Monthly Archives: January 2010

Sunday Papers #2: 31rst January

Had quite a busy week this week but here are a few posts that are worth reading.

* This is a surprisingly interesting thread on UK indymedia. It starts with an (unfair in my opinion) criticism of Shift magazine, and a (fairer) criticism of Turbulence before moving onto an interesting discussion on intellectualism, the academy and its relationship with radical movements.

* The crisis deepens in Greece. Protests begin over the Greek states’ plans to impose austerity on its citizens for the security of its economy and that of the Euro-zone.

* A little more lighthearted is this insurrectionary random text generator. Very clever piece of programming with an important purpose. Not to criticise insurrectionism per se but to highlight the dangers of seductive rhetoric. Coming to a glued cash machine near you.


We’re All Environmentalists Now!

Even Bin Laden is jumping on the climate change wagon. As well as criticising the bail-out of the banks, U.S. imperialism and praising Chomsky’s analysis of geo-politics, Bin Laden lays the blame for climate change squarely on the doorstep of western governments.

Will we see Bin Laden sharing the stage with Galloway and co. at a Stop the War meeting near you?


Sunday Papers #1: 24th January

So this is a new idea that I’ve had as a way to both share my virtual wanderings and to force me to reflect more on what I come across during them. Hopefully people may find interesting articles that are worth reading on here. Suggestions and comments are (as always) welcome.

* Notes from Below have posted up an interview that they have done with CJA spokesperson Tadzio Mueller. It’s quite an interesting, if short, discussion. Tadzio touches upon the need for energy justice in the Global North, ‘Diagonalism’ (as opposed to the horizontalism of the alter-globalisation movement) and what he see’s as the need for mobilisations at COP15.5 (Bonn) and COP-16 in Mexico. The concept of ‘Diagonalism’ is particularly interesting and one whose implications should probably be thought through. For example, could we and should we “work with” the Bolivian and Venezuelan state be, what would that look like and what are the likely outcomes of it?

* Principia have pointed out the existence of an excellent Facebook group dedicated to promoting a strand of Marxism related to value criticism. This is a current of thought associated with the German Krisis magazine and authors such as Moishe Postone and provides an interesting escape route from a Marxology obsessed with class struggle.

* The crisis in Haiti continues. Whilst tourists on a cruise relax on beaches thirty miles from Port-Au-Prince with cocktails in hand, the Lancet criticises the Aid agencies involved in the relief operations for focusing on media friendly rescues rather than the less glamorous support of those outside of the rubble. K-Punk discusses the post-political aspect of the crisis whilst Lenin’s Tomb discusses the racist elements of the media reporting as well as reminding us, via Klein, of the opportunities that this crisis presents for Capital.

* Finally, Shift Magazine have printed their next issue. This issue contains analysis of Copenhagen, discussions on Mutualism, an interview with Geographer Erik Swyngedouw and a rather bizarre letter from a German anarchist enamoured with the UK climate camp.


Greece, the E.U. and the Discipline of Capital

Just seen this post from Principia Dialectica discussing  Financial Times coverage of the Greek economy. The FT are reporting that the Greek government have come under criticism by the E.U. for falsifying the extent of their debt ridden economy. As the shocks from the financial crisis continue to spread Greece is the latest state under pressure. Given the inter-dependent nature of the E.U. however, the effects of any financial crash will be more widespread.  Indeed, in a bid to buffer the Euro-zone, Greece could be kicked out within 3-4 years if this debt can’t be secured.

The costs of this will no doubt be paid for by Greek citizens themselves, indeed duties on cigarettes and alcohol have already been raised whilst the health services have been highlighted by E.U. inspectors as being highly inefficient. Further spending cuts will be needed to secure their debt and hence the value of the Euro. The welfare of Greek citizens will no doubt suffer. It’s highly unlikely, however, that the military, border and police forces will suffer from a lack of spending. Given the precarity of Greek ‘national security’ and Greece’s pivotal role as enforcer of the Schengen zone and site of struggle with a huge, popular autonomous social movement these institutions appear unlikely to be forsaken.

Could Greece become the European Mexico or Argentina? How will social movements in Greece respond to this?

The logic of Europe? Zapatero and Van Rompuy on the Lisbon Treaty

Interesting article in defence of the emerging European security project, or what they prefer to call a “renewed Europe”, by the president of the European Council (Van Rompuy) and the rotating president (Zapatero).

The key tasks that Van Rompuy and Zapatero identify are;

1)  The full implementation of the Lisbon Treaty.

2)  Increased economic integration. This is highlighted as a key task given the context of the economic crisis. It’s a very diplomatic decision to refrain from discussing the massive debts occurred by some countries, notably Greece, and the resultant economic instability that this has caused. Further economic integration will have its own problems to negotiate.

3) Take up a more prominent position within the international political order, presumably as a counter-balance to the US and China.

The development of the EU is an interesting and difficult process which we need to analyse. This will require a delicate negotiation between the twin poles of anti-EU chauvinism, as seen with the NO2EU European election group here in the UK, and uncritical, idealistic support for the EU project as clearly demonstrated by Antonio Negri

‘The (European) constitution is a means of fighting Empire, this new globalised capitalist society. Europe has the chance of being a barrier against the pense unique of economic unilateralism: capitalist, conservative, reactionary. But Europe can also construct a counter-power against American unilateralism, its imperial domination, its crusade in Iraq to dominate petrol. The United States has understood this well, and has, since the 1950s, fought like a madman against European construction.’

Antonio Negri, liberation magazine, 13th May 2005.

It’s really important that the radical left begin discussing the issue of Europe, how we deal with it and what it means for social movements that occupy its territorial space. As a start it’s clear that this process is neither completely good nor completely bad but is entwined in the contradictions of social organisation within the capitalist mode of production.

Over the next week or so I’ll be trying to collate some articles that have already been produced discussing radical approaches to Europe.