propaganda

Enclosure, inequality and the tediousness of Malthusianism

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This is a very short entry, but should provide food for thought about the misleading rhetoric derived from Malthusian thought, when put in the context of enclosure and the consequent extreme inequalities. Be warned, the following quotes from E. P. Thompson’s  “The making of the English working class” document what must have been a tremendous trauma:

“[We] should remember that the spirit of agricultural improvement in the 18th century was impelled less by altruistic desires to banish ugly wastes or – as the tedious phrase goes – to “feed a growing population” than by the desire for fatter rent-rools and larger profits” (Thompson 1963/1966: 217).

“The arguments of the enclosure propagandists were commonly phrased in terms of higher rental values and higher yield per acre. In village after village, enclosure destroyed the … subsistence economy of the poor – the cow or geese, fuel from the commons, gleanings, and all the rest. The cottager without legal proof of rights was rarely compensated. The cottager who was able to establish his claim was left with a parcel of land inadequate for subsistence and a disproportionate share of the very high enclosure costs: (Thompson 1963/1966: 217)

“For example, in the enclosure of Barton-on-Humber, where attention was paid to common rights, we find that out of nearly 6,000 acres, 63% (3,733 acres) was divided between three people, while fifty-one people were awarded between one and three acres: or, broken down another way, ten owners accounted for 81% of the land enclosed, while the reamining 19% was divided between 116 people. The average rental value of the arable land enclosed rose in five years (1794-9) from 6s. 6d. To 20s. an acre; and average rentals in the parish were more than trebled” (Thompson 1963/1966: 217; my italics)

That resistance fomented, riots broke out and uprisings were attempted repeatedly throughout the realm is hardly of surprise. Neither is it very surprising that consequently the systematic repression intensified and society became very polarised. “The profession of a soldier was held to be dishonourable” (Thompson 1963/1966: 81), the police was instituted as a preventative force of control and survelliance, deterrence and threat – although “[r]esistance to an effective police force continued well into the 19th century (ibid.) – and a very wide range of new “thanatocratic” laws to manage the effects of enclosure – vagrancy, poverty, despair, homelessness, hunger – were enacted. These processes have been covered in Peter Linebaugh’s “The London Hanged: Crime and Civil Society in the Eighteenth Century (Linebaugh 2003/2006; particularly 42-73). In very brief, these draconian laws to keep the poor in check well define what capitalist democracy looks like:

“The year 1661 saw the promulgation of the first slave code in English history, enacting that human beings become “real chattels” … Also in 1661 the thirty-six Articles of War were promulgated … twenty-two of which provide the death penalty … Besdies that thanatocratic code, discipline in the navy was maintained by “customs of the sea” [including]: the spead eagle, ducking, mastheading, keelhauling, marrying the gunner’s daughter, and the cat-of-nine-tails. In addition to the slave codes, the military codes and the Irish penal code, the criminal code with its “new” capital offences formed the characteristics of this era of substantive British law” (Linebaugh 2003/2006: 53).

Welcome to capitalist democracy – this is what its roots look like!

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Download Fest: Pirate Bay site sold to game firm!

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Today The Guardian writes “Pirate Bay site sold to game firm“, so the download fest is over – the hosts run for cover under the wings of capital interest?! No news there, then, really. Capital recuperation, primitive accumulation, enclosure and so on – many names for the old familiar saga of the ever richer. Anyway, the fest was fun as long as it lasted, or is it only just getting started, perhaps? The next few months will likely see torrential downloading via The Pirate Bay: grab what you can before civilization and its laws enter the bay. That leaves us with only one question: where can the next hidden bay be found in the liquid architecture of cyberspace?

Or so one might think. The Pirate Bay people don’t:


TPB might change owner

Yes, it’s true.

News reached the press today in Sweden – The Pirate Bay might get aquired by Global Gaming Factory X AB.

A lot of people are worried. We’re not and you shouldn’t be either!

