Keith Hart in februari on Empire (see an earlier prfr3 collection from his site) ------------- metafilterians on Pim Fortuyn  ------------- metafilterians on 'in gold we  trust by Dibbel   ------------- 172982 UN backs Palestinian resistance UN Backs Palestinian Violence Arab, European nations pass resolution supporting use of 'armed struggle'   ------------- 172800 Dutch Government Falls Over Srebrenica Massacre via reuters  -------------  ://coyote.kein.org/pipermail/  generation_online/2002-February/author.html the next to months had only a tenth of the traffic, no doubt due to the absence of fat posts poster Keith Hart; here are some samples: ------------------ From HART_KEITH@compuserve.com Tue, 5 Feb 2002 05:29:05 -0500 Date: Tue, 5 Feb 2002 05:29:05 -0500 From: Keith Hart HART_KEITH@compuserve.com Subject: [Generation_online] a close reading My suggestion was addressed to an exchange between Thomas and Arianna of 28-29th January. Thomas wrote: Well, it seems to me that our attempts to create a discussion around the topics originally drawn up is not working very well. There have been a few informational emails recently but I dont think we have had an actual discussion since well before Christmas. As we had quite lively debates during the original reading of Empire, I suppose that the present conceptual format is too loose and that if we want to continue on with this experiment we should probably choose a particular book to read and discuss (this would give structure), or we can pick out sections from Empire to reread and discuss. I certainly hope that we can continue on with the experiment, changing the format to a more suitable one, as we have in the past had so many fruitful exchanges. I would like to hear the opinions of others on this matter. To which Arianna replied: Yes I agree completely that we ought to get back to sections of Empire. The conceptual approach was aimed at enriching a rereading of empire with other relevant works, but it was ambitious :-) so we could go through the sections of Empire and whoever has time/inclination to read something around them can use the reading list or bring in more stuff. Reading Empire a second time has a rather different effect I suppose I personally read much more into it than I first had done. I would propose that we decide where to start independently of the order of chapters, for instance I'd say from part 3, which seems to engage more with a description of the present rather than of how we arrived to it. This is obviously just a suggestion and hopefully others will make their own and speak up. But if people are not up for it I think we can still keep the list active in other ways. I agree with Arianna's suggestion in every detail and suggested one way of going about it. One plan that has been floated several times and sank is the idea that we might read some specific texts complementary to the book Empire. It does seem preferable to leave open what other materials, literary and historical, people might want to bering to another reading of the book and Part 3 is a good place to start. Rather than just write in saying "Me too!"), I confused matters by commenting on the exchange between Geert and Clifford. Now I must respond to the questions brought up by Thomas and Erik, but, in the interest of speeding up the programmatic aspect, I will be brief. The issue of totality and dialectic is about the most abstract philosophical point I made and perhaps it does deserve careful consideration, especially with reference to Hardt and Negri's own writing on the subject.. I have to say that the intellectual tradition from Spinoza to Negri via Deleuze is not as familiar to me as the line from Kant to Hegel to Marx to Lenin to my mentor, CLR James (who wrote a book called Notes on Dialectics). When I speak of dialectic, I mean that strand and not much of 20th centry writing that sometimes also uses the word. I have learned a lot from the Frankfurt School, but am not all sympathetic to Adorno and the gang. Hegel, in his Science of Logic, is concerened with the relationship between ideas and reality (I would say, life). We may have a word 'house' and be able to say 'my house', but if we leave it at that and hope that things will stay the same, we will be embarrassed to discover that the actual house deteroriates. An idea is something that helps us to organize experience. It always leaves out what the idea is not. Sometimes what it is not can be organized as a paired negation and that negation moves dialectically. Eventually the ideas become confused and lose their force (negative dialectic). This can pave the way for the emergence of a new idea (positive dialectic). It is within this sort of framework that I would approach the claims made by H & N for Empire. In the Introduction to Grundrisse (The method of political economy), Marx lays out his own version of the dialectic. he says we must always start from the concrete moment of history as we encounter it. Then we develop some analytical abstractions after it (the commodity, capital etc). Then, and this is the vital part, we insert these abstractions into the concrete. He claims, falsely in my view, that Hegel and his followers were happy to remain at the abstract level, with th eidea and not a reality tgransformed by the insertion of ideas. In any case, that is his dialectical method. He outlines a programme concluding in the attempt to grasp world economic history as a whole, but he never got that far. How do we insert abstractions into the concrete or test ideas against reality? By a variety of intellectual and political procedures -- laboratory experiments, writing projects, debate, propaganda, revolutionary action. This is where I would start from. A totalizing narrative is for me one which seeks to encompass a whole abstractly, without a method for inserting it into historical reality. I do not accuse H & N of that practice, but I suspect them of it. That is why I would like to engage in a critical reading of their work with others. Thomas also asked me to elaborate on why I think that Empire misses out on the important developments of the 90s, such as the communications revolution. I have written a book (Money in an Unequal World, 2001) which emphasises this aspect in my take on contemporary world history. I will be glad, when the time comes, to discuss what they have to say about this phenomenon, but soi far I have not come across mcuh. Just look up communications, internet, digital, virtual etc in the index. The short section, Beyond Measure (the Virtual), pp 356-59, is highly abstract and asserts, "By the virtual we understand the set of powers to act (being, loving, transforming, creating) that reside in the multitude." There is no specific reference to virtual reality. This is what I mean by what appears to be a deliberate distancing from contemporary social reality, a willingness to rest content with totalizing abstraction. Keith -------------- Nate is asking about the empirical status of Empire and Erik reasonably