Social History

Russian Nationalism and Eurasianism: The Ideology of Russian Regional Power and the Rejection of Western Values

To date the clearest account of the present conflict of values.

Center For Syncretic Studies

248227777_679812a8ac_m   By: Dr. Matthew Raphael Johnson

Russian Nationalism and Eurasianism:

The Ideology of Russian Regional Power

and the Rejection of Western Values

aleksandr-dugin-1962 Dugin

old-english-calligraphy-alphabet-the recent flurry of writing on Russian politics, nationalism and Alexander Dugin shows the contemptible inability of western savants to apprehend any idea beyond the cliche’s of stagnant neo-liberalism.  Worse, “Russia specialists” in academia are now tripping over themselves trying to “analyze” Dugin and the Eurasianist idea.  Bereft of the vocabulary to understand the concept, they merely apply fashionable labels from western political thought onto Russia in a pathetic and pretentious attempt to show how “dangerous” such ideas are to “European values.”  

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Ingolfur Blühdorn: The Sustainability Of Democracy | The New Significance

On limits to growth, the post-democratic turn and reactionary democrats.

Emancipation, the central demand of democracy, has come to mean liberation from restrictive social and ecological imperatives. Are radical participatory solutions the answer when contemporary democracy serves the politics of unsustainabilty?

via Ingolfur Blühdorn: The Sustainability Of Democracy | The New Significance.

Of genders and feminism #quote #women

Woman “To be truthful, I’d say, what is serious, in my case, is that I have towards men in general, neither the slightest inferiority feeling, nor much admiration, I mean for their character, the way they lead their lives, of taking or not taking their responsibilities. There is a type of man I admire, entirely out of fashion, today ridiculed, for whom what is imperative is courage, the promise given, courtesy, and not taking oneself too seriously. I have known some of them, they were always fairly rare, but when it was fashionable there were some good imitations. In daily life I find very few men are adult. They may be so in their jobs, not always at home. How many women know that with their husband they have one more child. Men are irresponsable like children, unbearable, often, like children. Women are more reasonable, reasonable people are women. Note that it is, for them, the obverse of a fundamental quality; it is those who aren’t reasonable who change the world, who make life move. Maybe women are already too busy giving life, to work towards changing it.”

~ Pauline Réage, in Régine Deforges, “O m’a dit, entretiens avec Pauline Réage”

Peace to her soul ~ and Why I Loathe Mrs “T”

Poll Tax riotsI started working in the Midlands around 1978 for a small engineering firm that designed, manufactured and exported high-tech telecommunications equipment to the US.  Yes, that’s right to the US of A. The firm had been founded a few years back by ex-European Space Agency British engineers who were good at what they were doing, and not bad employers either.  There were then hundreds of similar companies around the Midlands and the North of England.  By the late 80’s they were all gone, sacrificed to the Hayekian non sense that underpinned “la Thatcher”’s philosophy in life.  Ignore the noises of sycophants and of her numerous inheritors – think about this:

The craddle of the industrial revolution destroyed, entire regions laid waste by a policy of deindustrialisation paid for by plundering the riches of the North Sea, the plunder of state, that is, people-owned organisations in telecommunications, transport, energy, water, the destruction of the Coal-Mining industry and of the communities that had lived for it through two centuries, and saved the country in two world-wars, the sell-off of most of the remaining industrial base to foreign interests, the beginning of the dismantlement of the welfare state…

Was Britain in decline in 1979? No more than any other European social democracy.  Capitalism had been in crisis then since the end of the Viet-Nam war in the mid 70‘s. Britain, obviously not immune, was however still a country of moderate inequalities, fair fiscality, good public services, and good prospects of making headway in the European concert of nations, thanks to the policy of Edward Heath, an enlightened conservative  by the standards of what followed, who a few years before had taken Britain to the Common Market, through the only referendum ever held on the subject in the UK.  A majority consensus had emerged to support Mr Heath’s policies.  “Mrs T” hated Edward Heath.  Her malevolent hatred would divide the conservative party before the full blast of her divisive and vindictive  personality poisened British politics for years to come.  Edward Heath was an informed, ethical and courageous politician.  She, the “grocer’s daughter”, was a crypto fascist of the basest kind: an admirer of Pinochet and of the Apharteid régime of South Africa.  Her class instincts were to fear and hate workers, their trade-unions, and the mass of their members.  Her ideal was the hayekian pseudo paradise of the worst reaction of the 20’s, laissez faire, anti universal suffrage, anti welfare state, a proto-fascist pre-industrial petty bourgeois lunacy.

