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Exclusive: 4 Years After BP Disaster, Ousted Drilling Chief Warns U.S. at Risk of Another Oil Spill

Democracy Now! - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 8:10am

Four years after BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling platform exploded and killed 11 workers, causing more than 200 million gallons of oil to spew into the Gulf of Mexico, the Environmental Protection Agency has lifted a ban that excluded BP from new federal contracts. In a broadcast exclusive, we speak with Elizabeth Birnbaum, who was director of the Minerals Management Service in the Interior Department at the time of the Deepwater Horizon blowout. She was forced out soon after. In her first broadcast interview since her departure, Birnbaum warns the risk of another offshore oil drilling blowout is real. We are also joined by Jaclyn Lopez, staff attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity.

Last chance to stop Halifax convention centre follies

Rabble - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 8:06am
div class="taxonomy-images"a href="/category/bios/columnist/ralph-surette" class="taxonomy-image-links"img src="http://rabble.ca/sites/rabble/files/imagecache/thumbnail/category_pictures/surette.jpg" alt="Ralph Surette" title="Ralph Surette" width="100" height="100" class="taxonomy-image-term-6817 taxonomy-image-vid-14"//a/divdiv class="field field-type-date field-field-story-publish-date" div class="field-items" div class="field-item odd" span class="date-display-single"Monday, April 21, 2014/span /div /div /div div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-for-node" div class="field-items" div class="field-item odd" img src="http://rabble.ca/sites/rabble/files/imagecache/120-width-scaled/node-images/conventioncentre.jpg" alt="Photo: Jamie Moore/flickr" title="Photo: Jamie Moore/flickr" width="120" height="90" class="imagecache imagecache-120-width-scaled imagecache-default imagecache-120-width-scaled_default"/ /div /div /div pFinally, unease about the Halifax convention centre -- which will cost taxpayers nearly $400 million over the next 25 years -- has a chance to come to proper public attention./p pThe developer, Rank Inc., is asking for 20 changes to the project that would have the effect of making some of the subsidized convention centre facilities smaller than originally planned, and the privately financed office and hotel space on top of it much bigger, thereby trampling further over already much-abused city bylaws. Halifax Regional Municipality has asked for public input April 29 at 6 p.m./pdiv class="field field-type-text field-field-summary" div class="field-items" div class="field-item odd" Finally, unease about the Halifax convention centre -- which will cost taxpayers nearly $400 million over the next 25 years -- has a chance to come to proper public attention. /div /div /div pa href="http://rabble.ca/columnists/2014/04/last-chance-to-stop-halifax-convention-centre-follies" target="_blank"read more/a/pdiv class="feedflare" a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=fjteb724Erc:draIGMZT4V8:yIl2AUoC8zA"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=fjteb724Erc:draIGMZT4V8:qj6IDK7rITs"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=fjteb724Erc:draIGMZT4V8:dnMXMwOfBR0"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=fjteb724Erc:draIGMZT4V8:F7zBnMyn0Lo"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?i=fjteb724Erc:draIGMZT4V8:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=fjteb724Erc:draIGMZT4V8:V_sGLiPBpWU"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?i=fjteb724Erc:draIGMZT4V8:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"/img/a /divimg src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/rabble-news/~4/fjteb724Erc" height="1" width="1"/

Video - Richard Seymour on his new book, Against Austerity

Open Democracy - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 7:55am
div class=field field-summary div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pThe author talks about his new book, an extract of which OurKingdom has published a href=http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/richard-seymour/extract-from-against-austerityhere/a./p /div /div /div iframe width=460 height=300 src=//www.youtube.com/embed/ZrPgaEWT9Jw frameborder=0 allowfullscreen/iframediv class=field field-country div class=field-label Country or region:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd UK /div /div /div

Stowaway survives flight in US jet's wheel

Al Jazeera - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 7:47am
Youth "lucky to be alive" after five-and-a-half hour California-to-Hawaii flight at altitudes of up to 11,000 metres.

S Korea ferry disaster 'tantamount to murder'

Al Jazeera - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 7:17am
Four more arrests made as President Park Geun-hye describes behaviour of captain and crew as "utterly incomprehensible".

Syria presidential date fixed for June 3

Al Jazeera - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 7:01am
Assad, whose term ends on July 17, expected to run and win another seven-year term in office despite the conflict.

Capitalism, veganism and the animal industrial complex

Rabble - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 6:59am
div class="story-teaser story-teaser-blog" div class="body" pemWant more coverage of industrial farming, animal welfare and the environment? stronga href="https://secure.rabble.ca/supportrabble/" target="_blank" title="Support rabble.ca"Support rabble.ca today!/a/strong/em/p pstrongBack in the day…/strong/p pWhen I went vegan in the mid-'90s, friends and I told ourselves that tubs of rice creamnbsp;were as satisfying as the real thing and that veganism didn't mean giving up a stitch of pleasure. The truth is, though, at the time cheese substitutes largely tasted like barf and the endless plates of white pasta and watery "red sauce" at our cafeteria were a drag. We were regularly plied with the question, "But what do you eat?"/p div class="read-more"/div /div /div pa href="http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/vegan-challenge/2014/04/capitalism-veganism-and-animal-industrial-complex" target="_blank"read more/a/pdiv class="feedflare" a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=dqUp5sTZrjI:q0Utm1OLBJY:yIl2AUoC8zA"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=dqUp5sTZrjI:q0Utm1OLBJY:qj6IDK7rITs"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=dqUp5sTZrjI:q0Utm1OLBJY:dnMXMwOfBR0"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=dqUp5sTZrjI:q0Utm1OLBJY:F7zBnMyn0Lo"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?i=dqUp5sTZrjI:q0Utm1OLBJY:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=dqUp5sTZrjI:q0Utm1OLBJY:V_sGLiPBpWU"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?i=dqUp5sTZrjI:q0Utm1OLBJY:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"/img/a /divimg src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/rabble-news/~4/dqUp5sTZrjI" height="1" width="1"/

Serving up hot dishes at Conflict Kitchen

Rabble - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 6:55am
div class="field field-type-image field-field-image-for-node" div class="field-items" div class="field-item"img src="http://rabble.ca/sites/rabble/files/imagecache/380x275-front-multimedia/node-images/bolani-crowd1.jpg"/div /div /div div class="field field-type-text field-field-summary" div class="field-items" div class="field-item"Conflict Kitchen is a Pittsburgh restaurant that only serves food from countries that the U.S. is in conflict with./div /div /div div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-connected-story" div class="field-items" div class="field-item"a href="/blogs/bloggers/christina-turner/2014/04/military-takeout-complex-interview-conflict-kitchen"The military-takeout complex: An interview with Conflict Kitchen/a/div /div /divdiv class="feedflare" a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=MJtpoOyOqVw:ordWPspdGpI:yIl2AUoC8zA"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=MJtpoOyOqVw:ordWPspdGpI:qj6IDK7rITs"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=MJtpoOyOqVw:ordWPspdGpI:dnMXMwOfBR0"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=MJtpoOyOqVw:ordWPspdGpI:F7zBnMyn0Lo"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?i=MJtpoOyOqVw:ordWPspdGpI:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=MJtpoOyOqVw:ordWPspdGpI:V_sGLiPBpWU"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?i=MJtpoOyOqVw:ordWPspdGpI:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"/img/a /divimg src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/rabble-news/~4/MJtpoOyOqVw" height="1" width="1"/

Somali MP killed in car bomb attack

Al Jazeera - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 6:24am
Isak Mohamed killed and another politician injured by a bomb attached to vehicle in Mogadishu.

Venezuelan capital hit by Easter protests

Al Jazeera - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 6:11am
Protesters burn effigies of government figures as police and protesters clash in wealthy area of Caracas.

Nepal guides demand avalanche compensation

Al Jazeera - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 5:23am
Sherpas threaten to stop work unless money is paid to families of guides killed in Mount Everest's deadliest avalanche.

