Stand up, assemble, and unite for peace, for life, and for dignity!
Those who rule the global economy and national states, liberal or conservative capitalist classes and factions in the West have been for long pursuing their own program and agenda to counter the rise of Chinese as well as other contending capitalist classes from Russia, India, Brazil, and others.
The contestation of one sides program to the program and agenda of the other, liberal / conservative, globalist ruling class factions ended up major conflicts in Eastern Europe, Africa, Middle East, South America and the Pacific. Leaving behind millions of death of innocent people and children and destroying nature and wealth that belongs to all.
In this fight of elephants, by forming and funding alliances, by covert operations, by proxy and drone wars; states using of armed terror groups and fake news has became normal. Surveillance, deception, manipulation, torture, and taking lives without punishment replaced consent based bourgeois democratic form of politics.
Engagement of part of ‘progressive left’ and ‘left liberals’, as well as left-right wing libertarians, some segment of anarchist and communitarian groups, have not only resulted in wide mistrust to alternative liberal-humanist politics in general, hence also caused the failure and expansion of the extreme, right wing, and fascist politics and politicians.
Fall of the liberals and lefts gave way to the rise of right-authoritarian politicians as Trump, Putin, Netanyahu, Erdogan, May, Le Pen, Orban, Wilders, but also this lead to the emergence of groups like ISIS and others across the world.
All resulting in expansion of conflict and wars in the periphery of the falling Western Empire.
At the end, the entire world was brought once more to the brink of yet another inter-capitalist and imperialist world war; where a massive nuclear arsenal can be unleashed and put into use to massacre billions of innocent people globally.
Today it appears even in mainstream media as if that the target of spreading wars is about stopping China or Russia, as well as other rising ruling class factions that capitalist system fostered. Yet in reality the real war has been on, the never ending ‘war on terror’ has been ultimately a war at billions of ordinary people. Unemployed, insecure, exploited, indigenous, gay, lesbian, women, men, and from all ethnic back ground.
The global liberal elite has been managing the chaos and financing wars for the benefit of its own class fraction. Such interest was for a while about establishing a ‘global good governance’, that meant sort of soft imperialism backed by just wars and interventions justified only for the capitalist West.
The result have been everywhere the rapid increasing of military conflicts and erupting of the clashes between local, national and global ruling class factions, turning many countries into blood bath though wars, at the end of the day, launched on the innocent and oppressed governed people.
What got clear today is that a global war, spectacle, this time will be directed on China and Russia, and is about to be triggered and launched either with a false flag or covert action, like Douma Gas attack, as it was the case for the first and second word wars, may be in coming days or hours.
What would a launch of such a global war mean for the masses of oppressed peoples and communities in Europe, the US, and globally is nothing else than the expansion of the tragedies and destruction we have been witnessing with the imperialist wars in Africa, Middle East, Eastern Europe, and inner Asia, since the 90s.
The most important lesson one can get from the past experiences and from the experiences of the last decades, is that not that any program or campaign launched -neither by intellectual left nor its global liberal elite- with the purpose of gaining counter hegemonic political power, would be able to stop this coming war.
Such effective action for peace can only be led by those upon whom this global war is really launched.
Thus the remaining time for the peoples of the world are extremely limited and precious
This can be the real final count-down, and the war can begin in hours.
What you will do now will be historically decisive for all of the humanity, if not for entire life on earth.
This can be our last call, for all times.
That is why we urge all, whoever reads this call, to get energize and get yourself organized. Design and set forth your own local, national, and international action, assemblies and/or permanent networks to stop this war on all of us.
To discuss the ways and possibilities for stopping the coming world war, and for transcending the social and economic system that is may be about the destroy, at least, the human life on earth.
We beg you to connect with each other, face to face, not on facebook or twitter, and with other’s actions, assemblies and networks in mutual respect, love, solidarity, while recognizing each other’s individual – personal and collective autonomy, cultural and ideational differences.
