184214 about politically correct communists (co-opted Interim and run Jungle World) in Geman(y) who see antisemitism everywhere, 9/11 for instance,  are pro-Bush and intimidate german indyans. ---------------------- ---------- "One could imagine pushing social cooperation further, beyond the bounds which capital can tolerate," says Michael Hardt drily, in his interview with Ognjen Strpic in Zagreb. What Michael Hardt calls "communism" lies essentially in this social cooperation. And he's right, in the sense that the empirical beacon of a pragmatic revolutionary politics is founded on phenomena of free cooperation, right now, in fact, before our nose - or with our concourse, in the best of cases. Hardt is less dry, or even enchanted, when it comes to the multitude: "Our attempt with this concept of the multitude is to recognize the possibility of a different kind of political organizing. Rather than been based on, say, the alternative between identity and difference, it's based on continuity between multiplicity and commonality.... groups that we have thought in a previous way were objectively antagonistic, even contradictory to each other, say, trade unions and environmentalists, suddenly, starting in Seattle, function together..." I would like to submit that this sudden cooperation - which has also been short-lived, in the case of US trade unions and environmentalists - results from the perception of EXTREME WEAKNESS ON THE SIDE OF ALL SOLIDARITY-BASED MOVEMENTS. In particular and exceptional circumstances, desperation suddenly breaks the barriers that our societies are so devilishly good at erecting between interest groups and even between individuals. The political question is then: HOW TO GO BEYOND THE SUDDEN INSPIRATIONS OF DESPERATION? Here lies the weakness of all the rhetorics based on an invocation of absolute democracy: "The other way in which [Empire] is a communist book is that is argues for an absolute democracy, for democracy founded on relations of equality, freedom, and social solidarity. I mean, I think that those three code words belong to the French Republican tradition, but also belong, in my mind, to the best elements of the communist tradition. So, that also seems to me that it's the way it's a communist book, but it's demanding an absolute democracy." The historical fact is that is that democracy, as we know it, contains an absolute contradiction. Social solidarity - i.e."fraternity" - was added to the French republican slogan in 1848, when the "National Workshops" were instituted to give work, and therefore sustenance, to the masses of unemployed urban-dwellers left without any resources by a classic capitalist recession (the one based on the railroad bubble, which so many have compared to the internet bubble, by the way). What people realized during the revolution of 1848 was that there was no substantial equality, and therefore no effective liberty, for people enslaved to the liberty of others (the bosses). But who had the power to create the National Workshops? An organ of redistribution: the state. The alternative globalization that Hardt calls for (me too) involves a rethinking and a reinstitution of the state, or at least of solidarity. This raises screams from the rank and file of the autonomists. But I say: you really are the "rank and file" so long as you continue to believe that the enthusiasm of global cooperation gets rid of any need to think about how global redistribution will be carried out. In fact this rhetoric is coming from people who know better. Whoever calls themselves "communist" has some idea about effective equality, and what it entails: the socialization of education, access to tools, and protection in the case of life-accidents, at the very least. Abundance for all as a feasible utopia. How to create those conditions, starting not from "human nature" but from actual conditions, is the political question. "How things get managed, that's the interesting thing," said Toni Negri in one of his interviews on the pre-revolutionary situation in Argentina. In his review of the book, Zizeck said that Empire was "pre-political." His argument was that the call for global citizenship would immediately provoke a fascist reaction in Europe, and was therefore unrealistic. Look around you today. I'm for the abolition of all borders. But that ALSO means a total reappropriation of the European state, and then of the American one, to make it not just into a universal welfare state mending the lacerations of capitalism, but much more: it means inventing procedures of delegation and representation capable of directing the tremendous wealth of modern technology toward the largest number of people, without creating a new version of bureaucratic oppression. Again, the political question. Not so easy. Let's not kid ourselves. This can only be achieved when we all have first faced a situation of DESPERATION. Solidarity doesn't grow on trees. And unfortunately, DESPERATION is coming. The shit is going to hit the fan, and the question of political violence is not going to be limited to breaking the windows of Starbucks, or to the way the media can distort such acts. Perhaps when the Palestinians are DESPERATE enough, they will adopt Ghandian non-violence, when faced with the ABSOLUTE OPPRESSION of modern military technology. Perhaps we will move toward GENERAL STRIKES in European and American cities, total stoppages of every function, whenever our outdated "leaders" show their heads. But for that, we have to look around and see that people are literally starving, next door, that lives are falling apart in our lovely European and American cities, for lack of an address to the political question. The NEOFASCISM gathering all around us is only the symptom of society falling apart under the pressures, the anti-state or anti-society pressures, of NEOLIBERALISM. But the worst is, you have to face both the symptom and the cause. In solidarity with Michael Hardt, Ognjen Strpic and all those who are trying to THINK POLITICS today. Brian Holmes ------------------ dear Brian, thank you for your kind comments on the interview. i was wondering would a reader of the interview have the same impression that i had, that is, that communism Hardt calls for is "communism" in quite a special meaning. but it is this enchanted dance of the multitude on the edge of fascism that worries me most. this totalitarian potential of Empire that Zizek warns about stems not only from its appeal for global citizenship. this loosely bounded solidarity, a movements' ability to "recognize their common project" is exactly the strategy of totalitarian movements. i guess you might think of many historical examples, but what comes to mind here in Croatia is so-called "Headquarters for protection of dignity of Homeland War" lead by a paraplegic veteran Mirko Condic and supported by virtually every right-wing movement in Croatia and Herzegovina. (Homeland War is "official" name for the war in Croatia and, tacitly, also in Bosnia and Herzegovina on behalf of Croatia) basically, what they oppose is extradition of Croatian Hague-accused war criminals. in the elaboration, their position might be described as one that holds that notion of crime is suspended in a just war and that Croatian soldiers and non-soldiers who did what they did (which becomes irrelevant) are by definition impunible. the protestors are in part war veterans (and their families), but there are many other otherwise politically invisible people, too. what's that got to do with Hardt-Negrian communism of the multitude? in a word, everything. what they are effectively doing is while "remain[ing] a multiplicity" (in terms of economical class, state-nationality -- many protestors are from B&H and other countries, party-political -- Croatian right is very fragmented and Condic doesn't represent any party, &c up to right-wing environmentalists and the "apolitical") they "recognize how they can become common". and they really do. they "solidarize" with their fellowmen. meanwhile, they heartedly resist cultural, political, and economical aspects of globalization, criticize the government for being neo-liberal in terms of weakening of social programs, submissive foreign policy, corporations taking over local business etc. prime minister called them "undemocratic" and refused to comment on their proposals drawing on legitimacy of his elected government. he could have just as well called them revolutionary. in my mind, it's a hell of a symptom. ps. > Perhaps when the Palestinians are > DESPERATE enough, they will adopt Ghandian non-violence, when faced > with the ABSOLUTE OPPRESSION of modern military technology. i have a deja vu reading this line: almost the exact words Ghislaine Glasson told me over a glass of