Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, standing beside a damaged yacht, Tuesday accused the Israeli navy of ramming the vessel to halt the delivery of medical supplies to the embattled Gaza Strip.
“Our mission was a peaceful mission,” McKinney told CNN after she and 15 others aboard the boat made it safely to the harbor in the Lebanese seaport of Tyre.
McKinney, the recent Green Party candidate for U.S. president and frequent center of controversy, is the most prominent political figure to join the relief voyages sponsored by the Free Gaza Movement.
McKinney was slated to travel by car to Beirut where she was expected to conducted media interviews and meet with Lebanese government officials, said Paul Larudee, a co-founder of the California-based Free Gaza group.
Larudee said the organization was determined to continue the relief mission, the sixth such trip to Gaza and the first to be interrupted.
“We're going to get it repaired,” Larudee said of the “Dignity,” the cabin cruiser which he said sustained damage to the hull, the bridge and the engine room.
A U.S. State Department spokesman said Tuesday that U.S. diplomats had issued no protests to Israeli authorities. “When you enter a zone of conflict, then you have to realize that it's very, very dangerous,” the spokesman told reporters.
Later, State Department spokesman Noel Clay said “there were no injuries, that we're aware of at the moment” and that “to my knowledge, consular officials have not been in contact with the American who was aboard the ship.”
McKinney was the sole American on board.
A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington described the incident as an accidental “collision” after the aid vessel drew near to an Israeli military craft and was warned away.
“The boat came very close, we called the ship to basically to turn around, we informed the ship that they wouldn't be allowed to enter Gaza,” said the embassy spokesman, Jonathan Peled. “The ship wasn't rammed, that definitely wasn't the idea.”
The Israeli naval craft did, however, prevent the aid ship from landing in Gaza, he said in a telephone interview. “We see all these ships as pure propaganda, they have journalists on them and all kinds of other people who are coming basically to provoke.”
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Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, standing beside a damaged yacht, Tuesday accused the Israeli navy of ramming the vessel to halt the delivery of medical supplies to the embattled Gaza Strip.
Having studied calendars and prophecies for the last 13 years, I discovered that before the Gregorian calendar imposition in 1582, which went on to establish the 12-Month calendar as the (unquestioned) world standard, there were vastly more accounts of thriving cultural calendar traditions and cycles observed by the peoples of the planet than survive today. These calendrical lineages offered the human-being maps of time that served to connect them to their Sacred Relationship to Time, in phase with the microcosm of their life as a reflection of the larger macrocosm of the Universe.
Nowadays, it is my feeling that as a species we have been conditioned to accept a numb and meaningless association to our calendar and how we track "time," and relate to it; how we schedule the cosmic, creative life-force that we have been granted as
students on this Earth... Straddling the globe, like a language and code casting the spell of artificial time, everywhere we look - from our daytimers, computers, cellphones, TV, doctor's offices, prisons, presidential offices, banks, supermarkets, elementary schools - we are all told the day's "date" in Gregorian terms, "Monday December 29th, 2008," but what does it mean? Where does it come from? Have we really considered what we've been subscribing to? And is this the best choice to agree upon as a planet? Is it working, is it serving the awakening of our human potential? It is reminding us to how to prioritize our human role as Shepherds
of the planet? Or is it reinforcing that we keep our focus on working, shopping, and paying our bills?... Whose agenda might it be serving?
I have come to the understanding that the Gregorian calendar operates as a veil that can distract and obscure our connection to our own natural rhythms and the natural rhythms of the Earth we live upon and Universe we dream within. Sourced in the Vatican Catholic Church, Pope Gregory the 13th, and the earlier calendars of Caesar and the Roman Empire, its mathematical structure does not reflect or teach us about the natural rhythms of our journey around the Sun, nor elucidate the spiritual meanings of our relationships to the spiralling patterns and harmonic ratios of the Stars...
As Dr. Jose Arguelles has shared in his life-long research and analysis of the Gregorian Calendar as an instrument of global social governance, its main function is to entrain us with an artifical pulse and mental construct of time that upholds the paradigm: Time is Money. Fueled by the vibration of survival fear, this mentality separates and compartmentalizes, and allows the Biosphere's resources, as well as our own human bodies and life-force, to be perceived solely as material worth to be potentially exploited, rather than respected as sentient equals, mirrors of the one web of life.
Rather than offering guidance to illuminate the sacred workings of our lives and our relationships with all of life, which is the ultimate opportunity of a sacred calendar, I conceive of the phenomena of the Gregorian calendar and its ally in linearizing time: the mechanical clock (creating together what Arguelles calls the 12:60 artificial timing frequency) as a socially-accepted, consensus reality that the whole globe is participating in, essentially because we haven't taken the time to investigate it and ascertain the effects our daily calendars and sense of time actually have upon us, our relationships, and our navigation as a Planet.
In Gregorian time, we are disassociated from the archaic, sacred meanings of the 7 days of the week, and the misnamed 12 months of the year (Sept = 7 and is the 9th month, Oct = 8 and is the 10th month, Nov = 9 and is the 11th month, etc) and their
erratic numbering of 28, 29,30,31 leave us with a feeling of disorder and chaos. Because we are not rooted to natural cycles, there is a vibration of scarcity as though we are perpetually in danger of running out of time, as its minutes seem to all be owned by some obligation, some past regret, or future stress... It doesn't help that the clock ticks relentlessly, echoing the mechanical pulse of the machine of industry, progress and the greed of the empire of the egoic mind.
