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Arabica Robusta

Arabica Robusta's Public Library

  • Nyamnjoh argued that ideas of completeness are an extravagant illusion and it therefore makes more sense to speak about incompleteness and to invest in the sort of interdependence that can enhance us to be more efficacious in our actions.
  • Nyamnjoh based his talk on his essay with the same title published in the Journal of Asian and African Studies in which he argues for conviviality as a currency for frontier Africans by using a literary example, The Palm-Wine Drinkard, by the late Nigerian writer Amos Tutuola.
  • The skull represents the quest to become the “complete gentleman”, and when Africans are on such a quest to adapt to a Western style zero sum logic, “we lose out”, Nyamnjoh argued.

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  • In 1974, I brought a lawsuit against the psychiatrist, the Bishop and the District Superintendent for violating my right of privacy. Ten years later, when their lawyers could no longer hide behind legal machinations, the case finally came before the Justices of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. It was here especially that the defendants tried to hide their violation of my civil right of privacy behind their “religious freedom.”
  • Religious freedom should be about self-empowerment, not gaining power over others. One person’s religious or civil freedom should not require another person’s subjugation.   Freedom to be and to become and to belong are DNA in every human being, and should be honored by every religion and government—in Indiana and Arkansas and Iraq and everywhere else.

  • Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger published the op-ed “Global Warming Scare Tactics” in the New York Times on April 8. Participants in recent debates over climate change may recognize their names. They’re the guys who run the Breakthrough Institute, a pseudo-contrarian “environmental research organization.”
  • While occasionally on point in its charges against the big organizations, the essay (based on interviews with mostly white male leaders of large national groups) had nothing to say about the environmental justice movement, or other grassroots groups led by women and people of color. It neglected as well the environmental movements of the Global South, today the heart of the climate justice movement.
  • Is fear of disruption of what Habermas calls the life-world the sole inducer of civic action? Of course not: social movements also cohere around other shared, negotiated understandings, identities, diagnoses of problems, and assessments of opportunities. Might fear paralyze rather than mobilize? Yes: in cases when the perceived threat appears impervious to resistance, and when commitment to the cause flags over time. Fear-based campaigns require a tangible evil: a draft card, a nuclear plant cooling tower, a polluting facility’s smoke plume, an Operation Rescue picket line.

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  • Much of this book is concerned with showing that powerful and well-financed rightwing thinktanks and lobby groups lie behind the denial of climate change in recent years.
  • Klein interprets the marginalisation of climate change in the political process as the result of the machinations of corporate elites. These elites “understand the real significance of climate change better than most of the ‘warmists’ in the political centre, the ones who are still insisting that the response can be gradual and painless and that we don’t need to go to war with anybody… The deniers get plenty of the details wrong… But when it comes to the scope and depth of change required to avert catastrophe, they are right on the money.”
  • Klein is a brave and passionate writer who always deserves to be heard, and this is a powerful and urgent book that anyone who cares about climate change will want to read. Yet it is hard to resist the conclusion that she shrinks from facing the true scale of the problem. When I read The Shock Doctrine (Guardian review headline: “The end of the world as we know it”), I was unconvinced that corporate and political elites understood what they were doing in promoting the wildly leveraged capitalism of that time, which was already beginning to implode. The idea that corporate elites are in charge of the world is even less convincing today. The neoliberal order has recovered, and in some countries even achieved a spurious kind of stability, but only at the cost of worsening global conflicts.

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  • Who’s driving us toward disaster? A radical answer would be the reliance of capitalists on the extraction and use of fossil energy. Some, however, would rather identify other culprits.


    The earth has now, we are told, entered “the Anthropocene”: the epoch of humanity. Enormously popular — and accepted even by many Marxist scholars — the Anthropocene concept suggests that humankind is the new geological force transforming the planet beyond recognition, chiefly by burning prodigious amounts of coal, oil, and natural gas.

  • The important thing to note here is the logical structure of the Anthropocene narrative: some universal trait of the species must be driving the geological epoch that is its own, or else it would be a matter of some subset of the species. But the story of human nature can come in many forms, both in the Anthropocene genre and in other parts of climate change discourse.
  • Giving short shrift to all the talk of a universal human evildoer, she writes, “We are stuck because the actions that would give us the best chance of averting catastrophe — and would benefit the vast majority — are extremely threatening to an elite minority that has a stranglehold over our economy, our political process, and most of our major media outlets.”

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  • But for now, there's a pretty good chance today's hearing was just a warm-up round for a much more serious fight yet to come. At this point, says Sierra Club chief counsel Joanne Spalding, the EPA's opponents "are trying to derail a train that's still in the station." 

