Archive for the 'socialist realism' Category

Peace is overrated

I just came back from a talk given by a fairly standard, run-of-the-mill civil servant who’s specialization is the new, over-hyped field of ‘conflict management’.  In the two hours I spend there, I think I must have heard the word ‘peace’ used so much that it lost all meaning.  This got me thinking about how obsessed liberals are with ‘peace’ as some sort of idealized pancea that ought to be sought above all else.

Surely, if we think about it critically, we can realize that, while nobody obviously wants conflict, peace, in and of itself is not necessarily a good thing if it serves to merely solidify other exisiting horrific social conditions.

For instance, one could easily take this current liberal obsession with ‘peace’ and do something radical which liberals are not wont to do: place the subject back 150 years, look at it dialectically, and see what we get.

Well, we get this:

white-mans-burden.png

So the problem of the liberal obsession with peace is that, to borrow a quote:

“Peace is over rated. Any slave can have peace. Just pick the cotton.”

So, just as with most liberal thinking, its true absurdity only becomes obvious when you take the time to look at it dialectically and place it within an historical context.

See also:

“Civil Liberty”
The myth of humanity as naturally violent
Propaganda In Action: Canada as a force for peace in the world

The difference between who pays for war and who dies [pic]

I recently came across these two maps of the world which pretty much demonstrate much of what’s wrong with the world (original source). 

These maps try to show what the world would look like if maps were drawn based on something other than geographic mass.

As you can see, there is a complete disjunction between who pays for war and who gets to die for war.

Map: Military spending per country — 2002 (BEFORE the Iraq War!)

Military Spending

Surprise, surprise, the U.S. takes up approximately 45% of the world’s landmass with everyone else  — by far and away comprised mostly of Europe — together making up the remainder.

But when we shift over to see who actually receives the crappy end of this equation, we see more or less the same countries who either are currently or have historically been the stomping grounds for U.S. and European imperialism and colonialism.

Map: Military deaths per country — 2002

Military deaths

So who gets to die? 

Colombia.

Democratic Republic of Congo (the big dark red country on the map).

Ethiopia.

Somalia.

All countries the U.S. has long and bloody histories with.  And, in the case of Ethiopia and Somalia, the U.S. is even now in the process of funding the Ethiopian slaughter of Somalis as you read this.

Now this may seem like an obvious phenomenon to you, but consider that before the ‘invention’ (if you can call it that) of highly mobile capital, in Ancient Greece, if a given city was under attack, it was the responsibility of the property-owners to defend the city and they would go out and be the ones on the front lines.  Now, sure, they could pay some peasants to help them fight, but the fact of the matter is that either killing or dying in warfare was nevertheless married to being wealthy.

I wonder what happens when you completely divorce the unpleasant aspects of war from the ability to bankroll it as we have finally accomplished today?

What do politics and monkey shit fights have in common?

harper-bush-monkey.pngIt’s been my experience that Marxists are a peculiar bunch.  Peculiar not in a bad way necessarily, but just peculiar nonetheless.  Most of the orthodox Marxists I’ve met want people to get engaged in politics; want people to get interested in politics and social movements; but we just don’t want people to be interested in what I suppose can be termed the ‘pop culture’ elements of politics at all.

You know what I mean by this.  It’s the part of politics that would be more on the monkey-shit-fight end of the spectrum of intellectual stimulation as opposed to an-evening-reading-Proust end of the spectrum.

It’s Polls as opposed to policy.

It’s Cults of Personality as opposed to principle.

It’s Idiotic right-wing conspiracy theories as opposed to ideas.

For the most part, I couldn’t agree more with my fellow comrades, and, as those of you who read this blog regularly know, I do enjoy (and, in fact, thrive off of) the more cerebral elements in politics.

But that said, the fact of the matter is that sometimes, regardless of how cerebral we may think ourselves, a political “monkey shit fight” is just plain fun to watch!  Sometimes you don’t want a steak, sometimes you just want a bag of potato chips.  And for those of us who run in left-wing circles, it’s been my experience that we tend take flak for this as being somehow less progressive or less committed to revolutionary change.

For years now I’ve been trying to reconcile these two things — intellectual, progressive, socialist political discussion, and pop-culture politics like polls and image politics — in my mind.  But it wasn’t until the other day, during one of my now frequent stints bashing Ron Paul die hards who believe their own spam that I came to a realization.

I realized that, just as I don’t necessarily need to root for one group of monkeys in a monkey shit fight in order to be entertained and captivated by the spectacle, so too can I be captivated by things like polls without really caring which one of the capitalist parties is winning and which one is losing.

