Pre-amble: I started writing this before events in Libya escalated, but it illustrates why it is imperative that we understand what exactly is going on in the Middle East and North Africa, especially when it comes to distinguishing between our wishes and reality. This is especially true of what is happening in Libya, where fact and invention (as well as wishful thinking) have become blurred in the press coverage. Continue reading →
Michael Lind writes a top-9 list of “most annoying sky-is-falling clichés in American foreign policy” under the headline “So Long, Chicken Little” in the March/April issue of Foreign Policy, with his second pick being, “The world must adapt quickly to the end of fossil fuels”, including the advent of Peak Oil. He characterizes Peak Oil as being “the point at which more than half the world’s petroleum supplies will have been exhausted and begin a long decline”. But, he says, the “menacing date” at which Peak Oil will be upon us has “repeatedly been pushed forward into the future by the advent of new technologies. For instance, thanks to innovative ways to tap into previously inaccessible or prohibitively expensive sources, natural gas will soon be available in much larger amounts than anyone imagined only a few years ago.” Lind’s bottom line is that it’s fearmongering to say that “we’re about to run out of the stuff.”
In Aristophanes play Plutus, the god of wealth Plutus declares to Poverty and Destitution that they are like two sisters. Right away Poverty makes it crystal clear that they are not the same. Poverty states that Destitution has nothing of its own “nor even a penny to posses”. Poverty goes on to state that at least the poor man works and that there is some manner of dignity, whereas Destitution has no dignity whatsoever. This mentality was very prevelant in the Maria Nostra culture of its time, and shows up time and time again all over in Ancient literature and history. Continue reading →
‘You poisoned my sweet waters, you tore down my green trees; the food you gave my children is the cause of their disease. My world is slowly coming down and the air’s not fit to breathe, and those of us who care enough we have to do something! ’
Interesting how that song lyric was written over forty years ago by a rock group called Quicksilver Messenger Service. History does have this strange way of repeating itself, now doesn’t it?
Franklin Lamb, the guest at the Radio 786 Gala dinner scheduled for tomorrow has been detained in Lebanon. Lamb was arrested earlier this evening by General Security in Lebanon where he was supposed to board a flight for his trip to South Africa.
Some years ago in New England, a group of environmentalists asked a corporate executive how his company (a paper mill) could justify dumping its raw industrial effluent into a nearby river. The river—which had taken Mother Nature centuries to create–was used for drinking water, fishing, boating, and swimming. In just a few years, the paper mill had turned it into a highly toxic open sewer.
The executive shrugged and said that river dumping was the most cost-effective way of removing the mill’s wastes. If the company had to absorb the additional expense of having to clean up after itself, it might not be able to maintain its competitive edge and would then have to go out of business or move to a cheaper labor market, resulting in a loss of jobs for the local economy.
Of all the uprisings in the Maghreb, the case of Libya is perhaps the most opaque. Is the country a locus of true spontaneous insurrection or simply the target of an opportunistic maneuver by the West?
(Rome) Does colonialism pay off for anyone? In the long run, definitely not. There is always a payback. The events today in the North Africa reflect this story. The situation today is the living and the dying proof of the payback. An atrocious, insufferable payback. The English in Egypt, the French in Algeria, the Italians in Libya. But especially the occupied Arab peoples of Egypt, Algeria and Libya, have all paid and continue to pay the price of colonialism.
The popular uprisings across the Middle East are sparking similar unrest in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with youth groups and workers in that country now calling for a “day of rage” demonstration in the capital, Riyadh, on March 11th.
Already there have been protests in the city of Qatif and other towns in the country’s oil-rich Eastern Province demanding, among other things, the release of political prisoners and a raft of social reforms. There are also reports of prominent Shia clerics being detained by the Saudi Sunni authorities, and security forces mobilising in anticipation of further protests.
Soylent Green is a 1973 American science fiction film directed by Richard Fleischer. Starring Charlton Heston, the film overlays the police procedural and science fiction genres as it depicts the investigation into the brutal murder of a wealthy businessman in a dystopian future suffering from pollution, overpopulation, depleted resources, poverty, dying oceans and a hot climate due to the greenhouse effect. Much of the population survives on processed food rations, including “soylent green”.
The film, which is loosely based upon the 1966 science fiction novel Make Room! Make Room!, by Harry Harrison, won the Nebula Award for Best Dramatic Presentation and the Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film in 1973.
Marx looked to Hegel’s original method for thinking about society’s problems.
“IF THERE should ever be time for such a work again,” said Marx to Engels amid a flurry of letters in January of 1858, “I should greatly like to make accessible to the ordinary human intelligence, in two or three printer’s sheets, what is rational in the method which Hegel discovered but at the same time enveloped in mysticism.” (From The Selected Correspondence of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels: 1846-1895, New York: International Publishers, 1942, p. 102.)