The fake & the actual choice Europeans face – by Slavoj Žižek

The fake choice is between :(1) a globalised, financialised version of capitalism that is run by a transnational technocracy, tolerates minorities and turns parliamentary democracy into an empty shell, and (2) a xenophobic, socially conservative, passionate nativism that invokes national democratic sovereignty only to forsake it soon after. The real, actual choice is between (A) a vicious cycle between (1) & (2) above and (B) a pan-European democratic project addressing the actual challenges humanity faces (e.g. the deflationary moment in our history, the inexorable devaluation of human labour, TTIP like attacks on sovereignty, climate change etc.).

Yanis Varoufakis

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 09.44.23.pngSlavoj Žižek, philosopher, friend and DiEM25 early signatory, writes on the DiEM25 site that Europeans face one fake and one actual choice. The fake choice is between :(1) a globalised, financialised version of capitalism that is run by a transnational technocracy, tolerates minorities and turns parliamentary democracy into an empty shell, and (2) a xenophobic, socially conservative, passionate nativism that invokes national democratic sovereignty only to forsake it soon after. The real, actual choice is between (A) a vicious cycle between (1) & (2) above and (B) a pan-European democratic project addressing the actual challenges humanity faces (e.g. the deflationary moment in our history, the inexorable devaluation of human labour, TTIP like attacks on sovereignty, climate change etc.). Click here for the full article.

View original post

On confronting the Ku Klux Klan

Do the right thing even when no one is looking. It is called integrity.

For many years the Ku Klux Klan and it’s many associated hate groups literally got away with murder. These hate groups were and still are instruments of fear and their targeted populations knew that this use of fear was intended to control them.

2A96DB9C00000578-3164954-Members_of_the_National_Socialist_Movement_and_the_Adirondack_Fr-a-67_1437122736546

Notice the burning swastika along side the burning cross.

It is dangerous to confront evil, but without proper treatment a wound only tends to fester and perhaps become gangrene.

I do not feel badly toward those who justifiably fear for their personal safety and/or the safety of their loved ones. It is those who foster and promote fear in the larger community as if to protect them from danger preventing any effective action being taken to display public and communal rejection of the Klan’s tactics of hate and fear that I disdain. I disdain them for it is them who should be at the head of efforts to expose the Klan and associated hate groups for what they are, i.e., purveyors of hate who thrive on producing fear in those that are otherwise unprotected by the “larger society.”

Birth-of-a-nation-klan-and-black-man

A scene from the 1915 movie, The Birth of a Nation, showing African-American character, Gus (played by white actor, Walter Long, in blackface) about to be killed by the Ku Klux Klan

In my studies of the history of the KKK there has been two ways they have faded into the shadows. Yes, faded into the shadows for those that truly hate never completely disappear they are simply kept in check by being exposed for what they are, “HATERS: nothing but haters.”

The methods of their diminution are as follows:

New Jim Crow

1. they succeeded in intimidating their target communities enough for the general population of scared whites to no longer feel the need to tolerate the open and public ugliness of the Klan.

2. the targeted community and their allies confront them until their evil ways are exposed to the general population such that the general population feels enough shame so they cease supporting the Klan.

Some seem to suggest that the Klan should be ignored thus by denying them publicity in hopes they will go away. But history doesn’t seem to confirm this idea. That is to say, “Those who would use violence to deny others their rights cannot [afford to] be ignored.” That the law must be exercised if it is to have a truly strong effect is a truism, but it does hold a great truth within for even racists must learn they are required to respect the law.

I grow weary of Christians who…

The rapid rise of the KKK in Oregon in the early 1920s offers an illustration of what can occur in a community where the citizens allowed themselves to be silenced in the face of the hatred they saw and heard around them. While the silence of the members of the “larger” community emboldened the organizers of the Oregon Klan in the 1920s it was not until the “greater” community began to display sufficient courage to publicly speak out against the Klan that they were exposed for the simple opportunists and hate mongers that they are. Opportunists who often sought political power and financial rewards for playing on the fears and hatreds of the common and usually the undereducated in a community.

