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Global News and Analysis

David Graeber: Caring too much. That’s the curse of the working classes

Source: The Guardian Unlimited

Why has the basic logic of austerity been accepted by everyone? Because solidarity has come to be viewed as a scourge

“What I can’t understand is, why aren’t people rioting in the streets?” I hear this, now and then, from people of wealthy and powerful backgrounds. There is a kind of incredulity. “After all,” the subtext seems to read, “we scream bloody murder when anyone so much as threatens our tax shelters; if someone were to go after my access to food or shelter, I’d sure as hell be burning banks and storming parliament. What’s wrong with these people?” read more

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Global News and Analysis

David Graeber – Hostile Intelligence: Reflections from a Visit to the West Bank

Source: International Times

In Nablus, every street seems to have a men’s hair salon. There are literally thousands of them. Most stay open until at least 2 at night; often other than mosques they’re the only places lit up and open at two at night; and it seems any time you pass by one, there are likely to be four or five nicely coiffed young men clustered inside, watching someone get a haircut. The odd thing is that women’s hair salons seem entirely absent. Occasionally you do see impressive posters for women’s cosmetics and hair products; often, the women are blonde (and a surprising number of Palestinians in Nablus are, in fact, blonde; even children), but the shops are absent. I asked a friend why this was. He explained that while Palestinian society was traditionally considered the most liberal Arab society outside of Beirut, and young women never used to go with their hair covered, things started to change in the ‘90s with the political rise of Hamas. But in the case of women’s hair salons, there was another, much more immediate factor. During the ‘80s, Israeli intelligence agents began taking advantage of their existence to spike the sweet tea with knock-out drugs, and take nude pictures of women so as to blackmail their husbands into turning collaborator or informant.  So now women’s salons exist, but they’re not visible from the street, and women no longer take tea from strangers. read more

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Global News and Analysis

Students are right to march against the markets. Why can’t education be free?

Source: The Guardian Unlimited

After the 2008 crash, the most sensible reform would have been to make the financial system more like education, not vice versa

There is a certain type of joy only felt the first time one makes history, and you can’t really describe to anyone who hasn’t experienced it. Yesterday about 10,000 young people from across the country discovered what it’s like.

19 November 2014, the date of the Free Education march, will surely be remembered as the start of a new student movement. Without the support of any major party or institution, abandoned even by their own National Union of Students, organisers nonetheless managed to mobilise thousands, including teenage college students and schoolchildren, supported by a smattering of veterans from the mobilisations of 2010. read more

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Global News and Analysis

David Graeber – Occupy Democracy is not considered newsworthy. It should be

Source: The Guardian Unlimited

Sleeping outside for an iPhone is OK, but do it in furtherance of democratic expression and you’re in trouble

You can tell a lot about the moral quality of a society by what is, and is not, considered news.

From last Tuesday, Parliament Square was wrapped in wire mesh. In one of the more surreal scenes in recent British political history, officers with trained German shepherds stand sentinel each day, at calculated distances across the lawn, surrounded by a giant box of fences, three metres high – all to ensure that no citizen enters to illegally practice democracy. Yet few major news outlets feel this is much of a story. read more

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Global News and Analysis

Savage capitalism is back – and it will not tame itself

Source: The Guardian Unlimited

Capitalists spread prosperity only when threatened by global rivalry, radical movements and the risk of uprisings at home

Back in the 90s, I used to get into arguments with Russian friends about capitalism. This was a time when most young eastern European intellectuals were avidly embracing everything associated with that particular economic system, even as the proletarian masses of their countries remained deeply suspicious. Whenever I’d remark on some criminal excess of the oligarchs and crooked politicians who were privatising their countries into their own pockets, they would simply shrug. read more