Fascism swelling in Britain

Open Democracy - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 5:08am
div class=field field-summary div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pFascist protests on the streets are a growing sign of the dark forces emerging from capital's post-08 sterility./p /div /div /div pspan class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'a href=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/18LDGFhEVoEH3Sw9JsccUXQADDy4d-QqQgyR3LNKYCE/mtime:1398134246/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/535628/SEA.jpg rel=lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline] title=img src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/udI4i4Weib-X5Ok12kGO4aSXk6ub7OnKXKa9aEG33bw/mtime:1398134206/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/535628/SEA.jpg alt= title= width=400 height=300 class=imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large style= //a span class='image_meta'/span/span/ppFascism is revealing itself in 2014 Britain. On a Saturday morning on Cricklewood Broadway, I saw a group called South East Alliance, a href=http://bit.ly/1hzdS9iprotesting against the Muslim Brotherhood/a. The reason for their protest outside a disused kebab shop will become all-too-clear presently, or perhaps you already know. This protest was an actual stone’s throw from my home and, like almost everyone else, you only pay attention to things when they are in your backyard. For example, when the a href=http://ind.pn/1qfWnSTEDL were in Tower Hamlets/a, the other side of London, I was concerned about the violence, horrified, but more along the lines of a ‘concerned parent’ at a school governors’ meeting: a typical liberal-minded empathy for the situation but very little action, and certainly no change to my daily routine. a href=http://on.fb.me/1oJgzyUBut here, on the Broadway/a, in my ends, it struck a far louder chord. /p pOne man stood arms outstretched, his full wingspan, Christ-like; holding the Union Jack. His stillness, his unwavering limbs, recalled the disciplined solitude of the military, at odds with the movement of capital accumulation here at the very top of the Edgware Road. Another two held a larger flag, SOUTH EAST ALLIANCE, with the slogans ‘ONE NATION. ONE AIM. ONE FUTURE. UNITY IS OUR STRENGTH.’ Collectively, a real shady looking bunch. /p pA cursory glance at SEA’s Facebook a href=http://on.fb.me/R0hWL3page/a shows emDie Volke/em-ist language such as: ‘We Are The People’ and ‘British and Proud’. But what is important to focus on here, more than the sectarian return of the Union Jack, held back by millions of yards of state-sponsored bunting and buried under layers of John Lewis icing a href=http://bit.ly/R0raqIin 2012/a, lies a swelling, a tumescent violence in 2014 Britain that, to my mind, cannot be accounted for in any other way other than a creeping fascism. It is probably worth recalling that if you picked up the stone I had thrown to measure the distance from my house, and tossed it further down the Broadway, you’d arrive at a Halal butchers, the very same butchers that begins Zadie Smith’s 2000 multicultural-celebration novel ema href=http://bit.ly/1g3GAzPWhite Teeth/a/em. Fourteen years starts to feel like a really long time./p pWalking past the SEA demonstration on my way to buy some bread, I instinctively felt that, to point out to members of SEA that there are three nations in the Union Jack, hence the whole emUnion /embit, and that therefore the SEA’s original claim of ONE NATION is, taxonomically speaking, incorrect, would be a really, black-eye-requesting-level bad idea. But the ema priori/em assumption that there is an implicit or latent violence in fascist, racist organizations is interesting. It speaks to the Freudian idea that there is somehow more primordial, barbaric, ancient emstuff /emdeep-down inside us that Civilization has successfully repressed, but remains locked in a dead-eyed tango with. This in turn would explain why fascist organizations tend to be nationalists and really into war. But something else has happened to fascist discourse post-2001 as J.G. Ballard points out in an a href=http://bit.ly/OwUGlzinterview/a in 2006: /p p‘I know there’s nothing quite comparable (to the Falklands War) in Iraq and Afghanistan, but you don’t feel any pride in what our soldiers are doing out there. That’s why the bereaved relatives are so indignant. Their sons and husbands are dying for nothing— dying for some PR whim of Tony Blair. No pride in the armed forces. No pride in the monarchy. And politics totally discredited.’/p pWhat Ballard delineates here makes the re-appearance of this strain of fascism way sadder and more embittered than perhaps its 20th Century counterparts, and thus more explosive. There is no real honour or glory in going to war for politicians. Take the most recent expenses fart from Westminster - Culture Secretary Maria Miller’s 90k a href=http://bit.ly/1edxLIwover-claim/a. The impudence seriously jarred with the population ruled by UK Parliament, (not least the SEA who posted an unflattering photograph of a cackling Miller, a href=http://on.fb.me/1e7AMd3with the caption/a: ‘Conservatives, Having A Laugh At Your Expense’). To use Ballard again, remarking in 2003 that all it would take is someone offering a more exciting ideology than consumerism for the country a href=http://bit.ly/OwUGlzto slip into fascism/a: ‘People resent the fact that the most moral decision in their lives is choosing what colour their next car will be.’ The sheer, pathological banality of post-2008 financial crash consumerism goes hand in glove with the appeal of a soft fascism. Capital has run out of exciting ideas for the future and like the playground chant of ‘fight fight fight’, what the violence represents is the thrill of the Hobbesian state of nature reappearing. All bets are off./p pNigel Farage then, was well-whooped in his a href=http://bbc.in/1pIhw7Mtelevised debate/a with Nick Clegg, the glee of the audience in response to his (again) emVolke/em-ist ‘Peoples’ Army’ perhaps the most ominous. Farage, with his oil-slick, car-salesmanship, frog of the people schtick, emerges as the most likely personality to unite this over-spilling psychopathlogy into a frightening whole, even if the real, bad-man part of SEA describe him as a ‘Muslim-loving p****’./p pPerhaps what best synthesizes the SEA demo, the austerity consumerist complex of 2014 Britain and Farage’s victory over Clegg is found in George Orwell’s ema href=http://bit.ly/OwYaVc1984/a/em. The book has been pulped into misguided metaphor and appalling cliché but some remain insightful. In particular, the instance of the daily, 11am Two-Minutes of Hate, is most prescient. What is understood in the book, through a href=http://bit.ly/1g3NbKEFreud/a, a href=http://bit.ly/R0mEIRWilhelm Reich/a and a href=http://bit.ly/1oJhoryHebert Marcuse/a, is that the sea of discontent needs an outlet, and the outlet seems to be coalescing in fascist practice. The Party aimed to abolish the orgasm, but its interim measure – misdirection onto the enemy Goldstein – is now the de facto measure of 2014 Britain. Think of the headlines, ‘Stop these vile —’ insert what you like from the following: paedophiles, fat and/or drugged celebrities, celebrities-cum-paedophiles, immigrants, asylum-seekers, any kind of enemy within or without will do. These media frenzies – our own two-minutes of hate – are now finding their physical form in SEA’s brand of hate’n’violence. What this speaks to is an empire-melancholia and nostalgic retro-fascism in Britain that is finding its target more readily now in Islamophobia. /p pIt turns out ‘the Muslim Brotherhood HQ in a href=http://bit.ly/1hzdS9iCricklewood’/a were four men who ran a blog called a href=http://ikhwanpress.org/ikhwanpress.org/a and are ‘affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood through ideas and thinking, but are a href=http://bit.ly/1hzdS9inot part of the organization’/a. The governing party of the UK recently launched an investigation into the Brotherhood to see if Egypt’s former governing party are interested in “a href=http://bit.ly/1hzdS9iextremist action/a”. It is not too difficult to see Cameron’s call as a pale echo of the SEA-ers’ ONE NATION aggression. What the incidences of fascist demonstrations in Cricklewood really tells us is a psychopathology of Britain, a kind of high-octane nuclear emotional fuel, is cooking; violence steaming to the surface is taking shape and now solidifying./pdiv class=field field-country div class=field-label Country or region:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd UK /div /div /div