Please keep your self-respect and creativity, while looking for ways and tools to deliver your findings and decisions in touch, together with others’ and forming coherent and homogenous regional and international bodies. That can become a critical mass and deliver accessible message and vision, with strong and universal expressions of such collaboration and solidarity for common humanity.
The day is the day to build a common humanity and rise together, for not only our own survival but for getting a final chance to create genuine wold in dignity.
One for all, all for one
Tektology is a comprehensive methodology. Upgrading Dialectic and Historical Materialism of Marx and Engels, with Energetics of Mach and Ostwald, it was founded by Lenin’s most important challenger Alexander Bogdanov Malinowski, between the late 1890s and 1920s. It was developed as a radical critic of Taylor’s Scientific Management yet beyond that in order to look at the entire universe and all its properties from an ‘organizational’ and ‘class’ points of view; in order to discover and study common/general patterns and mechanisms in the emergence, transformation, evolution, and demise of all complex elements and systems forming human experience, and rebuilt it in an emancipatory way. Although it is recognized as the forerunner of the modern Cybernetics of Norbert Wiener, and the General Systems Theory of Ludwig von Bertalanffy, some claims that Tektology was going further then the two and foreseeing many later discoveries made in these latter fields, following the developments in the 20th century.
This evolving project aims at visualizing and mapping the connections and dots for a longitudinal analysis of the emergence of a Transnational Managerial Class; which has been emerging form the early 20th century; the time of Tektology and the scientist-intellectuals in the West; from revolutionary Russian intelligentsia –turned into Nomenklatura- to the management gurus and futurists of the post-war period: such as James Burnham, Peter Drucker, Alvin Toffler, Jeremy Rifkin. Tracing such agency until today, the research aims at making off such a transnational class, emerging within and between ideologies and planning practices of communism and capitalism. Such a class might finally be asserting itself as the agency of a new global ruling class fraction, with the eruption of 2007-8 crisis and claiming the commanding heights for itself. Doing so by declaring that it would be able to lead the world to an alternative route beyond capitalism: Post-capitalist world. With the concomitant rise of ‘cyber-imperialism’, at the current highest stage of capitalism, we might be witnessing this new class confronting the transnational and national capitalist class fractions as well as the emergent ‘collective worker.’ Therefore, the history of neoliberalism and rise of global governance may be about to become the history of the endgame for the current mode of production. The “collective worker”, agency of the global working class/proletariat, that would be the one challenging and contesting the alternative route to capitalism for its own terms. Providing an alternative to both the global capitalism vision as the agency of the ancient regime holds on; or the cybernetic ‘post-capitalist’ managerial system which is promoted by this emergent new global ruling class candidate.
For our argument’s sake, the form of organization for such class agency will be traced and mapped too. This form is the established network form, around which managerial classes agency is linked to, fused with, and convert those heads of corporations and state apparatus, the state-society complex: in academia, military, trade unions and NGOs, policy groups, etc. While the Corporation, and Corporate Governance are legal manifestation of such organizational form in the business dimension of the ‘civil society’; the WB, IMF, OECD, UN Agencies (as transnational quasi-state apparatus) and policy planing think-tanks: like Council of Foreign Relations, New American, Bilderberg, Trilateral Commission, WEF, Open Society, Open Knowledge, New Economy Foundations, etc. are manifestations of such form in the political realm.
What documents Immanuel Ness in his recent book (Southern Insurgency: The Coming of the Global Working Class) are the real reasons behind the increasing acceleration in robotic, space technology, AI and emergent industry 4.0; emergence of control and surveillance regimes, as well as civil wars and conflicts. Rulers of the world have to coop with billions of poor, unemployed, immigrant their systems generated while they have to generate more of them. They need to be able to control and steer more and more people desperately. As Stephen Hawking rightly indicated it is capitalism (the logic of control, passion for possession, destructive exploitation of ecosystems including humans, etc.) what we need to be afraid of. Not robots, AI or technology in general but those of generated by this logic. Fear is new for those falling from global north to global south first time; yet it is where the hope lies. The hope lies in the possibility of intellectual and industrial workers of the world achieving to form one body; global coming together of those who are living in shock of losing certain privileges s/he had once, very much afraid of it; and of those steered towards suburbs and slums of the mega-cities emerged in the global south; and formed the new industrial army of proletariat. Had the brain and body of this force formed a unity, in at least 4-5 billion people power, planet has the chance to avoid destruction and life could rebuild itself in amazing new forms and contents.
