Archive for October, 2006

A Letter from Oaxaca

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

October 15, Oaxaca

Dear Friends,

oxaca1.jpgWe’ve been in the city two weeks now, arriving in late September amid intensified threats of a military intervention. A few days later Naval helicopters flew overhead, circling over the city center for two days. Since then, a strange, uneasy calm has prevailed. Most of the Oaxacans we know have a beleaguered attitude. The orchestrated attack on the teachers’ encampment was four months ago — long months of hardship, anxiety and uncertainty. In a city where tourism supports tens of thousands directly or indirectly, the economic consequences have been dire. (more…)

China competes with the West in “developing” us

Monday, October 16th, 2006

A recent article by the New York Times (Jane Perlez, “China Competes with West in Aid to its Neighbors”, The New York Times, September 18 2006) was surveying recent Chinese investment in development projects across the world, especially Asia and Africa. One of the key issue is that

Chinese money usually comes unencumbered with conditions for environmental standards or community resettlement that can hold up major projects. The aid does not carry penalties for corruption that are being increasingly used by the World Bank president, Paul D. Wolfowitz. And China’s offers rarely include the extra freight of expensive consultants, provisions that are common to World Bank projects.

laying-rail-tracks.jpgIf we put this into broader perspective of how global capital works, this is one example of how homeostatic mechanisms not only are the governing mechanisms of markets, but also apply for governance and development in which there are different players facing different constraints and acting up different but interlocked strategies. So for example, (more…)

It’s the commons!

Friday, October 13th, 2006

video_button_white_dred.gifDavid Rovics sings the Commons. If you cannot see it below, click here. The song text is below the video frame.

The Commons
David Rovics

First you told us only through you could we know God
And if we dared to question then He wouldn’t spare the rod
For you we worked the soil, for you we dug the moors
For you we shed our blood and fought so many pointless wars
And now you build your fences and say there’s nothing we can do
You say the world around us belongs fairly to the few
But about six billion people no doubt will agree
This world is our home, not your property

It’s the commons, our right of birth (more…)

“National Security” and the “economy”

Thursday, October 12th, 2006

video_button_white_dred.gifWars are justified in terms of “national security”, and todays empire’s wars are, for good or bad, justified in the same terms. Critics generally tend to dismiss the national security argument, by pointing out, as in the case of Colin Powell’s infamous speech on WMD at the UN used to justify US and British attack on Iraq, that the threats to national security are often constructed, and indeed, they become more real as a result of imperial policies. In a sense, this is true. But in another sense, this is not taking the forces of Empire seriously enough. There is in fact a sense in which “national security” — as defined by capital’s empire — is threatened if new markets, new realms of market relations, are not created. The difficult thing is to articulate this broader sense of “national security” with the lies and constructions used to justify wars. (more…)

Paul Wolfowitz joins the struggle

Wednesday, October 11th, 2006

video_button_white_dred.gifPaul Wolfowitz at his first annual World Bank meeting in September 2005, stating that despite the gloomy weather he “joined a crowd” of “50 thousands young people” . . . to “make poverty history” . . .mmhhh, this either says something about the World Bank or the “make poverty history” coalition or . . .both. If you cannot see it below, click here.

empire and media-government collusion

Tuesday, October 10th, 2006

video_button_white_dred.gifShort news clip from Democracy Now! 9 October 2006 on the collusion between US government and media for the preparation of the war in Afghanistan. Today’s president of the World Bank (Paul Wolfowitz) was yesterday’s convener of a propaganda planning meeting with journalists. Click here if you cannot run the video below.

Nuclear Blues and the Production of Empire

Monday, October 9th, 2006

It is of today the news that North Korea says it performed its first nuclear test. Whether this is true or not, remains to be seen. What interests me here are two things tangentially linked to this story. One is the use of financial freezing as Empire’s instrument of bringing rebel governments into line. The other is the indication of how multilateral practices are necessary so as Empire can exercise its power. My working definition of empire is here — very generally — the production of a common terrain around which different nation states articulate and constitute their practices. (more…)

Ethical weaponry

Sunday, October 8th, 2006

The following comes from The Time online edition of few weeks ago. Madness, isn’t it?! Critics may confuse this with hypocrisy, but it is actually much worse than this. It is systemic stupidity. Even managers of an arm company like BAE can be ”ethical” people, worry about the environment and seek for ways to minimise the environmental impact of ammunitions and bomb explosions (sic!) produced by their factories. It is when we measure these individuals’ “ethical” concerns with the practices emerging from the interaction of all these ethical people performing particular roles as business leaders, that systemic stupidity arises. Becasue this is a role that seeks market expansion, and market expansion requires subjecting populations to new rules, new enclosures, new systems of governance. And this increasingly requires war. familyrunning.jpgThe concerns of ethical weapon producers are wahed aside by the sheer growing destructive use of weapons in today’s Empire, the barbaric practices used by the US and Israeli forces in attacking civilians, the maiming and killing children for years to come thanks to scores of unexploded cluster bombs, the use of “next generation weapons” that turn the body into a carbonised lab measuring destructive effectiveness (for a catalogue of latest horrors, browse for example human right watch website). (more…)

“Consumer power”

Saturday, October 7th, 2006

the other day I went to an academic talk on global corporate power . . .great insights on how national laws serve the beast to abuse and let the abusers to escape, to exploit and let the exploiters escape . . .it would have been worthwhile to take some notes, but I did not have my notebook with me . . .what stroke me was the ending . . .someone asked the professor what is to be done to deal with all these tales of horrors we are growing accustomed to . . . she candidly replied that we should use that great power of ours that she called “consumer power” . . . some of the people in the audience nodded, yes, what a great power that is: buy ethical, buy sustainable, buy fair trade . . .it is a power that allows us to meet half the way with capital, clear our conscious of guilty feelings, exercise our power in the form compatible with market relations . . .but fair trade is more expensive, and consumer power is power exercised by individuals with budget constraints, (more…)

“Responsible globalisation”? Sure, but only through “irresponsible” demands.

Sunday, October 1st, 2006

The “Forum for a responsibe globalisation” is a four days event to be held in Lyon, 25 to 28 October this year. The event is organised by Scientific Foundation of Lyon, “established in 1918 by industry leaders of the region” and currently with a board of directors from major companies such as Banque Palatine, Bayer CropScience, Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, Groupe Seb, Institut Français du Pétrole, Sanofi-Aventis, Siparex, Total, and representatives of public organisations, higher education and research institutions. Surely, a “public interest” institution, as decreeted in 1919.

In the web site we learn that (more…)