Archive for July, 2011

For exit

July 17, 2011

@ Justseeds

With regard to ongoing federal budget-negotiations, the criminal Obama administration has professed its commitment to “to do something big.” As the head of state has it, “We have a chance to stabilize America’s finances for a decade, for 15 years, or 20 years, if we’re willing to seize the moment.” Articulating precisely what he means by this, Obama envisioned the following: “I am willing to take down domestic spending to the lowest percentage of our overall economy since Dwight Eisenhower.”

Obama means, then, to enact a reactionary social overhaul about which the likes of Ronald Reagan would fantasize—a return to the past before the revolutionary social movements of the 1960s. This means precisely cuts in funding for public-programs for highly indigent and elderly U.S. citizens, one of the few decent realities of U.S. society. The president has reportedly endorsed raising the age of eligibility for Medicare to 67 years, up from its present 65, and advocates a “chaining” of the totality of Social Security benefits to the Consumer Price Index (CPI)—a move that could well imply reductions in benefits amounting to some $110 billion in the next ten years. Obama is additionally said to have discussed $353 billion in cuts to Medicare as well as committed himself to $100 billion in cuts to Medicaid over the coming decade.

This brutally overt exercise in class power and social exclusion comes a month after the publication in the American Journal of Public Health of a Columbia University study entitled “Estimated Deaths Attributable to Social Factors in the United States,” which concludes the following:

approximately 245,000 deaths in the United States in the year 2000 were attributable to low levels of education, 176,000 to racial segregation, 162,000 to low social support, 133,000 to individual-level poverty, 119,000 to income inequality, and 39,000 to area-level poverty.”

In eastern Africa as well, social catastrophe continues. An estimated 1500 individuals fleeing famine and hunger are reaching the Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya each day; Dadaab’s resident population-size is now 440,000. The Kenyan government is reportedly opening a fourth camp at Dadaab so as to accommodate the starving. According to Guardian journalist Mike Tran, “[l]arge areas of south east Ethiopia, southern Somalia and north east Kenya are already in phase four” of the classification-criteria used by the World Food Programme (WFP) to judge food emergencies, with five being “catastrophe/famine” and four the “emergency” phase. In the words of a medical doctor interviewed by Democracy Now:

“In the last few weeks, we’ve been seeing increasing cases of children with severe malnutrition. Of these children, most of them come with complications resulting from acute malnutrition. The children that we have seen in the wards, most of them are very sick, and most of them come here with an inability to feed, and we have to feed them through the nasal-gastric tube.”

The U.S. government has committed itself to providing $68 million in food aid and relief. It is to be imagined that demotic control of governance could yield a far more humane commitment, one less radically dismissive of generalized human suffering.

No hay para celebrar II

July 7, 2011

Part II of an n-part series

@ Favianna Rodriguez

Headline 5 of the Democracy Now! 5 July show reports the following:

Japan: 45 Percent of Children Near Stricken Plant Exposed to Radiation

“Officials of the Japanese Nuclear Safety Commission say around 45 percent of children in the Fukushima region have experienced thyroid exposure to radiation following the nuclear reactor disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi facility. But officials said only trace amounts of radiation were detected. The survey was done in late March and does not reflect any exposure since then. Meanwhile, a new survey of soil at four locations in the city of Fukushima found that all four samples were contaminated with radioactive cesium at levels well above the legal limit. One sample was found to be 90 times the legal limit and higher than the limit for compulsory resettlement after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident.”

Such revelations come 6 weeks after the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported global capitalism to have released 30.6 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide in 2010–the highest annual total in human history, this under conditions of recession (i.e. decreased economic growth rates, that is value-production for the capitalists).  A 4 July Guardian article cites “aid agencies” which suggest the conditions presently obtaining in the Horn of Africa–the region’s worst drought in 6 decades, a situation defined by the United Nations as being “pre-famine”–are largely the result of recent erratic and extreme weather, with the region’s torturously violent past and present contributing to the breadth of negation as well.

Judith Butler on queer anarchism and Palestine

July 5, 2011

Celebrated anti-authoritarian queer theorist Judith Butler speaking at the 2011 Anarchist Turn conference regarding the question of Palestine, solidarity, and anti-statist politics today.  Her talk is entitled “Queer Anarchism & Anarchists Against the Wall.”