This materialist relationship to time promoted by the 12-month calendar and clock is contrary to the dimension of Natural Time in which time is understood as energy; consciousness; life; the infinite possibilities of the unfolding art of beingness; synchronic patterns of fractal aesthetics... One expression of this is the 13:20 natural timing frequency, which was first recorded by the ancient Maya and then re-articulated by Dr. Jose Arguelles in the form of a 13-Month/28-day Calendar. In Natural Time we come to not only understand the simple yet complex mathematical order that underlies our cycles, but simultaneously we gradually re-connect with our inherent, internal sense of time and natural timing, grounded in our own terrestrial yet cosmic beingness.
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[ Via George ]
Chomsky and Herman explain their brilliant "propaganda model", which illustrates how the media functions in Western democracies and what constraints exist on what it can and can't say, and why.
The mass media serve as a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general populace. It is their function to amuse, entertain, and inform, and to inculcate individuals with the values, beliefs, and codes of behavior that will integrate them into the institutional structures of the larger society. In a world of concentrated wealth and major conflicts of class interest, to fulfill this role requires systematic propaganda.
In countries where the levers of power are in the hands of a state bureaucracy, the monopolistic control over the media, often supplemented by official censorship, makes it clear that the media serve the ends of a dominant elite. It is much more difficult to see a propaganda system at work where the media are private and formal censorship is absent. This is especially true where the media actively compete, periodically attack and expose corporate and governmental malfeasance, and aggressively portray themselves as spokesmen for free speech and the general community interest. What is not evident (and remains undiscussed in the media) is the limited nature of such critiques, as well as the huge inequality in command of resources, and its effect both on access to a private media system and on its behavior and performance.
A propaganda model focuses on this inequality of wealth and power and its multilevel effects on mass-media interests and choices. It traces the routes by which money and power are able to filter out the news fit to print, marginalize dissent, and allow the government and dominant private interests to get their messages across to the public. The essential ingredients of our propaganda model, or set of news "filters," fall under the following headings: (1) the size, concentrated ownership, owner wealth, and profit orientation of the dominant mass-media firms; (2) advertising as the primary income source of the mass media; (3) the reliance of the media on information provided by government, business, and "experts" funded and approved by these primary sources and agents of power; (4) "flak" as a means of disciplining the media; and (5) "anticommunism" as a national religion and control mechanism. These elements interact with and reinforce one another. The raw material of news must pass through successive filters, leaving only the cleansed residue fit to print. They fix the premises of discourse and interpretation, and the definition of what is newsworthy in the first place, and they explain the basis and operations of what amount to propaganda campaigns.
The elite domination of the media and marginalization of dissidents that results from the operation of these filters occurs so naturally that media news people, frequently operating with complete integrity and goodwill, are able to convince themselves that they choose and interpret the news "objectively" and on the basis of professional news values. Within the limits of the filter constraints they often are objective; the constraints are so powerful, and are built into the system in such a fundamental way, that alternative bases of news choices are hardly imaginable. In assessing the newsworthiness of the U.S. government's urgent claims of a shipment of MIGs to Nicaragua on November 5, 1984, the media do not stop to ponder the bias that is inherent in the priority assigned to government-supplied raw material, or the possibility that the government might be manipulating the news, imposing its own agenda, and deliberately diverting attention from other material. It requires a macro, alongside a micro- (story-by-story), view of media operations, to see the pattern of manipulation and systematic bias.
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Translation of a leaflet circulated in the occupied Athens School of Economics and elsewhere. "Alexis was “our Alexis”, he was no “other”, no foreigner, no migrant. High school students could identify with him; mothers feared losing their own child; establishment voices would turn him into a national hero. The body of the 15-year old mattered, his life was worth living, its ending was an assault against the public sphere - and for this reason mourning Alex was possible and nearly necessary"
(Self) destruction is creation
Friday, December 19, 2008
We won't forget the night of December 6th that easily. Not because the assassination of Alexis was incomprehensible. State violence, as much as it might try to construct itself into more productive formations of sovereignty, will endlessly return to dear and archetypal forms of violence. It will always retain within its structure a state disobeying the modernist command for discipline, surveillance and control of the body - opting, rather, for the extermination of the disobedient body and chosing to pay the political cost coming with this decision.
When the cop shouts “hey, you”, the subject to which this command is directed and which turns its body in the direction of authority (in the direction of the call of the cop) is innocent by default since it responds to the voice reproaching it as a product of authority. The moment when the subject disobeys this call and defies it, no matter how low-key this moment of disobedience might be (even if it didn't throw a molotov to the cop car but a water bottle) is a moment when authority loses its meaning and becomes something else: a breach that must be repaired. When the manly honour of the fascist-cop is insulted he may even kill in order to protect (as he himself will claim) his kids and his family. Moral order and male sovereignty - or else the most typical form of symbolic and material violence - made possible the assassination of Alexis; they proped the murder, produced its “truth” and made it a reality.
Along with this, at the tragic limit of a death that gives meaning to lives shaped by its shade, revolt became a reality: this incomprehensible, unpredictable convulsion of social rhythms, of the broken time/space, of the structures structured no more, of the border between what is and what is to come.
A moment of joy and play, of fear, passion and rage, of confusion and some consciousness that is grievous, dynamic and full of promises. A moment which, regardless, will either frighten itself and preserve the automations that created it or will deny itself constantly in order to become at each moment something different to what it was before: all in order to avoid ending up at the causalıty of revolts suffocated ın normalıty, revolts becoming another form of authority whilst defending themselves.
