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 as if this is self-evident.

Bonus link: “Recycling Crisis is Capitalist Business as Usual”

Assange Arrested

Julian Assange has been arrested.  See the following articles:

“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”

 

 

The smears keep piling on, including even a comedy skit 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 — but only because the information was in the public record by that point.  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.

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”.  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”).  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.  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: “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 State and Revolution

John Steppling Quote

“I am struck almost daily, I think, with the fact that the worst and often most psychologically unstable and damaged people are in the positions of the most power. And the second horror is the apathy of those who are able to see this. They see it and justify to themselves their own lack of action. There is another group, the not apathetic, but the rationally fearful. And this sort of leads back full circle to the first horror. For it is not insane or irrational, at all, to fear arrest and punishment by the state. By the organs of the state. And the power of these organs of state are in existence because the people in authority are never so crazy as not to protect their own authority and power.”

John Steppling, “Algorithm Kids”

 

Bonus links: Critique of Cynical Reason and Alain Badiou Quote

John Steppling – Population Bomb or Bomb the Population?

Link to an article by John Steppling:

“Population Bomb or Bomb the Population?”

 

Bonus links: “Ashley Dawson: Extreme Cities” (Steppling’s article essentially provides the answer to an audience question that Ashley Dawson stumbled with in this video of an otherwise excellent talk) and “Population Explosion”

Ivan Bruneau, Julian Mischi & Nicolas Renahy – Rural France in Revolt

Link to an article by Ivan Bruneau, Julian Mischi & Nicolas Renahy:

“Rural France in Revolt”

 

Bonus links: ressentiment and university discourse and The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker and Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right and “For What It’s Worth: The Yellow Vests and the Left” and “A Leftist Plea for ‘Eurocentrism'” and “Sending in the Troops”