An extract from Against Austerity

Open Democracy - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 5:07am
div class=field field-summary div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pAusterity may seem self defeating but the forces maintaining it are not stupid, they are masters of self interest and self enrichment - it is critical that we consider the rational case for austerity from the viewpoint of those implementing it and lobbying for it./p /div /div /div pspan class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'a href=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/TEV05G3BXzrqugJTvKUSPV9BmjrICmjsVQPk7NJEDVA/mtime:1397731526/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/535628/seymour3.JPG rel=lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline] title=img src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/XsSwVzWdvcPdaB553mbOIa0s8JcWheA4x_p0Ms5TSu0/mtime:1397731419/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/535628/seymour3.JPG alt= title= width=400 height=480 class=imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large style= //a span class='image_meta'/span/spanemAgainst Austerity, Richard Semyour, Pluto Press, April 2014, a href=http://www.plutobooks.com/display.asp?K=9780745333281amp;purchase here/a/em/ppThere is one criticism of austerity politics that is both true and, simultaneously, flatly false: that it is emideological/em. This claim is ambiguous and needs to be unpacked. /p pnbsp;The soft opposition to the British government’s austerity package essentially holds that it is ‘an ideological mission to shrink government’, as Labour leader Ed Miliband put it. The parliamentary opposition has an interest in putting it this way. Labour has committed itself to significant government-shrinkage, much of which will harm its own base while the Tories protect their own. In such circumstances, it distinguishes its cuts as merely necessary pragmatism, as opposed to the Tories’ ambitious, ideologically driven demolition job. Yet Labour’s cuts, though slower and a little less deep, would in any other circumstances be considered a scandal. During George Osborne’s emergency budget in 2010, the chancellor was able to remark that he had inherited from Labour plans for cuts averaging 19 per cent across all departments. (Osborne had ‘merely’ increased the planned cuts to an average of 25 per cent across all departments). This was why canny Labour right-wingers had urged colleagues to calm down the anti-cuts talk, knowing that a Labour government would implement similar policies. /ppIf it is true, as I have argued, that there is no socially neutral way of resolving the crisis, it is hard to see how any strategy devised for it could not be overlaid with certain social interests, goals and perspectives. It is difficult to see how it could not be ideological. But those dismissing austerity as ideological mean precisely that there is a purely technical, non-ideological means of crisis-resolution. In this sense, the criticism of austerity as ideological is obviously in bad faith. It simply says, ‘their cuts are stupid, ours are going to be super-clever’. /ppEven if this was in principle possible, in practice it seems incredibly implausible. Simply to think about what this would mean is to expose it as an absurdity. It is not just that the scientific-technical jargon of power, its expertise, is profoundly ideological, expressing in some form the lived experience and perspective of the classes that dominate these discussions. To have a non-ideological policy would mean that it entirely escaped any influence from the long-standing ideological assumptions embedded in all the dominant institutions where policy is deliberated, debated, framed, drafted and institutionalised – from the media to the major parties, from the Bank of England to the exchequer, from the top universities to the courts. This is what I meant when I said that ideology has a emmaterial existence/em in practices and institutions./p pEven so, there is a narrow sense in which the claim that ‘austerity is about ideology’ makes sense. No one can be totally sure about the effects of austerity but, in the narrow sense according to which it is just a series of fast, deep spending cuts, there is ample reason to suspect that austerity by itself will not end the crisis in any sense that even banking and business elites would consider sustainable. Business executives, city economists and investors generally seemed to believe in the arguments for austerity in this sense. Growth, and above all profitability, matter to investors. And this strategy, as I will suggest, may not be viable. In this sense, the criticism is that austerity politics disposes of ideology in a way that is counterproductive to the long-term interests of capital. /p pHowever, before laughing about how stupid the elites are – really, emthat’s why they have all the money/em – it is necessary to grasp the emrational core/em of the austerity argument. As per my rule above, there is a sense in which it is correct, and its opponents would do well to appreciate its strengths. I want to illustrate this by describing the emergence and spread of the austerity narrative in the UK, first among elites./p pThe bank bailouts were initiated in earnest following the collapse of Lehman Brothers on 15th September 2008. In the US, it began with the Emergency Economic Stabilisation Act, enacted on 8th October 2008. On the basis of this, the Troubled Asset Relief Programme was created. In the UK, there were two significant bank rescue packages in 2008 and 2009, totalling at least £550 billion. This did not represent a sudden mass conversion to Keynesianism among the world’s elites, but a panicked attempt to prevent a complete global meltdown. It is easy to forget in retrospect just how much panic there was about the coming disaster. As David McNally recounts:/p blockquotep‘I am really scared,’ U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson confided to his wife on September 14, 2008, as the Lehman Brothers investment bank disintegrated, sending shockwaves through global credit markets. The next day brought Lehman’s collapse, followed a day later by that of AIG, the world’s largest insurance company. Before the month was out Washington Mutual would melt down, registering the biggest bank failure in U.S. history. Then America’s fourth-largest bank, Wachovia, went on life support. A wave of European bank collapses rapidly followed./ppnbsp;/ppnbsp;So panicked and bewildered were global elites that Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, informed a Congressional committee the following month that he was in a state of ‘shocked disbelief’ over the failure of markets to self-regulate. Small wonder. By the fall of 2008 the global financial system was in full-fledged meltdown. Worldwide credit seized up as financial institutions refused to lend for fear that borrowers would not survive. Stock markets plummeted. Global trade collapsed. Banks toppled. As shaken commentators invoked memories of the 1930s, two U.S. investment bankers openly compared the situation with the Great Depression. /ppnbsp;/pp‘Our economy stood at the brink,’ Tim Geithner, current U.S. treasury secretary, testified about those weeks. ‘The United States,’ he continued, ‘risked a complete collapse of our financial system.’ Canada’s finance minister, Jim Flaherty, echoed this view, stating that the world economy had hovered on the edge of ‘catastrophe.’[1]/p/blockquote pWithin less than a year of the state taking on these debts, the story had entirely changed. The crisis was no longer one of markets and corporations, but a ‘sovereign debt crisis’. Overspending, not overproduction, was the problem./p pThe British austerity agenda was first signalled at the time of the pre-budget report in November 2008, at which time the Labour government was engaged in stimulus spending. The Conservatives, still in opposition, had been spending several years ‘detoxifying’ themselves, attempting to shed their image as a ruthless party of competitive capitalism. As a result, they had committed themselves to a careful strategy of accepting existing government spending levels (about 40% of GDP), while questioning the priorities. However, the emergence of sizeable deficits, and the government’s emphasis on temporary stimulus, gave the Tories a unique opportunity to say that spending would have to fall dramatically[2]. At this point, they began to execute a careful, choreographed turn, qualifying each hawkish new announcement by blowing a kiss toward the poor./p pIn April 2009, at the Conservative Party conference, the Tory leader David Cameron announced an ‘age of austerity’. He suggested: ‘Over the next few years, we will have to take some incredibly tough decisions on taxation, spending and borrowing – things that really affect people’s lives.’[3] Without being too specific, he tried to link the drive for ‘significant savings’ to a democratic desire for more transparent, honest government. This was at most a weak hint at what was to come but, given the Tories’ determination to be seen to be a party of ‘social conscience’ willing to spend money on the ‘frontline stars’ of public service, it was all the opposition could risk at that point. The narrative had, however, been established: the problem was not chiefly the banks, and it certainly wasn’t capitalism: it was government overspending./p pnbsp;Within a very short time, City economists were calling for fiscal retrenchment, and the austerity narrative was being laid in the press. A compelling example was Larry Elliott’s article in emThe Guardian/em, announcing the ‘dawning of the age of austerity’. I choose this example because Elliott is a left-wing Keynesian, and was thus hardly cheerleading for neoliberalism. He wrote:/p blockquotepThese are the facts of fiscal life. The City knows them. The chancellor knows them. George Osborne knows them. Public spending will be cut and taxes will rise. All that is at issue is when, for how long and by how much. Certainly, the scale of the retrenchment will dwarf that of the 1990s, when policy was tightened aggressively after sterling’s exit from the European exchange rate mechanism./ppnbsp;/ppJohn Hawksworth, chief economist at PricewaterhouseCoopers, estimates that a tightening of 10% of gross domestic product (GDP) – about £150 billion at today’s prices – will be needed over the next decade to both rein in the deficit and compensate for the effects on the public finances of an ageing population.../ppnbsp;/ppThe problems with the public finances began during the years 2003 to 2007. The economy was growing at a robust rate but fiscal policy remained lax. The Treasury had far too rosy a view of the government’s tax take, and ran up a sizeable structural budget deficit./ppnbsp;/ppnbsp;That meant that when the financial hurricane blew in, the public finances were in poor shape.[4]/p/blockquote pWhat Elliott reported as brute fact was, I would maintain, inescapably an ideological proposition. But the power of it as ideology was the fact that it appeared perfectly natural and inevitable. As the political scientist Mark Blyth puts it, austerity is an ‘intuitive, appealing’ response to such a situation, ‘and handily summed up in the phrase emyou cannot cure debt with more debt/em’[5]. This is linked to the old Thatcherite trope according to which the state is like a household, or a little corner shop, which must perforce keep its finances in order./p pAs the 2010 general election approached, the hints of future austerity became more regular, even if still subdued due to the obvious unpalatability of the idea. Importantly, it became increasingly clear that both of the dominant parties intended to implement far deeper cuts than Thatcher had accomplished. This is where the Liberal Democrats were able to benefit temporarily. While not disputing the necessity for ‘tough choices’ and ‘difficult decisions’ – the preferred euphemisms which stress the emotional anguish of those enacting spending cuts as above the real distress of those affected by them – they professed opposition to the deepest cuts. They promised to oppose an increase in VAT, although in retrospect their industry spokesperson Vince Cable admitted that this was done to ‘score a point against the Conservatives ... that was in the election. We have now moved past the election.’[6] They also promised to oppose unpopular tuition fees. Unlike either of the major parties, they seemed blissfully unentangled in the financial elites that had brought the country to ruin. Indeed, Cable was seen as someone who had anticipated the problems with unrestrained financial power. And the Liberals were the least damaged by the parliamentary expenses scandal.[7]/p pIn the election, partly due to the efficacy of stimulus spending, Labour’s crash was slightly less than anticipated, and the Conservatives didn’t get enough votes to obtain an outright majority of seats in parliament, with just 36 per cent of the vote. The Liberals were in a clear position to negotiate to form a coalition government. It became clear that the banks were worried by the absence of a clear mandate. Many preferred a Conservative-led government to implement austerity with maximum severity. Some investors made this clear to the press: the ‘market is looking for a Conservative government’. ‘A Labour-Lib Dem coalition would be an unmitigated disaster for the markets.’[8] /p pWorse than another exhausted Labour-led government, though, would be a weak, ramshackle minority government susceptible to sudden collapse, and new elections. The civil service, however, had prepared for the possibility of a hung parliament leading to a minority government, and acted to prevent it. Sir Gus O’Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary – then the most senior civil servant and head of the permanent apparatus which governs the country – explained that the civil service had role-played scenarios involving a hung parliament in order to ensure a stable government. They told the negotiating parties that if they didn’t form a coalition, there was the risk of a Greek-style default and social breakdown. And they drafted ‘guidance’ for the negotiating parties, newly codifying certain practices in the state, in order to make a coalition more likely than a minority government. This ensured that a government could be formed on the basis of an ad hoc agreement between two parties that had never been put to the electorate.