domingo, 30 de outubro de 2016

"The death of the post-Soviet project in Russia" - Kirill Kobrin

As the end of 2016 looms, you can’t help but look back and discuss what’s happened. You make acerbic jokes about Trump, sigh over Brexit, and hope that Germany’s post-war immunity to brazen populism remains intact. Eventually, it becomes obvious that these topics are, at least, worth discussing — as opposed to the situation in Russia. Russia is boring because, well, everything about Russia is clear.

Having said that, what does “clear” mean? At first glance, the situation in Russia is growing stranger and more dangerous: fairy-tale like parliamentary elections, musical chairs in the government, the bombing of Syria, the death of the liberal opposition, the pathetic helplessness of national legislation when it comes to Chechnya, and so on. Add an economic crisis, growing working class discontent, the slow-motion failure that is “import substitution” — all of this is just the dull background for bigger dramas taking place beyond Russia’s borders. Why? Because all of these unpleasant things have their roots in a previous period of history.

I am convinced that the period of history known as “post-Soviet” in Russia is over. This is why the personalities and processes of the previous period are no longer relevant. They are still in the news, and they still act, sometimes dangerously, but discussing them is as relevant as discussing laws passed by pre-revolutionary premier Pyotr Stolypin in 1919. Today’s changes aren’t as quick and catastrophic as they were then, but then history doesn’t repeat itself, not even as farce.

What has changed? The public agenda. The hierarchy of what’s important and what’s not for Russian society. What is appropriate and desirable. And, most importantly, the project of the present and the past. The old post-Soviet project, once relevant back in 1991, is over. It has achieved its aims. It’s just that nobody’s rushing to pronounce what has happened as the “natural, logical results” of this process.

Maybe now it’s time to sum up (tentatively, of course,) the results of Russia’s post-Soviet project — this is what this series of essays is devoted to. The post-Soviet project began with a public gesture of rejection of Soviet ideology. It ended when it drowned in the pseudo-ideological swamp of conservatism. Ideology, culture, public life in general, these are the things we must concentrate on to understand what happened in 1991-2016.

In this introduction, I will look at the history of Soviet ideology, which was allegedly spurned by the freedom-loving Soviet peoples in the late 1980s, and which supposedly formed the foundation of the “Soviet empire.” In the next part of the series, I will discuss what happened to this ideology, discuss the possibility of new ideologies, and draw some conclusions about the state of the public mind in modern Russian society.
Part one: The portrait of the ideology as a young man

In Arthur Conan Doyle’s story “Silver Blaze,” the ever artless Doctor Watson asks the observant Mr Holmes:

"Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"

"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."

"The dog did nothing in the night-time."

"That was the curious incident.”

If you ask people who were old enough to consciously experience the most impetuous and troubled period of the late Soviet Union — the three and a half months in 1991 between the failed August putsch and the Belavezh Accords — about what role Soviet ideology played back then, they will all answer much in the same way. Soviet ideology played no role. And nobody “did” anything with that ideology in mind.

The object (and content) of political struggle in Russia, Ukraine (which left the Union on 24 August, 1991), Belarus (which did not leave the Union until after Belovezh), Turkmenistan (left 27 October, 1991), Tajikistan (9 September, 1991), Kazakhstan (16 December, 1991) and Kyrgyzstan (31 August, 1991) was the national independence scenario, the status of the republics, the future of the USSR, of how the parent state viewed its surroundings — it had nothing to do with Marxism-Leninism.

On one side of the barricades (thankfully, mostly rhetorical), there were speeches on Russian colonialism, Moscow’s imperial mind-set, and the unmatched qualities of the titular peoples of the respective republics. On the other side, there was talk that Russia “feeds” everyone, and that nations A, B, C and so on never existed to begin with. That these nations were inorganic administrative units, that their languages were just dialects of more important languages, that the great Russian culture far outstretched “local” culture.

This rhetoric is typical for the breakdown of a multi-national empire and the building of ethnic nations grounded in modern realities —you could hear such talk in Hungary in 1848, Poland of 1918, India of 1947 and so on. This is a phenomenon of modernity, of the period which the previous generation of historians called “Modern history”.

The thing is, the fall of the USSR feels like an event from a different epoch. The end of the Soviet Union is seen today as the end of an ideological project, the fall of communist ideology, a postmodern event — most explanations of what happened in 1985-1991 say this.

My task here is not to introduce a new concept of how the USSR fell apart. This is a separate topic of discussion. What I’m interested in is this: how did the “absence” of Soviet ideology in the events of 1991 and, if you think about it, in the events of the previous two-three years, influenced its continuing absence in the 1990s, and how this absence influenced the current Russian regime to remodel (or even reconstruct) this ideology in the last 16 years.

This is no idle question. If dealing with a society that, due to unknown reasons, “lost” an all-powerful ideology, the desire to fill the ideological vacuum is understandable. In that case, the ideology-building of the Putin years acquires the qualities of a natural process.

If there was no viable ideology when the USSR’s allegedly “sudden collapse” took place, then talk of an ensuing “ideological vacuum” in Russia makes no sense. Then we can claim that the post-ideological epoch began on the territory of the former USSR earlier. In this case, it is beneficial to look around Russia, as opposed to peer at its Soviet history — the current happenings in Europe and the US give us much food for thought.

For the 70 years that the Soviet state existed, what was “Soviet ideology?” It’s no secret that, in this case, it is difficult to speak of just one ideology — there were several successive ones that had the same name. The foundation of the history of Soviet ideology is clearly classical Marxism-Leninism, which combined the utopian vision of a future classless society with effective political instruments for practical adaptation.