wine in Sarajevo. i felt enlightened :-) Ognjen Strpic ------------------ Hi Ognjen (and all you Hardt/Negri readers) - Let's go just a little further with this. You write: "i was wondering would a reader of the interview have the same impression that i had, that is, that communism Hardt calls for is "communism" in quite a special meaning. but it is this enchanted dance of the multitude on the edge of fascism that worries me most. ... this totalitarian potential of Empire that Zizek warns about stems not only from its appeal for global citizenship. this loosely bounded solidarity, a movements' ability to "recognize their common project" is exactly the strategy of totalitarian movements." Well, I actually didn't read it that way. You know, I've been saying for years that we really need much broader solidarities, to face up to the transnational power now wielded by capital, and by those parts of the state-systems that support capital's global extension. And I don't think the movements Hardt is talking about are potentially fascistic in any way, he's basically talking about the kind of people who went to Porto Alegre and hung out on its fringes. In the course of the last two or three years, though, some things have radically changed. With the transition to Europe, as with "globalization" generally, there is a crisis in representative democracy. The governments can no longer represent many people's desires for a better life, because as the countries lose sovereignty, the governments lose power to do anything accept render their states, enterprises and the most adaptable part of their population more fit for the demands of transnational capital. So the democratic systems come under a lot of stress, and populism arises, mostly in a fascist form. The fascists are really a serious problem, because they combine with and provide the excuse for the traditional and neoliberal right to give us a new version of the authoritarian police state, bound together with other such states in a globalizing alliance. But far left movements also arise, whose intentions are as yet unclear. I situate myself there (because I believe that redistribution is necessary, and that predatory capitalism much be controlled, if not entirely transformed). The notion of the "multitude," as I understand it, is supposed to encourage this far left. But the promise of the multitude is not that of some swirling rainbow nebula of humanity, surging up in magical mobility to change everything. That's a great image and it translates some of the wonderful suprise of the reappearence of resistance movvements, with new techniques. But it's not precise enough. and I think it now should just be abandoned. Imprecise evocations open up too much danger for populism, I think that's the point in the example of the "Homeland War" veterans. The promise of the multitude is that of an operative intelligence of individuals and small groups, able to generate agency through the networked extension of an almost personal trust, which is based both on continuous critical debate and on cooperative action. This new extension of agency is a potential, which at moments is realized to some degree. It promises much more permeable organizational structures, where you do not immediately delegate your intelligence and will to some representative, where you engage in extensive debate and gain some agency and productive responsability. The experiment is to see how far these new organizational processes can go. It seems we will need them to put any viable solidarities into effect, as things get worse in the world, which unfortunately they are almost sure to. I don't think that experimentation takes place in a vaccuum, though. It's something like the issue I was discussing with Keith Hardt, in the "barter" thread. Is it possible to name all those non-contractual, non-market principles on which a multiplicity of human exchanges in reality depend? Is it possible to acquire a much clearer understanding of what kind of solidarities the transnational networks are based on, how and why they function, and how they interact with existing representational institutions? As the actually existing governments really begin to falter, and as I see (rather closer than I'd like in France right now) the pitiful, prepolitical hodgepodge that passes for thinking among the far right movements, I find that the left needs clear and pratical expression of the way we organize, the problems we face, and the specific directions in which we are looking for solutions. But take a movement like Kein Mensch ist Illegal. It calls for the dissolution of all borders and it convokes a transnational cooperative network to rework, amplifly and promote that general call, mostly through specific actions of solidarity. Zizeck said that such a call, which is also found in Empire, would lead to fascist resistance. In a way that's happening - not so much because of the actions of the far left, but primarily because of the continuing impoverishment of many countries, and the transnational labor movements brought about by neoliberalism. To which you can add the positive desire of people everywhere to participate in the new mobility. Myself, I believe one should not abandon the call for open borders in favor of a return to closed national society (which is always a fiction). But we have to begin to forsee the consequences of that call: in Europe it entails at the very least development programs for the neighboring countries, useful, productive forms of transnational credit, different kinds of education inside the European territory (not just education against racism!), better housing for immigrants, better wages and working conditions. In short, quite a radical change of the economy. But a real one, that operates in detail and does not just conjure away the hated state in the hope that spontaneous cooperation will resolve everything. I guess that's what Michael Hardt means when he says that we wouldn't necessarily be better off just by getting rid of institutions like the IMF. I wish he'd be more precise though. That's the main thing, not to go on evoking this epochal change without any discussion of what it will entail. Accepting the need to have a strategy to work toward that kind of change - OK, a complex, permeable, incomplete strategy, but still a strategy that can be constantly critiqued and made better - seems to me to be the difference between having a political fantasy and a political aspiration. Spontaneous cooperation without any representation would only be possible in a world with no enemies - cf. the anarchist republic in Spain. By the way, I was told by a fellow in Spain the other day, that according to the living memory of someone my friend had known, the thing that really marked the anarchist revolution in Barcelona was that they literally threw the money away, they threw it out into the street like garbage! After which they invented other means of exchange. Then again, I do think we could throw away the IMF's structural adjustment programs - and I support the replacement of the the WTO too, as gatt.org has just announced! best, Brian -------------------- > this totalitarian potential of Empire that Zizek warns about stems not > only from its appeal for global citizenship. this loosely bounded > solidarity, a movements' ability to "recognize their common project" is > exactly the strategy of totalitarian movements. I don't know if you had seen this discussion in the London Review of Books, you'll find similar concern about the ambivalence at the heart of the concept of the multitude in Hardt/Negri's work. Also see the reply to Bull that appeared on an _Empire_ discussion list (below). Soenke by Malcolm Bull, published in The London Review of Books http://www.lrb.co.uk/ v23/n19/bull2319.htm [...] Since the end of the Cold War, Neoliberalism has become so ideologically dominant that it is no longer clear whether the real Neoliberals are the leaders of the G8 or the people outside in the balaclavas and the overalls. Take Ya Basta!, the Italian group formed in 1996 in support of the Chiapas uprising, and a driving force behind the Tute Bianche. They are fighting under the slogan 'per la dignità dei popoli contro il neoliberismo', but their two key political demands, free migration and the right to a guaranteed basic income, are policies that were once largely the preserve of Neoliberal think-tanks in the United States. The idea that everyone should be paid a basic income, irrespective of any other income they have coming in, or of their willingness to work, has a long history on the Right. In the early 1960s, Milton Friedman came out in favour of one form of the idea, and in Britain it has circulated at the margins of Conservative politics for half a century, being