Left Politics

Every once in a while we come across the most inane discussion. It all reminds us of a movie we once saw in which the central message was «one should not confuse babies and angels». Now of course the writer and the director wanted us to think that it was ok to do so, but, we think the initial missive was bang on. It appears that in our unexplained absence good old Cherniak has taken the opportunity to get dumber while his shadow boxing intellectual opponent Mr. Scully has taken the opportunity to become the dumbest faux intellectual in the history of blogging.

WTF you ask? Well apparently Cherniak and Co. have been having a debate on what is the definition of terrorism. Good topic we think. Too bad the intellectual neophytes in question do not have the capacity for abstraction—and as such definition—(fuck we should have gone to law school) (fuck that, what a nightmare of social interaction!) And yes we just put two distinct but connected thoughts in separate brackets. Oh well let us say good night to the English Gestapo while we are here.

Again, WTF you ask? Well if you have not taken the time to explore the links provided above; here we give the skinny on the situation. Mr. Scully’s final definition for terrorism was «those who kill without a just cause.» And of course our intellectual pimp squeak Cherniak finds the definition a little too inclusive!

Katel should release an album entitled: “faux intellectual shit parade“ Look the issue is really simple. Terrorism is the tactic of an inferior force who believes that through random violent conflict one can further their political objective. It is distinguished from war by the fact that those who wage war are usually understood to be officially (state) sanctioned combatants who use violence to further their political agenda. Neither definition has any referent to a just cause.

The precipitate to our definition is that Mosses was a terrorist too! How do you like those apples?

By Goodwin Ginger

We have seen a lot of bullshit in our time and even participated in some of it but still we have to call bullshit on the whole faux May day Chamberlain fiasco.

Our opinion: all Sound and furry signifying exactly nothing.  If May is guilty of anything, it is using a worn out troupe of the right to go after the Cons.

And all this sanctimonious horseshit coming out of the Cons about “how dare blah did di blah blah.”  “Bugger off” we say.  We had all heard a steady beat coming from the Con’s war drum over Afghanistan and Iraq: all of our enemies were at one point likened to Hitler and those that disagreed were cast as nouveau Chamberlains.

The Canadian Jewish Congress, Oy Vey, where were they back then?  Back then of course it suited their foreign policy agenda to use such crass parallels.

Maybe we could all agree that for the benefit of public discourse and respect for the dead we should all stop whoring the Holocaust and its associated cast of characters for present political gain.

We are not holding our breath.

Disutopia is the most significant project of our time. It is not the temporary absence of Utopia but the celebration of the end of social dreams. Social dreams have become a nightmare in which it is impossible to materialise our desires into a collective thought. Disutopia should not be confused with the form in which it appears: indifference. Disutopia entails an active process involving simultaneously the struggle to control diversity and the acclamation of diversity; the repression of the struggles against Disutopia and celebration of individual self-determination. The result of this is social schizophrenia. In so far as diversity, struggle and contradiction cannot be eliminated by political or philosophical voluntarism, Disutopia has to be imposed. The advocates of Disutopia spend a huge amount of time in de-construction, repentance, denial, forgetfulness, anti-critique, coupled with academic justifications and the scientific classification of the horrors of our time. Whilst the reality of capitalism is destroying planet earth, Disutopia pictures Utopia as a romantic, naïve and old-fashioned imaginary that is accused of not dealing with the real world. However, our point is that Disutopia can only be sustained by denying the real content of life, i.e. the foundations of the real world. The result of all this together is mediocrity.

Dinerstein and Neary “Class struggle and the Communist Manifesto” (2001, p. 4).

First off, the progressive vote is now split between four parties in Canada: the Liberals, the NDP, the BLOC, and the Greens. The liberals have no hope of poaching votes from any of the decided voters in the other three progressive parties. This means the liberals will have to concentrate on getting out their own vote and on targeting the swing voter. And here is the rub: there simply is not enough ideological difference between the liberals and the conservatives these days to make a real play for the swing voter. In the concrete the conservatives appear less extreme than they would like to be and in the concrete the liberals were more to the right than their self-image would like to admit.

The liberals cannot credibly hold themselves up as the protectors of the universal welfare state. Indeed it was they not the Conservatives that spent the better part of the decade waging an ideological and material attack on the welfare state. The liberals solved the federal deficit by forcing provinces to restructure their welfare programs and choke funding to higher education and health care. As such, when it comes to economic policy there is hardly a ray of light that separates the Conservatives and the Liberals: they are both neoliberals when it comes to the economy.

The liberals cannot credibly hold themselves up as the protectors of the environment. The Conservatives are right on this one. The liberals had the better part of decade to do something on the environment and they did next to nothing. Oh sure they talked a good game but they did worse than nothing. Anyone who is even faintly familiar of what went down in the federal Ministry of the Environment knows what schizophrenic organization it became under the liberals. Add to that the culling of inspectors and the lax enforcement of existing environmental protection and you get the impression that the Ministry of the Environment under the liberals was little more than an appendage of industry: kind of like Transport Canada which has always been an appendage of industry.

