Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Charge of the Right Brigade:
Ukraine and the Dynamics of Capitalist Insurrection

A treatise on the upheaval in Ukraine, in eight takes.

The money shot:
As tensions rose on the streets of the Russian-speaking eastern portion of Ukraine, the response of the new government in the capital on Sunday was not to send troops, but to send rich people. 
The interim government, worried about Russian efforts to destabilize or seize regions in eastern Ukraine after effectively taking control of the Crimean peninsula in the south, is recruiting the country’s wealthy businessmen, known as the oligarchs, to serve as governors of the eastern provinces. 
The strategy, which Ukrainian news media are attributing to Yulia V. Tymoshenko, a former prime minister and party leader, is recognition that the oligarchs represent the country’s industrial and business elite, and exercise great influence over thousands of workers in the east, which is largely ethnically Russian.
The office of President Oleksandr V. Turchynov announced on Sunday the appointments of two billionaires — Sergei Taruta in Donetsk and Ihor Kolomoysky in Dnipropetrovsk — and more were reportedly under consideration for positions in the eastern regions….
The ultra-wealthy industrialists wield such power in Ukraine that they form what amounts to a shadow government, with empires of steel and coal, telecoms and media, and armies of workers. Persuading some to serve as governors in the east was a small victory for the new government in Kiev.1
Has there ever been a more pathetic postscript to a putative “revolution”? This act by Ukraine’s new-old rulers encapsulates everything that’s wrong with the phony “democracy promotion” advanced by American “regime changers,” everything that’s wrong with the recent history of the post-Soviet republics, and everything that was wrong with Soviet Stalinism.  It’s a sorry symptom of the sad state of politics and ideology in Ukraine, and in the whole wide neo-liberal world.  More on that later.

Let’s take a careful look at what has happened in Ukraine.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Monday, February 24, 2014

Partnership for Impoverishment

Pretty good online comic about "Free-Trade" and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Treaty.

"We don't want cheap goods per se, we want goods to be cheap relative to our incomes." That's what would actually make it possible to buy more things. Decades of stagnant incomes plus "free trade" agreements -- which are actually free-capital-from-regulations agreements that enable offshoring and union-busting -- do not add up to that.

Economix Comix

See the whole 27-page comic at Economix Comix: The Trans-Pacific Partnership and "Free Trade"

For more information, see: Public Citiaen: Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): Job Loss, Lower Wages and Higher Drug PricesExpose the TPPThe Nation: NAFTA on Steroids, and my discussion of the TPP in Politics Upside-Down: Fictional Campaigns, Invisible Issues, and Disappearing Jobs.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Eye of the Beholder

Wherein lies the beauty?


"I decline to discuss, under compulsion, where I have sung, and who has sung my songs, and who else has sung with me, and the people I have known. I love my country very dearly, and I greatly resent this implication that some of the places that I have sung and some of the people that I have known, and some of my opinions, whether they are religious or philosophical . . . make me any less of an American."
-- Pete Seeger to House Committee on Un-American Activities, August 1955

"Now that I know more, I support the BDS movement as much as I can.”
 -- Pete Seeger,January 2014  (Mondoweiss)
"SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights. That is what is happening in their Ma'ale Adumim factory every working day...I believe in conscious consumerism and transparency and I trust that the consumer will make their own educated choice that is right for them. I stand behind the SodaStream product...."
 --Scarlett Johansson, January 23, 2014

Wide Asleep in America: Scarlett's Letter: SodaStream's Global Apartheid Ambassador & the Enduring Effervescence of Ethnic Cleansing

Deconstructing Scarlett Johansson’s statement on SodaStream | Mondoweiss

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation : US Groups Respond to Scarlett Johansson's Defense of Israeli Occupation