No Picture
Global News and Analysis

Blowback, or Impossible Dilemmas of Declining Powers

Source: Immanuel Wallerstein

Blowback is a term coined by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that originally meant the unintended negative consequences to a country of its own espionage operations. For example, if a secret CIA operation led to a revenge attack on U.S. individuals who were unaware of the CIA’s operation, this was considered “blowback.” But these days, many of the operations are not all that secret (for example, the U.S. use of drones in Pakistan or Yemen). And the “revenge” attacks are often publicly avowed. Nevertheless, countries don’t seem to cease engaging in such operations. read more

No Picture
Global News and Analysis

Montreal: The (Street) Art of Stirring Things Up

Source: Outside the Circle

At the first meeting of a “popular assembly” last week here in my temporary Montreal neighborhood this summer, someone mentioned that street art — in the form of posters, but I’d apply it more broadly to cultural creation — should be two-way, sparking a dialogue. I’ve been thinking about that ever since, in an expansive sense: from dialogues that we have in our own heads when we see images, to dialogues between people looking at the same image at the same time, to street art that’s dialoguing with a current moment or social issue. And so much more. After posting that one Harpy piece yesterday — and some sixty-seven Facebook shares and counting later — “dialogue,” however, seems necessary but not sufficient. The debate that ensued over “Fuck Yoga. Smash the State” seems a far better role for art that finds its way on to the walls, parking meters, streetlamps, sidewalks, bus stops, and other “public” places that are no longer ours in any meaning sense. read more

No Picture
Global News and Analysis

What We Know After Rio: Governments Have Given Up on the Planet

It is, perhaps, the greatest failure of collective leadership since the first world war. The Earth’s living systems are collapsing, and the leaders of some of the most powerful nations – the United States, the UK, Germany, Russia – could not even be bothered to turn up and discuss it. Those who did attend the Earth summit in Rio last week solemnly agreed to keep stoking the destructive fires: sixteen times in their text they pledged to pursue “sustained growth“, the primary cause of the biosphere’s losses. read more