Africa Is Getting Richer, Thanks to Capitalism Reply

By Marian L. Tupy

Foundation for Economic Education

ub-Saharan Africa consists of 46 countries and covers an area of 9.4 million square miles. One out of seven people on earth live in Africa, and the continent’s share of the world’s population is bound to increase because Africa’s fertility rate remains higher than elsewhere.

Nigeria will be bigger than the United States in a few decades.

If current trends continue, there will be more people in Nigeria than in the United States by 2050. What happens in Africa, therefore, is important not only to the people who live on the continent but also to the rest of us.

The Hopeful Continent

Africa may be the world’s poorest continent, but it is no longer a “hopeless continent,” as the Economist magazine described it back in 2000. Since the start of the new millennium, Africa’s average per capita income, adjusted for inflation and purchasing power parity, rose by more than 50 percent, and Africa’s growth rate has averaged almost 5 percent per year.

For the first time, less than half of Africans are in extreme poverty.

Increasing wealth has led to improvements in key indicators of human wellbeing. In 1999, 58 percent of Africans lived on less than $1.90 per day. By 2011, 44 percent of Africans lived on that income — all while the African population rose from 650 million to 1 billion. If the current trends continue, Africa’s absolute poverty rate will fall to 24 percent by 2030.

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US-Led Economic War, Not Socialism, Is Tearing Venezuela Apart Reply

By Caleb Maupin

Mint Press

A pro-government supporter wears a T-Shirt with image of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez, as he waits for results during congressional elections in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015.

WASHINGTON — (ANALYSIS) The political and economic crisis facing Venezuela is being endlessly pointed to as proof of the superiority of the free market.

Images and portrayals of Venezuelans rioting in the streets over high food costs, empty grocery stores, medicine shortages, and overflowing garbage bins are the headlines, and the reporting points to socialism as the cause.

The Chicago Tribune published a Commentary piece titled: “A socialist revolution can ruin almost any country.” A headline on Reason’s Hit and Run blog proclaims: “Venezuelan socialism still a complete disaster.” The Week’s U.S. edition says: “Authoritarian socialism caused Venezuela’s collapse.”

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De-Stereotyping Anarchism as a “White Ideology” Reply

By Extaneous Thinker

It’s a Social Construct

It’s happened many times before. That awkward moment sitting in that one meeting for  [insert organization here]. Then, as you question the direction/tactics because you don’t believe in the politics of demand, you not only become discovered as an anarchist, but also criticized for it. I think it’s too many a time when I was told “anarchism is a white ideology” (whatever that means); “the only anarchists are white”; “anarchism is a privileged political philosophy”; you get the point.

Thinking this way, though, has some ‘truth’ in it. The truth is that none of these claims are true to begin with. But in addition to this, it illustrates the perspective of just how strong media narratives are. It points out that this stereotype (because that is what it really is) is just the same old story pushed and propagated by the media. When one speaks of anarchism, immediately organizers/activists think of black dressed white dudes (never mind you can’t see their face), who go around and breaking windows. They think of anarchism only as how the media spins it off; as black bloc tactics that end in chaos, as a mess.

Never mind that Mao Zedong and many Chinese socialists were at first, anarchist. Never mind that the Mexican Revolution was mainly provoked by mestizo anarchist Flores Magon; never mind that Japanese anarchism took a surge by Noe Itō a feminist and organizer in her own right; never mind the mutualista societies in Mexican and Black communities in the United States; never mind the stateless societies in Latin America, both intentional communities and prior to colonial contact; never mind the Syrian anarchist Omar Aziz, who played a role in the Syrian Revolution; never mind the Rojava Revolution itself, a plural society of Syrian Kurds and Arabs in democratic confederation; never mind the societies not mentioned here.

daf

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Syria’s Assad Just Explained How The U.S. Really Works Reply

Yep.

By Brandon Turbeville

Information Clearinghouse

While Americans endlessly battle each other over seemingly important choices like Clinton and Trump or Democrats and Republicans, it is clear that the majority of the population has little understanding of how the U.S. government operates. Yet, for those who pay the price for the apathy and confusion of the general population of the West, it often becomes stunningly obvious that neither presidents nor political parties in America represent any discernible difference in the ongoing agenda of the Deep State and the rest of the oligarchical apparatus. Indeed, that agenda always marches forward regardless of who is president or which political party is in control.