But unlike the Marxism of the mid-19th century, Marxism-Leninism was not eschatological. Lenin did not prophesise that “history will end” after communism triumphs. The classless society of the future would be created, it was said, and then not only the character of human society would be changed, but human nature.

Lenin avoided futuristic visions, and made do with ascertaining that there will be no class under communism, no exploitation, and no private property, and only that will result in universal justice. Lenin rarely used the word “happiness”, which can be found frequently in the works of the utopian socialists of the 19th century, as well as his romantic contemporaries and allies in the main revolution of the 20th century. The main theory of Marxism-Leninism, the starting point of the history of Soviet ideology, was the idea of universal justice, which was treated as something mystical, even religious, though to Lenin this seem like a practical concept. In order to reach this daring, but, as the Bolsheviks saw, attainable goal, the old world in all of its economic, social, political, and cultural foundations had to be destroyed, so that a new world could be created on a new foundation.

As for the realisation of these aims, each involved a furious debate, but all sides agreed that:

1. The state, being a class-based oppressor, will wither away

2. Property will have universal ownership

3. All people, regardless of provenance, gender and nationality, will be equal and will have equal opportunities

Debates mostly concerned the means of reaching this desired outcome. Lenin’s point of view, which combined the most practical methods with merciless pursuit of the utopian end goal, won out.

Tactically speaking, Lenin was ready to sacrifice a lot. But he never overstated the importance of the transitional measures and institutions that had to be tolerated (or introduced) so the Bolsheviks could retain their grip on power and the country could continue on its path to communism. Peace and trade with the imperialists instead of a global revolution. New Economic Policy, or NEP. Giving land to peasants for individual use. Using “fellow travellers” in science, industry, and culture (or propaganda, to be exact), in the government apparatus and in the army. Finally, there was the recognition of national movements as “revolutionary allies”, with all of the conclusions for policy this entailed.

If we look at “Soviet ideology” circa 1984, right before the beginning of perestroika, we will see that pretty much nothing of Marxism-Leninism remained. Soviet ideology had undergone a grandiose transformation. The principal loss during 70 years of Soviet rule was the idea of creating an absolutely just society — this was why the state and its citizens existed, after all.

And this idea was lost long before the Soviet Union was also “lost”.

Kiril Kobrin

Os 50 melhores discos da música brasileira - 33

Portugal na imprensa estrangeira - "Sun, surf and low rents: why Lisbon could be the next tech capital"

As 50,000 people arrive for Web Summit, Portugal hopes its capital can lead a national resurgence

sexta-feira, 28 de outubro de 2016

Filme recomendado - "O Clã"

Realização de Pablo Trapero

"Reexamining History with Noam Chomsky: New World Order & the Grand Area"

  • How did the US establishment view fascist figures such as Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini before the global war began?
  • Was the US complicit or did it actively support fascism in Europe?

  • What geopolitical plans did the United States draw for the globe before World War II?
  • What is the “Grand Area” and how did it effect the security and economy of the globe?
  • How did countries such as Italy, Germany and Greece fit into this scheme and why did the US crush anti-fascist movements across Europe?

"Three Threats to China’s Economy" - Zhang Jun

After a decades-long “growth miracle,” China’s economy has lately become a source of mounting concern. Some factors – from high corporate debt to overcapacity in the state sector – have received a lot of attention. But three less-discussed trends point to still other threats to the country’s economic development.

quinta-feira, 27 de outubro de 2016

Assim vai a Europa! - "Prime Minister Viktor Orban is turning his back on the values his compatriots died to defend" - Arch Puddington

The crushing of Hungary’s anti-Soviet uprising 60 years ago this week stood as a tragic symbol of communist barbarism throughout the Cold War. Ideally, the anniversary of the failed revolution would be a time for the country to celebrate its commitment to freedom and democratic solidarity. Unfortunately, Hungary’s government is veering sharply away from those values.

Assim vai a Europa! - "Xenophobic, authoritarian – and generous on welfare: how Poland’s right rules" - Remi Adekoya

The Law and Justice party’s enduring popularity after a year in power should serve as a warning for liberals across Europe

Lettre de Marguerite Duras à Alain Resnais

Après le triomphe du film d’Alain Resnais, « Hiroshima mon amour » (1959), sur un scénario de Marguerite Duras, l’écrivaine lui propose un texte d’avant-garde pour en faire un nouveau film : « La Destruction capitale » (qui deviendra plus tard « Détruire dit-elle », sorti en décembre 1969 et réalisé par Duras elle-même). Si Resnais ne donne pas vraiment suite, Duras défend avec acharnement sa recherche d’une écriture cinématographique neuve. Cette lettre de rupture est aussi une profession de foi artistique et un point final à leur aventure cinématographique.

Cher Alain, bon, ça veut dire qu’on ne fera plus rien ensemble.

J’aurais bien aimé que vous sortiez du rapport passionnel à mon égard, cette fois. Vous refusez encore. Vous avez à la fois envie et horreur de cette idée : retravailler avec moi une deuxième fois. Et risquer de faire un chef d’œuvre. Autrement dit, si la Destruction capitale était anonyme, vous l’auriez faite. Depuis des années nos rapports sont faussés parce que je n’aime pas les histoires que vous tournez. Vous ne me le pardonnez pas. Et ce refus, j’ai peut-être tort, mais je le vois comme une sanction de mon refus à moi. Par ailleurs, mais par ailleurs seulement […] je représente ce que toute une partie de vous refuse : l’incohérence, l’indiscrétion, l’orgueil, la vanité, l’engagement politique naïf, la violence désordonnée, le refus catégorique, le manque de ménagements, la méchanceté. Je pourrais ne pas m’arrêter.

