Showing posts from November, 2020

Lynn Parramore: The perverted dreams of western modernity and capitalism may be exhausting themselves

Do you, inhabitant of the marvelous and menacing late-modern world, detect something missing – some kind of vitality, meaning, connectedness, love, beauty, or wonder? If so, you've likely searched for a story to explain it....  Critics of the disenchantment narrative have long noticed that if you look closely at western modernity, this ostensibly secular and rational regime, you find it pretty much teeming with magical thinking, supernatural forces, and promises of grace. Maybe the human yearning for enchantment never went away; it just got redirected. God is there, just pointing down other paths. As scholars like Max Weber have noted, capitalism is a really a religion, complete with its own rites, deities, and rituals. Money is the Great Spirit, the latest gadgets are its sacred relics, and economists, business journalists, financiers, technocrats, and managers make up the clergy. The central doctrine holds that money will flow to perform miracles in our lives if we heed the dicta

MATTHEW ROZSA: How humanity lost control of plastic pollution

Early in the pandemic, many scientists noticed an odd, incongruous side effect of business closures and widespread shelter-in-place orders: a concomitant reduction in air pollution. NASA saw significant drops in nitrogen dioxide levels in satellite data from April 2020. That raised an uneasy prospect for environmentalists, the possibility that the coronavirus pandemic — which has, as of now, killed 1.5 million people worldwide (including more than 260,000 in the United States) — might have a "silver lining" for the environment.  Yet new reports appear to show that any such hope was misplaced, as whatever drop in air pollution the pandemic may have indirectly caused was displaced by a massive surge in plastic waste. Indeed, that poses a significant long-term problem for Earth's oceans, where much plastic waste ends up — and highlights the need for legislation to make more single-use goods biodegradable or develop large-scale public works projects to manage plastic pollutio

Public Solidarity Statement: Greens With Farmers

Public Solidarity Statement: Greens With Farmers: #GreensWithFarmers    Youth environmental groups join Dilli Chalo and Nationwide General Strike on 26th November to withdraw the three Anti-Farmer Bills and Reverse the Dilution of Workers’ Protections. Stop destructive projects, reverse anti-Earth policies, abandon fossil fuels, and implement a People’s Green Recovery Agenda to safeguard future generations! Environmental groups across India are joining the Dilli Chalo call of All Indian Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) and General Strike announced by Trade Unions.  We join the people’s movements, people’s organizations, federations, and associations across the country to demand the withdrawal of the three Anti-farmer Acts, the new Labour Code and other anti-nature and anti-people policies. We oppose the handing over of PSUs, airports, seaports, and other national assets and natural resources to polluting corporations. We demand halting the conversion of the rich forests

'The law related to Agricultural Produce marketing is a death warrant' / P Sainath: Farm Bills Will Create a Vacuum That May Result in Utter Chaos

“When protestors block a road or damage it, they are branded as criminals. What if governments do the same? Are they not what they call us?” asks 70-year-old Harinder Singh Lakha, a farmer from Mehna village in Punjab’s Moga district.  Lakha is referring to the 10-feet trenches dug in the roads by the authorities to prevent Punjab’s marching farmers from entering Delhi. For days now, well over 100,000 farmers from the state, along with many from Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, have been compelled to fight pitched battles with the police and other forces for the right to enter their country’s capital city. While the Delhi police relented after three days of confrontation, the Haryana government is still preventing the protestors from crossing the state borders. And though they have publicly been given permission to enter the capital, on the ground the central government has not tried to make that any easier. Despite the ‘permission’, the trenches, the barbed wire, the barricades – all rema

Mukul Kesavan - Right not rabid: Respectable conservatism in the time of Trump

In these majoritarian times, some conservative pundits, embarrassed by the feral Right and keen to seem ideologically respectable, have found an all-purpose rhetorical manoeuvre which goes like this. Progressives are to blame for the enthronement of racist, communalist and majoritarian political parties because it is the left’s ‘wokeness’, its elitist disdain for the anxieties of ordinary people and their common sense, its infatuation with minority politics that prepared the ground for the rise of the ‘hard’ right.  This was the burden of Chetan Bhagat’s arguments in the course of a long interview with Karan Thapar. In country after country, fastidious, hem-raising conservatives are making the same case. Bhagat’s American counterparts argue that the reason majorities of white men and women in America voted for Donald Trump in two successive presidential elections had more to do with the smugness of liberals than the sense of white grievance that the Republican Party has cultivated si

Owen Bowcott: International lawyers draft plan to criminalise ecosystem destruction

International lawyers are drafting plans for a legally-enforceable crime of ecocide – criminalising destruction of the world’s ecosystems – that is already attracting support from European countries and island nations at risk from rising sea levels.  The panel coordinating the initiative is chaired by Prof Philippe Sands QC, of University College London, and Florence Mumba, a former judge at the international criminal court (ICC). Illegally lit fire in an Amazon rainforest reserve:  C arl de Souza/AFP/Getty Images The aim is to draw up a legal definition of “ecocide” that would complement other existing international offences such as crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.  The project, convened by the Stop Ecocide Foundation at the request of Swedish parliamentarians, has been launched this month to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Nuremberg war crimes trials of Nazi leaders in 1945….