[9]/p pWhy did the state bureaucracy feel it was so important to control the outcome of an electoral process? The impeccably ideological answer they would give is that they acted ‘in the national interest’. But what a senior civil servant thinks is in ‘the national interest’ is unlikely to be identical to what his driver or valet thinks is in ‘the national interest’. Thankfully, O’Donnell explained his motives very bluntly: a minority government ‘would not have had the strength in parliament to be able to pass the tough measures that would be needed to get us through this problem’.[10] This view was absolutely consistent with civil service orthodoxy – the unelected leaders of the British state, and this was particularly so of O’Donnell, are fully assimilated to the neoliberal orthodoxy that colonised that state during the 1980s.[11] So, for the civil service leadership, ‘the national interest’ meant a strong executive implementing austerity./p pOnce in office, the coalition government acted quickly and implemented an ‘emergency budget’. The overall impact was to begin the process of deep cuts and redistribute wealth toward the rich, despite the government’s professed interest in helping the poor.[12] For the business press and investors, this was exactly what was required. The government was perhaps overly sanguine about growth forecasts but, as an economist at BNP Paribas argued, ‘The pace of fiscal consolidation is larger than we thought and is probably rapid enough to keep the ratings agencies happy ... on paper at least this is going in the right direction at the right pace.’ Miles Templeman of the Institute of Directors argued that the budget was ‘likely to improve the economic outlook by showing the public finances are finally being brought under control’.[13] emThe Economist/em expressed commonplace business wisdom when it breathed a sigh of relief that the pre-election taboo on cutting welfare ‘beyond a few token items’ was over.[14]/p pThis cautiously optimistic consensus was not to last for long. But here we have a thumbnail sketch of how the ideology of austerity took root within the banks and corporations, the dominant parties, the state apparatus and the media – all in a mutually reinforcing and consistent fashion. In each case the ideology is embedded within a distinct scientific-technical discourse: that of the economist, the company manager, the state administrator, etc. But the basic premises are constant:/p p1) The crisis is first and foremost one of overspending, and demands ‘fiscal consolidation’. No recovery is possible unless the country’s finances are put in order./p p2) Cutting spending will bring down the structural deficit and improve credit ratings. /p p3) By demonstrating the fiscal probity of the central government, it will give businesses confidence in the future state of the economy and thus encourage them to begin investing in growth./p pThe rebuttals to this are by now quite familiar: /p p1) In most cases, the sovereign debts were accumulated mainly as a result of the banking crisis, not because of spending beforehand. They were a result of reduced tax receipts, and governments absorbing the costs of banking bust. /p p2) Those being asked to pay the debt through spending cuts are necessarily the poorest, the least responsible for incurring the debt, and also the least able to pay it. /p p3) States are not like households. They cannot cut their way to fiscal security, because spending cuts undermine growth. This is the famous Keynesian ‘paradox of thrift’. If one person cuts back spending during an economic downturn, they improve their ability to cope by saving cash. If emeveryone/em ‘saves’ during an economic downturn, the reduction in aggregate demand will drive down growth, incomes and thus also aggregate savings.[15]/p pNot only are the rebuttals convincing in principle – they are winning in fact. By 2013, the UK’s economic performance was hardly stellar, and any reduction of the structural deficit was entirely contrived. As John Lanchester writes:/p blockquotepIn June 2010, in his first budget, Osborne said the structural deficit was 4.8 per cent, and that with three years of reduced spending, the figure would be down to 1.9 per cent. So how’s that going? Well, by the end of those three years, after £59 billion of tax rises and spending cuts, the figure is set to be 4.3 per cent. Even that number was achieved only thanks to a kitchen sink’s worth of special inputs, including a £3.5 billion windfall from auctioning off the 4G telecom spectrum, and some exuberant, almost rococo creative accounting to do with the transfer of Royal Mail pension liabilities, state ownership of the Bradford and Bingley building society, and interest credit from the Bank of England’s quantitative easing scheme.../ppnbsp;/ppIf you reverse the creative accounting and add the interest from the quantitative easing back where it used to be, as a Bank of England asset, it adds 0.6 per cent to the structural deficit. That takes it back up to 4.9 per cent – higher than it was when the coalition came to power.[16]/p/blockquote pFar from austerity encouraging business to invest and generate a windfall of growth and good times, companies are sitting on a large quantity of cash – the proper collective noun is ‘shitload’[17] – which they refuse to invest due to there being a dearth of good profit-making opportunities. From this vantage point, it looks as though austerity in the narrow sense of immediate fiscal retrenchment is a losing bet./p pHowever, as I’ve said, it is far more to the point, and far more interesting, to understand the emrational core/em of this ideology, because that is what makes it resonant. /p pIn general, large deficits are unsustainable. When governments borrow, they borrow against future earnings, future social product. In periods of weak growth, there is less notional future product to draw against. If governments become more leveraged and growth fails to resume, bond traders can tend to lose confidence in their ability to repay the debt, and thus drive up the cost of further borrowing. Beyond a certain level, the interest payments begin to eat away at future spending and thus growth. This doesn’t mean that cutting spending solves the problem. The Keynesian critics are right about this. It just means that in a sense emall the options are bad/em./p pFurther, there was an underlying problem brewing for capitalist democracies. New Labour had run up a significant deficit in the context of a precarious, finance-driven boom.[18] Many European economies maintained deficits at higher than 3 per cent of GDP in violation of the ‘Maastricht rule’. This included Germany, the most zealous advocate of neoliberal stringency. As for the US government, the Bush administration had deficit-financed war crimes of staggering proportions before Wall Street’s property bubble burst around it. The point here is not to condemn ‘profligacy’ in spending, but to identify a structural gap between the neoliberal commitment to balanced budgets and the cost of running a modern capitalist democracy. Since businesses were unwilling to tolerate high taxes, and politically powerful enough to resist them, governments could only raise revenue through growth, which wasn’t tremendously high, or politically unpopular taxes on consumption. The alternative was to cut spending which, protecting core infrastructural investments and business subsidies, would mean cutting popular services and welfare provisions. Such are the competing pulls in a democratic class polity, and states found that running a deficit was the only feasible way to reconcile all of their commitments. Austerity in this sense can be seen as partially an attempt to shift the balance of class forces and thus change the definition of what is politically viable. And provided one shares the interests of businesses and state managers, or merely accepts their purview as the most valid, it makes perfect sense./p pFinally, there is a paucity of plausible alternatives. Despite the brief revival of Keynes (and even risqué references to Marx in some quarters), the most prestigious technical expertise came from within a neoliberal purview, particularly that offered by neoclassical economists. Policy is almost always framed with reference to policy-relevant academic and think-tank research. When the British government implemented the first of its spending cuts, it explicitly referenced research by the leading economists Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart, suggesting that fiscal consolidation was the most effective means of restoring growth. These were not just extremely high-profile experts, they condensed in their biographies the perspectives and experiences of having worked in Bear Sterns, the Federal Reserve and the IMF. They were part of the elite, and part of the system they were trying to conserve. Of course, the British government could have chosen to listen to other expert opinion, from the likes of Paul Krugman, or former monetary policy committee member Danny Blanchflower, who argued for investment and stimulus. But they were marginal within their profession, and within the dominant institutions (including the monetary policy committee). And their recommendations did not gel with the interests of the dominant fractions of capital, above all the bankers./p pIt transpired that Rogoff and Reinhart’s research was fatally undermined by some spreadsheet errors, which were exposed by an economics student.[19] It has been suggested that this could undermine the chancellor’s austerity programme. But this is simply not to think through what is involved. The Treasury is stacked with eager experts, all more or less trained in the same neoclassical economic theory. It is part of a state dominated by a civil service elite that shares the broad precepts of this thinking. It is linked with a series of institutions, from academia to the City, which reinforce it. The Rogoff/Reinhart debacle does not significantly alter the embalance of ideological forces/em within British elites. Short of a more severe crisis, a profound social disturbance, or a more concerted challenge from the political left and labour movement than has been seen since the poll tax, the most likely result is that the Treasury will prudently adapt its course in response to fluctuating events while remaining within the same broad paradigm. /p pThe dominant ideology, the ideology of the ruling class, is not a malign conspiracy, but nor is it stupidity. The ruling class lives this ideology, because it resonates with its interests, its experience, and its accumulated expertise./p pnbsp;/p pNotes/p p[1] McNally, emGlobal Slump/em, p. 13./p p[2] Simon Lee and Matt Beech, emThe Conservatives Under David Cameron: Built to Last?/em, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2009, pp. 13 and 22–3./p p[3] David Cameron Warns of “Age of Austerity”’, emGuardian Unlimited/em, 28 April 2009, available at a href=http://www.guardian.co.uk/www.guardian.co.uk/a./p p[4] Larry Elliott, ‘The Dawning of the Age of Austerity: Ballooning Budget Deficit will Usher in a Prolonged Period of Belt-tightening Over the Next Decade’, emThe Guardian/em, 24 August 2009./p p[5] Mark Blyth, emAusterity: The History of a Dangerous Idea/em, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2013, p. 7./p p[6] Kirsty Walker, ‘Vince Cable Admits Previously Opposing VAT Rise to “Score Points”’, emDaily Mail/em, 28 June 2010./p p[7] In 2009 disclosures to emnbsp;The Telegraph/em, politicians were found to be massively abusing their expenses accounts to pay for their private luxuries./p p[8] ‘General Election 2010: What a Hung Parliament Means for the Stock Market’, emTelegraph/em, 7 May 2010; Becky Barry, ‘Nervous Markets Put Sterling on the Slide at Prospect of Lib-Lab Coalition’, emDaily Mail/em, 11 May 2010./p p[9] Alex Stevenson, ‘Civil Servants’ Coalition “Manual” Under the Spotlight’, emPolitics.co.uk/em, 14 October 2010./p p[10] Alex Stevenson, ‘“God” Denies Coalition Meddling’, emPolitics.co.uk/em, 28 October 2010./p p[11] O’Donnell’s own weight and influence within government, having been in Whitehall for the whole neoliberal period, was considerable enough to justify his acronym ‘G.O.D.’ It extended, by his own account, to ‘triumphs’ in privatising key industries, taking the setting of interest rates out of the hands of elected politicians, and the introduction of behavioural economics as a principle of statecraft. His position on public spending, expressed well before the government assumed the banks’ debts, was that the competitive pressures of globalisation meant that the government had to keep taxes down and – that old saw of downsizing executives everywhere – ‘do more with less’. Nick Robinson, ‘Sir Humphrey Praises Politicians Shock’, emBBC News online/em, 14 July 2010; O’Donnell quoted in Gary Daniels and John McIlroy, emTrade Unions in a Neoliberal World/em, Routledge, Abingdon, 2009, p. 70; Sir Gus O’Donnell, ‘Ten Commandments of Good Policy Making: A Retrospective’, British Politics and Policy at LSE, 1 May 2012, available at blogs.lse.ac.uk./p p[12] Chris Giles, ‘Poor to be Hit Most by Service Cuts’, emFinancial Times/em, 23 June 2010./p p[13] ‘Instant Reaction to the Budget’, emFinancial Times/em, 22 June 2010./p p[14] Britain’s Emergency Budget:nbsp;Ouch!’, emThe Economist/em,nbsp;22 June 2010./p p[15] Blyth, emAusterity: The History of a Dangerous Idea/em, Chapter 1 provides an excellent ‘primer’ on these arguments./p p[16] John Lanchester, ‘Let’s Call it Failure’, emLondon Review of Books/em, 3 January 2013./p p[17] The conservative figure in 2013 was £318 billion. This was quite an embarrassment for a government wedded to the idea of a recovery led by the private sector, and it led to the humiliating spectacle of George Osborne and Nick Clegg begging businesses to expand, invest and fight the forces of stagnation. See Richard Seymour, ‘Never Mind Tax Havens – The Real Hidden Billions are in Company Coffers’, emThe Guardian/em, 13 May 2013./p p[18] Not as significant as the deficit under John Major, and only after establishing a surplus through four years of a fiscal strait-jacket./p p[19] Charles Arthur and Phillip Inman, ‘The Error that Could Subvert George Osborne’s Austerity Programme’, emThe Guardian/em, 18 April 2013./pdiv class=field field-country div class=field-label Country or region:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd UK /div /div /div