How did this revolt become possible? What right of the insurgents was vindicated, at what moment, for what murdered body? How was this symbol socialised? Alexis was “our Alexis”, he was no “other”, no foreigner, no migrant. High school students could identify with him; mothers feared losing their own child; establishment voices would turn him into a national hero. The body of the 15-year old mattered, his life was worth living, its ending was an assault against the public sphere - and for this reason mourning Alex was possible and nearly necessary. This sphere turned against a community us who revolted don't identify with, exactly like Alexis did not identify. This is a community, regardless, in which many of us many have the privilege to belong since the others recognise us as their own. The story of Alexis will be written from its end. He was a good kid, they said. The revolt, which we would have been unable to predict, became possible through the cracks of authority itself: an authority deciding what bodies matter in the social network of relations of power. The revolt, this hymn to social non-regularity, is a product of regularity… It is the revolt for “our own” body that was exterminated, for our own social body. The bullet was shot against the society as a whole. It was a wound on every bourgeois democrat who wants their own security to be reflected upon the state and its organs. The bullet was a declaration of war against society. The social contract was breached - there is no consensus. The moral and political act of resistance became possible, understandable, just, visible at the moment when it came under the terms and conditions of justice of the dominant symbolic order encompassing the social fabric.
This starting point does not cancel the righteousness of the uprising. Because the dominant Speech, the authority that gives name, shape and meaning to things, the range of dominant ideas from which the concept of social segmentation derives so as to control the hierarchical social relations have all already excluded the “hooded youths” from this community. They have cornered them at the community's dangerous borderline in order to set the limits of disobedience.
They tell us to resist but not in this fashion, they say, because it is dangerous. What the social legitimation we came across at the beginning of all this has got to tell us is that even if we are tangled in the web of authority, even if we are its creations, we are inside and against it; we are what we do in order to change who we are. We want this historical moment to adopt the content we have set ourselves and not the meanings from which it can escape overnight.
It is not possible for this authority to bloodlessly cross the boundary between obedience and autonomous action, since if the rebels need to muster up their masculinity in order to fight the cop, they need to question it at the same time because it constitutes the authority they use to fight the cop. And this ambivalence lies at the heart of our subjectivity, it is a contradiction that tears us apart and forms the moral splendour that takes place in the margins of the rebellion, outside and inside us, on the quiet nights when we wonder what is going on now, what has gone wrong, and we can only hear silence.
Nothing exists without the meaning assigned to it. Resistance strategies can turn into strategies of authority: Chaos will recreate a hierarchy in social relationships unless we fight with ourselves while fighting the world, some selves that we formed as part of this world: we have grown within the moral and political limits this world sets, within the moral-political ties in which the self comes into being… It will recreate itself into a hierarchy, should we not bring off male macho behaviour that goes berzerk and gets carried away by emotion, should we adopt positions that [solidify] in positions of authority.
girls in revolt
(collective translation of a leaflet circulated in the occupied Athens School of Economics and elsewhere, written by the “girls in revolt”)
By Franz J. T. Lee
In such critical times like ours today, one expects worker and student revolts in France, in the birthplace of the political revolution of bourgeois capitalism; also there one awaits the return of the proletarian spirit of the French Communards who were 'storming the heavens' (Marx). One recollects the student revolts of the sixties, sees Molotov cocktails flying through the air and their explosive flaring up; one is looking everywhere to spot 'Danny the Red' behind the barricades in Paris.
Nowadays, who still talks about George Lukacs' "History and Class Consciousness" (1923), about the birthplace of the accumulation of capital, about the slave resistance and revolts, about Ancient Greece, about the fons et origo of the current Greek student, pupil and youth rebellion and its brutal suppression? Except Olympic pan et cirsenses, when last did news about contemporary Greece make world headlines for a week? How many US citizens know where Greece is situated, especially something essential about its history, about Miletus?
Except academic specialists and Marxists, who in the world knows that most of our current problems originated in Ancient Greece, in Miletus, in the "Ornament of Ionia" (Herodotus)? In Miletus the ideological seeds of 'superior' capitalist ruling class consciousness were sown, at the same time it was accompanied by the inculcation of an 'inferior' slave mentality.
In the current age of Orwellian global terrorism and treachery, Lukacs' friend of youth, the Marxist philosopher of scientific and philosophic hope, Ernst Bloch, reminded us that the only real effective weapon of self-defense that oppressed Man ever possessed was (and still is) his functioning brains, that is, the scientific activation of his philosophic capacity and its transformation into real possibilities and possible realities. When this formidable, creative, human weapon of mental self-defense constantly really begins to pass from one natural human brain to another, as truth and knowledge, then it starts to capture the class imagination of all workers, that is, at last, fundamental, militant thinking and thought become revolutionary actions, material forces and emancipatory praxis. The dialectics between scientific praxis and philosophic theory form multiple social processes, transhistoric totalities and total negations of authoritarian and totalitarian domination.
The whole changing process is the truth and the truth is always the changing whole. Our historic truth is the whole accumulation of capital, it is our true history.
Across the millennia precisely in the intellectual realm, via indoctrination, manipulation, education, culture, socialization, religion, ideology, lies and myths, the respective ruling classes, from Plato's 'Republic' to Hitler's "Mein Kampf" have launched a global war of ideas, a mental holocaust, a heinous crime against toiling humanity for which there is nearly no reparation.
Before we launch any 'conscientization' or "ideology" project we should be very clear that all ruling ideas are the ideas of our respective modern and ancient ruling classes. The same applies to language, culture and religion.