Avec tout ce bordel que je trimballe, je fais des livres. Je fais La Destruction capitale. Ça sort en ligne droite de moi. Vous devez refuser si vous n’oubliez pas qui je suis. Et l’horrible logique est respectée. Je vous écris en somme pour vous expliquer votre refus. Il est, pour les autres, incompréhensible. Pas pour moi. Si vous aviez accepté ça, vous auriez accepté de reconnaître que je n’ai peut-être pas tout à fait tort quand je vous dis que les histoires que vous tournez ne sont pas tout à fait nécessaires, qu’elles sont marginales, sinon pauvres. Et qu’en les choisissant vous vous coupez d’une partie des intellectuels pour gagner une couche plus large, certes, mais moins décisive, de gens cultivés (je m’excuse : l’intellectuel pour moi c’est celui qui remet en question, et le cultivé c’est celui qui ne le fait jamais). Toutes les raisons que vous me donniez ce matin étaient gentilles, elles procédaient de votre humilité (narcissique au dernier degré !) et de votre prudence ; Elles étaient fausses. Vous m’auriez dit : « Non, avec vous, non », ça aurait été mieux. Et je n’aurais pas éprouvé le besoin de faire cette lettre. Vous m’auriez dit « Il y a quelque chose encore que je ne vous pardonne pas », nous aurions enfin débouché dans l’espace de l’intelligence commune. Mais vous en êtes passé par votre processus habituel. Tant pis. Tant pis si cette lettre, vous ne me la pardonnez pas. C’est moins grave, pour moi, de l’écrire, c’est moins grave, oui, que, pour vous, de refuser La Destruction capitale.

Qu’allez-vous faire ? Les films d’aventure ou les films comiques ne se trouvent pas quand on les cherche. Rien ne se trouve quand on le cherche. Hiroshima, le script, c’est l’impossibilité de trouver une histoire que vous cherchiez. C’est pour ça que c’est bien. Rien n’est plus au présent. Je veux dire : ce qui est vécu actuellement par tous, et c’est la première fois du monde, est en partie nul et non avenu eu égard à ce qui pourrait se passer demain. […] La relation humaine dans La Destruction, même si la délicatesse en est choquée, c’est la négation absolue de la relation humaine telle qu’elle existe. C’est un aperçu des voies qu’elle pourrait prendre demain. […] Je vous aurai prévenu de la faute capitale que vous faites en refusant La Destruction capitale pour des raisons personnelles. Par là j’entends votre peur de la rater. Qu’est-ce que ça veut dire votre peur ? C’est rien. Ça ne compte pas dans une perspective de ratage et de réussite, dépassé (démodé pour parler commerce). Ça ne compte pas dans la perspective inconditionnellement libre de chacun, dangereuse : le refus. Votre peur entérine les valeurs que vous refusez. Vous croyez que Régy n’a pas peur ? Bien sûr que si. Encore plus que pour Pinter qui choquait plutôt qu’il ne violait d’ailleurs. Vous croyez que je n’ai pas peur ? Je m’en fous. Ce n’est pas moi seule qui ait écrit le texte. Qui ait inventé ces juifs, ce parc, cette indélicatesse fondamentale, cette impudeur. On ne fait jamais seul quelque chose. Ne le croyez pas. C’est fini l’insanité romantique du solitaire échevelé qui attend l’inspiration du ciel. TERMINÉ. Je suis libre devant ce texte, que j’ai fait, de dire qu’il est nouveau. Parce que derrière ce texte qui en est passé par moi, il y a la société que je refuse. C’est le refus de cette société qui en est passé par moi. […] Vous n’avez pas ouvert la porte au texte parce qu’il était signé. Le « je ne comprends rien », pareil. C’est toujours dans les régions où je ne comprends plus rien que je vais. Est-ce que vous comprenez la mort ? Un oiseau ? Le rire ? Stein ? Alissa ? Donc, plus de films ensemble. Tant pis. On écrira. Le cinéma prend un retard fantastique sur le théâtre. L’argent peut-être. Ou la peur de rater, c’est-à-dire de perdre l’argent.

Je vous embrasse très tendrement. Marguerite

domingo, 23 de outubro de 2016

"Ignorar, uma outra forma de esquecer – a propósito das lutas estudantis no Porto" - José Pacheco Pereira

Vamos continuar a falar do esquecimento, desta vez por interesse próprio, mas, se todo o interesse próprio fosse desta natureza, não viria daí mal nenhum ao mundo. Passei as últimas semanas em conjunto com vários antigos companheiros de lutas na universidade a preparar uma exposição sobre o movimento estudantil do Porto entre 1968 e 1974, que está aberta ao público até ao fim do mês. Deu bastante trabalho a todos nós, trabalho manual e intelectual, exigiu muitas horas de esforço, tudo feito apenas por pura dedicação, gosto e um certo sentido de reparação de uma memória colectiva de resistência à ditadura, que é um óbvio motivo de orgulho de todos os que eram activistas e militantes nesses anos.

Grandes fotógrafos - Neal Slavin

No final da década de 1960, o fotógrafo Neal Slavin conseguiu um retrato precioso de um Portugal em decadência de regime. Quase 50 anos depois, regressa para fechar aquele que foi o trabalho mais importante da sua vida.