So what do politics and monkey shit fights have in common?  Well, with the way politics is structured in North America where there is no real genuine choice — they’re both similar insofar as the results will largely be the same regardless of which group wins at either competition.

But it doesn’t make us any less progressive to nevertheless enjoy the fight.

Conspiracy theories, a North American Union, and other B.S.

My mother enjoys torturing me by e-mailing me the incoherent rants of right-wing malcontents from time to time.  I suppose it’s part of a game she plays with me which I claim to hate but actually in reality secretly don’t mind.  But I guess, on the other hand it could also be because maybe she believes that angering up the blood and having your face turn red with frustration periodically is somehow therapeutic.

Either way, she stumbled across this gem of a video and decided that I should have to share in her pain and so she passed it along to me today. (And I’m in an apparently sadistic mood today and thus feel that you, my reader, should also suffer along with me as well… it’s a vicious cycle, it really is.)


(The original link to the video was here on this 9/11 truth blog)

Now, at first, I was beguiled by the “Impeach Bush” banner at the top of the blog she linked to and thought that this would actually be a reputable video on media distortion.  Perhaps, I thought, it might be a joint interview with Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman discussing new data on their Propaganda Model?  Perhaps an interview with Robert McChesney, author of Rich Media: Poor Democracy?  Perhaps an interview with Chomsky, Herman AND McChesney, I foolishly thought as I got comfortable and settled into my chair to enjoy the show.

“Oh, goodie,” I found myself thinking “59 minutes and 49 seconds.  This is going to be a full length feature.”

… And then the conspiracies came a-comin’.

For instance, did you know that everything which is reported in the media is controlled by the Freemasons and other secret, shadowy organizations who are all either associated with communism or who are at least sympathetic to it?  

I know, I was surprised too. 

Peter Jennings was a communist sympathizer.  Dan Rather was a communist sympathizer.  In fact the video even goes so far as to claim that William Buckley Jr. was a communist sympathizer.  Seriously?  William Buckley Jr.! The same conservative pompous right-winger who was fond of arguing that the U.S. engages in benign imperialism?

Or, did you know that everybody in a position of authority in the U.S. Government is actually working secretively to abolish the U.S. Government itself and to destroy U.S. Sovereignty so that it can — depending on who you talk to — establish either a North American Union or a New World Order where the U.S. will be emasculated?

Continue reading ‘Conspiracy theories, a North American Union, and other B.S.’

The kiss of death for Ron Paul’s Presidential run

Those of you who know me are aware that I’m no fan of Ron Paul’s parochial brand of right-wing libertarianism.  However, to be fair, there was a time when what he had to say on foreign policy issues really spoke to much of the issues which matter to me.

Now, obviously, as a socialist, it’s never been exceptionally important to me that a candidate be the most popular candidate in a given race.

So, given that, I didn’t really consider it a strike against the candidate that his supporters had deluded themselves into thinking that their own spam was evidence of a widespread, grassroots movement despite the fact that polls show Ron Paul within the margin of error of having zero support at all

But afterwards, I started to suspect that Ron Paul didn’t have what it took to win the nomination when his supporters tried (unsuccessfully) to spam my blog.  One day I opened up my spam box and *BAM* right there in between a post informing me about a revolutionary new discovery to make my erections harder than Chinese algebra and another offering free, young, and barely legal porn, there was Ron Paul spam.

Since then I’ve never really been able to divorce him in my mind from the two items of spam which served as bookends for his supporter’s little morsel of spam.

But despite this, it wasn’t until today when I opened up digg.com that I truly realized that Ron Paul has just received the political kiss of death.

Robert, “Duchebag”, Novak himself has just come out and endorsed Ron Paul.

Behold, Jon Stewart at his best:

(opens in new window)

Tories tank in the East, NDP hits 1 year high nationally

cons-atlantic.pngWhat’s that loud “thwack” sound you’re hearing?  Why, it’s the Tories collapsing badly in Atlantic Canada from their once impressive showing.

Using the highly accurate technique used in the polling industry known as the ‘rolling average’ (the concept of which is familiar to anybody who’s visited the Paulitics Polling Resource), it is obvious that the Conservatives are in trouble in Atlantic Canada.

Now, before I show you the actual graph of rolling averages for every poll conducted in Atlantic Canada in the past six months, do keep in mind that the technique of rolling averages, by definition, makes huge swings in popular support less marked.  Thus, both spikes and drops in support tend to be flattened and appear less dramatic.

So, with that, let’s look at the rolling averages for Atlantic Canada courtesy of the Paulitics Provincial/Regional Polling Resource.

