Umberto Eco’s Definition of Fascism

A link to Umberto Eco’s definition of fascism.


Chris Hedges Smacks Down Corporate-whore Media

Chris Hedges knows who he is and what he’s seen; he has the steadying background to summon the strength and call down liberal corporate-whore media. Watch him, on his feet, control this interview:

CBC: Called down, smacked down, served, pwned.
If you’re going to employ crude meat, do what the American and Latin American media does and at least get it fresh out of the sorority house.

Inequality, Economic Growth & Standards of Living

In this 2011 PERI paper by Thompson & Leight, “Searching for the Supposed Benefits of Higher Inquality,” the authors review the messy literature on the relationship between economic inequality and economic growth. They propose an alternative approach to this research stalemate.

If you are interested in charting the relationship between inequality and economic growth, urban & regional-level data is your best bet. Only in 2006 did Saez & Picketty pull together (fairly) reliable international comparative data on income inequality. See Saez‘s data and analysis on his Berkeley website.

The US Model of Social Exclusion

Here is a link to Schmmitt & Zipperer’s “Is the US A Good Model for Reducing Social Exclusion in Europe?” (2006) CEPR.

Not so much, contend the authors, analyzing social exclusion through the variables of income inequality, poverty, education, health, crime and punishment, the labor market and finally, the coup de gras, social mobility.

Should first they ignore you…

“And, my friends, in this story you have a history of this entire movement. First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you.”  

–from the General Executive Board Report and Proceedings [of The] Biennial Convention, Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, 1914.

This quote is sometimes mis-attributed to Mahatma Gandhi as “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Occupy Your World

Occupy movement

A Day at Occupy Wall Street. (video)

Occupy the World. (photos)

Chris Hedges and Amy Goodman on OWS (Charlie Rose Show).

The Human Amplifier technique, used in a Zizek speech to Occupy Wall Street protesters. A link to a transcript of Zizek’s speech is on that webpage.

Noam Chomsky’s Occupy Boston speech.

John Foster’s “Why We Occupy, What We Know” OWS speech.

Here’s a map of where NYC’s richest 1% (financiers) live.

An historical overview of “corporate fascism” (yes, redundant)–essentially, corporate violence.

Less process-oriented, more creative protest:

Onward, liberal conservatives!

Most Americans think that Wall Street has too much power, economic inequality is too extreme, the rich should pay a higher proportion of taxes, and Wall Street executives should be held accountable, according to a recent Time magazine poll. As of mid-October, 2011, over half of Americans polled viewed OWS favorably (by contrast half that percentage of Americans approve of the Tea Party), though over half of Americans are doubtful that the social movement can disrupt capitalists’ control over the political class. 

Cohering a Left Bloc: Coalitions and Setting Movement Trajectories

Bruce Dixon (October 12, 2011) “From Occupying Financial Districts to Occupying the Goods in Our Hoods,” Black Agenda Report (BAR):

“The student loan bubble, along with the shrinking job market has made newly poor white hipster kids mad enough to stage 24/7 street corners protests in scores of US cities, where they have connected with longtime leftist and community activist types, often older and not always white. These are helping keep them focused on the connections between the warfare and prison states and the unavailability of funding for anything else.” 

Dr. Cornell West’s view of OWS is more favorable.

Occupy Boston’s Memorandum of Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples.

Uber-Men of the People protect America from plutocracy

The social citizenship builders say, “Occupy!”

Capital sics its current police on its retired police

Social Science in a Conservative Society

Here is an interesting story on the prevalence (in Canada anyway) of Machiavellian bullying.

Which spawns the story of the relationship of soc to psych.

Psych announces that it has found an interesting, dominant human trait–stuck, psych claims, in human genetic code by adaptive evolution…Because that’s the hokum schtick that passes for a legitimate explanatory theory in the psych community–despite its complete and utter debunking 40 years ago by genetic biologists. This sorry ontology is perpetuated relentlessly because the community of scholars in psych, as in all worst-case physical and especially social science, has social counter-incentives to building more valid theory (a la Kuhn’s model of science).

What to do about this widespread (social) problem, Psych? 
Ah. Parent better, somehow!

And then Soc, allowing that the finding is pretty interesting, notices that all the alleged invariance is coming from cities in the US, Canada and England, and redoes the research in Sweden, Cuba or South India and figures out that the purported psych “trait” is the result of socialization specific to certain kinds of–for example, high-inequality–societies. Soc thereby politely suggests that to actually address this social (not genetic, not mothering) problem we actively oppose the entire scaffolding of inequality policies and institutions and replace them with a scaffolding of low-inequality policies and institutions, as per the societies with a lower incidence of the problem.

And then everybody ignores the Soc, and goes out and buys another psych mothering self-help book, to zero avail.

And then the beleaguered parents turn to the conservative snake-oil salesmen selling this enterprising gambit: Simply by ridding ourselves of public education we will rid ourselves of the demonic teachers who fail to raise our children for us correctly.

And in this way everybody stays paid, for a while, but increasingly poorly.