Friday 21st of September 2018

reminiscent of 1968...

police

Workers must stand with fellow workers and unionists and not acquiesce to police demands to break up democratic protests, writes human rights activist, Gaye Demanuele.

IT HAS BEEN a busy few weeks for people willing and able to take the fight to the streets in Narrm (Melbourne) for human rights and environmental defence.

The Australian Government brought a humanitarian crisis to a new peak in its cruel treatment of refugees and asylum seekers held as political prisoners on Manus Island.

Immigration and Border Protection Minister Dutton’s starvation and dehydration tactics, with denial of medical aid, did not alter the courageous resistance stance of the prisoners who refused to be moved to another prison camp on Manus Island.

Under Australian Border Force and Australian Federal Police watch, they were beaten by the notorious PNG Mobile Squad to make them leave the compound. These events created a real sense of emergency among Australian people, with a resurgence of attendance at rallies and indirect actions to disrupt business as usual. The demands are clear: to evacuate Manus Island and Nauru detention facilities and to resettle the asylum seekers and refugees safely.

read more:

https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/workers-unite...

 

Poster at top: Mischief from Gus Leonisky. Poster from students in Paris 1968...:

police 2

 

looking back, from the silvered side of the mirror

 

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The Great Recession and several key events during the Obama administration have arguably pushed young Americans even further to the left. Young people were uniquely punished by the recession and are rightfully angry. They suffered higher unemployment than any other group during the downturn, and their wages fell more more than any other group after it concluded.

This is the most educated generation in American history by both total degrees and share of college graduates. But whereas education once seemed to promise an inviolable social contract—a degree produced a job, and the job procured a good middle-class life or better—the rising cost of school has combined with a chilly labor market to create a perfect storm: Low youth wages that make it hard to pay off record-high student debt. One study from the San Francisco Federal Reserve found that since 2009, wages for recent college graduates have grown 60 percent more slowly than those of the general population. Given the alarmingly slow growth of overall wages, this is not unlike identifying an animal that moves 60 percent slower than a garden snail. The youth job market appears to require ever more preparation to secure increasingly meager wages.

The financial punishment of the last eight years has inspired several protest movements that have captured young liberals’ imagination. Occupy Wall Street might not have produced a clear policy prescription, but it told a simple, true, and easy to understand story: The recovery had been extraordinary for the stock market and disappointing for the labor market. Search the words “profit high wages low” and Google will retrieve 73,500,000 results, with the first page telling and re-telling the same story: Corporate profits reached a modern high at the same time that labor’s share of national American income reached a modern low. How many Occupy protesters, minimum-wage advocates, and Bernie Sanders supporters know that fact? It’s tough to say. How many feel it? Probably 100 percent.

Young people’s sense that America needs a moral rebirth is not just economic. The Black Lives Matter movement has done for racism and police brutality what Occupy did for financial realities—not discover a fresh injustice, but rather expose a long-festering moral blight. The words “Black Lives Matter” are a clear expression of the movement: a statement of sheer obviousness, identifying a historical ugliness that has lived in the shadows and is finally being dragged into the national light.

read more:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/02/the-liberal-millennial-revolution/470826/

 

 

How come The Dumb One got elected beggars belief... But then Obama was responsible for a bad economic back pocket for many people... and GenX stole the show from GenY... (nothing to do with the "Russians")

 

official fake news versus non-official fake news...

 

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There is no panacea; constant vigilance and education are required to attack this problem. Young people and other web users must be taught to take seriously the demands of cybersecurity. High schools should be including media literacy as part of history and social science curriculums.

Most of all, students and others must be put on alert that there really is fake news — false information deliberately planted by malevolent actors — and that they need to be on guard against propaganda masquerading as truth.

The future of democracy may well rest on our ability to tell the difference.

Michael J. Abramowitz is the president of Freedom House.

 

Read more:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/11/opinion/fake-news-russia-kenya.html

 

Yep, the war on Saddam comes to mind. The biggest fake news of the century so far has been that "Saddam has weapons of mass destruction". The bloodshed momentum of this "fake news" is still costing the lives of many in the Middle East, including Syria... Abramowitz, "president of Freedom House" seems to be an agent of the perpetually lying dark empire...

