jueves, mayo 26, 2011

La Canadiensidad al palo...

se me fueron sumando temas para armar una entrada sobre 'la canadiensidad al palo', aca van todas juntas y entreveradas:
1. Globe and Mail, el segundo diario mas grande de Canada, hace un público endorsement por el derechoso y 'free market' aliado yanki Harper previo a las elecciones que lo vio ganar con el 40% de los votos y obtener un gobierno mayoritario por 4 años (va a terminar gobernando x 10 años con los otros 6 de gobierno minoritario, la decada harper...). al principio me parecio incorrecto, como un diario dice publicamente a quien bancan, sería como que La Nación diga en su editorial "nosotros apoyamos a Duhalde", lo cual me parece ahora tal vez hasta mas sincero, porque en realidad todos sabemos (o creemos saber) a quien banca tal o cual multimedio, pero nadie tiene los huevos de decirlo. al final y al cabo uno puede pedir una minima objetividad en el tratamiento de los hechos pero sabe que nunca obtendra ni una pizca de imparcialidad...

2. los canucks despues de un partido raro (vimos los ultimos minutos del tercer periodo mientras ana alimentaba a franka) le empataron a san jose en los ultimos 20 segundos con un gol rarisimo. desp ganaron en overtime y pasaron a la final de la stanley cup (tapandome la boca sobre su pechofrioismo). la gente en granvile street en donwtown a full... hasta yo sali (a la puerta de casa) y grite "gooooooooool" cuando metieron el 2 a 2... nosotros habiamos ido a comprar pañales y demas utensillos bebisticos y en la calle no habia un alma, parecia una semifinal argentina-italia de futbol...(quien hubiera dicho que ibamos a estar viendo hockey sobre hielo e inclusive emocionandonos con un gol)

3. hace unas semanas ocurrieron varias demostraciones en contra de varias de las grandes multinacionales mineras con sede en Vancouver, sobre todo Gold Corp y First Majestic Silver. vino gente de el salvador, chile, nicaragua, y se sumaron organizaciones indigenas de canada y activistas, e investigadores. de a poco se esta mostrando los megadesastres sociales y ecologicos que estan generando y la convivencia con los gobiernos para que puedan armar una maquinas gigantescas de destruir para muchisimos y de llenarse de dinero para solo unos pocos. debemos generar un camino que lleve al total control de los recursos naturales por parte de las personas que viven en esos lugares, y de la figura juridica de "personas no-humanas" porque no solo se destruye y ataca a los seres humanos sino a los no-humanos...

miércoles, mayo 18, 2011

Fringe, Fukushima, Fascism, and Failure (of the State)

Like in Fringe we live in a world with two parallel universes, they often get in contact, but they are in competence and wanting to destroy one another. One universe in fact has more power, at least in terms of resources, than the other and is trying to disband and wipe it out in order to take full control of our world. But the big irony is that this other universe cannot exist without our universe, not even for a second, they need it for survive. Indeed, both universes are embarked on the same journey and anything that happen to one would have an effect on the other.
These two universes are not other than the 20% of the wealthiest people who control more than 80% of the resources and wealth of this world and the other universe are the rest 80%. These universes are mixed and its distribution varies depending the country, region, city, neighborhood; for instance, in the USA the top 1% wealthiest control more than 35%, the top 20% wealthiest control 85% of the wealth while the 40% poorer control 0.3% of the wealth!
This takes us to Fukushima. The Japanese atomic-radioactive disaster is only one of many eco-social disasters in which we are living. The “safe zone” of 30 or 40 km around it is nothing more than an “amberization” ala Fringe, and we are now living in this world with too many amber zones, too many Fukushimas, BP's spills, Goiania accident, The Sydney Tar Ponds, Chernobyl,…
Fascism: In a good article in Aljazeera, William Robinson talks about the 21stC. fascism in the USA and the global capitalism and the right wing propaganda and politic agenda, one that no one wants to dismantle, one that Obama is following without any alteration. Of course, Obama is not McCain or Pallin but in relation to the socio-economic structure he is doing exactly what they would be doing, what Clinton did, what the Bushes did, which is to help to expand the concentration of power and resources and the exclusion of million of people within and without USA.
Fascism and Fukushima go hand by hand because there are deep connections between the super-concentrated powers of military-industrial-nuclear-mining-oil-pharmaceutical corporations and the State powers. France, USA and Japan have in common that they have nuclearized their societies (France is the most nuclearized of all). They didn’t find other ways nor they wanted to find other ways to produce energy (though Japan is a special case). Now the Fukushima disaster is sleeping away from the mass media coverage, but in fact there is a massive destruction that will last for hundred of thousands of years. And TECPO, the company that runs the atomic center, has hired all the former high staff of the state controlling agency...
And this takes us to the failure of the state. We live in a world were neo-liberalism with the concrete idea of “free market” and “fee will” would guide us all. But this is not true, we have to control with more politics the economical powers, the corporations and governments that are destroying our world. Global capitalism is amberizing the whole planet.
Again, we live in the same world and we have to find ways to make peace between them and us, like Peter did in the last episode of season 3: we have to make them and us find a way to save our only world…

