thepeoplesrecord:

“It does not mean we have to agree with Karl Marx, who advocated violence and whose worship of the state as a utopian mechanism led to another form of enslavement of the working -class, but we have to speak in the vocabulary Marx employed.” –Chris Hedges

Richard Wolff responds to quote about Marxism:
A quote was sent to me and this is a quote from a very famous writer. It says the following: that in this age of bankrupt capitalism, we’re going to have to return, this writer believes, to the work of Karl Marx, who was a critic of capitalism, and therefore, has insights we need to build on. But the quote also associates with Karl Marx the following: he advocated violence and he worshipped the state as a utopian mechanism to lead to a better society. And the questioner wanted me to comment about this representation of Marx.

So let me do that. I am not going to shy away EVER on this program from talking about Marx and Marxism. The Cold War is over. The great enemy, the Soviet Union, is gone. There wasn’t much justification for ignoring and denying the importance of Marx, even when that wasn’t true, but now that we are basically 20 years out from our ‘Cold War struggle’ there is absolutely no justification. Marx was an important thinker in the world – the work he wrote and the items he put out have been influential in the world and no mature thinker can afford to ignore what that’s about. It’s not a question of agreeing with it. It’s a question of learning what has to be said by someone who is critical of the system.

Because Marx has had an enormous influence across the world, in every country, we have the following obvious situation: Marx, born in Germany, lived most of his adult life in Great Britain. A theorist who died in 1883 has now been picked up and has been found to be interesting, important & insightful. Cultures as varied as Scandinavia, China, South Africa, Ecuador, and you fill in the blank (because it’s in every other country in the world) have been influenced. So if all this influence has happened, then you can be sure that Marx and Marxism have been interpreted in radically different ways.

By the way, the same is true, for example of Islam – how it is interpreted in one country by one group of Muslims is different from how it has been interpreted in other countries by other groups who are also Muslim, who also read the Qu’ran, who also take Mohammad very seriously but who interpret Islam very differently. The same is true of Christianity, right? There are Protestants & Catholics who disagree and Baptists & Methodists have their disagreements and so on.

The same is true of Marx. If you wish to represent Marx or Marxism, you are therefore confronted with something that only ignorance would allow you to deny. Namely, you’ve got to decide which of the interpretations you find persuasive. There aren’t too many people who on one Sunday go to the Catholic service, the next Sunday the Baptist service, the next Sunday the Quaker service, right? People choose whichever one they were either born into or find persuasive and so it is with Marx.

Now to answer the question: Were there interpreters of Marx & Marxism who advocated violence? Yes. Were there interpreters of Marx & Marxism who worshipped the state in the way this quotation suggests? Yes. But here comes the problem dear friends – there were people who interpreted Marx to not be in favor of violence and to not worship the state. I, for example, as someone who has read Marx and takes Marxism very seriously and has benefited enormously in my understanding of what’s going on by virtue of that study, I don’t interpret Marx in that way at all. I don’t think he endorsed violence. I don’t think he worshiped the state. There is a reason, by the way, that Karl Marx never wrote a book or an article about the state. He didn’t worship it. That wasn’t his idea. His idea was that you have to change the economic system. You have to change the way the system works, not the way the government works. He saw the government more shaped by the system than the other way around. That’s where he focused himself.

The point is not to persuade you of my particular interpretation – but to understand that any quotation such as the one sent to me, that acts as though you can say ‘Marx believed X, you got it?’ is the same as saying ‘I’m going to talk to you about religion’ and then begin to talk to you about, let’s say, Roman Catholicism and act as if it were the only one. That’s not true. It is one, for sure. But it’s not the only one. And the interpretation of Marx as having something to do with state-worship or violence is an interpretation, but it isn’t the only one and shouldn’t be dealt with as if it were.

Source (with audio if you prefer to listen than read)

The Connection Between the Diet Aristocracy and Big Food / Big Pharma

The report is another in a long chain of scathing indictments against the corrupt corporate state that has turned a mostly healthy populace into a sickly and obese society that has become disgustingly dependent on the pharmaceutical-psychiatric-medical machine that has long neglected unprofitable preventative care measures in favor of profitable standard medical protocols that address symptoms in the short term so as to make people patients for life.