offered an anology with Marx's treatment of labour and abstract value or capital. It is an interesting question why Marx, in rejecting idealism, went not for empiricism, but materialism, which some would say is another form of idealism. These are powerful metaphysical questions and we each answer them in diffrerent ways, often without being conscious of it, if we are not trained philosophers. Since the whole Empire idea rests on such issues, it would not be surprising if our discussions were confused by the different metaphysical assumptions we bring to them. The trick is to start at a more grounded level somehow. But the question of the virtual and real, as revealed by digitalization, rests on similar questions, as does whether what we are expereincing now is something essentially new or simply an old story in drag. I want to offer a couple of analogies using more familiar language, in th ehope of showing that non-place has been with us for a while. The book and markets. No doubt old Homer was great act in a smoke-filled barn on a Saturday night. But when his oral poetry was committed to writing, it became the basis for a fledgling Greek civilization and for much after that. Homer ceased to be a physical person (maybe he was never that) and could be anywhere and everywhere. Religions of the book caught on to the idea. You did not even have to copy the stuff out. If you can get kids reciting the Koran by heart under a tree, the same possibility for universal shared understanding can be realised over a very large space. And Martin Luther knew there were no limits to his revolution if he could get ordinary people reading the Word in print. Similarly, markets used to be places where people handed over physical things. But, to the extent that trade covered long distances, people needed impersonal money to make contracts with people they might not know personally. For 5,000 years states have been determining the objective value of the real assets performing this function, long before they got round to minting the stuff as coins. In the modern period, markets have grown in volume and have taken an increasingly immaterial form. For example, Japan is going through a huge economic crisis right now that could bring down the rest of us, since it is the second biggest economy in the world. They may choose to devalue the yen against the dollar, making their exports cheaper, or they could just dump Toyotas at loss leader prices. The resulting deflation has not been seen in the West since the 1930s. But the American car workers will find their companies struggling to compete and will maybe lose their jobs because Japanese deby is six times the GDP. Not long ago, in 1998, midwestern farmers feared losing their pensions because of a crisis involving Thailand, Russia and the world's largest hedge fund, Long Term Capital Management. if you ask to be shown where this stuff is actually taking place, you have a problem. Hundreds of billions of dollars disappear into thin air. Is that good? Is it bad? Who knows? Does anyone know how much went down the drain in the telecoms bust last year? If the consequences are real or imaginary? Marx had the benefit of being in on the ground floor of all this. He wanted to know how Manchester textile factories could put the Begal weavers out of business. These are real people in real places, but the way it happens is not immediately visible. So, as I said in a previous post, he developed some abstractions to make sense of it: the exchange value of commodities, money as abstract value, capital, socially necessary labour time, surplus value, the rate of exploitation, the organic composition of capital (aka mechanisation). But he would have considered himself a failure if people spent their time reproducing his abstractions or the words, in order to show that they were Marxists. That is why he said, I am not a Marxist. But he did put a lot of his energy into writing a big, difficult book that could become the Bible of the movement. So what are we to think? Keith This is an impressively coherent section, at several levels: in offering a theoretical explanation for how and why imperialism became Empire; in providing a new and powerful periodization of the twentieth century; and in situating the emergence of the informational economy within the evolution of primitive accumulation. For me the most important contribution was H & N's tracing the origins of the postwar period to the New Deal, America's internal restructuring of the Depression years. The replacement of European imperialism becomes the externalisation of that project through the second world war and its aftermath. This in turn culminates in the Vietnam war, making the 70s the watershed of a new phase of world economy based on unification of the market. The Cold War is taken to be secondary to the project of decolonization and formation of a genuine world market, and if anything it diverted the US from its historic mission. Theories of centre and periphery associated with Amin, Frank and others reflect the failure of modernity in the 70s, but miss the main dynamic, the formation of a world market in which transnational capital is unimpeded. A more abstract periodization linking the origins of capitalism, its modern industrial heyday and the postmodern information age points to the formation of a global proletariat, the force that will arise to socialise the world market brought into being in this way by capitalism, with the USA as its chief instrument. There is a lot to talk about there, but, as I said, it is orginal and impressive. I could emphasise what I found dissonant in this section. For example, I do not recognize the phenomenon of Third World urbanization without industrialization in a purple passage like "Peasants throughout the world were uprooted from their fields and villages and thrown into the burning forge of world production." Most of them were consuming food from the world market and producing nothing for it in return. This relates to the issue of whether informational capitalism integrates the world market or pushes most people out of it. I am also unsure of the value of the section's leading concept, 'disciplinary governability'. I would love to know how the Reagan regime's support for racist states and terrorists in Africa during the 80s fits into this oversimplified account. I can guess. But I think the overall picture of the twentieth century given here and its grounding in the theory of primitive accumulation deserves to be addressed for itself, before we dispute whether it applies in detail to the world as we know it. At the least, we have an approach which sees the two main turning points, after the great imperialist world war, as the 30s and the 70s, with the present as its outcome. Moreover, the USA's role is both taken to be central and a reason is given for why it would be mistaken to think of it as imperialist in the old sense. Keith ------- I think we should allow others to take up the text we are reading more directly. But