Month: August 2021

The decline of American culture

31 August, 2021 · Global situation

Identitarian protesters throw and trample a statue of Christopher Columbus in front of the Minnesota Capitol. The decline of American culture is no stranger to iconoclasm.
Identitarian protesters throw and trample a statue of Christopher Columbus in front of the Minnesota Capitol. The decline of American culture is no stranger to iconoclasm.

A civilizational crisis such as the one capitalism is undergoing is necessarily expressed through culture: from the disappearance of Art in its strict sense to the daily experience of (social) defeatism and the vital emptiness reflected in all the great cultural products of our time. But withthe US abandoning Afghanistan amidst a thousand speeches about the so-called end of the American era one wonders whether we are also facing the decline of American culture, which has been globally hegemonic since the end of the second imperialist world massacre.

Is Kabul the “end of the American era”?

25 August, 2021 · Imperialism Report

Kabul airport. The iconic image of the end of the American era.
Kabul airport. The iconic image of the end of the American era.

The US is speeding up its chaotic evacuation of Kabul amid an apocalyptic chorus from its own allies. The European and American press comes daily full of articles and editorials about the “end of the American era” fed by bombastic declarations about “the debacle”. But what does the “end of the American era” mean: the end of the US as a global imperialist power capable of acting alone anywhere in the world? The end of US economic, military and ideological hegemony?

Afghan refugees and feminism

23 August, 2021 · European Union

Afghan refugees arrived to Torrejón, Spain
Afghan refugees arrived to Torrejón, Spain

The policy on Afghan refugees puts feminism back in the spotlight. After the Taliban conquest of Kabul, the main EU countries made it clear that they would only provide shelter for a few direct collaborators and the upper echelons of the Afghan bourgeoisie. However, a clear message soon began to become hegemonic among politicians: even within the fortunate group of local elites there would be differences based on gender.

Durum wheat: a crisis on the workers’ plate

20 August, 2021 · Global situation

Durum wheat. Canada.
Durum wheat. Canada.

The US durum wheat crop is down 46% and is the smallest in 30 years. Canada, which produces 2/3 of the global wheat trade, is on track to lose 1/3 of production. Add to that the shortage of stockpiles in Europe, the new European CAP and the downward revision of the Russian crop. The result is a speculative boom in the grain futures market. Global durum wheat prices have already rose 30% since mid-July. The “durum wheat crisis” is beginning to hit the plate of workers on both shores of the Mediterranean and from October may have dramatic consequences on basic foodstuffs.

“Corporate Memphis”: Why do all websites look the same?

18 August, 2021 · Plastic Arts

Illustration created for this article with an online service using the "Corporate Memphis" variant made famous by the American magazine "Jacobin".
Illustration created for this article with an online service using the "Corporate Memphis" variant made famous by the American magazine "Jacobin".

We have all encountered dozens of magazines, stories, websites and commercial applications with an aesthetic similar to that of the illustration adorning this article. That style is known as “Alegria” or “Corporate Memphis.” It is a product of the precarization and devaluation of labor and has dozens of variants and versions, all equally lifeless and repetitive. But there is more to the homogenization of graphic representation than bad news dressed up in false corporate optimism.

Will the Taliban victory in Afghanistan give way to a new wave of refugees in Europe?

17 August, 2021 · News

Kabul airport yesterday. Will the Taliban triumph usher in a new wave of refugees?
Kabul airport yesterday. Will the Taliban triumph usher in a new wave of refugees?

The horrific scenes of despair at Kabul airport yesterday have been sending shockwaves around the world. While delegations from more than sixty countries are still waiting to be evacuated from Afghanistan, the eventual arrival in Europe of a new wave of refugees has become the focus of the German election campaign and the French political agenda; the Austrian government is asking the EU to create concentration camps for the arriving refugees; Latvia vows to organize mass deportations for those arriving via Russia; and Greece proposes to pay Turkey more in order for it to hold refugees. But will a wave of refugees really arrive? Who will be allowed in and who will be turned away?