The liberals cannot credibly run as an anti-war anti-fear party. They drafted the draconian anti-terrorism legislation and they sent Canada into Afghanistan and determined the structure of that mission.

The liberals cannot credibly run as paragons of virtue determined to stamp out patronage. Indeed the liberals were a patronage machine and when patronage was not enough they shifted to envelopes stuffed with cash.

In short, Dion cannot credibly run the liberals as honest brokers. Given their previous record as the governing party they can neither poach votes form the left or the right because they have zero credibility on either side of that divide. Hence, it is going to be a popularity contest determined by Charisma, which is the one thing Dion totally lacks.

Get ready the Harper majority is coming.

It looks as though Labour is set to take back the government in Australia. Eight months is a long time in politics but the trends are all moving in the right direction. And it looks like Howard’s attack adds actually moved opinion in the opposite direction. WK take note.

Man if you wanted to discredit the left this little initiative would be the way to go about it. Does nayone know who these people are? We swear this is either a CSIS or Scientology Front, most likely the latter and not the former.

Dear Dawg with respect to your post in our comments section,

This is not about freedom of expression per se as we are already on record as understanding the limitations to that right.

The question is: what is the responsibility of members of a community to one another? And this is why the little show trial you had was so disgusting. Apologize or be banned. This is Maoist re-education at its best.

Who but the most defeated of individual without any sense of personal autonomy could bend to that especially if they felt it was being motivated by the likes of Kinsella and Cherniak? Robert’s comment was full of shit we all decried him for that we even educated him on that. End of story. Or at least that should have been. But you little kids needed to make clear your virginal purity.

Which of course is bullshit because there are dark places in your hearts somewhere –unless of course you now have achieved transcendence into a God.

And the reference to Apartheid was about just that: (1) censorship of this type is futile and (2) how injuriously offended people deal with the perpetrators of those offences. The wisdom of the TRC was that Apartheid was a complex social beast which was not the property of any individual but rather the property of a social totality which spanned vast swaths of time and geography reaching way down into the very soul of the West and its colonial endeavors (see any connection to anti-semitism?). The TRC made young activists all very sick. The elders defended its (TRC) wisdom. You all should grow up. Purity is for babies and Gods and you my little Dawg are a man. Learn the difference.

“Attack the argument, the emotion but not the man.” Given your apparent foundness for Maoist re-education here is a suggestion: write that on a chalk board, tie it around your neck and repeat it outloud as you walk down the public streets.

We have decided to sell off Canadian Observer.  We are willing to take raw cash or a paragraph about why you are the individual or individual’s to take over the blog.   The blog is well established and has good potential for growth.

Interested parties can reach us in the comments section.

The essence of neoliberalism

What is neoliberalism? A programme for destroying collective structures which may impede the pure market logic.

By Pierre Bourdieu

As the dominant discourse would have it, the economic world is a pure and perfect order, implacably unrolling the logic of its predictable consequences, and prompt to repress all violations by the sanctions that it inflicts, either automatically or —more unusually — through the intermediary of its armed extensions, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the policies they impose: reducing labour costs, reducing public expenditures and making work more flexible. Is the dominant discourse right? What if, in reality, this economic order were no more than the implementation of a utopia – the utopia of neoliberalism – thus converted into a political problem? One that, with the aid of the economic theory that it proclaims, succeeds in conceiving of itself as the scientific description of reality?

This tutelary theory is a pure mathematical fiction. From the start it has been founded on a formidable abstraction. For, in the name of a narrow and strict conception of rationality as individual rationality, it brackets the economic and social conditions of rational orientations and the economic and social structures that are the condition of their application.


That said, this “theory” that is desocialised and dehistoricised at its roots has, today more than ever, the means of making itself true and empirically verifiable. In effect, neoliberal discourse is not just one discourse among many. Rather, it is a “strong discourse” – the way psychiatric discourse is in an asylum, in Erving Goffman’s analysis (2). It is so strong and so hard to combat only because it has on its side all of the forces of a world of relations of forces, a world that it contributes to making what it is. It does this most notably by orienting the economic choices of those who dominate economic relationships. It thus adds its own symbolic force to these relations of forces. In the name of this scientific programme, converted into a plan of political action, an immense political project is underway, although its status as such is denied because it appears to be purely negative. This project aims to create the conditions under which the “theory” can be realised and can function: a programme of the methodical destruction of collectives.


Thus we see how the neoliberal utopia tends to embody itself in the reality of a kind of infernal machine, whose necessity imposes itself even upon the rulers. Like the Marxism of an earlier time, with which, in this regard, it has much in common, this utopia evokes powerful belief – the free trade faith – not only among those who live off it, such as financiers, the owners and managers of large corporations, etc., but also among those, such as high-level government officials and politicians, who derive their justification for existing from it. For they sanctify the power of markets in the name of economic efficiency, which requires the elimination of administrative or political barriers capable of inconveniencing the owners of capital in their individual quest for the maximisation of individual profit, which has been turned into a model of rationality. They want independent central banks. And they preach the subordination of nation-states to the requirements of economic freedom for the masters of the economy, with the suppression of any regulation of any market, beginning with the labour market, the prohibition of deficits and inflation, the general privatisation of public services, and the reduction of public and social expenses.

