Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Systematic servitude

The most overwhelming method of societal control is debt. The extortion of tuition fees provides institutional punishment for intellect and academic determination, while pricing out those with potential but not circumstantial wealth to become part of  a surplus of wage slavery for corporate power. Chomsky describes this as "disciplinary" state policy. David Foster Wallace notes how those privileged enough to attend American universities to earn liberal arts degrees, such as in philosophy or literature, usually go on live in complacency and comfortable careers in finance or public relations:

Whereas Panoptic state school curriculums mainly serve to indoctrinate such uniformity. We live in dire existence if Masters degrees are mostly sought for wage rises.

Without trade unions, employees won't object or subvert towards poor wages, corruption or abusive work conditions if they have debts or mortgages to pay off. Of course, governments serve financial oligarchy with hypocrisy. There is an infinite amount of money to support a crooked system, but not society itself. The law of United States has the incomprehensible absurdity of allowing judicial and civil recognition of corporations as individuals. "Corporations are people, friend", says Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. But perhaps this isn't so inaccurate? Maybe we are deemed to serve as the individual corporation. Humanly transparent, automatically concreted. "Austerity" is destroying basic human dignity and culture as an expense, so as long as the outmoded and illegitimate economic system can remain. We the people are aware, and say no.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

A secular perspective of celebrating Christmas

As the late Christopher Hitchens pointed out, what do flying reindeers and decorated confier trees have to do with resurrection myths originating in bronze age Palestine? I have as much reason to believe in Father Christmas as I do the impregnation of virgins, and of course, Yahweh. But we can certainly appreciate the cultural existences deriving from Christian faithfulness. John Betjeman was correct to campaign for the restoration of Anglican churches, and "Silent Night" is a profoundly beautiful hymn to me. I will happily be a Larkin-style church goer. The Christmas festival itself derives from the cultural amalgamation of the pagan solstice that has existed for thousand of years, with early Christianity, to make invading cultural enforcement more palatable with the peasant dwellers of Europe. This is accordingly why it made its way to North, South and Central America, and Australasia through colonialism of other forms. The Jehovah's Witnesses sect are theologically consistent in this regard. Christmas accords to false idolisation and detraction from Biblical patriarchy, and is therefore inherently Satanic (or perhaps Santanic) in its now faded but underlying cultural paganism of millenia. We do of course have as much reason to dislike and reject purposeless consumerism, that is just as unattuned to humanity as the Abrahamic primitivism that prohibits Xmas as a minority cult. What difference is there between opportunistic post-Christmas consumerism and the riots and looting of past August? Currency and vandalism. Relevant is Philip Womack's post on J.G. Ballard's perception. We appreciate the festivities for basic human reasons: compassion, comfort and appreciation for that which we might take for granted.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

"Quantitatively Eased", a poem

Published here at The Recusant

'Plexiglass divide,  
To deposit worthless paper in line,
To vacant faces in vacancy, 
Gazing dead to those snide eyes.
Paper crumpled, hoarded and 
Discarded, freshly printed,
Brittle and thin, 
Granted little, as they can see.

Plexiglass shields,
That shall contain them in line. 
Parents are wardens of their children. 
Oh the deposition, suspicion!
Shall spirits be broken, like faces, 
Bloodied and bandaged skulls and futures?
They and the windows shall -
Empathy not pity.
It is the cry of those and what they shall be -

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Summarizing Iraq

It is rhetorically easy to justify foreign interventions under the notion of supporting and defending democracy and human rights. Indeed, I have a general conclusion that freedom will triumph as long as there is a consistent allegiance to these values. Pictured above is Donald Rumsfeld, the first Secretary of Defense in George W. Bush's cabinet, and his friendly meeting in 1983 with Saddam Hussein in Iraq. His purpose was to supply the chemical and biological weapons that the Ba'ath Party regime went on to use to commit its mass genocide and ethic cleansing against the resistance movement in Kurdistan. It is somewhat one-dimensional to describe the 2003 invasion of Iraq as merely a war over oil; but the primary reason behind the United States intervention in the first Gulf War was just that. Directly and indirectly, it preserved the profitable fossil fuel interests of multinational corporations; it should be noted, contributing to climate change, alongside Saddam's tactical destruction of natural ecology when allowing the spilling of barrels of Kuwaiti oil into the Persian Gulf.

There are numerous occasions on which Saddam's dictatorship could have been overthrown by Iraqi dissidents. There can be no doubt of its unbelievable  brutality, corruption, fundamentalism and sadism. But the efforts of these underground movements for liberal democracy: comprising of activists, women's rights advocates, secularists and pseudonymous journalists, were crushed viciously, as direct consequence of the arms supplied by western administrations. Two of the most prominent subsidizers of Saddam Hussein's regime were the governments of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, a support much similar to their affinity for Augusto Pinochet's Chilean junta.

Hosni Mubarak's dictatorship was supplied with multi-billions of military aid for over 30 years, and was only disowned by the U.S. government until its position became entirely untenable. During this sympathetic diplomacy, encouragement of the Egyptian revolutionaries was at the very least tepid. Now covert support and provision of American-made tear gas and ammunition has shifted to the Egyptian SCAF instead. The facility of moral determination speaks for itself.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

"Various species grouped together, according to their past beliefs"

I originally wrote this one year ago today, on the day of the passing of great Don Van Vliet, most well known as Captain Beefheart. It sounds mawkish, but it's legitimate.