domingo, mayo 15, 2011

Global capitalism and 21st century fascism (levantado de Aljazeera)

The crisis of global capitalism is unprecedented, given its magnitude, its global reach, the extent of ecological degradation and social deterioration, and the scale of the means of violence. We truly face a crisis of humanity. The stakes have never been higher; our very survival is at risk. We have entered into a period of great upheavals and uncertainties, of momentous changes, fraught with dangers - if also opportunities.

I want to discuss here the crisis of global capitalism and the notion of distinct political responses to the crisis, with a focus on the far-right response and the danger of what I refer to as 21st century fascism, particularly in the United States.

Facing the crisis calls for an analysis of the capitalist system, which has undergone restructuring and transformation in recent decades. The current moment involves a qualitatively new transnational or global phase of world capitalism that can be traced back to the 1970s, and is characterised by the rise of truly transnational capital and a transnational capitalist class, or TCC. Transnational capital has been able to break free of nation-state constraints to accumulation beyond the previous epoch, and with it, to shift the correlation of class and social forces worldwide sharply in its favour - and to undercut the strength of popular and working class movements around the world, in the wake of the global rebellions of the 1960s and the 1970s.

Emergent transnational capital underwent a major expansion in the 1980s and 1990s, involving hyper-accumulation through new technologies such as computers and informatics, through neo-liberal policies, and through new modalities of mobilising and exploiting the global labour force - including a massive new round of primitive accumulation, uprooting, and displacing hundreds of millions of people - especially in the third world countryside, who have become internal and transnational migrants.

We face a system that is now much more integrated, and dominant groups that have accumulated an extraordinary amount of transnational power and control over global resources and institutions.

Militarised accumulation, financial speculation - and the sacking of public budgets

By the late 1990s, the system entered into chronic crisis. Sharp social polarisation and escalating inequality helped generate a deep crisis of over-accumulation. The extreme concentration of the planet's wealth in the hands of the few and the accelerated impoverishment, and dispossession of the majority, even forced participants in the 2011 World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos to acknowledge that the gap between the rich and the poor worldwide is "the most serious challenge in the world" and is "raising the spectre of worldwide instability and civil wars."

Global inequalities and the impoverishment of broad majorities mean that transnational capitals cannot find productive outlets to unload the enormous amounts of surplus it has accumulated. By the 21st century, the TCC turned to several mechanisms to sustain global accumulation, or profit making, in the face of this crisis.

One is militarised accumulation; waging wars and interventions that unleash cycles of destruction and reconstruction and generate enormous profits for an ever-expanding military-prison-industrial-security-financial complex. We are now living in a global war economy that goes well beyond such "hot wars" in Iraq or Afghanistan.

For instance, the war on immigrants in the United States and elsewhere, and more generally, repression of social movements and vulnerable populations, is an accumulation strategy independent of any political objectives. This war on immigrants is extremely profitable for transnational corporations. In the United States, the private immigrant prison-industrial complex is a boom industry. Undocumented immigrants constitute the fastest growing sector of the US prison population and are detained in private detention centres and deported by private companies contracted out by the US state.

It is no surprise that William Andrews, the CEO of the Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA - the largest private US contractor for immigrant detention centres - declared in 2008 that: "The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts … or through decriminalisation [of immigrants]." Nor is it any surprise that CCA and other corporations have financed the spate of neo-fascist anti-immigrant legislation in Arizona and other US states.
The passing of the anti-illegal immigrants law in Arizona sparked national protests and outrage [GALLO/GETTY]

A second mechanism is the raiding and sacking of public budgets. Transnational capital uses its financial power to take control of state finances and to impose further austerity on the working majority, resulting in ever greater social inequality and hardship. The TCC has used its structural power to accelerate the dismantling of what remains of the social wage and welfare states.

