SILENCING THE LAMBS. HOW PROPAGANDA WORKS

John Pilger

In the 1970s, I met one of Hitler’s leading propagandists, Leni Riefenstahl, whose epic films glorified the Nazis. We happened to be staying at the same lodge in Kenya, where she was on a photography assignment, having escaped the fate of other friends of the Fuhrer.

She told me that the ‘patriotic messages’ of her films were dependent not on ‘orders from above’ but on what she called the ‘submissive void’ of the German public.

Did that include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie? I asked.  ‘Yes, especially them,’ she said.

I think of this as I look around at the propaganda now consuming Western societies.

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Woke Capitalism – How Corporate Morality is Sabotaging Democracy

Carl Rhodes

Bristol, Bristol University Press, 2021. x+230 pp., € 26.10 pb.
ISBN 978-1529211672

Reviewed by Thomas Klikauer

Carl Rhodes’ latest book about ‘Woke Capitalism’ is asking us to ‘be alert’, i.e., woke to capitalism. The title of the book is transferring the African-American term ‘woke’ meaning to be alert about racism and racial prejudice – to capitalism. Yet, woke capitalism is a particular form of capitalism. To illuminate this and how woke capitalism sets up corporate morality – a contradictory term or tautology – is indeed ‘sabotaging democracy’ (the book’s sub-title), Rhodes offers thirteen highly readable and often rather entertaining chapters. The book begins with ‘The Problem of Woke Capitalism’ and ends with ‘Getting Woke about Woke Capitalism’.

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FACE OF AN ECONOMY: Housing in U.S. city

A Journal of People Report

Housing for the common citizens is a chronic problem in capitalist economy. This is a widely discussed and researched issue. Yet the economy fails. In one sense, it is not the economy’s failure. Rather it is one of the characters of the economy.

The following reports from the U.S. tell about the housing reality. This is a face of the economy with huge resources.  

A Hailey, Idaho datelined report by The New York Times (“A Town’s Housing Crisis Exposes a ‘House of Cards’”, July 31, 2022) said:

‘Near the private jets that shuttle billionaires to their opulent Sun Valley getaways, Ana Ramon Bartolome and her family have spent this summer living in the only place available to them: behind a blue tarp in a sweltering two-car garage.

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West prepares to plunder post-war Ukraine with neoliberal shock therapy: privatization, deregulation, slashing worker protections

Western governments and corporations met in Switzerland to plan harsh neoliberal economic policies to impose on post-war Ukraine, calling to cut labor laws, “open markets,” drop tariffs, deregulate industries, and “sell state-owned enterprises to private investors.”

Jake Kallio and Benjamin Norton

Multipolarista | July 28, 2022

While the United States and Europe flood Ukraine with tens of billions of dollars of weapons, using it as an anti-Russian proxy and pouring fuel on the fire of a brutal war that is devastating the country, they are also making plans to essentially plunder its post-war economy.

Representatives of Western governments and corporations met in Switzerland this July to plan a series of harsh neoliberal policies to impose on post-war Ukraine, calling to cut labor laws, “open markets,” drop tariffs, deregulate industries, and “sell state-owned enterprises to private investors.”

Ukraine has been destabilized by violence since 2014, when a US-sponsored coup d’etat overthrew its democratically elected government, setting off a civil war. That conflict dragged on until February 24, 2022, when Russia invaded the country, escalating into a new, even deadlier phase of the war.

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Beyond Greenwashing: The Hollow Foundations Of Ethical Capital

Claire Parfitt

Progress in Political Economy | July 21, 2022

The explosion of ESG investing

ESG investment funds, which claim to invest according to environmental, social and governance criteria, grew to almost US$3 trillion in 2021.  With a 53% increase since 2020, this made ESG the fastest growing sector of the asset management industry.

The rapid flow of funds into ESG investments has led to many demands from investors and the financial press for reliable accounting information. There is enormous variability in valuations of stocks and indices according to ESG criteria, and even a fundamental confusion about what ESG investing is.

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The General Law of Capitalist Accumulation in Latin America and Beyond

Actuality and Pertinence

EDITED BY LORENZO FUSARO AND LEINAD JOHAN ALCALÁ SANDOVAL – CONTRIBUTIONS BY ROSSANA CILLO; LUIS FELIPE DOCOA; ROBERTO FINESCHI; ABELARDO MARIÑA FLORES; LORENZO FUSARO; CARLOS ALBERTO DUQUE GARCÍA; SERGIO CÁMARA IZQUIERDO; MATARI PIERRE MANIGAT; LUCIA PRADELLA; WILLIAM I. ROBINSON; SIBYL ITALIA PINEDA SALAZAR AND LEINAD JOHAN ALCALÁ SANDOVAL

This edited collection engages with Marx’s General Law of Capitalist Accumulation, examining the relevance and actuality of Marx’s propositions for the analysis of contemporary capitalism in Latin America and beyond. The contributors offer an original and updated interpretation of Marx while also examining important topics in political economy. The contributors bring critical insights into scholarly debates on imperialism, exploitation, labor, and development.