You’ll note that Simon, in her study, points to her friend Marion Nestle, a writer and author and long-time antagonist of Big Food, and a dissector of all things food politics unless it indicts government as one of the culprits. Make no mistake – both Simon and Nestle are statists to the core. Neither of them have challenged how the Big Food corporate state became so omnipotent in the first place. The entire world of food politics in which they live, breathe, and swim is littered with the carcasses of government policy and dictocrat decrees. Still, they refuse to acknowledge the depth of the food politics for which they claim expertise, and they consistently maintain a position that their roles are to influence and change policy. Yes, policy = politics. They are self-declared politicians and they make a financial living off of politicking.

On page 23 of the report, Simon describes how the annual AND meeting was akin to a junk food industry showcase. Then she goes on to say the “positive” aspects of the annual meeting were the folks hawking “Meatless Mondays” and the American Cancer Society. The American Cancer Society is another corrupt satellite of the government-pharmaceutical-medical establishment, and its mother ship, Big Cancer, is another quasi-governmental machine that profits immensely off of keeping people sick and uninformed. Apparently, while carefully studying the AND’s long list of Big Food and pharmaceutical sponsors, Simon neglects to mention the similar sponsors of the American Cancer Society. Additionally, Meatless Monday is a statist concept with government-public health influence, and various local governments often try to ram this down the throat of their local constituency.

Source : The Connection Between the Diet Aristocracy and Big Food / Big Pharma

anoncentral:

Woman arrested for trying to enter her own home - Infant son taken, forced vaccinated by the State

- SAN DIEGO, CA — A woman had her life turned upside down by the police state during an otherwise normal day. Around noon, Larissa Nearing received a call that her apartment building was on fire. When she arrived, she saw that the fire was in a neighbor’s unit, and had already been extinguished.

She discovered that her apartment had been entered by the fire department and that many of her items had been covered by plastic. However, some expensive audio equipment used for her DJ business was laying out unprotected. She attempted to enter the apartment to protect these things from further damage. A police officer would have none of this and arrested her for obstruction of justice.

During her arrest and transportation she was mocked and harassed. Her DNA was confiscated and was permanently entered into an ever-growing database, retained even if the charges were later dropped.

As she was being booked at the police department, she was given a new charge: Child Endangerment. Her 1-year-old son was at the daycare during this whole ordeal. Apparently the reasoning for the “endangerment” was that Larissa had not injected her son with all the pharmaceutical drugs that the State recommends. So making a choice about vaccinating her infant son got him confiscated from her for a total of 13-weeks.

Her son was immediately given 8 shots back-to-back and was hospitalized twice in the first 5 days of the confiscation. He had never been hospitalized for any other reason up until that point.

Among Larissa’s 5 charges included Obstruction of Justice, Child Endangerment (Felony), Possession of (legally prescribed medical) marijuana. Her driver’s license was also suspended for a time because they attempted to paint her as a drug addict.

Welcome to Police State USA.

anoncentral:

How Iceland Overthrew The Banks: The Only 3 Minutes Of Any Worth From Davos

anarcho-queer:

Israel Admits To Giving Ethiopian Women Birth Control Shots

A government official has for the first time acknowledged the practice of injecting women of Ethiopian origin with the long-acting contraceptive Depo-Provera.

Health Ministry Director General Prof. Ron Gamzu has instructed the four health maintenance organizations to stop the practice as a matter of course. The ministry and other state agencies had previously denied knowledge or responsibility for the practice, which was first reported five years ago. Gamzu’s letter instructed “all gynecologists in the HMOs not to renew prescriptions for Depo-Provera for women of Ethiopian origin if for any reason there is concern that they might not understand the ramifications of the treatment.” Gamzu also instructed physicians to avail themselves of translators if need be.

Gamzu’s letter came in response to a letter from Sharona Eliahu-Chai of the Association of Civil Rights in Israel, representing several women’s rights and Ethiopian immigrants’ groups. The letter demanded the injections cease immediately and that an investigation be launched into the practice.