Reading and listening to the daily world news, to the ideological fabrications of the huge mass media, the official reports and ideological comments about the current student unrest in Europe, is tantamount to confusion, to not to understand head or tail of what is really going on in this world, is to know nearly nothing about capitalism, about history, that is, about millennia of accumulation of capital, profits and power, but also of fairy tales, myths, lies and hoaxes.
As mentioned before, we urgently need functioning brains, independent thinking and thought, praxical and theoretical logics, revolutionary science and emancipatory philosophy to capture what is happening on Wall Street, and why the current student and youth protests are flaring up all across Europe.
To accomplish this, we have to reactivate our social working class memory, which has been wiped out of official history, we have to reconquer our transhistoric anamnesis, to get rid of our political amnesia, to realize that we are still ancient Greek 'speaking tools' and not members of the ruling 'zoon politikon' class; finally, we have to eliminate impunity, to comprehend that there is no international amnesty for the butchers of the global working classes.
Now, to understand against what the Greek youth is protesting for millennia already, patiently accompany us on a brief historic retrospective voyage..
In the spirit of Spartacus, the revolutionary slave, the contemporary young rebelling chickens are coming home to roost.
What happened in France a few years ago, is now taking place in Greece, and it may occur tomorrow in the USA. Violence by State order, denominated fascism or Nazism, are not 'democratic' accidents, are not failures of Christian morality or civilization. Since the very ancient Greek inception of the early stages of the capitalist mode of production they were (and still are) intrinsic, essential features of master-slave relations, of expropriation, robbery, genocide, ostracism, crucifixion, exorcism, vandalism, terrorism, of competition, monopolization, concentration, recession, depression, wars and alienation.
With other rudimentary appearance forms, what is happening now in Greece occurred there already more than two thousand years ago: the bloody protests against the heinous exploitation and dehumanization of capital accumulation, euphemistically called human history. Hence we have to tackle the problem radically, to study and eliminate its main radix, to uproot a whole perverse capitalist system.
It all started in the ancient Greek city-states, in the slave-owning aristocratic or democratic poleis (πόλεις). Later it became cosmopolitan, metropolitan, globalization.
Miletus, a flourishing ancient Greek colony in Asia Minor (Turkey), was the birthplace of European, Western philosophy, of Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes, but it was also the real cradle of European culture and Western civilization, that is, of history, of the accumulation of capital, profits and ruling class power. Nearly anything of historic significance that happened thereafter, till this very day, concerns capital accumulation, profit mongering and maximization, class struggles and ruling class hegemony and military power.
Let us look at the above a little more in detail to understand what ab ovo was (and more than ever still is) threatening life on this planet. Never mind the sweet discourses, at no stage capitalist development was humane or humanist; it never served the class interests of the poor, of the 'speaking tools' (Aristotle) -- for them, as an exploited social class, 'good capitalism' was and remains a diabolical myth, an instrument of mind and thought control, of empty electoral promises.
In those days, when the "Wise Man" Thales of Miletus was still alive, aristos, the best, came from across the ocean, from the Mediterranean Sea; ariston men hydor, the best, the aristocratic, was water, it was not yet an arm of mass destruction, a hydrogen nuclear bomb to throw on Hiroshima or Nagasaki. It was that which gives birth to everything, and into which everything flows back again, into the accumulative arche, the profitable hyle, the hegemonic hystera, in a word, into money. Water became philosophically an exchange value, but not yet holy water, a patriarchal logos, a Platonic summum bonum, a bourgeois ratio, a capitalist world spirit, a Hegelian "Weltgeist". Between the 8th and 5th Centuries B.C., Miletus had a rich, flourishing economy, was a busy sea-port, which reflected an enormous original primitive accumulation of capital in Asia Minor. From the harbor of the "Ornament of Ionia", the Milesian ships sailed in all directions in the Mediterranean region, a colossal merchant navy, protected by an invincible war fleet. They were fully laden with merchandise, with fabrics woven and dyed in its local industry, with decorated garments carpets and pottery. Its woollens were highly in demand in Athens and Southern Italy. The famous cloak of Antisthenes of Sybaris was produced in Ionia; its zones of exotic flowers and beautiful pictures was a Milesian masterpiece of embroidery in Oriental style. On all ancient Mediterranean markets Milesians were present. It seemed that this ancient wealth, pomp and glory would last forever.
What all this meant and implied, was explained in Karl Marx's "Das Kapital" under the section of the original accumulation of capital. But this inexorable capitalist destructive force of nature and society was not only economic, it influenced all spheres of class society. Then already, two and a half millennia ago, for the upper classes, Miletus was a flourishing consumer society, an ancient Beverly Hills, with a special Haute Couture. More significant, it was an ancient bellicose Pentagon, a mighty Greek colonial power. It conquered over 90 commercial cities from the Hellespont to the Black Sea (Euxine). Ionia was simply the Malibu and Hollywood of "high society" and "culture". About the opulent, decadent ruling classes, A. Jarde, a French scholar, gave us a vivid picture:
"Phocacea, Ephesos, and the other great towns of Ionia, peopled, like Miletus, by a busy throng of merchants, craftsmen, and sailors, were all the scene of the like activity and the like wealth. Everywhere there was the same taste for luxury, the same love of fine fabrics and rich jewels; everywhere there were the same banquets and festivals. The courtesans of Ionia were models of elegance and culture, and all antiquity would marvel at the friend of Pericles, Milesian Aspasia."
