Thursday 31 August 2017

The Poverty of the New Left.

"Like ideology, the concept of the proletariat, so prominent in The Communist Manifesto, could also be jettisoned. (…) By the 1980s, the center of radical activity had moved away from working-class organizations and toward what came to be called the ‘new social movements.' Problems of race, gender, and sexuality were generating the most self-conscious, committed, and consequential political subjects". (Bruce Robbins explaining the wisdom of Étienne Balibar's New Left-style idiosyncratic "Marxism")

To say that since 2015 there have been many ruffled feathers among the American trendy Left is an understatement. Feathers weren't just ruffled, they have flown.

I'm talking about one of those debates which not for surreal are less heated. Outrage, hissy fits galore: heroic revolutionary battles fought online. Precisely the kind of thing the upper-middle class New Age-leftish intellectuals find irresistible. It seemingly dies out, just to reignite spontaneously a little later. Its details are unimportant here, suffice it to say it involves the words "transgender" and "transracialism", plus a TV celebrity. I quickly add that I have no dog in that hunt, as they say. Instead I adopt Crooked Timber's cautious approach in the latest round of the Fight of the Century.

Saturday 26 August 2017

Only in Australia.

Separated at birth? Tony Abbott [A] Boris Yeltsin [B].

From the creative genius behind "Centrelink Fake Debts", comes the new farce comedy "Centrelink Random Drug Tests": as part of a trial, from next January the unemployed recipients of Newstart Allowance in the Canterbury/Bankstown area of Sydney will be forced to pass random drug tests as a requisite to get the dole (AU$ 267.80 a week, single/no dependents rate). To have an idea of how much that fortune buys, check the availability of boarding-house rooms for rent in Bankstown, courtesy of Domain.

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Here Come the Rednecks.

They are rednecks and proud of it. Their background is rural/working class; they are armed and know how to use their weapons. They don't mind long bushy beards. They ride motorbikes, drink beer, and smoke. They, too, dislike liberals.

The upper-middle class, respectable, educated, leftish-liberals, of all races, wouldn't like them. That's okay.

Saturday 19 August 2017

2 Points of View: Chomsky vs Antifa.

Conflict between the Right and the genuine Left (TM ;-)) may be getting hot. We've seen violence displayed in the streets against lefties. Maybe things won't get worse, but we cannot be sure of that.

So, what to do?

We can start by thinking.

Thursday 17 August 2017

The Alt-Left Fiasco.

"[R]esentful failsons sweating from video games and chicken fingers, cynical media wannabes, bloviating internet commenters who think they're Ignatius J. Reilly, and others who think they're the Joker". (Sam Kriss).

Who'd have guessed, it seems "Lord Keynes" finally gained a reader outside the English internet intellectual aristocracy. Sam Kriss, writing for Politico:

Tuesday 15 August 2017

Aussie Brown-Nosed Weirdness.

Australia is a strange country.

Take PM Malcolm Turnbull for instance. Like all Very Serious People, he is a fiscal conservative. So convinced that the Australian Government was running out of money he is that he authorised Centrelink (the federal agency in charge of making social security payments) to issue fake debt notices to former recipients of social security payments.

The Government extorting money from people who owe them nothing? Isn't that libertarians' ultimate no-no? Well, not in Australia, no siree: Turnbull is the federal leader of the Liberal/National Coalition ("libertarian, conservative, centre-right").

Wednesday 9 August 2017

Happy Anniversary, Capitalism.

Ten years ago, this was the news:


Next year, after BNP Paribas troubles, the sudden deaths of Countrywide Financial, Lehman Brothers, and Bear Stearns, led the US Federal Government to create TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program), endowed with US$700 billion, to bailout other moribund financial institutions, plus Chrysler and General Motors. They all were too big to fail. The developed world plunged into depression.

That's one side of the capitalist coin. This is its other side:

Monday 7 August 2017

Bits and Pieces: Slums, Red Rosa, and Ruccio.

Writing for Jacobin, Colette Shade comments on the BBC series "Victorian Slum House", presented by Michael Mosley, broadcast in Australia by SBS as "Queen Victoria's Slum".

She seemed fairly positive about the show, so I reluctantly decided to give it a go: I'm not much of a TV watcher.

Saturday 5 August 2017

Boiling Frogs.


Eastern/Southern European readers know it's summer: the temperature there is going above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit, for American readers).

Thursday 3 August 2017

I, Too, Know a Keynesian When I Hear One!

After promising that the Great Again US of A would have a "physical, tall, powerful, beautiful Southern border wall", costing $US21 billion paid entirely by the rapists tough hombres South of the border, period, no buts, no ifs, end of the story, it turns out now that this was the very, very, very great talk between the mighty The Donald and México's El Presidente, Enrique Peña Nieto.