Daily Archives: 10/04/2011

(Media Lens) One can hardly fail to be impressed by the corporate media’s faith in humanity. Or at least that part of humanity with its finger on the cruise missile button. Last week, the Independent’s Patrick Cockburn predicted that ‘Western nations will soon be engaged in a war in Libya with the noble aim of protecting civilians.’

At the opposite end of the alleged media spectrum, former Spectator editor and current London Mayor, Boris Johnson, agreed in the Telegraph:

‘The cause is noble and right, and we are surely bound by our common humanity to help the people of Benghazi.’

So is the aim of the latest war a noble one? How do Cockburn and Johnson know?

Perhaps they have considered evidence from the recent historical record. Economist Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the US Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, wrote in his memoir:

‘I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.’ (Leader, ‘Power, not oil, Mr Greenspan,’ Sunday Times, September 16, 2007)

If this seems heroic, Greenspan’s bewildered response to the resulting controversy suggests otherwise:

‘From a rational point of view, I cannot understand why we don’t name what is evident and indeed a wholly defensible pre-emptive position.’ (Quoted, Richard Adams, ‘Invasion of Iraq was driven by oil, says Greenspan,’ The Guardian, September 17, 2007)

Certainly it is ‘defensible’, if we accept that the world’s premier power should do as it pleases in pursuit of oil. Greenspan had made his ‘pre-emptive’ economic case for war to White House officials, who responded: ‘Well, unfortunately, we can’t talk about oil.’ (Quoted, Bob Woodward, ‘Greenspan: Ouster Of Hussein Crucial For Oil Security,’ Washington Post, September 17, 2007)

Across flak so thick you could walk on it, Greenspan backtracked as he ‘clarified’ that, in identifying oil as the obvious key concern he, of course, ‘was not saying that that’s the administration’s motive’. (Ibid.)

Or consider Nato’s air assault on Serbia in 1999. John Norris, director of communications during the war for deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, wrote in his memoir, Collision Course: ‘it was Yugoslavia’s resistance to the broader trends of political and economic reform – not the plight of Kosovar Albanians – that best explains NATO’s war’. (Norris, Collision Course: NATO, Russia, and Kosovo, Praeger, 2005, p.xiii)

Norris, again, later claimed he had been quoted ‘both selectively and out of context to advance [a] polemic’. But his words mean what they say: that the plight of civilians was not the prime motive for war, thus contradicting a mountain of propaganda.



(via eagainst) Egypt: Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians gathered in Tahrir last Friday in one of the biggest demonstrations since February 18th, when millions took over Egypt to celebrate the fall of Mubarak, demanding the army to relinquish power over the citizens and press and the former President Hosni Mubarak to be brought to justice. The army, which ruled Egypt since February 11, has become the target of protesters who say the generals are in agreement with the remnants of the Mubarak regime. The protestors claim that The Military Council is an integral part of Mubarak’s corrupt regime. Military officers who have benefited from Mubarak for more than 30 years are robbing the Egyptian people. The outrage grew when Friday night to Saturday morning, the army tried to remove the protestors from Tahrir Square during curfew hours, between 2-5 p.m. Troops and police used rubber bullets and batons. Sounds of gunfire were heard across the square at night.

Medical sources reported that two men died and 15 were wounded by gunfire. State television said one person was killed and 71 injured. The army encountered resistance when they tried to evacuate the square from a few thousand hardy protesters, who stayed up late Friday. Some protesters demand the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to hand over power to a political council and called for the resignation of its leader Mohamed Hussein Tantawi. Some protesters placed barbed wire that had been left unused by the army on the surrounding roads leading to the square. As they had done during protests to oust Mubarak, the protesters began their investigation of the identities of those entering Tahrir. (Source: Athens Indymedia)

Read more:


(The Oil Drum) These posts have been going through the EIA list of the top oil producers in the world, over the past few weeks, I thought I might just review them collectively, but briefly, before starting to look at individual countries and oilfields. Even the posts that I have written recently have become out of date with new information (Russia increased production again in February by 20 kbd over January reaching 10.23 mbd) and then fell back to 10.2 mbd in Marchbut at this stage, rather than focusing on such d

etails, I am trying to generate a sense of the overall picture. It should also be recognized that I am just grabbing a snapshot of data, rather than the more detailed studies that look at the longer term, which folk such as Rembrandt, Rune and Euan provide. The simplest way to do this is to place my current estimates of production for the top 30 oil producers that I have reviewed in this series against the EIA estimate of their production in 2009.


(eagainst) While most of the right-wing media, especially the tabloid ones, are welcoming cuts and tough austerity plans, trying to convince us that “the austerity measures are necessary in order to save the economy” (but in fact, to save the banker’s wealth), thousands of students (3,000 according to police sources, and 10,000  according to the organisers) were marching in Madrid yesterday condemning unemployment, the lack of opportunities and privatisation. Under the slogan “no home, no pensions”, “enough is enough”, “we will not shut up” and “we are not profitable, we are indispensable,” the students marched through the capital of Spain showing their anger towards the labour reform, which increases job insecurity. They also expressed their disapproval towards the delay of retirement age and increase of university fees by 30%as the Students Union has reported.

“I am 29 years old and studied sociology, but I have to work in a lottery, Monday through Saturday for 750 euros a month,” said one attendant according to Kaosenlared. Carmen Dominguez, Professor of Optometry at the University Complutense of Madrid (UCM) is one of the many educators who also supported this initiative. “The solution to the crisis does not pass through welfare cuts and that is what governments have to understand,” she said.