Believe it or not, Ionia had its own Miss Cosmos beauty contests, its own "Irene Saez", the beloved courtesan "wife" of Pericles, Aspasia.
Xenophanes of Colophon vividly portrayed this wealthy class, whose honored members were strolling on the Agora "clad all in purple, with their hair beautifully dressed, shedding the perfume of subtle ointments." Of course, the waterfront workers and the slaves were not depicted by Xenophanes.
Not only was Miletus a sea-port, its wealth came from overseas, as mentioned before, it came from water, from the accumulation of exchange-values. It was the first Greek city-state to use coined money, as exchange value in trade. All merchandise could be exchanged across this medium. Furthermore, although no powerful priest caste existed, the upcoming, oligarchic, religious muff was already smelling in the early capitalist, mufty air.
The famous Temple of Apollo at Didyma was not only a "Vatican", that is, the shrine of worship for the whole region, it was also the Ionian "Bank of Ambrosia". The wealthy temple authorities minted coins, acted as employees of a type of "Central Bank"; they held deposits, and supervised the whole Mediterranean commercial business.
Another highly prized commodity was the sale or the possession of "speaking-tools", of slaves. Many of us, especially the current student and youth protesters would have been condemned to the category of 'speaking tools' in Ancient Greece. There was no color bar for slaves, the traders captured "barbarian" slaves in Asia Minor, even in northern Europe, and they were sold across Hellas. The slave-owning merchant and ship-owning classes of Miletus became so rich, that even the legendary wealthy King Croesus of Lydia came to their managers, "CEO's" and "billionaires" for funds. Ionia, especially Miletus, was certainly the most suitable birthplace of capitalism and of its ideological superstructure, of Western Philosophy. In commerce, coined money was the best exchange value; in philosophy, water was the best arche into which everything could be changed, "rechanged" and exchanged.
What happened to the Greek slave protesters of yesteryear?
Of course, not only is history the history of class struggles, also written and recorded history is mainly the history of the ruling classes, thus, we know very little about the ancient slave revolts, about the artisan and peasant unrest. We know practically nothing about the archaic revolutionary roots of Spartacus, Thomas Münzer, Danton, Robespierre, Babeuf, Blanqui, Bakunin, Marx, Simon Bolivar, Jose Marti, Lenin, Trotsky, Che, Castro, etc.
Permanently, social conflicts had haunted Miletus; they did not only involve the wealthy social classes, even more so, they shook the very foundations of ancient labor, of the "free" population, the slaves, the "wretched" of Ancient Greece. In their eternal wrath and sempiternal frustration, the latter social classes, mainly the exploited and tortured slaves, occasionally killed aristocratic wives and children; in revenge, in the style of the coming feudal Inquisition, the tyrannical, aristocratic or democratic rulers publicly burned the plebeian underdogs and "witches" alive on the market squares of Ionia.
Everywhere in the ancient Greek colonies such burning, living, "non-human" or "sub-human" torches were serving as horrendous warnings against any future attempts to change the status quo, the then slave-owning society, and in the coming European fraternity, the European Union.
Later this practice was continued in the Greco-Roman Empire, by means of crucifixion, in the "Third Reich" as gas chambers for "dirty, filthy Jews", and in the Vietnam War, as extermination of the "communist" Vietcong and currently of the extreme leftist, international "terrorists". The ancient Greek slave's hirrient death-cries, and the hesternal Spartacus sparks in agony, were destined to reach the contemporary colonial, neo-colonial and anti-imperialist emancipatory movements, to reach the current young Greek and Turkish protesters.
Especially after the Asian 'barbarian' invasions Miletus began to decline. It was following the Hegelian earthly path of all that comes into existence merits to pass away. It fell under successive occupations, ranging from the Byzantine to the Seljuk (14th century AD) and to the Ottoman (in 1400 AD). Even materially, Miletus faded into oblivion; its famous port became useless, was eventually destroyed by the river Maeander's silt. Finally, the ancient city was abandoned around 1600 AD. Once the famous big statue, the Miletus-Harbor Lion, proudly was guarding and guiding the merchant ships towards the 'Ornament of Ionia'; today it is covered with muddy water, as testimony of the rise and fall of capitalist imperialism, of the current global cess-pool of economic recession.
The history of Miletus is a fata morgana of what could happen to the "Statue of Liberty" and to United States global hegemony.
Therewith we have reached contemporary, metropolitan 'Hellas' again, the current European young protesters and brutal police terror. Meanwhile the time bomb is ticking for the USA and Europe too; any social catalyst could have nefarious effects.
The student, pupil and youth revolts acquired vast solidarity demonstrations outside Greek embassies and they are spreading across Europe and beyond. Already clashes with protesters have reached Rome, Madrid and Copenhagen.
And, believe it or not, protests have also taken place in Turkey; the rebel spirits of Miletus are waking up, are multiplying themselves, are globalizing themselves.
In Berlin, on Tuesday, the day of the burial of Alexandros Grigoropoulos, killed by Greek cops last Saturday, solidarity demonstrations also took place. According to a leaflet distributed to the German public, the protesters related the student unrest to the current capitalist crisis, to the problems of accumulating capital and profits in the age of globalization and to its apocalyptic consequences:
"There are good reasons for the protests in Greece. They are a reaction to the economic crisis, unemployment, the destruction of social gains and precarious living and employment conditions. All of Greece is making a stand."