There may be one person, probably the one and only in human history, who could manage to get such widely recognized achievements in all of the mentioned fields (of arts, philosophy, politics, technology, and science) and being a polymath scientist at the same time.
Since I was a little kid, have I been amazed by biographies of important personalities and started to read as many of them as I could. Stories of the known real persons who achieved great mastery and delivered majestic work especially in five major fields of philosophy, art, politics, science, and technology, thus contributing to the common heritage of several dozens millennia year old humanity has been a guiding light for many. Biographies of those names from Homer to Plato and Aristoteles, from Buddha to Confucius, from Bruno to Vinci and Rumi, from Queen Victoria to Mozart, from Goethe to Hegel and Marx, from Mach and Einstein to Merlyn Monroe and Maradona, from Elvis to Hawking and Beatles, from Churchill, to Stalin, Lenin, and Mao and so on so forth got written, collected, achived, and listed for already hundereds of years. The following link provides a great (may be a bit Western centric) but sort of a global compilation of such biographies (amongst them 100 Famous Women, Famous Historical Figures, 100 most influential people in the world).
It is a striking statistic of these lists that amongst the most influential people, the most well-known and impactful ones are those who are/were able to combine being a polymath (which means a person who is trained in several scientific disciplines) and achieving success in more than one major fields mentioned above (art, science, technology and inventions, politics, philosophy -this includes religion and ideology/discourse too, and then politics). After scanning my memory again, and again, and again, and then testing my memory against the backdrop of above lists I could not find (may miss one or two but could not encounter) one single personality, who did demonstrate major and recognized achievements in all of these fields, and plus being a polymath at the same time.
To my knowledge however, there is one person, probably the one and only in entire human history, who could actually managed to get major achievements in all of the mentioned fields (of arts, politics, technology, philosophy, and science), being a polymath scientist at the same time. Yet it his name has been missing in all of the above lists, and probably from others. It is highly probabley that his name is missing in your list too. The name is Alexander A. Bogdanov, does it ring any bells? I would ont think so.
Probably the reason is because he was the editor of the second Russian translation of Das Capital of Karl Marx which become standard edition; he was the author of the first Marxist political economy study-book; the author of the first book on the emergence of social-class consciousness, ideological and cultural hegemony -long before Lucaks, Gramsci and others; the inventor of philosophical approach ‘Empriomonism’ which was updating dialectical materialism for 20st century, and he was the most prominent leader amongst Bolsheviks after Lenin; he was the founder of the first communist party schools in Capri and Bologna; the author of first Bolshevik utopian novel Red Star which became the symbol of the idea of global revolution; he was the founder and leader of the Proletarian Culture movement (ProletKult); and he was also a polymath scientist, founded the first Blood transfusion institute and recognized as the founding father of Cybernetics and General Systems Theory with his magnum opus Tektology: General Science of Organisation.
The name of Bogdanov may not be counted in conventional lists of famous influential peoples, who have come to be seen as those who made somehow large impact on the course of development of human history. Yet as the only person who could get major achievements in (several fields of) sciences and technology, but also in politics, arts, and philosophy; it is most likely and highly possible that he has also made the largest and most invisible impact on our development as the humankind. It is time to get a grip and discover that impact and to fill a gigantic gap that remained in the common heritage of humanity, leaving it incomplete for almost a century.
Here is where one could find a great amount of work to start with. And here, Historical Materialism Book Series’ project of Alexander Bogdanov Library which is earning most of his writings into English language.
