petej + authoritarianism   349

The Best of a Bad Situation | Issue 33 | n+1
The immediate switch to sustainable energy on a global scale also addresses one of the intellectual stumbling blocks that has bedeviled even well-intentioned climate-change policy makers: what to do about so-called developing societies. Unlike the ascetic cap-and-trade system, we aren’t required by this switch to turn to Indian or Chinese middle classes and say, “we deny you the quality of life that we enjoyed.” We should have never enjoyed it in the way we did — that was well understood, then as now, if for different reasons. The extraction-based political economy that buoys a specific stratum of India, Brazil, Iran, the Arabian Peninsula states, and China is objectionable on nearly every level; there’s no “global justice” legitimacy to the idea that past resource exploitation by Western powers entitles the elites of postcolonial developing countries to squander the future of their own citizens and the rest of the planet. Wholesale disaster under the banner of postcolonial nationalism will not feel better than under the banner of revanchist white nationalism.

Does this sound madly utopian? If so, it’s because the fossil-fuel industry — and that term, industry, must now include governments like Russia’s and our own — has been successful at obscuring how close we are to being able to switch over to renewable energy. The relevant technologies of solar, wind, hydro, and even nuclear power all exist. Architects and green industrial designers know how to make structures that aren’t just energy efficient but even net-energy positive. Under political conditions other than our current ones, we’d have great reason for optimism.

But unlike with other utopian programs, no one seems to see the promise. “Decouple now” and “Renewable or bust” don’t seem likely to harness the diverse interest groups currently opposed to Trump and the Republican Party. Most of us prefer to remain in the dark when it comes to energy. It’s still far easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of carbon-based capitalism. But what other choice do we have, America? Let’s get right down to the job — nearsighted, psychopathic, queer, angelic, diabolical, whatever we are, harness that most renewable of resources, human will, and put our shoulders to the wheel.
climateChange  politics  globalWarming  inequality  refugees  migration  USA  ObamaBarack  TrumpDonald  coal  Paris  COP21  emissions  fossilFuels  socialDarwinism  authoritarianism  racism  fear  catastrophe  KolbertElizabeth  writing  energy  renewables  sustainability 
15 days ago by petej
Red Meat for the Faragists
One of the deficiencies of Corbynism has been the way it thinks about the state; riding the back of an anti-austerity wave, it has tended to treat all questions of state services, including the police, as a matter of funding. The limbs of the state atrophy under a Tory tourniquet, so the role of a Labour government is to loosen the knot, restore the flow of money, and return the body politic to health. The problem is that this ignores any consideration of what the limb in question does, what its hand grasps or lets go: what is considered a crime, what public good is served by policing, how it acts to reduce crime. It is a commonplace in post-conflict societies that policing has a profound effect on the unity and character of the state, and public trust in it; the same is true here, and the circuit of political feedback between policing and the state ought to make it a target for a Labour Party set on democratic renewal.

Questions of human rights, judicial power and the state have rarely been the dominant strain in British gas-and-water socialism, but materials for a new social democratic approach to policing certainly exist: one would be a deep and warranted scepticism about the penal system as the basis of social order; another, which Patrick Colquhoun and Adam Smith understood in the 18th century, the idea that most solutions to crime can be supplied by political economy. A conversation about policing cannot be limited to crime, but must also consider social peace and security – the guarantee of the fundamentals of a good life. The obvious analogy is with securing good health as well as curing the advanced symptoms of illness.
UK  politics  ToryParty  JohnsonBoris  policing  prison  stopAndSearch  crime  authoritarianism  TheRight  deterrence  rehabilitation  surveillance  control  ArendtHannah  LabourParty  HaighLouise  Corbynism  poverty  dctagged  dc:creator=ButlerJames 
august 2019 by petej
The Quietus | Features | Tome On The Range | Popular Front 2.0: An Interview With Paul Mason
There’s no need to be depressed about the absence of work, but of course it was the source of status for a lot of manual, poorly-educated, low-skilled people in the 20th century, and the absence of it is what’s driving things like Brexit and the far right. Men are going to have to understand that because work and male dominance is going, what it means to be male is going to have to be rethought, and if you look for cultural references as to what that’s going to be like, you really have to search quite hard. They are mostly all warriors, tricksters, powerful men with money, etc. #MeToo is almost the last gasp of oppression because it says in the last place where hierarchy is guaranteed – the workplace – that dominance is now off-limits.author
technology  artificialIntelligence  control  Marxism  philosophy  work  post-work  misogyny  Brexit  alt-right  authoritarianism  interview  TheQuietus  dctagged  dc:contributor=MasonPaul  politics 
june 2019 by petej
The Suffocation of Democracy | by Christopher R. Browning | The New York Review of Books
The fascist movements of that time prided themselves on being overtly antidemocratic, and those that came to power in Italy and Germany boasted that their regimes were totalitarian. The most original revelation of the current wave of authoritarians is that the construction of overtly antidemocratic dictatorships aspiring to totalitarianism is unnecessary for holding power. Perhaps the most apt designation of this new authoritarianism is the insidious term “illiberal democracy.” Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey, Putin in Russia, Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, and Viktor Orbán in Hungary have all discovered that opposition parties can be left in existence and elections can be held in order to provide a fig leaf of democratic legitimacy, while in reality elections pose scant challenge to their power. Truly dangerous opposition leaders are neutralized or eliminated one way or another.

Total control of the press and other media is likewise unnecessary, since a flood of managed and fake news so pollutes the flow of information that facts and truth become irrelevant as shapers of public opinion. Once-independent judiciaries are gradually dismantled through selective purging and the appointment of politically reliable loyalists. Crony capitalism opens the way to a symbiosis of corruption and self-enrichment between political and business leaders. Xenophobic nationalism (and in many cases explicitly anti-immigrant white nationalism) as well as the prioritization of “law and order” over individual rights are also crucial to these regimes in mobilizing the popular support of their bases and stigmatizing their enemies.
USA  politics  history  1920s  1930s  fascism  TrumpDonald  nationalism  isolationism  protectionism  authoritarianism  Nazism  Hitler  polarisation  Weimar  democracy  McConnellMitch  KavanaughBrett  judiciary  Germany  Italy  totalitarianism  misinformation  control  funding  lobbying  tradeUnions  illiberalism 
october 2018 by petej
How social media took us from Tahrir Square to Donald Trump - MIT Technology Review
Rather, the problem is that when we encounter opposing views in the age and context of social media, it’s not like reading them in a newspaper while sitting alone. It’s like hearing them from the opposing team while sitting with our fellow fans in a football stadium. Online, we’re connected with our communities, and we seek approval from our like-minded peers. We bond with our team by yelling at the fans of the other one. In sociology terms, we strengthen our feeling of “in-group” belonging by increasing our distance from and tension with the “out-group”—us versus them. Our cognitive universe isn’t an echo chamber, but our social one is. This is why the various projects for fact-checking claims in the news, while valuable, don’t convince people. Belonging is stronger than facts.
socialMedia  politics  activism  communication  ArabSpring  Egypt  TahrirSquare  Tunisia  Syria  Iran  Twitter  MubarakHosni  authoritarianism  power  control  ObamaBarack  targeting  technoUtopianism  bigData  misinformation  polarisation  NSA  security  Facebook  Google  monopolies  YouTube  algorithms  attention  insults  TrumpDonald  USA  Russia  trolling  interference  corruption  accountability  filterBubble  surveillance  platforms  personalData  inequality  precarity  insecurity  dctagged  dc:creator=TufekciZeynep  recommendations 
august 2018 by petej
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