"Bob Dylan and the Literary Idiot Wind" - Bernard-Henri Lévy

A propósito da polémica do Prémio Nobel da Literatura 2016:

Oh, the anger of the fusty at the announcement of Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize! What an outcry from the academy – not the Swedish one, mind you, but that of the world church of literaturology.

sexta-feira, 21 de outubro de 2016

Jack Kerouac

Bus East

Society has good intentions Bureaucracy is like a friend
5 years ago - other furies other losses -

trying to control the uncontrollable Forest fires, Vice

The essential smile In the essential sleep Of the children Of the essential mind

all thru playing the American
Now I'm going to live a good quiet life

world should be built for foot walkers

rivers Of spiney Nevady

am Jake Cake
Write like Blake

horse is not pleased Sight of his
gorgeous finery
in the dust Its silken
did disgust

arent kind Kiddies anent sweet

in Nevada - Investigating Dismal Cheyenne Where the war parties
In fields
of straw
Aimed over oxen At Indian Chiefs
In wild headdress Pouring thru
the gap
In Wyoming plain
To make the settlers
Eat more dust than dust
was eaten In the States From East at Seacoast Where wagons made up To dreadful
Of clazer vup

Anxious to masturbate The Mongol Sea (I'm too tired in Cheyenne -
No sleep in 4 nights now, & 2 to go)

Interviewed by Ted Berrigan

quinta-feira, 20 de outubro de 2016

Disco recomendado - "A mulher do fim do mundo"

Elza Soares

Lettre de Rimbaud à Georges Izambard

Arthur Rimbaud, né le 20 octobre 1854, est passé comme un météore sur cette terre, bouleversant à jamais la littérature par sa poésie convulsive et sublime, sa folle destinée, ses amours tabous, sa fuite en Afrique… Incarnation de la révolte absolue, maître de la langue, il fut un génie précoce qui, comme Mozart ou Picasso, révolutionna radicalement son art. Dans cette lettre à son ami le professeur de rhétorique Georges Izambard réside tout son talent.

Cher Monsieur !

Vous revoilà professeur. On se doit à la Société, m’avez-vous dit ; vous faites partie des corps enseignants : vous roulez dans la bonne ornière. — Moi aussi, je suis le principe : je me fais cyniquement entretenir ; je déterre d’anciens imbéciles de collège : tout ce que je puis inventer de bête, de sale, de mauvais, en action et en parole, je le leur livre : on me paie en bocks et en filles. Stat mater dolorosa, dum pendet filius. — je me dois à la Société, c’est juste, — et j’ai raison. — Vous aussi, vous avez raison, pour aujourd’hui. Au fond, vous ne voyez en votre principe que poésie subjective : votre obstination à regagner le râtelier universitaire, — pardon ! — le prouve ! Mais vous finirez toujours comme un satisfait qui n’a rien fait, n’ayant rien voulu faire. Sans compter que votre poésie subjective sera toujours horriblement fadasse. Un jour, j’espère, — bien d’autres espèrent la même chose, — je verrai dans votre principe la poésie objective, je la verrai plus sincèrement que vous ne le feriez ! — je serai un travailleur : c’est l’idée qui me retient, quand les colères folles me poussent vers la bataille de Paris — où tant de travailleurs meurent pourtant encore tandis que je vous écris ! Travailler maintenant, jamais, jamais ; je suis en grève.

Maintenant, je m’encrapule le plus possible. Pourquoi ? je veux être poète, et je travaille à me rendre voyant : vous ne comprendrez pas du tout, et je ne saurais presque vous expliquer. Il s’agit d’arriver à l’inconnu par le dérèglement de tous les sens. Les souffrances sont énormes, mais il faut être fort, être né poète, et je me suis reconnu poète. Ce n’est pas du tout ma faute. C’est faux de dire : je pense : on devrait dire : On me pense. — Pardon du jeu de mots. —

Je est un autre. Tant pis pour le bois qui se trouve violon, et Nargue aux inconscients, qui ergotent sur ce qu’ils ignorent tout à fait !

Vous n’êtes pas Enseignant pour moi. je vous donne ceci : est-ce de la satire, comme vous diriez ? Est-ce de la poésie ? C’est de la fantaisie, toujours. — Mais, je vous en supplie, ne soulignez ni du crayon, ni — trop — de la pensée :

Mon triste cœur bave à la poupe…
Mon cœur est plein de caporal !
Ils y lancent des jets de soupe,
Mon triste cœur bave à la poupe…
Sous les quolibets de la troupe
Qui lance un rire général,
Mon triste cœur bave à la poupe,
Mon cœur est plein de caporal !Ithyphalliques et pioupiesques,
Leurs insultes l’ont dépravé ;
À la vesprée, ils font des fresques
Ithyphalliques et pioupiesques,
Ô flots abracadabrantesques,
Prenez mon cœur, qu’il soit sauvé !
Ithyphalliques et pioupiesques
Leurs insultes l’ont dépravé !Quand ils auront tari leurs chiques,
Comment agir, ô cœur volé ?
Ce seront des refrains bachiques
Quand ils auront tari leurs chiques
J’aurai des sursauts stomachiques :
Si mon cœur triste est ravalé !
Quand ils auront tari leurs chiques
Comment agir, ô cœur volé ?

Ca ne veut pas rien dire. — Répondez-Moi : chez M. Deverrière, pour A. R.

Bonjour de cœur,

"Who Will Be President?"

Hillary Clinton has a 92% chance to win.

quarta-feira, 19 de outubro de 2016

John Reed

The Last Days With John Reed - A Letter from Louise Bryant:

Dear Max:

I knew you would want details and a story for the Liberator — but I did not have either the strength or the courage. As it is — I will be able to write only a very incoherent letter and you may take from it what you wish. Jack’s death and my strenuous underground trip to Russia and the weeks of terror in the typhus hospital have quite broken me. At the funeral I suffered a very severe heart attack which by the merest scratch I survived. Specialists have agreed that I have strained my heart because of the long days and nights I watched beside Jack’s bed and that it is enlarged and may not get ever well again. They do not agree, however, on the time it will take for another attack. I write to you all these stupid things because I have to face them myself and because it must be part of the letter. The American and German doctors give me a year or even two, the Russians only month. I have to take stimulants and I am not in a bit of pain. I think I have better recuperative powers than they believe — but, anyway, it is a small matter. I once promised Jack that I would put all his works in order in case of his death. I will come home if I get stronger and do so.