here are a few definitions to be going on with. H & N's take on the virtual is pp. 356-61. "Virtual" means existing in the mind, but not in fact. When combined with "reality", it means a product of the imagination which is "as good as real", almost but not quite real. In technical terms, "virtual reality" is a computer simulation which enables the effects of operations to be shown in real time. The word "real" connotes something genuine, authentic, serious. In philosophy it means existing objectively in the world; in economics it is actual purchasing power; in law it is fixed, landed property; in physics it is an image formed by the convergence of light rays in space; and in mathematics, real numbers are, of course, not imaginary ones. "Reality" is present, in terms of both time and space ("seeing is believing"), and its opposite is imagined connection at distance, something as old as story-telling and books, but now given a new impetus by the convergence of telephones, television and computers. Keith ------- Thanks to Matteo and Erik for referring us back to the source. I still feel a bit guilty that the only message to address the passage we are supposed to be reading together has gone without comment. There is an issue of language politics, about whether we should use words in their agreed dictionary sense (especially when for so many English is a second or third language) or follow the usage developed by specialist thinkers. But I agree that on this list we seek to discover the value of Negri's thinking or specifically the sense of the book Empire. Beyond measure (the virtual) "...'beyond measure' refers to the vitality of the productive context, the expression of labour as desire, and its capacities to constitute the biopolitical fabric of Empire from below. Beyond measure refers to *the new place in the non-place*, the place that is defined by the productive acitivity that is autonomous from any external regime of measure. Beyond measure refers to a *virtuality* that invests the entire biopolitical fabric of globalization. By the virtual we understand the set of powers to act (being, loving, transforming, creating) that reside in the munltitude. We ahve already seen how the multitude's virtual set of powers is contructed by struggles and consolidated in desire. Now we have to investigate how the virtual can put pressure on the borders of the possible and thus touch on the real. The passage from the virtual through the possible to the real is the fundamental act of creation. (Note a). Living labor is what constructs the passageway from the virtual to the real; it is the vehicle of possibility. Labor that has broken open the cages of economic, social and political discipline and surpassed every reugulative dimension of modern capitalism along with its state-form now appears as general social activity. (Note b)" (p. 357). Note a refers to Deleuze and Guattari What is Philosophy? and especially to Deleuze Bergsonism. Bergson (and Deleuze) affirms the virtual-actual couple over the possible-real, since it captures the unforeseeable novelty of the act of creation. H & N beg to differ in that they insist on the creative powers of virtuality, but also insist on th ereality of what is being created. Note b considers the relevance of Marx on abstraction (in Grundrisse) to this question of virtuality and possibility. They suggest two versions. The abstraction of capital separates us from our powers to act and "is therefore the negation of the virtual". But also abstraction on the side of labour is "the general set of our powers to act, the virtual itself." "The power to act is constituted by labor, intelligence, passion and affect in one common place. This notion of labor as the common power to act stands in a contemporaneous, coextensive, and dynamic relationship to the construction of community." (p. 358). "This ontological apparatus beyond measure is an *expansive power*, a power of freedom, ontological construction, and omnilateral dissemination....Whereas the definitions of the power to act in terms of the singular and the common are Spinozist, this last definiton is really a Nietzschean conception. The omnilateral expansiveness of the power to act demonstrates the ontological basis of transvaluation, that is, its capacity not only to destroy the values that descend from the transcendental realm of measure but also to create new values." (p. 359) In the face of this, one has to ask whether the authors are more interested in communicating their ideas or in covering themselves against all attempts to penetrate them. Don't you love "omnilateral dissemination" for "spread the word around"? Just when you have been ploughing through their own sentences, you are told to take a course in Spinoza. Just when you thought it was a good guess that they were following Deleuze, you get the opposite in a footnote. The weird thing is that I think I may have been posing similar questions to theirs when I tried to find out what people really do in their economic lives, as opposed to what is imposed on them by capitalism and state bureaucracy. I called it the informal economy and I used a straight Kantian (or neoKantian) dialectic of form and its negation as my conceptual basis. I also struggled with Hegel's Science of Logic to find ways of thinking about the movement from the actual to the possible or vice versa. This pair was one excluded from their in-house dispute with Deleuze (and Bergson). I suspect that H & N have mistaken Deleuze and assimilated the virtual to the ideal. But this text alone is an inadequate as basis for such a judgement. What is clear, however, is that their notion of the virtual has nothing whatsoever to do with the digital revolution oc communications in our day. And it is remarkable that the authors of a book published in 2000 should feel able to discount popular usage in this respect. It even misleads casual readers into imagining that they are addressing the world we confront in our daily life. I would not have taken the trouble to copy out these texts, if my only aim were to dismiss them. I hope that someone on this list will elucidate them without simply displacing the argument to some other text or author. Keith ---------- From HART_KEITH@compuserve.com Mon, 4 Feb 2002 04:10:59 -0500 Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2002 04:10:59 -0500 From: Keith Hart HART_KEITH@compuserve.com Subject: [Generation_online] for Geert and a close reading There is the question of giving preference to interpreting books over trying to make sense of contemporary history. This has extended recently to the suggestion that we consider Lenin's Imperialism, which is fine as long as it goes with a historical understanding of the period in which it was written. A tendency to abstract the Hart and Negri text from current events suggests that that might not be so. Similarly the discussion of the shift from Capital Vol 1 to Vol 3 which carries with it the danger of scholasticism, an obsession with dead texts at the