self-hating absence of hope, we can never give in to that which makes us feel utterly meaningless; we're not.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Why Bob Dylan deserves the Nobel Prize in Literature





What we call "folk music" is not merely confined to its aesthetic categorization, in stereotype or the charts of marketing. Louis Armstrong: "All music is folk music. I ain't never heard no horse sing a song. Bob Dylan is arguably the most important and defining figure of this art form from the entirety of the past century. He has always resented and eschewed his "spokesman of a generation" description, but regardless, he has expressed and portrayed civil strifes and emotional disillusionments for decades. Though from many occassions, he is what I would be inclined to describe as resisting against the absurdity of fame. With such a deep resentment of his impersonal idolization, he quite harshly insulted the American folk revival establshment, and releases an album such as Nashville City Skyline, during the most revolt and indginancy in 1968. Whether or not regarding his musicianship, which in its own accord in the height of its melody and  performance equally as great, his lyrics easily stand by themselves, and are completely superior to plenty of popular doggerel that passes itself for poetry or creative writing generally. On the value of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan alone in my view, yes, he deserves the Nobel Prize.


As noted by "Zook", there are multitude who also have not:



"Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, Henrik Ibsen, Thomas Hardy, Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, Soseki Natsume, Bertolt Brecht, Joseph Conrad, HG Wells, Graham Greene, Virginia Woolf, W.H. Auden, Jorge Luis Borges, Maxim Gorki, Henry James, D. H. Lawrence, Vladimir Nabokov, August Strindberg, Franz Kafka, Robert Frost, Emile Zola, Marcel Proust, James Joyce, Italio Calvino and Mark Twain.
And then there's Dylan Thomas, William Carlos Williams, Antonin Artaud, Robert Lowell, Paul Celan, Philip Larkin, Henry Miller, Paul Bowles, Allen Ginsberg, Jean Genet, George Orwell, Ralph Ellison, Guillaume Apollinaire, James Baldwin, Norman Mailer, Tennessee Williams, Thomas Pynchon, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Kurt Vonnegut, Philip Roth, Philip K Dick, JG Ballard... and Bob Dylan".



Gordon Ball - Dylan and the Nobel

Sunday, 2 October 2011

On the construct of electoral democracy

Consider something metaphorical. In a the middle of circled field, two people are being savagely beaten by another six. It would be worth proverbially picturing the victims in fifteenth-century style haggard brown robes, and their attackers with the elaborate silk and crowns of hedonistic princes and dictators. Twenty other people surround this hideous scene. They are a perfectly diverse variation of citizens, with the capable strength to intervene to undo this injustice, but they do not. One or two of them might snidely condone the crime, but regardless, all of them lower their heads with servile shame. They are all as equally complicit. However, with their hands behind their backs, they decide to hold an ad hoc straw poll with some pieces of paper on whether they should request a detached authority to intervene to stop the brutality inflicted by their rulers, even though they are unaware of whether this separate body would in fact do so, whether or not turning a blind eye. While the beaten become all the more bloodied and bruised, they spend the time forming this ultimately irrelevant consensus. Once it is formed, those they would actually intend to morally defend and save are probably dead.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

The 99%

My empathy is dulled in anger, with the indigancy of my mind in solidarity with those on this Tumblr. Like the Arab Spring, the occupation of Wall Street just as relates to a collective cry against such social injustice and subjugation as it does an intellectual organization of civil disobedience against political oppression. In reference to "austerity", Noam Chomsky notes: '"Tough love" is just the right phrase: love for the rich and privileged, tough for everyone else''.


Those serving these agendas are truly loveless. The hatred we have against this tyranny ultimately upholds our love.