Cruise Ships

“If Donald Trump could build a city from scratch, it would have a casino and a golf course and all the cheeseburgers you could eat. The city’s residents would be old, with money to spend and nothing but free time. The workers would be poor, foreign, and always on the clock. They would literally live beneath you. There would be doctors, but not very many, and there would be cops, sort of, but who exactly they were there to protect and serve would remain ambiguous. There would be no proper government to speak of. The city and its services would be run by a corporation, and you would sign away your rights to a billionaire in his 70s with a tan and bad hair, in exchange for a promise of a good time—art auctions, live music, waterfalls of champagne. The city would pay no taxes but avail itself of the services funded by those who do.

It would look, in other words, a lot like the Carnival Corporation’s 18-story, 952-foot-long Diamond Princess as it entered Yokohama Bay in early February after a voyage through Southeast Asia for the Chinese New Year. …

The cruise ship outbreak was the American pandemic in miniature; the virus fed off the inequities and deficiencies of health, labor, and housing systems. Cruise ships … are like … what a society looks like when its leaders cut the ‘social’ out of the social contract.”

aus: Tim Murphy: The Cruise Industry Is Donald Trump Personified – Decadent, exploitative, and totally full of shit. Mother Jones, 17.6.20, im Internet.


19/06/2020 (10:27) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::

China 2

“Before … Jiang Zemin made an official visit to Egypt in the late 1990s, the Beijing authorities tended to talk of three or four thousand years of Chinese history. It appears that in Egypt someone brought to Jiang’s attention that there, on the Nile Delta, was a civilization that could claim even more venerable origins than the Middle Kingdom. So Chinese leaders unilaterally awarded the country an extra thousand years of history

Not that those lesser claims were any sturdier. … The earliest written records date from … 1600 BC … [and only] 221 BC saw the Qin unification of the warring fiefdoms and principalities that comprised a significant area stretching from modern-day inner Mongolia to Hunan province in the south. Qin Shi Huangdi, the man who accomplished this feat, styled himself the ‘first emperor’, and his surname became the root of the European name ‘China‘. … The Qin dynasty … lasted fourteen years …”

aus: Ben Chu: Chinese Whispers. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson 2013, S.25/26, zitiert für den ersten Absatz Kerry Brown: Struggling Giant, London: Anthem 2007, S.13, seinerseits eine anonyme britische Quelle zitierend (siehe hier im Internet).


28/05/2020 (23:24) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::


Development is about people: either poor people have ways to become richer where they are now, or they can become rich by moving somewhere else. Looked from above, there is no real difference between the two options. From the point of view of real politics, there is a whole world of difference though.”

aus: Branko Milanovic: Global Income Inequality by the numbers: In history and now – an overview. (ca. 2013?), im Internet.



20/12/2019 (12:38) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::


Historically, are the winners usually aware of their privilege sitting at the top of the pyramid, or is myopia common?

I think that myopia is very common, especially when you believe that what you have is fully deserved and that you are not only richer but morally superior. It was Hayek of all people who many years ago noticed that one of possibly fatal weaknesses of capitalism as actually practiced is that it tends to ascribe moral virtue to economic success. Let me quote him: ‘it bodes ill for the future of the market order that [identifying success with virtue] seems to have become the only defense of it which is understood by the general public.’ If you believe this then you cannot understand anyone who questions the existing order; he must appear to you either as a brute or a villain.”

aus: To Understand 2016’s Politics, Look at the Winners and Losers of Globalization. An interview with economist Branko Milanovic. By Vincent Bevins, The New Republic 20.12.2016, auf der Webseite der Zeitschrift, Langfassung auf dem Blog des Interviewten.