expense of historical context. As a teacher I see the value of reading specific texts as a way of giving conceptual form to substantive arguments. Which is why, as I said, I would welcome a disciplined reading of Empire as a textual basis for discussing world history today. Whatever my views on its intellectual merits, the book is a social phenomenon of our times and deserves close attention. I am less interested in the ongoing performances of Hardt and Negri as contemporary stars of the international chat circuit. Even less in hagiographical citation of the book as canonical text. The relationship of the USA to 'Empire' is at the core of it. Some might say that, despite the pluralistic optimism of the 'multitude' concept, H & N have produced a totalizing idea which, like any other such, fails to grasp human realities in a dialectical way. This is reinforced by its relentlessly philosophising style and their obvious failure to come explicitly to terms with the main developments of the post-1989 period, such as the communications revolution, never mind events since the book was written. Relations of alliance and division within the imperial power (singular?), between America and Europe (with Britiain hovering), between states and capitalist corporations, not to mention the emerging global role of China and India, Japan's crisis etc -- all this commands our analytical attention at least as much as the book itself. The problem is that we each bring very different historical repertoires to the task and that too may be a good reason for concentrating on what H & N say in detail. At least we can agree that the print on page n is the same for all of us, as long as that does not become an excuse for never referring to anything outside the text and its canonical forebears. The opening section of part 3, 'The limits of imperialism', pp.221-239, concludes a negative summary of Arrighi's The Long Twentieth Century: Money, Power and the Origins of Our Times (1994) with the following: "More important than any historical debate about the crisis of the 1970s, however, are the possibilities of rupture today. We have to recognize where in the transnational networks of production, the circuits of the world market, and the global structures of capitalist rule there is the potential for rupture and the motor for a future that is not simply doomed to repeat the past cycles of capitalism." Leading up to this comment on cycles we have a brief account of the intellectual history of theories of imperialism, mainly Marxist, but offering a chance to revisit Marx, Luxemburg, Hobson, Lenin and so on. We are at liberty to dispute the adequacy of these theories in their own time or their relevance to ours; to assess H & N's brief account of them; to consider the merits.if any, of Arrighi's position; to consider the theory of history that they allude to here; or to ask what it would take to recognize the potential for rupture now or at any time. This last might go so far as to inspect the language of the quote, especially its use of the possibilistic tense and hence of dialectic. Keith --------------  From ksnelson@subjectivity.com Sun, 10 Feb 2002 13:53:56 -0800 Date: Sun, 10 Feb 2002 13:53:56 -0800 From: Kermit Snelson ksnelson@subjectivity.com Subject: [Generation_online] non-place Keith's point about the non-novelty of non-place is excellent, as are the "grounded" analogies he uses to illustrate it. But since he seems to be fearful about treading on metaphysical ice, I'll take it upon myself to rush right in. :) Over the years, philosophy has got into trouble because of the tendency of human nature to aestheticize one aspect of reality over another. Form over force, mind over matter, accident over substance, substructure over superstructure, ontology over epistemology, subject over object, time over space, etc. Or the other way around. And N&H are now claiming that because of the digitization of technology, the virtual is privileged over the real and that everything is different now. Well, human nature certainly hasn't changed, has it? I'm reminded of the dispute between Goethe and Newton over the nature of color. Since Newton won, we all know what his theory is: color is the wavelength of light. But Goethe said that couldn't possibly be, that color was part of the eye. Press your finger gently against your eyeball for a moment, he wrote, and let go. Do this in total darkness, and keep your eyes closed. You'll see a bright patch of color that then fades, through all the colors of the spectrum, in order. (He's right; I tried it.) Obviously, the spectrum is in the eye. It is subjective. Therefore, nature is subjective. Goethe considered his theory of colors to be the main achievement of his life. Beethoven shared this assessment of Goethe's work. Goethe was a great man, but the rejection of his theory (according to his Boswell, Eckermann) led him to an all-too-human bitterness. Plato thought nature but a spume that plays Upon a ghostly paradigm of things; Solider Aristotle played the taws Upon the bottom of a king of kings; World-famous golden-thighed Pythagoras Fingered upon a fiddle-stick or strings What a star sang and careless Muses heard: Old clothes upon old sticks to scare a bird. (William Butler Yeats, "Among School Children") What I'm saying is arguments like N&H's (and even Goethe's) are scarecrows. Form and force, subject and object, virtual and real, etc. are inseparable. They depend on each other, and none can ever be more important than the other. Do scientists get excited about rainbows? They're as real as anything else, but they're also in a non-place. They're "virtual". Goethe and Newton were both right, so why fight? As Keith pointed out in his post, books are also virtual. And I think I also detected in his post a hint that books become dangerous when aestheticized over the real. Indeed, do we really want to embrace the idea that reality is prior to, created by, language? In my view, the key passage in _Empire_, the one that epitomizes the argument of the entire book, is the following: The real revolutionary practice refers to the level of _production_. Truth will not make us free, but taking control of the production of truth will. Mobility and hybridity are not liberatory, but taking control of the production of mobility and stasis, purities and mixtures is. The real truth commissions of Empire will be constituent assemblies of the multitude, social factories for the production of truth. [p.156] Production of TRUTH? By commissions and factories? Do we really want to accept Negri and Hardt's "correction" of Jesus Christ (John 8:32) and his consequent transformation into Orwell's Big Brother? Such are the dangers of "virtual" politics. Kermit Snelson  ---------- metafilter.com/comments.mefi/16355 April 15, 2002 Anti-immigration candidate Pim Fortuyn forges ahead in the Netherlands This guy is interesting - he's openly gay yet is the figurehead of the new right in the Netherlands. His party came out of nowhere in Rotterdam to take 17 seats and he has ambitions to be Prime Minister. His policy is to halt immigration into the most densely packed country in Europe, while retaining the nation's permissive and multicultural character.  