Book review: Time, Islam, and Ecological Thought in the Medieval Ruins of Delhi

In and around the dark recesses of the ruins of a fourteenth-century palace in Delhi, Anand Vivek Taneja finds a counterculture to the demands of today’s India. In Taneja’s view, this world of jinn veneration is more inclusive and less judgmental than the outside world and hearkens back to a fast slipping past, with elements from before colonialism and modernity. Jinn veneration turns out to be a great lens through which to explore many aspects of North Indian society today, from the experience of love, legal consciousness, and the relationship between communities, to ecology, the role of history, and protection (or lack thereof) of monuments.  Anand Vivek Taneja,  Jinnealogy: Time, Islam, and Ecological Thought in the Medieval Ruins of Delhi.  Reviewed by Gijs Kruijtzer The book is also a testament of hope. The author argues forcefully that we can take hope from precolonial India. But is the North Indian precolonial past as a whole indeed a good foundation for hope? Over the years 200

Bharat Bhushan: Short of answers or assurances; Govt unable to handle farmer protests

NB : The RSS-led Modi Government is politically bankrupt. It has only one mental fixation: communal hatred, which is why it is now raising the bogey of Khalistan, clubbing it together with the charge of Congress-led conspiracy. (Has it forgotten than Indira Gandhi's assassins were inspired by Khalistani ideology?). This government has only one method of dealing with protest and difference of views: intimidation and character assassination, two sides of the coin of violent suppression. If these are your sole recipes for governing India gentlemen, you will end up becoming the heralds of disintegration. Hindu Rashtra and Akhand Bharat are mutually exclusive ideals. It is no use speaking reason to the deaf, but Indians are waking up to the reality. I salute the brave kisan families of Punjab and Haryana for asserting their rights with dignity and determination. DS Bharat Bhushan: Govt unable to handle farmer protests   A now viral image of the farmer’s agitation shows a young English-s

Silvia Marchetti - South Tyrol identity crisis: to live in Italy, but feel Austrian

They're Italian citizens but simply don't feel Italian. Bolzano's local authorities estimate that German is spoken by 75% of the 510,000 inhabitants of the Alto Adige region. Locals, however, call it by its original name – South Tyrol – and many wish it were independent. Eva Klotz is a co-founder of the separatist party  Süd-Tiroler Freiheit  (South Tyrolean Freedom). She carries a yellow card in her wallet that says "German is my mother tongue". Photograph: Getty Klotz says: "There are acts of racism each single day. Despite Italian and German both being official languages, I often bump into police officers who don't know German. They point at the Italian flag stitched on their uniform and require I speak Italian simply because we're in Italy. They don't even know that I have the right to speak in my mother tongue so I show them this card. It drives me mad. I call this linguistic imperialism."…

JUAN COLE: Was the assassination of a nuclear scientist a bid to kill a Biden return to Iran nuclear Deal?

Likely, the operation, whether by Israel or Saudi Arabia or both, was intended to spike tensions in US-Iranian relations so as to make it more difficult for Joe Biden to start back up the 2015 nuclear deal or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Israel does not acknowledge its covert operations, but it seems the most likely culprit…. The Iranian newspaper Ettela’at reports that on Friday, what it called “armed terrorist elements” mounted an assault on the automobile carrying Dr. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was badly wounded in the midst of the clash between his security team and the assailants and was transported to hospital, where he died of his injuries. Fakhrizadeh, an eminent nuclear scientist, was the head of the Research and Innovation Organization within the Iranian Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics.  Iran’s chief justice, Ayatollah Sayyed Ibrahim Ra’isi, characterized the attack as by “foreigners and international Zionism,” with, he said, “the sinister objective

Robert B Reich : Beware going 'back to normal' thoughts – normal gave us Trump

Life is going to return to normal,” Joe Biden  promised  on Thursday in a Thanksgiving address to the nation. He was talking about life after Covid-19, but you could be forgiven if you thought he was also making a promise about life after Trump. It is almost impossible to separate the two. To the extent voters gave Biden a mandate, it was to end both scourges and make America normal again. Despite Covid’s grim resurgence, Dr Anthony Fauci – the public health official whom Trump ignored and then muzzled, with whom Biden’s staff is now conferring –  sounded  guardedly optimistic last week. Vaccines will allow “a gradual accrual of more normality as the weeks and the months go by as we get well into 2021”. Normal.  You could almost hear America’s giant sigh of relief, similar to that felt when Trump implicitly conceded the election by allowing the transition to begin…. Mohammed

SHEKHAR GUPTA: Shambles over farmers’ protest shows Modi-Shah BJP needs a Punjab tutorial