  • Taking the holistic view, one can understand how some of the most basic conditions of life are threatened by a basic contradiction. Civilization, the quintessential expression of Enlightenment values that relies on ever-expanding energy, threatens to reduce humanity to barbarism if not extinction through exactly such energy production.
  • or every farmer or rancher who has leased his land for drilling, there are many homeowners living nearby who get nothing but the shitty end of the stick: pollution, noise and a loss of property value.
  • What gives the film its power is the attention paid to people like Stevens who organized petition drives and showed up at town council meetings to voice their opposition to fracking. They look like Tea Party activists or Walmart shoppers, mostly white and plain as a barn door, but they know that they do not want drilling in their townships and are willing to fight tooth and nail to prevent it. For all of the left’s dismay about its lack of power, the film’s closing credits reveal that there are 312 local anti-fracking groups in Pennsylvania made up of exactly such people who will likely be our allies as the environmental crisis deepens.

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  • The exposure of the Western world’s surveillance networks has heightened the feeling that democratic institutions aren’t functioning as they should, that, like it or not, we are living in the twilight period of democracy itself.
  • The oligarchs who bought up some of the most expensive property in the world, including in London, may once have been members of the Communist Party, but they were also opportunists with no commitment to anything other than power and lining their own pockets.
  • The United States is the site of the most remarkable economic development of recent times, the emergence on the West Coast of the IT revolution. Yet despite these advances in capitalist technology, the political structure of the United States has barely changed for a hundred and fifty years. It may be militarily, economically and even culturally in command – its soft power dominates the world – but there is as yet no sign of political change from within. Can this contradiction last?

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  • For them, one of the most necessary critiques of liberalism hones in on the problem of recognition, the fact that our political and social systems function on the basis of definitions of personhood (sometimes citizenship, sometimes “humanness”) that often exclude many aspirants on the basis of their race, gender, sexuality, religion, mental or physical capacity, and so forth. Existentially spun, this yields the question of what kind of life is considered worthy of mourning when it is lost; politically spun, this yields a politics of identity, for which many march in the streets and which has become so familiar that certain of its basic assumptions can attain invisibility.
  • While Sharp is even-handed on Butler’s treatment of Hegel and Spinoza, her insistence on the distinctiveness of the conatus raises questions about what a practical politics of renaturalization would look like. The politics of recognition, after all, is not a merely theoretical matter but one in which we are always finding ourselves “thrown” by the very inequities of the civilization within which we live. It is unclear to me that a better appreciation of vital processes, and a displacement of the anthropos that sings at the heart of the political, is a replacement for recognition. Sharp herself doesn’t seem blind to the necessity of political struggle. Perhaps instead renaturalization is, as Sharp sometimes seems to suggest, a necessary supplement, a reminder that our natures can never be summed up by the terms recognition gives us.
  • Spinozism in 20th-century France yielded what Peden calls a philosophy of the concept, a striking alternative to the channel of French thought most familiar to Anglophone audiences: the philosophy of the subject. (Its best-known exponents include Jean-Paul Sartre and Michel Foucault.) While the lineage of subjectivity or consciousness can be traced back to Descartes, in the 20th century it was not just watered but soaked by the aquifer of phenomenology, originating in the Austro-German Edmund Husserl’s meditations on Descartes’s Meditations, revised by Heidegger’s “New Thinking,” and imported to France by thinkers such as Emmanuel Levinas.

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Apr 19, 15

"Bolivia’s economic dependence on the IMF and the World Bank escalated in the 1970s when the country contracted massive loans to finance the modernization of their mining and agriculture export industries, thereby meeting the needs of Northern countries and enriching a handful of transnational companies in the relevant sectors. "

  • Bolivia’s economic dependence on the IMF and the World Bank escalated in the 1970s when the country contracted massive loans to finance the modernization of their mining and agriculture export industries, thereby meeting the needs of Northern countries and enriching a handful of transnational companies in the relevant sectors.
  • In 2000, the World Bank encouraged the Bolivian government to sell the public water system of Cochabamba to the Bechtel Corporation.                  

    The deal, which was negotiated behind closed doors between the World Bank and Bechtel representatives, granted the company control over the city’s water company for 40 years, guaranteeing them an average profit of 16 percent profit for each one of those years. 

  • Over 15 years later, Bolivia’s relationship with the World Bank and the IMF has changed considerably as Bolivia is no longer subject to its conditions.                

    Since Bolivian President Evo Morales was first elected in 2005, the government has established a new set of guidelines which protects Bolivia’s economic autonomy from predatory lending institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank. 

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