We are an alliance of Middle Eastern socialists opposed to all the international and Middle Eastern regional imperialist powers and their wars, whether the U.S., Russia and China or Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey. We also oppose other authoritarian regimes such as Assad’s in Syria and El Sisi’s in Egypt as well as religious fundamentalism whether of ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah or the Muslim Brotherhood. Although the Muslim Brotherhood and Hezbollah consider themselves gradualists and oppose the Jihadism of Al Qaeda and ISIS, all of these organizations share the goal of establishing a state based on Shari’a Law and preserving the current capitalist order. We oppose capitalism, class divisions, patriarchy/sexism, racism, ethnic and religious prejudice and speak to the struggles of women, workers, oppressed nationalities such as Kurds and Palestinians, oppressed ethnic and religious minorities, and sexual minorities. We also oppose Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. We stand for socialism as a concept of human emancipation and an affirmative vision distinguished from the authoritarian regimes that called themselves “Communist.”
Launching the new version of UnionBase
Welcome to UnionBase, the world’s first social networking platform for the labor movement with 30,000 Union Profiles, an expertly crafted user experience for union and non-union workers and a cutting edge Verification System.
Workers and unions will be able to connect like never before. Founded by Larry Williams Jr. in 2015, UnionBase is a first of its kind pro-union social networking platform. Larry is the President of Progressive Workers’ Union (PWU) and has been a union organizer, educator and leader for 10 years in Washington, D.C.
What are the hope for a renewed Social Democracy across Europe? Who constitute the new Atlantic ruling class? How do we combat the rise of xenophobia? And what is the future of the war-torn countries across the globe? Kees van der Pijl, one of the leading Marxist political scientists, takes us through his intellectual and political development since the 1970s, as well as pointing towards the future developments for emancipatory politics in this wide-ranging interview with George Souvlis and Yulia Yurchenko (originally published by LeftEast).
Q1: Would you like to present yourself by focusing on the formative experiences (academic and political) that have strongly influenced you?
My generation was a lucky one, the baby-boomers whose society was in competition with state socialism, our own social order discredited by the Great Depression and two world wars. So capitalism was compelled to show a human face (at home, not in southeast Asia, Africa or Latin America, of course). Although coming from a very modest background, I was able to study for practically nothing, enjoy quality schooling compared to what is offered today, and profit from other social provision and protection. It was generally a Spartan but optimistic environment to grow up in. From my background in the declining petty bourgeoisie of small shopkeepers, I also inherited a mentality of hard work, not counting on others, and a penchant for not trusting the high and mighty (that turned out very useful, too).
So when my generation experienced first-hand what is now recognised as the moment the capitalist class called into question the post-war class compromise forced upon it by Depression and war, and we ourselves burst onto the scene with a permissive culture breaking with the rigidities of reconstruction Cold War Europe, we were relatively well-trained, hungry for a different world (socialism in any form), and optimistic.
Yet at the time I personally completely failed to see what Wolfgang Streeck has called the three successive attempts by Western governments (inflation, state debt, private debt) to cover the breakdown of the post-war class compromise by throwing money into the breaches. We interpreted the 1970s crisis as a crisis of capital, whereas it was in fact a crisis of the post-war class compromise as a consequence of the restructuring of capital to relations of exploitation and domination outside that compromise –both at home and abroad.
I was hired by the University of Amsterdam in 1973, which was then faced with a massive expansion of student intake, in a climate of student revolt, ‘Marxism’, and with mainstream theories such as positivism being ridiculed. Much time was spent in meetings that in hindsight served no purpose but to offer a terrain the government and university administration had decided or just guessed would slowly tame the student movement by incorporating the administratively-minded into the governing structures and prepare these for a transition towards a market-oriented university regime.
