Aegean Guernica

Source: Aegean Guernica

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Facebook Hiatus: Day 3

It’s safe to say that I have an addiction to the internet in general, but there is something about Facebook in particular that takes over my brain in a particularly pathological manner. So, I decided that I would take a hiatus from the fb for a month. A cleanse of sorts, I guess. I’m hoping to write more, blog more, reflect more deeply than a pithy “status update.” This post here is perhaps not going to accomplish that per se, but getting in the habit of posting to a blog is a good start. So here’s a little micro-poem I composed during my commute to work this morning, reflecting on the psychological role that Facebook plays in my life.

Scrolling through news-
feed, starving my emptiness.

Anatomy of a Capitalist Ransom Note

As I follow the “negotiations” between the Greek government and the troika on Twitter, it all just sounds like an elaborate ransom note to me. This is not a negotiation between “equal partners.” It is an entire country of people being held hostage by an international capitalist cartel intent on extracting every last drop of wealth and value from human life and labor, with zero regard for life itself. They speak on endlessly, genuinely content with their circular logic, which uses a sociopathic economic system as its starting and ending point.

If you accept the premise that capitalism is the best or only way to organize society, than it is easy to get caught up in their rhetoric because it generally follows an internally valid line of reasoning. But the fact is that capitalism is NOT the only or best way to organize society. Ultimately, as living beings whose survival depends on the functioning of an intricate ecosystem, it is actually quite illogical to base our society around a system of private profit and endless growth.

But, like parasites, the proponents of capitalism not only leech from us but convince us to love the leeching. In Greece, you can see this in the millions of people who still prefer to stay in the Eurozone at any cost, repeating the lies about their own “lazy” and “corrupt” nature as the source of the economic crisis. You see it, too, in the leaders of SYRIZA, like Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, who speaks of these negotiations as a means of creating an “equal partnership” with their “lenders”. A Stockholm Syndrome of epic proportions.

The victory of SYRIZA has in many ways upset the balance of forces in Europe and there are important gains that can be won by this new government, if their feet are kept to the fire. But they are still negotiating with sociopaths, within the framework of a sociopathic system—perhaps asking for a bit less blood loss, a clipping of claws. We can only hope that such gains will be enough to breathe new life into the masses of people and break the parasitic spell. Because freedom will not be found within the rationale of a ransom note.

Anatomy of a Capitalist Ransom Note

“Anatomy of a Capitalist Ransom Note,” by Stavroula Harissis. [Printed paper, newspaper, ink, on manila folder]

The Politics of Austerity and the Ikarian Dream

Great blog post! I wanted to write something similar when I saw the New York Times article about Ikaria, the Greek island where “people forget to die.” The very things that allow these people to live long, happy, healthy lives, are the things that “Western” culture is killing through its brutal economic policies.

slackerpolitics

As a longtime fan of the leisurely aspect of European culture, I am always thrilled whenever it makes its way onto the radar screens of Americans, who are, it’s clear, grievously overworked by comparison. Too often, images of Europe are portrayed in the context of a grim new discursive “common sense” about the European lifestyle that say it is a) an unsustainable anachronism and b) onerous and not something Americans would want anyway. When more celebratory images of Euroleisure emerge, I like to think that Americans wonder why we can’t have what European workers have successfully pressed for – long vacations, relatively short hours of work, and the generous social wage that makes free time enjoyable rather than stressful. And when Americans start asking themselves these questions, all kinds of liberatory possibilities open up. In the context of the current continental battle over austerity, which is more than anything a…

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