Five face execution for Saudi Arabia attacks

Al Jazeera - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 4:43am
Thirty-seven others received three to 35 years' jail for aiding al-Qaeda-led violence that killed hundreds.

On beauty: Special K adverts, body dysmorphic disorder, and Lupita Nyong'o

Open Democracy - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 3:43am
div class=field field-summary div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pNone of us can escape from the vicious reality of our cultural obsession with 'beauty', but I was lucky to survive my body dysmorphic disorder. This is the sixth article in our a href=http://www.opendemocracy.net/freeform-tags/politics-of-mental-health target=_blankpolitics of mental health/a series. Content warning: suicide attempt, self harm./p /div /div /div p lang=en-GBspan class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'a href=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/F3ujIvCuFCRegj55IpYEqrwNUd2NcDFse9BqUVLzJMc/mtime:1398134252/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/541222/Georgia%20Coles%20Riley%20on%20beauty%20transformation.jpg rel=lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline] title=Special K fight fat talk advert img src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/OxwTPjovLbOgiLR96sfBqGJ8CkRlBg6gVEOGwuxgcFU/mtime:1398134222/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/541222/Georgia%20Coles%20Riley%20on%20beauty%20transformation.jpg alt= title=Special K fight fat talk advert width=460 height=259 class=imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge style= //a span class='image_meta'span class='image_title'A still from Special K's Fight Fat Talk ad campaign. Credit: Youtube./span/span/span/pp lang=en-GBI’ve always cried easily. I cried at the end of the film emIce Age. /emI wept with emotion during the British Royal Wedding, despite my staunch anti-monarchy views./p p lang=en-GB And to my embarrassment, I once became hysterical watching a cereal advert./pp lang=en-GBThe ad in question was for emSpecial K, /ema wheat bran and red berry cereal laced with synthetic vitamins. It opened with a shot of three young girls skipping happily through the sea, bathed in a warm nostalgic light. “Remember when you didn’t worry about your body?” the sultry voiceover asked. We then saw the three girls as adults sitting around self-consciously in kaftans, looking longingly towards the ocean./p p lang=en-GB Then the voiceover said that the women had completed the emSpecial K/em diet, replacing two of their daily meals with a bowl of cereal. Donned in the brands’ hallmark red swimming costumes, the three women ran merrily through the waves once more./p p lang=en-GB My tears began as a guffaw of disbelief, my normal cynical reaction to all television commercials. But its narrative made me realise that I couldn’t remember a time when I did not worry about my body. I gazed with envy and longing at the slender women in their red swimming costumes, at their dazzling, white toothed smiles./p p lang=en-GB This advert ‘reminded’ me that happy women were slim women with perfectly symmetrical faces. I desperately longed for happiness and I saw it as only being achievable through physical beauty. This is the idea that countless adverts sell us./p p lang=en-GB The global diet foods market is set to spana href=http://www.prweb.com/releases/diet_foods_market/low_fat_foods_market/prweb3831044.htmexceed $200bn/a/span by 2015, while the cosmetic surgery industry was worth an estimated spana href=http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/31/us-cosmetic-surgery-report-idUSBRE90U1FW20130131$40.1bn/a/span in 2013. These are industries that capitalise at best on insecurity and at worst on chronic mental illness./p p lang=en-GB Sufferers of spana href=http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/body-dysmorphic-disorder/Body Dysmorphic Disorder/a/span - an spana href=http://www.patient.co.uk/health/body-dysmorphic-disorderestimated 1 in 100 people/a/span - have an excessive preoccupation with a perceived defect of their physical appearance. The condition can be so disabling that nearly half of such patients consider suicide./p p lang=en-GB Despite its prevalence and gravity as an illness, it is an understudied condition./p p lang=en-GB In 2012, I was diagnosed with depression, and put on a course of SSRI antidepressants. For a long time, I had been consumed by self-hatred. Every time I looked in the mirror, I saw something that I despised: my ‘fat’ body and ‘ugly’ face were a physical manifestation of all of my failings./p p lang=en-GB The health professionals that I came into contact with were initially unhelpful when I complained to them about being ugly. “You’re a good looking girl,” the student counsellor offered. “You are not overweight,” said my doctor. These well-meaning comments validated to me the idea that my looks were important./p p lang=en-GB One evening, I took part in a free ‘Find Your Ideal Weight’ test, desperate in the hope that the internet would tell me that my body was a desirable one. Then I would know that my insecurities were in my head, and I could begin to get better./p p lang=en-GB Instead, the website told me that- in spite of my ‘healthy’ BMI - my ideal weight was emone and a half stone /emlighter./p p lang=en-GB That wasn’t just a few inches off my waist. That was every bit of hated flesh that I had ever held in my hands, pulled at and cut at during hours of agonizing in front of the mirror. I paid the £60 joining fee, and spent the last ten pounds in my bank account on an extensive list of tasteless, low calorie foods. I emwould /emget better, by getting rid of the ‘excess fat’ that I saw as being a barrier to wider personal achievement.nbsp;/p p lang=en-GB One night, after a Dukan Diet Plan® meal of cottage cheese and black pepper, I went to my bedroom, climbed into my bed, and decided that I was going to make an attempt on my life./p p lang=en-GB Although I had been losing weight under the gruelling regime of the diet, my body felt the same unbearable heaviness. My face, drawn from a lack of sleep and a lack of properly sustaining food, looked uglier to me than ever before. I had had enough./p p lang=en-GB I was lucky enough to survive my suicide attempt. I was held in Aamp;E overnight, unable to sleep, and when I was discharged I was left on an armchair in a room full of very old, very frail patients to wait for an appointment with a psychiatrist. Ironically, I even read a fashion magazine to keep myself occupied. I was shivering severely, feeling nauseous and repulsive, and, most of all, utterly alone.nbsp;/p p lang=en-GB During that one hour with the psychiatrist I was barely able to touch on the extent of my pain. I was too embarrassed to tell her that I didn’t think life was worth living because I saw myself as unattractive. The mystery surrounding B.D.D. means that it is often left undiagnosed. Sufferers remain untreated, often with tragic consequences.nbsp;/p p lang=en-GB I would have been completely lost without the support of my family and friends. They believed the poison in my brain was not simply a chemical imbalance that could be redressed with medication./p p lang=en-GB Psychiatry professor Katharine A. Phillips is an expert on B.D.D. She argues that societal emphasis on looks isem not/em an important factor of the condition, but spana href=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/9693178/The-ugly-truth-about-body-dysmorphic-disorder.htmltold The Telegraph/a/spanem:/em “It is possible that the rate of B.D.D. is increasing as women get bombarded with media images of perfection. Lots of studies have shown that the more you see images of perfection around you, and the more you compare yourself with those images, the worse you tend to feel about yourself.”nbsp;/p p lang=en-GB My family and friends felt that my B.D.D. was culturally aggravated. Women (and to a lesser extent men) are evaluated by their appearance; thin is fetishized and photoshopping faces to fit one specific standard is the norm./p p lang=en-GB In a recent speech on beauty, Oscar Winning actor Lupita Nyong'o spana href=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9Ss14AyZbgtold the audience/a/span at Essence Magazine’s Black Women in Hollywood event that screen media and advertising makes women feel inadequate by failing to reflect our diversity./p p lang=en-GB “I remember a time when I too felt unbeautiful,” she said. “I put on the TV and only saw pale skin […] my one prayer to God, the miracle worker, was that I would wake up lighter-skinned.” /p p lang=en-GB Styling women of colour so that they appear more white is commonplace: even the most successful black women have been spana href=http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2087388/Beyonc-white-skin-row-Controversial-photo-shows-singer-looking-shades-lighter-usual-tone.htmlsubject to this practice/a/span. The skin whitening cream industry is worth multiple billions of dollars. Unilever, one of the largest corporations in the world, is behind spana