And a third is frenzied worldwide financial speculation - turning the global economy into a giant casino. The TCC has unloaded billions of dollars into speculation in the housing market, the food, energy and other global commodities markets, in bond markets worldwide (that is, public budgets and state finances), and into every imaginable "derivative", ranging from hedge funds to swaps, futures markets, collateralised debt obligations, asset pyramiding, and ponzi schemes. The 2008 collapse of the global financial system was merely the straw that broke the camel's back.

This is not a cyclical but a structural crisis - a restructuring crisis, such as we had in the 1970s, and before that, in the 1930s - that has the potential to become a systemic crisis, depending on how social agents respond to the crisis and on a host of unknown contingencies. A restructuring crisis means that the only way out of crisis is to restructure the system, whereas a systemic crisis is one in which only a change in the system itself will resolve the crisis. Times of crisis are times of rapid social change, when collective agency and contingency come into play more than in times of equilibrium in a system.

Responses to the crisis and Obama's Weimar republic in the United States

In the face of crisis there appear to be distinct responses from states and social and political forces. Three stand out: global reformism; resurgent of popular and leftist struggles from below; far-right and 21st century fascism. There appears to be, above all, a political polarisation worldwide between the left and the right, both of which are insurgent forces.

A neo-fascist insurgency is quite apparent in the United States. This insurgency can be traced back several decades, to the far-right mobilisation that began in the wake of the crisis of hegemony brought about by the mass struggles of the 1960s and the 1970s, especially the Black and Chicano liberation struggles and other militant movements by third world people, counter-cultural currents, and militant working class struggles.

Neo-fascist forces re-organised during the years of the George W Bush government. But my story here starts with Obama's election.

The Obama project from the start was an effort by dominant groups to re-establish hegemony in the wake of its deterioration during the Bush years (which also involved the rise of a mass immigrant rights movement). Obama's election was a challenge to the system at the cultural and ideological level, and has shaken up the racial/ethnic foundations upon which the US republic has always rested. However, the Obama project was never intended to challenge the socio-economic order; to the contrary; it sought to preserve and strengthen that order by reconstituting hegemony, conducting a passive revolution against mass discontent and spreading popular resistance that began to percolate in the final years of the Bush presidency.

The Italian socialist Antonio Gramsci developed the concept of passive revolution to refer to efforts by dominant groups to bring about mild change from above in order to undercut mobilisation from below for more far-reaching transformation. Integral to passive revolution is the co-option of leadership from below; its integration into the dominant project. Dominant forces in Egypt, Tunisia, and elsewhere in the Middle East and North America are attempting to carry out such a passive revolution. With regard to the immigrant rights movement in the United States - one of the most vibrant social movements in that country -moderate/mainstream Latino establishment leaders were brought into the Obama and Democratic Party fold – a classic case of passive revolution - while the mass immigrant base suffers intensified state repression.

Obama's campaign tapped into and helped expand mass mobilisation and popular aspirations for change not seen in many years in the United States. The Obama project co-opted that brewing storm from below, channelled it into the electoral campaign, and then betrayed those aspirations, as the Democratic Party effectively demobilised the insurgency from below with more passive revolution.

In this sense, the Obama project weakened the popular and left response from below to the crisis, which opened space for the right-wing response to the crisis - for a project of 21st century fascism - to become insurgent. Obama's administration appears in this way as a Weimar republic. Although the social democrats were in power during the Weimar republic of Germany in the 1920s and early 1930s, they did not pursue a leftist response to the crisis, but rather side-lined the militant trade unions, communists and socialists, and progressively pandered to capital and the right before turning over power to the Nazis in 1933.

21st century fascism in the United States

I don't use the term fascism lightly. There are some key features of a 21st century fascism I identify here:

The fusion of transnational capital with reactionary political power
This fusion had been developing during the Bush years and would likely have deepened under a McCain-Palin White House. In the meantime, such neo-fascist movements as the Tea Party as well as neo-fascist legislation such as Arizona's anti-immigrant law, SB1070, have been broadly financed by corporate capital. Three sectors of transnational capital in particular stand out as prone to seek fascist political arrangements to facilitate accumulation: speculative financial capital, the military-industrial-security complex, and the extractive and energy (particularly petroleum) sector.
Militarisation and extreme masculinisation
As militarised accumulation has intensified the Pentagon budget, increasing 91 per cent in real terms in the past 12 years, the top military brass has become increasingly politicised and involved in policy making.
A scapegoat which serves to displace and redirect social tensions and contradictions
In this case, immigrants and Muslims in particular. The Southern Poverty Law Centre recently reported that "three strands of the radical right - hate groups, nativist extremist groups, and patriot organisations - increased from 1,753 groups in 2009 to 2,145 in 2010, a 22 per cent rise, that followed a 2008-9 increase of 40 per cent."