Economists may not necessarily share the economic and social interests of the true believers and may have a variety of individual psychic states regarding the economic and social effects of the utopia which they cloak with mathematical reason. Nevertheless, they have enough specific interests in the field of economic science to contribute decisively to the production and reproduction of belief in the neoliberal utopia. Separated from the realities of the economic and social world by their existence and above all by their intellectual formation, which is most frequently purely abstract, bookish, and theoretical, they are particularly inclined to confuse the things of logic with the logic of things.

These economists trust models that they almost never have occasion to submit to the test of experimental verification and are led to look down upon the results of the other historical sciences, in which they do not recognise the purity and crystalline transparency of their mathematical games, whose true necessity and profound complexity they are often incapable of understanding. They participate and collaborate in a formidable economic and social change. Even if some of its consequences horrify them (they can join the socialist party and give learned counsel to its representatives in the power structure), it cannot displease them because, at the risk of a few failures, imputable to what they sometimes call “speculative bubbles”, it tends to give reality to the ultra-logical utopia (ultra-logical like certain forms of insanity) to which they consecrate their lives.


But these same forces of “conservation”, which it is too easy to treat as conservative, are also, from another point of view, forces of resistance to the establishment of the new order and can become subversive forces. If there is still cause for some hope, it is that forces still exist, both in state institutions and in the orientations of social actors (notably individuals and groups most attached to these institutions, those with a tradition of civil and public service) that, under the appearance of simply defending an order that has disappeared and its corresponding “privileges” (which is what they will immediately be accused of), will be able to resist the challenge only by working to invent and construct a new social order. One that will not have as its only law the pursuit of egoistic interests and the individual passion for profit and that will make room for collectives oriented toward the rational pursuit of ends collectively arrived at and collectively ratified.

How could we not make a special place among these collectives, associations, unions, and parties for the state: the nation-state, or better yet the supranational state – a European state on the way toward a world state – capable of effectively controlling and taxing the profits earned in the financial markets and, above of all, of counteracting the destructive impact that the latter have on the labour market. This could be done with the aid of labour unions by organising the elaboration and defence of the public interest. Like it or not, the public interest will never emerge, even at the cost of a few mathematical errors, from the vision of accountants (in an earlier period one would have said of “shopkeepers”) that the new belief system presents as the supreme form of human accomplishment.

By Goodwin Ginger

If Ortega wins the Nicaraguan election there will be some hand wringing in Washington. As we all now the US covertly funded a costly civil war in the furtherance of their desire to block the Sandinista demonstration effect. What the popular election of Ortega reveals if elected, is the failure of the logic of US Empire. The central lesson drawn is that the US does not even understand the foundations of its empire in Asia (outside of Vietnam): namely a judicious use of carrots and sticks. Of course in Latin America the US has always overly relied on Sticks. Indeed it seems as though the only carrot ever offered to Latin America is the promise of no action as opposed to brutal intervention.

Nicaragua is a prime example of the stupidity, arrogance, and ideological psychopathy of US foreign policy in the Americas. For all intents and purposes the US won in Nicaragua back in 1990. Sixteen years later they look like they may have lost. Why? The US has had sixteen years to construct Nicaragua as a positive model for what compliance with US interests could deliver. Instead they have pushed free markets, thrown cash at a defunct oligarchy and done almost nothing to improve the general living standard of the population. In short they have created a negative model with a powerful demonstration effect. Surely Ortega’s victory will have to be read through this lens. The US will, if Ortega wins, wave the threat of the Stick at their little cousins.

There is a good deal of farce in all this. Of course what we external commentators view as farce Nicaraguans will no doubt experience as tragedy. The US had sixteen years to make Nicaragua a positive example of US Empire. With only a population of 5.5 million people and a GDP per capita of only $2,300 the US could easily have doubled the living standards of Nicaraguans over the past decade and half. This would have entailed a different strategy then a slavish devotion to free market ideology and a reliance on a half hearted reconstructed oligarchy. Such a strategy would have entailed direct grants to community organizations and civil society groups for the construction and operation of schools, hospitals and public infrastructure in every village and city. In short such a strategy would have involved planning and coordination. But such would have been the very thing that the planners of US Empire seem to have such a strong ideological aversion too: publicly planned development. As such Nicaragua and Ortega’s victory will simply register in Washington as a signal to wax their Stick.

If Ortega wins we will no doubt hear the call accross Washington that Nicaragua is drifting into Chavez’s orbit: As well they should; it is not like the Americans’ ever offer anything but sticks. Such is the farce and tragedy of the US as an Empire of Free Markets and bonded men.

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