href=http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/jul/16/unilever-hypocritical-promoting-skin-lighteningmultiple skin whitening ranges/a/span.nbsp;/p p lang=en-GB Rather than reflecting a demand for diversity, the beauty industry perpetrates a more homogenous ideal than ever before. Just look at these stills, taken from three fashion commercials. In it, three Oscar Winning actors - with an average age of 46 - are barely distinguishable from each other. The narrower the ideal, the more women there are who feel they are inadequate, and the more women there will be who will spend spana href=http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/23/beauty-products_n_3975209.htmla significant proportion of their income/a/span to try and conform./pp lang=en-GBspan class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'a href=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/gzXC14yfD_XS5-s2uY8my-yp-3VpsP-OM5rFFJt7Tag/mtime:1398134252/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/541222/Georgia%20Coles%20Riley%20on%20beauty%20transformation%20actor%20still.jpg rel=lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline] title=Cate Blanchett still img src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/w6zAZjH2BXaXPnrdXkQ7ZU_Tvd_4EOT1t_uFTQGY9_Q/mtime:1398134222/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/541222/Georgia%20Coles%20Riley%20on%20beauty%20transformation%20actor%20still.jpg alt=Cate Blanchett still title=Cate Blanchett still width=460 height=259 class=imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge style= //a span class='image_meta'/span/span/p p lang=en-GBspan class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'a href=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/7wX1ZinY07W8nlm7ISvTH1-4Cdchg8e1TYKMujrZh2M/mtime:1398134252/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/541222/Georgia%20Coles%20Riley%20Nicole%20Kidman%20on%20beauty%20transformation.jpg rel=lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline] title=Nicole Kidman still img src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/Z6EdNKASDuYMQXiJkTm3FvridFWdlqOsOiDmIGot2x4/mtime:1398134222/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/541222/Georgia%20Coles%20Riley%20Nicole%20Kidman%20on%20beauty%20transformation.jpg alt=Nicole Kidman still title=Nicole Kidman still width=460 height=345 class=imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge style= //a span class='image_meta'/span/span/pp lang=en-GBspan class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'a href=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/7a1OVKhght4MPqOaBH2FBGChUcdNVam17RhI6yu6c14/mtime:1398134252/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/541222/Georgia%20Coles%20Riley%20kate%20winslet%20on%20beauty%20transformation.jpg rel=lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline] title=Kate winslet still img src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/ClnOc4q-Ny56s6tkyMk7sk28J8xvMlELikeg5j90sxU/mtime:1398134222/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/541222/Georgia%20Coles%20Riley%20kate%20winslet%20on%20beauty%20transformation.jpg alt=Kate Winslet still title=Kate winslet still width=460 height=348 class=imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge style= //a span class='image_meta'span class='image_title'Three Oscar Winning actors - indistinguishable from each other. Credit: Youtube./span/span/span/pp lang=en-GBThe particularly pernicious irony of the state of the beauty industry at present is that it claims to embrace ‘natural’ beauty. Beauty companies have even begun to co-opt the terminology of emancipatory politics to pump their products: spana href=https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=tamp;rct=jamp;q=amp;esrc=samp;source=webamp;cd=7amp;cad=rjaamp;uact=8amp;ved=0CGMQFjAGamp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dove.us%2FSocial-Mission%2Fcampaign-for-real-beauty.aspxamp;ei=3zRNU9DWH4bTPIipgLgJamp;usg=AFQjCNHWfhgmdElWEOZPtl_k3lJs1R4qwQamp;sig2=gbswWDpBOa0yhS6htlWEdgDove’s Campaign For Real Beauty/a/span and emSpecial K/em’s FightFatTalk are particularly insidious examples./p p lang=en-GB In the spana href=https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=tamp;rct=jamp;q=amp;esrc=samp;source=webamp;cd=8amp;cad=rjaamp;uact=8amp;ved=0CGYQtwIwBwamp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DWEIFlSBodVMamp;ei=tTRNU_7eNsOVPKPhgOgBamp;usg=AFQjCNE5uyHMAHdV8rAfDnxEYJFFkI2oCAamp;sig2=xZAWBk8awOEU2jO4-Y055wFightFatTalk ad/a/span, unsuspecting members of the public come into a shop to browse through its clothing aisles. There are signs dotted about the shop with some rather strange slogans: “Feeling so disgusted with my figure at the moment #cow” and “I have a muffin top”. The women, understandably, react with shock and anger at seeing these slogans.nbsp;/p p lang=en-GB When they are told (off camera) that they are part of an experiment set up by emSpecial K/em to examine ‘women’s self-esteem problem’, they invariably get tears in their eyes, and renounce a lifetime of so called ‘Fat Talk’, smiling to the camera and promising to make a change./p p lang=en-GB For people coping with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, ‘Fat Talk’ and its equivalent is a daily, constant reality. The irony of a major diet foods company claiming to be against it is almost too huge./p p lang=en-GB Itemising our body insecurities is an integral part of female bonding, especially when we are teenagers. When we make jokes at the expense of our bodies to our friends, they are laughed at, not understood for what they are: little pockets of self-hatred that grow with each appreciative giggle.nbsp;/p p lang=en-GB Blogger spana href=http://m.blogher.com/lady-thing-i-wont-talk-about-even-feministsGayle Force/a/span summed it up perfectly when she said that B.D.D. “feels like the disorder of horrendous privilege and anti-feminism.” For sufferers, the temptation to ‘Fat Talk’ in front of your friends is too strong to deny, even when objectively you know how incredibly harming this behaviour is./p p lang=en-GB You intellectualize the problem and accept that you wear a clothing size smaller than your friends’, but you still won’t stop going on about horrifically fat you are to her. You spend an inordinate amount of time scrutinizing other women’s bodies and comparing them to your own. I felt as though my illness had meant I had failed in the battle against the patriarchy./p p lang=en-GB The only way for me to begin to recover from B.D.D. was to deny that my body existed. I deleted my Facebook, because I was spending hours a day looking through photos of myself and agonizing over how hideous I was. I took out all mirrors from my room. I asked my friends not to talk about my looks, even if I bought them up in conversation. I eventually agreed to go on a course of CBT, and, amazingly, I now have an almost healthy relationship with my body.nbsp;/p p lang=en-GB Yet relapses of my B.D.D. are common and often triggered by something as innocuous as a flick through London newspaper emThe Evening Standard /emor sitting through a fashion advert in the cinema./p p lang=en-GBNone of us can escape from the vicious reality of our culture’s obsession with ‘beauty’: even reading supposedly progressive blogs and magazines, we are bombarded with images of ‘ideal’ bodies and high fashion faces. But non normative beauty icons emcan/em boost our confidence. Lupita Nyong’o says that she was able to overcome her hatred of her black skin when South Sudanese model Alek Wek became world famous./pp lang=en-GBB.D.D. is not an illness that has beennbsp;emcreated/emnbsp;by industry. Even so, the industries that benefit from B.D.D. must be held to account.nbsp;Refusing narrow beauty ideals is a good first step, but we can also attempt to deny that attractiveness should be the first standard by which we are judged.nbsp;/pfieldset class=fieldgroup group-sideboxslegendSideboxes/legenddiv class=field field-related-stories div class=field-labelRelated stories:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd a href=/transformation/ray-filar/mental-health-why-were-all-sick-under-neoliberalismMental health: why we#039;re all sick under neoliberalism /a /div div class=field-item even a href=/transformation/huma/i-wrote-to-recover-from-honour-based-violenceFeminism helped me survive a forced marriage/a /div div class=field-item odd a href=/transformation/michael-richmond/politics-as-therapy-they-want-us-to-be-just-sick-enough-not-to-fightPolitics as therapy: they want us to be just sick enough not to fight back/a /div div class=field-item even a href=/transformation/aisha-mirza/to-survive-bipolar-disorder-i-needed-people-who-didnt-love-meTo survive bipolar disorder, I needed people who didn#039;t love me/a /div div class=field-item odd a href=/transformation/chitra-nagarajan-shannon-harvey-adam-ramsay-ezekiel-incorrigible/activists-talk-mentaActivists talk mental health/a /div /div /div /fieldset div class=field field-rights div class=field-labelRights:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd Creative Commons /div /div /div

