Showing posts from June, 2022

The American Judiciary is 'pro-life' and loves guns. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition

January 6 wasn't the end of the fascist revolt against democracy. We're watching democracy be taken away not by Proud Boys waving batons, but by conservative justices who hide their grotesque anti-democratic views behind the trappings of the Supreme Court.    The end of Roe v. Wade: American democracy is collapsing   Judges appointed by popular vote-losing presidents used a stolen Supreme Court seat to overturn the people's will...  Donald Trump may be out of office, but his stubby misogynist fingers are still grabbing Americans by the pussy . Any hope that the reaction to the leaked draft decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health would shame the Republicans on the Supreme Court into not overturning Roe v. Wade was crushed on Friday morning. Spontaneous protests break out across U.S. after Supreme Court overturns Roe Justice Samuel Alito - a human-shaped incel forum crammed into an itchy judicial robe -  was determined to make these words the public record : "Th

Slavoj Zizek and the Terminal Collapse of the Anti-War Left. By Jonathan Cook

The US has 800 military bases around the world. The rest of the world has 30 outside of its own borders.   Washington learned a hard lesson from the unpopularity of its 2003 attack on Iraq aimed at controlling more of the Middle East’s oil reserves. Ordinary people do not like seeing the public coffers ransacked or suffering years of austerity, simply to line the pockets of Blackwater, Halliburton, and Raytheon. And all the more so when such a war is sold to them on the basis of a huge deception. So since then, the U.S. has been repackaging its neocolonialism via proxy wars that are a much easier sell. There have been a succession of them: Libya, Syria, Yemen, Iran, Venezuela and now Ukraine. Each time, a few more leftists are lured into the camp of the war hawks by the West’s selfless, humanitarian instincts – promoted, of course, through the barrel of a Western-supplied arsenal. That process has reached its nadir with Ukraine....

UK Railway Workers Begin Largest Strike in 30 Years

Train stations across the United Kingdom and the London Underground remained closed or inoperative on Tuesday. Striking railway and transport workers are demanding better salaries in the context of a sharp increase in prices. Inflation in the country currently stands at 9.2 percent, and could reach upwards of 11 percent in the fall when energy and oil prices are likely to rise again, according to government officials. Prices are expected to rise by 50 percent in October when the cold weather sets in, on the heels of a 50 percent increase in April. This is the United Kingom’s biggest rail strike in more than 30 years. The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport workers (RMT) called for actions across the industry today, and has called for two more day-long strikes on June 23 and June 25. Workers are demanding improvements to the public system, Network Rail, as well as to the privately-operated lines. Hundreds of photos show picketing workers enforcing the closures, coming out in

Activists urge CJI Ramana to free paraplegic academic Prof. G.N. Saibaba

NB : The UAPA has become means of rubbing out the lives of 'inconvenient' persons without a formal death sentence. That is what happened to Fr Stan Swamy , and it looks as if that is what will happen to Prof Saibaba. This is the Indian justice system today. We can only hope some shred of conscience remains. DS Several activists and organisations in India and abroad have urged Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana to free G.N. Saibaba, a paraplegic former Delhi University professor serving a life term for links with Maoists whose health is said to have turned precarious. The petition was initiated by the Indian Social Action Forum and has been endorsed by organisations such as the US-based Pen America, Southern Illinois Democratic Socialists of America, civil rights groups, trade unions, Indian and Dalit organisations in the UK, Canada, Germany and the Netherlands, as well as activist groups in India, including the National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled. The petitioners s

Roland Barthes in China; or how to plumb the depths of professorial vacuity...

ROLAND BARTHES IN CHINA    (Simon Leys; re-published in his book of essays:  The Hall of Uselessness , 2014) Sed perseverare ...  (To err is human, (but) to persist is diabolical) IN APRIL and May of 1974, Roland Barthes made a trip to China with a small group of his friends from the review Tel Quel. This visit coincided with a colossal, bloody purge launched nation-wide by the Maoist regime. This was the famous and sinister “campaign of denunciation of Lin Biao and Confucius” (pi Lin pi Kong). Upon his return, Barthes published an article in Le Monde which offered a strangely jolly view of this totalitarian violence: “Its very name - Pilin-Pikong in Chinese - has the joyful tinkle of a sleigh-bell, and the campaign comprises made-up games: a caricature, a poem, a children’s sketch during which, suddenly, a little girl in make-up assails the ghost of Lin Biao between two ballet dances: the political Text (and it alone) gives rise to these little ‘happenings.’” At the time, reading