I was also, from the mid-70s to when it collapsed, a member of the Dutch communist party CPN. That party had no clue of what was going on either, and basically mistrusted intellectuals. Even so, my membership satisfied my search for a real opposition, and I must say that in the party I finally encountered the working class, its culture, powerful humanity, and the tradition from which the party had been able to build the most powerful resistance movement in our country against the Nazi occupation in World War II. All this, the strength of character, humour, and iron organisation, made the party an unforgettable life experience but intellectually it did not really influence me. Those who influenced me were French communists, some East German and Soviet authors, whose books I found in the communist bookshop: Paul Boccara, Christian Palloix, and so on to Poulantzas, Suzanne de Brunhoff.
My most inspiring teacher in Leiden, where I studied, was the Indologist, Jan Heesterman, who appreciated my creativity and intellectual curiosity more than the political science teachers such as Hans Daalder and Arend Lijphart who wanted an American-style discipline. Ben Sijes, a veteran Council Communist (anti-party) was a guest professor and intellectually was very important for me, because he introduced us to Pannekoek, who (as a contemporary internationally renowned Marxist) criticised Stalinist propagation of Lenin’s original, mistaken materialism.
Once in Amsterdam, my late friend Gabriel Kolko, the US historian, who along with his wife and (co-) author Joyce had come to live there, was a great source of inspiration and so was Robert Cox whom I got to know through Stephen Gill. André Gunder Frank was employed by our university for a year or so and during that time we had some very memorable encounters. Of course my co-conspirators in Amsterdam, Meindert Fennema, Henk Overbeek and later Otto Holman, and others, and several cohorts of unforgettable students, were able and insightful interlocutors in developing intellectually.
The pursuance system is the world’s first comprehensive framework for process democracy. That is, it allows individuals with no prior relationship to self-organize into robust, agile entities governed via a “proceduralism of agreement.” These entities, called pursuances, in turn engage and collaborate among themselves to whatever extent they choose, leading ultimately to a vast and formidable ecosystem of opposition to institutionalized injustice.
This system will be populated on an invitation basis, beginning towards the end of 2017. For consideration as a participant, and to receive further information as it becomes public, subscribe below.
(Note: Privacy Badger breaks this form! If you’re using the Privacy Badger browser extension, please disable it momentarily in order to subscribe.)
More About Pursuances
For the first time in history, any individual may now collaborate with any other individual. One may get a sense of the implications of this by considering how different human history would have been had early man possessed some psychic ability to find and communicate with anyone else across the world. We now have something very similar, and in some ways more powerful.
It’s easy to underestimate the significance of this in part because it’s also easy to overestimate it and, worse, to romanticize it. The advent of the internet was immediately followed by triumphalist manifestos setting out the great and positive changes that were now afoot. That much of what was predicted didn’t immediately come to pass has led some to challenge the entire premise of the internet as a potentially revolutionary force for good.
Certainly the utopian predictions of the early ‘90s were off the mark; indeed the clearest picture we have today contains seeds of actual dystopia. Meanwhile, the trivial uses to which the internet is commonly put can make it difficult to take seriously as a transcendental factor in our civilization. But then gunpowder was originally used to make fireworks. And a technology that may be used to oppress may also be used to liberate. Again, gunpowder comes to mind.
The way in which events have proceeded in our society since the advent of the internet tells us less about the internet than it does about our society. There are a few lessons we can glean, though. In the large, we know that mass connectivity does not automatically lead to mass enlightenment. We know that states will sometimes seek to use the internet to further their control over information, and that they will sometimes be successful in this. We know many things of this sort. But none of this tells us what the internet will ultimately mean for human civilization. That will be determined on the ground, in the years to follow.
There was a time not too long ago when India’s millennial elites, born into an age of globalization, hailed the “technological revolution” as a one-way ticket to infinite opportunity. Today the economic miracle has been derailed, and young workers are starting to demand a refund.
In recent months, workers have reported that mass layoffs at Indian tech hubs are becoming routine as companies shed engineers and slash wages and benefits. Companies that previously invested heavily in emerging Indian firms for global outsourcing contracts seem to be recoiling from a volatile global labor market, and India’s rapid economic expansion is hitting snags.
