Thursday, May 31, 2012

Was OWS A Failure

The Zuccotti Park occupation was a dismal failure. The functioning of Wall Street was not disrupted. Occupy Wall Street never occupied Wall Street. Even Zuccotti Park was “occupied” only with the consent of the mayor of New York City, and it was cleared out the moment he withdrew that consent. In the end, no autonomous space was reclaimed. The effort to remake society by multiplying and weaving together autonomous spaces is back to Square One. Even worse, precious little progress was made during the occupation in articulating and working out what the movement is for, or how to solve the serious social and economic problems we now confront.

OWS was not a dismal failure unless you have ridiculous standards for what success is. So yes, OWS did not immediately lead to worldwide social revolution ! What a failure.

1'The Make Believe World of David Graeber - Kliman

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Spain and Greece

Unlike Greece, which in many ways now needs some sort of benefactor, Spain doesn't need the Euro. It has a large and diverse economy with strong export potential.

Having seen the Greek laboratory, elements in the Spanish elite may just decide it's not worth it.

It Can Go On My CV

The precious little careers we build up and attach such importance to over the course of a lifetime are, for the most part, inconsequential. Very few people will remember you six months after you are gone, and the list of those you touch deeply is tiny. First and always our priorities should be with them.

Self-Pitying Poland

I wonder if the crying Polish leadership of today can publicly admit that their people were, on the whole, rather enthusiastic about the Nazi project. Vicious anti-semitism and mass pograms had a centuries old tradition in Poland up to the Second World War.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Evils of Being Single

Living alone is not is necessarily lonely. It's often quite nice as long as one has a circle of friends. I'm not sure why there is a fixation on marriage as being some sort of ideal. It's great if a couple can stand to be with each other for 30 years, but to do it with suffering is not noble, it's just foolish. Also, your kids will be fine if you divorce. The working class, with its high divorce rates, has seemed to figure all this out first.
1'Americans Living Alone: Meanings and Implications - Richard Wolff and Dr. Harriet Fraad.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Obama's Election Ads

OK, someone has to mention that it's really creepy the way Obama is utilizing his family to gain money and favor for his campaign. This has never been done for in such a consistent and overt way. The ad takes you right to a fundraising pitch on the Obama 2012 website. And then in the next breath we are told his family is 'off-limits'; apparently this appeal and a respect for common decency is seen by Team Obama as something exploit.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Egyptian Election Boycott

Apparently, a small but influential segment of the Egyptian protest movement is boycotting the election. Boycotting elections pretty much never works, and usually leads to something worse. An example is the boycott of the mid-1980's Philippine elections by the political front of the NPA, when they were at the peak of their influence and were the largest single reason Marcos fell. The self-inflicted marginalization of the Left became a state of permanence in the political construction of the country which remains to this day.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Germany and Euro Bonds

I haven't seen too much analysis of why Germany opposes Euro Bonds and the like, beyond the historical homily of scarring from the Weimar era. I don't believe that Weimar and an emotional paranoia of money-printing materially affects their present position. I suspect it has to do with some particular feature of their economy and the way it is structured. Capitalists are often dumb, but rarely in the consistent manner exhibited by Germany's elite unless there are real pressures compelling them to act in a certain way.

1"Why Won't Germany Turn ?" - Varoufakis (title), Joseph Halevi

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Genius of Elon Musk

I feel such a sense of national pride in witnessing our first privatized space craft rendezvousing with the ISS. This will get the kids almost as inspired as the launch of Pay Pal.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Greek Police and Fascists

Here, fascist youth act as shock troops for the cops.

And if orders came from the top of the police leadership to stop this collaboration, it would. And who directs the appointments and administration of government leadership positions in a capitalist state ? Rich people.

So we can dispense with the notion that the Greek ruling class is not sympathetic to the street brutality of fascists. This is all recent history, after all.

1'May 9: Police and Nazis in joint operation against migrant traders and anarchists in central Athens, in broad daylight' - Occupied London, Greek Streets
2'1 in 2 police members voted Nazi in last week’s elections' -Occupied London, Greek Streets

Paying a Living Wage

In this WP article, Alabama farmers are complaining that they can't find Americans to do low-wage agricultural work now that illegal immigrants have been scared off, and their fields are rotting. In the comments section, readers are exhorting the anti-American farmers to pay a living wage so as to attract Americans to do the work.