espoused most recently by William Hague's friend Alan Duncan. Support for free migration has also come mostly from right-wing libertarians, and in the early 1980s was the sort of topic that found an airing at Liberty Fund seminars. For Neoliberals one of the attractions of these policies was their incompatibility with the welfare state. Basic income was the cheap alternative to welfare, a direct repudiation of 'to each according to his needs' (it allows for the total removal of social security infrastructure); free migration, which would make a nation's welfare benefits accessible to everyone in the world, would quickly make the hard-won achievements of the welfare system unsustainable. Just because the 'anarchists' espouse bits of the Neoliberal agenda that even George W. Bush has not yet got to does not mean they are pursuing Neoliberal ends. In Italian autonomist politics, the idea of a guaranteed income developed in the early 1970s not as a means of cutting the welfare bill, but as part of the effort to uncouple productive labour from the capitalist economy. As for free migration, it is as natural an outgrowth of left-wing internationalism as it is of right-wing libertarianism. Still, we should be wary of interpreting the violent confrontation at Genoa as the clash of incompatible ideologies. Although it originated from a Marxist analysis of the class struggle, the conception of autonomy which inspired the Autonomia movement in Italy and the Autonomen of Germany and Northern Europe has come substantially to overlap with the Neoliberal ideal of negative liberty. The initial move looked revolutionary: since Marx had shown that social relations were not, in fact, the seamless web of bourgeois mythology, but rather the battlefield of economic conflict, the class struggle could be waged more effectively if the working class disengaged from waged labour and sought autonomy for itself. In the Italian context, the ideal of autonomy also represented the reverse of the PCI's historic attempt to achieve hegemony through the domination of civil society. By seeking the leadership of the capitalist state, the PCI was merely helping to support it: autonomous action, independent of unions and party, would sever the working class from capitalism, and without labour to sustain it capitalism would collapse. In practice, autonomy meant that action once considered relatively marginal to the class struggle, like squatting or the 'refusal of work' - wildcat strikes, calling in sick, knocking off early, acts of petty theft and sabotage - became paradigmatic examples of the 'self-valorisation' of the working class. At first, these actions were part of a strategy for effecting revolutionary change, not (as in anarchism) an attempt to realise a new social ideal. But they soon became ends in themselves, and throughout the 1980s autonomism survived chiefly in neo-tribal squatters' colonies like Kreuzberg in Berlin and Christiania in Copenhagen. The repoliticisation of the movement was partly due to the success of the Zapatistas. Their 'autonomous municipalities' and their struggle to affirm an alternative politics independent of the state provided a new model for all who wanted to live outside the capitalist system. At the same time, the very fact that people in remote parts of the world had to fight to establish that autonomy served to illustrate capitalism's new global reach. However, a shift had taken place: autonomy had been intended to replace capitalism with Communism; but as the antithesis of globalisation it functions very differently: autonomous areas or spheres of activity may constitute local alternatives to capitalism and so limit its extent, but they are not incompatible with its continuation. In terms of political theory this is significant: 'immunity from the service of capital' (as Hobbes might have put it) is one, today perhaps the most important form of negative liberty, and autonomous regions and basic incomes are both ways of making it possible, whereas neither autonomous zones nor basic incomes have any place in Communism, for both are ways of limiting the demands that people can make on each other. >>< snip  ><< --------------  To: nettime-l@bbs.thing.net Subject: parliament of things From: Felix Stalder Date: Thu, 23 May 2002 13:29:27 -0400 Reply-to: Felix Stalder --------- [was: bartering money digest [hart, holmes] > An emphasis on exposing how durable social organisation is constructed > might be represented as being subversive ------ To stay with Callon/Latour. Their political agenda is a bit complicated. They are mostly concerned with how science, and technology, have been politizied by being established outside the realm of politics. In other words -- and we see that every day -- science is powerful weapon in many political disputes precisely because it is understood as being outside of it. Politics are about (social) values, science is about (natural) facts. Callon/Latour goal is to show the political/ideological nature of this distinction. On the deepest, and most controversial, level, their argument is ontological: there is no fundamental difference between people and things. In fact, they are inseparable. Now, so far so good. Your average social constructivist/postmodernist will agree and argue: science is the same as politics, it's constructed as a historically contingent process, shaped by the same forces than any other aspect of history. The difference between fact and fiction is not found in nature (which remains essentially inaccessible) but in the power games of the discourse about it (which is essentially autonomous). This has been called "the linguistic turn". Everything is text. To break out of the dead end of social constructivism/postmodernism, Callon/Latour argue that, yes, science is a social discourse, but a very special one. It's special because not only humans speak, but also non-humans. Say, when Louis Pasteur, 'discovered' the bacteria, he did not simply pointed at them, but he shaped them in the most literal sense of the word: he gave them a distinct shape to which he could then point. Through a series of complex experiments (translations), he made them speak. But bacterias are finicky divas. While they cannot speak for themselves, they cannot be assigned arbitrary roles (as the postmodernists would have it), they have to be enticed to speak. Brute force doesn't help. In a complex "negotiation process" -- involving a series of experiments, the construction of new laboratory equipment, demonstrations to farmers, enrollment of funding agencies, etc -- new identities are shaped: Pasteur, the great scientist, on the one side, bacterias which infect cattle and which can be controlled through the means of Mr. Pasteur, on the other. Only in the end of this process, are the bacterias in a shape so that the scientist can call them "out there", because the "out there" as been transformed in such a way to make them visible. In other words, the division between the social and the natural (or technological) is not the beginning of the scientific enterprise, but its end result. The problem is that in everyday life, these analytically cleanly separated domains (nature, society, technology), are mixed up into all kinds of hybrids (just think of a BSE steak lying on your plate). Even though these different domains -- and the actors that constitute them -- are mixed into one another, politics can only talk about one of them. As a result, in our scientifically saturated times, politics have turned into a shell game. The real thing is always somewhere else. One side always points to the other to negate responsibility. What we need now, is a way to bring the other half into the game. Analytically, it's by considering how objects constitute society (or how people constitute technology), politically, and now things get a bit more vague, by creating what Latour calls a "parliament of things", an arena in which we can talk about the political constitution of objects, or, in the more radical version, a place in which the objects can debate their role in the constitution of the social. Latour as recently elaborated on this, in his latest book, La politique de la nature, but I'm too lazy, I must admit, to read an entire book in French, so I have to wait for the translation to come out. ------ Les faits sont faits. http://felix.openflows.org --- C.S. Lewis, not exactly your average social constructivist/ postmodernist hero, said the same thing in "The Abolition of Man" back in 1947: "From this point of view the conquest of Nature appears in a new light. We reduce things to mere Nature in order that we may `conquer' them. We are always conquering Nature, because `Nature' is the name for what we have, to some extent, conquered." [1] ----------- > What