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A tightening world

Michael Roberts Blog | June 18, 2022

It’s been a big week for the major central banks. First, the European Central Bank (ECB) called an emergency meeting because government bond yields were rising sharply in the more indebted Eurozone economies like Italy and Spain.  That threatens to deliver a new sovereign debt crisis as happened after the Great Recession from 2010-2014, leading to the Greek nightmare.

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Biden Funnels MORE Money To His Donors By Hiking Medicare Prices To Record Level

Even The Young Turks—a Democrat-backed outlet— is denouncing this outrageous premium hike, falling on poorer people living on fixed incomes

The Young Turks | June 14, 2022

The Biden Administration stealthily hiked Medicare premiums to their highest prices ever while simultaneously pushing to funnel even more money into the private health insurance industry, further privatizing the government insurance program. It’s also important to note that Biden took around $47 million on legalized bribes from health care executives during his 2020 presidential campaign. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian discuss on The Young Turks.

“Last week, the Biden administration quietly reaffirmed its decision to enact the highest Medicare premium hikes in history right before this year’s midterm elections. At the same time, President Joe Biden is endorsing a plan to funnel significantly more Medicare money to insurance companies and further privatize the government insurance program for older Americans and those with disabilities. In effect, the higher premium increases will subsidize the larger payments to — and profits for — private insurance corporations. This comes after Biden raked in roughly $47 million from health care industry executives during his 2020 campaign. The Biden administration announced on May 27 that due to “legal and operational hurdles,” Medicare recipients won’t see their premiums lowered this year, even though that rate was originally hiked last November in large part due to the projected costs of paying for a controversial Alzheimer’s drug that Medicare now says it generally will not cover. The administration’s announcement comes as Biden officials move forward with a jolting 8.5 percent hike in payments made to private insurers operating Medicare Advantage plans next year.”

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Capital Hates Everyone: Fascism or Revolution

Maurizio Lazzarato

Semiotext(e), South Pasadena, 2021. 247 pp., $15.95 pb
ISBN 9781635901382

Reviewed by Conor Bean

Marx & Philosophy Review of Books | June 11, 2022

For a decade now Maurizio Lazzarato’s analyses have been swiftly translated into English after a period of relative lag in uptake in the anglophone world, a case of missed connection in the flurry of importing French and Italian radical thought. His reception has picked up speed because he writes passionately in a polemical tenor that makes for quick and punchy reading, although much of the analysis relies on technical terminology from contemporary European philosophy that renders accessibility elusive at times. The rapidity of translation via the Semiotex(e) Intervention Series has resonated with the conjunctural nature of Lazzarato’s writing, as he has moved swiftly to make sense of a shifting political terrain in theory and providing assessments of radical political movements. Capital Hates Everyone: Fascism or Revolution offers a political intervention in the sense of taking stock of contemporary tendencies and putting forth a set of strategic concerns animating a politics for the moment of its writing. As such, Capital Hates Everyone might be best read as a historical appraisal of a particular conjuncture in which the threat of ascendent fascist tendencies in global politics meets the continuing dominance of neoliberalism, while protest movements like the Gilets jaunes in France struggle to find a footing. In the book’s introduction, the ‘yellow vests’ movement roiling France at the time of the book’s writing is instructive in multiple ways. First, far from being a model of future organization, the yellow vests movement demonstrates some of the weaknesses and temptations found in what Lazzarato describes as ‘68 thought’, the proliferation of leftist political theories and organizational models in Western Europe since the failed pre-revolutionary moment of 1968. More than this, however, the response of the French state to these protests has laid bare the depth of ‘class hatred’, the affective revulsion of capitalism’s managers for any insurgent activity, along with the strategic lengths they will go to erase political possibilities beyond the neoliberal consensus (9-10). Hence the title, Capital Hates Everyone. For Lazzarato, anti-capitalists must reckon with the intensity of reaction that capitalists can rouse among themselves and in new fascist movements that seek nothing less than the liquidation of dissent.

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Environment and war today

Farooque Chowdhury

Countercurrents | June 05, 2022

War environs environment.

War destructs and demolishes life, all forms of environment. It’s war’s powerful approach to contradictions within and with environment surrounding life. Wars including the current Ukraine War bear this signature of destruction of and on environment and ecology. The first victim is life; and, then comes surroundings of life that help sustain life. Activities to secure, nourish and sustain environment are hampered/suspended during war, and in war zones also.

Military activities, preparatory to war including training/drills/exercises, itself is threat to environment and ecology. Military/war expenditure is in direct and hostile contradiction with environment and ecology. The expenditure takes away a lot of resources, which can be allocated for life, steps to nourish and secure environment and ecology. The sphere of destruction of environment and ecology widens as the sphere of war widens. Today’s Ukraine is the witness. Iraq and Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and Vietnam are witnesses. Hiroshima and Nagasaki stand as witnesses.

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