Sunday, May 16, 2010

Jeremy Scahill has obtained a tape of a speech Erik Prince gave (and demanded it not be recorded) detailing Blackwater's plans.

Eitan Bronstein of Zochrot has a message for Palestinians on Nakba Day: don't give up on the right of return.

While we're on Palestine, I recently finished a pretty long article by Gabriel Ash of Jews sans frontieres on boycott, divestment, and sanctions, spelling out in detail a few things I'd long felt but couldn't have pieced together as coherently. Putting aside that boycotting Israel is morally the right thing to do, he places Israeli state violence in the context of the development of neoconservative dogma and neoliberal economic hegemony.

In broad strokes, the elite in Europe and the US, as usual, want to destroy the welfare state and accrue maximum profits to themselves. (Beautiful description of the welfare state: "After WWII, the specter that used to haunt Europe was invited to sit at the table and given a small plate in return for no longer moving furniture at night.") To propose doing this straight out is a dangerous tactical mistake, but to cut back on services and civil liberties in the context of a war on terror/immigrants/Muslims is much easier. These useful fictions are propped up by acceptance of Huntington's "clash of civilizations" thesis. This in turn is a liberalized instance of one of the Nazi political philosopher Carl Schmitt's theories, the essentiality for a ruler to have an existential enemy in order to mobilize the state against and create a "state of exception" in which normal parliamentary procedures can be abrogated and power grasped directly. To advocate a general hatred of Muslims is too reactionary a view to gain mainstream acceptance, but to voice concern that these people, being ever so different, can be absorbed into and coexist outside of liberal democracy allows one to capitalize on racist fears under the cover of humanist language.

Thus besides the profit that accrues from business relations with Israel and the original appeal to the British of a sort of "Western" advance base against the barbarian hordes of Asia, the continued European defense of the indefensible and collaboration with the siege is part of a wider ideological agreement. This is a continuation of a similar strategy that the capitalist elite used in the early twentieth century, when eastern European Jews were supposedly the Trojan horse bringing Bolshevism to the West.

I had a number of further things I wanted to talk about, but this window has been open for a while, so I should just post.

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