Debt Ceiling, Prisoners, Norway, etc.

by Chris Sturr | July 29, 2011

Fortress Europe

Fortress Europe

(1) Fortress Europe and Europeans Against Multiculturalism: A couple of links relevant to the atrocious attack last Friday in Norway, which is clearly the tip of an iceberg:  The first, Fortress Europe:  A Deadly Exodus, documents the more than 14,000 refugees who have died trying to enter Europe since 1988.  There’s an interactive map listing deaths by country (Norway is on the low end with 5; Italy and Spain are very high), plus the map above and some lists that show cause of death. I wonder how these stack up against deaths by “terrorists” in Europe?

The other piece I’m recommending, from the July/August Boston Review is Europeans Against Multiculturalism.  N.B.–this article was published just before the rampage in Norway;  the author is not talking about the attacks in Utøya, but rhetorical attacks by “mainstream” (center-right) politicians. Here’s the first paragraph:

One of the many signs of the rightward creep of Western European politics is the recent unison of voices denouncing multiculturalism. German Chancellor Angela Merkel led off last October by claiming that multiculturalism “has failed and failed utterly.” She was echoed in February by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron. All three were late to the game, though: for years, the Dutch far right has been bashing supposedly multicultural policies.

Read the rest of the article.

(2) Debt Ceiling: Two recommendations on the whole debt ceiling circus:  Rick Wolff on Democracy Now!;  and Kevin Gallagher in the Guardian.

(3) Prisoners: Former University of Utah economics student Tim DeChristopher, who engaged in civil disobedience in bidding for drilling rights at a Bureau of Land Management auction back in 2008 (read our original post about it here) was finally sentenced to two years in prison.  Find out more here.  See an interview with DeChristopher at the Real News Network.

D&S collective member reminds us to remember Bradley Manning, who was taken out of solitary confinement because of public pressure.  Here’s a page about Manning at the website Courage to Resist, and there’s also a website called Stand with Brad where you can express your support.

Prisoners at Pelican Bay and other California prisons who were on a hunger strike for several weeks ended the strike a couple of days ago, but their struggle goes on.  Info on it here;  there is supposed to be some action in support of the strikers on August 1st. Hat-tip to Taki M. for reminding me to mention this on the blog.

(4) David Leonhardt–wtf?! This from D&S pal Dan D., on Pulitzer Prize-winning former economics columnist David Leonhardt, who is going on to be the New York Times Washington bureau chief.  He apparently went off the rails in his final column; here is Dan’s commentary, from an email with the subject line “NYTimes’ David Leonhardt’s idiocy on economics”:

Go figure … Here is recent Pulitzer-Prize winning economics writer David Leonhardt, in his last “Economic Scene” column for the NY Times:

“One of the tricky things about the subject is that almost nothing is certain in the way that, say, two plus two equals four. Economics — which is at root a study of human behavior — tends to be messier.”
So economics is at root a study of human behavior? I suppose that is the neoclassical dogma … [Yeah, it has nothing to do with society or power or history or class division or anything… –CS]
Also this: “When it comes to economics, we know that a market economy with a significant government role is the only proven model of success.” Yes, it is the aim to which all of human history has been striving …

It’s funny, I sometimes liked his columns.  I think the discipline of economics (much like my field of training, analytic philosophy) lures otherwise smart and even politically ok people into a cult of idiocy–or more precisely, what Marx called “idealism” (by which he meant ideology).  Oh well.

Ok, I have more to post, but it will have to wait until later.

–Chris Sturr

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