20/12/2019 (11:17) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::

Identity politics

“In 1977, the term identity politics in its contemporary form was introduced into political discourse by the Comahee River Collective (CBC), a group of black lesbian militants that had formed in Boston … Black women, whose specific social position had been neglected by both the black liberation movement and the women’s liberation movement, could challenge … empty class reductionism simply by asserting their own autonomous politics. …

‘[But] we [The CBC] were not saying  that we didn’t care about anybody who wasn’t exactly like us … We understood that coalition building was crucial to our own survival.’ …

The history that followed seemed to turn the whole thing upside down. … The internal paradox of … foundationalism is that it presumes, fixes, and constraints the very ‘subjects’ that it hopes to represent and liberate. … I define identity politics as the neutralization of movements against racial oppression. …

Black nationalism … meant … black activists organizing themselves rather than following the lead of white organizations, building new institutions instead of seeking entry into white society. … [But this way black] elites were able to use racial solidarity as a means of covering up their class positions. … A situation in wich the white cop would be replaced by a black cop … was not liberation. …

Intellectuals and activists allowed politics to be reduced to the policing of our language, to the questionable satisfaction of provoking white guilt, while the institutional structures of racial and economic oppression persisted. …

The existence of this problem is widely recognized, but discussing it constructively has turned out to be quite difficult. Criticisms of identity politics are often voiced by white men who remain blissfully ignorant or apathetic about the experiences of others …  by coding demands that come from marginal or subordinate groups as identity politics, the white male identity is enshrined with the status of the neutral, general, and universal. …

In its contemporary ideological form … identity politics is an individualist method. It is based on the individual’s demand for recognition,and it takes that individual’s identity as starting point. It takes this identity for granted and suppresses the fact that all identities are socially constructed. And because all of us necessarily have an identity that is different from everyone else’s, it undermines the possibility of collective self-organization. …

Action against racial hierarchies can proceed more effectively when it has been purged of any lingering respect for the idea of ‘race’. … Single-issue political frameworks … end up centering the most priviledged members of a group, marginalizing those whose identities exposed them to other forms of subordination. …

[We see a generalization of] the condition of the plaintiff: equating political practice with the demand of restitution for an injury, inviting the construction of baroque and unnavigable intersections consisting of the litany of different identities to which a given person might belong. Those whose identity is inscribed with the most intersecting lines can claim the status of most injured, and are therefore awarded, in the juridical framework to which politics is now reduced. … [In  sum, where rights are demandes by a particular identity group … its members end up fixed as victims. … The possibility of self-directed mass action, ends up neutralized by a legal discourse] …

[Organizers of the Black Lives Matter movement] said that only black people should take the mic; that only black people should take leadership roles, that black people should be at the front of the march, with white ‘allies’ last and ‘brown’ people allowed in the middle. ‘Brown’ … refers to … the majority of our immigrant population … it is hard not to react with some confusion to the suggestion that they can only play a literally secondary role in movements that target the criminal justice system. …

[At the same time] the ‘representatives’ of the Black Lives Matter movement who got the most media play included the executive director of Saint Louis Teach for America, an organization that has played a driving role in the privatization of education and the assault on teachers’ unions. …

Identity politics … makes opposition impossible. …

[But where does it come from?] …

In the absence of mass organizing, racial ideology rushes to … fill the vacuum. … Oppressed groups have built complex traditions of politics, ethics, identity, and culture … Claiming and defending these traditions reinforces racial ideology but also provides a form of defense and protection. … When ideas of racial particularity are inverted in the defensive manner so that they provide sources of pride rather than shame and humiliation, they become difficult to relinquish. …

With the possibility of integrating social equality into American culture destroyed by both political repression and industrial decline, politics is reduced to the anxious performance of authenticity. …

The utter force of crisis and restructuring and the drastic rightward shift of American politics overwhelmed the fragmented left completely. … It is in fact in the decomposition and disorganization of the working class that we must seek an explanation for the rise of the right – not in consciousness, false or otherwise. …

To confront the white identity politics that make up the right-wing populism currenty occupying the White House, we need to provide alternative visions, languages, and practice – and responding with a contrary, pluralist identity politics has not been successful. …

What we lack is program, strategy, and tactics. If we set the consolidation of identity aside, that discussion can begin.”

aus: Asad Haider: Mistaken Identity. Race and Class in the Age of Trump. Brroklyn, NY: Verso 2018


22/10/2019 (11:06) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::


“‘The problem with politicians and political activists is that they are trapped in their own little bubbles.’ If there’s one complaint that defines our age, it’s the accusation that those involved in politics are too removed from ‘real’ people. The trouble is, when political activists show that they have the same concerns as everybody else, the complaint gets turned on its head. ‘But that’s not a real person, that’s a political activist.’