Also it is clear that the protests have nothing to do with colonial looting or corporate rampage:
"It's not just vandalism by some extremists, but has its roots in doubts and fears for the future—the complete lack of the social and economic means for a reasonable future."
Like in the 1960s these revolts of the youth will spread globally, because even in the USA a "reasonable future" is fading away. Look at this:
"The Labor Department reported Thursday that the number of US workers filing new claims for unemployment benefits last week jumped 58,000 to a seasonally adjusted total of 573,000—the highest figure since November 1982."
Finally, placing the Greek student revolts in international historic focus, yes, the recession in the US is on the scalar waves, it is faster than anticipated by the leading economists. Many statistics and figures, although some are manipulated, indicate a dramatic decline in the American economy and although not reported by the mainstream mass media, a growing social uncertainty is becoming rife. A global recession on a scale not witnessed since 1929, is beginning to devour millions of workers, including thousands of members of the once opulent middle classes. However, the European imperialist grave-diggers are beginning to fall into their own capitalist quagmire; the international imperialist chain is threatening to break at various weak links.
Authors Bio: I, Franz John Tennyson Lee, was born in Ficksburg in 1938. I am a South African then classified as "Coloured" by the racist legislation of my home country. Since 1962, having acquired a scholarship to study overseas, I have been living in the Federal Republic of Germany till 1977. Between 1962 and 1970, in Tuebingen an Frankfort on the Main, I studied Political Science, Philosophy and History under Professors Ernst Bloch, Theodor W. Adorno, Juergen Habermas and Iring W. Fetscher. I obtained my Ph.D degree at the University of Frankfurt on the Main in 1970. Since January 1972, I have been a Senior Lecturer in Political Sciences at the Fachhochschule Darmstadt (Darmstadt University of Technology). Between April 1977 and March 1979, I lectured as Professor of Marxism and African Studies at the University of Guyana, Georgetown, in the Department of Political Science and Law, of which I was Acting-Head of Department during the Academic year 1978/1979. Since September 1979, I joined the staff of the post-graduate department of the University of The Andes, Mérida, Venezuela, as Professor of International Politics, where I am still teaching. Between November 1982 and July 1983, as Visiting Scholar, I lectured at the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria in the Department of Political and Administrative Studies. At the beginning of the 90s, as Guest Professor of Latin American Studies, I was invited to lecture at the Universities of Frankfurt and Darmstadt. I have published various works. (See: http://www.whoswhosa.co.za/Pages/profilefull.aspx?IndID=5239 Also: http://www.franzlee.org.ve/newbooks.html). Among these publications are: Technische Intelligenz und Klassenkampf (1974); Teoría-Praxis de la Revolución-Emancipación (1983). I also made contributions to other books: "Raíces históricas y socio-económicas de la ideología del racismo: Sudáfrica y Guyana", in Guyana Hoy (ed. R. G. de Romero, 1982); "Dependence and Revolutionary Theory: Relevance to the African Situation", in Political Science in Africa: A Critical Review ( ed. Yolamu R. Barongo, 1983). The very latest works, published in 2008 here in Venezuela are: "¿Qué es el Socialismo Científico Filosóficco, el ;arxismo?" and "Venezuela: Sin Teoría no habrá ni partido político socialista ni vanguardia obrera de la revolucion". In the fields of social and political work, from 1960 till today, I untiringly was active in the anti-apartheid and anti-imperialist struggles in Africa, Western Europe, Canada, and, in North and South America. Currently I support the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, the Caribbean and South America.
~ OpEd News ~
All it could take is another spark, like the death of Alexandros, to mobilise people once more onto the streets. But who are these groups and just how well organised is the upheaval and unrest? More importantly, as 2008 comes to a close, how likely are repeat performances in 2009?
Georges Prevelakis is a Greek-born professor of Geopolitics at the Sorbonne University in Paris, the starting point for the infamous Paris riots of 1968. Speaking from Athens, he described the present situation: “There is still a little trouble, it is not as intense as last weekend; it is sporadic; there are demonstrations but from young kids, from schools rather than universities. We have just got confirmation that the killing of Alexandros was an accident - he was killed by a ricochet bullet as opposed to a direct shot so that may be a factor.”
However, there is more to the unrest than the killing of the teenager. Prevelakis explains the background to the explosive reaction: “There are major problems in Greece at present; there is a lot of corruption and very little confidence in public services. The Greek society and state are sick and it has been difficult to reform. The main factor that caused the problem here was that the children of middle to upper class families are under extreme psychological stress. I call them the sacrificed generation – they realise they will not be able to compete, employment-wise, with Europe. They cannot even compete with the rate of consumption of their parents. They themselves have been consumed by the consumption society.”
This image of riotous schoolchildren, upset that they will not have the same opportunity as their wealthy parents, does not fit the ideal of the 'average anarchist' but obviously there is no photo-fit to begin with.
Prevelakis attempts to explain the meaning of an anarchist in Greece: “What we call anarchists is difficult to define; it's difficult to understand whether there is a structure or coherent group behind it. It's quiet opaque. They are mainly marginal and can be infiltrated and used by other people. Who? Some people say the police, some say those with private interests, others claim a criminal element, but it's impossible to know. There seems to have been an obvious effort to overthrow the government that has not succeeded. Had the government fallen into the trap of repressing the riots further that could have been different.”
It's clear that the riots in Greece, although sparked by the fatal shooting, also have their roots in Greek-specific issues. However, that does not explain the speed and contagiousness of the unrest elsewhere in Europe.
