Weekend Roundup 2/16/13

by Ben Campbell on February 16, 2013

This week a fiery meteor exploded over Russia. The “Commander-in-Chief” updated the plebeians at a tenth-grade level, while his popularity continues to soar. In other news:

  • Obama’s kill list continues to expand:

‘We are now witnessing the expansion of Obama’s Kill List. The list began under the Bush regime as a rationale for murdering suspect citizens of countries with which the US was not at war. The Obama regime expanded the scope of the list to include the execution, without due process of law, of US citizens accused, without evidence presented in court, of association with terrorism. The list quickly expanded to include the American teen-age son of a cleric accused of preaching jihad against the West. The son’s “association” with terrorism apparently was his blood relationship to his father.’

Mark Ames has a more extended account of the history of American assassination policy.

  • The Democrats are looking to sell your voter information to “credit card companies, retailers like Target”.
  • On Matt Taibbi’s beat, more on corporate behemoths and finance capitalists getting away with mind-boggling behavior—this time HSBC gets a slap on the wrist for laundering money for drug cartels, among other shady characters.
  • “Right-to-work” legislation was defeated in New Hampshire.
  • Longshore workers are under attack and fighting back on both coasts.
  • Steve Fraser looks at America’s history of debt, private and public:

‘When Congress finally passed the Bankruptcy Act, those in the privileged quarters at New Gaol threw a party. Down below, however, life continued in its squalid way, since the new law only applied to people who had sizable debts. If you owed too little, you stayed in jail.’

  • In light of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and Spielberg’s Lincoln Spencer Leonard interviews Civil War historian James Macpherson.
  • Michael Laxer argues for Canadian leftists to abandon the rightward-drifting New Democratic Party.
  • DC Comics takes on the class struggle: “Meet the 99%… They were the super-powered disenfranchised — now they’re the voice of the people!”

  • Barbara and John Ehrenreich revisit the concept of the professional-managerial class:

‘Any renewal of oppositional spirit among the Professional-Managerial Class, or what remains of it, needs to start from an awareness that what has happened to the professional middle class has long since happened to the blue collar working class. Those of us who have college and higher degrees have proved to be no more indispensable, as a group, to the American capitalist enterprise than those who honed their skills on assembly lines or in warehouses or foundries.’

  • They don’t play Mozart in Penn Station for your enjoyment: John Halle is interviewed on music and politics.

“On principle, I would never take a cruise,” Cohen told Corporate Crime Reporter in an interview last week. “Aside from the water pollution, the labor they have on the ships is pretty close to slave labor in my opinion.”

  • The latest locus in the fibromyalgia of global resistance has shifted to Slovenia.
  • Alexis Tsipras on SYRIZA’s demands for Greece’s debt. Meanwhile Greece is being stripped of its sheet metal (although that’s not too different from here).
  • “Todos somos Chávez”: Jennifer Martinez looks at the social movements behind Chavez. For another look at ‘Chavismo without Chavez’, see Elias Jaua, Chavez’ former vice president.
  • On the hitherto failure of capitalism to provide reforms of “bread, freedom, and justice” in Egypt and Tunisia.

  • For those who haven’t got enough of Leninism and the SWP crisis, see Andrew Coates’ extended take, as well as most of this week’s Weekly Worker. Callinicos:

‘Richard Seymour is the principal culprit. He is an eclectic thinker; he grabs ideas from everywhere—including even Bob Jessop!—and throws them into an “incoherent mess.”’

Let a thousand blogs bloom!

‘Before the Russian Revolution, he said, his party had focused on winning proletarian hegemony through trade-union class struggle. It had largely ignored the cooperative movement, viewing the leadership of this economic sector as petit bourgeois (as it still is today). As a result of this neglect, distribution of goods, especially food, to the revolutionary forces during the civil war was ineffective and had even been sabotaged by cooperative leadership.
Based on the Soviet Russian experience, the world congress recommended that national communist parties in other countries create cells within cooperatives to closely align them with the party and revolutionary trade unions and to win workers, women and youth to communist ideas. In this way other national communist parties would ideally control the cooperative sector in advance of their revolutions and thus avoid the oversights of the Russian party.’

  • An interview with Gilbert Achcar on the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa.

‘It was quite predictable that the Muslim Brotherhood would get the largest share of votes, thus it was no surprise. People who indulged in wishful thinking reacted to these elections by returning from the rosy pictures they adhered to initially into very gloomy pictures with comments like “the spring is turning into winter.” Well, the truth is that what was most surprising actually is the weakness of the electoral victories achieved by the religious forces. Most striking of all is Egypt, of course, where one can see how quickly the clout of the Muslim Brotherhood and its electoral achievements dwindled. Look at the number of votes that the Muslim Brotherhood got from the parliamentary election to the presidential election, the first round that is, to the referendum on the constitution: it is obvious that they are losing clout at amazing speed. They are losing ground and that’s the most amazing.’

  • Finally, check out the latest Diet Soap podcast for Douglas Lain’s interview with Jodi Dean on “The Subject of Capitalism”:

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Ross Wolfe February 16, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Though technically I suppose it’s from last week (February 8, 2013), I’d like to plug a piece written by Owen Hatherley for The Guardian. Surprisingly thorough treatment for a mainstream publication.


Brian S. February 17, 2013 at 7:34 am

There’s also an as always informative article by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad in the London Review of Books:
which provides intersting details of how the arms supplies and CIA vetting thereof operates in Syria.
This site is normally behind a paywall – but this is a “free article” that is readily accessible. (you only need to register if you want sample acces to the whole site).


Pham Binh February 17, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Druze clerics urge followers to stop killing for Assad:


Andrew February 17, 2013 at 8:23 pm

This is a great feature. Thanks for putting the time into it. Looking fwd to the masthead (whatever it will be), btw.


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