SeventyTwoTrillion [he/him]

“Crises teasingly hold out the possibility of dramatic reversals only to be followed by surreal continuity as the old order cadaverously fights back.”

  • 90 Posts
Joined 3 years ago
Cake day: January 3rd, 2022

  • I think it was like a 30% chance that Biden won, and now it’s a 50% chance that Harris wins.

    So much is hanging on what both Trump and Harris do in the time up until the election that I’m uncomfortable making electoral predictions again now. But I don’t see any big reasons why Harris can’t win against Trump, unlike Biden. The Democrats - hell, most left-wing parties (relatively speaking obviously, the Democrats are also fascist) - in Western countries seem to be increasingly merely be protest votes against more overt fascism, rather than generating a ton of enthusiasm for their platforms or leaders. So in that sense, the Democratic candidate could be a plank of wood with a list of platitudes engraved into it and most of the Democratic base would still vote for it.

    It’s all the various minority groups where the real battles are, and I simply don’t have enough information yet to know whether Harris will sway them or not. There are some good guesses I could make (probably a higher proportion of women and people of colour will vote for Harris than for Biden) but it’s also possible that there’s a big chunk of people who really liked the propaganda about Biden being a wise elderly statesman who is good on labour (lmfao) and/or don’t trust a “young progressive newcomer” (lmfao). Americans are deeply politically ignorant so one has to analyze the propaganda, not the reality, when it comes to domestic politics.

    But she stands a better chance than Biden does, I think that’s indisputable.

  • I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been having trouble sorting out exactly what’s going on politically in Bangladesh over the last couple days. Any time the “authoritarian” label gets bandied about by the liberal media, my skepticism goes through the roof, so I’ve been looking at what Hasina and the Awami League in general is about and I’m just confused. They’re like… nationalist liberals who are also reactionary but also like socialism, but also think socialism is just helping the people? And they like China and BRICS and Palestine and dislike Israel, but also like India under Modi? I’m reminded of Gaddafi, honestly. Very idiosyncratic.

    Whenever there’s protests in developing countries, especially student protests, my Colour Revolution Alarm starts gently ringing, but I don’t want to go into this with limited information and make assumptions and risk accidentally supporting either US protestor stooges or a genuinely shitty regime, so I’m going to sit back and wait until somebody more knowledgeable can give me a good rundown.

  • The Country of the Week is Bangladesh!

    Feel free to post or recommend any books, essays, studies, articles, and even stories related to Bangladesh.

    If you know a lot about the country and want to share your knowledge and opinions, here are some questions to get you started if you wish:

    • What is the general ideology of the political elite? Do they tend to be protectionist nationalists, or are they more free trade globalists? Are they compradors put there by foreign powers? Are they socialists with wide support by the population?
    • What are the most important domestic political issues that make the country different from other places in the region or world? Are there any peculiar problems that have continued existing despite years or decades with different parties?
    • Is the country generally stable? Are there large daily protests or are things calm on average? Is the ruling party/coalition generally harmonious or are there frequent arguments or even threats?
    • Is there a particular country to which this country has a very impactful relationship over the years, for good or bad reasons? Which one, and why?
    • What are the political factions in the country? What are the major parties, and what segments of the country do they attract?
    • Are there any smaller parties that nonetheless have had significant influence? Are there notable separatist movements?
    • How socially progressive or conservative is the country generally? To what degree is there equality between men and women, as well as different races and ethnic groups? Are LGBTQIA+ rights protected?
    • Give a basic overview of the last 50 or 100 years. What’s the historical trend of politics, the economy, social issues, etc - rise or decline? Were they always independent or were they once occupied, and how have things been since independence if applicable?
    • If you want, go even further back in history. Were there any kingdoms or empires that once governed the area?

    Check out the reading list. Our books on Bangladesh:

    • The Political Economy of NGOs: State Formation in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh by Jude L. Fernando (2011).
    • Asia’s Unknown Uprisings Vol.2: People Power in the Philippines, Burma, Tibet, China, Taiwan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Thailand, and Indonesia, 1947-2009 by George Katsiaficas (2013).

  • Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev pledged on Saturday (20 July) to help France’s overseas territories secure independence, the latest in a series of incidents pitting his ex-Soviet state against Paris over long-running conflicts in the Caucasus region.

    Aliyev made his latest comments at a media forum days before the opening of the Olympic Games in Paris and just after the staging in Baku of a congress bringing together pro-independence groups from New Caledonia and other French territories. “We will support you until you are free,” Aliyev told the forum, citing French territories that he said were still subject to colonialism.

    “Some countries are still suffering from this. The Comoros islands, Mayotte are still under colonial rule. It has been our duty to help these countries liberate themselves from this revolting remnant from the past.” Earlier this week, an “initiative group” staged a congress in Baku attended by pro-independence groups from New Caledonia and other French territories, including Corsica and Caribbean and Pacific islands.

    I… uh…

    crit…critical support? to the ethnic cleansing petrostate of azerbaijan? I don’t think I have it in me

  • Bangladesh’s Supreme Court has undone the unpopular measure which has caused the massive student protest wave there. The current Prime Minister, Hasina, is in her fourth term as of January, and opposition parties boycotted the election. She tried to enforce a measure whereby 30% of government jobs would be reserved for veterans and their relatives (of the 1971 war), as that’s a part of her base. Students were obviously not a fan of this and so the protests happened, and now the Supreme Court has said that only 7% of jobs would be reserved for veterans and their relatives.

    There’s a nationwide curfew still happening, the internet blackout is ongoing, and over a hundred protestors are dead and many thousands are injured.

    I think there’s a growing sense of anger among the capitalists too though, because the internet blackouts are a drastic measure that is causing major losses every day for corporations there. The government is trying to keep the narrative under control by blaming the protestors, both in a “look what you made me do” sense but also in a “actually, the protestors were the ones who cut the cables! not our fault!” sense. but it’s not really working because the broadband operators are like “yeah, the government did it.” So I doubt this situation will go on for much longer or the government will get scared of capital flight and such.

    Bangladesh has a thriving technology sector that generates around $1.4 billion per year in export income from clients in about 80 countries. The industry is estimated to touch the $5-billion mark by 2025. The South Asian country is home to over 4,500 tech companies that employ more than 750,000 professionals. The country also has a fledgling tech startup ecosystem with at least two companies valued at over $1 billion each.

  • yeah, “isolationism” has always been a mere platitude in America and had zero presence in reality. back during the World Wars, such “isolation” was only militarily initially; they were very involved in sucking up the spoils of centuries of colonialism from Europe’s wallets, which is certainly not isolationism. they only got involved militarily to ensure Europe could repay their debts. and even before the wars, the US was very much involved in trying to expand the markets for its exports overseas to exploited nations, and fucking invaded the Philippines. it was a imperialist nation just like the European ones, it just arrived on the scene a little too late to steal as much as the rest of them overseas because it was busy murdering and pillaging its way across its own continent.

    there has never really been a time in their history when the Americans have “kept to themselves”, and I don’t really know why that brainworm - of retvrning to a past where we weren’t so involved with the world and just sat back and developed ourselves - has persisted. is it baby’s first anti-establishment rhetoric, to seem like rebels against the government while in reality forming zero opposition? is it a purposeful denial of the fact that the US even has an empire, so that “pulling back” is seen as something that could be easily done without the closure of hundreds of bases in dozens of countries involving tens of thousands of troops? is it just mere racism, not wanting to get involved with those they deem inferior?

  • US diplomat says Georgian Dream actions put Tbilisi’s Euro-Atlantic integration hopes at risk

    Following up on NATO’s rebuke of the Georgian government’s embrace of illiberal practices, a US State Department official said in a statement to Eurasianet that Tbilisi needs to show a “demonstrable commitment to democracy” or otherwise risk shutting “the door on Georgia’s European future.”

    “We – and the EU and many European countries – have been clear that there would be consequences for Georgian Dream’s actions and rhetoric,” the State Department official said in a written statement, speaking on background.