All that I write now seems part of a dream. I am in no pain at all and I find it impossible to believe that Jack is dead or that he will not come in this very room any moment.

Jack was ill twenty days. Only two nights, when he was calmer, did I even lie down. Spotted typhus is beyond description, the patient wastes to nothing under your eyes.

But I must go back to tell you how I found Jack after my illegal journey across the world. I had to skirt Finland, sail twelve days in the Arctic ocean, hide in a fisherman’s shack four days to avoid the police with a Finnish officer and a German, both under sentence of death in their own countries. When I did reach Soviet territory I was at the opposite end of Russia from Jack. When I reached Moscow he was in Baku at the Oriental Congress. Civil war raged in the Ukraine. A military wire reached him and he came back in an armored train. On the morning of September 15th he ran shouting into my room. A month later he was dead.

We had only one week together before he went to bed, and we were terribly happy to find each other. I found him older and sadder and grown strangely gentle and aesthetic. His clothes were just rags. He was so impressed with the suffering around him that he would take nothing for himself. I felt shocked and almost unable to reach the peak of fervor he had attained.

The effects of the terrible experience in the Finnish gaol were all too apparent. He told me of his cell, dark and cold and wet. Almost three months of solitary confinement and only raw fish to eat. Sometimes he was delirious and imagined me dead. Sometimes he expected to die himself, so he wrote on books and everywhere a little verse:
Thinking and dreaming

Day and night and day
Yet cannot think one bitter thought away —
That we have lost each other
You and I...

But walking in the park, under the white birch trees and talking through brief, happy nights, death and separation seemed very far away.

We visited together Lenin, Trotsky, Kaminev, Enver Pasha, Bela Kun, we saw the Ballet and Prince Igor and the new and old galleries.

He was consumed with a desire to go home. I felt how tired and ill he was — how near a breakdown and tried to persuade him to rest. The Russians told me that he often worked twenty hours a day. Early in his sickness I asked him to promise me that he would rest before going home since it only meant going to prison. I felt prison would be too much for him. I remember he looked at me in a strange way and said, “My dear little Honey, I would do anything I could for you, but don’t ask me to be a coward.’ I had not meant it so. I felt so hurt that I burst into tears and said he could go and I would go with him anywhere by the next train, to any death or any suffering. He smiled so happily then. And all the days that followed he held me tightly by the hand. I could not leave him because he would shout for me. I have a feeling now that I have no right to be alive.

Of the illness I can scarcely write — there was so much pain. I only want you all to know how he fought for his life. He would have died days before but for the fight he made. The old peasant nurses used to slip out to the Chapel and pray for him and burn a candle for his life. Even they were touched and they seem men die in agony every hour.

He was never delirious in the hideous way most typhus patients are. He always knew me and his mind was full of poems and stories and beautiful thoughts. He would say, “You know how it is when you go to Venice. You ask people — Is this Venice? -just for the pleasure of hearing the reply.” He would tell me that the water he drank was full of little songs. And he related, like a child, wonderful experiences we had together and in which we were very brave.

Five days before he died his right side was paralyzed. After that he could not speak. And so we watched through days and nights and days hoping against all hope. Even when he died I did not believe it. I must have been there hours afterwards still talking to him and holding his hands.

And then there cam a time when the body lay in state with all military honor, in the Labor temple, guarded by fourteen soldiers from the red Army. Many times I went there and saw the soldiers standing stiffly, their bayonets gleaming under the lights and the red star of Communism on their military caps.

Jack lay in a long silver coffin banked with flowers and streaming banners. Once the soldiers uncovered it for me so I might touch the white forehead with my lips for the last time.

On the day of the funeral we gathered in the great hall where he lay. I have very few impressions of that day. It was cold and the sky dark, snow fell as we began to march. I was conscious of how people cried and how the banners floated and how the wailing heart-breaking Revolutionary funeral hymn, played by a military band, went on forever and ever.

The Russians let me take my grief in my own way, since they felt I had thrown all my caution to the winds in going to the hospital. On that day I felt very proud and even strong. I wished to walk according to the Russian custom, quite by myself after the hearse. And in the red Square I tried to stand facing the speakers with a brave face. But I was not brave at all and fell on the ground and could not speak or cry.

I do not remember the speeches. I remember more the broken notes of the speakers’ voices. I was aware that after a long time they ceased and the banners began to dip back and forth in salute. I heard the first shovel of earth go rolling down and then something snapped in my brain. After an eternity I woke up in my own bed. Emma Goldman was standing there and Berkman, and two doctors and a tall young officer from the red Army. They were whispering and I went to sleep again.

But I have been in Red Square since then — since that day all those people came to bury in all honor our dear Jack Reed. I have been there in the busy afternoon when all Russia hurries by, horses and sleighs and bells and peasants carrying bundles, soldiers singing on their way to the front. Once some of the soldiers came over to the grave. They took off their hats and spoke reverently. “what a good fellow he was!” said one. “he came all the way across the world for us.” “he was one of ours” In another moment they shouldered their guns and went on again.

I have been there under the stars with a great longing to lie down beside the frozen flowers and the metallic wreaths and not wake up. How easy it would be!

