Economics

The Pricing of Progress and the Origins of GDP

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 19/11/2017 - 3:44am in

by Eli Cook*

In the past few years, roughly half a dozen books have come out examining the meteoric rise and profound impact of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). An economic indicator that measures the money-making capacities of a nation by aggregating together the monetary values of all market goods and services produced in a given year, GDP first came into being in 1934 (first as Gross National Product) thanks to the joint efforts of Harvard economist Simon Kuznets, the U.S. Commerce Department, and the National Bureau of Economic Research. As a result of these developments, recent histories of GDP have – save for the obligatory hat tip to William Petty and his founding of political arithmetic in seventeenth-century England – focused mostly on the twentieth-century economists, statisticians, organizations, and government policymakers who invented, disseminated, institutionalized and transformed Gross Domestic Product into the leading metric of social wellbeing, economic growth and national progress in the world. the Pricing of Progress Economic Indicators and the Capitalization of American LifeBe they celebratory or critical, the gist of these arguments is that in the wake of the global economic and social devastation brought on by the Great Depression and two world wars, an assortment of macroeconomic indicators emerged as much-needed planning tools with which economic experts and nation-states could manage and steer the novel and reified construct we moderns commonly refer to as “the economy.”
There is no denying that these important histories are all correct. Nevertheless, they are also incomplete. The meteoric rise of economic indicators has roots far deeper and broader than twentieth-century macroeconomic expertise. In my book, The Pricing of Progress: Economic Indicators and the Capitalization of American Life, I argue that the idea that one can gauge progress by quantifying the income-generating abilities of a society and its inhabitants has a far longer history than GDP and emerged out of the centuries-long rise of modern capitalism. While the pricing of progress (like capitalism) is not unique to American society, the book makes its case by tracking the rise of economic indicators  in the United States. That said, to do so it begins by tracing the first inklings of a pricing of progress back to seventeenth century England and eighteenth century Caribbean islands.
The key element that distinguishes capitalist societies from previous forms of social organization is not the existence of markets or money but rather capital investment, the act through which basic elements of society and life—including natural resources, technological discoveries, cultural productions, urban spaces, educational institutions, human beings, and the nation-state—are transformed (or “capitalized”) into income-generating assets valued and allocated in accordance with their capacity to make money and yield profitable returns.
In my book, I argue that economic indicators and the pricing of progress emerged out of such acts of capital investment as capitalist forms of quantification and valuation used to manage or invest in railroad corporations, textile factories, real estate holdings, or slave plantations slowly but surely escaped the narrow confines of the business world and seeped into nearly every nook and cranny of American society. As a burgeoning “investmentality” led American businessmen and policy makers to quantify not only their portfolio but their nation as a for-profit investment, the progress of its inhabitants, free or enslaved, came to be valued according to their moneymaking abilities.
Follow the capital, therefore, and you will find the origins of GDP and our current obsession with monetized metrics:  William Petty, who is rightly credited with the invention of national income accounting,  could value the income generating powers of English land (£8 million per year) and English  labor (£25 million per year) in 1662 only after the enclosure movement had transformed peasants into wage laborers and land into a capitalized investment whose goal was ever-increasing monetary yields. In 1746, Malachy Postlethwayt calculated that the average slave on caribbean plantations produced  £16 of income per year and that “the annual Gain of the Nation by Negroe Labour will fall little short of Three Million per Annum.” Postlethwayt could only come up with these figures because Caribbean sugar colonies were being run as absentee, for-profit investments and human slaves were being treated not only as pieces of property but pieces of capital. Postlethwayt was not shy about referring to slaves as “annuites” because he was the main pamphleteer for the Royal African Company, a for-profit joint stock company that earned returns for its investors by enslaving African bodies.  Up until the American Civil War, similar calculations of proto-GDP market productivity can be found throughout the long and ugly history of American slavery. As planter, enslaver and South Carolina Senator James Henry Hammond typically noted in his “Cotton is King” speech in 1857, “there is not a nation on the face of the earth, with any numerous population, that can compete with us in produce per capita… It amounts to $16.66 per head.”
As investment flowed out of tenant agriculture and slave plantations in the second half of the nineteenth century and into urban real-estate, railroad stocks and industrial machines, the pricing of progress spread along with it. By the 1870s, a leading American physician was pricing the “value of life” by determining not only people’s money-making capacities but also ““the cost of development of a man, or building the productive machine, and his worth to the body politic.” By the Progressive Era, economists such as Irving Fisher were openly referring to human beings as “money-making machines” and capitalizing the value of adults at $2900. Treating society as an income-generating investment and workers as human capital, Fisher and other Progressive Era efficiency experts used such price points in the first two decades of the twentieth century  in order to calculate the annual cost or benefit of such varying things as tuberculosis ($1.1 billion), government health insurance ($3 billion), prohibition ($2 billion) skunks ($3 million) or Niagara Falls ($122.5 million).
To conclude, by the time GDP was finally invented during the Great Depression, Americans already had much experience with the notion that one could measure social success by calculating the income-bearing capacities of the nation. The rise of GDP, therefore, is not the opening scene in the rise of modern economic indicators, but rather the final act of a global story that began not  in twentieth century economic departments, government bureaucracies or think tanks but rather with the enclosure of English lands, the enslavement of African bodies and the capitalization of American life in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
—————–
* Eli Cook is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Haifa    

***
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Brave New Europe

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 19/11/2017 - 1:39am in

I am aware that this is not the only blog on the web and that, exciting as I think some of its content might be, readers here do have other needs that must be satisfied. That was one reason why the Progressive Pulse blog was created.

In recent weeks I have been supporting  another new site. This is Brave New Europe, which claims it is the first trans-European website exclusively challenging the neo-liberal discourse.

Partly edited by Nick Shaxson, who is closely linked to all things tax justice, the website disseminates expertise with a radical face concerning European politics, finance, economics, and sustainability. Its goal is to be an interface between experts, activists and citizens, connecting theory and experience with practical politics.

A broad range of over 120 authors, many eminent in their fields, including academics, NGOs, and activists are contributing to this unique European project. These include economists Ann Pettifor, Guy Standing, Mark Blyth, Heiner Flassbeck, Yanis Varoufakis, Steve Keen, Colin Hines and John Weeks; activists Srećko Horvat, Heikki Patomäki, and Olivier Tonneau; as well as Bhutan’s Programme Director for its Gross National Happiness Centre, Ha Vinh Tho, the philosopher Michel Feher, and the sociologist Wolfgang Streeck. As well as me, of course.

Right now most comment is in the form of republication of articles from other sites, such as this one. But the plan is to be broader in due course and to have its  own podcasts and book reviews. Additionally there will be links to current information in other media and films. The blog is well presented (which helps). I think it’s worth taking a look.

Recognising and resisting militarisation; Demilitarise King’s at DSEi

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 18/11/2017 - 9:47pm in

It’s time we reflect on the militarisation of our
education, of our society as a whole, to confront our complicity and our
responsibilities, stand up, and put an end to the business of war.

lead Detail from installation by artist Banksy, entitled Civilian Drone Strike, on display at the Arms Fair art exhibition set up in opposition to the Defence Security Equipment International 2017 (DSEI) - at Capstan House in east London. Yui Mok/Press Association. All rights reserved. This September, “one of the world’s largest arms fair”,
DSEi (Defence & Security Equipment International) took place in the ExCel
Centre in London. States with horrific records of human right abuses, violation
of international law and support for ethnic cleansing and genocide were invited
to “shop” for the latest weapons.

