Links to “The Battle of Algiers”

If you have not seen Pontecorvo’s 1966 masterpiece, The Battle of Algiers, I both admonish you and, yet, envy you.

I admonish you in that you have not done enough research into revolutionary art to have found this film. Yet, I envy you because you have yet to get that first breath of excitement when viewing the film the first time you only have once.

TBA is an intentionally grainy, black and white film shot in documentary style with a revolutionary heart. It is directed by Gillo Pontecorvo dramatizing the Algerian urban guerilla fighters during the fight for independence against the French colonialists. It concerns the guerilla tactics used by the NLF (FLN) and French paratroopers sent to quash the violent uprising which lasted for those three years.

Independence would finally be won by the Algerians in 1962, but this film centers around three years of bombings, assassinations, and torture allowing the French forces to end the most violent phase of the fighting.

Below are two links you can use to view the film. Watch Now!:

https://youtu.be/f_N2wyq7fCE

https://www.kanopy.com/product/battle-algiers-0

The Notre Dame Fire and The Return of Indulgences

When Martin Luther legendarily nailed a copy of his 95 Theses to the door of the All Saints Church in 1517, the Reformation ignited Europe for centuries. But what was Luther’s main grievance with the Church? The selling of indulgences by the Church, or certifications sold to nobles in return for less time in purgatory for past sins.

Now we can see the same dynamic occurring in Europe today: Billionaires are donating hundreds of millions of euros to rebuild the fire ravaged Notre Dame cathedral in Paris in an effort to appease a population of Yellow Vests and their supporters. They are using their money for so-called unity. But they are saving so much by not paying taxes, year-after-year, that it makes these “gifts” not gifts at all. The country has been in flames over inequality and the rich come swooping in for Notre Dame when, if they paid taxes, the French government could rebuild it themselves?

No, don’t let them fool you: the 1% is not some kind of great philanthropic class: that money came from us and would be returned to us if they ever paid their taxes owed to the people.

Must read!:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/17/world/europe/yellow-vest-notre-dame-fire-donations.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share

Put Your AK’s and Blasting Caps Away!: Thoughts on Urban Guerrilla Warfare Today

In the interest of full disclosure, I have always had this strange romance for the urban guerrilla groups of the 1970’s. Rather it be the Weather Underground (The Weathermen), the SLA (Symbionese Liberation Army), The Black Liberation Army (BLA), or, in Europe, the RAF (Red Army Faction), in Germany, or the Red Brigades, in Italy, they have always appealed to me with their stories of fighting fire with fire against those in power. And having just gotten through the six-part CNN documentary, “The Radical Story of Patty Hearst” (must watch!), I thought this would be a good time to elaborate on the STL stances on violent revolution in explicit terms.

All the above groups took a violent stand against the state in order to spark a far-left revolution among the masses. The Weather Underground only committed bombings of symbolic buildings (e.g., the Pentagon), but the rest engaged in deadly bombings, shootings, assassinations, kidnappings, robberies, and prison breaks. They believed these actions would ignite “the people”, who were just kindling for them to light, and a radical leftist revolution would occur. But they were wrong.

They were in the wrong because they misjudged the stance and temperament of the average American/European. The SLA, the RAF, the BLA, etc., thought that if they just kicked things off, they would be met with great support by the people who were starving for revolution. They would conduct some deed(s) that would awaken them from the proletariat’s sense of “false consciousness” (see previous post) and begin the revolution. This resulted in these groups, barring the BLA, which was a violent splinter group of the Black Panthers, who were mostly made up of rich white college kids completely out of touch with the people. They had misjudged the mood of the population and failed in affecting the monumental, long term political change they desired

The young college kids on college campuses today need to learn this lesson before anything gets out of hand. Violence is not the answer right now. Take it from me, a college-educated piece of white trash living amongst the people today: It’s not where we’re at. And though it may feel good as an affect exercise by expressing your rage, this is not where the stand.

In short, that’s what I want you, any hotheaded radicals like myself out there, to learn from this post. Urban guerrilla tactics are not what we need right now. It would only be futile and could turn the people against our cause if we conduct our actions that way.

Che Guevara wrote that a guerrilla force must have at least 60% of the population in support of their cause to conduct a successful revolution. These 1970’s groups had only that much support among their fellow students at Berkeley.

Putin Claims Crimea

19ukraine6-master675Swifter than anyone thought, and so soon after the Ukrainian revolution, Russian leader Vladimir Putin officially claims Crimea as part of Russia. This report at the NYT gives a good account of what is the further implications, such as issues of condemnation by the West and upcoming sanctions.

Will the sanctions leveled against Russia hurt Western Europe trade too much to be feasible?

Read Here.

//

Russian Troop Movement On Ukrainian Border

russia-operations-map-1-600A report in the NYT on Russian troop movement, placement, and battle exercises along the Ukrainian border. It also outlines that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has come down with some hard-hitting speech that warns Russia of harsh sanctions if the policies of the 19th and 20th century return. But the bad part is that Russia is a strong trading partner with Germany.

Read Here.

Food Stamp Cut Will Be “Catastrophic”

Carmen Centeno NYCPA MUST-READ article in The Guardian on how the expiration of a 2009 stimulus package, which increased SNAP payments (Food Stamps) for millions of disadvantaged Americans, is about to have a “close to catastrophic” affect on the Nation’s poor.