 

According to Morris Dees, co-founder of The Southern Poverty Law Center, most of the rank and file members of the KKK he met while taking depositions and in personal interviews were “basically good people,” that they were “little different” from his rural neighbors and many of his relatives. However, there was one exception to this assessment; most of them were “life’s losers.” Within Klan organizations and similar hate groups those “losers” find opportunities for social interaction they often miss in the larger community, that they are often presented the chance to become “leaders” of a sort that they may never otherwise have a chance to become and that they are presented a forum to vent their gripes among others who are either as ignorant as themselves or are happy to exploit the ignorance of this uninformed populace.

Ku Klux Klan Propaganda
Engraving of white man holding american flag and sword standing on body of black slave in manacles with caption ‘Ku Klux Klan’ circa 1920. (Photo by Fotosearch/Getty Images).

All this said hate groups are dangerous and they are unpredictable in how they will act out their brands of hate, but one thing that has ever remained true, that is, not to stand face-to-face with such groups is to secure the support of those marginalized individuals and groups they rely on for their sustenance and growth.

For further reading see:
Southern Poverty Law Center Publication––Ku Klux Klan: A History of Racism and Violence, https://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/Ku-Klux-Klan-A-History-of-Racism.pdf

http://www.history.com/topics/ku-klux-klan

Roger W Mills II

Financialisation, politics & the future of socialism: A conversation in Seattle with Casey Jaywork

Imagine a society where the only way you can have shares in a company is if you work in it. Imagine we had a rule everywhere that you can work in that company and have shares in it, but if you work in that one then you can’t have shares in the other. You can lend money to the other, you can lend some of your capital, but you cannot have equity. Because equity gives you a claim to the profits that the people who are working in the other company are making. And then you get the capitalist dynamic, which leads to inefficiency and crisis. So in the end you end up with cooperatives, but you can have now smart stock exchanges where people can, as they move jobs, carry their capital with them. That creates mobility and different forms of corporate organization where the people who work are the shareholders of the company, and when they move they take their capital with them. [excerpt]

Yanis Varoufakis

In April 2016, in the context of a talk I gave in Seattle’s City Hall, Casey Jaywork (of the  Seattle Weekly) and I had this conversation. For Casey’s site click here. Or…

View original post 3,568 more words

On the human penchant for art & science: Brian Eno & Yanis Varoufakis in conversation

This conversation, moderated by David McWilliams, took place on 17th May 2016, at the Dalkey Book Festival. Its theme? Why humans have a need for art and what is the difference/similarity between art and science. Plus a little politics thrown in for good measure.

Yanis Varoufakis

This conversation, moderated by David McWilliams, took place on 17th May 2016, at the Dalkey Book Festival. Its theme? Why humans have a need for art and what is the difference/similarity between art and science. Plus a little politics thrown in for good measure.

View original post

The Right Left for Europe: In response to leftwing Brexiters, Grexiters etc. – Project Syndicate Op-Ed

Last year, when Greece’s official creditors threatened us with ejection from the eurozone, even from the EU, I was undaunted. DiEM25 is imbued with this spirit of defiance: we will not be forced by the prospect of the EU’s disintegration to acquiesce to an EU of the establishment’s choosing. In fact, we believe it is important to prepare for the collapse of EU under the weight of its leaders’ hubris. But that is not the same as making the EU’s disintegration our objective and inviting European progressives to join neo-fascists in campaigning for it.
The philosopher Slavoj Žižek, a DiEM25 signatory, recently quipped that socialist nationalism is not a good defense against the postmodern national socialism that the EU’s disintegration would bring. He’s right. Now more than ever, a pan-European humanist movement to democratize the EU is the left’s best bet. [excerpts]

Yanis Varoufakis

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 16.54.28

ATHENS – The United Kingdom’s referendum on whether to leave the European Union created odd bedfellows – and some odder adversaries. As Tory turned mercilessly against Tory, the schism in the Conservative establishment received much attention. But a parallel (thankfully more civilized) split afflicted my side: the left.

Having campaigned against “Leave” for several months in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland, it was inevitable that I faced criticism from left-wing supporters of “Brexit,” or “Lexit” as it came to be known. [For the rest of the article click here]

View original post