For many years now, activists have protested this
biennial DSEi arms fair. This year, as part of Stop the Arms Fair, a
rare coalition of campaigners, academics, faith groups, poets, musicians,
artists and supporters came together using creative and educational means to
protest the literal showcasing and selling of arms.

This productive, collaborative protest adopted a
different campaign focus on different days of the fair; each time shedding
light on a key issue such as the sale of arms to Israel or the sale of arms and
technology for use against migrants.

On Friday, September 8, academics, students and
activists came together to hold ‘Conference at the Gates: Academics against the Arms Trade’.
Workshops and activities were held around topics such as ‘The Criminalisation
of Refugees in the Mediterranean’, ‘Popular Culture and Militarism’, ‘Feminism
and Queer theory’, and ‘Radical Theory in Action through Theatre’. As part of
this conference, Demilitarise King’s
held a joint workshop alongside Unis Resist Border Controls
titled ‘Recognising and Resisting Border Surveillance and Militarisation within
British Higher Education’. I want to outline the campaign, our aims and why
we’re passionate about demilitarising higher education.

Demilitarise King’s

Demilitarise King’s is
a student-led campaign that was inspired by the work of both the Fossil Free
divestment campaign and the BDS campaign within the Palestine solidarity
movement. It differs in scope, however. When setting up the campaign, we wanted
to target all states and companies committing human right abuses, and we
wanted our university community to do more than divest from arms
companies. Demilitarisation would require reflecting on all aspects of
militarisation within and beyond the walls of our university.

From our various experiences as students, activists,
university community members and supporters at KCL, we came to discover that
our university’s complicity in the business of murder was not limited to its
investments in arms companies like BAE Systems, Elbit Systems, and General
Electric. Connections to the arms trade extended way beyond the millions of
pounds in investments, to sectors like research, fundraising and procurement.
We learnt that some university staff members are being paid wages by companies
like BAE Systems; and that one department was currently seeking funding from the Saudi defence ministry.

Even in the day to day running of our university, it
is clear how deeply enthralled, invested and dependant we are on the tradesmen
of war. A great number of our printers and electronics at university are
supplied by HP, an arms company supplying technology such as biometrics and ID
cards, in an expanding settler-colonial project whilst upholding a state of apartheid.

We know, from meetings with senior staff, that King’s
has already recognised and organised its investments in arms. This was no
shameful secret about how much is being spent and on what type of arms – we
quickly found out for example, that King’s is investing in specific types of
firearms, something we were unaware of. Then there were the investments of
staff pension funds, particularly USS, in landmines and cluster munitions.
Not to mention millions of pounds connecting our very university’s Defence
Department and Serco; a company known for running detention centres such as
Yarl’s Wood, where countless assaults against migrants have taken place; where
treatment of migrants, as one woman put it, was like that of animals.

Demilitarise King’s has tackled militarisation in
recruitment and careers, not only at university fairs, and in college spaces,
but in our student union spaces too. Why is it for example, that at every
freshers’ fair, the Army Corps and defence sector are the first stalls you see
upon entering? Militarisation is extended to union society events, where military
speakers who have been known to boast about the number of Arabs they have killed,
or refer to Palestinians as “ratbags” and Arabs as “the biggest failure in
the history of the human race”
, were invited
and welcomed under the banner of free speech. That free speech is not however,
available to all, with students being “randomly” selected to enter some events,
and with support from the Principal himself, who in one case, suggested
informing students that ‘looked’ to have pro-Palestinian views, that they
weren’t allowed to ask questions; in one stroke undermining any argument for free
speech, encouraging racial profiling and allowing militarised voices to go
unquestioned.

Then there are the subtler ways in which our
university links to the arms fair, for example the connection between the Church
of England and the university, and the Church House’s role in hosting arms fairs.
When In 2016, I asked at an open meeting why it was that KCL was investing in
arms companies, one response was: because “the most moral institution in the
world”, the Church of England had connections with arms companies, therefore it
was OK for us as a university to have these connections too.

I raised this issue again in a meeting with senior
staff, only to be told to remember that KCL’s connection with the Church was
not to be questioned. What if we were to tweak the case so that it was another
place of worship, like a mosque or a synagogue or a religious organisation, for
example the Muslim Council of Britain hosting arms fairs selling weapons to
places like Saudi Arabia, how justifiably outraged would everyone be?

Militarising
discourses

Beyond the financial investment, recruitment and
connections, crucial to our campaign is the focus on militarisation in
discourse around campus and within our curriculums.

As a student in the War Studies Department, I’ve seen
countless examples of this. One lecturer of mine (an ex-IDF general) encouraged
our class not to call Palestinians Arabs, but to refer to them as “the
non-Jewish community” – a direct erasure of identity. A highly esteemed guest
lecturer who had served in the private sector in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia,
when asked why he’d personally been invested in working in these three
countries, shrugged and stated it was for the money.

The issue around these cases from problematic lectures
to the curriculum and reading lists, is that most of the time these
militaristic voices are amplified, glorified and put on a pedestal. Opposing
opinions can be found at the bottom of additional readings, if they can be
found at all; and if voiced in class, they are far too often ridiculed and
silenced. The issue with a militarised voice is not its existence, but its
dominance.

More frustrating than King’s’ militarisation of our
education is the hypocrisy it hides behind, something that unfortunately isn’t
unique to KCL. Whilst having connections with Serco, KCL boasts about two
“sanctuary scholarships” it has provided for refugees, though they seem to
simply have taken the place of “conflict zone scholarships” that students fought
for years ago. The 2029 Strategic Vision that
King’s has outlined is apparently about “making the world a better place”, but
how can this be the case when King’s is also investing millions in companies
that sell weapons to states like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Israel?

As our campaign group wrote in our open letter:
"If the purpose and values of King's College are to educate and promote
skills and research to make the world a better place, why does our institution
continue to invest millions of pounds in the companies which make the greatest
contribution to the displacement, murder and destruction of human lives? If
King's College is to represent itself as providing answers to 'world questions',
we must work to actually address the systemic causes of global suffering and
examine our own complicity in these practices."

Tokenism
and hypocrisy

We are sick and tired as people of colour in
particular, of being used as tokens for publicity and education-consumerism,
with no respect for the very values these institutions claim to embody. A
painting of Nelson Mandela hangs in the Principal’s office wall; the Archbishop
Desmond Tutu’s name is used for university rooms, his picture on the side of
the Strand Campus. Other universities like Newcastle, Sheffield and Manchester
boast about men like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X/ el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz
debating at their universities or speaking at graduation ceremonies. Why are
these names and faces used to sell education at these institutions while the
principles that they stood for continue to go ignored?

Did the University of Newcastle forget that MLK in his
speech, called the ills of society “war, poverty, and racism”,
as they continue to fuel all three ills with their investments?
And did King’s forget that Mandela claimed that the freedom of South Africans
would not be achieved without the freedom of the Palestinians? Or the
comparison that their beloved alumni Desmond Tutu made between the apartheid
that black South Africans faced and that which the Palestinians face today,
while they support the technology and arms supplied to this very same apartheid
state?

Anti-Racist
campaigning

Within the four months or so since we started our
campaign, we’ve achieved a lot. We’ve raised awareness, we’ve staged a die-in at the 2029 vision launch party,
we’ve questioned the principal on the spot, we’ve voiced student opinions on
the Socially Responsible Review Committee.