Could this be the model for future right-wing parties in Europe? Or is this just media-friendly fascism with a friendly face and a well-cut suit? posted by hmgovt at 2:47 AM PST (15 comments total) The problem I have with Fortuyn (whose popularity can partly be explained by the fact that people are fed up with the current politics), is that I'm affraid for the rest of the party. I think he will do well in the election, but he will be disappointed by actual politics (coalitions, etc.). He will leave in a few months. What will remain is a group of right-wing people, with hardly any political experience. posted by swordfishtrombones on April 15 How exacty do immigration restrictions equate to fascism? posted by rhizome23 on April 15 How exacty do immigration restrictions equate to fascism? Depends how they're enforced and whether or not they're backdated to include whichever groups the party doesn't like. This guy isn't keen on muslims. posted by hmgovt on April 15 So discouraging any group, or having a society at large say, "We just plain don't want them around." is facism? I would think a country has the right to decide who it wishes to include within its borders and how it wishes to treat its citizens... which ironically, why I do not consider Sadam Hussein's treatment of the Kurds to constitute a casus belli against him, and why I don't consider China's human rights record, as abysmal as it is, to be significant. [Now, invading another sovereign state and forcing one's will upon it, i.e: Tibet, IS highly significant, and needs to be done with caution, and for the right reasons... which China did not have.] The right to self determination is as inalienable as any other human right. Otherwise, we have a duty to immediately examine all Muslim countries to make sure not a single Jew, Buddhist, Christian, or secular humanist is so much as looked at cross-eyed. The US constitution would not allow discrimination against a religious group...BUT the Netherlands are NOT the US... if the law of the Netherlands will allow... or is changed to allow them to do so... they, as a nation, are within their rights. posted by dissent on April 15 How refreshing to see a journalistic story where anti-immigration is treated fairly. I can hardly imagine American journalism writing such as article as is linked in the original post. Can you imagine a similar article in a mainstream American newspaper NOT ending with a pro-immigration quote? That is b/c AMerican mainstream journalism is the lapdog of business interests. And business interests see America as a "ranch" where they are the ranchers and citizens are the livestock. And all ranchers want more livestock. What I want to know is, when do we get sent to the slaughterhouse? posted by username on April 15 I actually sort of see his point -- which seems to be, let's integrate the immigrants we have before we take on anymore. That doesn't seem to be such a bad idea in and of itself -- I've certainly often wondered why anyone would want to move to another country only to disrespect its practices and customs. We in the west tend to think of this in terms of respecting the more conservative cultures of the middle and far east, but it certainly ought to apply going both ways. I can't argue with that. If you hate "liberal" western ideals, stay in your home country wherever that may be. If you want to benefit from the economic superiority of the west, such as it is, understand that it is founded at least partly on those very same liberal principles. posted by donkeyschlong on April 15 Dissent, I'm not sure that anyone was suggesting invading the  Netherlands or levying economic sanctions or denying Most Favored Nation trading status. But I have problems with the idea that the right to self-determination means that other countries should accept any policy, shrug, and say "Oh, it's just their way." If the Netherlands were to adopt policies which are blatantly discriminatory, I don't think I could honestly say that they would be "within their rights" to do so. (I'm not sure that 'blatantly discriminatory' describes what's happening here with Pim Fortuyn - it depends on whether 'zero immigration' really means just that or means 'zero Muslims'). I think other nations have the right to criticize such actions and policies. The rights of other free nations probably stop at criticism and don't extend to the right to intervene except in extraordinary circumstances. But without allowing for the criticism, we end up with the Chinese position of "any external criticism of our internal policies is interference in our internal affairs" - which is an argument I just don't buy. To say otherwise would be to elevate national self-determination much too much against the sometimes competing principles of human rights. Certainly, as an American citizen, I'm very grateful for some of the thoughtful criticism that's been levied against us for our policies, by the Europeans and others. I'm also annoyed by some of the knee-jerk anti-Americanism out there. But I'd never want to give up the former to avoid the latter. posted by Chanther on April 15 I would think a country has the right to decide who it wishes to include within its borders and how it wishes to treat its citizens... which ironically, why I do not consider Sadam Hussein's treatment of the Kurds to constitute a casus belli against him... Iraq's treatment of its citizens has apparently included using nerve gas on them. Perhaps the cheery dismissal of the use of chemical weapons to kill members of minority ethnic groups as "the right to self determination" explains why some people are so wary of anti-immigrant political movements. posted by snarkout  on April 15 "often wondered why anyone would want to move to another country only to disrespect it's practices and customs" - which is a fair enough thing to wonder I suppose - if you'e never pictured yourself fleeing (or just plain moving) across the planet and suddenly expected to drop the idea of a sock stapled to the fireplace 'round december. You'd keep that little red stocking right? (i'm carelessly assuming that you might be a US christian Xmas type - but the tradtion doesn't matter). That's your custom. Some things people bring with them when they move, like customs, and it's pretty fair they do. With any luck, it'll enrich the host culture. posted by dabitch on April 15 In the latest election polls support for the "Lijst Pim Fortuyn" was 11% (up from 10.3% in week 14, but far lower than it was earlier). I'm not happy about the 11%, but OTOH the idea that 89% of the respondents indicate that they're not going to vote for him is encouraging. There's little to no chance that Pim Fortuyn will actually end up in the government. If the election results are comparable to the latest polls he will get 17 seats in the