we need now, is a way to bring the other half into the game. -------------- Translation: because science is simply politics by other means, it needs to be brought under the rule of law. That was also C.S. Lewis's agenda. Of course, by law he meant "natural law" and by "natural law" he meant "religion". Latour's concept of law may be different in form, but not in substance. When he talks about a "politics of nature", he doesn't really mean that bacteria and rocks should be elected to parliament. What he's really saying is that science should be brought under political control. Of course, that's a very old idea. One could go on to argue that Latour wants to revive Lysenko and Lewis the Inquisition, but that would only start a flame war. I think it would be uncontroversial, however, simply to point out that left and right seem to be working rather brilliantly together, as they are on so many things lately, to make sure that nobody in the academy today speaks for Mendel and Galileo. Instead we get clumsy, all-thumbs revivals of Lamarckian theory, brought to you by Motorola and their obviously hard-working team of publicists. It's clear that cellular phones are getting ready to stand for a seat in the "parliament of things" as well, isn't it? But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's first return to the original argument over whether society is constituted by physical objects. In my opinion, that formulation represents a monstrously mutated version of the rather unremarkable insight (associated with Bateson) that all form requires a physical substrate. Information, as a kind of form, is no different. Add to this the idea (a cybernetic one, also associated with Bateson) that all systems, whether animate or inanimate, persist as units of identity through processes of communication and exchange. What results is the idea that the character of systems will be heavily influenced by the physical media through which these constituent processes are effected. Apply this deduction to those two great modes of human life, the individual and society, and you get back to where we started: gifts and money. Yes, the constitution of society depends a great deal on the physical tokens we use to interact with each other. Societies that use shells or lumps of gold to communicate will differ in important ways from ones that use proprietary machines made of glass fiber, satellites, silicon and secret source code. Should those machines ever become open-source, society will change again in important ways. But it is a fallacy to say that because we communicate through physical objects, it is the those objects that create our societies and, as Motorola pays people to discover, even our bodies. It's very important to be clear on what creates what. Mistakes can be fatal. And perhaps the most fatal of such mistakes is to assume that the real world is simply another kind of windy political rhetoric that belongs in a parliament. Because the real goal of this kind of sophistry probably isn't, in fact, to revive Lysenko or the Inquisition. Instead, redefining truth to be something we create is simply another step toward redefining science as one big intellectual property factory. And if that is to happen, those rocks, trees, bacteria and other career politicians had better get to work fast. They've got a lot of new laws to write for us. Kermit Snelson ----------- I tried to make it clear that I (and Latour, I assume) do NOT think that science is nothing but politics by other means. Science deals, indeed, with natural objects -- which makes it different from politics. But that's not the only thing science does. Science not only describes, it also perscribes. In other words, it also creates reality. In fact, science creates a hybrid discursive-natural-social reality. You cannot separate these different dimensions. There are very few scientific facts that can hold up against 100 clever lawyers. Take smoking for example. Everyone knows that it's bad for your health, that it causes cancer. Yet, for decades, lawyers have been able to deny the link, question the reliability of the scientific facts that establish -- or do not establish -- the link between smoking and lung cancer. It has been extraordinary difficult to establish this link in a way that the link becomes socially relevant, for example, that it can be relied upon in a court of law -- and smoking is a simple, well-understood problem with relatively few variables. The question is not whether or not sciences has political dimensions -- it clearly has. Science not only describes reality, but that it creates it. Not arbitrarily, but it the same way that architects create buildings, which, even though they are designed, still must conform to the basics of physics. Take cloning, genetic engineering, global warming etc. etc. as examples, there is no way we can speak of a nature that is beyond the social. Extending political voice to natural object does not mean that they become suddenly dominated by politics, the same way than extending voting rights to women in the early 20th century did not mean that they were suddenly brought under political control (or that they were free from politics before). >But it is a fallacy to say that because we communicate through physical >objects, it is the those objects that create our societies. Why does there need to be an either - or? Of course it's not the physical object ALONE that create society, but it's also not people ALONE that create it. Take this conversation for example. Would it be different if we weren't communicating over email? You bet. Did computers write the posts? Certainly not. At least I hope you, Kermit, are not a bot! Felix ----------------- I'm not sure whether I agree even with the first sentence, much less the second. It's certainly true that at this particular moment in history, legal and political systems are coming to terms (or not) with technical and scientific issues such as cloning, genetic engineering, global warming, etc. But what does that have to do with the ontological status of scientific knowledge itself? Because "buzz" issues like global warming are perhaps "too much with us" (Wordsworth) to think about clearly, let's discuss a much simpler example: alluvion. Alluvion is the ancient (we're talking Sumerian- ancient) body of law having to do with the fact that rivers or other actions of water can create land, take it away or change boundaries. A homely aspect of fluid dynamics and geology, but an object of science nonetheless. And this scientific fact occasionally "has political dimensions" even on the level of international law -- an unusually vigorous action of the Rio Grande, for instance, once changed the boundary between the USA and Mexico and resulted in one of President Kennedy's less-famous visits to Texas. But does this really warrant the spectacular conclusion that "science creates reality"? ------------- > There are very few scientific facts that can hold up against > 100 clever lawyers. Take smoking for example. ------------- This example tells us nothing about scientific facts or the nature of reality. It tells us only that some lawyers are very good at their calling and that some scientists are willing to betray theirs. Did the Microsoft antitrust trial cast any doubt on the fact that modular design is desirable software engineering practice? No. It cast doubt only on some computer science professors who, as prostitutes in the "expert witness" racket, took money to testify otherwise. Under oath. That's not science. That's commerce. If we start to confuse reality with the sophistry of professional rhetoricians, we start to fall under the spell of the powerful. And we also forget all philosophy since Plato, the purpose of whose system was primarily to point out that there's a big difference between sophistry and reality. ------------- > The question is not whether or not sciences has political > dimensions -- it clearly has. Science not only describes > reality, but that it creates it. Not arbitrarily, but it > the same way that architects create buildings, which, even > though they are designed, still must conform to the basics > of physics. ------------- No, no, no. We create scientific theories, not reality. Scientists and their theories come and go, just like the World Trade Center and the people that were caught inside. Yes, we and our creations are certainly real. But they're not reality itself. Because ultimately, we don't really create a thing. We only rearrange what we we've been given. I'm not personally a believer, but I think that the Book of Job (together with the scriptures of all the great religions) argues this point persuasively. Postmodernists and scientists, however, are always getting into silly pissing matches (e.g., the Sokal affair) because both sides are confused on this point. Scientists mistakenly think that the "objectivity" of reality carries over to scientific theories. Postmodernists mistakenly think that the "subjectivity" of scientific theories carries over to reality. Both kinds of error, however, are equally beneficial to the powerful. [1]  -Toni Negri took it upon himself in _Empire_ [p.156] to "correct" the New Testament by declaring that "truth will not make us free, but taking control of the production of the truth will." Again, I'm not personally a believer. But I think that the New Testament may have something a bit more profound to say than Toni Negri does on this issue. Truth, in fact, has always been the great liberator of humanity. It's precisely the kind of people who talk about "taking control of the production of the truth" in the name of freedom, however, who have brought about history's most Orwellian, fascist despotisms. If the New Testament leaves you cold, simply re-read the heartbreaking and infuriating story from the _New York Times_ that Soenke Zehle recently posted concerning the failure of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Progressive scientists, allied with the finest postmodern critical legal minds, came up with something that transformed concepts of "socially-constructed reality" into the idea that DNA sequences, our "creations", should be the subjects of intellectual property and other legal rights. The result has been simply another tool used to destroy science and our planet for the sake of money. And you can be sure that the powerful who miseducated these well-meaning people were not themselves so naive as to realize only nine years after the fact what the outcome would be. ------------- > Extending political voice to natural object does not mean > that they become suddenly dominated by politics, the same > way than extending voting rights to women in the early 20th > century did not mean that they were suddenly brought under > political control (or that they were free from politics > before). ------------- I'll pass over for now the question whether it's really a good move to draw a parallel between the women's suffrage movement and that of demanding legal rights for "natural objects." Instead, I'll point out only that the granting of legal personality to natural objects is an idea of hoariest antiquity, a relic of outlandish barbarism, predating legal institutions even as horrible as the blood feud and the trial by ordeal. For instance, it was once common in legal systems, then not far removed (if at all) from animism, to assume that inanimate objects could be guilty of wrongdoing. If a chariot killed a man, the chariot was placed on trial. If someone fell from a tree and died, the tree was chopped down. In English law this ancient relic took the form of the "deodand." If a poorly-stacked pile of firewood collapsed and killed the neighbor's son, for example, the negligent party had only to hand over the offending firewood to the child's father and the debt was considered paid. This practice survived in England until 1846. I realize that it may be difficult to understand why this is a fair criticism of the legal revival of animism that Latour is proposing. Well, law has a logic of its own. If you don't see how granting legal status to the concept of biodiversity can result in trees being chopped down, just as surely in the days of deodand, re-read Soenke's post. At least the ancients were sophisticated enough as lawgivers to know that if you give things legal rights, then they must also assume legal obligations. If an object causes the death of a human being, for instance, it must stand trial. Some of today's legal theorists, however, aren't so sensible. In fact, Latour suffers from the most extreme case of today's "rights-speak" I've ever seen. He actually proposes that we grant legal rights to entities that can't possibly perform any legal obligations. What is "rights-speak", and what's wrong with it? A book published fairly recently in Australia puts it rather well and deserves to be quoted at length: Proponents of rights-speak from various political perspectives suggest that rights are the solution to the breakdown of older national political communities in the global era. In this view, the proclamation and extension of individual and group rights can ensure the liberty of all, no matter what the differences are between peoples. One particular refinement of this argument maintains that the demise of the nation-state and national political cultures is a good thing because it means that individuals and groups will no longer be subject to some 'imposed' national interest and political identity. And, as a result, it has now become possible for all people to have their _innate_ rights respected and to be able to pursue their own _real_ interest. However, the underlying assumption of this argument is that it is impossible for individuals and groups to negotiate common social purposes, institutions and processes which can accommodate conflict and difference. This assumption illustrates how rights-speak forecloses the issue of social integration and political community by casting a questionable dichotomy between individual rights (and interests), and people's active engagement with their political and social context. More than this, it generally prescribes rights as the innate possession of individuals, and thus collapses the issue of social recognition into a series of individualistic legal attributes. In this sense it is our contention that the propagation of rights-speak is part of the malaise of the contemporary world rather than offering any happy resolve [...] In other words, rights-speak does not hold out the prospect of new forms of social contention and integration, merely the possibility of legal recourse. [2] Indeed, could any political idea possibly show more disrespect for the ideas of communicative action and social engagement than one that would lavish our sacred, hard-won ideas of legal rights on trees and rocks? Ah, but Bruno Latour believes he has ways to make them talk. How does he expect such a miracle to occur? A glance at his web site provides a clue. His latest book (March 2002) bears the title "Jubiler ou les tourments de la parole religieuse" and explores, as he puts it, "a type of enunciation, recognizable in religious speech-acts, that is characterized by its unability [sic] to transport information or communication." [3] O-kay. And while our worthy shaman Latour explores the realms of the unseen and communes non-communicatively with the inanimate, what say that those of us stuck down here on the lower planes get busy trying to stop the thugs who are, as we speak, taking away our lives and our most basic freedoms? Kermit Snelson ------------- http://www.ensmp.fr/~latour/ Articles/82-TARDE.html Warning: For private and scholarly use only. For any other use or any precise quotation, please contact the author and the publisher. Gabriel Tarde and the End of the Social Bruno Latour, paper prepared for a volume on The Social and its Problems, edited by Patrick Joyce, Routledge, London " Le caractère bizarre et grimaçant de la réalité, visiblement déchirée de guerres intestines suivies de boiteuses transactions, suppose la multiplicité des agents du monde. " Monadologie et sociologie, p. 93 " Au fond de on , en cherchant bien nous ne trouverons jamais qu’un certain nombre de ils et de elles qui se sont brouillés et confondus en se multipliant. " Les lois sociales, p.61 In order to contribute to this volume on the "social and its problems", I could have talked about what is known as "actor network theory", or ANT, a deliberate attempt at terminating the use of the word "social" in social theory to replace it with the word "association". But I have decided to share with the readers the good news that ANT actually has a forefather, namely Gabriel Tarde, and that, far from being marginalised orphans in social theory, our pet theory benefits from a respectable pedigree. As is written in the official history of the discipline, Tarde, at the turn of the former century, was the major figure of sociology in France, professor at the Collège de France, the author of innumerable books, whereas Durkheim was, at the time, a younger, less successful upstart teaching in the province. But a few years later, the situation had been completely reversed and Durkheim became the main representant of a scientific discipline of sociology while Tarde had been evacuated in the prestigious but irrelevant position of mere "precursor" –and not a very good one at that, since he had been for ever branded with the sin of ‘psychologism’ and ‘spiritualism’. Since then, main stream social theory has never tired of