No hay para celebrar

July 5, 2011

There is of course little to celebrate on this 4 July, the 235th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. declaration of independence from British control. This is generally the case with holidays set in the interests of those whom Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos and others term “l@s de arriba.” That 4 July is mere ideology is established well by Chomsky, who in a 1995 piece locates the holiday’s birth within the Wilson administration’s constellation of police-state tactics designed to suppress working-class militancy and other manifestations of revolutionary potential—considerations on which to reflect, if such an understanding of the day were not already to be self-evident.

Rather obviously, the U.S. declaration of independence can hardly be termed revolutionary, however much dominant forms so attempt to insist. It together with the 1787 U.S. Constitution is clearly very far-removed from the “Declaration of the Rights of Man [sic] and Citizen” that arose from the events of 1789, for example, let alone the 1948 UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights or Franco-Belgian Situationist Raoul Vaneigem’s Declaration on the Rights of Human Beings (2004). In light of the genocide and slavery overseen by the founding fathers of the U.S., the demand by colonists for formal independence from Britain should be likened to the 1965 Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) issued by Ian Smith for the white-supremacist ruling class of Rhodesia (i.e. now Zimbabwe).


Prevailing society’s dominant forms—perhaps most dangerously accumulated in hegemonic social practices of the U.S. and among agglomerations elsewhere that aspire to reproduce much of the same pattern—are entirely absurd, irrational, unjust. The UN is reporting that the lives of some 10 million persons are imperiled by the second consecutive failure of annual rains in the East African countries of Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, and Djibouti. More than half of the 10 million individuals are children.1 As Guardian staff have it,

“Child malnutrition rates in the worst affected areas are more than double the emergency threshold of 15 per cent and are expected to rise further.”2

Guardian writer Rice continues:

“For Somali refugees arriving in neighbouring Ethiopia, rates of severe malnutrition are as high as 23%, according to Oxfam. A 4% incidence normally constitutes an emergency.”

The Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya, destination for multitudes of dispossessed Somalis and Ethiopians, was designed to be able to house 90,000 persons; it now is inhabited by some 400,000. Wildfires in the U.S. Southwest have reportedly been threatening the Los Alamos nuclear-weapons facility in New Mexico—the very birth-place of nuclear arms, that “destroyer of worlds.” Neo-liberalism in the U.S. threaten budget cuts of perhaps $100 billion in Medicaid health-care services for millions of impoverished U.S. citizens, including many children—services from which mere residents of the country (that is, ‘illegals’) are barred. Greece’s capitalist class votes to institute thoroughly destructive economic reforms, in total contradiction of the expressed wishes of the Greek populace, with total disregard for social well-being. It sends its police forces to stop solidarity-activists from taking much-needed supplies to the besieged Gazan Palestinians. A recently released Brown University report finds the number of millions displaced by U.S. wars in the past decade to be 7.8, with some $4 trillion having been wasted on such barbarism. The ongoing disaster at the Fukushima-Daichi plant is likely far worse than capital and the State have said it to be: in the patriarchal formulation of former nuclear operator Arnold Gundersen, Fukushima is the “biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind.”

“We have 20 nuclear cores exposed, the fuel pools have several cores each, that is 20 times the potential to be released than Chernobyl. The data I’m seeing shows that we are finding hot spots further away than we had from Chernobyl, and the amount of radiation in many of them was the amount that caused areas to be declared no-man’s-land for Chernobyl.”

Clearly we must have the development and intervention of a new constitutive power, one different and better than most that have been had. One noteworthy historical model is that of the processes which overthrew slavery in Saint Domingue/Haiti in the years following the French Revolution—the only successful slave rebellion in recorded human history. To consideration of that project is here shared Carlos Santana’s “Toussaint L’Ouverture”—a work whose reproduction here should not be taken to condone Toussaint’s dictatorial methods following Haiti’s formal independence, the debasement and murder by armed ex-slaves of family-members of French slaveowners, or the tortured history of that space since 1804, brutalized like so much else by capitalist-fascism.


1 Xan Rice, “Drought in East Africa prompts calls to address humanitarian emergency,The Guardian, 4 July 2011

2 “Africa drought pushes Kenya and Somalia into pre-famine conditions,” The Guardian, 28 June 2011