Chamber (on a total of 150), but to get into the government he'd need to form a coalition with one or more other parties. A number of the largest parties have already refused beforehand to form a coalition with him. The combined support for him and those parties that would be willing to form a coalition with him is insufficient for a Chamber majority. posted by rjs on April 15 Dabitch- I don't want to move... and it's pretty fair that a people should be able to set whatever rules they wish for the people that they generously allow to move into their territory. "Enrich the host culture"? Crap. No, "When in Rome, do as the Romans." posted by dissent  on April 15 Dissent: I would think a country has the right to decide who it wishes to include within its borders and how it wishes to treat its citizens... Who decides? Who is "the country?" Who are "the citizens?" If you don't answer those questions, you're just talking nonsense. Your arguments sound about one slender hair's breadth away from the arguments that white Southerners used to make about "Southern customs" and the gall of Northerners and other outsiders who wanted to destroy the way of life that "Southerns" had enjoyed for years. It wasn't any of the Northerners' business, right? (psst -- who decides? Who in the South was enjoying what "customs," and who wasn't consulted on the matter? You may want to consider such questions.) By the way -- just writing "crap" in response to someone else's argument and invoking a cliche in support of yours doesn't make you an iconoclast; it just shows lazy reasoning. posted by argybarg  on April 15 Bear in mind your analogy would hold if I were a Northerner dismissing the customs and institutions of the South as unworthy of intervention, not if I were a Southerner telling others to "butt out". I can live with that. It's not my right, responsibility, or duty to examine the morals of the world and intervene where I see fit. It is my right to intervene where those morals are about to step all over me, and my country. Until then, it makes far more sense to me not to become involved. And indeed, in this case, any proposed actions by the prospective Dutch government are not at odds with my morals, in any event. And it doesn't show lazy reasoning... it shows disgust with a viewpoint that doesn't allow people and nations to take measures to control the type and behavior of immigrants. posted by dissent  on April 15 dissent: "Enrich the host culture"? Crap. No, "When in Rome, do as the Romans." Right. So just why aren't people living in wigwams and hunting buffalo in the States anymore? posted by hmgovt  on April 15 dissent: So discouraging any group, or having a society at large say, "We just plain don't want them around." is facism? yes, it is. which ironically, why I do not consider Sadam Hussein's treatment of the Kurds to constitute a casus belli against him, and why I don't consider China's human rights record, as abysmal as it is, to be significant. that's not irony. self determination is as inalienable as any other human right human rights refer to humans, not states. you interpret countries' "self-determination" as the right to shit all over people's human rights. I don't want to move... most refugees and inmigrants don't want to move either. I know my grandfather didn't want to cross the atlantic in a ship's cargo hold and then the andes on a donkey's back, but he did it anyway. many of your ancestors were also inmigrants at some time. ... it makes far more sense to me not to become involved. agreed. posted by signal  on April 15 --------------- http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/13891#207117 January 16, 2002 In Gold We Trust by Julian Dibbell "You want to be radical? You don't need to blow up the bank, just burn your bank account. And for that you are going to need an alternative. What is the alternative? E-dinar." I think economic warfare is pretty fascinating, like in the tungsten/wolframite markets of Portugal and Spain during WWII. Although the article acknowledges e-gold is pretty far from wresting away control of the money system from central banks, technology is certainly supplementing traditional (and arguably archaic) currency institutions. An interesting counterpoint is the rising popularity of decentralized money creation. posted by kliuless at 6:18 AM PST (9 comments total) I'm getting visions of Cryptonomicon ... Anyone else? posted by pheideaux at 7:26 AM PST on January 16 You typed it before I could, pheideaux. posted by dong_resin at 8:32 AM PST on January 16 very interesting economic proposal... especially because the article suggests that gold is the thing to supplant credit, not just because of its history but because Relative to its modest size, the 27.5 pounds in a standard gold bar is so much weight it's nearly impossible to accept that gravity alone accounts for the force you feel as you lift it. You're tempted to attribute some additional, almost metaphysical, power to the metal - as if the gold brick in your hand weren't just undeniably real but a gleaming avatar of reality itself. posted by zerolucid at 2:22 PM PST on January 16 i guess some people don't get off on purple mountain majesty and amber waves of grain :) IIRC, cryptonomicon ends in vast ecological damage to the philippine rainforest! posted by kliuless on January 16 Recently covered somewhat by USS Clueless , where discussion evolved into more esoteric areas. But Steven made the basic point that reliance on a gold standard limits wealth creation to disocvery of new gold reserves, among other reasons it was formally abandoned with Bretton Woods (and later by free currency floats). posted by dhartung on January 16 i think steven's board is down cuz of the IP changeover, but i'll definitely take a look later. fluffy1984 said as much in our discussion of currency systems a while back, "On the whole, I like the arbitrary quality of baseless currency. There's somethinf perfect and abstract about it, and it would be a pity to tie the ethereal stuff down to oats and wheat." [we were sort of talking about the effectiveness of a commodity reserve currency as originally envisioned by keynes and benjamin graham (but the white plan was adopted at bretton woods instead)] personally, i like the idea of community currencies (the links at the end) to supplement national currencies better. credit creation as is i think is pretty crude. monetary policy currently assumes (rightly) a national economy and structures money growth accordingly. the problem is our economy isn't homogenous. plus moral hazard is increasingly problematic, the roots of which partly lie in the blunt tool of the fed funds rate. it invites oversteering because there's no fine tuning. you can see how awkward it is by the fed having to continually adjust rates, second-guess markets, issue statements and jawbone. and when they get it wrong it wreaks havoc not only in the US but all around the world. i think having more types of currencies (precious metals, commodity