I send greeting to all old friends.

Good luck to all of you.


"Syria’s Darkest Hour" - Javier Solana

The conflict in Syria becomes more complex every day that it continues, and the country’s prospects have gotten only worse. The daily horrors that Aleppo’s besieged citizens are now experiencing mark a new low point, following the collapse of the latest ceasefire, brokered by the United States and Russia, which disturbingly fell apart precisely at the same time that world leaders were gathered together for the United Nations General Assembly.

"Europe’s Ugly Future: A review of Varoufakis, Galbraith & Stiglitz – Foreign Affairs"

Some foreign policy decisions hang like albatrosses around the necks of the states that made them. For the United States, the war in Iraq offers the prime example of a costly and seemingly irreversible blunder. For Europe, it is the adoption of the euro. Fifteen years ago, when the EU established its single currency, European leaders promised higher growth due to greater efficiency and sounder macroeconomic policies, greater equality between rich and poor countries within a freer capital market, enhanced domestic political legitimacy due to better policies, and a triumphant capstone for EU federalism. Yet for nearly a decade, Europe has experienced just the opposite.

Saravá Vinicius!

Vinicius de Moraes - 19/10/1913

terça-feira, 18 de outubro de 2016

"O esquecimento como arma política" - José Pacheco Pereira

Há um contínuo entre a política e os media dominado por um “jornalismo” sem edição, nem mediação

"The battle for Mosul is not just coalition (good) v Isis (bad)" - Jonathan Shaw

The reality is more complex than many assume. Without a peace plan and counter-narrative that involves all the peoples of Iraq, victory will be partial and short-lived

Magnum Photography Awards 2016 - Cris Toala Olivares - Documentary Single Image Winner

"Primeiro negro de Nova Iorque era português e primeiro hispânico também"

João Rodrigues, Juan Rodriguez ou Jan Rodrigues? Filho de um português e de uma africana, nasceu em Santo Domingo, fez-se marinheiro ao serviço dos holandeses e em 1613 vivia já em Manhattan

segunda-feira, 17 de outubro de 2016

"And the oscar goes to": Alejandro G. Iñárritu - melhor realizador

Alejandro G. Iñárritu

"On me dit "toi, c'est pas pareil""

Je vis dans un village de 300 habitants. Aux dernières élections régionales, ils ont voté à plus de 40% pour le Front national. Mais moi, "c’est pas pareil". Les gens me disent "les Arabes, ils sont fous, mais toi c’est pas pareil", "elles nous font chier avec leur voile, avec leur religion à la con, mais toi c’est pas pareil". Quand on me voit, on me dit "t’es algérienne" mais je me sens à 400% française. Les autorités ont demandé aux gendarmes d’être devant les écoles. Quelques jours après la rentrée, des parents d’élèves ont dit : "Regarde, il y a les flics parce que des gens sont radicalisés et fichés S." Il y avait une femme voilée à 10 mètres. Elle est née ici, elle a grandi ici. Ils ont commencé à dire : "Elle a une ceinture sous sa robe, elle va se faire péter", "c’est elle qui s’est radicalisée". Je bouillais, ça m’a rendue folle. Ces gens, je les appelle "les BFM". BFM, c’est leur Bible.

«L’islam me tient à cœur. Ma religion m’apaise et me donne une ligne de conduite : le respect, l’entraide. Je fais mes prières, je mange halal. Pour l’Aïd, mes enfants n’iront pas à l’école, on fera un goûter. C’est notre Noël à nous. Mais ta religion est dans ton cœur, c’est personnel. Je n’irai pas demander à l’école un repas halal pour mes enfants. J’ai dit qu’ils étaient végétariens. Ça ne va pas les tuer de ne pas manger de viande un repas sur deux. Je suis mariée avec un Français, catholique, baptisé, qui s’est converti. Pendant les repas de famille, il y a du pinard, du halal, du végétarien, du végétalien… On s’en fiche parce qu’on s’aime. Je suis allée en vacances à Alicante, il y avait une nana en burkini, une nana les miches à l’air, qu’est-ce que j’en ai à faire ? Dans les années 80-90, ma mère allait dans l’eau tout habillée à Dieppe et ça ne gênait personne.

«Moi, je ne ressens pas le besoin de porter le voile, je ne suis pas arrivée à maturité religieuse. Et puis je joue au foot, je ne me vois pas courir en short, tête découverte, et après aller me voiler. Toutes ces polémiques me font mal au cœur pour mes enfants. Quand on était à l’école, il n’y avait pas tout ça, on était potes, point. Je n’imagine même pas que demain quelqu’un vienne dire à mon fils "sale Arabe". Moi je ne l’ai pas vécu.»

Amel, 30 ans, mère au foyer, Chis (Hautes-Pyrénées)

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty/Dia Internacional pela erradição da Pobreza

Uniting all for peace, sustainability and dignity: breaking the vicious circle of poverty

Ending poverty in all its forms everywhere by 2030 is an ambitious but achievable goal -- the key to success rests on political determination, driven by solid knowledge about the causes, mechanisms and consequences of poverty. The possibility of achieving fast and sustained poverty eradication depends on our ability to work collaboratively.

As measured by the 2016 Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index, 1.6 billion persons are identified today as poor. That staggering figure reveals levels of human deprivation far beyond what arbitrary income lines can capture. Poverty is about money, but never just about money, as underlined by UNESCO’s 2016 World Social Science Report. Better understanding of the relationships between income and other dimensions of poverty can help to empower people living in poverty as agents of change.