Most of our success came out of collective efforts
from political campaigning societies such as the People of Colour Association,
Action Palestine Society, Fossil Free campaign, Intersectional Feminist
society, Student Action for Refugees society, under the banner of a KCL
Anti-Racism Campaigning network.

This was crucial because the militarisation of our
university is a concern for all of the political campaigning groups
within the Anti-Racism block. Working as a collective meant that we were much
stronger, our message could be more wide-reaching, more people were involved,
and that our approach was creative, united and multifaceted. Also very
important was the fact that we took into consideration different approaches,
and elements. For example, the effect that militarisation has specifically on
people of colour was something we considered, not only in our main campaign
aims, but also in the way we campaigned – for instance the role that white
allies could take on in direct actions.

Militarisation needs to be recognised and resisted in
whatever spaces we occupy in our daily lives. A call for demilitarisation goes
hand in hand with calls for greater transparency and democracy in allegedly progressive
spaces like universities. After all, I never remember signing up or ticking
boxes stating that I agree for the university to spend my tuition fee on
killing innocent people across the world, fuelling war and apartheid,
supporting human right abuses and violating international law? Where was that in
the terms & conditions? Where was that in the "what King's offers"
section?

DSEi
2019

During the Stop the Arms Fair, over 100 people were arrested,
some for obstructing roads, ironically because they were apparently
“endangering the safety of civilians”. Whose safety have these protesters
risked? Whose lives were the police ‘protecting’? And to return to DSEi, it’s
time to question whose defence and whose security DSEi is concerned about?
 This week, court cases will be held for those arrested, and we have the opportunity to turn up and show our support.

Be warned, DSEI has already started planning for the
next arms fair in 2019 – the business of killing is one that never ends; a
world where dead bodies count as profit is one where ‘profits’ can always be
reaped. There is not even the shame of pretending that there is some concern
surrounding the selling of these weapons between these unethical states, nor is
there any active, or even passive, effort to stop war. It’s time we reflect on
the militarisation of our education, of our society as a whole, to confront our
complicity and our responsibilities, stand up, and put an end to the business of
war. Conference programme 2017.

Sideboxes
'Read On' Sidebox: 

See Academics Against the Arms Fair: An Open Letter, September 18, 2017.

Sidebox: 

See Stop The Arms Fair website.

Related stories: 

Bodies at the gates

How multiculture gets militarised

Country or region: 

UK

Topics: 

Conflict

Culture

Democracy and government

Economics

Ideas

International politics

Rights: 

CC by NC 4.0

Recognising and resisting militarisation; Demilitarise King’s at DSEi

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 18/11/2017 - 9:47pm in

It’s time we reflect on the militarisation of our
education, of our society as a whole, to confront our complicity and our
responsibilities, stand up, and put an end to the business of war.

lead Detail from installation by artist Banksy, entitled Civilian Drone Strike, on display at the Arms Fair art exhibition set up in opposition to the Defence Security Equipment International 2017 (DSEI) - at Capstan House in east London. Yui Mok/Press Association. All rights reserved. This September, “one of the world’s largest arms fair”,
DSEi (Defence & Security Equipment International) took place in the ExCel
Centre in London. States with horrific records of human right abuses, violation
of international law and support for ethnic cleansing and genocide were invited
to “shop” for the latest weapons.

For many years now, activists have protested this
biennial DSEi arms fair. This year, as part of Stop the Arms Fair, a
rare coalition of campaigners, academics, faith groups, poets, musicians,
artists and supporters came together using creative and educational means to
protest the literal showcasing and selling of arms.

This productive, collaborative protest adopted a
different campaign focus on different days of the fair; each time shedding
light on a key issue such as the sale of arms to Israel or the sale of arms and
technology for use against migrants.

On Friday, September 8, academics, students and
activists came together to hold ‘Conference at the Gates: Academics against the Arms Trade’.
Workshops and activities were held around topics such as ‘The Criminalisation
of Refugees in the Mediterranean’, ‘Popular Culture and Militarism’, ‘Feminism
and Queer theory’, and ‘Radical Theory in Action through Theatre’. As part of
this conference, Demilitarise King’s
held a joint workshop alongside Unis Resist Border Controls
titled ‘Recognising and Resisting Border Surveillance and Militarisation within
British Higher Education’. I want to outline the campaign, our aims and why
we’re passionate about demilitarising higher education.

Demilitarise King’s

Demilitarise King’s is
a student-led campaign that was inspired by the work of both the Fossil Free
divestment campaign and the BDS campaign within the Palestine solidarity
movement. It differs in scope, however. When setting up the campaign, we wanted
to target all states and companies committing human right abuses, and we
wanted our university community to do more than divest from arms
companies. Demilitarisation would require reflecting on all aspects of
militarisation within and beyond the walls of our university.

From our various experiences as students, activists,
university community members and supporters at KCL, we came to discover that
our university’s complicity in the business of murder was not limited to its
investments in arms companies like BAE Systems, Elbit Systems, and General
Electric. Connections to the arms trade extended way beyond the millions of
pounds in investments, to sectors like research, fundraising and procurement.
We learnt that some university staff members are being paid wages by companies
like BAE Systems; and that one department was currently seeking funding from the Saudi defence ministry.

Even in the day to day running of our university, it
is clear how deeply enthralled, invested and dependant we are on the tradesmen
of war. A great number of our printers and electronics at university are
supplied by HP, an arms company supplying technology such as biometrics and ID
cards, in an expanding settler-colonial project whilst upholding a state of apartheid.

We know, from meetings with senior staff, that King’s
has already recognised and organised its investments in arms. This was no
shameful secret about how much is being spent and on what type of arms – we
quickly found out for example, that King’s is investing in specific types of
firearms, something we were unaware of. Then there were the investments of
staff pension funds, particularly USS, in landmines and cluster munitions.
Not to mention millions of pounds connecting our very university’s Defence
Department and Serco; a company known for running detention centres such as
Yarl’s Wood, where countless assaults against migrants have taken place; where
treatment of migrants, as one woman put it, was like that of animals.

Demilitarise King’s has tackled militarisation in
recruitment and careers, not only at university fairs, and in college spaces,
but in our student union spaces too. Why is it for example, that at every
freshers’ fair, the Army Corps and defence sector are the first stalls you see
upon entering? Militarisation is extended to union society events, where military
speakers who have been known to boast about the number of Arabs they have killed,
or refer to Palestinians as “ratbags” and Arabs as “the biggest failure in
the history of the human race”
, were invited
and welcomed under the banner of free speech. That free speech is not however,
available to all, with students being “randomly” selected to enter some events,
and with support from the Principal himself, who in one case, suggested
informing students that ‘looked’ to have pro-Palestinian views, that they
weren’t allowed to ask questions; in one stroke undermining any argument for free
speech, encouraging racial profiling and allowing militarised voices to go
unquestioned.

Then there are the subtler ways in which our
university links to the arms fair, for example the connection between the Church
of England and the university, and the Church House’s role in hosting arms fairs.
When In 2016, I asked at an open meeting why it was that KCL was investing in
arms companies, one response was: because “the most moral institution in the
world”, the Church of England had connections with arms companies, therefore it
was OK for us as a university to have these connections too.