reserve, corporate script, community based) would do a lot to stabilize economies. people would have the choice to conduct their affairs in the currency that makes the most sense (kind of like operating systems!) a more democratic money system would also do a lot to increase the general welfare/wealth creation as well as smooth out the business cycle. hopefully national governments aren't so jealous that they'll open up the monopoly they've had on money to some friendly competition :) posted by kliuless on January 16 Very odd argument to be having in 2002. The real case to sever money from gold was made by Keynes decades ago. Many of the solutions talked about here certainly have already been exhaustively argued by economists and monetary people. What it is east to forget is that quite often things that appear to be problems ... quite often were actually solutions to the problems of previous generations ... and it is usually the case that people arguing for these solutions inevitably point out the current problems they would "solve" and virtually never mention the new problems they might create. posted by MidasMulligan  on January 16 Multiple arbitrary currency types, in combination with some system that allows for competition over supremacy of value between them would obviously become self-regulating (beware the prospect, oooooh!). How bout precious meats, mud bog tickets, fire, joysticks and toenails? But that would be stupid. posted by BeefyT  on February 2 dude. posted by kliuless  on February 3 « Older City older than Mohenjodaro un... | "The Americans are angry becau... Newer » ------------ 19 people's favorite online mags: http://www.metafilter.com/comments.mefi/16346 --- -------- reutershealth.com/archive/2002/04/  12/eline/links/20020412elin030.html 14 metafilterians post flippant comments to this April 13, 2002 Post-orgasmic syndrome Tired and sweaty after sex? A Dutch doctor said on Friday he is studying a rare new syndrome among middle-aged men who complain of flu-like symptoms for up to a week after having an orgasm. posted by nonharmful  (13 comments total) ..yeah... i'll help with this study. /me rolls eyes. posted by jcterminal  on April 13 "A Dutch doctor said on Friday he is studying a rare new syndrome" What's he doing on Saturday? posted by Outlawyr  on April 13 what is a "male orgasm"??? posted by Settle on April 13 Y'know... all this time, I thought it was a 25 year allergy attack... Big Science - Hallelujah... posted by Perigee on April 13 But how does this affect me? I have sex only with myself--I have a close relationship--and I meet the age qualification. Since I don't have flu symptoms, that suggests that the flu shot takes care of things or that orgasms with Another are the cause. To think ownself be true.... posted by Postroad on April 13 A Dutch doctor said on Friday he is studying a rare new syndrome among middle-aged men who complain of flu-like symptoms for up to a week after having an orgasm. Hmm.. for 'up to a week' after each orgasm? Isn't that the same as having a constant illness? posted by wackybrit  on April 13 Well, in all seriousness, the fatigue part is not unfamiliar, perhaps, even depression. posted by ParisParamus  on April 13 Tired and sweaty after sex? Well, I would say that if you aren't, then maybe you could stand to put a little more effort into it. posted by adampsyche  on April 13 Hey paris just tell your mom she has to leave after o< posted by Settle  on April 13 Is anyone willing to ascertain if I have this illness? Scientific rigor is assured. posted by gleemax  on April 13 I'm not middle-aged, by the way, so it's going to be an abnormally long study. posted by gleemax  on April 13 (Not that size matters.) posted by gleemax  on April 13 don't pretend you didn't hear me paris. posted by Settle  on April 14  -------- 172982 UN backs Palestinian resistance UN Backs Palestinian Violence Arab, European nations pass resolution supporting use of 'armed struggle' Steven Edwards National Post, Canada UNITED NATIONS - Six European Union countries yesterday endorsed a United Nations document that condones violence as a way to achieve Palestinian statehood. They were voting as members of the UN Human Rights Commission on a resolution that accuses Israel of a long list of human rights violations, but makes no mention of suicide bombings of Israeli civilians. Canada and two EU countries -- Britain and Germany -- opposed the measure, which supports the use of "all available means, including armed struggle" to establish a Palestinian state. Guatemala and the Czech Republic joined the opposing voices, but with 40 countries of the 53-member commission voting yes and seven abstaining, the resolution is now part of the international record. "The text contains formulations that might be interpreted as an endorsement of violence," said Walter Lewalter, the German ambassador to the commission. "There is no condemnation whatsoever of terrorism." Alfred Moses, a former United States ambassador to the commission and now chairman of UN Watch, a monitoring group, was more blunt. "A vote in favour of this resolution is a vote for Palestinian terrorism," he said. "An abstention suggests ambivalence toward terror. Any country that condones -- or is indifferent to -- the murder of Israeli civilians in markets, on buses and in cafés has lost any moral standing to criticize Israel's human rights record." Canada said the resolution did nothing to further peace. "The failure of the resolution to condemn all acts of terrorism, particularly in the context of recent suicide bombings targeting Israeli civilians, is a serious oversight which renders the resolution fundamentally unacceptable," said Marie Gervais-Vidricaire, Canada's ambassador to the commission. "There can be no justification whatsoever for terrorist acts." EU members Austria, Belgium, France, Portugal, Spain and Sweden approved the resolution, and Italy abstained. Belgium and Spain have been pushing for tough EU measures against the Jewish state, with Belgium calling for sanctions based on a human rights clause in the EU-Israeli Free Association agreement, which grants Israel preferential trading terms. But Britain, Germany and the Netherlands say such measures would end the EU's chance of playing a greater diplomatic role in the search for peace. EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg yesterday buried talk of imposing sanctions while Colin Powell, the U.S. Secretary of State, is in the region trying to arrange a ceasefire. "We cannot decide on a peace plan while Powell is going back and forth between [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon and [Palestinian leader Yasser] Arafat," one EU diplomat said. The 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) drew up the Human Rights Commission resolution, backed by co-sponsors China, Cuba and Vietnam. Of the 14 OIC members on the commission, one -- Cameroon -- abstained from voting on the resolution, while the rest approved it. Rulings by the commission and