The eleven-year persecution of Julian Assangewas extended and escalated on Friday morning.The British Home Secretary, Priti Patel, approved the U.S.’s extradition request to send Julian Assange to Virginia to stand trial on eighteen felony charges under the 1917 Espionage Act and other statutes in connection with the 2010 publication by WikiLeaks of thousands of documents showing widespread corruption, deceit, and war crimes by American and British authorities along with their close dictatorial allies in the Middle East.
This decision is unsurprising — it has been obvious for years that the U.S. and UK are determined to destroy Assange as punishment for his journalism exposing their crimes — yet it nonetheless further highlights the utter sham of American and British sermons about freedom, democracy and a free press. Those performative self-glorifying spectacles are constantly deployed to justify these two countries’ interference in and attacks on other nations, and to allow their citizens to feel a sense of superiority about the nature of their governments. After all, if the U.S. and UK stand for freedom and against tyranny, who could possibly oppose their wars and interventions in the name of advancing such lofty goals and noble values?
Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 2021, 304 pp., £80 hb
Reviewed by Timothy Deane-Freeman
Dan Taylor’s Spinoza and the Politics of Freedom subtly achieves apparently contradictory ends. On the one hand, this elegant and restrained monograph situates Spinoza, resisting a long-standing temptation to ‘make [him] one of us’ (254), by transposing his rigorously particular concepts neatly onto contemporary problems and vocabularies. This tendency, which has plagued Spinoza almost since his works were first published, has birthed multiple images of the seventeenth century Dutch rationalist, ranging from the ‘radically individualistic’ (119) libertarian we encounter in the work of Rice or Den Uyl, through to the collectivist thinker of the ‘multitude’ whose genealogy we might trace through Marx to Althusser, Matheron and Negri. And while this constellation of simulacra has proven immensely productive, it has also often served to obscure the actual social and political problems to which Spinoza’s thought was addressed – a problem Taylor’s work seeks to rectify.
The UK government plans to provide the rather dystopian-sounding digital “freedom passes” to people who test negative for COVID twice in a week. The plan is an attempt to “allow” people a shot at a “normal life” before a vaccine becomes available.Read More »
There is a deep concern among the policymakers on the drastic fall of GDP growth rate. The concern is legitimate so long as it is viewed as the availability of resources for developmental work by the state. But so far, GDP has been an indicator of capitalist development for accumulation of capital in the hands of few private owners of means of production and corporate giant to increase inequality in the society, more pronouncedly in the neo-liberal phase of global capitalism. India is no exception in emphasising the GDP growth rate from this perspective.
In this context, the fall of GDP growth rate is not always bad provided the Government plans to support the domestic economy ensuring social welfare, workers rights, domestic productive investments, and expansion of domestic market by curtailing unproductive expenditure and corporate-bailout packages. But unfortunately, the present Government in power is pursuing an economic policy that links the Indian market to the US imperialist interest and supports the corporate owners, especially the Adanis and Ambanis. This policy which is detrimental to the interest of the Indian people vis-à-vis nation deepens the crisis further. Thus, this policy finds the power-that-be in the terrain of authoritarian state and compels the state to apply coercive measures, state-repression through curtailment of working class and human rights. This is the domestic ramification of Government’s present policy persuasions.Read More »
The exile of prisoners to a distant place, where they can ‘pay their debt to society,’ make themselves useful, and not contaminate others with their ideas or their criminal acts, is a practice as old as civilization itself. The rulers of ancient Rome and Greece sent their dissidents off to distant colonies. Socrates chose death over the torment of exile from Athens. The poet Ovid was exiled to a fetid port on the Black Sea.”
— Anne Applebaum, Gulag: A History, 2003
This is how freedom dies.
This is how you condition a populace to life as prisoners in a police state: by brainwashing them into believing they are free so that they will march in lockstep with the state and be incapable of recognizing the prison walls that surround them.Read More »
All love freedom. However, freedom faces hurdles within a reality. Freedom is not only an idea, a concept or a feeling. In real life, it has many dimensions, and the dimensions are real.
The following reports say something about freedom:
A Freed Person, But …
A Yahoo Lifestyle report – “Cyntoia Brown freed from prison after 15 years — here’s what obstacles she may face re-entering society” – by Paulina Cachero tells about Cyntoia Brown, a sex-trafficking survivor initially sentenced to life in prison for killing her abuser.Read More »
Bolivia’s President Evo Morales during the opening session of the Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru, April 14, 2018. | Photo: Reuters
“The biggest threat against freedom, against democracy, against Mother Earth and against multilateralism is the United States,” Bolivian President Evo Morales said.
Bolivia‘s President Evo Morales has warned that the United States is the greatest threat to democracy, and that Latin America mustn’t serve its agenda, following the attacks waged by the United States, France and the United Kingdom against Syria.
With respect to Cuba, the American conception of “nothing” is not understood in conventional economic terms, but through a liberal rendition of freedom. With this version of freedom comes a set of values that if not perpetuated, suggest an un-freedom worse than access to a livable life. In this country, we value freedom to fail and struggle more than the right to a standard in our quality of life.
“…Cubans have nothing.” These were the last words exchanged between a stranger and myself as we both stood in line at JFK Airport waiting to check our bags for a flight to Havana. Three minutes before this, I had stood in line, chatting with my friend waiting to check our over-sized luggage and a young woman stood behind us eyeing our bags. She asked, “Are you going to Cuba?”
A protest organized by the National Assembly for Catalonia, to support the call for referendum on independence in Barcelona, June 11. Spain’s government has promised to not allow the scheduled Oct. 1 vote on grounds that it is unconstitutional since it is matter that would affect all Spaniards. | Emilio Morenatti / AP
When the Catalans go to the polls Oct. 1, much more than independence for Spain’s restive province will be at stake. In many ways the vote will be a sounding board for Spain’s future, but it is also a test of whether the European Union—divided between north and south, east and west—can long endure.
In some ways, the referendum on Catalan independence is a very Spanish affair, with grievances that run all the way back to Catalonia’s loss of independence in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714). But the Catalans lost more than their political freedom when the combined French and Spanish army took Barcelona; they lost much of their language and culture, particularly during the long and brutal dictatorship of Francisco Franco from 1939 to 1975.Read More »