TPB is being sold for a great bit underneath it’s value if the money would be the interesting part. It’s not. The interesting thing is that the right people with the right attitude and possibilities keep running the site.
As all of you know, there’s not been much news on the site for the past two-three years. It’s the same site essentially. On the internets, stuff dies if it doesn’t evolve. We don’t want that to happen.

We’ve been working on this project for many years. It’s time to invite more people into the project, in a way that is secure and safe for everybody. We need that, or the site will die. And letting TPB die is the last thing that is allowed to happen!

If the new owners will screw around with the site, nobody will keep using it. That’s the biggest insurance one can have that the site will be run in the way that we all want to. And – you can now not only share files but shares with people. Everybody can indeed be the owner of The Pirate Bay now. That’s awesome and will take the heat of us.

Nevertheless, we can always hope that other pirates are conspiring to carve out a little nice for sharing and cooperating somewhere …. Guardian article below…

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Obama: A Mad Men Creation of Lies, Wars and Torture for Profit

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When the Obamamania swept the public imagination of TV watching, non-critical minds and those so desperate for change that anything? seemed believable, the colonos blog, as so many others outside of the corporate conspiracy practices, pointed out that – if any change at all – Obama was for the worse. More intimately linked to zionist extremists, particularly through Rahm Emanuel, deeper in bed with corporate banks, particularly the zionist Goldman Sachs, and the elite intelligentsia, such as the racist, misogynist Larry Summers, who no longer need to be embarrassed  about their president’s IQ, Obama is quite possibly the worst thing that has ever happened in political terms to the Planet Earth.

Uncle Tom the Warmonger in the White House of Profit. Calling him black is in itself a form of (warped) racism. Born by a white woman, raised by a white woman, taught by white men, elected by white people, he walks the walk and talks the talk of the White Man. What makes him black? The genetic input of an absent father? His “tainted” skin colour? White is as white does.

What is the point of repeating these so god damn obvious aspects of the elite’s new face of control? Well, they merely serve as an introduction to a recent summary of Obama, the Mad Men business as usual leader, by journalist John Pilger, which I shall leave you with:

Obama’s First 100 Days:
The Madmen Did Well

John Pilger, On April 28, 2009 @ 9:00 pm

The American soap Madmen offers a rare glimpse of the power of corporate advertising. The promotion of smoking half a century ago by the “smart” people of Madison Avenue, who knew the truth, led to countless deaths. Advertising and its twin, public relations, became a way of deceiving on a scale imagined by those who had read Freud and applied mass psychology to anything from cigarettes to politics. Just as the Marlboro Man was virility itself, so politicians could be branded, packaged, and sold.

It is 100 days since Barack Obama was elected president of the United States. The “Obama brand” has since been named Advertising Age’s “marketer of the year for 2008,” easily beating Apple. David Fenton of MoveOn.org describes Obama’s election campaign “an institutionalized, mass-level, automated technological community organizing that has never existed before and is a very, very powerful force.” Deploying the Internet and a slogan plagiarized from the Latino union organizer Caesar Chavez – Si se puede! – “yes, we can,” the “mass-level, automated technological community” marketed its brand to victory in a country desperate to be rid of George W. Bush.

No one knew what the new brand actually stood for. So accomplished was the advertising – a record $75 million was spent on TV commercials alone – that many Americans actually believed Obama shared their opposition to Bush’s wars. In fact, he had repeatedly backed Bush’s warmongering and its congressional funding. Many Americans also believed he was the heir to Martin Luther King’s legacy of anti-colonialism. Yet if Obama had a theme at all, apart from the vacuous “change you can believe in,” it was the renewal of America as a dominant, avaricious bully. “We will be the most powerful!” he declared.

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“There are two sides: the agents of waste and the lovers of the wild.”

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The recent, very violent policing of protests against the G20 meeting in London has become a matter of concern. The story that the authorities tell is one of disobedient police officers. The story, with a bit of imagination, could be understood as if, perhaps, there aren’t just a few bad apples in the barrel, some individuals: maybe there is a disease inside the institution, indeed it is “very worrying“:

“Some officers now appeared prepared to flout recent orders from senior commanders to display their numbers, Huhne said, with another officer photographed at the protest staged by Tamils in Parliament Square with his numbers disguised. “What we appear to have is repeated cases of police officers ignoring the direct orders of their police supervisors and this is very worrying.