I raised this issue again in a meeting with senior
staff, only to be told to remember that KCL’s connection with the Church was
not to be questioned. What if we were to tweak the case so that it was another
place of worship, like a mosque or a synagogue or a religious organisation, for
example the Muslim Council of Britain hosting arms fairs selling weapons to
places like Saudi Arabia, how justifiably outraged would everyone be?

Militarising
discourses

Beyond the financial investment, recruitment and
connections, crucial to our campaign is the focus on militarisation in
discourse around campus and within our curriculums.

As a student in the War Studies Department, I’ve seen
countless examples of this. One lecturer of mine (an ex-IDF general) encouraged
our class not to call Palestinians Arabs, but to refer to them as “the
non-Jewish community” – a direct erasure of identity. A highly esteemed guest
lecturer who had served in the private sector in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia,
when asked why he’d personally been invested in working in these three
countries, shrugged and stated it was for the money.

The issue around these cases from problematic lectures
to the curriculum and reading lists, is that most of the time these
militaristic voices are amplified, glorified and put on a pedestal. Opposing
opinions can be found at the bottom of additional readings, if they can be
found at all; and if voiced in class, they are far too often ridiculed and
silenced. The issue with a militarised voice is not its existence, but its
dominance.

More frustrating than King’s’ militarisation of our
education is the hypocrisy it hides behind, something that unfortunately isn’t
unique to KCL. Whilst having connections with Serco, KCL boasts about two
“sanctuary scholarships” it has provided for refugees, though they seem to
simply have taken the place of “conflict zone scholarships” that students fought
for years ago. The 2029 Strategic Vision that
King’s has outlined is apparently about “making the world a better place”, but
how can this be the case when King’s is also investing millions in companies
that sell weapons to states like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Israel?

As our campaign group wrote in our open letter:
"If the purpose and values of King's College are to educate and promote
skills and research to make the world a better place, why does our institution
continue to invest millions of pounds in the companies which make the greatest
contribution to the displacement, murder and destruction of human lives? If
King's College is to represent itself as providing answers to 'world questions',
we must work to actually address the systemic causes of global suffering and
examine our own complicity in these practices."

Tokenism
and hypocrisy

We are sick and tired as people of colour in
particular, of being used as tokens for publicity and education-consumerism,
with no respect for the very values these institutions claim to embody. A
painting of Nelson Mandela hangs in the Principal’s office wall; the Archbishop
Desmond Tutu’s name is used for university rooms, his picture on the side of
the Strand Campus. Other universities like Newcastle, Sheffield and Manchester
boast about men like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X/ el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz
debating at their universities or speaking at graduation ceremonies. Why are
these names and faces used to sell education at these institutions while the
principles that they stood for continue to go ignored?

Did the University of Newcastle forget that MLK in his
speech, called the ills of society “war, poverty, and racism”,
as they continue to fuel all three ills with their investments?
And did King’s forget that Mandela claimed that the freedom of South Africans
would not be achieved without the freedom of the Palestinians? Or the
comparison that their beloved alumni Desmond Tutu made between the apartheid
that black South Africans faced and that which the Palestinians face today,
while they support the technology and arms supplied to this very same apartheid
state?

Anti-Racist
campaigning

Within the four months or so since we started our
campaign, we’ve achieved a lot. We’ve raised awareness, we’ve staged a die-in at the 2029 vision launch party,
we’ve questioned the principal on the spot, we’ve voiced student opinions on
the Socially Responsible Review Committee.

Most of our success came out of collective efforts
from political campaigning societies such as the People of Colour Association,
Action Palestine Society, Fossil Free campaign, Intersectional Feminist
society, Student Action for Refugees society, under the banner of a KCL
Anti-Racism Campaigning network.

This was crucial because the militarisation of our
university is a concern for all of the political campaigning groups
within the Anti-Racism block. Working as a collective meant that we were much
stronger, our message could be more wide-reaching, more people were involved,
and that our approach was creative, united and multifaceted. Also very
important was the fact that we took into consideration different approaches,
and elements. For example, the effect that militarisation has specifically on
people of colour was something we considered, not only in our main campaign
aims, but also in the way we campaigned – for instance the role that white
allies could take on in direct actions.

Militarisation needs to be recognised and resisted in
whatever spaces we occupy in our daily lives. A call for demilitarisation goes
hand in hand with calls for greater transparency and democracy in allegedly progressive
spaces like universities. After all, I never remember signing up or ticking
boxes stating that I agree for the university to spend my tuition fee on
killing innocent people across the world, fuelling war and apartheid,
supporting human right abuses and violating international law? Where was that in
the terms & conditions? Where was that in the "what King's offers"
section?

DSEi
2019

During the Stop the Arms Fair, over 100 people were arrested,
some for obstructing roads, ironically because they were apparently
“endangering the safety of civilians”. Whose safety have these protesters
risked? Whose lives were the police ‘protecting’? And to return to DSEi, it’s
time to question whose defence and whose security DSEi is concerned about?
 This week, court cases will be held for those arrested, and we have the opportunity to turn up and show our support.

Be warned, DSEI has already started planning for the
next arms fair in 2019 – the business of killing is one that never ends; a
world where dead bodies count as profit is one where ‘profits’ can always be
reaped. There is not even the shame of pretending that there is some concern
surrounding the selling of these weapons between these unethical states, nor is
there any active, or even passive, effort to stop war. It’s time we reflect on
the militarisation of our education, of our society as a whole, to confront our
complicity and our responsibilities, stand up, and put an end to the business of
war. Conference programme 2017.

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See Academics Against the Arms Fair: An Open Letter, September 18, 2017.

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See Stop The Arms Fair website.

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Abby Martin on the Jimmy Dore Show Talks about US Crimes of Empire: Part 1

This is a longish segment – about half an hour – from the Jimmy Dore Show, in which the two discuss the horrors of US imperialism abroad, domestic oppression and exploitation at home, and the complicity of the mainstream media. Martin is the presenter of The Empire Files on TeleSur English, the South American alternative broadcaster. The show was formerly hosted by RT, for which Martin has been pilloried as a ‘Commie’ and ‘collaborator’. Despite the fact that she has never said anything in prize of the arkhiplut Putin, the latest Kremlin silovik kleptocrat.

With her intelligence and fierce determination to tell the story she wants, Martin comes across to me like a younger, far more politically motivated and impassioned version of Kate Adie, the Beeb journo, who once put the fear of the Almighty into Colonel Qaddafy. It shows the major failings of US mainstream media that, as talented and committed as she is, she does not have her own show on the national networks. I’m a great fan of The Young Turks, and was delighted when they sent Nomiki Kunst over here to talk to the peeps at the Labour party conference back in October. I wish she’d come over this side of the Pond to do something over here. Our politicos are also neoliberal, neocon puppets for the War on Terror. I heartily wish we had someone like her on British TV. Instead, all we’ve got are the corporate shills from Murdoch, the Barclay Twins and Paul Dacre, who turn up occasionally on Have I Got News For You. People like Julia Hartley-Brewer.

The show begins with Dore paying tribute to the how intelligent her work is, calling it ‘Talk smart’. The two then joke about how she’s accused of being a ‘Russia-bot’ to the point where even she’s wondering if she’s human or just an on-line AI. They then go on to discuss her show, The Empire Files. She states that she’s trying to do what Oliver Stone did in his history of the US – covering the untold history of America, and particularly US imperialism. She takes the view that history is written by the victor, but she wants to give the stories of the marginalised, the excluded. The victims of Empire, and counter the dominant story told by the corporate media. She states that she has been most proud of going on location to places like Palestine. Now that she isn’t in RT, she has complete journalistic freedom, and so could spend four weeks in Palestine simply listening to its people. She states that everything, every issue, needs to be examined through the lens of Empire. She admires Dore’s show, because he also talks about the warmongering and imperialism. She states that the First World has risen on the backs of the colonised.