Plastic: a 100% capitalist problem

12 August, 2021 · Global situation

Plastic in a fisher's beach
Plastic in a fisher's beach

Right now there are over 7.4 billion tons of plastic on the planet and it is estimated that by 2050 there will be 40 billion tons. In 2010 alone between 5 and 13 million tons of plastic wound up in the seas and oceans. The EU insists on selling us a “circular solution” and the press reassures us with miraculous technologies and bacteria. But the problem of plastic and its pollution is cumulative… and it is accelerating further with the Green Deal. The causes are not to be sought in the technology or processes themselves, but in the very heart of the capitalist system.

The White Lotus

11 August, 2021 · TV

The White Lotus
The White Lotus

HBO aired the day before yesterday the penultimate episode of “The White Lotus,” a light-hearted but unsettling series that, against the least promising backdrop, depicts the intimacy of class relations and ironizes the dominant ideologies of today’s US bourgeoisie.

IPCC Report: What it actually says is not what the media interprets it to mean

10 August, 2021 · News

Working Group 1. They elaborated this IPCC Report.
Working Group 1. They elaborated this IPCC Report.

The IPCC released yesterday the first part of its sixth report: 3949 pages of accurate and detailed scientific information showing that the origin of climate change is “human activity” and associating with varying degrees of probability the relationship between the global phenomenon and its most worrying manifestations. However, a good part of the global media do not seem to have read the IPCC report but rather something else.

The Internationals’ schools

6 August, 2021 · History

School of the SPD in 1906. Standing teachers, among them Hilferding, Rosa Luxemburg, Bebel and Mehring.
School of the SPD in 1906. Standing teachers, among them Hilferding, Rosa Luxemburg, Bebel and Mehring.

Looking at the schools and formative and educational developments of the social democratic parties before the First World Imperialist War and of the communists afterwards allows us to understand what the Internationals really were and how the “Conscious Proletariat” organized itself.

Will tourism bring almost 3 million jobs ever again?

5 August, 2021 · Spain

tourism

After putting all its diplomatic weight on the table, the Spanish government managed to get Spain out of the British government’s latest round of travel restrictions. An oxygen balloon for tourism, a sector that has been the mainstay of accumulation in Spain since the 1960s and for whose results there have been precipitous restriction de-escalations which caused new pandemic waves. But this time, a year and a half later, it seems that “normality” is further away than ever. A good part of the tourism jobs will not come back anymore.

Antibiotics and Humanity’s development

4 August, 2021 · Global situation

Antibiotics

The industrial development of antibiotics is often presented as one of the last great contributions of capitalism to human development. It was so, but fraught with contradictions from the very beginning. Antibiotics were industrialized for war and were the basis on which the great global pharmaceutical monopolies were built. All in all a breakthrough for the species. But the triumph against bacterial infections is a race against the clock and is being lost. The reason? Developing up-to-date antibiotics is not attractive enough for big capital.

The degeneration of written language

3 August, 2021 · Morality

Degeneration of written language

A statistical study conducted at Princeton University that uses the contents of 14 million books in English, German and Spanish as its source material has just been published. The study spotted verbal patterns typical of each language which indicated “cognitive distortions” associated with depression, anxiety and pathological pessimism. The researchers’ hypothesis is that this degeneration of written language reflects how “entire societies may become more or less depressed over time.” They are not misguided.”

The “Covid Passport” and the return of the “witches”

1 August, 2021 · Critique of ideology

Demonstration yesterday in Paris against the Covid Passport
Demonstration yesterday in Paris against the Covid Passport

In France the demonstrations against the Covid Passport have consolidated an initially heterogeneous social base around a discourse that amalgamates, from the antivaxx, reactionary libertarianists, pseudoscience, feminism, conspiracy-mongering, nationalism and anti-Semitism. No neo-fascist aesthetics or Gaullist fogeys. Quite the opposite: lots of social workers, islands of yellow vests and anarchists and lots of “France Insoumise” followers. They are many, but they are still an eccentric minority, ideal as a cohesive enemy for Macronism, which can thus garb itself in rationalist garb. And yet it is a movement highly significant of the historical moment and the culture it exudes.