Now the Right-wing population of this country believe that a bunch of “Welfare Queens” (a mythical creature no one can find in their indigenous ghettos) and slackers, who sit at home all day doing drugs, get a free ride with SNAP. They think that recipients should pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and get a job.

But the fact is that the vast majority of SNAP benefits go two three classes of people: the elderly, the disabled, and the working poor. And those who will be most affected will be the children of said peoples.

What is at hand here is the conservatives want to use hungry children as “poking sticks” to get people to find some illusory good jobs. This sounds just like 19th century liberalism, which could not be more cruel. Ask a socially democratic Europe!

But in an effort to provide full disclosure, I have friends, coworkers, and family who receive SNAP benefits. So the effects of these cuts may be written on the face of the children that populate my social world.

I just can’t have this and remain quiet.

Thank You and Read Here.

 

//

White House Aware of Eavesdropping

nsa072way-6ff6dccc27700cd7f0508fce24bafecbf46865da-s6-c30A smashing article in the L.A. Times reports that sources tell the newspaper that the White House was aware and signed-off on eavesdropping on friendly leaders of the world including Germany, Mexico, and Brazil.

The real scandal here is that the White House has claimed they had no knowledge of these eavesdroppings-on-close- allies policies, but now unnamed officials say that the White House signed off on the collections performed by the NSA.

Read Here.

//

Two Questions About the NSA Spying on EU

As more info is released surrounding NSA’s spying tactics, more questions arise as to why they are doing what they have been doing.  We now know “US agencies bugged European embassies and parliament buildings” and it is no surprise the governments in Europe are pretty angry about this.  And concerning this revelation, two relevant question come to mind:

  • What is the need for this data and is it just drowning out important data that would actually matter to national security?

    When will this change?

I asked this question in a previous post but it becomes more and more important to ask it as we find out new info.  It just seems like the NSA produced a mountain of data and stored it with much of it being very unnecessary and possibly getting in the way of doing their job of protecting us from real threats.

The reasons for this bugging should be explained thoroughly to both the American people and our allies.  If there was a legitimate reason for tapping the offices because of some past revelation that Germany was housing a known terrorist in their embassy, then tell us.  Show us why we have to spend the resources on conducting this kind of business in the interests of national security and, just as importantly, why we can’t look at cutting defense spending on clearly unnecessary actions like these when the budget needs it.

  • What damage to national security has the NSA revelations truly done to this point?

So, we are tapping the EU embassies and offices.  Why is this being revealed to the world a danger to United States’ security?

Up to this point there seems to be little to be scared about over the NSA leaks by whistleblower Edward Snowden.  The government is using its scare tactics to convince us this has been a grave threat to our lives but one must question whether that has been even remotely true, particularly considering revelations such as these.  If anything, it has simply informed the people about the ridiculous nature of part of the military industrial complex and the obvious waste of taxpayer money conducted in our names.

Until the government’s security apparatus can produce some type of evidence showing where real damage has been done over these leaks, we must question if they are just angry about the massive black eye Snowden has given the U.S. government and the overreach of its spying actions.  The simple truth seems to be the public is more informed about government waste and the power structure that is supported by that waste sees the threat of potentially losing its funding.

EU Makes Another Interesting Move to Balance Income Inequality in Times of Crisis

The European Union again proved they are willing to take much more aggressive action than the United States when it comes to putting the burden of financial crises on the backs of the wealthy instead of on the people at the bottom of the economic ladder.  They announced today part of the responsibility for bailing out banks when they fail will be placed on large depositors.  From the article:

The plan stipulates that shareholders, bondholders and depositors with more than 100,000 euros ($132,000) should share the burden of saving a bankThe rules break a taboo in Europe that savers should never lose their deposits, although countries will have some flexibility to decide when and how to impose losses on a failing bank’s creditors.

This seems to be a little bit of a check on banks acting badly since big investors will be watching their actions more closely in the interest of not losing their money.  And as the piece further illustrates, some bankers just didn’t care when it came to dealing with the crisis and what was done with taxpayer money:

Earlier this week, Ireland’s deputy prime minister attacked “arrogant” executives at a failed bank who had mocked government efforts to tackle the country’s banking crisis.

In the tapes published by an Irish newspaper, the collapsed Anglo Irish Bank’s then-head of capital markets was asked how he had come up with a figure of 7 billion euros for a bank rescue, responding that he had “picked it out of my arse.”

I could see some flaws with the policy in that it could lead investors to put their money elsewhere or create a problem for an individual bank when a wealthy investor gets nervous and starts a run taking money out of a bank.  But the pro seems to outweigh the con here and this policy is a step in the right direction of a more stable economy in times to come.

It would be nice to see the U.S. actually take some steps like the EU when it comes to income inequality.  As we previously noted, the EU sees the problems that come with too much imbalance in income and they are taking action to remedy the situation.  Here’s hoping the U.S. can eventually follow in their footsteps in the interest of long-term economic stability.

The Post ‘s Take On EU Austerity

Flag of European UnionThis time it’s The Post’s front-page story on the E.U.’s debate over rather austerity should be maintained to cure economic ills, or should it be more spending.

Read Here.