About six weeks ago, on an Educational Television program journalist Gal Gabbay revealed the results of interviews with 35 Ethiopian immigrants. The women’s testimony could help explain the almost 50-percent decline over the past 10 years in the birth rate of Israel’s Ethiopian community. According to the program, while the women were still in transit camps in Ethiopia they were sometimes intimidated or threatened into taking the injection. “They told us they are inoculations,” said one of the women interviewed. “They told us people who frequently give birth suffer. We took it every three months. We said we didn’t want to.

thepeoplesrecord:

One man has been shot dead and over 400 people injured in fresh clashes in the Egyptian city of Port Said. The death toll has risen to 48 as violence on the streets of Egypt continues for the fourth day in a row.
January 27, 2013

18-year-old Abdel Rahman Farag was killed by a gunshot wound to the chest, the city’s head of hospitals told Reuters. More than 416 people suffered from teargas inhalation, while 17 sustained gunshot wounds, he said.

Thousands of people turned out for the funerals of 35 rioters who were killed in Port Said on Saturday. The mourners shouted,”There is no God but Allah, and Morsi is God’s enemy” after praying for the dead at the city’s Mariam Mosque. Teargas was fired in the vicinity and gunfire was heard nearby. Emergency vehicle sirens were also heard, a witness told Reuters.

Thousands of demonstrators also gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Sunday. Protesters threw petrol bombs at riot police who were firing teargas.

Rallies have been taking place in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and half a dozen other places, many of which have become violent. Protesters have taken to the streets in greater numbers following Saturday’s death sentence verdicts over a stadium stampede last February. 

Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed El-Beltagy has urged Egyptian authorities to “step in with full strength!”

Protests reach back to Friday when nine people were killed in a separate demonstration against of the Islamist Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

The outbreak of violence is a consequence of Saturday’s sentencing of 21 people to death for their role in the deaths of 74 people at a soccer stadium riot and stampede last year.

Spectators were trampled and eyewitnesses saw some thrown off balconies following a match between Al Ahly and local team al-Masri.  But many eye witnesses reported police of playing a role in the deaths. The sentencing was reportedly followed by the immediate deaths of two policemen.

About 18 prisoners in Suez police stations managed to escape during the violence, a security source reported. Approximately 30 police weapons were stolen. Soldiers have taken up positions at important state facilities, including the local power and water stations, administration buildings, banks and courts.

Protests have been spreading throughout Egyptian cities since Thursday, prior to the sentencing. Opponents of Morsi have been gathering to mark the second anniversary on Friday of the beginning of the revolution that led to Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow.

Infuriated protesters report that Morsi has betrayed the economic and representative goals of the previous revolt.

“None of the revolution’s goals have been realized,” protester Mohamed Sami told Reuters.

Bel Trew, who is on the ground in Cairo, said, “There’s a lot of anger toward the president – this started just at the end of last year when he pushed through what was seen as an unpopular constitution drafted by an Islamist dominated constituent assembly. People also say that he has not made any of the changes that were called for during the January 25 revolution two years ago, so he’s really lost quite a lot of legitimacy on the streets.”

“Right now here in the capital there are clashes raging between protesters and security forces on the…lots of tear gas in the air here in down-town Cairo. Rocks have also been exchanged.”

“Security have increased their presence around government buildings, as the focus of the anger here for protesters is very much against Morsi’s administration… the situation in Egypt really descends into a bit of a crisis”

Source

Guerilla Open Access Manifesto, by Aaron Swartz

Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves. The world’s entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations. Want to read the papers featuring the most famous results of the sciences? You’ll need to send enormous amounts to publishers like Reed Elsevier.

There are those struggling to change this. The Open Access Movement has fought valiantly to ensure that scientists do not sign their copyrights away but instead ensure their work is published on the Internet, under terms that allow anyone to access it. But even under the best scenarios, their work will only apply to things published in the future. Everything up until now will have been lost.

That is too high a price to pay. Forcing academics to pay money to read the work of their colleagues? Scanning entire libraries but only allowing the folks at Google to read them? Providing scientific articles to those at elite universities in the First World, but not to children in the Global South? It’s outrageous and unacceptable.