The global digital bubble’s seemingly inevitable pop has also been sped along by Trump’s protectionist rhetoric and promise of “reshoring” offshored jobs to the United States. This week, even as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi talks business on his maiden visit to the Trump White House, the administration is also moving to tighten the criteria for the H-1B visa, a federal program that has drawn in tens of thousands of foreign professionals, particularly technicians and programmers from India—often at relatively low pay rates.
Meet the Tech Workers Coalition
We are a coalition of workers in and around the tech industry, labor organizers, community organizers, and friends. We are organizing for activism, civic engagement and education in the Bay Area. We work in solidarity with existing movements towards social justice, workers rights, and economic inclusion. Want to learn more?
How We Work
You are welcome to check us out at our monthly organization meeting in San Francisco.
Learn More and Stay Connected
See what we’ve been writing on our blog.
We’re also happy to chat, answer any questions you might have, or hear about any social justice efforts in which you need a partner. Send us an email.
Source: Tech Workers Coalition
Source: Tech Solidarity
Tech Solidarity is a grass-roots organization whose goal is to better connect tech workers with the communities they live in. Our emphasis is on regular in-person meetings, volunteer assistance to organizations serving the vulnerable, and the creative use of labor law in pursuit of an ethical agenda.
Founded in November of 2016 by Maciej Ceglowski, a San Francisco web developer, Tech Solidarity holds quasi-monthly meetups in a number of American cities, and tries to serve as a clearinghouse for information and technical assistance.
Our aim is to have regular in-person events in every major tech center. See the events calendar for the meetup nearest you.
Date: 13 November 2017Location: IISH, Amsterdam
Time and programme will follow.
Connecting to the masses is critical for the success of any movement, resurrection, protest, and revolution. The communication mechanisms for this connection have some times evolved and other times undergone revolutions of their own. Since the Russian centennial, scholars have examined how media and communication affects this connection to the masses in a double yet complimentary dynamic: how governments connect to the masses and how masses connect to their governments.Therefore, we invite participants to debate this relationship and the strategies and lessons of “connecting to the masses”, in light of the development in media, technology and communication strategies over the last century.
- Evolution of propaganda: From leaflet bombs to Twitter
- Artificial attention, political packaging and the so-called attention economy
- Tactical media and tech activism in the 20th and 21st centuries
- Strategies and lessons for the use of ICTs in mobilization
- Impact of technology on revolutionary social change in the macro-perspective
- Revolutionary-era media and communist rhetoric and transition to post-communism
- Mediated contestation, surveillance, censorship and systems of control
- From journalism to social media gatekeepers
- Spheres and systems of political deliberation
- Evolution of the ownership of means of communication, processes of labour reproduction in the media, culture and communication industries
- (R)evolution of technology at work, digital labour, alternative production models
- Intelligence and cyberespionage in the 100 years span.
- Technosocial infrastructures and the politicization of health, illness and biopolitics.
The below trilogy is of an immense importance in terms of emancipatory praxis today. These three great books were written for the thinkers and builders of post-capitalist futures by Kenneth M. Stokes in the midst of neoliberal-postmodernist-globalization offensive, between 1992-96. Altough they have broke a ground by setting forward a synthetic Marxian-Bogdanovite approach to critical systems thinking, in order to provide a praxiological tool that would enable steer the social change in the age of complexity, control, and disintegration, from an emancipatory point of view, they have not been recognized and read as much as they deserved. Stokes’ work, for us, does not only provides hope and guidance to steer the world, hopefully safely, to a synthetic human civilization through a coevolutionary (cultural) political economy, he also marks the Bogdanovite Turn in the critique of global political economy, exactly century after Bogdanov did start making of his intervention.