 

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decade’s most iconic, tumultuous year...

When Alan Shane Dillingham, a historian at Spring Hill College in Alabama, lectures on the 1960s he starts by displaying a timeline of the decade’s most iconic, tumultuous year — 1968.

The assassinations of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. The riots that shook Washington, Chicago, Baltimore and other U.S. cities. Campus protests. Civil rights protests. Vietnam War protests. The Tet Offensive. The My Lai massacre. The rise of Richard Nixon and the retreat of Lyndon Johnson. And so much else: Black Power, “The White Album,” Andy Warhol, “Hair,” Apollo 8, the first black character in Peanuts.

“Was there something in the water?” Dillingham asks his students. “What is it about this year?”

With 2018 marking the 50th anniversary of that extraordinary year, Dillingham and more than 1,500 other historians descend on Washington this week for the American Historical Association’s annual meeting, where they will grapple with that question and others about 1968 in a series of special panels.

read more:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2018/01/01/1968s-chaos-the-assassinations-riots-and-protests-that-defined-our-world/?

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back to the drawing board...

 

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One should, of course, not forget the real achievements of ‘68. The movement opened up a radical change in how we treat women’s rights, homosexuality and racism. After the glorious 60s, we simply cannot engage in public racism and homophobia the way we still could in the 1950s. Thus, ‘68 was not a single event but an ambiguous one in which different political tendencies were combined: this is why it also remained a thorn in the heel of many conservatives.

Nicholas Sarkozy admitted it when he said in his electoral campaign in 2007 that his great task was to make France finally get over ‘68. One should, of course, not miss the irony of this remark: the fact that Sarkozy, with his clownish outbursts and marriage to Carla Bruni, can be the French President is in itself one of the outcomes of the changes in customs brought about by May ‘68.

So we have the legacy of “their” May ‘68 and “our” May ‘68. In today’s predominant collective memory, “our” basic idea of the May demonstrations in Paris and the link between student protests and worker’s strikes, is forgotten. The true legacy of ‘68 resides in its rejection of the liberal-capitalist system, in a NO to the totality of it best encapsulated in the formula: Soyons realistes, demandons l’impossible!

The true utopia is the belief that the existing global system can reproduce itself indefinitely and that the only way to be truly “realist” is to endorse what, within the coordinates of this system, cannot but appear as impossible. The fidelity to May ‘68 is thus best expressed by the question: how are we to prepare for this radical change and to lay the foundations for it?

read more:

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/418927-capitalists-1968-revolution-left/

 

Read from top and all the post about "Sarkozy-the-Twerp" on this site...

let assange be free...


By Slavoj Žižek — a cultural philosopher. He’s a senior researcher at the Institute for Sociology and Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana, Global Distinguished Professor of German at New York University, and international director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities of the University of London.

Julian Assange has been silenced again, and the timing is most suspicious. With the Cambridge Analytica story dominating the news, it seems some powerful people have reasons to keep the brave WikiLeaks boss quiet right now. 

Ecuador is a small country, and one can only imagine the brutal behind-the-scenes pressure exerted on it by Western powers to increase the isolation of Julian Assange from the public space. Now, his internet access has been cut off and many of his visitors are refused access, thus rendering a slow social death to a person who's spent almost six years confined to an apartment at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

This happened before, for a short period around the time of the US elections, but back then it was a reaction to WikiLeaks publishing documents which could have affected the outcome of the Trump/Clinton race, while there is no such excuse now. Because, currently, Assange’s “meddling” in international relations consists only of publishing on the web his opinions about the Catalonia crisis and the Skripal poisoning scandal. So why such brutal action now, and why did it cause so little uproar in the public opinion?  

As for the second question, it is not enough to claim that people simply got tired of Assange. Rather, a key role has been played by the long and well-orchestrated slow campaign of character assassination which reached the lowest level imaginable two months ago with the unverified rumors alleging how the Ecuadorians want to get rid of him because of his bad smell and dirty clothes.

In the first stage of attacks on Assange, his ex-friends and collaborators went public with claims that WikiLeaks began well but then it got bogged down with Assange’s political bias (his anti-Hillary obsession, his suspicious ties with Russia, etc.). This was followed by more direct personal defamation: for instance, he is paranoiac and arrogant, obsessed by power and control. But now we have reached the direct bodily level of smells and stains.