From Theresa May to Priti Patel – a decade of cruelty. By Kamila Shamsie

In 2001, the Nobel laureate Abdulrazak Gurnah published By the Sea, the story of Saleh Omar, a man who arrives at Gatwick airport as a refugee. The border official he speaks to says his parents also came to Britain as refugees, “But my parents are European, they have a right, they’re part of the family.” He goes on to say, “You don’t belong here … and we don’t want you here. We’ll make life hard on you, make you suffer indignities, perhaps even commit violence on you.” Omar is far from unaffected, but he carries within him an important piece of knowledge: he knows that by the British government’s own rules he is entitled to asylum, and though the official might spew racist language he will have no option in the end but to stamp Omar’s passport and allow him through. As indeed he does. I have read the novel twice, 20 years apart. The behaviour of the official becomes no less appalling but, even so, I read the Gatwick scene very differently the second time around. In Priti Patel’s Brita

Capitalism + lies = mass death / America’s Second Civil War is Underway

Trump’s attempted coup continues .... The Republican party’s biggest backers – such as billionaire Peter Thiel, who has donated tens of millions of dollars to the campaigns of big lie candidates JD Vance and Blake Masters – show no sign of reducing their backing in light of the committee’s findings. Big corporations continue to write fat checks to big lie candidates. In April alone (the last month for which data is available) Fortune 500 companies and trade organizations gave more than $1.4m to members of Congress who voted not to certify the election results, according to an analysis by the transparency group Accountable.US . AT&T led the pack, giving $95,000 to election objectors. Money from corporations like Boeing, Koch Industries, Home Depot, FedEx, UPS and General Dynamics continues to flow to politicians who reject the 2020 election results based on the big lie, according to a tally kept by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, known as Crew... https://ww

Deepanshu Mohan: American gun violence is the result of an economy aimed at maximising self-interest

Factoring in the value of human life and ethical considerations in economic and social policy making could bring about change. “To allow the market mechanism to be sole director of the fate of human beings and their natural environment… would result in the demolition of society,” warned political economist Karl Polanyi in his book The Great Transformation, published in 1944. Had Polanyi been alive today, his statement would have found prophetic validation in the condition of society in the United States, one of the world’s most dominant economies. For most of the late 20th century, the economy of the United States was built around an industrialised, mass-scaling model of weaponising itself and other nations while designing tools of finance to profit from war. That same economy is now in a situation where its gun industry, guided by the compulsions of less- regulated market forces, is wrecking its own society. On May 24, a mass shooting at a school in Uvalde in Texas , killed 19 student

Young people go to European court to stop treaty that aids fossil fuel investors

Young victims of the climate crisis will on Tuesday launch legal action at Europe’s top human rights court against an energy treaty that protects fossil fuel investors. Five people, aged between 17 and 31, who have experienced devastating floods, forest fires and hurricanes are bringing a case to the European court of human rights, where they will argue that their governments’ membership of the little-known energy charter treaty (ECT) is a dangerous obstacle to action on the climate crisis. It is the first time that the Strasbourg court will be asked to consider the treaty, a secretive investor court system that enables fossil fuel companies to sue governments for lost profits. “It just can’t be that the fossil fuel industry is still more protected than our human rights,” said Julia, a 17-year-old high school student from Germany, who said she was joining the legal challenge after catastrophic lethal floods came to her home region, the Ahr valley , last July. https://www.theguardian.c

Orhan Pamuk on Dayanita Singh’s mesmerising photos of India’s disintegrating archives

What has most drawn me to Singh’s work are the photographs collected in her books File Room and Museum of Chance . In these, we find black and white images of India’s vast state archives, storerooms and registry offices. As we leaf through these books, we become filled with an idea of poetic decrepitude and a sense of profundity: once upon a time, people slogged and toiled; they submitted countless requests; they sent petitions and filed lawsuits; they wrote about and classified each other’s activities; and, at the state’s encouragement and behest, they kept an uninterrupted record of it all. Eventually, all this vigorous activity came to an end, and what was left behind were these documents, these files, these bags, and the metal shelves and cabinets that hold and preserve them all. Singh’s black and white images of those stacks of lead-grey folders, of metal, of old and faded papers – all of which seem to be covered in dust even when they were not – make me aware of what I would cal