Could this situation happen just as easily in Paris for example? Could the riots of 1968 be echoed in 2008 and beyond? “The French media have asked me many times will this happen here, it's a big worry”, Prevelakis says. “The French government is afraid that there will be a replication of the violence; however, the situations are very different. In France it is the children of immigrants who are marginalised socially and spatially - in Greece the epicentre of violence was the centre of the city, the middle class.”
The situations could indeed be described as different. But despite the fact that the causes are not the same, the effects have the potential to be, Prevelakis warns: “On the other hand, we live in an era where image is extremely important and the images of the riots in Athens are spreading elsewhere. Despite the fact that it is not the same social context, the behaviour can still be duplicated and imitated.”
That idea of replication and duplication is what Dr. Jeff Ferrell calls 'Xerocracy' - the idea of "rule through photocopying ". It is a form of anarchic organization, of DIY revolt, that enables a riot in Greece to be duplicated all across Europe in a matter of hours.
Professor of Sociology at Texas Christian University, visiting Professor of Criminology at Kent University and author of 'Tearing Down the Streets: Adventures in Urban Anarchy,' explains further: “It is like a disorganised revolt mixed with technology that youths are so au fait with. There is no puppet master but these are kids that clearly do have an anarchist philosophy. Many of them do have a well developed political sense of what they are doing but it's not so much an attempt to seize power as it is to destroy power. It's clearly a revolt against all sorts of inequalities and justice is just one of them,” Ferrell said.
While it's clear the Greeks have been mobilised by the lack of justice for Alexandros Grigoropoulos, the fear remains that other inequalities will cause further violence elsewhere. Dr Ferrell agrees: “We are almost revisiting the old punk era, the idea that there is no future, we are seeing that this generation of kids are forced to bear the brunt of the fall of the house of cards that was the international economy. I think we will definitely see more protest on the streets when economies begin to contract and these equalities become more apparent. This is what we are facing.”
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29 Dec, 2008
The following text was one of the final to come out of an initiative from the occupied Athens University of Economics and Business. The occupation is no more, yet two new public buildings have been occupied in Athens in the last few days only: Another university property is now temporarily liberated (more about this tomorrow) while the headquarters of ISAP (the Athens-Piraeus Electric Railway) are also occupied as a response to the murderous attack against Konstantina Kuneva. Konstantina, a migrant cleaner at one of ISAP's subcontracting companies and a militant union organiser, was attacked on 23/12/2008: sulphuric acid was thrown at her face as she was returning home from work. She is now in intensive care ward of Evangelismos hospital suffering serious sight and respiratory system problems. I want to write much more about her case and the solidarity wave it has sparked – so, more to follow…
(Translator's note: the text goes out to the good people of Gaza. We have them in our hearts and minds and they remind us, in the most horrific of ways, that we have a million reasons to revolt and not a single one to sit back, to be complacent, to return to their murderous normality.)
- Levellers, An Agreement of the People, 1647
Let's look beyond the tear gas, the baton sticks and the riot police vans: The operation being conducted by the bosses since December 6th doesn't comprise a mere combination of repression and propaganda; rather, it is the application of a series of methods aiming to re-negotiate social peace and consensus.
From the communist party, which views the revolted people as puppets of syriza (the euro-left parliamentary party – transl.) and of cia, all the way to socialist party politicians moaning that Athens resembles a city of the Eastern Block, what with its streets empty from consumers. From the archbishop of Thessaloniki, who begs his flock to go shopping and the city's international exposition offering free parking to christmas shoppers, they all hold a common target: The return to the normality of democracy and consumption. Thus the day after the revolt, which happens to coincide with a dead consumer feast such as christmas, is accompanied by the demand that this must celebrated at all cost: not only in order for some tills to fill up but in order for us all to return to our graves. The day after holds the demand of the living dead that nothing disturbs their eternal sleep no more. It holds a moratorium legitimising the emptiness of their spectacle-driven world, a world of quiet and peaceful life. And the generals of this war hold no weapon that is more lethal than the appeal to that absolute, timeless idea: democracy.
The word-for-democracy, developing as it does ever more densely from the side of the demagogues of calmness, aims at the social imaginary – the collective field of structuring of desires and fears. It aims, in other words, at the field where procedures invisibly take place that can secure or threaten order and its truth. Everyone knew, well before the assassination of Alexis, that the oligarchy of capital had given up on trying even to seem democratic, even by bourgeois terms: economic scandals, blatant incidents of police violence, monstrous laws. Yet this fact is not, neither here nor anywhere else, what might worry the bosses. This is precisely because the constant reproduction of the establishment under such terms (“is it democratic enough? Is it really democratic?”) reproduces the capitalist oligarchy that builds around it a wall of scandals, remorses, resignations, demands and reforms – preventing, in this way, the questioning of (not the democratic qualities of the regime but) democracy as a system of social organising. Hence bosses can still appeal to this higher value today, this axiomatic mechanism of the political, in order to bring us back to normality, consensus, compromise. In order to assimilate the general spontaneous rage in the sphere of mediation before this rage can organise itself into a revolutionary potential which would swoop all and any intermediaries and peaceful democrats – bringing along a new form of organising: the commune.