Dore replies by saying that Judah Friedlander, another comedian he’s had on his show, said he learned from travelling around the world that different peoples have a different perspective. Like in Vietnam they don’t talk about the Vietnam War. They talk about the War with the Americans. They also discuss how America is the world’s biggest purveyor of terrorism, as shown by Iraq, and the dropping of the nuclear bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. But when you talk about how horrendous that is, you just hear b*llshit from people about how the Japanese shouldn’t have bombed Pearl Harbour. Which by the same logic means that the Mexicans have every right to nuke the US for what the US has done to them.

They then dissect American exceptionalism. This is the belief that America can run rampant across the world, because America’s morally superior to every other country. They joke that it means that everyone else in the world gets healthcare, but not Americans. As for the reasons why Iran hates America, it’s because the US launched a coup against the last, democratically elected prime minister, Mohammed Mossadeq. And why are we friends with the Saudis? It’s because of the Petrodollar. Kerry even went and publicly admitted it.

They then talk about whether Americans really understand the crimes that are being committed in their nation’s name, or whether they do, but the mechanism does not exist for them to influence their lords and masters in Congress. Martin states that it’s the latter, though she doesn’t think that the great American public truly understand how horrendous the situation really is. But she points to Trump as one indicator that people know to a certain extent what’s going on. Trump was elected partly because his rhetoric was occasionally anti-interventionist. People do see through this façade, but the mechanism to change anything isn’t there.

Dore concurs. He states that he’s a night club comedian. He switched to doing this show, because there was no proper media, not even the press. The media was pro-war, and attacked the critics, who opposed the invasions. Phil Donahue had the show with the highest ratings on CNN, but they sacked him because he spoke out against it. Ed Schulz got sacked from the New York Times because he opposed the TPP. Martin states that she joined RT because it was the only network that would allow her to tell this story. She and Dore then discuss the self-censorship of journos like Piers Morgan. Martin states that she paid for editorial freedom that others choose not to do. They then talk about how the media carries adverts for Boeing, the big American aerospace manufacturer and military contractor. As if ordinary peeps could afford to buy a plane.

To be continued in Part 2.

Abby Martin on the Jimmy Dore Show Talks about US Crimes of Empire: Part 2

This is the second part of my article on the interview with Abby Martin on the Jimmy Dore Show. Martin is the presenter of the Empire Files on TeleSur English, and a former presenter at RT. She is impassioned, incisive and tells the story of the victims of American and western imperialism both abroad in the Middle East and elsewhere, and the mass of severely normal Americans at home burdened with the tax bill and the sheer rapacious greed of the neoliberal, corporate elite.

She states that Boeing and the other big corporations fund the adverts in the media simply to show the journos, who’s paying their wages, and so keep in line. The media is now all about advertising, not news.

They then talk about the rampant Russia-phobia, which Martin says is causing her to lose her mind. At first she just thought it was the product of Trump and his brown shirts. Dore rips this to shreds by pointing out that it’s not Russia that preventing Americans from getting what they want on a range of issues. 90 per cent of Americans want some form of gun control. But they ain’t getting, and it’s not because of Russia. 80 per cent of the US wanted a public option for Obamacare. Didn’t get it. Not because of Russia either. Americans also want Medicare For All and free college education. Denied that too – but not by the Russians. And everybody in America wants the wars to end. And it ain’t the Russians that are preventing that from happening. The people really screwing America is Wall Street, the military-industrial complex, big pharma, and the fossil fuel industry.

Back to Boeing and its adverts, the company’s funding Meet the Press to shut the press up. Half of America doesn’t believe in climate change, because it’s just presented by the media as just another point of view. And this is because the networks are funded by the fossil fuel industry. And the networks bring on general after endless general to talk about how the US should go to war with North Korea. All they talk about is how the war should be fought, but they are never challenged on the reason why. They never bring on Medea Benjamin, the head of the anti-war opposition group, Code Pink, except to mock her. Similarly, you never see union leaders on TV, nor are there any anti-war voices. As for Brian Williams, who was sacked for telling porkies about how he took fire, his real crime was that he didn’t tell his audience that the ‘objective’ news he was broadcasting was paid for by the generals who appeared on his show.

They then talk about the revolving door between the generals and the defence contractors. After the generals retire, they go to work for some company like General Electric. Martin talks about the $500 million in one bill sponsored by John McCain, to train the Ukrainians against Russian aggression. She caustically and accurately remarks that ‘we’re now funding neo-Nazis’, after setting up the coup that overthrew their last president. America is also giving $750 million to Israel for defence.

The Russia scare was hatched by Ralph Mook and John Podesta in the Democrat party, and it’s grown into a huge conspiracy. Martin describes how she saw it all developing three years ago when she was working for RT. They first attacked Al-Jazeera, demonising it as the propaganda wing of Saddam Hussein. Then they turned against RT as a network and her personally. She states that the report on which the accusations are based is rubbish. It looks like it was half written by some unpaid intern. There’s that contempt for any truth or real fact in this document. She noticed when one of RT’s presenters publicly resigned over Putin’s annexation of the Crimea. That was a psy-ops operation launched by William Kristol, one of the founders of the Neocons and the head of the Project for the New American Century. There was absolute no proof that Russia was meddling in American democracy. And half of the document attacked Martin personally. It was fomenting radical discontent, and the elite hated the way they covered third parties, Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street. so talking about how half of America has less than $1,000 in savings is now Russian propaganda. It’s at this point that Martin states she never said anything in praise in Putin. She states that there are plenty of leftists and socialists working at the network, not because they like Putin, but because there is nowhere else to go.

They then talk about how the Democrat party is full of people, who voted for Bush twice. And particularly the way Keith Olberman, whom Martin had previously admired, came out and publicly apologised to George Dubya. She states that Bush is a war criminal. He set up a gulag (Guantanamo) killed and tortured people wholesale, but when he appeared on Oprah she held his hand as if he was Buddha! Martin said she realised Obama was a fake when he refused to prosecute the war criminals. So now they have Trump, who’s hated because he’s a narcissist, but knows he will have people applauding every time he bombs people. They ask rhetorically whether the media will apologise to Nixon if Trump wins a second term.

They then go on to discuss how Trump is actually less dangerous, and more of a threat to the establishment, then Mike Pence, the Vice-President. Martin describes Pence, with good reason, as a ‘Christian ISIS who wants to kill gays’. He’s psychotic, but you wouldn’t have the cult of personality you have with Trump. She states that the Christian Evangelicals love him, as without him they wouldn’t have got in. And so Pence and DeVos are quite happy to use him as the fall guy, taking the rap for the policies they’re pushing through Congress. Trump represents the worst elements in society – the cult of celebrity, of reality TV shows, the adulation given to millionaires. She states that Joyce Behar, another personality, was paradoxically the voice of reason when she said on one interview that things wouldn’t be better if they only got rid of Trump. No, not if that meant Mike Pence becoming president. They talk about how, when Bush was in power, everyone talked about Bush Derangement Disorder. Then it was Obama Derangement Disorder, and now its Trump Derangement Disorder. But Dore also points out that progressives dodged a bullet with Trump. Voting for the lesser of two evils meant that they got Trump, who is too incompetent to get his policies through.