A 2010 Department of Homeland Security report observed that "right wing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on the fears about several emergency issues. The economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for right wing radicalisation and recruitment." The report concluded: "Over the past five years, various right wing extremists, including militia and white supremacists, have adopted the immigration issue as a call to action, rallying point, and recruitment tool."
A mass social base
In this case, such a social base is being organised among sectors of the white working class that historically enjoyed racial caste privilege and that have been experiencing displacement and experiencing rapid downward mobility as neo-liberalism comes to the US - while they are losing the security and stability they enjoyed in the previous Fordist-Keynesian epoch of national capitalism.
A fanatical millennial ideology involving race/culture supremacy embracing an idealised and mythical past, and a racist mobilisation against scapegoats
The ideology of 21st century fascism often rests on irrationality - a promise to deliver security and restore stability is emotive, not rational. 21st century fascism is a project that does not - and need not - distinguish between the truth and the lie.
A charismatic leadership
Such a leadership has so far been largely missing in the United States, although figures such as Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck appear as archetypes.

The mortal circuit of accumulation-exploitation-exclusion

One new structural dimension of 21st century global capitalism is the dramatic expansion of the global superfluous population - that portion marginalised and locked out of productive participation in the capitalist economy and constituting some 1/3rd of humanity. The need to assure the social control of this mass of humanity living in a planet of slums gives a powerful impetus to neo-fascist projects and facilitates the transition from social welfare to social control - otherwise known as "police states". This system becomes ever more violent.

Theoretically stated - under the conditions of capitalist globalisation - the state's contradictory functions of accumulation and legitimation cannot both be met. The economic crisis intensifies the problem of legitimation for dominant groups so that accumulation crises, such as the present one, generate social conflicts and appear as spiralling political crises. In essence, the state's ability to function as a "factor of cohesion" within the social order breaks down to the extent that capitalist globalisation and the logic of accumulation or commodification penetrates every aspect of life, so that "cohesion" requires more and more social control.

Displacement and exclusion has accelerated since 2008. The system has abandoned broad sectors of humanity, who are caught in a deadly circuit of accumulation-exploitation-exclusion. The system does not even attempt to incorporate this surplus population, but rather tries to isolate and neutralise its real or potential rebellion, criminalising the poor and the dispossessed, with tendencies towards genocide in some cases.

As the state abandons efforts to secure legitimacy among broad swathes of the population that have been relegated to surplus - or super-exploited - labour, it resorts to a host of mechanisms of coercive exclusion: mass incarceration and prison-industrial complexes, pervasive policing, manipulation of space in new ways, highly repressive anti-immigrant legislation, and ideological campaigns aimed at seduction and passivity through petty consumption and fantasy.
Militarised ideology has intensified the Pentagon's budget, and military officials are increasingly involved in policy-making [GALLO/GETTY]

A 21st fascism would not look like 20th century fascism. Among other things, the ability of dominant groups to control and manipulate space and to exercise an unprecedented control over the mass media, the means of communication and the production of symbolic images and messages, means that repression can be more selective (as we see in Mexico or Colombia, for example), and also organised juridically so that mass "legal" incarceration takes the place of concentration camps. Moreover, the ability of economic power to determine electoral outcomes allows for 21st century fascism to emerge without a necessary rupture in electoral cycles and a constitutional order.

The United States cannot be characterised at this time as fascist. Nonetheless, all of the conditions and the processes are present and percolating, and the social and political forces behind such a project are mobilising rapidly. More generally, images in recent years of what such a political project would involve spanned the Israeli invasion of Gaza and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, to the scapegoating and criminalisation of immigrant workers and the Tea Party movement in the United States, genocide in the Congo, the US/United Nations occupation of Haiti, the spread of neo-Nazis and skinheads in Europe, and the intensified Indian repression in occupied Kashmir.

The counterweight to 21st century fascism must be a coordinated fight-back by the global working class. The only real solution to the crisis of global capitalism is a massive redistribution of wealth and power - downward towards the poor majority of humanity. And the only way such redistribution can come about is through mass transnational struggle from below.

