Month: December 2008

Correa’s Idiosyncracies, Ecuador’s Collectivities & Pachamama at Winter Solstice

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There has been a lot of talk around the world and colonos even get emails from students studying the “very interesting environmental aspect” of the new Ecuadorian Constitution, which gives (human rights-like) rights to Pachamama, which is an Andean (and in some part of the Amazon) term for Mother Earth. (It is derived from Aymara and Quechua.)

Inside Ecuador, however, there is a growing resistance to the project of Correa’s government, largely due to a lack of environmental sensitivity as perceived by the social movements – the environment is systematically subordinated to capital interest – and a lacking recognition of collective rights. Indeed, the new constitution stresses the sacred nature of private property, as has previously been quoted in a post in this blog about the ways in which the constitution was presented in a misleading (half arsed) manner by The Guardian (which should be an autogenerated links below if we’re lucky!?).

In other words, there is a large discrepancy between how foreigners, especially opportunist socialists and social-democracts, perceive and, importantly, choose to represent the politrix of Rafael Correa and his government and how social movements, from peasants through urban anarchists to the people of Amazonia, perceive and resist the programmes of Correa.

As noted again and again – central to much of the criticism we’ve been on about all along – the new constitution also weds Ecuador to the IIRSA project, which is a World Bank project for the integration of infrastructures in Latin America to make it easier for global capitalism to move resources (out), goods (in), labour (around) and people (out if they complain) for the purposes of profit maximisation, asphaltation, bridge building hysteria and river way raping. The Ecuadorian part of IIRSA is first and foremost the Manta-Manaus/Manaos corridor or node in the IIRSA network of commodity trails that threaten to severely further disfigure the Andes and put an end to the world’s largest rain forest, the Amazon or Amazonia.

Anyway, there are a few current articles that make for interesting reading to keep up to date on the Ecuadorian developments, led by the idiosyncratic Correa:

According to several current and former officials, Correa often makes impulsive decisions in isolation and is reluctant to listen to dissenting views.

“This government is all about Correa and he has closed all space for debate, leading many of us no choice but to leave,” said a close ally who still supports Correa but quit a top post over policy disagreements. “He is ending up alone surrounded only by people who tells him what he wants to hear.“”

Another article deals with financial issues, such as dollarization and the price of oil and how it all hangs together from the perspective of (wanker) financial science:

“Ecuador needs an oil price of $95 to cover all the spending in its budget, according to Barclays. The government had a surplus of $508 million in the first half of the year, Correa said Sept. 20.

“Correa’s only choice for growing the economy is the public sector,” said Bernal at Bulltick. “The lower the price of oil goes, the more the need for Correa to deliver on the fiscal front. Ecuadoreans will only live with Correa as long as they have expectations of growth.”

Then a really useful overview of things provided by an uncommon bed fellow of colonos, Socialist Worker:

“A MORE serious conflict is developing over government environmental policies that benefit mining companies. To crack down on anti-mining protests, Correa has ordered the use of brutal military force, a move bitterly condemned by the social movements.

Even Correa own coalition, Alianza País, is having internal contradictions. Recently, he issued a warning by declaring that he will dissolve the party if more internal infighting continues. He also took the opportunity to define his political project as “an ideological project of the nationalist left.”

But Correa’s nationalism is in opposition to indigenous people’s conception of their own nation, one that stretches across national boundaries from the Amazon to the Andean region. To the extent that indigenous people assert their historic claims to their lands, they are seen as a political threat by both multinational corporations and Correa.

The stakes in this conflict were raised on October 12–Columbus Day, traditionally seen as day of resistance by the indigenous peoples of the Americas. In neighboring Colombia, indigenous groups staged a levantamiento (uprising) to protest government repression and demand more cultural and political rights. The uprising in Colombia inspired indigenous people and their allies throughout the region–including in Ecuador.”

There is also a short piece on Plan Colombia, which is part of the War on Drugs by the Evil Empire and therefore, one might hope, will face some sort of reforms under Obama bin Ltd., and, then, finally some sort of list by Reuter’s, who as usual has been pasting capitalistic-financial propaganda about all the horrible and out of order things anyone left of Henry Kissinger might dare to think or, God help it, act. Just read it in the inverse, as it were :)

Happy Winter Solstice!

winter_solstice

Giorgio Agamben: Terrorism or tragicomedy?

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A piece by philosopher Giorgio Agamben, whose incredibly long footnote (pp. 11-22) in “State of Exception” is essential reading for anyone still suffering from illusions about “liberal democracy”, is circulating and reproduced here:

Giorgio Agamben: Terrorism or tragicomedy?