Manipulating Motives

They say Assange is paranoid? How could anyone who lives permanently in a flat which is bugged from above and below, a victim of constant surveillance organized by secret services, not be? As for him being a megalomaniac? When the (now ex-) head of the CIA says your arrest is his priority, does this not imply that you are a “big” threat to some, at least? And the trope where Assange behaves like the head of a spy organization? But WikiLeaks IS a spy organization, although one that serves the people, keeping them informed on what goes on behind the scenes.

Yet, they say Assange is a refugee from justice, hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy to escape judgment. But what kind of justice is this which threatens to have him arrested when the case has already been dropped?

So let’s move to the big question: why now? I think one name explains it all: Cambridge Analytica – a name which stands for all Assange is about, for what he fights against; the disclosure of the link between the great private corporations and government agencies.

Remember what a big topic and obsession the Russian meddling in the US elections was – now we know it was not Russian hackers (with Assange) who nudged the people towards Trump, but instead the West's own data-processing agencies which joined forces with political forces. This doesn’t mean that Russia and its allies are innocent: they probably did try to influence the outcome in the same way that the US does in other countries (only in this case, it is labeled "democracy promotion"). But it means the big bad wolf who distorts our democracy is not in the Kremlin, but walking around the West itself – and this is what Assange was claiming all along.

Covert Rule

But where, exactly, is this big bad wolf? To grasp the whole scope of this control and manipulation, one should move beyond the link between private corporations and political parties (as is the case with Cambridge Analytica), to the interpenetration of data processing companies like Google or Facebook and state security agencies.

We shouldn't be shocked at China but at ourselves who accept the same regulation while believing that we retain our full freedom and that media just helps us to realize our goals (while in China people are fully aware that they are regulated). The overall image emerging from it, combined with what we also know about the link between the latest developments in biogenetics (wiring the human brain, etc.), provides an adequate and terrifying image of new forms of social control which make the good old 20th century “totalitarianism” seem a rather primitive and clumsy machine of domination.

The biggest achievement of the new cognitive-military complex is that direct and obvious oppression is no longer necessary: individuals are much better controlled and “nudged” in the desired direction when they continue to experience themselves as free and autonomous agents of their own lives. And this is another key lesson of WikiLeaks: our lack of freedom is most dangerous when it is experienced as the very manifestation of our freedom. Because what can be more free than the incessant flow of communications which allows every individual to popularize their opinions and forms virtual communities at the user's own volition? This is why it is absolutely imperative to keep the digital network out of the control of private capital and state power, i.e., to render it totally accessible to public debate. Assange was right in his strangely ignored key book on Google (When Google Met WikiLeaks, 2014) in his understanding of how our lives are regulated today, and how this regulation is experienced as our freedom. Meaning, we have to focus on the shadowy relation between private corporations which control our commons and secret state agencies.

People Power

Now we can see why Assange has to be silenced at exactly this moment when the topic of Cambridge Analytica is everywhere in our mainstream media. At a time when all the effort of those in power goes into reducing it to a particular “misuse” by some private corporations and political parties – but where is the state itself and the half-invisible apparatuses of the so-called “deep state”?

No wonder that the Guardian, which extensively reports on the Cambridge Analytica “scandal,” recently published a disgusting attack on Assange as a megalomaniac and fugitive from justice. Now, as far they are concerned, write as much as you want about Cambridge Analytica and Steve Bannon, just don’t dwell on what Assange was drawing our attention to: that the state apparatuses which are now expected to investigate the “scandal” are themselves part of the problem.   

Assange characterized himself as the spy of and for the people: he is not spying on the people for those in power, he is spying on those in power for the people. This is why the only ones who can really help him now are we, the people. Only our pressure and mobilization can alleviate his predicament.

One often reads how the old Soviet secret service not only punished its traitors even if it took decades to do it, but also fought doggedly to free them when they were caught by the enemy. Assange has no state behind him, just us, the public – so let us do at least what the Soviet secret service was doing, let’s fight for him no matter how long it takes!

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/422992-zizek-assange-cambridge-analytica/

 

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