Open Threads is an open blogging platform, for debate and exploration of ideas among communists and radicals. Content presented here is contributed by Kasama site users.
I was watching paleo-conservative Pat Buchanan enthuse over Putin last night. He just vibes with this nationalist strongman defending his ethnicity and imposing his sphere of influence. (Iron and blood -- the Bismark motto).
It struck me: Putin is a litmus test for authoritarianism.
There are those (on both left and right) who just "like Putin" -- and secretly wish they could BE him. It says a lot about their underlying WORLD VIEW, and how reactionary it is.
Admiring Putin is a confession of secret leanings. It is white ethno-fascist in Buchanan's case. And it is "red-brown" on the nominal left. ["Red brown" is a fusion of communist lingo with fascist-imperialist politics inside Russia.)
Whose secret heart has a soft spot for bully hardness?
by MIKE ELY
Saw the Noah movie last night. And I'll save you some time: it really sux.
I know, I know: I'm viewed as a movie-loving softie -- capable of finding some entertaining or redeeming aspect in the strangest places.
I even thought the Stalingrad 3D movie was thought-provoking in fleeting moments (when all my friends wisely thought it was Putin-puke).
From March 18 to May 28 1871, working people for the first time rose up and successfully seized power, if only briefly. Their radical vision of egalitarianism and popular power has echoed ever since -- in our highest hopes.
May the memory of this Paris Commune never die! May we be worthy in our time.
Vive la Commune!...
by Mike Ely
"When banks and corporations, police departments and intelligence agencies, have their internal communications compromised they don't respond by saying "oh well, I guess secure internal communications are a pipedream, lets just throw open the doors." On the contrary they strive to keep abreast of the technology, and to protect themselves better both through the use of technological protections but also by consciously training and cultivating their staffs in the best practices they know."...
RM Hannan raised some sharp questions about how we should handle conflicts and antagonism with radical and revolutionary movement.
In Part 1, I discuss some of the particular history RM raises -- touching on some experiences and core problems of the New Communist Movement (NCM) in the 1970s.
Here, in Part 2, I want to get into the heart of that question, "How do we view and handle differences and alliances?" even if only in an outline way....
by Mike Ely
People who make serious mistakes should be struggled with, punished in some cases, and urged to transform their thinking and behavior.
Revolutionary movements should not adopt some crude system where people are all publicly denounced for mistakes.And where all mistakes are treated as equally bad. And where anyone who makes a mistake is treated, bitterly, as a die-hard enemy. It is not wise. The "one size fits all" used by the toxic "call out culture" is clearly highly destructive.
People make mistakes. The mistakes vary in degree and nature. Some people deserve severe punishment for severe crimes. Some people don't and some mistakes are not crimes.
"A central argument is starting to emerge: That the very idea of an internal political life is offensively anti-democratic, and everyone should celebrate deliberate disruption of private, collective decision-making. This is done in the name of mopping the influence of 'Leninism' and 'people still living in the 1960s.'"
by Mike Ely
A blogger published (wholesale) 19 internal discussion documents of International Socialist Organization. And an important debate has ensued....
Over the last week, the Charnel-House blog has been posting internal documents of the International Socialist Organization (ISO) -- focused on 19 issues of the ISO's internal pre-conference bulletins.
This is provoking important discussion about the right and wrong of such an act.
Is it principled and justified to violate the security of other radical, left anti-government groups -- and publish their private documents for all to see?...
by Mike Ely
Nat posted recently , here on Kasama, about the wonderful discovery of DNA within the tooth of a human male who lived in Spain 7,000 years ago -- and whose body was found at the La Braña-Arintero cave site near León.
There were some headlines about this because this individual (who is currently known as "Braña 1") proved to have both blue eyes and dark (essentially African) skin coloration....
What do we need to know to make preparations for a coming revolutionary movement? How do we come to know it? What is even knowable?
Althusser and Badiou have made some claims (in fact different claims at different points). And we need to make our own.
Image: This essay is about how cause-and-effect are far from direct, simple and linear. Things (encounters, changes, eruptions) all have causes, but rarely one cause. Even when carefully studying real and measurable tensions in the present, it isn't easy to predict what effect(s) they will have.
"There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others....Reefer makes darkies think they're as good as white men."
Harry Anslinger, first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1930s, father of marijuana criminalization
* * * * * * * * * *...
"We’ve long been really good at critiquing and saying what we don’t want, but to get to a world we DO want, we have to be able to dream really big.
"I fear that the ways that cynicism operates in our call-outs (and activism more generally) is limiting our ability to do so.
" How can we dream utopias if we are so afraid of being wrong? We have to be able to make mistakes. We have to experiment, we have to fail spectacularly, and we have to be able to trust that our community will let us know with tolerance when we’ve done so."...
Over and over new scientific discovers force us to develop new theories and timelines of human evolution. It has happened again. We reported here on Kasama the discovery of a whole new previously unknown human species, the Denisovians, using evidence drawn (believe it or not) from the DNA within a single pinky bone of a girl who died in Siberia 40,000 years ago.
However now, a stunning new discovery - Denisovian DNA has been uncovered in Spain, in a bone that is 400,000 years old (ten times earlier, and twice as old as the previously presumed age of "modern humans," Homo sapiens). The implications of this will take time to emerge. For now, here is the report from the New York Times.
Baffling 400,000-Year-Old Clue to Human Origins
By CARL ZIMMER
Scientists have found the oldest DNA evidence yet of humans’ biological history. But instead of neatly clarifying human evolution, the finding is adding new mysteries....
Intro by Mike Ely
Zizek points out the basic truth, that Mandela is being honored because he opposed apartheid without opposing global capitalism. And adds that the people of South Africa still suffer great oppression and poverty.
It is Mandela's rebellion that made him famous, but it is his moderation that wins him praise....
Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin is an anarchist activist based in Tennessee, and a veteran of the Black liberation struggle of the 1960s and 70s.
In thinking about Nelson Mandela. You must respect him for his role as leader of the South African national liberation movement and his long years of imprisonment. He was the one figure that kept the anti-apartheid struggle alive over so many years....