To be continued in Part 3.

Offshoring Business Education to prevent the Paradise Papers

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 18/11/2017 - 8:30pm in

Tags 

Economics, Ethics

The following is a guest post from Professor Atul K. Shah of the University of Suffolk. 

Corporate fraud has become a norm in modern society, and it is high time that we focus the lens of #Paradisepapers to business education and professional training. We must ask what it is about the content of their theories and methods of training that has resulted in this. What must we do urgently to transform present and future generations? Given how vast and multi-billion dollar and global the business education industry is, it is high time we look closely at its DNA and theories and examine the extent to which these are offshore too. How do the theories encourage greed and fraud? Why is it that these smart professional accountants, lawyers and bankers simply don’t care about the consequences of their actions? Do they even notice or understand how they are destroying the world?

Here are ten issues to address if change is to happen:

  1. Business and professional education have become profoundly privatised and technical, detaching themselves from public values, public conscience and personal responsibility and accountability
  2. Finance and financialisation dominates the culture of business education, which is very profit-driven, and the primary theory of wealth and profit maximisation. This ideology and logic is presented as unquestionable but is unsustainable and deserves to crash with #paradisepapers
  3. By making the subject scientific and technical, it becomes very impersonal. In addition, business schools are highly profitable factories of education, where the teaching approach and content is formulaic, and the student is on a production line. How on earth are they going to develop a conscience, or personal values in students in such an atmosphere? Their vulnerability and innocence is being actively exploited by the experts, and this must stop.
  4. Ethics, if taught at all, is a stand-along topic and not integrated with all the subjects taught in the business school. Its teaching tends to be philosophical, technical and legalistic, rather than personal, cultural, emotional and virtuous.
  5. Tax is treated as a burden and a cost of business, rather than a share of profit given to government for its vast contribution to business infrastructure in terms of health, roads, utilities, transport, education and skills, legal protection and social cohesion.
  6. Culture, as in faith, communities and social capital, is virtually ignored and therefore denied. The fact that students have culture and bring it into the classroom is suppressed and denied completely. Instead, an acultural universal approach to business is taught and globalised. Business education actively destroys culture to make its own living, and globalises this destruction.
  7. Business academics and intellectuals rarely engage with the problems of the real world and empathise with war, inequality, pollution and social upheaval. These are not profitable behaviours, nor do they boost CV’s or egos. Just look at how many top business schools and their professors are commenting on #paradisepapers.
  8. Virtue is desperately needed to promote a peaceful and equal society. This requires virtuous conduct by educators and a profound respect for students and their hunger to learn and transform society. Business educators have failed in this regard.
  9. Corporate fraud and crime need to be at the centre of business education, but are avoided or ignored, when they have become so normalised. The curriculum must embrace this to help students truly understand how profit is maximised through corruption, crime, exploitation, regulatory arbitrage and tax evasion.
  10. Financialisation has led to a huge growth of financial power, which is undermining the very fabric of global economics, trade and sustainable society. This politics and power need to come centrally into the business curriculum, to show that wealth is often made through monopoly rather than through merit or effort.

I hope this article circulates widely among business students, and I welcome their thoughts and opinions.

Professor Atul K. Shah is author of Reinventing Accounting and Finance Education – For a Caring, Inclusive and Sustainable Planet

Abby Martin on the Jimmy Dore Show Talks about US Crimes of Empire: Part 3

This is the third part and final part of my article on the interview with Abby Martin on the Jimmy Dore Show. She’s a tireless critic of American imperialism, and the presenter of the Empire Files on TeleSur English, and before that, on RT.

Dore and Martin discuss how the Empire and the Deep State loathes Trump because he ain’t good for the Empire’s image. After Bush had nearly pushed Americans towards revolution, Obama managed to placate people, and win them back to the Empire. But Trump is worse for the Empire because he’s such an a**hole and psychopath. There are people, who are just as psychotic. Paul Ryan, another Republican, hates the poor. But Trump is ramping up the Empire to colossal levels. There are now troop surges in Afghanistan, and the formation of Africom to deal with Somalia. Everybody’s heard of a horrific massacre committed by one of the warlords, and blamed on al-Shabaab. But what you aren’t being told is that week before his village was subject to a bombing raid which killed a load of kids. Martin talks about Trump’s hypocrisy and cynicism. He attacked Killary for the way she sold arms to the Saudis, but has been more than willing to sell them arms himself so they can kill civilians in Yemen. Under Trump, there has been a 400 per cent increase in drone strikes, and a 75 per cent increase in civilian deaths. Under Bush and Obama, the US military just killed every military-age male in a given locality. Now they’re carpet-bombing whole villages. Just like the Israelis kill Palestinians. Well, Trump said he would kill not only the terrorists, but also their families, in direct violation of the Geneva Convention. Unfortunately, he has not honoured the promises Martin hoped he would, like normalising relations with Russia.

And then they get on to MOAB – the Mother Of All Bombs. This ‘mini-nuke’ – actually a conventional bomb that approached some of the destructive power of a nuclear device – was dropped on a cave system in Afghanistan. They said it only killed terrorists, but there were people in that area, and we won’t know if it only killed terrorists, because nobody’s allowed in there. Martin describes ISIS as a barbaric death cult – which is true – but states that this doesn’t give us the right to kill the people, who live in these countries. She makes the point that the applause which greeted the MOAB attack was a dehumanisation of the Afghan people and the victims of this weapon.

They then discuss whether some of the people on the Right, who supported Trump, may now be disillusioned with the orange buffoon. Many people probably voted for him because they thought he was anti-interventionist. But he hasn’t been. This might be because the military-industrial complex and the warfare state are beyond his control. Martin hoped that this part of the Republican based would speak out, but she was disappointed. The base is just interested in having a more efficient War On Terror. They aren’t speaking out about Venezuela, nor about the push for war with North Korea, they just don’t want us to fund al-Qaeda. As for Trump himself, he was never anti-interventionist. He just appeared so as it was a useful stance against Killary. He doesn’t have to surround himself with generals, who just want war because with every new invasion they launch, they get another star on their jacket. They two then discuss how nobody knows why America was in Niger.

I realise that this is an American programme, discussing American issues. But it also directly and acutely affects us. A number of our politicos have attended Republican conventions, and one of Trump’s British buddies was Nigel Farage. The Tories have been copying and utilising Republican policies since Maggie Thatcher took over as premier in the 1970s. And New Labour did the same with the Clintonite wing of the Democrats, adopting their stance against the welfare state, and introducing neoliberalism, deregulation and privatisation, including the privatisation of the NHS, into the Labour Party.

The situation is rather different over here in Blighty, as we are now lucky enough to have a real Socialist as leader in the shape of Jeremy Corbyn. But New Labour is desperately trying to hang on in the shape of Progress, Labour Friends of Israel and the Jewish Labour Movement. And they have been using the smearing of decent anti-racists, the majority of whom are Jewish, as anti-Semites and their expulsion from the party as a weapon to purge their left-wing opponents.

As for imperialism, we are still riding on the back of America’s coat-tails, trying to be a world power by exploiting the ‘Special Relationship’. And so we support their wars in the Middle East, and the looting of these countries’ state industries and the brutalisation and impoverishment of their peoples.

