Category: Politics


Mission accomplished… not

UKR-TAZ announces a new mission:

The concept of the TAZ, or temporary autonomous zone, comes from “ontological anarchist” writer and poet Hakim Bey (Peter Lamborn Wilson). It is intended to indicate a space of liberation, a space which is at once physical and real, if temporary, and metaphysical — a space of consciousness outside of the mental frames of social structure, from which a reimagination of the world may proceed.

View full article »

Ukraine & the threat of direct democracy

download (6)

“Power to the millions, not to the millionaires” (#Leftmaidan)

 

Three forms of democracy vie with each other in Ukraine today.

The first of these is what we might call authoritarian democracy. This is a hybrid of democracy and authoritarian rule, in which partially developed democratic institutions can be relatively easily played off against each other by the powers-that-be to maintain their rule.

View full article »

Apocalypstickle?

Ukraine Protests

Just as environmental media have a penchant for the spectacle of “disaster porn,” so does political media reveal a strong attraction to what Politico’s Sarah Kendzior, in “The Day We Pretended to Care About Ukraine,” calls the “apocalypstickle.”

An ugly word for political observers’ weird fascination with apocalyptic imagery. Brueghel, Bosch . . . and heightened internet traffic.

View full article »

61301_722107674488273_307303567_n

“COUNTRY UNDER RECONSTRUCTION. SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE.” (from Ukrainian anarchist group Blackmaidan)

“It is as if, for a moment, the ‘projection’ of the outside world has stopped working; as if we have been confronted momentarily with the formless grey emptiness of the screen itself…”  (Slavoj Zizek, describing the scene outside a traveling couple’s window in Robert Heinlein’s “The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag”)

 

View full article »

SloMoSmokeScreen07-5930

Since I was traveling at the time, I failed to note an interesting story that got covered in the science press about the organizational support and funding behind the climate denial movement.

As reported in articles in Scientific American, The Guardian, and elsewhere, a recent peer-reviewed study published in Climatic Science by sociologist Robert Brulle supports many claims that have been made by environmental scientists and activists documenting the organizational support and funding behind the climate denial movement — a close to $1 billion a year machine of nearly 100 organizations.

Most revealingly (or rather, obscuringly), denialism has been able to cloak its funding sources behind what have effectively become “money laundering” operations like View full article »

A cultural cold war wind

NjJiZDU3N2MyNSMvaGxXTUp4b0szWFJ4WVN1YWpVUUhZWllNc3pZPS84NDB4NTMwL3NtYXJ0L2ZpbHRlcnM6cXVhbGl0eSg3NSk6c3RyaXBfaWNjKDEpL2h0dHAlM0ElMkYlMkZzMy5hbWF6b25hd3MuY29tJTJGcG1idWNrZXQlMkZzaXRlJTJGYXJ0aWNsZXMlMkY2MTY4OSUyRm9yaWdpbmFsLmpwZw== (1)

I predicted back in 2010 that globalizing and technological trends would lead disparate religious traditions to find common ground on socially divisive issues like abortion and gay rights.

Just as environmentalism, feminism, and indigenous rights were partnering various more liberal church groups with environmental and social justice organizations, contributing to the development of an “eco-egalitarian” global civil religion, so would socially conservative movements — among Christians, Muslims, Jews, and others — lead to a quasi-religion of global “social traditionalism.”

What I didn’t foresee is how quickly this convergent tendency would grow between American Evangelicals and one of the most introverted of international churches — the Russian Orthodox Church. The two had not long ago been arch-rivals in what sociologist of religion Eileen Barker called the “opium wars of the new millennium” — skirmishes over religious turf in the former Soviet Union.  View full article »

The groundlessness of revolution

http://a4.img.talkingpointsmemo.com/image/upload/c_fill,fl_keep_iptc,g_faces,h_365,w_652/ukraine-protest--3.jpg

 

Every violent suppression of dissent is violence against the humanity that is being born. The world to come is at stake in these encounters.

That’s what I tweeted last night while watching what looked like the squashing of a revolution, when riot police appeared by the thousands and began moving in on the territory held by Ukrainian protesters in downtown Kyiv (Kiev, pronounced “kay-eev” in Ukrainian). Watching these events on the multiple live video feeds available to a global audience was transfixing. Together with the constant stream of commentary in social media — I followed Facebook, Twitter, and the feeds on the streaming TV sites, but there were other options available — made it seem like a genuinely global insurrectionary event.

The following are some reflections on this experience, contextualized within global geopolitics, Ukrainian politics, the ecology of media, and the recent history of analogous events elsewhere (such as those I have blogged about earlier in Iran and Egypt).

View full article »

Documenting the act of killing

The following is reblogged, excerpted and modified, from e²mc.

How do films deal with historical atrocities? And how might they enable them in the first place?

The Act of Killing is Joshua Oppenheimer’s chilling documentary about the perpetrators of the mass murders committed by the Suharto regime’s paramilitary death squads in mid-1960s Indonesia. The filmmakers interview some of the worst of the perpetrators and — controversially — invite them to re-enact the killings for the camera, filming these scenes in the style of their favorite film genres. This interplay between mass murder and Hollywood movies — gangsters, westerns, and musicals — is a focus of the film.

View full article »

Take Back the Economy interview

image

Society & Space has an interview with the authors of Take Back the Economy, the final book co-written by the geographical-political theory duo J. K. Gibson-Graham, this time with co-authors and Community Economies collaborators Jenny Cameron and Stephen Healy.

Gibson-Graham were Katherine Gibson and Julie Graham, authors of The End of Capitalism (As We Know It) and A Postcapitalist Politics. Graham passed away in 2010.

View full article »

The human cost of neoliberalism

A new study in The Lancet has determined that mass privatization in former Communist Eastern Europe — what was once called “shock therapy,” but is more usefully considered a form of “shock neoliberalization” — resulted in an excess of about a million deaths in that part of the world.

A few quotes from the Oxford University summary:

View full article »