    “The statements and actions of the Georgian government – including its attacks against civil society and democratic norms and its promotion of disinformation about the United States, the EU, and EU member states – are incompatible with the democratic values that underpin membership in the EU and NATO and thus undermine Georgia’s path to Euro-Atlantic integration,” the official added.

    my “Our NGOs are not doing anything suspicious inside Georgia” T-shirt has people asking a lot of questions already answered by my shirt

  • Interesting article in Canadian Dimension analyzing the UK Labour victory.

    The argument presented is that the Labour win is the penultimate stage of British political collapse. After over a decade of Conservative dysfunction, Starmer has rode into power supported by most mainstream media. However, the party might be doomed:

    Starmer’s “responsible” manifesto promised very little to working people, while showering generous subsidies, low taxes, lucrative contacts and permissive deregulation on big corporations and the rich, both British and foreign. Promises of increased social spending are predicated on growth that is unlikely if neoliberalism prevails, and such social spending as is undertaken will involve contracting services out to big corporations, as Wes Streeting, the new Health Secretary, has already indicated. The falsehood of both claims has been noted. What is less discussed is that together these falsehoods will prevent Starmer’s Labour from fulfilling its assigned mission and might even end the party.

    … as the governments of major neoliberal financialized countries around the world—the US, France, Germany—are finding out, keeping control over state and society while implementing the neoliberal policies corporate capital, domestic and foreign, requires, is difficult, if not impossible. In Britain, with decades of neoliberalism topped with austerity, the disasters of Brexit and COVID, creaking public services administered by extortionate corporations, and the Rwanda deportation farce, the process is much further advanced.

    With the Conservatives headed into disintegration or irrelevance, the incoming Labour government may prove the penultimate stage in the collapse of the UK political establishment. The brightness of its success in fashioning Starmer’s Labour into its instrument is the gaseous brilliance of the supernova, the efflorescence that precedes a star’s death. Once Starmer’s government and party start malfunctioning, as they must soon, the UK political establishment will lose its last instrument of social and political control, falling into an unprecedented and unpredictable crisis.

    The article then talks about how, despite the political majority that Labour won, their actual majority is extremely fraught. Starmer’s majority is less than in 1997 under Blair when the Conservatives were a more powerful force. Corbyn won 40% of the vote in 2019 with 69% turnout. Starmer won 34% of the vote this year with 60% turnout, which is almost the lowest turnout in the UK post-war period. In total, a mere 20% of Britain’s voting-age population actually voted for Starmer, and an overwhelming majority of Labour voters said they only wanted to get the Conservatives out. What this indicates is that Britain is still very politically agitated and not at all unified or mollified under a Labour banner, and:

    As it inevitably reneges on its few promises, the public as well as the left of the Labour Party, having lived through 45 years of neoliberalism and Labour and Conservative attempts to tart it up as somehow realizing the public interest, will only ever be a hair trigger away from protest. So, a Starmer government crisis will come sooner rather than later and, with the Tories likely to have wandered off into the farthest wilds of anti-immigrant populism, the British political establishment will be left without an instrument to control the state while keeping alive the appearance of electoral democracy. The resulting chaos could easily spin out of control unless the left organizes a political force to take control of the apparatus of the state.

    The UK left is far from dead, though it is still reeling from the purges and is still largely unorganized on a national level. Corbyn won his seat as an independent and four other pro-Palestine MPs unseated Labour MPs. Others, including Galloway, were defeated but not by massive margins.

    The left, however, faces 1920s-scale challenges. Then as now, it can’t just “build another party.” Courageous new left forces outside the Labour Party and those inside it are both necessary to a renewed left. Only their collaborative work can turn the imminent chaos of Starmer’s failure in favour of working people.

  • Why buy a new game when you don’t know if it’ll be a buggy mess on launch and those old games are available to play right now.