Delivering the poverty eradication goal of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development demands renewed policy approaches and more comprehensive and sophisticated knowledge. Beyond traditional mechanisms of poverty reduction, poverty can be only solved by tackling inequalities. So long as injustice and exploitation are embedded in economic, social and cultural systems, poverty will continue to devastate the lives of millions of women and men.

Breaking the vicious circle of poverty by 2030 is part of a larger cultural transformation based on solidarity, collaboration and peace to which UNESCO is deeply committed. Through powerful tools for social transformation -- education, culture, science, communication and information -- UNESCO contributes to embedding social justice within societies. Justice is a right, and justice and good governance are foundations for more lasting and sustainable peace.

Ending poverty is not just helping the poor – it is giving every woman and man the chance to live with dignity. By eradicating poverty, all humanity will be transformed. This is UNESCO’s message today.

Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

domingo, 16 de outubro de 2016

Filme recomendado - "Julieta"

Realização de Pedro Almodóvar

"O fim da Nova República" - Maurício Moraes

O impeachment de Dilma representa a quebra do grande contrato social firmado no Brasil após 20 anos de ditadura, a Constituição de 1988

O impeachment de Dilma Rousseff não é o mero fim de um processo previsto em lei executado por vias tortas. É algo mais profundo. É a quebra do grande contrato social firmado no Brasil após 20 anos de ditadura, a Constituição de 1988. É o fim da Nova República.

A Constituição de 1988 colocou no papel o sonho de um país moderno, inclusivo, garantindo o direito a todos os cidadãos à saúde, à educação. Foi o sonho de uma social-democracia tropical, de diminuir a pobreza e dar dignidade a setores que jamais haviam sido incluídos nas políticas públicas.

A Constituição foi a convergência de setores que estiveram em lados opostos na ditadura. Foi o documento que acolheu os anseios de grupos que pediam justiça social com a elite econômica que já não via ser um bom negócio viver em um país sob jugo autoritário. Foi a promessa de um novo Brasil, o guia para o país do futuro, que agora passa a ser desmontado antes mesmo de Dilma Rousseff deixar o Palácio do Alvorada.

Nas próximas semanas, os jornalões e a tevê aberta vão defender a proposta do governo ilegítimo de Michel Temer de propor um teto para os investimentos públicos. Se hoje temos na Constituição um mínimo previsto para ser gasto em Educação e Saúde, com a nova emenda a torneira basicamente fecha quando se bate o teto estabelecido. E isso significa o sucateamento de hospitais, da educação pública e de programas sociais.

Note-se que na proposta de Temer não há teto para pagamento dos juros da dívida pública. Quanto a isso, rentistas, empresários e oportunistas sempre terão um argumento pronto: não se pode tolerar a quebra de contrato. Contratou-se, paga-se, dizem.

Ocorre que o que se vê no País é justamente a grande quebra do contrato social, seja com a farsa do impeachment feito sem crime de responsabilidade consensualmente comprovado, seja com os delírios imperiais de um vice decorativo, a apresentar uma agenda de desmonte dos direitos sociais que nem mesmo um presidente eleito pelo voto direto teria a audácia e a capacidade de fazê-lo.

Se tivesse o compromisso de garantir a evolução das políticas públicas e a garantia dos direitos sociais no Brasil, Temer poderia, por exemplo, aumentar a receita do Estado taxando as grandes fortunas ou os lucros e dividendos. Jamais o fará. A conta do atual déficit foi gerada em grande parte pelos subsídios dado a empresários nacionais (que agora querem Dilma fora), a fim de manter o nível de emprego durante a crise. Como é recorrente na história, a conta será paga pelos mais pobres. Nada de novo.

Dilma cometeu erros em seu governo, mas não cai por isso. É afastada por suas virtudes, por se negar a fazer negociatas com os gangsters do Congresso, ao fazer uma política republicana em um país de políticos sórdidos e retrógrados. Dilma cai por ser honesta e se recusar a chafurdar na lama.

Abrimos um novo capítulo em nossa história. Desta vez sem tanques nas ruas, mas com a desfaçatez costumeira dos que ignoram as regras para fazer valer a lei do mais forte, apoiados pela grande imprensa, por um judiciário obscuro e pela elite empresarial que não consegue produzir se não estiver mamando nas tetas generosas do Estado brasileiro.

Nos livros de história, 2016 será registrado com um ano infame, que os contrários ao golpe lembrarão com amargura e que os seus defensores tentarão esquecer para evitar o constrangimento. Por ora, o processo ilegítimo já deixou um legado: uma geração inteira estará rachada politicamente. E os hematomas deste ano levarão décadas para desaparecer.

Assim vai a Europa! - "The crushing of independent press in Hungary"

October 8, 2016 will go down in Hungarian history as the day when the ideals of the 1956 revolution (when Népszabadság was established) were finally betrayed by Hungary's autocratic government.

quinta-feira, 13 de outubro de 2016

Lettre de Franz Kafka à Max Brod

Franz Kafka (3 juillet 1883 – 3 juin 1924) est un des écrivains majeurs du XXème siècle, auteur de chefs-d’œuvre commeLe procès , L’Amérique ou La métamorphose . Sa correspondance entière et particulièrement cette lettre adressée à son ami Max Brod révèle le fond de la personnalité de ce génie soumis à une torture, existentielle permanente sur le sens de sa vie, l’écriture, ses femmes, sa famille…