Our media isn’t quite as bad as the Americans’ just yet. The news over here does accept that climate change is real at least, and there are still news reports about the poverty caused by austerity and Tory cuts to the welfare state and health service.

But it is heavily biased towards the Tories. The Beeb is full of public school, very middle class White guys, and its news and editorial staff have contained a number of high profile Tories, several of whom have left their posts to work for the party under Cameron and May. ‘Goebbels’ Robinson and ‘Arnalda Mussolini’ Kuenssberg are members of the Tory party. Robinson led a whole series of Tory groups, while Kuenssberg spoke at a fringe meeting in the Tory party this year.

The Kushners noted in their book, Who Needs the Cuts, that the Beeb does not allow anyone to question austerity, and it is just assumed, entirely falsely, as true and necessary by the rest of the media. And academics from Cardiff, Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities have noted that the Beeb is far more likely to talk to Tory politicians and managing directors about the economy, than Labour politicos and trade unionists.

And the war on alternative media is happening in this country as well. The Tories would love to close down RT. We’ve already seen them join in the baying mob accusing it of being Putin’s propaganda arm interfering with British democracy over here. All the while being very silent about how the Israelis were caught trying to get the people they don’t like removed from May’s cabinet. We’ve seen them criticise Labour MPs for appearing on the network, while ignoring their own people, who also have. And May got on her high horse to write a letter to Alex Salmond telling him not to take up a job as presenter with the Network.

And the bots and algorithms cooked up by Google and Facebook to protect us all from ‘fake news’ are having an effect on ‘controversial’ read: left-wing bloggers and vloggers. They direct potential readers away from the sites the corporations have decided are a threat to democracy. Mike’s suffered an inexplicable fall in the readership of some of his articles, and some of his posts have had to be reposted after mysteriously vanishing from Facebook. Even before then, there was an attempt to censor Tom Pride over at Pride’s Purge by claiming that his site was unsuitable for children. The pretext for that was some of the coarse humour he employs in his satire. This is nothing compared to some of the language you will hear on YouTube. It looked very much like his real crime was sending up Dave Cameron and the other walking obscenities taking up space on the Tory benches.

What Abby Martin says about the media and the crimes of Empire describe the situation in America. But it also describes what the neoliberal elites are doing over here.

We have to stop this. We have to take back parliament, and end the warmongering. Now.

Press TV: Palestinian Authority Calls on Britain to Apologise for Balfour Declaration, Recognise Palestinian State

This is a very short video from the Iranian state news service, Press TV. It’s about a couple of minutes long. It was put up on the 2nd of November 2017, just a couple of weeks ago, and reports the call by the Palestinian authority for Britain to apologise for the Balfour Declaration, and recognise an independent Palestinian state.

It was the Balfour Declaration that pledged Britain to support the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine ‘without prejudice to the Arabs’. This part of the Declaration was soon broken, and while Britain tried to give at least the appearance that it was maintaining an even hand between the Jewish settlers and indigenous Arabs, in fact it favoured the European Jewish colonialists.

In fact the British government has refused to apologise for the Declaration, and said that it was ‘proud of it’. This little bit is accompanied by everyone’s favourite braggart, Old Etonian, and lethally incompetent ego maniac, Boris Johnson. He’s shown chuntering away, but it’s silent so normal folks don’t have to put up with his god-awful braying, blustering voice.

The clip also includes a brief interview with Richard Silverstein in Seattle, who notes how the Declaration led to the disinheritance of the Palestinians, and describes the recognition of an independent Palestine as ‘a no-brainer’. He believes that the importance of the Balfour Declaration was overstated, and says that there isn’t much of a case for paying reparations to the Palestinians, as Britain didn’t pay the Israelis for what they had suffered under the Mandate either. He also puts Palestine into the wider context of colonial politics and oppression, saying that Britain treated the Arabs in Palestine the same way it treated its other colonial possessions in India, across the Middle East and Africa.


Political and Corporate Corruption in Iran

I’ve previously refrained from putting material up from Press TV, because I heartily despise the Iranian government. It’s an extremely authoritarian state, which oppresses ordinary working people and its constituent ethnic minorities for the benefit of the mullah-merchant princes. These are members of the ulema, who also have extensive links to the merchants of Tehran bazaar and their own business interests. There’s a special term in Farsi, the ancient language of Persia, for the merchant-mullahs, and the ulema currently running the country definitely don’t like. I think they had the last journo or political dissident jailed for using it. There is also a massive underground Christian church in Iran, which, unlike its Chinese counterpart, is very much unknown in the West. It’s very heavily persecuted, contrary to various Hadith and passages in the Qu’ran, where Islam’s Prophet states that ‘there should be no compulsion in religion’. And I shall blog about that little injustice further, as it says as much about the cynical use of religion by the American military-industrial complex to advance their interests.

Iran Diverse and More Tolerant than Expected

I am also very much aware of the bloodcurdling nature of the Iranian rhetoric about Israel, and how former president Ahmedinejad’s speeches have been very plausibly interpreted as advocating the complete destruction of the state of Israel. However, Iran’s remaining Jewish community is quite well treated. I also understand that the country’s ancient Zoroastrian community, who were the country’s official religion under the Persian Empire, is also tolerated and respected. About three per cent of the Iranian population are Armenian Christians, who historically took refuge in Iran to escape persecution elsewhere in the Middle East.

It’s a very diverse country ethnically. Only 51 per cent of the country speaks the official language, Farsi. Other ethnic groups include Kurds, Baluchis, Arabs, Reshtchis and various tribes speaking languages related to Turkish. The Iranians I’ve met have been very relaxed and matter of fact about the different religious monuments and places of worship that are scattered across their ancient nation. I was asked a few years ago by a Shi’a Muslim Iranian friend if I’d ever seen the Christian churches, that had been built around the Black Sea. There is an Anglican church, whose membership is composed of indigenous Iranians in Tehran, and I personally know people, who have been sent Christmas by Muslim friends, which they purchased in this church.

In short, whatever I think of the mullocracy, the country itself has always struck me as modern, tolerant and cultured. The last should come as no surprise. This is the nation that produced the great poets Firdowsi, who composed the epic history of the Iranian nation, the Shah-Name, and Saadi. Looking through the library, I found an English translation of the latter illustrated by none other than Private Eye’s Willie Rushton. Iran’s government are not its people.

The Balfour Declaration against Wishes Diaspora Jews

But I’ve decided to reblog this piece, because what it has to say about the Balfour Declaration is important. With the Declaration, Britain gave away land, which was not ours to give, and which we had absolutely no right to give away. I’ve already blogged about the way the majority of Britain’s Jewish community at the time were dead against the Declaration. They had absolutely no wish to move once again to another foreign country. They wanted to be accepted for what they were – Brits, like everyone else. The only difference is that they were of a different religion, Judaism.