    Yeah, like, I’m so sick of (particularly singleplayer or mostly singleplayer) games releasing and then needing a dozen patches to be in something close to a “final” state. Are companies just not playtesting anymore or what? I get it if there’s growing pains from not anticipating server loads, and maybe you need to do some adjustments if some very creative players find an overpowered strategy and it has to be nerfed, but there’s numerous times where I see issues that are patched and just go “There’s no way that you wouldn’t have found this if you’d used a small amount of your massive company profits to pay for a bunch of playtesters to go try and break the game and see if the balance is about right.”

    I think I’m also just generally not a fan of the Early Access model of continuously releasing new updates. I understand all the reasons why they do this, but I’m very much somebody who enjoys buying a game and knowing that it is a full, complete experience which will not change and update while I’m playing it or after I’m done. Just a discrete thing I can pick up, play for a while, and then put down and be satisfied that there won’t be an update or DLC in a few months that adds fishing and 10 new bosses or whatever. I can put it out of my mind and not have to track a bunch of update release dates and play another game. No FOMO, just enjoying my time off.

    It doesn’t help my mind to juggle caring about like a dozen games at once. Like “Okay, so this game will release in August, then there’s an update to this other game in early September. Then there’s the full release of this game in late September after five years of Early Access. Then this DLC comes out in mid-October, and my friends will probably want to play this with me in late October…” I could do all that with a dozen games, or I could just play an older game like Bloodborne and know exactly what I’m getting myself into with zero surprises or updates or DLCs or battlepasses or full releases or definitive editions to care about.

    I’m honestly really excited to see what a socialist video gaming industry would look like. I hope it looks like relatively fewer games released per year due to no crunch time, but the games are very high-quality, have many fewer problems, don’t have exploitative practices like microtransactions, have more meaningful content, etc. I also hope that copyright for many current games is cast aside so we can get True Remasters of current and old games with all the features that were ditched due to time or resource constraints. Instead of having individuals or very small teams jankily modding things into games to fix some of the features, they would be re-developed in a more official sense. Kinda like what Bluepoint did with Demon Souls, but like five times as ambitious.

  • Yes, I think there’s a tendency to disregard this sort of legalism in leftist circles and while I absolutely see where people are coming from with that critique, I do think that these sorts of decisions are actually meaningful. It won’t save Palestine by itself, the armed resistance is still necessary, but it is another straw on the camel’s back. There’s a reason why those who are actually fighting America and its imperialism do actually regard these sorts of legal decisions as having weight.

    There’s also this faux-realist analysis whereby people think that people and governments who switch from doing things in a “respectable and legal” sense and are forced under circumstances to do depraved actions and thus break their own legal or moral code are somehow casting off their own self-imposed shackles. The United States did not create a post-WW2 and especially post-1990 order which would hold back their imperial strategy, and so them obviously contradicting the terms of this “rules-based order” and becoming ever more outwardly bloodthirsty and tyrannical and genocidal isn’t some “power move” or something. This isn’t Game of Thrones. They’re just becoming more shitty and hated and it’ll accelerate the end. Thus, such legal decisions like that which the UN is making is meaningful in that sense.

  • I genuinely do not believe that the US can do a boots-on-the-ground invasion anymore. Anywhere. Period. They’ve switched to proxy forces for a variety of reasons and when they do try big operations like Prosperity Guardian, they get trounced. Naval invasions are substantially more difficult than just sitting in a strait trying to intercept drones and missiles, and while they could gather forces in Saudi Arabia, I’m unsure if the Saudis would like that very much given recent animosity and the force buildup could also be hit by missiles, like that one US base on the Syrian border which Iraqi forces managed to hit, producing an array of very coincidental heart attacks and brain injuries in US troops there.

  • perhaps, but I think the more pertinent lesson here is that anti-western countries need to redouble their efforts to create a separate IT ecosystem from the West, to protect from either incompetence (in this case) or intentional attacks. I’m sure there will soon be various theories about how this was an intentional attack by the US to test vulnerabilities in the event of future wars, but regardless of whether it was or wasn’t, the lesson is the same. and hopefully this is another kick up the ass of the Chinese, Russian, Iranian, etc governments to shift away from Microsoft and similar systems ASAP.