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Boston Free Speech Rally – A Brief History of ANTIFA with Gabriel Brown (May 13th, 2017) Reply

Boston Free Speech Rally
Boston Commons, Boston, Massachusetts
May 13th, 2017

Gabriel Brown explains a brief history on the origins of the Anti-Fascist Action (Antifa) as well as their sponsors in the Ford Foundation and the Southern Poverty Law Center with Steven J. Baldassari. Steven was not certain what to make of the Anarchist position during the discussion but he came to the agreement that we shared much more in common than we had disagreements so this discussion and interview resulted in a positive conclusion.

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Baton Rouge Cop Killer Was a “Sovereign Citizen.” What the Heck Is That? Reply

I have long been fascinated by an underground antigovernment movement known as the “sovereign citizens,” who are considered by law enforcement to be on the number one domestic security threat.

By Brandon E. Patterson

Mother Jones

A still from one of Gavin Long’s YouTube video.

On July 17, in the second (at least) targeted attack on police in just over a week, 29-year-old Gavin Long shot six cops, three fatally, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The former Marine had posted YouTube selfie videos in which he commented on the need to respond to “oppression” with “bloodshed,” and praised the recent shooting of 11 officers in Dallas as “justice.” Long also appears to have been part of the so-called “sovereign citizen” movement. Last May, he filed official documents in Jackson County, Missouri, declaring a name change and identifying himself as a member of the Empire Washita de Dugdahmoundyah—a black group that espouses some of the movement’s ideas. According to the Daily Beast, Long was also carrying an ID card from the Empire at the time of the shooting. Here’s what you need to know about sovereign citizenship, and the branch Long subscribed to.

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Voting Isn’t a Civic Duty Reply

By Chris Shaw

Image result for don't vote

With the recent election here in the UK, we see the barrage of comments that regularly follow it. It entails saying something along the lines of “if you don’t vote you can’t complain”. A statement so stupid and banal that it doesn’t deserve the credit it is given. Now that’s not to say you shouldn’t vote. Frankly I don’t care either way, and I’ll only vote if there is a candidate in my constituency worth voting for. But what frustrates me about this statement is the equivocation of voting with some kind of existential meaning, as if voting is the apotheosis of civic or political engagement.

In the current political context, voting is a relatively trivial affair. Unless you truly believe in the messages and policies of the major political parties, which with the levels of voter disengagement and the prevalence of tribal/generational voting patterns suggests many people don’t, voting is a meaningless task. If you live in a safe seat and don’t agree with the holding party, voting would be a waste. If you live in a marginal seat, and aren’t interested in the duopolistic choices, again voting is a waste. The fact that political engagement seems to have been stoked by the stupidities of the EU referendum should tell you everything about the supposed importance of voting.

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Julian Assange Defiant After Swedes Drop Investigation: ‘The war has just begun’ Reply

Julian Assange has declared that “the proper war is just commencing” after Swedish prosecutors unexpectedly dropped their investigation into an allegation of rape against him, ending a torturous seven-year extradition battle that nevertheless leaves significant question marks over his future.

The 45-year-old WikiLeaks founder appeared on the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he had sought asylum in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, and said Friday’s decision was “an important victory”.

After raising a clenched fist in salute, however, he vowed that “threats” made by US officials that he could be arrested on espionage charges “will not be tolerated” and said his organisation was escalating its leaks of documents about the CIA.

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Chelsea Manning Released from Prison Reply

By Paulina Firozi

The Hill

Chelsea Manning released from prison

Former soldier Chelsea Manning has been released from prison after serving seven years for leaking thousands of classified documents.

The BBC reported early Wednesday morning that Manning had left Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas, citing a U.S. Army spokesman.

Former President Barack Obama commuted Manning’s 35-year prison sentence just days before he left office.

She was convicted in 2013 for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents related to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, which were later released by WikiLeaks. Manning was initially set for released in 2045, the longest sentence ever imposed for a leak conviction.

Manning previously said she plans to return to her home in Maryland after her release.

“As I rebuild my life, I remind myself not to relive the past. The past will always affect me and I will keep that in mind while remembering that how it played out is only my starting point—not my final destination.”

Why is the Pluralist Commonwealth an American system? 1

An interesting libertarian socialist perspective.