García Márquez and the Latin American who came in from the cold

Open Democracy - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 3:29am
div class=field field-summary div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pFormer Swedish deputy foreign minister and UN ambassador Pierre Schori remembers circumstances and characters, including the late prime minister Olof Palme, that linked him to Gabriel García Márquez, in the work they did on Latin America.nbsp;/p /div /div /div pimg src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/Z3eT936jpp53C8oNvzgxAgIHg5ju97wDKAoWON5NnxY/mtime:1398065908/files/658px-Gabriel_Garcia_Marquez%2C_2009.jpg alt= width=420 /br /emGabriel García Márquez. Wikimedia/Festival Internacional de Cine en Guadalajara. Some rights reserved./em/ppIt was the Pinochet coup in 1973 that brought us together in Mexico, where Juan Somavía, a Chilean exile had formed ILET (emInstituto Latinoamericano para Estudios Transnacionales/em). The board of ILET was put together by Gabriel García Márquez, the former Foreign Minister of Chile, Gabriel Valdés, the Swiss, Marc Nerfin, and Brazilian anthropologist Darcy Ribeiro. That same year I was invited onto ILET's board./p pILET was to serve as a base for scientific study of cross-border problems in Latin America, but also as a foreign hub for the resistance against Pinochet. Valdés came hotfoot from his exile in the United States where he had been working with Salvador Allende's former defence minister, Orlando Letelier. Orlando was Allende’s last Minister of Defence. Imprisoned by Pinochet, he was only liberated thanks to an international campaign.nbsp; He went to the US and from there became a leading figure against Pinochet.nbsp; /p pIn 1976 he was assassinated in central Washington D.C. together with Ronni Karpen Moffitt, an US colleague from the a href=http://www.ips-dc.org/Institute for Policy Studies/a, by Pinochet’s agents working with the CIA.nbsp; Another a href=http://www.opendemocracy.net/anthony-barnett/saul-landau-american-leftist-1936-2013good friend,/a Saul Landau, who recently passed away did the investigation into Letelier and Moffitt’s assassination. /p pIt was thanks to these dramatic circumstances that the foundations were laid for my friendship with Gabriel García Márquez, who would later write a dedication of the novel emChronicle of a Death Foretold /em(1981): Para el latinoamericano que vino del frío” (To the Latin American who came in from the cold)./p pDuring ILET meetings we had long discussions about the future of Latin America with Gabo (his nick name), who had publicly proclaimed that he would not publish any new works while Pinochet was in power. He finally admitted that he had written one, but it was locked away in a safe. In 1975 he changed his mind and released emAutumn of the Patriarch/em, not surprisingly an innovative fiction about an anachronistic dictator and his inglorious downfall./p pSince then we have kept in touch over the years. Gabo could call for assistance to a natural disaster in Colombia, introducing Colombian delegations visiting Sweden, or urging us to trust the advice of his friend Juan Manuel Santos of Partido Social de Unidad Nacional regarding negotiations with the FARC and ELN guerrillas. Gabo was proved right. When Santos became president of Colombia in August 2010, he began serious negotiations with the guerrillas./p h2strongAn unconventional Nobel awarded/strong/h2 pWe usually met up in Mexico or when he visited Barcelona or Paris with our common friend Régis Debray, who was imprisoned in Bolivia after having joined Che Guevara and his guerrillas. In 1982 when we met at a restaurant on the Boulevard St Germain, Debray was an advisor to President Francoise Mitterrand. I had recently had the great pleasure to be the first person to inform him about the Nobel prize, at five o'clock in the morning in his home in Mexico, and Gabo asked us for advice on what subject he should choose for his acceptance speech at the Nobel ceremony. /p pOf course Gabo did not need any advice or co-writers, but the prospective laureate wanted to know how far he could go with the, most important speech of his life. nbsp;He was at that time deeply concerned that a major war was about to erupt in Central America, and thought that it could only be stopped by a strong world opinion. Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador were already in flames. And the United States was fuelling the fire by supporting an insurgency against the Sandinistas and by their counterinsurgency policies against the guerrillas in the latter two countries. /p pHe was also unsure about the dress code for the event. He disliked the required dress, the “frack”, a tailcoat with white tie. I would look like a penguin he said and was happy to learn that national costumes could be admitted. Both the royal family and the normal citizens were treated to Gabo that day in his beautiful Colombian white shirt, a emliqui - liqui/em, amidst the penguins amongst whom Régis Debray and I, part of his delegation, were compelled to number./p pThe protocol challenges, however, did not finish there. At a party at the Stockholm City Theatre , where Gabo was to be hailed by Latin Americans living in Stockholm together with Swedish cultural workers, all the participants were pleasantly surprised when they received a small bottle of Cuban rum at the entrance./p pThe explanation for this extravagance came next day. Cuba's ambassador to Sweden was called by the Ministry's Chief of Protocol to be reminded that it was not allowed for alcohol to be distributed or consumed in public places. The ambassador explained that Gabo had been obliged to fly to Europe via Havana because the US had refused entry to the ”Communist”. Castro having learned about the party, immediately dispatched one thousand half bottles to the embassy in Stockholm./p pAfter our dinner in Paris, Gabo decided that the speech would be both literary and political. On December 8 he made his exposé of Latin America's beauty and cruelty, and the loneliness that weighed on the continent. It was beautiful but full of despair and anger. He told me he had not slept in three days./p p“Much has happened since Pablo Neruda won the Nobel Prize in 1971”, García Márquez said a href=http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1982/marquez-lecture.htmlin his address to the Swedish Academy/a. Salvador Allende, a Promethean president, died in the burning presidential palace, La Moneda. Unexplained accidents had killed two other progressive Latin American presidents. Five wars and seventeen military coups had taken place. nbsp;Meanwhile, 20 million Latin Americans had died before they were one year old - more than would have been born in Europe since 1970. /p pDue to political repression, close to 120,000 adults had been disappeared, as many as the entire number of inhabitants in the city of Uppsala. And just because they tried to change the state of things almost 200,000 men and women died across the continent. 100,000 of them were killed in only three Central American countries: Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala. If this had happened in the United States, the corresponding figure would amount to one million six hundred thousand violent deaths in four years. Over a million had fled from Chile after 1973; this meant 10 percent of the population. Any land able to contain all those forced into exile in Latin America, would have a population larger than Norway./p pI dare to believe, that it is this unusual reality, and not just its literary expression, that has merited the Swedish Academy's attention. Why, he continued, is the originality accorded to us so willingly in our literature, so incredulously denied us in our laborious attempts at social change? /p h2strongA literary salon for peace on Harpsundsvägen/strong/h2 pThe next evening, Swedish prime minister Olof Palme gave a dinner at the Prime Minister's residence, Harpsund. It was Palme's custom to invite the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, awarded in Oslo, to come to Sweden. This time the event was to be a “salon of peace and literature”./p pPalme invited the two 1982 Nobel Peace Prize winners Alfonso García Robles of Mexico and Alva Myrdal of Sweden as well as García Márquez and his wife Mercedes. To the guestlist Olof and Lisbet Palmer added the Turkish poet and politician Bulent Ecevit (who had been jailed by the Turkish military junta) and his wife Rashan, Régis Debray, Swedish writers Sven Lindqvist, P.C Jersild and his wife, President Mitterrand’s wife Danielle, the foreign minister Lennart Bodström and his wife , Ulf Hjertonsson from the Swedish Foreign ministry, my wife Maud and I. /p pEcevit whom Palme and I had met before his house arrest was denied travel to this “political meeting in Sweden” by the junta. That is why we changed the title of the dinner/salon./p pAbout this dinner for Peace Gabo wrote a column in the Spanish newspaper emEl País/em. One of the central topics during the conversation was the serious situation in Central America. (A few weeks before Gabo, Debray and I had a conversation about this deterioration with President Francois Mitterrand). /p pAt the dinner Gabo, Régis and I received from Palme the assignment to write the draft of a peace appeal to be sent to a number of Latin American presidents. The result was the emHarpsund Appeal /emthat was signed by the three Nobel Laureates and prime minister Olof Palme. It said: Never has the danger of widespread war in Central America been so imminent, and yet the potential for peace has never been greater. We appeal to politicians and military personnel in the region to begin negotiations immediately without preconditions. A first step is to stop all deliveries of weapons, all weapons traffic and all military assistance to and within the region, and to respect the territorial integrity of all concerned countries”./p pThe statement was of course directed against the Reagan administration´s escalating warfare by proxy against Nicaragua. García Márquez took the statement to Belisario Betancourd, the president of Colombia, who in turn submitted it to his colleagues in Mexico, Venezuela and Panama. In early 1983 Betancourt convened them in a meeting on the Contadora Island, and so the Contadora Group for Peace in Central America was born, still today a href=http://www.countryreports.org/country/Argentina/glossary.htm?term=Contadora+peace+processa model of regional frameworks for peace agreements/a. /p pThe group reiterated the demands from the Harpsund Appeal: respect for the borders of sovereign states, in this case of Nicaragua, and the reduction of military armaments in the region.nbsp; Contadora showed to the world, and especially the US, that Latin Americans themselves wanted and would try, without outside interference, to bring peace to the region./p pThis is how I remember Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Gabo, an incomparably brilliant writer and a committed peace activist./pfieldset class=fieldgroup group-sideboxslegendSideboxes/legenddiv class=field field-related-stories div class=field-labelRelated stories:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd a href=/geoffrey-bindman-isabel-hilton-juan-garces/justice-in-worlds-lightJustice in the world#039;s light/a /div /div /div /fieldset div class=field field-country div class=field-label Country or region:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd Mexico /div div class=field-item even Sweden /div div class=field-item odd Chile /div div class=field-item even Colombia /div div class=field-item odd Nicaragua /div div class=field-item even Venezuela /div div class=field-item odd Panama /div div class=field-item even El Salvador /div div class=field-item odd Guatemala /div /div /div

