Sidewinder's blog

Trump versus Brexit

Donald TrumpPeople have been making a natural comparison between the Trump victory and the Brexit referendum result back in June. The comparison is natural because in both cases anti-immigrant hysteria and racism was used to agitate and energize the passions of a grassroots base which drew its support from new roots put down into politically alienated sections of the working class, many voting for the first time. But we need to recognise the differences as well as the commonalities.

More Poverty, More Growth

SILC 2012 disposable income chart from CSO.ieAccording to Michael Noonan, Ireland currently has the fastest rate of growth in Europe and all the oligarch-owned newspapers are talking excitedly about the “recovery”. Yet all the stories from those who work with the deprived and distressed is an ever-worsening economic squeeze on household income? So which of these stories is telling the truth?

It could very well be that not only are both of these stories true, but that the increasing poverty of a great number of households in the state could be the very thing that is driving the growth in GDP figures

Lee Rigby, Facebook and P != NP

Yesterday, in a cynical ploy, the UK parliamentary committee on intelligence affairs released a report which tried to lay the blame for Fusilier Lee Rigby's murder on Facebook. This piece explains why that accusation is not only baseless but an attack on all of us.

Science and Ideology: Beyond the Positivist versus Relativist Antimony

While we’re on the subject of the difference between (analytical) theory and ideology, we’ll take a brief look at the relationship between science and ideology. See if you can see what’s wrong with the following statement:

 “This statement is both objective and non-ideological and therefore good.”

Micropolitics and the Left

Sema dancing Sufi in gas mask at Gezi Park demonstrations in Turkey

This article is an attempt to investigate certain problems of the left via the lens of micropolitics and macropolitics, terms first introduced by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari (henceforth D&G). Faced with the challenging nature of texts from post-structuralist thinkers like D&G or Foucault, many people make the assumption that they are really motivated by an elitist desire to confuse, intimidate and befuddle the masses and divert theory into useless abstractions, far removed from the concerns of ordinary people for social transformation and liberation from oppression and exploitation. However a careful reading of D&G’s Micropolitics and Segmentarity chapter in “A Thousand Plateaus” (ATP) reveals they have two main objects in their theorising there - to make sense of the experience of fascism in the 1930s and 1940s and the (then) more recent uprisings of Paris May ‘68. We will try to extend that to looking at more recent problems, passing via the Poll Tax riots of 1990 to looking at today’s current controversies around intersectionality

 

IMAGE: By Azirlazarus (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Anarchism and Asymmetry

This is an old forum post from October 2012. I sought it out recently as I needed the Cliff reference for something I am currently working on in relation to asymmetry as a basic anarchist strategic principle, alongside prefiguration. I repost it here for my own records and future reference convenience.

[in answer to the question: "What's the absolute minimum someone has to believe in order to be an anarchist]

The Incorporation of the Proletarian Body

This post was triggered by one by Andrew, reflecting on the Peter Linebaugh talk at the Struggles in Common conference organised by the Provisional University. Specifically this bit:

“Austerity has been used as the reason to transform the way tax is gathered. In Ireland as elsewhere while a significant part of tax has always been flat rate, levied regardless of income, that proportion has soared. The introduction of the so called 'property tax' (actually a home tax), the introduction of bin charges and soon to come water charges mean that we know need to find a couple of thousand euro to pay these taxes regardless of our income. The effect is that of the enclosures, if we had found ways to subsist without waged labour or keeping it to a minimum this is now eroded as we have to find the cash money to pay these taxes. Before you might perhaps have been able to live frugally without selling your labour through cultivation of a large suburban garden or allotment, exchanging labour with others and the occasional odd job. That is a 'good life' fantasy extreme that few could actually live under (but some did) but at a lesser level many could exchange living frugally for working fewer hours.”

The speed of money

These are the notes for a talk given at the Occupy University sessions at Occupy Dame Street last October (2011).

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Reflections on the Egyptian Ultras and the Revolution

Port Said Masry/Ahly RiotAt the time of writing the wave of outrage over the killing of 73 young football supporters in Port Said on 2 Feb 2012, a year to the day after the Battle of the Camels in Tahrir Square, is still raging around the Interior Ministry in Cairo. Legend has it, that in the early 1970s the then Foreign Minister of Maoist China, Zhou En Lai, was asked what he thought of the French Revolution and replied "it is too early to tell". Certainly the effects of the Egyptian Revolution are far too early to tell. As we enter Year II, the anniversary has been marked by monster demonstrations in Tahrir Square, followed by the provocation of yesterday's massacre.

Capitalism and the Price of Fish

Within the last months a number of the UK's celebrity TV chefs have launched "Fish Fight", a campaign to address the rapidly increasing crisis in declining fish stocks that threaten the continues supply of fish for the dinner table. The campaign's aims are worthy and laudable and the sincerity of the celebrity chefs involved is unquestionable. But much as they understand food and the threat of the collapse of fish stocks, their limited understanding of the economic forces behind capitalism's inability to sustainably manage limited natural resources, guarantees that this well-intentioned campaign is ultimately doomed to failure.

  


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