The problem with the living wage hue and cry is that, if wages go up, most likely prices do to. And in a open borders environment this means that tomatoes, etc. will be grown in Mexico or elsewhere where costs are cheaper.

When the U.S. largely gave up on the idea of tariffs (except for movies, drugs, and software) it also gave up a way manage its economy in a way it had done for well over a hundred years. Just yelling at employers to pay higher wages kind of ignores the reality of what much of the American economy now is. Low productivity, low-wage, and weak competitiveness globally.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

As Goes California

It's hard to see the U.S. recovering any economic dynamism as long as California remains mired in deep recession. Texas can strut their feathers all they want but almost all their Fortune 500 companies are based on resource extraction. Also, the rural poverty in Texas is not far removed from the 1880's, or it feels like it. Countries largely dependent on resource extraction have historically been on the wrong end of the stick when it comes to an increasing and broad-based standard of living. If it's a matter of selling raw materials or finished products, wealth usually flows to the latter.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Singaporean Utopia

I sort of get why fabulously wealthy people love Singapore. It's a well-managed authoritarian state where workers are given certain subsidies but never are allowed to demand. Also, it is a black hole for anything regarding the humanities, with its university being a prime example.

But despite all this, in the end, if you live in Singapore, you're a bitch of the Lee's.

So I think there is something to the notion that authoritarian personalities crave a strong hand not only for others, but for themselves. It is the general idea of freedom which disturbs them.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Romney and the Criminal Record That Never Was

So as an eighteen year old, Mitt Romney was the leader of an assault and gang attack. Or pranks and posses in the lexicon of polite society. And if Romney was poor or black or both, his life more or less would have been over at that point. Felony charges and a permanent record.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Nonstop Barrage of Loaded Language and Misleading Reporting

Shitty reporting by the Guardian, using loaded language with at least a controversial position implied.

The fate of Greece is, on Tuesday night, in the hands of the leader of a far-left party who launched the quest to form a government by declaring the country could no longer commit itself to the terms of an international loan agreement keeping its economy afloat.(1)

Greece's economy is not "afloat", nor is the loan agreement necessarily helping it as implied. Greece is in a historically awful depression which the IMF factually speaking has as of yet done nothing to ameliorate.

1'Eurozone crisis: Greek left leader renounces bailout deal' - UK Guardian

Bob Marley and Feedback

What band today would allow feedback onto an album, even from a live performance ?

(No Woman , No Cry)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Disingenuous Sadism of the Immigrant Basher

Says a Greek Golden Dawn voter:

“The immigrants have taken jobs that Greeks need and they should go home. We need to preserve our Greek culture,” says Efstratios Persides, an ophthalmic surgeon running for election with Golden Dawn in an Athens constituency.

When I was in Greece not two years ago, I saw brown skinned immigrants selling their wares literally on rugs on the street. They worked all day in the blazing hot summer, people stepping around and on them. They were selling cheap tourist trinkets and odd-ball items.

Now people like these sellers are facing the daily prospects of beatings from these Golden Dawn simians.

Shame on the Financial Times for presenting Golden Dawn as an ultra-right party, when they are fascists plain and simple, who scapegoat the most marginalized of society. Little doubt that wealthy interests throughout Europe are promoting these fascist groups as a way to disorient the working classes, while at the same time believing in their typical smug entitled way they can keep the brownshirts under control.

1'Greeks concerned as far-right party gains ground' - Financial Times

Saturday, May 5, 2012

So Many 9/11 Masterminds

Now that 9/11 is back in the news, it's worth remembering that the attacks were primarily political, not religious in nature. Al-Qaeda grew its strength from popular opposition to U.S. backing of dictatorships throughout the Middle East, military bases in Saudi Arabia, unconditional support for Israel, and largely forgotten -- the murderous sanctions against Iraq which in the words of Madeline Albright "were worth it".

For the ignorant and easily outraged, this does not constitute a justification, merely an illumination of motive.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The 70's Sound

When I listen to Marvin Gaye and the similar, I hear the melancholia that comes from an only partially successful social revolution. Much of the 70's has that vibe. Or perhaps this is a reading, much as gypsy music as a melancholia to diatonic ears, when to the native ear it is festive.

Serious Query

What do current school architects and administrators have against windows ? These edu-monstrosities that I see going up around my hood really are like prisons.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Happy May Day

Workers of the World Unite ! Important that the U.S. is in the action now, too.