So it was with the confrontation last week between Boris Johnson and Omar Salem, the father of a sick child at Whipps Cross university hospital in London. Much of the debate about the confrontation has been less about Johnson or the state of the NHS than about Salem being a Labour party activist.

What if he is? Isn’t that a good thing? An expression of an activist facing the same problems as experienced by ‘ordinary’ people? Of an ‘ordinary’ person whose experiences are part of the reason he is an activist? Salem’s experiences are no less real, his anger is no less valid, because he is an activist. To insist that ‘ordinary’ people cannot be activists is to insist that people’s experiences and anger only matter when they suffer, but not when they challenge the problems they face or organise against them. …”

aus: Kenan Malik: Boris Johnson’s confrontation: don’t lose sight of the real story, The Guardian, 22.9.19, im Internet


23/09/2019 (8:31) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::



“Many Asian intellectuals became some of the most eloquent – and earliest – critics of modernity. … With their anti-modern sensibility … they anticipated Europe‘s own thinkers, who were forced to re-examine their nineteenth-century belief in a progressively rational world by the slaughter of the First World War. … In fact, it was European principles of nationalism and civic patriotism that almost all native elites embraced in order to beat (or at least draw level with) the West in what seemed a Darwinian struggle for the future. …

Resistance to the West required [well] urgent adaptation to Western ideas of organizing state and society. … there was one Western idea in particular that proved irresitible to Muslim as well as Communist anti-imperialists …: the institutions and practices of the nation-state: clear boundaries, orderly government, a loyal bureaucracy, a code of rights to protect citizens, rapid economic growth through industrial capitalism or socialism, mass literacy programmes, technical knowledge and the development of a sense of common origins within a national community. … More than fifty new nation  with new names, borders and currencies appeared in just two decades after 1945. …

But the transition from criticizing foreign rule and instigating mass-movements to establishing a stable basis for self-determination proved to be very difficult. … The imported ideological passions of the Cold War aggravated political tensions in many countries, such as Pakistan and Indonesia. Separatist movements broke out in Kashmir, Aceh, East-Pakistan, Tibet and Sri Lanka. …

We can see that the seemingly wholesale adoption of Western ideologies (Chinese communism, Japanese imperialism) did not work. Attemps at syntheses (India’s parliamentary democracy, Muslim Turkey’s secular state, China’s state capitalism) were more successful, and violent rejections of the West in the form of Iran’s islamic Revolution and Islamist movements continue to have an afterlife.

Many new nations, such as Pakistan, never recovered from birthing traumas. … A year after the Arab Spring and the collapse of several pro-Western dictatorships, chaos and uncertainty may loom over a wide swathe of the Arab world for some years. But the spell of Western power has finally been broken. … The sense of humiliation that burdened several generations of Asians has greatly diminished. …

Yet this succes conceals with an immense intellectual failure, one that has profound ramifications for the world today and the near future. It is simply this: no convincingly universalist response exists today to Western ideas of politics and economy … Gandhi, their most rigourous critic, is a forgotten figure within India today. Marxism-Leninism lies discredited and … China‘s own legacy of ethical politics and socio-economic theory remains largely unexplored. …

The ‘Bejing Consensus’ has even less universal application than its Washington counterpart; it sounds suspiciously like merely a cynical economic argument for the lack of political freedom. …

The earliest Asian modern intellectuals were beholders to European ideas. … Europe itself took hundreds of years to develop and implement the concept of a sovereign nation-state, only to then plunge into two world wars that exacted a terrible toll from ethnic and religious minorities. …

Much of the ’emerging’ world now stands to repeat, on an ominously larger scale, the West’s own tortured and often tragic experience of modern ‘development‘. In India and China, the pursuit of economic growth a all costs has created a gaudy elite, but has also widened already alarming social and economic disparities … The privileged Chinese minority aspires to nothing higher than the conveniences and gadgets of their Western consumer counterparts … a third of Indians live in conditions of extreme poverty and deprivation. More than half of the children under the age of five in India are malnourished. …