“There’s only one motive for a police officer disguising his identity and that’s because he thinks he’s going to be doing something reprehensible.”

Senior Metropolitan police officers held a series of crisis meetings throughout last week and sources said Sir Paul Stephenson, the new commissioner, was determined to get a grip. One Met source said he was ready to “kick some ass” among senior officers. The IPCC has received more than 185 complaints about the G20 protests, of which 44 are not eligible for consideration, including complaints from people who saw footage on TV. Around 90 complaints about use of force included witness accounts as well as those from alleged victims.”

It is obviously wishful thinking that the current concern will translate into institutional reforms on a large scale. Most likely it will subside into a few firings, extended suspensions (paid holidays) and early retirements with golden handshakes. The police as an institution is intricately connected to the economy and representative democracy, representing industrial, private interests, as such it is a force of violence that is mobilised when the masses threaten the elite. The police are the arms of the agents of waste.

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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!

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The doctrine of the Fascist state: the letter (of prominent Jews) that did not exist

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Fresh from the inbox is a letter that seemingly has been censored/suppressed for more than fifty years – it was important then and even more so now. It comes with an introduction and notes at the end and it is about the creation of a fascistoid state on Middle Eastern soil. The state colony is of course known as Israel and is a very complex matter, but there is no doubt about it: like all other states it is a social construction from the top down guided by the ulterior motives of a relatively small elite, bound up in connections of blood, networks of industrial interests and, essentially, racism clad as liberal freedom:

77 Hannah Arendt’s + Albert Einstein’s Letter to New York Times 02/04 Dec. 1948

Prominent Jews’ December, 1948
Letter To New York Times
From John Wheat Gibson
From RePorterNoteBook@aol.com
8-2-2

Below is a ‘copy’ in its entirety of a very important letter to the New York Times from Jewish intellectuals including Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt, and Sidney Hook that appeared on December 4, 1948 While it is quoted from in brief on several web sites, it appears nowhere in its entirety, and it deserves to be disseminated as it originally appears. [THIS (colonos) EDITOR’S NOTE: a .pdf scan of the letter is linked to on the Wikipedia entry for Arendt]

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Correa condemns the people to suffering and the climate to change

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Here is an article in English that mentions some of the sources referred to by colonos when noting that Rafael Correa don’t give a toss about the indigenous people and campesinos whose self-described saviour he likes to present himself as in the global media’s corporate eye – something which he to quite some extent share with his Bolivian partner in populistic crime, Evo aMoralas, who:

“…rejected oil and gas expropriation, supports Big Oil interests, and embraced business as usual policies. Under nationalizations Morales-style, current contractual arrangements are effectively intact, and the country’s mineral resources have been sold off to the greatest ever number of foreign investors.

In addition, Morales broke his promise to triple the painfully low minimum wage, increased it 10% instead, and maintained previous neoliberal fiscal austerity and economic stability policies. He also tolerates the US Drug Enforcement Agency’s intrusive presence and the Pentagon’s Chapare military base; appointed hard right economic, defense and other ministers; opposed agrarian reform; supports large landowners; provides them large subsidies and tax incentives; and backs the Confederation of Private Businessmen in Bolivia by promoting foreign investment, social spending cuts, prioritization of exports, and other pro-business policies above the interests of the people who elected him. Petras says Morales “excels in public theater” by combining “political demagogy” to his base while backing neoliberal IMF austerity and business-friendly policies”. (Read more about forgotten promises here.)

We’re much too busy to translate, sooo many documents floating about these days, so here goes from Upsidedownworld.org, beginning with a highlight:

According to the CONAIE declaration, “We reject President Rafael Correa´s racist, authoritarian and antidemocratic statements, which violate the rights of [Indigenous] nationalities and peoples enshrined in international conventions and treaties. This constitutes an attack against the construction of a plurinational and intercultural democracy in Ecuador. Correa has assumed the traditional neoliberal posture of the rightist oligarchy.

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