1. Man and the Biosphere: Toward a Co-evolutionary Political Economy – https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=ZcYYDQAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&hl=en_GB&pg=GBS.PT8
2. Paradigm Lost: Cultural and Systems Theoretical Critique of Political Economy –
3. A Metatheoretical Discourse: Epistemological, Procedural, and Methodological Issues in Political Economy: http://www.iuj.ac.jp/media/stokes/index.htm
The Bail Out Business is the most comprehensive and thorough analysis of the steps taken since the 2008 financial crisis to understand who benefits from rescue packages in the EU. Above all, it highlights the role of the Big Four (audit firms) and a small coterie of financial consultancy firms in the business of designing and implementing bail out programs in EU Member States.
Sol Trumbo Vila, Matthijs Peters
Corporate Power, Democratising Europe, Public Sector Alternatives
Bail outs in the EU have a hidden cost for taxpayers. On top of the public money used for the bail outs, contracts worth hundreds of millions of Euro have been given to a small number of financial consultants to advise member states and EU institutions.
The so-called Big Four audit firms (EY, Deloitte, KPMG and PWC), with a small coterie of financial advisors, have designed the bloc’s most important rescue packages. Bail out consultants have also been rewarded with new business, even though many gave poor advice or failed to raise the alarm at crucial moments.
For years we have been investigating austerity measures and vast privatisation programmes in Europe. Following our last report on the privatising industry in Europe we decided to hone in on those firms involved in the numerous EU bail out programmes and found a shockingly similar pattern. The Bail-out Business reveals the hidden costs of the rescue packages and a troubling array of conflicts of interest.
Correction 23/2/2017: Lazard was paid 3 million euros for a few days work
Watch the video:
8 – 9 December 2016
Auditori Fundació Tàpies, Barcelona
The BITS Symposium will stimulate a global debate about the changing meanings of sovereignty and explore the ways in which various types of sovereignty – of citizens, cities, nation states, and regions – can still be maintained in today’s highly technological global conditions. With a strong focus on the political effects of technological change, BITS will explore how the rise of Technology platforms and the data extractivism they enable is transforming governments, labor, ownership, and access to the basics of life such as water, food, housing, and energy. This task is particularly important as the current political and economic regime reformulates itself around the rhetorical and practical kernel of digital technology, with a new mighty alliance between technology firms, global finance, and the military-industrial complex.
Keynote: Power, Economics and Crisis in the Era of Authoritarian Capitalism
Kees van der Pijl, Professor Emeritus, School of Global Studies, University of Sussex, presents a keynote on the power, economics and crisis in the era of authoritarian aapitalism. Julian Assange, Founder and Editor of Wikileaks, responds to the keynote.
Session 1: The Geopolitics of Technology
Dan Schiller, Emeritus Professor and Historian of Information and Communications, University of Illinois, opens the session with a keynote on The Geopolitics of Technology, in which he provides an overview of U.S. digital capitalism and asserts that, because digitization constitutes a rare pole of economic growth, it has incited intensifying geopolitical conflict. He goes on to assess briefly some of the challengers of this U.S.-centric political-economy, particularly China. Though the U.S. remains numero uno, it seems likely that we are reaching – or perhaps we have already reached – a “hinge moment.” Evgeny Morozov and Carlos Figueira respond to the keynote in an open debate facilitated by Francesca Bria.
Today, Tuesday 7 March 2017, WikiLeaks begins its new series of leaks on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Code-named “Vault 7” by WikiLeaks, it is the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency.
The first full part of the series, “Year Zero”, comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virgina. It follows an introductory disclosure last month of CIA targeting French political parties and candidates in the lead up to the 2012 presidential election.
Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized “zero day” exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation. This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA. The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.
“Year Zero” introduces the scope and direction of the CIA’s global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of “zero day” weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.
In 2007 I did write a review article for the first volume of Kees Van Der Pijl’s magnum opus: Modes of Foreign Relations and Political Economy, subtitled as Nomads, Empires, States. The title of my review article was “Modes of Foreign Relations vs Uneven and Combined Development: The Marxist Legacy and Relations between and within Alienated Societies”, and it was published by the journal of International Sociology in 2008. The text is online and can be accessed here. Just for self-crediting note, it was written before the reviewed book won the Isaac Deutscher prize in 2008, and the topic was discussed by a panel during the sixth Historical Materialism conference, which also hosts the Isaac Deutscher prize ceremony. Thus it was written independently from the separate journal symposium held on Cambridge Review of International Affairs in 2009 on the topic; and more importantly without any knowledge of the exchange (Alex Anievas refers in the intro to the CRIA symposium) took place between Justin Rosenberg and Alex Callinicos on “UE&CD and the international” somewhere in 2007.
