Geoffrey Dutton – Talking Trash

Link to an article by Geoffrey Dutton:

“Talking Trash: Recycling Inches Up, But Problems Remain”

 

Curiously absent from this otherwise excellent discussion of the present-day facts about recycling practices in the USA is why municipalities are expected to submit to a “market” rather than intervening directly in it or circumventing/modifying it (as governments often do).  Why shouldn’t municipalities create their own recycling entities and manufacturing facilities to bypass markets, or engage in more far-reaching bans (like banning all materials that are not provably and practically recyclable)?  The article simply tacitly accepts that municipal governments should look to private businesses and markets in significant ways, or simply treat private profitability as the uncrossable horizon of municipal politics, as if this is self-evident, which is precisely the goal of all political propaganda—“to annihilate an unnoticed possibility of the situation“.

Bonus links: “Recycling Crisis is Capitalist Business as Usual” and “It’s Time to Break Up Capitalism’s Love Affair With Plastic” and “Humanity Is Drowning in Plastic”

Kristina Betinis – Chicago Symphony Musicians Strike Defies Aristocratic Principle

Link to an article by Kristina Betinis:

“Chicago Symphony Musicians Strike Defies Aristocratic Principle”

Selected Quote:

“A right-wing pressure campaign has been launched to press the musicians into accepting what is declared by the ruling elite to be an incontrovertible social fact: that no worker should receive a decent pension. This idea is advanced as though it were self-evident.”

 

Bonus link: “How the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Won Higher Wages By Playing For Free”

Assange Arrested

Julian Assange has been arrested.  See the following articles:

“Avoiding Assange”

“Uncle Tom’s Empire”

“The Assange Arrest Is a Warning from History”

“The 7 Years of Lies About Assange Won’t Stop Now”

“Punishing the Past, Impeding the Future: the Arrest of Assange”

“The Ordeal of Julian Assange”

“Extradition of Julian Assange Threatens Us All”

“Why Is the Democratic Socialists of America Silent on the Persecution of Julian Assange?”

“Swedish Sex Pistol Aimed at Assange”

“Corporate Media Have Second Thoughts About Exiling Julian Assange From Journalism”

 

 

The smears keep piling on, including even multiple comedy bits on Saturday Night Live calling him an “Internet troll” and suggesting that he was stealing passwords and snooping on ordinary people (rather than what he actually did: publish the secret, anti-democratic machinations of the powerful).  But even many of Assange’s supporters make numerous distortions.

First (as implied by Pilger, for instance) is to call his situation a roll-back of press freedoms and a new attack on journalism.  Aside from the deeply chauvinistic aspect of these claims (which constitute journalists talking about how important journalists are), they present a false history.  Specially, they act as if (in the USA), the law protected disclosure of truthful information that government officials wish to keep secret.  While this is one possible interpretation of a constitutional provision, it has never been officially adopted or enforced.  Hence the prosecution of Assange is not a deviation but consistent with a pattern.  What these supporters tend to do, specifically, is distort the Pentagon Papers incident from the 1970s involving Daniel Ellsberg, Beacon Press and the New York Times.  The reason Ellsberg, Beacon Press and the New York Times were not ultimately held legally accountable (though there were legal proceedings initiated against each and every one of them) was because then Alaskan Senator Mike Gravel read the Pentagon Papers into the congressional record, and legislators are given immunity from prosecution for actions (and statements) on the legislative floor (though Senate rules were subsequently changed to try to prohibit this from happening again).  Once the “cat was out of the bag” with Gravel’s actions, the legal cases against the leakers/publishers were dropped or lost — but only because the information was in the public record by that point (judges do not necessarily honestly describe this in their written opinions).  There was no grand defense of press freedoms established by the courts though.  People who claim otherwise are distorting the historical record and claiming a false victory in order to push a myth about “press freedoms” that obscures the need to actively work to establish those press freedoms for the first time.  Yet Glenn Greenwald has carefully explained how the criminal charges against Assange are still different and more expansive than those levied against those associated with the Pentagon Papers publications.  Though aside from these judicial niceties, as Jim Kavanagh notes, all this may well have a social impact on the attitudes of journalists.

Second, when Jonathan Cook describes Wikileaks as “a digital platform that for the first time in history gave ordinary people a glimpse into the darkest recesses of the most secure vaults in the deepest of Deep States” he is only correct is the most semantic sense by saying Wikileaks is “digital”.  Really the difference was the speed and volume at which Wikileaks published these things in a “digital” environment.  Of course, there was other precedent for ordinary people getting a glimpse into the “darkest recesses of the most secure vaults in the deepest of Deep State”:  the publication of the secret allied treaties in the Bolshevik paper Pravda during WWI.  This is still a major reason for anti-Russian sentiment a full century later!  Cook not so surprisingly avoids mentioning this because to do so would open the door for suggesting that communist politics present a systemic break from the false universalism of liberal “freedoms”.

Agamben has it right here.  He echoes this older sentiment about Assange: “he is not spying on the people for those in power, he is spying on those in power for the people.”  (“Assange Works for the People – Now We Need to Save Him”).  (See also “Jónasson: The Icelandic Minister Who Refused Cooperation With the FBI”). Notice how the SNL skit claims the exact opposite, blaming Assange for the sort of conduct that Facebook, Alphabet/Google, the NSA, the FBI, and countless other organizations do on a daily basis (which, ironically, Assange has helped expose!)?

Robert Pfaller – The Ideology of Postmodernism is to Present All Existing Injustice as an Effect of Discrimination

Link to an interview with Robert Pfaller:

“The Ideology of Postmodernism is to Present All Existing Injustice as an Effect of Discrimination”

 

In this brief interview Pfaller does understate the problem of discrimination, in that even in a situation of complete economic equality, there can be inequalities in terms of access, prestige, or other forms of capital — Ursula Le Guin’s novel The Dispossessed even has a plot point to this effect where a stupid physicist tries to distort and suppress the work of another in order to maintain and enhance his own prestige and power (even though the two are economically equal).  Still, Pfaller’s analysis is remarkably astute for being so direct and easy to understand!

Bonus links: The Trouble with Diversity and “The Politics of Identity” and “Can We Really Measure Implicit Bias? Maybe Not”

Lance Olsen – Why All the Uproar Over the Green New Deal?

Link to an article by Lance Olsen:

“Why All the Uproar Over the Green New Deal?”

 

Bonus links: “Will A Green New Deal Save the Climate, or Save Capitalism?” and “A Class Struggle Strategy for A Green New Deal” and “The Green New Deal, Capitalism and the State” and “A Green New Deal for Agriculture” and “This Historical Moment Demands Transformation of Our Institutions. The Green New Deal Won’t Do That.” (the Stan Cox quote is willfully obtuse — R. Buckminster Fuller? — but otherwise the article is good) and “How Green is the ‘Green New Deal’?” and “Modern Money Green Economics for a New Era” and “Communism, Fascism and Green Shaming” and “Politics, Democracy and Environmental Rebellion” (“Calls for a stripped down Green New Deal, one that forgoes a robust Job Guarantee, is a ploy to engineer a capital strike where millions of workers will be tossed out of their jobs to ‘prove’ that the economy requires environmental destruction and militarism.”) and “Planning the Green Tech Revolution” and “The Realism and Unrealism of the Green New Deals” and “Bernie’s Green New Deal Is for the Working Class” and The State and Revolution