I’ve also read the same thing about Hungarian Jewry, in a book I borrowed on the history of Judaism a couple of decades ago from one of my aunts. The book’s author, if I recall correctly, was a Christian priest, who admired the Jews and hated anti-Semitism. It stated there that most Hungarian Jews in the late 19th and early 20th century considered themselves ‘Magyars of the Israelitish religion’. You can see that by the way Stephen Fry talks about his Jewish grandfather. He was a Hungarian Jew, but Fry always talks about him as a ‘Magyar’ – the ethnic Hungarians’ term for themselves. Georgy Ligeti, the avant-garde composer, whose weird pieces Lux Aeterna and Atmospheres formed part of the sound track to Stanley Kubrick’s epic 2001: A Space Odyssey, is also of Hungarian Jewish heritage. He has said in an interview that his family’s surname was originally something very German or Yiddish, but that they changed it to a Hungarian equivalent out of patriotism and national pride. Which disproves so much of that awful, vile bilge Viktor Orban and his wretched Fidesz party are either claiming or insinuating about the country’s remaining Jewish population.

And I’ve blogged before about how Tony Greenstein, one of Zionism’s greatest critics, has pointed out that the Yiddish-speaking Jewish masses in pre-War Poland supported the Socialist Bund, and wanted to be accepted as equal citizens with the same rights as their gentile Polish compatriots. Britain’s Jews were not isolated in wishing to remain in their ancestral European countries. They were part of the mainstream. A mainstream that the Israel lobby in the Tories, the mainstream media, and spurious anti-racism groups like the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and the squalid, malicious libellers of the Jewish Labour Movement in the Labour Party, are desperately trying to conceal and obscure. Heaven forfend if you try to mention this, or that the Zionists occasionally collaborated with Nazis and their fellow-travellers to persecute diaspora Jewry. They get terribly upset and start ranting that you’re an anti-Semite.

Suppression of Alternative Media by Western Neoliberal Elite

I also reblogged this because it was from Press TV. I despise the Iranian government, but I also heartily despise the way the American political-military-industrial caste is now trying to suppress alternative news sources. This means going after RT, because, er, they actually do their job as journos and cover issues like racism, growing poverty, the crimes of empire and the exploitative nature of capitalism. And so they’ve created another Red Scare, in which RT is the secret hand of Vladimir Putin corrupting American politics. And the Tories over here are doing exactly the same.

The Censorship of Alex Salmond by the Beeb

Alex Salmond now has his own show on RT in Britain. I can’t think of a single reason why he shouldn’t, and at least one good reason why he should: the Beeb heavily censored and deliberately misquoted and then edited out his own words at the Scots independence referendum t’other year. Nick ‘Macclesfield Goebbels’ Robinson asked Salmond if he was worried that the big financial houses would leave Edinburgh for London if Scotland got its independence. Salmond gave him a full answer, stating that he was not worried, and was confident that this would not happen. He quoted various sources from within the financial sector.

Oops! Salmond wasn’t supposed to do that. So over the course of the day, the footage was carefully edited down so that it first appeared that Salmond gave only a cursory reply without much substance. Then it was edited out completely, and ‘Goebbels’ Robinson blithely told the camera that Salmond had not answered his question.

Which was a sheer, blatant, unashamed lie.

Apart from this, Salmond as the former leader of the Scots Nats is in a particularly good position to take up a job for RT. Scotland has always had particularly strong links with Russia. I can remember attending an academic seminar on this when I was hoping to do a degree in Russian at one of the unis in Birmingham. That went by ’cause I didn’t get the grades. I can also remember being told by an aunt, whose husband was Scottish, and who had very pro-Soviet opinions, that the Russians were particularly keen on the works of Rabbie Burns. It was part of the curriculum when they learned English.

This has not stopped Theresa May urging Salmond not to take up the job. Which just follows all the Tories, like Boris Johnson’s equally demented father, who criticised the Labour party because some of their MPs and activists appeared on RT. While conveniently ignoring the various Tories, who had.

So more hypocrisy and scaremongering. No change, there then!

Galloway and Press TV

George Galloway also has, or had, his own show in Press TV, and is an outspoken supporter of Palestinian rights. I’ve been wary about him ever since he launched the Respect party, and the way the media monstered him when he saluted Saddam Hussein for his indefatigueability. But I’ve developed a considerable respect for him since then, because so much of what I’ve heard him say about the neoliberal elites and their warmongering attempts to start a conflict with Russia is absolutely correct.

The Anti-Muslim Right and al-Jazeera

The Republicans in America and the anti-Islamic right also hated Al-Jazeera. The Qatar-based broadcaster is supposed to be another source of evil propaganda and disinformation, this time covering for ‘radical Islam’. I think this might be because Al-Jazeera, like RT and Press TV, are showing us in the West what we are doing in the Middle East. Like the hundreds of thousands our bombs are killing, and the millions, who are being thrown out of their homes and forced into refugee camps and exile. The masses, who don’t have food, water, electricity and medical care, because the secular welfare states that have provided this have been destroyed in pursuit of big profits by the multinationals. Just like their people are being persecuted and butchered by sectarian killers, and their women and children enslaved by those savages in ISIS as Daesh tries to roll back the gains they have made. And yes, there has been a Muslim Feminist movement. Just like there has been one in Christianity and Judaism. But you count on Tommy Robinson and the English Defence League not to tell you that. Just as you can count on ISIS, with the backing of the Saudis, in trying to destroy it. Or at least leave it severely restricted.

The War on Domestic Alternative News

And once the elite have finished with the alternative news networks, they’ll try and finish off domestic American and British alternative news sources. Like The Young Turks, the Jimmy Dore Show, the David Pakman Show, Sam Seder’s Minority Report and Democracy Now! in the US. As well as the alternative, left-wing bloggers and vloggers, Google and Facebook are trying to marginalise as ‘fake news’. They’ve even developed algorithms to take traffic away from these sites. I’ve a very strong suspicious Mike’s been hit with it over here, as have several other bloggers. If I remember correctly, they’ve even tried to censor Tom Pride of Pride’s Purge, claiming he wasn’t suitable for children as his material was ‘adult’. It was, but only in the sense that you had to be a mature adult, who actually thought about the issues, to read it.

And once the people at the margins are suppressed, the elite are going to go for the mainstream.

And all we can expect from the mainstream broadcasters is more propaganda denying the reality of poverty, of climate change, of the misery created by the destruction of the welfare, the privatisation of the NHS over here and the refusal to implement single-payer in America, and the sheer, catastrophic lies about how climate change isn’t really occurring.

And as the media gets censored, the brutality of the police and the military will get worse. Black Lives Matter has raised the issue of the cavalier way some cops kill Blacks for the slightest of reasons. But recent arrests and brutalisation of White protesters have also demonstrated that this casual thuggery is also moving towards the White population as well. Counterpunch a few weeks ago put up a piece about a secret US forces report, which predicted that in the next couple of decades, US policing would become more militarised. The army would be used to quell the riots and disturbance that would break out thanks to poverty and increased racial friction.

Orwell’s going to be proved right. In 1984 he asks what the future will be like. The chilling, famous reply is: a jackboot stamping on a human face. Forever.

Without any alternative media to protest, because they’re all in jail or hiding on trumped up charges of treason.

Instead, we’re going to be treated to the lies of shills and hacks like ‘Goebbels’ Robinson and ‘Arnalda Mussolini’ Kuenssberg. And fed racist, Tory drivel by the Murdoch media, the Weirdo Barclay Twins and Paul Dacre.

Why Krugman and Stiglitz are no real alternatives to mainstream economics

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 18/11/2017 - 6:38am in

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Economics

Little in the discipline has changed in the wake of the crisis. Mirowski thinks that this is at least in part a result of the impotence of the loyal opposition — those economists such as Joseph Stiglitz or Paul Krugman who attempt to oppose the more viciously neoliberal articulations of economic theory from within the […]

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