Amidst this ludicrous climate of shallow analyses the salaried officials of the psychological warfare point at the revolted, howling: “That's not democratic, that ignores the rules under which our democracy functions”. We cannot help but momentarily stand speechless in the face of what we would until recently have considered impossible. Even if having the intention to deceive, the bosses of this country have said something true: We despise democracy more than anything else in this decadent world. For what is democracy other than a system of discriminations and coercions in the service of property and privacy? And what are its rules, other than rules of negotiation of the right to own – the invisible rules of alienation? Freedom, rights equality, egalitarianism: all these dead ideological masks together cannot cover their mission: the generalisation and preservation of the social as an economic sphere, as a sphere where not only what you have produced but also what you are and what you can do are already alienated. The bourgeois, with a voice trembling from piety, promise: rights, justice, equality. And the revolted hear: repression, exploitation, looting. Democracy is the political system where everyone is equal in front of the guillotine of the spectacle-product. The only problem that concerned democrats, from Cromwell to Montesquieu, is what form of property is sufficient in order for someone to be recognised as a citizen, what kind of rights and obligations guarantee that they will never understand themselves as something beyond a private citizen. Everything else is no more than adjusting details of a regime in the service of capital.
Our despise for democracy does not derive from some sort of idealism but rather, from our very material animosity for a social entity where value and organising are centered around the product and the spectacle. The revolt was by definition also a revolt against property and alienation. Anyone that didn't hide behind the curtains of their privacy, anyone who was out on the streets, knows it only too well: Shops were looted not for computers, clothes or furniture to be resold but for the joy of destructing what alienates us: the spectacle of the product. Anyone who doesn't understand why someone delights in the sight of a destructed product is a merchant or a cop. The fires that warmed the bodies of the revolted in these long December nights were full of the liberated products of our toil, from the disarmed symbols of what used to be an almighty fantasy. We simply took what belonged to us and we threw it to the fire together with all its co-expressions. The grand potlatch of the past few days was also a revolt of desire against the imposed rule of scarcity. A revolt of the gift against the sovereignty of money. A revolt of the anarchy of use value against the democracy of exchange value. A revolt of spontaneous collective freedom against rationalised individual coercion.
~ On The Greek Riots ~
By Chris Bambery
28 Dec, 2008
The New Year will begin with a sense of fear gripping both the top and bottom of society. Working people across the globe fear for their jobs, pensions and services. At the top there is fear that the economic crisis is entering freefall and will lead to widespread resistance.
The last year has seen turmoil grip the capitalist system and the governments that run it.
The credit crunch has developed into a recession, spreading from the financial sector to envelop the rest of the economy.
This threatens to become a slump on a global scale – pulling in the new “wonder economies” of China and India.
The significance of events in Greece, described by The Times newspaper as a “popular uprising”, is leading some commentators to draw parallels with the May 1968 events in France.
For the ruling class this is a serious worry – the French uprising heralded almost a decade of working class insurgency, which seriously raised the prospect of revolution.
The Greek events are not yet on the scale of 1968 – which involved student protests, riots and an all-out general strike. But they represent the most serious uprising in Europe since the mid-1970s.
Any economic crisis impacts at three levels – the ideological, political and economic.
Gordon Brown's and George Bush's governments have torn up the free market template that has been gospel in ruling circles for three decades. And ordinary people are looking for alternatives to the system.
The anti-capitalist and anti-war movements of the last decade means that there is a receptive audience for radical ideas.
Establishment politics have become volatile. Before the crisis Brown's ratings sank as David Cameron was declared unstoppable – only for everything to be reversed as the Tory leader floundered in the economic turmoil.
And there are other dangers in a world still dominated by the US's “war on terror”. A regime in crisis can lash out and launch a military adventure, just as the Georgians did against Russia in the summer.
The war in Afghanistan has spread over the border into Pakistan. Pakistan's government is now being threatened by Condoleezza Rice, Brown and the Indian government unless it effectively launches a civil war on its own people.
The huge protests in Greece, Italy and Ireland show that economic crisis can breed mass rebellion. The discontent is a response to governments that are implementing austerity measures rather than the neo-Keynesian policies seen in Britain and elsewhere.
And even though governments in the US and Britain have undertaken bailouts and nationalisations, unease remains close to the surface.
The idea that working people – not just the banks and major firms – should qualify for bailouts is becoming common sense for all those fearing job losses and home repossessions.
These ideas question the fundamentals on which capitalism operates – that the market should be free from any democratic control. This can feed popular resistance.
Many of us will see the popular uprising in Greece and mourn the contrast with the lacklustre behaviour of most of our union leaders.
Yet one lesson from Greece is how quickly things can explode in such a combustible situation.
Brown's actions to save the economy may appear relatively painless now, but he has admitted the costs of such bailouts will be huge. It will mean increased taxes and lower public spending.
Meanwhile New Labour's nasty social agenda continues – attacking benefit claimants, single parents and migrants – against a background of mounting job losses and a crisis affecting pensions and housing.
Many people will enter 2009 with a sense of foreboding. But we should look forward to what those at the top fear – revolts similar to Greece could spread across Europe, and the English Channel is only 22 miles wide.
~ Socialist Worker ~
"...Hackers Against Oppression have called for Electronic Civil Disobedience in Solidarity with Greek Anarchists on Wednesday Dec 31, the final day of December. December is the month in which Alexandros Grigoropoulos, a 15-year-old Anarchist, was murdered in cold blood by Greek Police. It is also the month that will forever be remembered by all those who struggle. Minutes after his murder, thousands of Greek residents took to the streets as did thousands around the world. Even liberal groups have called for the resignation of the Greek government. The streets were taken back for the people, police buildings were firebombed, and banks were turned into empty charred-out boxes. This entire time, the Greek government has been fighting and oppressing people with guns, tear gas, and the media. It's time that we take them down..."
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