ridiculing Tarde’s achievement and I must confess that I myself never enquired further than the dismissive footnotes of the Durkheimians to check what their rejected ‘precursor’ had really written. And yet, I want to argue in this chapter, through a close reading of his recently republished most daring book, Monadologie et sociologie (M&S), that Tarde introduced into social theory the two main arguments which ANT has tried, somewhat vainly, to champion: the nature and society divide is irrelevant for understanding the world of human interactions ; b) the micro/macro distinction stifle any attempt at understanding how society is being generated. In other words, I want to make a little thought experiment and imagine what the field of social sciences would have become in the last century, had Tarde’s insights been turned into a science instead of Durkheim’s. Or may be it is that Tarde, a truly daring but also, I have to admit, totally undisciplined mind, needed a rather different century so as to be finally understood. It could be argued that a thinker of networks before their time could not transform his intuitions into data, because the material world he was interested in was not there yet to provide him with any empirical grasp. Things are different now that the technological networks are in place and that many of the argument of Tarde can be turn into sound empirical use. Whatever is the case, what I really want to do is to present to social theorists my not totally respectable grandfather... not for the sake of genealogy building, but because, on a few technical points of horrendous difficulty, Tarde possessed the solution we have been looking in vain for so long. It is thus to a portrait of actor-network as a precursor of Tarde that I want to devote this paper. Just to get a flavour of the character and understand why he appealed so much to Gille Deleuze, here is how Tarde presented his daring research program in M&S : ‘’I would naively say : Hypotheses fingo. What is dangerous in the sciences, are not close-knit conjectures which are logically followed to their ultimate depths and their ultimate risks ; it is those ghosts of ideas floating in the mind. The point of view of universal sociology is one of those ghosts that is haunting the mind of present day thinkers. Let’s see first where it can lead us. Let’s us be outrageous even to the risk of passing for raving mad. In those matters, the fear of ridicule would be the most antiphilosophical sentiment.’’ p.65 Is this not a good grandfather the one who encourages you to think through as daringly as possible because there is nothing worse than half-baked ‘ghost of ideas’ ? Is it not the case that most of the social sciences is made out of those fleeting ghosts, neither theoretical nor concrete, but merely general and abstract ? Instead of establishing sociology on a complete rupture with philosophy, ontology and metaphysics, as Durkheim will be so proud of doing, Tarde goes straight at them and reclaims as his duty to connect social theory with bold assumptions about the furniture of the world itself. The reader begins to understand, I hope, why Tarde had not a chance in 1900 and why I am so thrilled to feel his genes acting in me, since I have never been able to decide whether I was a metaphysician or a sociologist.  184214  Censorship on indymedia Germany about politically correct communists (co-opted Interim and run Jungle World in Geman(y) who see antisemitism everywhere, 9/11 for instance, are pro-Bush and intimidate german indyans.(english) javier 4:14am Tue Jun 4 '02 (Modified on 7:40am Wed Jun 5 '02) sowat@bol.com.br article#184214 German language Open Letter [http://www.indymediazensur.tk/] Several antifascist groups yesterday presented an Open Letter to de.indymedia accusing some of it´s moderators of censorship. It mentions an article from the Berlin anarchist zine Interim which was published on de.indymedia at 28 May and censored immediately. Another object of censorship has been a critical report about a “Solidarity with Palestine” evening. In a first statement, moderators said the Interim had been censored according to a political decision and not due to violation of de.indymedia´s rules. The Interim magazin is paper-only with no actual internet presence, but had been mirrored at another site before the de.indymedia censorship took place. Interim magazine was the most important medium of Berlin anarchist community during the 1990's and has been a forerunner of indymedia promoting the idea of open publishing in the paper world even before internet became widespread in Germany. It's edited since 12 years by rotating groups giving each group a maximum of independence and was switched from weekly to bi-weekly delivery when de.indymedia was launched in Germany in 2001. It had survived several censorship attacks by political police before. Interim was censored because de.indymedia moderators said that the critics against the uprise of antisemitism in Europe that was done by the Interim group, was hijacking a project which in their view is not made for this purpose. Censored Interim e.g. wrote that there were no comments by the radical-left Palestine supporters on their participation at an antisemitic marching-up at 04/13/02, where Palestinian participants showed the Hitlergruss and shouted Nazi paroles at the place of the Goebbels book burnings in 1933. There are no other statements yet from Interim groups themselves, but regular appearance of the magazine is suspended for undeclared reasons since 05/23/02. In the censored edition Interim editors said they were using their freemdom in the Interim concept, and that their opinion was non-representative for the project. The Open Letter says Interim made a clear statement that the spirit of traditional radical-left scene in Germany also is antifascist, and describes the strange sitiuation in the de.indymedia community: If you criticize the intifada on de.indymedia or even express symbolic solidarity with Israel, you are brandmarked as anti-german. Critics on antisemitism is banned as soon as it mentions antisemitism inside the de.indymedia community. Open Letter says that this kind of political censorship is an attack against open publishing, the idea behind indymedia” which already has caused heavy harm to de.indymedia. It requests the de.indymedia moderation groups to stop political censorship, to raise a public discussion targeted on the improvement of de.indymedia and to collect all proposals for this purpose. The full german language text is availiable at www.indymediazensur.tk, which also mirrors and/or links all the censored pages. All this happens while German liberal party (F.D.P.) vize leader Mr. Juergen Moellemann is in the focus of public interest because he said as a military parachutist officer of the reserve, he fully understands suicidal attacks against israeli civilians and would do the same. F.D.P. currently is switching to right-wing populism, as part of a campaign to join the New Labour Government at next parliament elections at September 22 and take the place of the Green Party. Mr. Jamal Karsli, an Arab Member of a regional Parliament has presented his fantasies about a dominant zionist lobby in the Neonazi weekly magazine Junge Freiheit. Mr. Karlsi who was nearly unknown to german public before this, has recently quit the Green Party and started working with the F.D.P. parliament group. F.D.P. has received harsh critics from the Central Board of German Jews, who requested Mr. Moellemann to give a statement against anti-semitism. F.D.P. leader Mr. Westerwelle rejected this and said his party only placed 'critics on Israel'. German writer Martin Walser, who 1998 got broad attention with a speech where he said he doesn't want to be remembered the history of Holocaust, tried to publish a novel, in which an Holocaust surviver, the German intellectual Marcel Reich-Ranicki, is murdered. Conservative newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung publicly rejected publishing excerpts of this in advance. Since the end of May, the word of the Antisemitism Controversy' has found its way into the press headlines. While the New Labour  Green Party coalition government is ranking this as as an inner affair, Mr. Schroeder and Mr. Fischer several times have pointed out that German foreign policy is aligned to an European Union Council statement, which was published at the German Europe summit accompanying the assault on Jugoslavia on 03/24/1999. 