The second and the third volumes of Van Der Pijl’s trilogy titled as The Foreign Encounter in Myth and Religion and The Discipline of Western Supremacy. Both volumes did exceeded my expectations, satisfying enthusiasm I got with the first volume. Although it was my intention I could not yet write a review for the entire work, nevertheless it would be just to say that Van Der Pijl’s trilogy has already taken its place amongst the 21st century classics. Along the pages of the three volumes Van Der Pijl applies Marx’ method of abstraction, that is historical and dialectical materialism, to the relations between alienated world societies, thus to the field of ‘foreign relations’, independently. Doing so the whole project not only smashes the cold blooded, state-maniacal, and disciplinary ‘International Relations’ to the ground, by a strong argument politicizing and historicizing it based on rich empirical material; but it also does so by providing a brilliant historical materialist analysis for rethinking modern nationalism. Van Der Pijl also claims that applying Marx methodology, in a similar way, on different fields of social life, as ideology, power and so on, and integrating those analyses that would be possible to develop a more complete Marxian state and class theories that are essential to advance the critique of today’s global political economy.
PART 1: The Formation of a Transnational Corporate Community
1. Is there a transnational corporate community?
2. Forging a new hegemony: the transnational corporate-policy network, 1996
3. Global cities in the global corporate network
PART 2: Into the 21st Century: The Changing Organization of Corporate Power
4. Transnational accumulation and global networking
5. Transnationalists and national networkers
6. Billionaires and networkers: wealth, position, and corporate power
PART 3: A Transnational Historic Bloc?
7. Constituting corporate Europe
8. Consolidating the transnational corporate-policy network, 1996-2006
9. Hegemony and counter-hegemony in a global field
WRITTEN BY LORENZO FRANCESCHI-BICCHIERAI
July 20, 2016 // 08:00 AM EST
A little bit over a year ago, the normally quiet Twitter account of Hacking Team, an Italian company that sells spying tools to governments all over the world, started acting weird.
“Since we have nothing to hide, we’re publishing all our e-mails, files, and source code,” read a Tweet published on late Sunday, July 5, 2015.
The tweet was accompanied by a link to a torrent file of around 400 gigabytes, practically everything Hacking Team had on its corporate servers: internal emails, confidential documents, and even the company’s source code. Hacking Team, which at that point was already notorious for selling its wares to repressive regimes and governments such as Ethiopia, Morocco, and others, had just gotten hacked.
Hours later, the hacker who breached the company’s computers, and used its own official Twitter account to spread the hacked data and embarrass it, revealed himself to be the same one who the year prior had carried out a similar attack against another company that sells spyware to governments, FinFisher.
Since then, the hacker, who goes by the moniker Phineas Fisher, has kept mostly quiet, except for some tweets on his own Twitter account, and a writeup on how he broke into Hacking Team, which also served as a manifesto of his “hack back” hacking political movement.
Before all this, though, just a few weeks after his hack, I asked him if he wanted to do an interview with some colleagues from VICE Canada, who were working on a documentary on the growing market of cyber mercenaries, companies that sell hacking and spying tools to police and intelligence agencies all over the world.
After some back and forth, Phineas Fisher agreed—with one strange condition.
“I’ll do a video interview if you get kermit the frog (or a homemade non-trademark violating puppet) and a voice actor to read lines I type in chat,” Phineas Fisher told me.
And so, our friends in Canada got a homemade puppet and chatted with Phineas Fisher in his first-ever extended interview. You can watch most parts of the interview in the video below, or read the full transcript (lightly edited for clarity) also below.