By Gar Alperovitz

The Next System

William Appleman Williams, in his system-challenging book, The Tragedy of American Diplomacy, insisted that at the heart of American foreign policy was a “very powerful and dangerous propensity to define the essentials of American welfare in terms of activities outside the United States.” The imperialist thrust of American behavior on the world stage, for Williams, stemmed from the need to access markets on a larger and larger global scale, driven by the growth imperative at the heart of a capitalist economy. What was and is ‘tragic,’ about this, Williams held, was that this economic priority in practice commonly subverted (and continues to subvert) genuine American ideals of democracy for ourselves as well as others.

My own historical work on the reasons behind the decision of senior US political leadership to inexcusably use atomic weapons against the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki unfolded within this frame—as an attempt to come to terms with the dynamics of a system that ultimately came to justify such brutal “atomic diplomacy,” even as many top World War II military leaders, including President Dwight D. Eisenhower, publicly denounced the morality of the decision. My experience as a Legislative Director in the U.S. Senate at the time of the dubiously supported Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that created the basis for America’s entry into the Vietnam War deepened my awareness of just how dangerous the current structure of power is both domestically and internationally.

There is much to be learned from experiments around the world with new forms of economic development and political governance. It is also certain that capitalism is global, and that any program for real transformation needs to come to terms with global inequities and the role of globalized trade. But I believe that, in general, we have, first and foremost a responsibility to act where we are—and that Americans have a special responsibility here, as inhabitants of the most powerful corporate capitalist nation in the history of the world. Our task—and it is by no means small—is to transform the economic system of this nation, displacing the economic engine of global expansion and the power relationships it creates and sustains. Thus, the development of the Pluralist Commonwealth, here in the United States, is not just a matter of making our economic and political system more fair and more just, but an essential long-term act of international solidarity. Our foreign policy will not change until we change.

What resources for a Pluralist Commonwealth can be found in the American tradition?

It is true that the United States has little recent historical experience with alternative ownership paradigms, explicitly framed as such. However, the history of populist development has left a much larger mark on the contours of American political economy than most realize. From the municipal socialists of cities like Milwaukee to the largely PUBLIC and COOPERATIVE history of rural electrification, there is deep tradition of practical, community-based ownership of important economic sectors. Twenty percent of American electric generation, for instance, is currently produced and distributed by municipally owned utilities or cooperatives;1 over 100 million Americans are members of one or another cooperative;2 and there are many, many more such practical on-the-ground examples (as we shall shortly explore).

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Glen Greenwald: Siding With The “Deep State” Against Trump is “Extremely Dangerous” Reply

By K J McElrath

Ring of Fire

As bad as the Trump Administration is, things could get much worse should agencies such as the CIA and the NSA seize power of the U.S. government. Yet, many Trump resisters, seeing the escalating war between the Administration and “Deep State” agencies, are siding with the latter – and prominent journalist Glenn Greenwald warns that “it is extremely dangerous to do that.”

Greenwald’s warning comes in the wake of a similar alarm sounded by former Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who recently published an an article in Newsweek. In that piece, he outlined how intelligence agencies and the military-industrial complex have been actively working to undermine the Executive Branch of government.

Now, as these intelligence agencies go on to attack the deeply-unpopular and dangerous Trump Administration, many in the resistance are calling on them to overthrow Trump – if for no other reason than to stop him from enacting his extremist policies. This would be tantamount to destroying democracy in order to save it.

As I pointed out last week, intelligence agencies and their allies in the military-industrial complex are run by those who have been appointed, not elected – and therefore, have no accountability to anyone.

Even if you are among those who believe (with good reason) that the Deep State and the Trump Administration are equally dangerous, Greenwald correctly points out that there is a difference:

“Trump was democratically elected and is subject to democratic controls, as these courts just demonstrated and as the media is showing, as citizens are proving. But on the other hand, the CIA was elected by nobody. They’re barely subject to democratic controls at all.”

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Why the US Won’t See a Violent Political Revolution Anytime Soon 2

Because we’re a nation of aging, overweight slobs.

By Sam Harris

Business Insider

This post from Sam Harris, an entrepreneur, engineer, and former data scientist at the U.S. Air Force, originally appeared on Quora as an answer to the question, “Is the United States on the brink of a political revolution?

No. We don’t have enough teenagers.

When I was an officer in the Air Force, I was a data scientist, and at one point we were tasked with determining what level of violence in Iraq could be considered “normal” so that we could declare victory and leave with dignity.