2007-07-25-atlantic.png

So, on the 28th of March of this year, the Conservatives were at roughly 37% in support in Atlantic Canada, which was an improvement over their 34.7% showing in the last federal election.  However, since then, the Conservatives have dropped 12.4% — not in an individual poll, but in the rolling average of polls.

Put another way: Take 3 Atlantic Canadians who voted Tory in the last election.  Now take one of them away and dress him in either NDP orange or Green and what’s left is how many Atlantic Canadians polls suggest would vote Tory in the next election.

Moreover, at the national level, we see declining support for both the Liberals and the Conservatives as demonstrated here (in fact the combined Liberal & Conservative parties’ rolling average has never, in the past 12 months of rolling averages, been lower than it currently is: 62.4%).

So take these two phenomena together and we have very bad news for the two mainstream, uber-capitalist parties; very good news for the three smaller, less capitalistic parties; and even worse news for Peter MacKay.

————————-

See also:

Data suggests the NDP may win the Outremont by-election

A Proposal for Greens & the NDP: A “300″ Strategy

The American Empire Encyclopedia (work-in-progress)

For some time now, I’ve been extremely interested creating something of an encyclopedia documenting all instances of the United States’ imperial adventures.  Specifically, I’ve been interested in countries in which the U.S. either overthrew a democratically-elected government, or countries in which the U.S. helped to keep an existing brutal dictatorship in power despite democratic opposition.

That the U.S. regularly overthrows democratically-elected governments should come as no real surprise to most people who are literate and somewhat familiar at all with global history.  However, in all my searching, I have never found a single exhaustive source which compiled all instances of U.S. imperialism along with proper academic citations for future reference, so I have taken it upon myself to try to get together such an admittedly ambitious collection of information.

So far, my highly incomplete tally has resulted in the creation of this map:

The U.S. and International Democracy: Incompatible?

The problem is two-fold:

#1) I would like to create a ‘clickable map’ so that readers can click on each highlighted country and be brought to a page detailing important dates, information, credible academic sources and possibly even direct quotes and page numbers.

The problem here is that I have little to no experience with html code and am unable to find good programs to generate such a ‘clickable map’ of the data on the American Empire.

#2) This project would obviously be much richer if it were structured as a “wiki” for all like-minded people with an interest in this subject to be able to contribute.

Now the problem here is that I’m not sure of the best way of going about accomplishing this task.  I’m considering switching this blog out of wordpress.com so that I can host it myself, but does anybody here know anything about ‘wiki’ software and hosting said software on a wordpress.org blog?

Can any kind soul help me with these problems?

How to appear tough on terrorism without doing anything

bin-laden.jpgIn a move to appear ‘tough on terrorism’, the Democrats in the U.S. Senate have successfully moved a bill to double the bounty on bin Laden’s head from $25 million to $50 million.

Sounds tough doesn’t it?

I mean, wow, $50 million!

The Democrats must be tough on terrorism since they proposed such a bold strategy to bring bin Laden to his knees.  The Republicans couldn’t even come up with the testicular fortitude to double his bounty.  Right?a-rod.png

Actually, if you put it into perspective, this move by the Democrats is more evidence that they are just as completely ignorant as Republicans and equally as unable to see past their pax americana ideology long enough to offer up any intelligent solutions.

So, to put this into perspective (and, incidentally, speaking of ‘testicular’ fortidue), the New York Yankees paid over $112 million dollars just to acquire Alex “A Rod” Rodriguez (pictured right) from George W. Bush’s own franchise, the Texas Rangers, in 2004.

Anybody with half a mind (which obviously exlcudes most liberals and conservatives alike) would realize that if capitalistic rewards sufficed, bin Laden would have been turned in to the U.S. years ago for a bounty of $87.98. 

(In fact, he was almost turned over to the U.S. government by the Taliban in 2001 but the U.S. refused to accept the offer.)

The fact of the matter is that both liberals and conservatives in the U.S. are so blinded by the ideology of their national mythologies as the “city on the hill” and beakon to the rest of the world that they are incapable of seeing what every socialist and every anarchist and every free-thinker sees as self-evident:  this will have no effect on either the capture of bin Laden or on Islamic terrorism.

To address global terrorism, the U.S. must first stop contributing in terrorist activities themselves and must renounce the title of the world’s leading terrorist supporting state.  Only once the brutal, anti-democratic conditions which create radicalism are removed, will the world have rest from this phenomenon.

$50 million won’t cut it.

The myth of humanity as naturally violent

Howard Zinn debunks the myth that it is human nature to be aggressive, kill and initiate wars.

This short answer wouldn’t be even half as powerful if Zinn himself hadn’t been a participant in WWII and had come to the hard conclusion on his own that even the putative ‘good war’ was less than good and his part in it, was less than heroic.


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