“… de schijnbaar objectieve wereld van de universitaire rankings. Steevast staan de Britten en de Amerikanen erin op kop. … Vreemd, want mochten de Amerikanen superieur intelligent zijn, dan hadden ze Donald Trump niet tot president verkozen.”

aus: Rik Torfs: Waarom ik een lokale tripel niet zou willen missen. Knack, 29.11.17


26/02/2021 (16:36) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::

Revolution 4

“‘I always wanted successes in the near term, and with experience I’ve come to the conclusion that real successes need 25 years,’ he says. ‘Take a country like Ukraine: it had a number of revolutions, and they each failed, and now you had a free and fair election,’ he says …

In the 2004 Ukrainian election, exit polls conducted by a Soros foundation showed a very different result to the official count, and Viktor Yanukovych, who had ‘won’ the first vote, was forced to concede. He came back to power in 2010, before being toppled amid violent clashes in 2014.

These revolutions, Soros says, were inevitable but not sufficient. ‘Dictators, if they are successful, always go too far, because there are no checks and balances to stop them… The point comes where people who have been cowed into obedience rebel, and there’s a revolution. Revolutions generally don’t succeed. You need to develop institutions, which is what open societies are all about.’ In the past, Putin has blamed Soros for sparking unrest – something he denies, but in a qualified manner that would hardly reassure the Russian president. ‘It was the people of the country who rebelled,’ he says. ‘And I enabled them to do it by various steps that the foundations took, like reliable exit polls.’ It is this approach that has so exercised his critics: few authoritarians would feel threatened by the distribution of mosquito nets or emergency food supplies; but the funding of critical media, legal aid NGOs and minority rights advocacy groups is a different matter.”

aus: George Soros: ‘Brexit hurts both sides – my money was used to educate the British public’ Interviewed durch Shaun Walker, The Guardian online, 2.11.19, im Internet


07/12/2020 (0:03) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::

Normal 2

Boring, reassuring, normal – these are Biden’s great strengths. But he needs to be careful. They could also be his great weaknesses.

That’s because any return to ‘normal’ would be disastrous for America.

Normal led to Trump. Normal led to the coronavirus.

Normal is four decades of stagnant wages and widening inequality when almost all economic gains went to the top. Normal is 40 years of shredded safety nets, and the most expensive but least adequate healthcare system in the modern world.

Normal is also growing corruption of politics by big money – an economic system rigged by and for the wealthy.

Normal is worsening police brutality.

Normal is climate change now verging on catastrophe.

Normal is a GOP that for years has been actively suppressing minority votes and embracing white supremacists. Normal is a Democratic party that for years has been abandoning the working class.”

aus: Robert B Reich: Beware going ‘back to normal’ thoughts – normal gave us Trump. Guardian online, 29.11.20, im Internet.


29/11/2020 (12:39) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::

Brexit 2

Brexit is the outcome of a civil war within capitalism. …

There are two dominant forms of capitalist enterprise. … Housetrained capitalism … benefits from stability, predictability and the regulations that exclude dirtier and rougher competitors. It can coexist with a tame and feeble form of democracy. …

Warlord capitalism. … They fetishise something they call ‘liberty‘, which turns out to mean total freedom for plutocrats, at society’s expense.

In unguarded moments, the warlords and their supporters go all the way. Hayek, for example, on a visit to Pinochet’s Chile, said he preferred a ‘liberal dictatorship’ to ‘a democratic government devoid of liberalism‘. Peter Thiel, the cofounder of PayPal and Palantir, confessed: ‘I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.’ …

Brexit … threatens to destroy the market advantage for businesses that play by the rules. … The Confederation of British Industry warned that leaving Europe would cause a major economic shock. In response to these concerns, Johnson … made a remark that might previously have seemed unthinkable, coming from the mouth of a senior Conservative, ‘fuck business’. …

Understood in this light, Brexit is scarcely about the UK at all. … By far the biggest individual donors to the Brexit party are Christopher Harborne, who is based in Thailand, and Jeremy Hosking, who has businesses listed in Dublin and Delaware. The newspaper owners who went to such lengths to make Brexit happen are domiciled offshore. For people like Rupert Murdoch, … turning Chile or Indonesia into a giant free port is one thing. The UK is a much bigger prize.

None of this is what we were told we were voting for. I see Nigel Farage and similar blowhards as little more than smoke bombs, creating a camouflaging cloud of xenophobia and culture wars. The persistent trick of modern politics – that appears to fool us repeatedly – is to disguise economic and political interests as cultural movements. Throughout this saga, the media has reported the smokescreen, not the manoeuvres. …

Brexit … is likely to harm the lives and freedoms of millions of people in the UK. But it’s not about us. We are just caught in the crossfire of capitalism’s civil war.”

aus: George Monbiot: Brexit stems from a civil war in capitalism – we are all just collateral damage. The Guardian online, 24.11.20, im Internet


25/11/2020 (9:58) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::


“Competition, however, though an excellent thing, is always for others. Arrangements between companies which restrict competition are hailed by their authors as triumphs of enterprise. Practices which foster consumer loyalty at the expense of competition are defended by their beneficiaries in the name of liberty. And foreign competition is always unfair competition, particularly when it happens to succeed.”

aus: A.R.Bridbur: Historians and the open society.  London/Boston: Routledge 1972, S.144.


04/11/2020 (10:51) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::

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 ::
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