Obviously, the base level of violence in Iraq would be higher than in Sweden, but precisely how much higher and why? These were the questions.

We did analysis on hundreds of factors across centuries worth of data from hundreds of countries to determine what drove the levels of violence in a society. The worst violence levels are obviously during civil wars and government collapse.

We looked at wealth inequality, famine, disease, number of children per woman, infant mortality, median GDP, average GDP … literally hundreds of factors and their cross-dependencies that numbered in the quadrillions — think average GDP combined with median life expectancy combined with infant mortality combined with … you get the idea.

What we found was that the most significant factor was the number of individuals aged 13–19 relative to the number of individuals aged over 35. If the teenage group ever exceeded the over 35 group, violence increased to the point there was a very high chance of civil war. Furthermore, the opposite was true. If the 35+ year-olds outnumbered the teenagers, there was no chance of civil war.

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A Quick and Dirty Summary of My Political Views Reply

By The People’s Post Modernist

The Absurd Man

First and Foremost, I am an Egosit/Stirnerite. The metaphysical ideas of the Creative Nothing” spoke volumes to me upon reading about it for the first time. We all may exist in a void but it is our void and the more time we spend relishing in this absurdity and meaninglessness the more we reinforce our place in it allowing us to act with our unbound will (as opposed to mere ideology) in order to cope with the invent able death of our gods.

Mutualist/Distributist economics; This is one one is is pretty self-explanatory. I firmly believe that the only way for proper voluntary action to exist is by establishing an informal method of societal organization chiefly concerned with maximizing individual freedom and livelihood by radically decentralizing the MOP.

Left-Nietzschean; Again, fairly simple. A rejection on modernism/humanism swapped out for a celebration of genius and power. In this wake, we will create a new cultural paradigm in which both Masters and Slaves are rendered obsolete. Embracing the deconstructionist rhetoric of Nietzsche ad other similar thinkers, also leads us (slowly but surely)to a radical skepticism regarding societal institutions (see Foucault)

An Insurectioanry Praxis influenced by Mao, specifically Mao’s contributions to dialectical materialism, the mass line as a form of larger scale organization and his “National Communism” ext), Che Guevara primarily for his military tactics and Italian Individualist Anarchism (The Rebel’s Dark Laughter – By; Bruno Felipe is a personal favorite of mine)… Bruno was certainly a genuine anti-fa before it was trendy.

I’m also influenced by elements of Ernst Junger, (his “conservative revolution and metaphysical “Anarch” are criminally under-looked for how influential they’ve been in the realm of metaphysics) and certain elements of National Anarchism (Freedom of association/dissociation, Anti-Zionist/Globalist fronts and a rejection of Humanism/Neo-Liberalism). I’ve also come to believe that all of these ideas could be incorporated into 3rd world-ism, used to promote 3rd-world/Indigenous liberation/radical decolonization and to empower international, anti-Western nationalist groups which we shouldn’t write off as allies because the mere use of the word “Nationalism”)

The Faces of Freedom Reply

By The People’s Post Modernist

The Absurd Man

As a caveat, I feel it is necessary it address the the metaphysics of freedom and the subsequent embodiment of ideas. Anarchists are first and foremost concerned with the concrete (funny considering how many write off anarchist movements as “idealistic”). As people of all stripes who value freedom (in an abstract sense) and seek to abolish centralized institutions which infringe on it, we concern ourselves with the not only the material but the metaphysical (see Junger) foundations of freedom and its impact (how metaphysical anarchic concepts are embodied by institutions and ideologies). I find the following outline to be helpful for a frame of reference

Self-Organizing/Anarchic systems of organization/archetypes;

National Anarchism – Freedom of Mobility
Anarcho Capitalism – Economic Freedom
Anarcho Communism/Syndicalism – Social Freedom

Institutional systems of organization/archetypes;

Neo-liberalism/Centrism/Humanism – “Rights”
Right-Wing Nationalism/Populism – “Culture”

It’s easy enough to deconstruct the “spooks” embodied by Institutional systems of organization but we often forsake critiquing our own positions. By not doing this, we risk slipping into “institutional” territory (legislated moralism and the problems which that entails). If we’re being honest, all of the above anarchic systems fail to a certain degree because they place too much of an emphasis on one type of freedom. Instead of evaluating ideas from a meta-systemic point of view in an effort to maximize all three types of freedoms, many anarchists unconsciously promote institutional rhetoric by concerning themselves with “causes” as opposed to will and action (we’ve certainly seen this with the left in recent years).