other leading UN bodies such as the Security Council and the General Assembly are significant because they enable causes to claim international legitimacy. The resolution yesterday reaffirms support for a Palestinian armed struggle by "recalling" a 1982 General Assembly resolution that slammed both Israel and the white-run government of South Africa. Restating past goals by referring to former documents is common diplomatic practice. The 1982 General Assembly resolution "reaffirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, including armed struggle." In a 1982 interview being shown in a CNN biography of Mr. Arafat, the Palestinian leader cites the General Assembly and the words "all available means" as justification for terrorist acts. France's ambassador said yesterday his country could not accept the use of violence even though France had approved the measure. Austria's ambassador said his country did not subscribe to several paragraphs, including the one that referred to resistance through violence. Sweden's ambassador said his country had supported the resolution "without joy," but that "the sponsors did not want to accept further improvements to the resolution." The ambassador of Portugal said his country's support "did not imply total support for some of the formulations of the text." Belgium's ambassador said the resolution "could be seen as a call for peace." The resolution comes two days after Mr. Arafat denounced terrorism to make way for his Sunday meeting with Mr. Powell. The OIC returns year after year to the commission with resolutions that are heavily critical of Israel, but many diplomats said this was the first time they could remember violence being endorsed as a way of furthering human rights. Arab countries welcomed the support for the resolution. "The majority of 40 votes in favour showed that everyone was fully aware of the seriousness of the situation," said Toufik Salloum, the Syrian ambassador. ----------------------- 172800 Dutch Government Falls Over Srebrenica Massacre via reuters (remarkable amount of similar items posted in the next day or so -- the comments: so let me get this straight (english) Moussa Azetuna 11:38am Tue Apr 16 '02 comment#172804 So let me get this straight. Bosnian Serbs slaughter Bosnian Muslims and the Dutch are to blame? Well that makes sense when you consider that Palestinian Christians Slaughtered Palestinian Muslims at Sabra and Shatilla and ISrael was to blame. What a world. ========= Look at the pot calling the kettle black (english) Alex 11:43am Tue Apr 16 '02 comment#172806 So the Dutch want to try Ariel Sharon for not preventing the Sabra and Shatilla Massacres? The same Dutch who (by their own admission) allowed the massacre of over 5000 Bosnian Muslims? Can you spell HYPOCRISY? ======== Poor Mr. Kok (english) Carol 11:50am Tue Apr 16 '02 comment#172809 Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok better get himself a lawyer and a good PR firm. I can't wait for the flood of condemnations and calls for a war crimes tribunal (at The Hague of course)from all of you Indymedia types. Poor Mr. Kok will be called a war criminal and be compared to Hitler after he allowed Bosnian Serbs to murder Bosnian Muslims. What? Mr. Kok isn't Israeli, nor is he Jewish? Lucky for him, he'll surely get a pass from the Peace and Justice crowd, they only reserve their wrath for Jews like Ariel Sharon. ========= Dutch vs Sharon (english) Ravi 11:54am Tue Apr 16 '02 comment#172811 Hey, at least the Dutch have accepted responsibility and are acting accordingly. They have CREDIBILITY, as a result. Sharon thinks he's pure as snow white. There's the difference. ========= yeah I can spell hip o crazy pal; can you . ? (english) piet 12:05pm Tue Apr 16 '02 comment#172815 spell your name? Here? http://www.petitiononline.com/warcrimes half of the (requisite miljun) way there; With any luck this will be record time goal attainment. Then, a massive bleuhelmet seperation of and buffering between (if if all we manage is a sliver) contesting parties underway asap may be the only way to stop this more and more explosive mix of testiness (hormone levels seem to have recovered from world wars right on schedule; never mind fucking Kondriateff, show me the testosterone stats). As for the Dutch govt, they figure they don't have long to go anyway and deserve early vacations. They don't, but permanent ones as far as their vote goes; they can help articulate stuff like the theatre has always done but the final choice can only pass from hand to hand daily in the form of a money (monies rather) that harmonize, wed and express politics AND economics simultaneously; till then that situation is here once again; see Ulrich von Beckerath), no peace for nobody and little for anybody and of course never no rest for the wicked. ========== The figures from Srebrenica are not true (english) Hartvig Saetra 12:19pm Tue Apr 16 '02 (Modified on 1:27pm Tue Apr 16 '02) hartvsae@online.no comment#172825 There is no doubt about that a massacre took place in Srebrenica; but the figures over dead people are exaggerated. The UN people have never found more than about the half, in spite of intense search. And many of the dead people fell in fight. You will find more about this item on Emperorôs Clothes, www.tenc.net ========= Lacking intention (english) Case Roole 1:00pm Tue Apr 16 '02 cjr@xs4all.nl comment#172848 To the Zionist apologetics here the following: 1. The Dutch were sent to the area on a UN mission whereas Sharon invaded Lebanon. 2. The Dutch had no quarrel with either party and were present in the area for no other reason than to separate them - the very reason Sharon's IDF was in Lebanon was its "quarrel" with Palestinians, who are also the victims of the massacre. One cannot put intention with the Dutch whereas for Sharon "the only good Arab is a dead Arab" which would support a claim of intention. 3. The Dutch were lighter armed than the party perpetrating the massacres - even in 1982 the IDF was by far the heaviest armed party in the neighbourheid and actually in all of the Middle East. The Dutch did not have heavy artillery or fighter plane support. Anyway, I am all for thoroughly checking any suspect cases and holding parties responsible. Let's drag both the Dutch and the Israeli governments into the ICC court! ------------ Somebody needed a war...... (english) outside the whale 2:15pm Tue Apr 16 '02 comment#172882 Richard Holbrooke, Anthony Lake, Strobe Talbott......These are the architects of Srebrenica. ------------------- I posted all these at 173182 adding: they were unarmed; what do you want a peace.. . force to accomplish without some superior but restrained clout??????? --- as for my earlier comment, I looked around the places I pointed to in a file called: poetpiet.tripod.com/miscs-n-logs/deep_e_muckcrazy.htm 74K and found none of the sites talk about my sense of wedding politics with economics in the sense Ulrich von Beckerath talks about nor are any of them in the same place still.