On the morning of November 11, 150 police officers, most of which belonged to the anti-terrorist brigades, surrounded a village of 350 inhabitants on the Millevaches plateau, before raiding a farm in order to arrest nine young people (who ran the local grocery store and tried to revive the cultural life of the village). Four days later, these nine people were sent before an anti-terrorist judge and “accused of criminal conspiracy with terrorist intentions.” The newspapers reported that the Ministry of the Interior and the Secretary of State “had congratulated local and state police for their diligence.”
Everything is in order, or so it would appear. But let’s try to examine the facts a little more closely and grasp the reasons and the results of this “diligence.”

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Climate Change Denial, Holocaust Denial: Death Sentences Through History

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There is a new movement of denials – although the Holocaust deniers are still around, the far right have found a new thing to deny – this time that the Earth is heating up due to excessive energy consumption and wars for more oil to burn going to more wars for more oil and gas and water control…

The Bush family – who made their fortune with great help of the Nazis – controls a huge region in Paraguay, neighbouring the Christian Tongil sect/movement’s leader, Mr. Moon, which is incidentally the second largest fresh water reserve on the planet and protected by the US military.

Now why do you think that they bought that? Because they like the Paraguayan countryside, or because they know that the water is running out? And how would they know that the water us running out? Well, their business models depend on oil and war and all those things that destroy the water, so it isn’t very difficult to see how that realisation came about. Even people like Bush might care for their own children. If they can make such decisions wittingly, then they can be tried for crimes against humanity, as NASA’s James Hansen, himself a conservative/republican, advocates.

This quick post was prompted by an incoming link from yet another climate change denier. I left a comment in the blog, but seeing as it was held for moderation I imagined that it might not pass the filtering process, so I better paste the comment here. It is a response to some distortion by a Conservative in the City, claiming that Al Gore started the advanced the environmental movements against climate change – which is either completely ignorant and dimwitted or a deliberate denial of history of social movements.

Ever since Gory Al produced his Toyota advertising piece, yes, indeed, there has been a scam moving across the planet suggesting to governments and people that we can produce and shop our way out of this predicament, if we just buy small Toyota cars and energy saving light bulbs.
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Psychopath or Ingenious Business Man? What’s the difference?

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Today the news broke that the “charismatic leader” of Denmark’s finest and “most successful” IT company was indeed a complete fraud, who was running an elaborate scam (including a mysterious violent assault; lost dope head cycle team; false MBA; and a Hells Angels bodyguard).

UPDATE: There has been suspicion all along – IT-journalist and blogger, Dorte Toft, has been pointing to inconsistencies and lies for years in the phenomenon that has become IT Factory and which has a shady past (document fraud, tax evasions etc.; known to the chairman) that Stein Bagger hired specialists to remove from view in search engines. Moreover, this stinks of the usual business of the celebrity-industrial complex, – with an ex-wife connected to an Emir, expensive habits, like a luxury speed boat, billionaires and gangsters, bribery, and all kinds of distasteful, greedy, anti-social, arrogant behaviour, which unsurprisingly is likely to become film material.

FURTHER UPDATE: In another bizarre twist, the media now reports that the family of the man – with whom they are so close and who committed fraud worth 100 million pounds – complains that so many people are busy throwing mud and then washing their hands – which is bizarre because they themselves state that they “know nothing about his business”. So here we are, rich and powerful, business people themselves, they know nothing about the person with whom they are so close and who has been engaged with organised crime, Hell Angels bodyguard and god knows what else they’re going to dig up?? Well, who, really, are busy washing their hands?

Stein Bagger, former boss of the now bankrupt IT Factory, has suddenly disappeared during a family and friends trip to Dubai where he left his now obviously distressed wife and a child without warning, prompting “an expert” (psychologist) to claim that he is probably a psychopath that “wanted money more than his family” – laughing all the way to his off shore accounts:

The company is bankrupt, politicians calling it a tragedy, and it is suggested that he might have received news in Dubai that the card house he so secretively had built for years was about to collapse (perhaps related to this), so he did a runner, simple as that..?

Well, what is actually a psychopath, you might wonder!? Wikipedia reads (at the moment):

“The psychopath is defined by a psychological gratification in criminal, sexual, or aggressive impulses and the inability to learn from past mistakes. Individuals with this disorder gain satisfaction through their antisocial behavior and also lack a conscience.”

Making lots of money at the cost of others – the business that is so usual in the capitalist economy – does that not require quite a bit of conscience suspension? Just a wee bit of psychopathy? Or a touch of sociopathy? Or, perhaps, extreme ignorance, which is not really that easy to imagine of well educated and affluent people who get around, – surely they know that they have blood on their hands, or do they? A bit of a Catch 33, either you are a psychopath if you know what you’re doing, and if you don´t know what you’re doing you’re criminally ignorant.

In any case, this whole story made me think of The Corporation, by Joel Bakan:

Summary in English by Politiken here.