Unemployment soared to levels unseen since since the 30’s and the great depression.  But Mrs T did not care: it did not matter since the future, fuelled by North Seal oil revenue, would be all about the hyper financialisation already underway in the US.

Yes, Britain and its inbattled labour government of 1979 was in the claws of the IMF and its neoliberal gurus.  Friedman and Hayek ruled OK.  In the US Ronald Reagan inaugurated his presidency by sacking the striking air-traffic controllers – the first of many, and a decision that may (or not) have haunted his ghost years later.  But who cared? Not Mrs T! The war against democratically elected local government started, armed with the new inquisition, the unaccountable “Audit Commission”, and the destruction of the fabric of local public services and unashamed “privatisation”…  Mrs T was, literally, on the war path, the class-war path.  Or indeeed pursuing a foreign war when things appeared not so rosy?  She ignored her friend Ronald’s offer of mediation, and went to war with Argentina!  Can one imagine a more absurd situation?  But it worked, for a short while. Forget the hundreds of casualties on both sides – worse would come in the Bliar’s years, evidently her spiritual son…

Enemies abound: the British working class, battered and humiliated but not forgetting, her personal foe, the emerging Union (“I want my money back!”), and of course the villains on her own side, intelligent people who dared see that disasters were looming.  So after riots, unprecedented and soaring levels of inequalities, the abject exit from the ERM, the loss of influence in Europe, and of course being overtaken on all fronts, bar speculation, by countries that did have a real industrial policy…  “they” finally kicked her out shouting and screaming.  She would not even spare her venom for her hapless successor, honest Mr Major…

But her legacy lives on.  Britain no longer exports anything much to the US, her influence in Europe is virtually nil, what remains of her car industry is in foreign hands, as far as India and China.  After many crises and collapses (1984, 1987, 1989, 2002 and finally the crash of 2008) the “financial sector” still holds on to its incredible privileges and unethical conduct… As for inequalities the country is now more divided than ever, North-South, the very rich and most of us, renewed assaults on public services, and, looming large, the exhaustion of the North-Sea bonanza and the dependence on foreign imports of gas and oil…  Indeed 11 years whose trail goes on forever…

The Shadowy Residents of One Hyde Park—And How the Super-Wealthy Are Hiding Their Money | Vanity Fair

The Shadowy Residents of One Hyde Park—And How the Super-Wealthy Are Hiding Their Money | Vanity Fair.

Here come the real masters of our world…

#fury: Contempt of Sanity and the Great British Justice System…

Victim of violence against women

In a sensitive article published in the Saturday Guardian (“Husbands and Hubris”, March 9, 2013) Margaret Cook, who, as Robin’s widow, knows a thing or two about ambitious politicians and the respect they hold their spouses in, points out that a good reason Ms Vicky Pryce may have accepted marital pressure to cheat the points system, may be simply to shield her children from another damaging row. We shall never know. The facts are, after all, ten years old.

In any European country – part from Britain, but is this Europe? – the couple would have been reprimanded, fined and possibly given a few weeks of community service. Here an intelligent and decent and much wronged woman, whose main offence was to behave like a very silly one, is being sent to jail. But here is the crunch: a ridiculous class-ridden out-of-touch pseudo judicial system, led by self-appointed unctuous goons, representing nothing other than their absurd propertied interests, in a country without written constitution, whose majority is currently crucified by an unelected coalition, sends villains who kill cyclists or pedestrians on the road, to jail – with bad luck – for a few months! The same kind of justice leaves child molesters – knights of the Empire!! – free to roam, strut their stuff for decades on national television… And of course there is worse. Margaret’s article reminded me of those war criminals walking our streets free… The ignoble Bliar – he who lied to the country and parliament, and deserves a fate that he will probability escape, but who knows? – parading his repulsive silhouette and masquerading as “envoy”! “Envoy” of what? A liar, hypocritical villain responsible for the martyr of thousands of young lives… Justice?

