I’ve been writing a longish series about the emerging role of India in our current conjuncture; and the issue of nuclear weapons figures into it quite heavily. It got me thinking. The Bush administration has actually gone a long way toward removing legal and treaty barriers against the use of nuclear weapons, and some of their weird mandarins are discussing nuclear strikes as perfectly thinkable.
Archive for July 2006
for research purposes only
I am pasting in excerpts and links to two articles, one from Philip McMichael and one from Al Krebs; both concerned with imperialism and food, and both identifying subsidy systems as the concrete mechanism linking US imperialism to food production. Too often we lament (and rightly so) the EFFECTS of masculine hydrocarbon imperialism, without studying how it gets accomplished. But a politics of resistance requires we study the system we resist in order to determine wherre its weaknesses and strengths are in order to exploit and open up weaknesses and neutralize its strengths. Agri-subsidy is not a “sexy” issue with the outrage-trigger right in front of us, like Qana. But the devil, as the saying goes, is often in the details. The greatest crimes are facilitated not through arms (which are employed when other means fail), but by the banal wordsmiths of the legal, financial, and administrative realms. I put this in on the heels of the last post, courtesy of De, because that post shows the effect, and this one will help tie it to the actual political system (run and maintained by human beings with names and addresses, damnit) that makes it possible. I would also refer readers back to the discussion of general purpose money. As Hornborg noted, general purpose money (a critical signifier in the capitalist world system) makes it possible to trade rain forests for Coca-Cola… or in this case, oceans for iPODs. After the first two articles, I am pasting in what may seem an unconnected one, about Social Securioty and pension funds… it is anything but unconnected. It will show the way to backtrack from these subsidies that reinforce US global dominance back to where the money comes from for all this… from the working class in the US (that still believes it is “middle class”… HA!!!). Some devils. Some details.
Thanks to De for sending this along. Very very sobering. This is another face of our magnificent system… the one we are supposed to reform gradually, while it wrecks everything… the same system that pushes billions into grinding poverty, that gives us Qana and Haditha, and that gives us the Gulf Coast.
Links to the outrage
Ellen Meiskins Wood, in her essay “The Agrarian Origins of Capitalism” discussed the vulnerability to commodification as “exposure” to the capitalist market. Strong organic communities, and high levels of what Polanyi caslled embeddedness, along with plain self-sufficiency in the basics — food, water, shelter — are barriers against this “exposure. That is why the capitalist state, not itself an accumulator of capital, but the facilitator for the system as a whole, has — contrary to the libertarian fantasies about “free” markets — employed coercion to strip away those barriers and increase market exposure (and thereby vulnerability to commodification). The most famous case is Enclosure, but the instances are actualy too numerous to count.
By Bruce Dixon, of the estimable Black Commentator
Imagine, if you will, a modern apartheid state with first, second and eleventh class citizens, all required to carry identification specifying their ethnic origin. First class citizens are obliged to serve in the armed forces, kept on ready reserve status until in their forties, and accorded an impressive array of housing, medical, social security, educational and related benefits denied all others.
Steve McClure and I share an abiding interest in what might be called “the crisis of socialism” that has created a metropolitan left-malaise since even before the fall of the Eastern Bloc. We both also identify with and are *critically* supportive of work done in what might be called, shorthand again, activism in the traditions of the left. We have had several rich conversations about those aspects of socialist theory that have become archaic, and called for the enrichment of our work by more attention paid to the centralty of gender in social organization, and the importance of understanding the spatial relations… or shifting geography… of capitalism. Finally, b oth of us are in strong agreement that the left in the United States cannot apply cookie-cutter solutions from the communist movements of other times and places — that the US is exceptional, and that one major aspect of that exceptionality is the question and the scope of racial-national oppression. For all these reasons, and because I’ve just learned to pay attention to what Steve says, I offer this guest piece from him about our rapidly changing situation… with gratitude.
By Pepe Escobar
As southern Lebanon is turned into a wasteland mirroring the Gaza gulag, Washington neo-cons may stridently celebrate the contours of a final solution for the Hamas-Hezbollah “problem”. Or should they?