The march was running peacefully, until the police intervened, attacking some demonstrators. At least one boy was injured and another arrested, according to Efe. Read more…

In Croatia

Anti-government protests continue for more than a month in a dozen towns across the country. According to Socialist Project:

The largest have been in the capital, Zagreb, which have gathered more than 10,000 people at a time. When the regularity of protests – every second day at the beginning and now twice a week – and the fluctuation of participants are taken into account, it is possible to estimate the total number of protesters at more than 50,000 in Zagreb only. Polls show a 70 per cent support from the population for the protests and the calls for government resignation.

The protests are not organized by the political parties or unions, the latter already fully discredited by their politics of “social dialogue”; they are simply lead by all who participate. The decisions are made directly at the protests, and all attempts of various aspirants and wannabe politicians to take over the leadership or act as spokespersons have been instantly disqualified and discredited by prompt reactions of the majority of protesters. Protests are organized as a march across the city centre directed at seats of various fractions of the political and economic elites ruling the country – political parties, the ruling coalition as well as the opposition, private and public media, Croatian Central Bank (Hrvatska Narodna Banka), corporations, trade unions and state and public institutions.

Although the protests nominally aim to overthrow the current government, already shaken by a number of corruption scandals, including the arrest of the former prime minister, the route walked by the protesters, slogans they shout and the banners they carry point to a higher degree of political articulation than a whimsical involvement in the charade that elections have been: the peoples’ demands to participate directly in decision making and to democratize the economic sphere; opposition to privatization processes – those carried out as well as those announced; struggles to protect the public interest; the relentless discrediting of all political parties and the present party system as a model of governance; and opposition to Croatian accession to European Union.



( Duane Rousselle: Post-anarchism has come to mean different things to different people. In the anglophone world, Saul Newman has described a Lacanian/Stirnerian “post-anarchism,” Todd May has called for a practice-oriented “post-structuralist anarchism,” Lewis Call has described a time of “post-modern anarchism,” and Hakim Bey has called for a reinvention of traditional anarchist discourse in his 1987 essay “post-anarchism anarchy.” In my own research, I have noticed that there is a striking difference in the way post-anarchism has been conceived in the non-anglophone world. I would like to ask you a bit about what post-anarchism means for you and for your audience.

Antón Fernández de Rota: To answer your question, Duane, I think that we can not avoid the place from where post-anarchism’s voices are heard. And that place is the Academy and its boundaries. Basically, post-anarchists understand to some degree that the collection of post-anarchists are related in one way or another with the University, with the Human Sciences, Philosophy and the Arts; many of us are university students – usually studying for doctorates. But there is also a reduction of the number of young professors born from the children formed within the crisis of the left, or, at least, during the boom years of “alter-globalization.” I do not cite the political trauma of the left by coincidence. Neither do I ignore that inside the anarchist milieu, the critics of “post-anarchism” have often reproached it for being limited to an academic phenomenon (or worse yet, a merely discursive movement, and a practice nothing more than textual, elitist, an elusive writing without any relevance or contact with the “street”).

My objective is not to argue. I also do not think that a polemical response is the best way to relate. Jürgin cited Foucault who dedicated a good part of his work to devising an ethics of the thinking subject. The polemicist, said Foucault, approaches the battle ready to debate; he does not have before himself a speaker with whom to seek the truth, but rather he has an adversary. In this fight, armed with the rights that authorize the war, the polemicist fights by suppressing the dialogue and annulling his counterpart. Paradoxically, far from putting an end to the word, what the polemic does is multiply it through debates wrapped in hostilities that become a repetitive performance – where time and again the same orders and the same phrases are exchanged. For the polemicist, the proper existence of the adversary signifies a threat that should be caught, but when the new adversary is consolidated in the demand of his space, the polemic functions like a ritual in which nobody listens and each speaks for his or her part by reaffirming his or her respective identities.

“Post-anarchists” have wanted to introduce new debates into anarchism. Post-anarchists have imported discourses, intending to create bridges between distinct traditions in order to elude the methods of the polemic. In this way, they have unfolded vectors that moved from the classical authors and from the large exploits and anarchist organizational experiences of the first third of the 20th century toward the “long sixties” and such authors as Foucault, Deleuze or Derrida. Post-anarchism has also offered a series of analysis on the contemporary transformations today’s social movements, where the content and the possibilities of anarchism are redefined. David Graeber speaks of anarchists with a little “a” to portray the thickness of the activist networks of the North American alter-global experience. A short time before the socialist Manuel Castells expressed it in the same terms, he considered that two powers were growing in the world: “new anarchism” (alter-global and post-Cold War) and “fundamentalism” (of the religion that was). Also Barbaric Epstein verified the increasing importance of the “anarchist,” in detriment of the political Marxists in the left in the USA. None of these authors are “post-anarchist,” but all these ideas agree broadly speaking with the general lines of its political diagnosis. The questions that emerge here do so with a certain optimism and are of vital importance for the anarchist tradition and the left in general: Has the Era of Revolutions happened already? And if it is so, what alternative is there to the 19th century logic of reform/revolution? Has the old political subject and the forms of its political organization arrived at its end, and if it is so how should the subject, politics, and the relation that occurs among both be thought? Is there a “beyond” to the crisis of the left and the prison of the “politics of identity” exist?

Post-anarchism, as a chiefly academic phenomenon, appeared to promote these types of questions. Likewise, it arose as a reaction from this discomfort. Eluding the polemic does not signify yielding to complacency. The discomfort has to do with the evident desertion of “expert thought” from the rows of anarchism. Post-anarchism has wanted to rectify this problem through the actualization of theory. It remains to be seen if this is the best approach. There still lacks a thinking through of the implications of the role of the academic.

This is part two of an ongoing conversation about post-anarchism with Jürgin Mümken, Süreyyya Evren, and Anton Fernendaz de Rota. It has been translated from Spanish to English by Jake Nabasny with adaptations by Duane Rousselle