William I. Robinson a professor of sociology and global studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

jueves, mayo 12, 2011

¿Fifty fifty? por Carlos del Frade (Agencia Pelota de Trapo)

(APe).- “…Por los principios sociales que Perón ha establecido…”, dicen los versos cantados por Hugo del Carril.

La Marcha peronista ha atravesado la historia contemporánea argentina y forma parte del recuerdo siempre revisitado por miles y miles de habitantes de estos arrabales del mundo.

A finales del primer gobierno peronista, aquel surgido del subsuelo de la patria sublevado -como decía Scalabrini Ortiz- del 17 de octubre de 1945, los distintos economistas e historiadores coinciden que el 53 por ciento del Producto Bruto Interno, la famosa torta que construyen los trabajadores y gran parte se quedan los empresarios, correspondía al sector laboral.

Nunca más se dio semejante porcentaje en la distribución de la riqueza.

Al viejo general le gustaba hablar de que era el fifty fifty.

Un cincuenta y cincuenta por ciento que justificaba su idea de la tercera posición y la alianza de clases.

Casi sesenta años después, desde la Casa Rosada volvió a surgir aquella ecuación.

-Estamos llegando al fifty fifty del que hablaba Perón - dijo la presidenta de la Nación, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, a principios de mayo. Según los curiosos números que maneja entiende que los trabajadores argentinos se quedan casi con la mitad de lo que producen, mientras que los patrones, con la otra. Armonía entre las clases sociales. Inexistencia de desigualdades. Eso dice la presidenta sobre la realidad argentina actual de 2011.

Es una afirmación curiosa, llamativa, provocativa, alejada de la realidad concreta.

Otros números dicen lo contrario.

Por un lado aumentaron los programas de ayuda social pero, en forma paralela, también se incrementa la pobreza.

De tal forma, ¿dónde está, señora presidenta, el fifty fifty del que hablaba el máximo referente del movimiento político que hoy usted encabeza?

Para los integrantes de la Fundación Siena, el gobierno nacional aumentó las partidas sociales de 85 mil millones de pesos en 2007, a más de 227 mil millones para este año 2011. Un 60 por ciento del presupuesto nacional.

Una cifra que, por otro lado, pone de manifiesto la necesidad de producir paliativos a una realidad que está lejos de la igualdad en el reparto de la torta como pretende la presidenta.

Para la Fundación, uno de los planes que tuvo un fuerte aumento presupuestario en los últimos dos años es Argentina Trabaja, que pasó de 1.500 millones de pesos en 2010 a 3.787 millones, en 2011. De acuerdo a los investigadores, “este programa, cuyo objetivo es la generación de puestos de trabajo en organizaciones comunitarias, presenta una distribución que no responde a criterios objetivos, como la desocupación o la población. Por ejemplo, el programa sólo distribuye los recursos a diez provincias y a la ciudad de Buenos Aires. Pero el territorio bonaerense concentra el 68 por ciento de los fondos previstos para este año y hay distritos no kirchneristas, como Catamarca, Chubut y Tierra del Fuego, que registran tasas de desocupación superiores al 7 por ciento y no recibieron ni un centavo”, apuntan las notas periodísticas que publican la investigación.

En el caso del denominado programa Techo Digno, los mayores aportes se concentran en la provincia de Buenos Aires. Allí va destinado el 37,2 por ciento de los fondos, ya que tiene el 33,8 por ciento de las viviendas del país con privación material en el acceso a los servicios e infraestructura social básica. Pero el mismo programa se distribuye a Jujuy (apenas el 0,6 por ciento) y Salta (1,6 por ciento), que tienen más déficit habitacional que otros distritos.

En forma paralela, “el informe también advierte que llama la atención que Chaco y Santiago del Estero reciban menos recursos en el programa de seguro de desempleo que Chubut, cuando tienen más población y tasas de desocupación más elevadas. Para los investigadores, es fundamental “mejorar la calidad y transparencia en la información sobre la distribución geográfica de los programas y establecer criterios objetivos de asignación del gasto”.

La conclusión es que la ayuda social creció dos veces y media pero la pobreza no baja del 30 por ciento de la población total de la Argentina.

Una clara postal de la temeraria afirmación presidencial sobre que en el país se había alcanzado el fifty fifty del que hablaba el viejo General.

miércoles, mayo 04, 2011