How well does the BJP understand the politics of Punjab? The answer will be, I am afraid, very poorly. Definitely the Modi-Shah BJP does not understand Punjab, Punjabis, their politics, or even more specifically, the Sikhs. Or, they wouldn’t have dug themselves into such a hole (pun intended) over their handling of the Punjab farmers’ protests. They’ve continued to dig it deeper rather than extricate themselves over what are, in all honesty, a fine set of reformist new laws on agricultural economics. Daily Post Ludhiana interviews activist Winds from Punjab: By Pratap Bhanu Mehta Before we dive into some of the more complex issues involved here, let’s check out some basics. Punjab was the outlier that defied the Modi magic in the north. Even when Narendra Modi himself was in contention, as in the general elections of 2014 and 2019, the Punjabis were not impressed. This, despite the BJP having a formidable ally, Shiromani Akali Dal, the pre-eminent Sikh party....

Winds from Punjab: By Pratap Bhanu Mehta

The farmers have increasingly seen their political identities being marginalised due to growing economic complexity, writes P B Mehta The central government may, by hook or crook, ride out the current Punjab-based farmers’ agitation. But the underlying logic of the situation can sow the seeds of a long-term crisis. The existential stakes in this agitation for both the farmers and the government are high,  but the possibility of a good faith material resolution of the problem is low. this has the makings of a perfect storm... Thousands of protesting farmers enter Delhi defying water cannon and police crackdown

Thousands of protesting farmers enter Delhi defying water cannon and police crackdown

Farmers from India's Punjab state have begun entering Delhi to protest reforms they say are against their interests. Thousands of them marched to Delhi, where barricades at the border led to clashes with police. But they are now being escorted by the police to a protest site where they say they will continue demonstrating. The government denies that the reforms, which open the farming sector to private players, will hurt farmers. "Protesting farmers will be allowed to enter the national capital," the Delhi Police Commissioner told local media, adding that they will be allowed to protest and urged them do so peacefully. The farmers have been marching to the capital since early this week. Two farmers associations put out a statement on Friday saying that they expect 50,000 farmers to reach the Delhi border from the neighbouring state of Haryana. Local media reports say drone cameras have been deployed for security surveillance at the Delhi-Haryana border. The farmers ar

Press Release KPSS Fast Unto Death - DAY 6

Modi hai to mumkin hai   [It is possible, if Modi is there]. So Hon’ble Narendra Modi Ji, either implement what you propagate Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas  [Together, for everyone's growth, with everyone's trust] by taking action against the persons who are working against the ethos of the orders and directions issued by the Central Government and directions issued by Hon’ble High Court  - or gather all the left-out Kashmiri Pandits / Kashmiri Hindus at one place in Kashmir Valley and test firing power of newly purchased Rafale Aircrafts on us and free us from the miserable life which we are facing due to some persons from the ruling party cadres and morally corrupt bureaucracy Press Release  FAST UNTO DEATH   DAY 6  Starting from : 22.11.2020  Place: Shri Sidhi Vinayak Ganesh Mandir,  Ganpatyar, Habba Kadal, Srinagar (Completed 120 Hours) Health Condition: Shri. Sanjay K. Tickoo, President, KPSS                      :              Weak but Stable Shri. Sandeep

PG Wodehouse: Why India still holds a flame for the English author. By Vincent Dowd

P.G. Wodehouse, creator of Jeeves and Bertie Wooster, was the most English novelist imaginable. His comic world was old-fashioned well before he died 45 years ago - crammed with disapproving aunts in hats, eccentric aristocrats and wealthy young men about town getting into scrapes. But he has countless fans around the world - not least in India, a country Wodehouse never set foot in..   In fact Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (1881 - 1975) became an Indian favourite even as quite a young writer - though he never went there and he barely mentions India in 71 of his novels or in his many short stories. Yet he was read there avidly and his most popular books still sell in English-language bookshops…. More posts on PGW

Maddie Oatman: Netflix Doc Wants to Fix Our Food System With Capitalism. “Gather” Argues That’s How It Broke.

Two new films about tending the earth offer very different worldviews   Early on in  Gather , a new documentary about Native Americans searching for food sovereignty, we follow Nephi Craig on a tour of a former gas station on the White Mountain Apache Nation in eastern Arizona. Craig, a White Mountain Apache/Navajo chef, points to an empty refrigerated case once stocked with energy drinks and packaged snacks. It will soon be full of fresh produce from the farm outside, he explains. The Coke machine on a nearby counter will make way for a cooking fire. Craig was once trained as a classical French chef, but the journey “was shadowed by chemical dependency,” addictions to drugs and alcohol. When he “crash-landed” back on the Rez, he began to explore the universe of Native ingredients­–agave, amaranth, squash, Anasazi beans. “That was one of the things that helped me get clean.” It also changed his sense of purpose in the kitchen....