'Berlin Declaration' raised the 'No Veto Doctrine, which says European Union will give diplomatic acknowledgement to a Palestinian state even without prior acknowledgment given by Israel. www.indymediazensur.tk/ ============ Indymedia is now officially a joke (english) Israel_is_full_of_thieves 6:27am Tue Jun 4 '02 comment#184226 I dont know if it's the recoil from all the conservative whiners, or if it's from anti-jewish dialogue, but they pretty much castrated themselves with their new policies. looks like somebody has to set up a new open news network because IMC's now pathetic ======= FAKE! (english) a german 7:27am Tue Jun 4 '02 (Modified on 8:22am Tue Jun 4 '02) comment#184235 First they destroyed indymedia.switzerland and now indymedia.germany. their claims are lies! ======= heh (english) Carl, a german too 9:37am Tue Jun 4 '02 comment#184243 Indymedia germany is full of shit, either you're antigerman or an antisemite. Either you're something undefineable or an evil jew burning anrachist. strangely, that's a german left's mentality. With groups like bahamas and other's being accepted as left, waving israel flags becoming an obligation and everyone screaming for unqeustionable solidarity with israel ... it reminds me of the third reich. Germans are so full of shit. ======== comment from de.indy? (english) blitzen 11:43am Tue Jun 4 '02 comment#184261 Myself, I'd like to hear from someone from indymedia germany about why they pursued this particular policy, as well as comments on the veracity of the above. I find censorship of any kind distasteful; however, I know there are legal issues in Germany about publishing or allowing the publishing of antisemitic statements online. This post, however, doesn't seem to fall under that category. So... what's going on? Does this warrant some discussion of whether de.indymedia is violating what we would consider to be the spirit of free discourse that IMC is about, and so maybe ought to be delisted until they come up with some better policy? ========== Message to Javier (english) Latuff 1:06pm Tue Jun 4 '02 latuff@uninet.com.br comment#184276 Javier, my good brother, We can say, without a doubt, that IMCs Germany and Austria are a kind of heaven for Israel supporters. Check their news coverage. Almost nothing about Palestine. "Anti-Semitism" they say everytime someone dares to criticize Israeli massacre. They prefer to give up under pressures of pro-Isreal readers. It's simple for everyone interested in take off any criticism towards Israel. Just say the magic word "anti-Semitism"! I suggest to all readers to stay out of German and Austrian IMCs. Their editorial staff can't be seen as progressive. While serious people from IMC Israel and Palestine are putting their necks in risk for Palestinians, chickens from IMCs Germany and Austria are trying to cover-up gross human rights violations. Shame on them! Just a bunch of cowards! However, in spite of their cowardice, many IMCs are denunciating Israel for crimes against humanity, and supporting Palestinians and decent Israelis/Jews in their struggle for the end of occupation and a Palestinian independent state. All the best, Latuff ========= Go ahead, Latuff! (english) javier 2:41pm Tue Jun 4 '02 sowat@bol.com.br comment#184290 You are an indy-wide known free rider and you know it. I don't agree your assessment of indymedia Germany because it's much too optimist. I hope you don't get any comments on the quality of your artworks (besides the fact they tell political nonsense), because they could hurt you. For the Palestine I hope that these among them who got political views influenced by European ideas (secular, constitutional state, open society) will soon be successful in convincing their people that Mr. Arafat is ruining their future by continously giving the world the image Palestinians were two-leg bombs, not humans. It's helpful to feed them with information how difficult it was for the Japanese to strip of the kamikaze image after WWII. Go ahead and read this: angelfire.com/d20/sowat/  eu-mil/palestinemessage.html ========= Excellent (english) Lisa 3:05pm Tue Jun 4 '02 comment#184292 ..really. I love seeing Javier and Latuff getting along so well: Latuff has been complaining about IMC Germany censoring too much as they are allegedly influenced by pro-Israel voices, and Javier thinks that IMC Germany as a whole is an anti-semitic project since not enough of antisemitic postings are being hidden. Describes the current situation of pressure of the German IMC collective quite well. Since both of you seem not to be disagreeing in your attempts to denounce IMC Germany: why don't you just leave them alone (they're doing an excellent job in a difficult situation) and start doing something useful together? I'd be really curious to find out where you can agree on things... ========== @blitzen (english) tom 3:17pm Tue Jun 4 '02 comment#184293 You asked for some information on the veracity of the above claims. I don't belong to Indymedia Germany. I'm just an Australian living and studying in Berlin. I follow the discussions on Indymedia Germany already quite a while. I intimately know Interim the publication in question. What happened? Interim is a venerable Anarchist publication that is edited in turn by different groups. The understanding was and is that you don't push your agenda but publish any text send in in addition to some that you prefer. It worked until these blokes came along. To understand what happened a word about them. They call themselves antigerman communists. They're a bunch of crazies too weird to be conceivable anywhere in the world but in the former capital of the Reich. They believe that there's an antisemitic conspiracy that anybody's part of who doesn't support Israel's fight against palestinian terror. Dshenin of course is propaganda and the reluctance of European governments to enlist in Bush's war on terror nothing but a sign of European antisemitism. As there's little support for Sharon's policies on the German left naturally the left is beholden to antisemitism. These boys created a minor stir when they where the first in the history of the German "left" to hold a demonstration in support of an American president.Not any president. No Mr.Bush himself when he recently came to Berlin. 200 showed up. Why? Because 9/11 was really an antisemitic attack and any protest against war mongering nothing but support of Arab Nazis. Of course all that stretches credulity. How come they weren't ostracised yet? How come they came to edit Interim? To understand that you have to know the German radical left.Accuse people of antisemitism and they freeze. Anti-antisemitism is a must in German radical politics. As Israel is populated by Jews any attack on Israel's politics can be misconstrued as being antisemitic. It really works!!! Indymedia Germany took days to make Sharon's incursion into the Westbank main news. Long after virtually every other Indymedia site in the world had put the bloody conquest of palestinian towns and villages right on top of their sites Indymedia Germany was still avoiding the topic. So somehow these truly gothic (Anti) Germans threatened and cajoled their way into editing Interim. Don't forget there's an even weirder twist: they really call themselves Communists albeit antigerman ones. The result would have shamed the israelian embassy. Back and front they displayed the Israeli flag. Inside they heaped invective on anybody who dared criticise Israeli politics and support Palestinian rights. That was the straw that broke the camel's back. The majority of leftist outlets in Berlin refused to sell Interim. Pandemonium broke out. Interim is in danger of falling apart. Now believe it or not: do you think Indymedia Germany has refused to post the contents of this particular issue of Interim because of this? Not at all. They're still afraid of being labeled as antisemitic. They censored it because the antics of those crazies might very well have destroyed Interim. That is certainly true. Now though these (anti)- Germans portray themselves as victims of antisemitism. One thought immediately comes to mind: Could some of them be provocateurs in the pay of the Government? Very well possible. One of their leaders one Thomas von der Sacke-Osten is well-connected to the ADL although the role they played in California is well known even in Germany. That didn 't keep him from publishing several puff pieces about them and interviewing their representatives. Actually those (Anti)Germans are an interesting lot. I'm writing a piece about them for some Australian publication. Once it's published I'll post it. If you want to have a good laugh beforehand find somebody who speaks German and let him or her report on the content of their main publications: www.jungleworld.com (some delicious reasons why the left has to support Bush) or better yet http://www.redaktion-bahamas.org. They (no joke look it up and look up the original in www.krasse-zeiten.de) remade a palestinan demonstrating in Berlin to look like Adolf himself. ========= It's