The disasters … can no longer be explained away with reference to the logic of development as manifested in Europe’s history. … The hope, that fuels the pursuit of endless economic growth – that billions of consumers in India and China will one day enjoy the lifestile of Europeans and Americans – is as absurd and dangerous a fantasy as anything dreamt up by al-Quaeda. … It condems the global environment to early destruction, and looks set to create reservoirs of nihilistic rage and disappointment among hundreds of millions of have-nots – the bitter outcome of the universal triumph of Western modernity, which turns the revenge of the East into something darkly ambigous, and all its victories truly Pyrric.”

aus:Pankaj Mishra: From the ruins of Empire. London: Penguimn 2013 (Orig.-Ausg. 2012), S.302-310


25/09/2018 (22:44) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::


“The rejection of the Chequers plan at Salzburg was no surprise .. The EU … knows it holds all the cards and recognises the danger of giving ground. Its priority is to accommodate Dublin, not London. It also concludes that a government so determined to leave must believe it can look after itself. Brussels has no reason or incentive to make any better offer.

The government has never understood the Brexit process and therefore has always botched it. It expects the EU to treat the UK both as an equally powerful third country, and as a member state still deserving the EU’s protection. It is neither.”

aus: Jonathan Lis: Don’t buy the Brexit hype: it’s a border in the Irish Sea or the customs union. The Guardian Online, 21.Sep.2018, im Internet


21/09/2018 (21:38) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::


“Rousseau founded the main political and cultural movements of the modern world. Many ‘isms’ of the right and the leftRomanticism, socialism, authoritarianism, nationalism, anarchism – can be traced to Rousseau’s writings. Whether in his denunciation of moral corruption, his claim that the metropolis was a den of vice and that virtue resided in ordinary people (whom the elites routinely conspired against and deceived), his praise of militant patriotism, his distrust of intellectual technocracy, his advocacy of a return to the collective, the ‘people’, or his concern for the ‘stranger’, Rousseau anticipated the modern underdog wth his aggravated sense of victimhood and demand for redemption. …

Rousseau was … the prototype of the man who feels himself, despite his obvius success, to be at the bottom of the social pyramid. … He was convinced, like many converts to ideological causes and religious beliefs, that he was immune to corruption. A conviction of his incorruptibility was what gave his liberation from social pieties a heroic aura … In the movement from victimhood to moral supremacy, Rousseau enacted … [what] has become commonplace in our time. …

Rousseau’s first great disciple, Robespierre, seems to have grasped, and embodied, better than anyone the incendiary appeal of victimhood in societies built around the pursuit of wealth and power. …

The Jacobins and the German Romantics may have been Rousseau’s most famous disciples, determined to create through retributive terror or economic and cultural nationalism the moral community neglected by Enlightment philosophes. …: Herder inaugurated the nativist quest – hectically pursued by almost every nation since – for whatever could be identified as embodying an authentic national spirit: literary forms, cuisine and architecture as much as language. … Fichte came to think that Germans were simply superior to everyone else … [and he] gave nationalism its caracteristic secular feature: the transposition of religious into national loyalties. … Körner, [then, called the wars against Napoleon] ‘a crusade … a holy war’. This [was the first] ‘holy war’ in post-Christian Europe. …”

aus: Pankaj Mishra: Age of Anger, a History of the Present. o.O.: Allen Lane (Penguin Random House) 2017, S. 110-113, 174, 175, 191, 193.


29/05/2018 (12:12) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::

Development 2

“As Engels asserted … ‘Just as Darwin discovered the laws of development of organic nature, so Marx discovered the law of development of human history.’ Thus, development came to be infused wth fresh earnestness and world-historical urgency, and then exalted with the prestige of science. Mere being came to be degraded, thanks to Germany’s special experience, by becoming. As Nietzsche wrote caustically, ‘The German himself is not, he is becoming, he is developing. Development is thus the truly German discovery.’ … All the hopes, transmitted from Marxists to modernization theorists and free-marketeers, of ‘development emerge from nineteenth-century German thinkers: the first people to give a deep meaning and value to a process defined by continuous movement wth a fixed direction and no terminus. All our simple dualisms – progressive and reactionary, modern and anti-modern, rational and irrational – derive from the deeply internalized urge to move to the next stage of ‘development’, however nebulously defined.”

aus: Pankaj Mishra: Age of Anger, a History of the Present. O.O.: Allen Lane (Penguin Random House) 2017, S. 204-205.


29/05/2018 (11:36) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::
Next Page »