In the same week that saw Ms Pryce sentenced to six months in jail, after being branded in court , “a scheming and jealous female”, a report from the Centre for Social Justice denounced slave trafficking in the UK. Children and young women are brutalised, sacrificed to prostitution, forced labour and worse without the same judiciary raising an eyebrow. As for the politicians… All this happens in a country where a minority of fascistic, but yet influential, politicians – without any grasp of the modern world – barks for the UK to abandon the Convention on Human Rights…

Last week was also Women’s International Day. Evidently there is a long way to go, and not just in Africa…


Of four modern myths

“We are supported by the collective will of the world,” declared U.S. President George W. Bush as he launched the war against Afghanistan’s Taliban regime in October 2001. For many people, that collective will has a name: the “international community.” This feel-good phrase evokes a benevolent, omniscient entity that makes decisions and takes action for the benefit of all countries and peoples. (Foreign Policy Special Report)

US troops in Afghanistan Information manipulation, propaganda and the broadcasting of falsehoods are not new. The modern psyche, awash with consumer “dreams”, celebrity worship and, in the English speaking world, a curious mixture of self-deprecation and arrogance, seems now unable to discriminate, analyse, and form a real “opinion”. Others have acknowledged the “de-politisation” of the public sphere, exemplified by voters’ apathy, indifference and contempt for the political class and fragmentation into single interests politics, from climate change militancy to gay rights.

What may be a source of wonder for historians of the future is the emergence of relatively short-lived but apparently influential myths in our time – the first decades of the 21st century. Those myths are the products of media universally enslaved to the “owners”, meaning the various elites now ruling both the first – the “old” new world, to paraphrase Perry Anderson –  and the “second” world – to simplify, the growing powerhouses of Asia and South America, as well as an academic and political caste hell-bent in defending their privileges. Some are throwbacks from the pre-world wars world of bourgeois delusions (harking to a new “Belle Epoque”), some are central to the reigning neo-liberal ideology which translates as the “pensée unique” of the assets-owning classes and their henchmen. The 20th century, up to the 1979-1989 decade, had the “Soviet threat”, that fuelled anti-communist reaction, the industries of the Cold War, and the immense profits made out of plundering the resources of the then “third world”. It also saw money and weaponry flowing from the US and Europe to some the worse dictatorial régimes of modern history, from Chile’s Pinochet to Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, the Saudi empire, the Greek colonels and many others.

What of now? Well, I submit we have – to identify some of the most evident in the western press – “Al-Qaeda”, “9/11”, the “international community” and “there is no alternative”.

The myth of the “international community” is a good starting point. What is it? Who’s in it? How do we know? One can understand an international community of physicists, say, or of expert neurologists, or of science fiction writers. But “international community” on its own? What does it really mean? Yet “we” – whoever “we” are in it – have apparently justified, condoned,  called for, wanton destruction throughout the world, two wars against the impoverished people of Iraq, murderous bombings of Pakistan and Afghanistan, the destruction of Libya, mindless support to gangsters and neo-fascists in the former Yugoslavia and elsewhere – indeed the destruction of the country that had a historical role in the liberation of Europe from nazi tyranny, and countless armed interventions across the world, sometimes by proxy. An obvious statement is that no one is consulted on what the “international community” wishes! In 2003 millions of people demonstrated publicly in cities in the US and Europe against war in the Middle-East to no avail. Yet whatever the “international community” decides, or authorised its (well) armed proponents to enact, has consequences for all of us. Some of those consequences are predictable, and others “unintended”, from the casualties of the first Gulf war of 1991 to the spread of a militant, violent and distorted form of Islam, fuelled by Saudi money and the support of those exemplars of democracy such as Bahrain, the UAE and other Saudi’s sidekicks, through the ruins of western economies and the rise of private and unaccountable armies paid for by impoverished western taxpayers. Observations of those consequences does not appear to reach the consciousness of our “international community” or its media channels. Nothing has been learnt in Iraq – the continuing nightmare of violence and bigotry, the endless pursuit of wealth and power by an unaccountable class of despots – nothing in Egypt, and worst of all, nothing has been learnt from the quagmire of the Afghan wars. Nothing was learnt from the medieval treatment of “suspects” in Guantanamo Bay and dungeons in Afghanistan and elsewhere, which yielded not a shred of evidence on “terrorism” or any conspiracy against “freedom”. Yet the drama continues, today through an aberrant armed intervention from France in the Sahel, in support of a corrupt, hated and incompetent régime. The crisis in the Sahel is real of course, and as Kofi Annan has shown, a by-product of inept western policies, most recently towards Libya.