understandable (english) Anti-zionist 4:24pm Tue Jun 4 '02 comment#184317 Criticism of Israel is difficult in Germany, Austria, and, to a lesser degree, in Belgium and France. This is because of laws which ban incitement to hate crimes. The propagation of Nazi literature and (denying the holocaust) are specifically against the law in Germany and France. I do not agree with a policy of political censorship, but let us look at the matter in its historical and social contexts. IF-- I emphasize the word IF --IF any people on earth should be forbidden the right to speak ill of the Jews, it would have to be the Germanic people of Europe. After all, we must not forget their slaughter of six million Jews. I sympathize with, and agree with, all people who wish to level criticisms of the Israeli state. I have not read the statements in question in the publication Interim. But in a state where anti-semitism is not merely an obnoxious point of view, but a tradition which led to commission of genocide, we can understand why the speech of critics of Israel is curtailed. I say, we can understand it--- but we cannot justify it. The moral question for Indymedia Germany is a difficult one. If they allow the propagation of anti-Israeli speech on their site, which becomes anti-Jewish speech, which becomes anti-Semitic incitement, as defined by German law, then they are in real danger of closing down. I cannot speak for them, or recommend a course of action for them. But if they wish to uphold the principles of free speech, they can risk allowing speech on their site which may lead the authorities to attack them. If they are closed down, the authorities will be judged by international standards to have violated their rights to free speech. But the political climate in Germany is such that they will not be able to exercise it very easily. If they are closed down, they may have to open German indymedia in exile, based on a non-German server, where German law cannot get them. I have wondered whether this was allowable under indy media guidelines. For instance, I have thought that there should certainly be an Indymedia China in exile, since the authorities in Beijing would not allow one their. It has always struck me as odd that the largest nation on earth, with over one fifth of the worlds population does not have an indymedia. Surely there are enough Chinese abroad, in exile, to organize one-- and there are certainly enough Chinese radicals abroad. Chinese anarchist, left socialist thought has rich tradition, extending back to the days of early Taoism. But I digress. If Indymedia Germany gives into government oppression, and decides to censor anti-Israeli posts, have they become part of the problem? I cannot decide that. All I know is that each Indymedia engages in censorship of one kind or another, and that depends both on the inclination of the censors, and the social political climate of the surrounding nation. I understand and sympathize with the difficult situation in which indymedia Germany finds itself. However, I cannot personally condone acts of censorship. ======== Dear Latuff (english) Me 5:11pm Tue Jun 4 '02 comment#184329 At Indy.Germany are a lot of Reports from Palestine. Look at: http://www.de.indymedia.org/2001/12/12808.shtml http://www.de.indymedia.org/2002/03/16965.shtml 18865.shtml (This was a Feature "Stop the war at Palestine") http://www.de.indymedia.org/2002/04/19922.shtml 20571.shtml 19633.shtml 19444.shtml 19562.shtml 19709.shtml 19332.shtml 19305.shtml 19262.shtml http://www.de.indymedia.org/2002/05/21285.shtml enough? ======== @anti-zionist (english) tom 3:18am Wed Jun 5 '02 comment#184402 I also don't envy Indymedia Germany. They're between a rock and a hard place. I suspect they're afraid they might suffer the same fate like Indymedia Switzerland. Indymedia Switzerland was closed down by the government because somebody kept posting antisemitic stuff. It was always taken off but the short time it was actually readable suffised for the government. The people who 1. created a huff and cry about it and 2. named names to the authorities belong to the same group that is creating such a stir in Germany. I wonder if Indymedia germany wasn't better off if they would simply acknowledge the obvious: Israel is turning into a second South-Africa. Anybody who defends Sharon's policies has to be treated like a defender of Apartheid ten years ago. That even German radicals can't acknowledge the obvious is a very bad sign. If there will be ethnic cleansing or worse in Western Europe gypsies and muslims will be the victims not jews. In France quite a few members of the jewish community openly support Le Pen. Le Pen might dislike jews but hates arabs. Le Pen as president would have meant France carrying out the policies ("transfer" of Arabs) that Sharon is still afraid to enact. What will happen in Germany once the conflict in Palestine escalates even further and Germany by supporting Israel invites Arab retribution is anybody's guess. I believe there's a real danger of an all out government sanctioned hunt on muslims. Like in Israel once there are the first casualities nobody will ask how all this has started. ========= To Javier (english) Latuff 6:26am Wed Jun 5 '02 latuff@uninet.com.br comment#184409 I don't agree with your statement, Javier. It's not Arafat responsible for "continously giving the world the image Palestinians were two-leg bombs, not humans." Israel lobby has worked on it. I don't see Arafat as a Palestinian Messiah but he's still representative for Palestinians. And now more than ever, thanks Sharon and his murderous military campaign who gave him a popularity not seen in years. Young men and women who blown up themselves in the streets of Israel are, in fact, not driven by Arafat, religious fanatism, mental illness or whatever. They are desperate people, who spent their lives seen friends and relatives being opressed and killed. Japanese kamikazes had Emperor Hirohito as leader. The spiritual and political leader of Palestinian suicide bombmen/women have a single name: OPPRESSION. And if we are really concerned about everlasting body count in Middle East, let's keep fighting for the end of Israeli occupation and independent Palestinian state. Any other claim is wasting of time and lives. Anyway, this discussion can take forever. Mostly of people know my points of view on Middle East crisis. If not, just make a search on IMC global for my artworks. And Lisa, something for you: I already left IMC Germany alone, dont you see that? And I recommend to everyone I know (and I know a lot of people) to do so. I hope soon IMC Germany will be alone...for real! Latuff ========== It's unbelievable (english) an indymedia-germany reading people 7:40am Wed Jun 5 '02 comment#184423 It's really anbelievable: Since several month not more then 50 people try to shut down indymedia germany. For shutting down imc-switzerland were only 10 of this people involved. Now they want to convince the worldwide indymedia-readers to help shutting down the indymedia-germany site. In the last time they produced so much pro-israel texts so that sometimes it wasn't possible to find other texts on the indy-de site. On the final point they posted parts of the last issue of the mentioned interim. In my opinion the moderates have done a good work indeed. This nationalistic shit has nothing to do with left politics. Indymedia Germany is no discussion board but a information-site. The main issue of the site are the informations. There it could also be, that people report about cruelties of the army of israel as well as about the awfull result of a suicid-bomber. But if it isn't in the posting criticizing the isreal politics a mention to support israel then the writer will be blamed of the "anti-germans" as an anti-semitic racist! This is characterisic for the so often called "anti-german". They try to desturb all political work where ever they can. The nazis in germany can do at the moment what they want, because nearly all politically left groups have been blamed as anti-semitic, so that they have to argue against. But the "anti-german" don't want a funded debate. They only want publicity. If you want to discuss with them about nationalism, kapitalism and racism, and don't mention being a israel-supporter you will be blamed as a anti-semitic racist. I fear that the "anti-german" could use the mentioned pseudo-anti-semitic-critic debate to convince judge to shut-down the german site. If you want to know more about the "discussions" try (german, sorry:-)): http://www.antisemitismusstreit.tk. With such a politic the germany-site is being really in danger. Indymedia should not show the israel flag on the start-page. Also it shouldn't (and in my opinion it isn't ) be antisemitic.