Boston ready for marathon year after bombing

Al Jazeera - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 12:36am
High security as city prepares for 2014 race, one year after deadly attack at finish line during last year's event.

Resisting burnout in feminist activism

Rabble - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 10:35pm
div class="taxonomy-images"a href="/podcasts/shows/f-word" class="taxonomy-image-links"img src="http://rabble.ca/sites/rabble/files/imagecache/thumbnail/category_pictures/TheFWord_short%20100x100.jpg" alt="The F Word" title="The F Word" width="100" height="100" class="taxonomy-image-term-4841 taxonomy-image-vid-10"//a/divdiv class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-for-node" div class="field-items" div class="field-item odd" img src="http://rabble.ca/sites/rabble/files/imagecache/120-width-scaled/imagefield_default_images/rpn.png" alt="" title="" width="120" height="120" class="imagecache imagecache-120-width-scaled imagecache-default imagecache-120-width-scaled_default"/ /div /div /div pHave you ever been told, as a feminist or an activist, that you're sure to face burnout at some point? Have you ever been disappointed by this idea of inevitable forced retirement from social change work? Ariana Barer interviews Vikki Reynolds, an activist for over 30 years who has lived and agitated all over the world and currently resides in Vancouver where she is involved with consulting, training and clinical supervision with refugees and survivors of torture, mental health and substance abuse counsellors, rape crisis counsellors, frontline and housing workers and transgendered and queer communities. Her ideas of solidarity and community responses to oppression put the responsibility for worn out activists back where it belongs.fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mp3-upload"div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-mp3" div class="field-items" div class="field-item odd" div class="filefield-file"img class="filefield-icon field-icon-audio-mpeg" alt="audio/mpeg icon" src="http://rabble.ca/sites/all/modules/contrib/filefield/icons/audio-x-generic.png" /a href="http://rabble.ca/sites/rabble/files/audio/download/27012/resisting_burnout_in_feminist_activism.mp3" type="audio/mpeg; length=41726489"resisting_burnout_in_feminist_activism.mp3/a/div /div /div /div /fieldset pa href="http://rabble.ca/podcasts/shows/f-word/2014/04/resisting-burnout-feminist-activism" target="_blank"read more/a/pdiv class="feedflare" a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=cFO6yQDsPgs:dI57vG1wezc:yIl2AUoC8zA"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=cFO6yQDsPgs:dI57vG1wezc:qj6IDK7rITs"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=cFO6yQDsPgs:dI57vG1wezc:dnMXMwOfBR0"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=cFO6yQDsPgs:dI57vG1wezc:F7zBnMyn0Lo"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?i=cFO6yQDsPgs:dI57vG1wezc:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=cFO6yQDsPgs:dI57vG1wezc:V_sGLiPBpWU"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?i=cFO6yQDsPgs:dI57vG1wezc:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"/img/a /divimg src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/rabble-news/~4/cFO6yQDsPgs" height="1" width="1"/

Afghan Women's Writing Project and DeAnne Smith

Rabble - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 10:05pm
div class="taxonomy-images"a href="/podcasts/shows/f-word" class="taxonomy-image-links"img src="http://rabble.ca/sites/rabble/files/imagecache/thumbnail/category_pictures/TheFWord_short%20100x100.jpg" alt="The F Word" title="The F Word" width="100" height="100" class="taxonomy-image-term-4841 taxonomy-image-vid-10"//a/divdiv class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-for-node" div class="field-items" div class="field-item odd" img src="http://rabble.ca/sites/rabble/files/imagecache/120-width-scaled/imagefield_default_images/rpn.png" alt="" title="" width="120" height="120" class="imagecache imagecache-120-width-scaled imagecache-default imagecache-120-width-scaled_default"/ /div /div /div pToday on the F Word, we bring you a conversation with Montreal comedian DeAnne Smith and a story from the Afghan Women's Writing Project. Following a trip to Afghanistan, writer Masha Hamilton founded the Afghan Women's Writing Project at Arizona State University in 2009.nbsp;/p pThe F Word seeks to facilitate feminist dialogue and use media as a foundation for positive social change. For more information on The F Word, please visit our website at: a href="http://www.feminisms.org" title="www.feminisms.org" rel="nofollow"a href="http://www.feminisms.org"www.feminisms.org/a/a or email: a href="mailto:feminisms@gmail.com" rel="nofollow"feminisms@gmail.com/a/pfieldset class="fieldgroup group-mp3-upload"div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-mp3" div class="field-items" div class="field-item odd" div class="filefield-file"img class="filefield-icon field-icon-audio-mpeg" alt="audio/mpeg icon" src="http://rabble.ca/sites/all/modules/contrib/filefield/icons/audio-x-generic.png" /a href="http://rabble.ca/sites/rabble/files/audio/download/27012/deanne_smith_and_afghan_womens_writing_project.mp3" type="audio/mpeg; length=39691000"deanne_smith_and_afghan_womens_writing_project.mp3/a/div /div /div /div /fieldsetdiv class="feedflare" a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=nxf-vbTX8dY:jfRT-zNKPVo:yIl2AUoC8zA"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=nxf-vbTX8dY:jfRT-zNKPVo:qj6IDK7rITs"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=nxf-vbTX8dY:jfRT-zNKPVo:dnMXMwOfBR0"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=nxf-vbTX8dY:jfRT-zNKPVo:F7zBnMyn0Lo"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?i=nxf-vbTX8dY:jfRT-zNKPVo:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=nxf-vbTX8dY:jfRT-zNKPVo:V_sGLiPBpWU"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?i=nxf-vbTX8dY:jfRT-zNKPVo:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"/img/a /divimg src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/rabble-news/~4/nxf-vbTX8dY" height="1" width="1"/