“I agree,” many say, “but what can we do? The companies hold the copyrights, they make enormous amounts of money by charging for access, and it’s perfectly legal — there’s nothing we can do to stop them.” But there is something we can, something that’s already being done: we can fight back.

Those with access to these resources — students, librarians, scientists — you have been given a privilege. You get to feed at this banquet of knowledge while the rest of the world is locked out. But you need not — indeed, morally, you cannot — keep this privilege for yourselves. You have a duty to share it with the world. And you have: trading passwords with colleagues, filling download requests for friends.

Meanwhile, those who have been locked out are not standing idly by. You have been sneaking through holes and climbing over fences, liberating the information locked up by the publishers and sharing them with your friends.

But all of this action goes on in the dark, hidden underground. It’s called stealing or piracy, as if sharing a wealth of knowledge were the moral equivalent of plundering a ship and murdering its crew. But sharing isn’t immoral — it’s a moral imperative. Only those blinded by greed would refuse to let a friend make a copy.

Large corporations, of course, are blinded by greed. The laws under which they operate require it — their shareholders would revolt at anything less. And the politicians they have bought off back them, passing laws giving them the exclusive power to decide who can make copies.

There is no justice in following unjust laws. It’s time to come into the light and, in the grand tradition of civil disobedience, declare our opposition to this private theft of public culture.

We need to take information, wherever it is stored, make our copies and share them with the world. We need to take stuff that’s out of copyright and add it to the archive. We need to buy secret databases and put them on the Web. We need to download scientific journals and upload them to file sharing networks. We need to fight for Guerilla Open Access.

With enough of us, around the world, we’ll not just send a strong message opposing the privatization of knowledge — we’ll make it a thing of the past. Will you join us?

Aaron Swartz
July 2008, Eremo, Italy

Is Fracking Bad?

Yes, for several reasons. What is fracking? The technical, or “correct” name for fracking is “hydraulic fracturing,” and it’s a method of obtaining gas. Here’s a few reasons why it’s bad.

To start with the process needs millions of gallons of water that could be put to better use. The water is transported to the fracking site and mixed with hundreds of chemicals, many of them poisonous. Then the mixture is sent down wells that have been made to reach down to shale rock formations until it creates enough pressure to fracture the rock, so that gas is released. The air can be polluted from methane, natural water supplies can be contaminated from the mixture used to create the fractures, and earthquakes can be caused from the fractured rock.

This is just a brief example of how bad this is. The other question is : why do we even need this way of obtaining energy? What about all the alternative methods for energy creation? That should probably be asked a lot more, because seeing as it’s now 2013 and several alternative options look like they’re worth pursuing, we seem to be stuck in some type of timewarp.

Why do we need to be so dependent on these insane methods? Oil, petrol and gas should be being phased out altogether, but instead we find that governments and corporations are just carrying on as normal. Well, why not try putting some real money into cleaner energies? Is it because the oil and gas barons have become so powerful that governments just get paid off to let things carry on as normal? How many patents and alternative options for energy have they bought up in order to keep things as they currently are? How much of the environment needs destroying until enough people take notice?

Going into alternative energies here will only draw away from the main point : fracking isn’t good, and it can cause a lot of damage to the environment that leads to things like contaminated drinking water, contaminated air, and unstable ground that’s prone to earthquakes. As a species, in the year 2013, if this is one of the best options we can come up with for a way of getting energy, maybe we should also start seriously thinking that Elvis is still alive and flying around the moon at night in a UFO. (yes, that sounds crazy, but that’s the point, because the first part of the sentence does too.)

A great animation that explains the fracking process and the problems involved is here : What goes in and out of hydraulic fracturing

If you want to look further into this, here’s some more links :

Fracking - Food & Water Watch

Another Bad Week for Fracking - Clean Technica

Hydraulic Fracturing FAQs - Gasland

Fracking debate draws Yoko, Lennon and Sarandon to rural battlegrounds - The Guardian

Fracking for shale gas gets green light in UK - The Guardian

mind-expanding:

amen

mind-expanding:

amen

(Source: cherrybam)

Things I like

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