This takes us to the second “myth”: Al-Qaeda. The word was an invention of the US media, misreading, perhaps intentionally, a statement from Bill Clinton after attacks against US interests in Africa in 1998. The “Bin Laden’s network”, as it was then described, was chiefly motivated by the “occupation” of the Saudi empire by US forces during and after the first Gulf war in 1991: the same sentiment of religious outrage (the occupation by heathens of the holly land and sacred sites) would later provoke the outrage of 9/11, a purely US-Saudi event and development. This was therefore one of the unintended consequences of the folly of 1991. But of course the media frenzy would never stop from then on, and with the advent of Bush Jr and the “War on Terror” after 2001, Al-Qaeda was born, or reborn, as the “universal enemy”, justifying, first, indiscriminate bombing in Afghanistan – a country wholly unable to defend itself against technological warfare, and only related to Middle-East events through the flow of – yet again – Saudi money during the Soviet war, and soon exception laws in the name of “security”, and wholesale torture of suspects. After 9/11, the initial justification invented for the war against Iraq, was some mysterious involvement of the Iraqi state with “terrorists”, an implausible theory since the secular governments in the Middle-East were in fact at war with extreme Islamic agitators funded by the Saudis. Never mind the facts, the myth rolled on. Then we heard about “weapons of mass-destruction”, a fallacy soon proven to be utter bilge. Of course there was no shortage of falsehoods, blatant lies and posturing in the era of Bush and his acolyte Mr Bliar, supported by media empires soon to be proven highly unethical and flouting the law.

The tragedy of 9/11 was real enough, and was felt by all of us as an atrocious attack on the innocent. That sentiment was subsequently and shamelessly exploited. Few observers doubted the central motivation: outrage caused in Saudi Arabia by the continuing presence of US troops – including women – on Saudi soil. The actors of the drama were nearly all Saudis, living in Europe (chiefly Germany) and the US. The whole plan was a Saudi product, probably funded by Saudi benefactors of strong religious beliefs –  the same bankers of madrases all over Africa and the far East where militant Islam is taught relentlessly to this day. The episode had little if anything to do with Afghanistan, Iraq or any of the future targets of the “war on terror”. Yet the story of “international” terrorists was spun ad nauseam. It is, in a way, the other side of the “international community” coin. Black and white, a convenient “them” and “us”. The media ignored the role played by those countries (Saudi, Yemen, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and others, and the then dictatorships of Egypt and Tunisia) supported militarily by the US and Europe. The continuing fault line caused by the Israeli government policies towards its neighbours and the Palestinian people was equally glossed over. A decade later Iraq stands in ruins, the entire the war in Afghanistan is lingering through countless suffering for its people, more trouble brewing up in Pakistan, thousands of maimed ex-soldiers damaged physically and mentally for life, and of course the colossal costs of the intervention for western countries on the brink of bankruptcy… I hesitate to mention Bin Laden himself, but enough is to say that the man who was a mere agent for channelling Saudi money to the Afghan resistance to the Soviet armies, had probably very little to do with events in the US. Already a sick man at the end of the Russian withdrawal in 1989 – after, incidentally, a pointless 10-year murderous war – his appearance on obscure videos served mostly to fuel the neo-conservatives’s propaganda machine. He may or not have died earlier in the caverns of northern Afghanistan, or in his jail in Pakistan as claimed later by the US government. Does it matter? Not to the victims of the “war on terror”, that is certain.

What matters to “us” is that – it is claimed – there is “no real alternative” to the criminal austerity policies imposed on the hapless people of the western hemisphere by government solely committed to the privileged 1% of society that is benefiting from the collapse of the post-war status-quo. I am writing about the whole episode of the rebirth of hayekian reactionary policies since the late 70’s, through the many crises of the 90’s, and the socialisation of the financial “losses” since 2008. The Chinese media called the rescue of the bankrupt financial sector in the US “Socialism with US characteristics”. Indeed. The transfer of speculators and gangsters losses to the larger public has sunk the fragile fiscal equilibrium of those nations, already hit by rising inequalities of income and unemployment. For how long will European and American public opinions tolerate the war on the poor and unemployed conducted by the various administrations of those countries is hard to predict. Revolutions are also made of myths, and unintended consequences…