Très cher Max,

Ce que je fais est quelque chose de facile et de totalement naturel ; j’ai, concernant la ville, la famille, la vie professionnelle, les relations sociales, les relations amoureuses (tu peux les mettre en premier, si tu veux), la communauté existante ou qui aspire à exister, en tout, je n’ai pas fait mes preuves et cela d’une façon que je n’ai constatée chez personne d’autre. C’est bien au fond l’idée puérile (« personne n’est aussi ignoble que moi ») qui est contredite plus tard par une nouvelle souffrance, mais à ce sujet (il ne s’agit plus ici d’ignominie ou de reproches adressées à soi-même mais du fait intérieur manifeste qu’on n’a pas fait ses preuves), cette idée est restée et persiste. Je ne veux pas me vanter de la souffrance qui accompagne cette existence non vécue ; elle se manifeste aussi (et cela à toutes les étapes depuis toujours) rétrospectivement de façon imméritée au regard des faits dont elle a dû supporter la pression ; quoi qu’il en soit elle était trop forte pour être supportée plus longtemps ou bien, sinon trop forte, trop absurde en tous cas (dans ce genre de creux dépressifs, la question du sens est peut-être permise.) L’issue proche qui s’offrait à moi, peut-être depuis mes années d’enfance, était non le suicide mais la pensée du suicide. Dans mon cas, ce n’était pas une lâcheté très constructive qui m’écartait du suicide mais uniquement la réflexion qui débouchait également sur l’absurde : « Toi qui ne sait [sic] rien faire, tu veux faire justement cela ? Comment peux-tu oser y penser ? Si tu es capable de te tuer, tu n’y es plus obligé finalement. Etc » Plus tard, un autre argument a fait apparition, j’ai cessé de penser au suicide. Ce qui se présentait désormais à moi, si j’étais assez lucide pour aller au-delà des espoirs confus, au-delà des états de bonheur solitaire et des boursouflures de la vanité (cet « au-delà », je n’y parvenais que rarement, lorsque le rester-en-vie le supportait) : c’était une vie misérable, une mort misérable. « C’était comme si la honte devait lui survivre », tels sont approximativement les derniers mots du Procès.

Aujourd’hui j’aperçois une issue que je pensais impossible dans sa complétude et que je n’aurais pas trouvée avec mes propres forces (à condition que la tuberculose ne fasse pas partie de mes « propres forces »). Je ne fais que la voir, je crois seulement la voir, je n’y suis pas engagé encore. Cela consiste, cela devrait consister à ce que j’avoue, non seulement de façon privée, non seulement par quelques bribes de discours tenus ici ou là mais de façon franche, ouverte, par mon comportement, que je ne peux pas faire mes preuves ici. Je ne dois rien faire d’autre dans ce but que de tracer fermement les contours de ma vie passée. La conséquence suivante serait alors que je pourrais me rassembler, que je ne me perdrais pas dans l’absurde, que je garderais un regard libre.

Telle serait l’intention qui, même si elle n’est pas réalisée – elle ne l’est pas -, ne serait pas « admirable » en soi mais au moins serait quelque chose de très conséquent. En la qualifiant d’admirable, cela me rendrait vaniteux, me ferait faire des orgies de vanité bien que je sache mieux que toi ce qu’il en est. C’est dommage. Dès que l’artiste souffle sur un futile château de cartes, celui-ci s’effondre. (Heureusement, c’est une mauvaise comparaison.)

Mais je vois – pour autant qu’ici on peut parler de voir – ton chemin complètement différent. Tu fais tes preuves, alors fais-les. Tu sais tenir ensemble les éléments qui divergent, pas moi ou tout du moins pas encore. Notre proximité toujours croissante consistera en ceci que nous « cheminerons » ensemble ; jusqu’à présent, j’ai eu trop souvent le sentiment d’être pour toi un fardeau.

Ce que tu appelles « soupçon » me paraît n’être parfois que le jeu de forces en surnombre que tu retiens, que ce soit la concentration qui manque à la littérature ou à ton sionisme qui sont une seule et même chose.

En ce sens donc, si tu veux, un « soupçon justifié ».

"The Pakistani Mecca of Terror" - Brahma Chellaney

Almost seven decades after it was created as the first Islamic republic of the postcolonial era, Pakistan is teetering on the edge of an abyss. The economy is stagnant, unemployment is high, and resources are scarce. The government is unstable, ineffective, and plagued by debt. The military – along with its rogue Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, comprising the country’s spies and secret policemen – is exempt from civilian oversight, enabling it to maintain and deepen its terrorist ties.

Dario Fo

A nossa pátria é o mundo inteiro. A nossa lei é a liberdade. Temos apenas um único pensamento, a revolução nos nossos corações.

terça-feira, 11 de outubro de 2016



"India Stops Turning the Other Cheek" - Shashi Tharoor

For two and a half decades, Pakistan has pursued a policy of inflicting on India “death by a thousand cuts” – bleeding the country through repeated terrorist attacks, rather than attempting an open military confrontation which it cannot win against India’s superior conventional forces. The logic is that India’s response to this tactic would always be tempered by its desire not to derail its ambitious economic development plans, as well as the Indian government’s unwillingness to face the risk of a nuclear war.

Roman Jakobson

Roman Osipovich Jakobson (October 11, 1896 - July 18, 1982) was a Russian thinker who became one of the most influential linguists of the twentieth century by pioneering the development of structural analysis of language, poetry, and art. Jakobson was one of the most important intellectuals in the humanities during the twentieth century. He began as one of the founding members of the Moscow Linguistic Circle, which was one of two groups responsible for the development of Russian Formalism, which influenced the entire field ofliterary criticism. Jakobson then moved to Prague, where he helped to form the Prague Linguistic Circle, which helped to influence the development of structuralism, one of the dominant movements in the humanities and social sciences of the era. Perhaps Jakobson's most enduring contribution was his development of the model of the communication theory of language based on his delineation of language functions.