I knew Don Van Vliet had been suffering from multiple sclerosis for many years, but this is a complete blow to the soul. I discovered the Captain a year ago, aged 16, now 17, and cannot describe the extent to which his music fulfills and enthralls me today. I eventually “got” Trout Mask Replica, like Matt Groening, and now hold it as one my most beloved musical works. Typical enough to his nature, I listen to the on par Lick My Decals Off, Baby newly acquired and experienced on the day of his passing, sullenly appreciating the man. The influence of his absolutely uncompromising innovation as an artist is unsurpassable. Don Van Vliet was a man who lived with an intrinsic appreciation of nature, grounded with a sense of humour, that reflected society and human nature with an incomparable profundity. His absence is that of something. But his music will help us find it always. “I’m doing a non-hypnotic music to break up the catatonic state… and I think there is one right now.” You’ve left us at a time where that’s true more than ever. Woe-is-uh-Me-Bop.

Friday, 16 December 2011

The Passing of the Hitch

I write this commemoration to the life of Christopher Hitchens, and his influence on my life, with an immense sense of absence and debt to fully articulate its importance, beyond any selfish grief. This post will therefore probably be somewhat meandering. I was never able to meet or directly communicate him, but some degree of procrastination may contribute to this on my part. In this mind there permeates the typical sense of regret.

I am still young. Literally, not patronizing myself, I recognize my general absence of constant experience. But genuinely  no matter what occurs to me from now in whatever timespan, one of the defining contributions to the paths and ambitions I take are in Hitchens's writings and lectures, which I have spent many hours over years watching and taking notes from on YouTube. I think it's easy to sense an obvious imitation of these styles from anyone familiar.

I have often expressed my interest in writing and journalism to have derived from two novels: George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four and Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita. No doubt the individual greatness of these two authors, but Hitchens's immense literary criticism and elaboration of sociopolitical poignancy defines what lead me to them. 

Bigotry, prejudice, totalitarianism, anti-intellectualism, mediocrity: he revolted against them. No matter what obvious disagreements a person could hold with him, he pioneered some of civilization's most idealistic and sacrosanctly timeless values. In that how we appreciate life itself. God is not Great. He made this clear more than any of the "New Atheists", in truly as the Voltaire of his age. "Violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism and tribalism and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children: organized religion ought to have a great deal on its conscience". The oppressive cancer of all those humanistic values. The facility of those somehow celebrating his death are clear in their own never-ending, infantile, religious idiocy.

If anything, we mourn the loss of a human being who dedicated themselves to intellect, culture and humanity. This is the least any of should aspire to, and due to my own lack of capability to fully realize his greatness, I call on anyone unfamiliar to make themselves accustomed.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

A second Russian revolution?

The electoral standards of Russia's parliamentary elections have proven themselves to be legitimately on par with any corrupt, authoritarian dictatorship. This is perhaps due to Vladimir Putin's control of government comprising what we can clearly deem one. This said, the Russian state's stance on numerous international issues has been fairly and appropriately eccentric. President Dmitry Medvedev once expressed his support for Wikileaks; this is contrasted to its complacent defence of the Assad regime in Syria.

Though Russia is not a one party state, its ruling oligarchical and state powers blatantly and criminally enforce United Russia's electoral and political dominance, on both literal and propagandist levels. When not merely overwhelmingly ignored within the country, opposition party advocates and activists in general are regularly harassed, assaulted and intimidated. And may we never forget Anna Politkovskaya, who was killed in 2006 for her human rights activism. Though this is usually on the part of the state's secret service agents, it is worth watching Peter Oborne's Unreported World documentary for Channel 4 on the 'Nashi' movement, an organised group of 17 to 25-years-olds comprising a reconstructed Komosol and Putin's own virtual Hitler Youth. Unsurprisingly obnoxious, they travel around as leather jacketed-ad hoc vigilantes. A police officer who apprehends them for vandalizing pavement in front of the American embassy cowers away when they identify themselves as part of this pro-Putin activist group. A younger man vapidly expresses his hatred for blacks and Jews in Russia, while Young girls gushingly sing songs about Putin, in a headquarter building adorned with Stalin-style paintings and murals of him. (There is a certain irrelevancy to the Stalinism of the Russian Communist Party when Putin is a Stalinist sympathizer himself). 

But they are very much a minority. Instigated by the fraudulent election results on December 4, and obviously inspired the the Arab Spring and the Occupy movement, an eruption of demonstration against Stalinist/mafioso rule chanted "Down with Putin" on the streets of Moscow. The response to this dissent was obvious: mass containment and arrest. Though unlike "democratic" western governments, the Russian state did not resort to rubber bullets or tear gas. This is an interesting juxtaposition of justifications. (The former powers can easily take extreme violent against their people for granted, whereas nations already mistrusted according to media narratives of their apparent unfreedom cannot. I wonder that an American tank would more easily get away with running down a lone resister).

Though Russians undoubtedly face deeply illiberal and pernicious forces, they are nowhere near those in Middle Eastern regimes. In more direct context of the Velvet Revolutions of Eastern Europe, let us hope this forms into a revolutionary movement we can declare solidarity to.