Now, it’s time to elaborate on the different types of freedoms embodied in varying anarchic systems.

Social Freedom
The ability to organize along ideological lines (either individually or collectively) that the individual or community sees as desirable. In a broader sense, this requires decentralizing power structures and abolishing external authority imposed by the state apparatus (institutions, “culture,” Morality ext) which limits people’s capacity to act directly in their self-interest (largely pertaining to varying forms of self organization and self-expression) and ensure a certain metric of security/solidarity within these forms of organization.

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6 Feminist Myths That Will Not Die Reply

By Christina Hoff Sommers

Time

Much of what we hear about the plight of American women is false. Some faux facts have been repeated so often they are almost beyond the reach of critical analysis. Though they are baseless, these canards have become the foundation of Congressional debates, the inspiration for new legislation and the focus of college programs. Here are five of the most popular myths that should be rejected by all who are genuinely committed to improving the circumstances of women:

MYTH 1: Women are half the world’s population, working two-thirds of the world’s working hours, receiving 10% of the world’s income, owning less than 1% of the world’s property.

FACTS: This injustice confection is routinely quoted by advocacy groups, the World Bank, Oxfam and the United Nations. It is sheer fabrication. More than 15 years ago, Sussex University experts on gender and development Sally Baden and Anne Marie Goetz, repudiated the claim: “The figure was made up by someone working at the UN because it seemed to her to represent the scale of gender-based inequality at the time.” But there is no evidence that it was ever accurate, and it certainly is not today.

Precise figures do not exist, but no serious economist believes women earn only 10% of the world’s income or own only 1% of property. As one critic noted in an excellent debunking in The Atlantic, “U.S. women alone earn 5.4 percent of world income today.” Moreover, in African countries, where women have made far less progress than their Western and Asian counterparts, Yale economist Cheryl Doss found female land ownership ranged from 11% in Senegal to 54% in Rwanda and Burundi. Doss warns that “using unsubstantiated statistics for advocacy is counterproductive.” Bad data not only undermine credibility, they obstruct progress by making it impossible to measure change.

MYTH 2: Between 100,000 and 300,000 girls are pressed into sexual slavery each year in the United States.

FACTS: This sensational claim is a favorite of politicians, celebrities and journalists. Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore turned it into a cause célèbre. Both conservatives and liberal reformers deploy it. Former President Jimmy Carter recently said that the sexual enslavement of girls in the U.S. today is worse than American slavery in the 19th century.

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Women Still Face Oppression Today in the U.S. Reply

By Mina Ghaninejad

The Rattler

In August of 1920, women were granted the right to vote by the implementation of the 19th amendment. Since then, women have slowly progressed into having the same rights as men. And although most people would assume that women have reached the same status as men, given the modern era, that is simply not the case.

Women today are still oppressed in multiple ways, and yet we as a society turn a blind eye to the oppression that physically and emotionally harm women as a gender and as individuals. Not only are women financially oppressed, women are also socially and sexually oppressed in more than one circumstance in which men would not be.

In 2012, statistics from catalyst.org, documented the median annual income for both sexes. While women earned $37,791, men earned $49,398. In the educational field, statistics proved that the higher the degree, the higher the difference between pay. While the average median women with doctoral degrees get paid $1,371 weekly, men get paid $1,734.  Women with only a bachelor’s degree earn $930 while men earn $1,199.

In 2013, the average everyday female worker gets paid only 78% of what men earn. Though women in all states face unequal pay, some states only give women 66% of what men earn in states such as Louisiana, while in Washington, D.C, women receive 91% of what men earn.

In 2014, the Senate Republicans refused to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. This law has been persistent on being passed since 2012, however once again for the third time, it was shot down by Congress. The Paycheck Fairness Act allows employers to talk about their wages more freely and easily. The Act also forces employers to explain why the different sexes earn different wages, and to close the pay gap between males and females. And while every Democrat voted for the bill to be passed, every Republican in the Senate voted against the bill, though claiming they support equal pay for equal work. The Senates reason for the refusal of the bill was that it would ‘increase civil lawsuits, and would be pointless since discrimination based on sexes is already illegal in the United States’.

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