July 29, 2010

What the Wikileaks affair reveals

Posted in Politics, War tagged , , , at 22:27 by Matthijs Krul

The major newspapers in the West and various intelligence agencies are in an uproar because of the recent leak of secret data, including battle reports and strategic analysis, relating to the NATO war in and against Afghanistan. The internet site wikileaks, run specifically for this purpose by the elusive Australian Julian Assange, distributed the information to various major newspapers to assure the publication would go through. Wikileaks has a history of revelations of this kind, but this is the greatest transparency coup they have succeeded in committing so far. Read the rest of this entry »

July 25, 2010

On the Inherent Misogyny of Nationalist Ideology

Posted in Theory at 19:42 by EDB

The following is a guest post by EDB at The Fivefold Path, written at the request of your regular Notes & Commentaries author. We’ve just started up and seem to be undergoing constant maintenance, but come have a look anyway.  Notes & Commentaries and Fivefold Path may host more guest posts for each other in the future.

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The massive subject of gender and nation is a veritable Venn diagram of issues—imperialism, war & conflict, resistance, migration & diaspora, et cetera—and is therefore impossible to fully cover in the space of a few hundred words. Although people of all genders can be limited by and harmed through nationalist rhetoric, this essay focuses on some of the problems with women’s proscribed role in building and maintaining national identity. That the examples come from the Middle East and North Africa reflects only upon my area of familiarity and is meant to indicate nothing about the MENA region in particular. All of these concepts have global application, and readers are encouraged to keep their local contexts in mind throughout. Some basic theoretical background will be provided with regard to constructing national identity, as well as ways in which women are expected to act as symbols and reproducers of national culture. Following that will be local case studies and a more general, multinational example of gendering law and society. Read the rest of this entry »

July 24, 2010

The Red and the Green III: Two Ways Forward

Posted in Ecology, Economics tagged , , , at 18:30 by Matthijs Krul

As the world attempts to recover from the current economic crisis and the first prospects for the future are being produced by economic forecasters and bank analysts, it is important not to forget the ecological dimension. As many people have explained before, including an article in this blog, the course our system of perpetual accumulation by means of competition has set is absolutely unsustainable from an ecological point of view. Not just the fact of the sheer consumption of the First World, so excessive that it would require several times the resources of our planet to provide to all, but also the fact that our modern historical period is considered by zoologists to be one of the world’s rare periods of mass extinction should make this clear. Even the most liberal capitalist-inclined politician is now aware of this, and such habitual profit-seekers as the Economist and the Chinese government are acknowledging the matter as serious. But there are still essentially two schools of thought on how the problem might be solved before the catastrophe predicted by most ecologists and climate experts is upon us. Read the rest of this entry »

July 22, 2010

Independence for Kosovo?

Posted in Europe, Politics tagged , , , at 23:19 by Matthijs Krul

Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008 did not break international law, the International Court of Justice has ruled in a non-binding decision.(1) This of itself has a limited meaning in legal terms. The Court’s full decision is not yet accessible, but the implications are that declarations of independence are matters for the relevant ‘host’ nation state to accept or not, and are not matters for international law a priori. In other words, the question is for the ICJ a nonjusticiable matter. The implications politically for the region are nonetheless serious. Read the rest of this entry »

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