8.30.2017 Daily Links

  A Thought for the Day   

To envision life as an opportunity for a calling comes easily to most people these days, when the surpluses and options of commodity capitalism produce so much stuff that even regular working folk can imagine that they needn’t attend merely to matters of income’s exceeding outgo and can indulge their dreams, at least so long as these fantasies don’t entail any fundamental challenge to the status quo, altogether a dynamic at once sublime in its permissiveness toward truly personalizing one’s own universe and ridiculous in the at best bizarre presumption that anything other than deeplyrevolutionary persistence can salvage even a small piece of civilized existence from the insistent cataclysm and growing threat of utter holocaust that continued rule by the bourgeoisie, who happily promote all and sundry ‘callings’ of less than fundamental impact, guarantees in the next period of time, a span that might easily be one of days and that can hardly last more than a few decades, or half a century, in the most optimistic plutocratic forecasts.

  Quote of the Day  
You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.
As the tension eases, we must look in the direction of agriculture, industry and education as our final goals, and toward democracy under Mr Mubarak.
Today’s interpretations of religion are often backward and contradict the needs of civilization. Naguib Mahfouz

 This Day in History  

CC BY-NC by Nick in exsilio
CC BY-NC by Nick in exsilio

Today marks an International Day for the Disappeared, apt almost everywhere, while Turkey commemorates its modern founding with Victory Day; demonstrating that internecine rivalries could be as enticing and profitable as ‘crusading’ ventures, seven hundred thirty-five years ago, a regent of Aragon diverted his fleets, which were on their way to attempt a plunder of the Hafsid Kingdom, to a landing in Sicily where he figured to help locals against a rival Anjou leader at the same time that he and his followers looted satisfactory amounts; eighty-one years beyond that, in 1363, rival rebel Chinese armies and navies clashed in the Battle of Lake Poyang, as the Mongol-dominated Yuan dynasty suffered its death throes; more or less exactly four and a half centuries later, in 1813, around the world in what was then the Alabama territory, the mélange of indigenous peoples whom European interlopers called Creek Indians, rose up I violent attacks on gringo depredations and incursions in the Fort Moms massacre, killing upwards of 500 farmers and fighters and families;

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unions "organizing strategy" OR expansion OR "strategic vision" OR "strategic action" "social justice" OR "economic democray" OR "class war" OR "anti imperialism" OR "anti imperialistic" necessity OR "sine qua non" OR crucial = 405,000 results

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 Interesting People Places Things of Note 


Surmising ‘Refugia’

A Conversation look at different ideas for giving agency and dignity to refugees: “My colleague Nicholas Van Hear and I have reviewed most of these proposals and advanced an even more radical plan. Our vision is to create a set of loosely-connected self-governing units we call “Refugia”, brought into being mainly by refugees and displaced people themselves, with some support from sympathisers. Though scattered like an archipelago, Refugia will nonetheless link together many refugee communities – in conflict areas, in neighbouring or transit countries, and in more distant countries of settlement. We are happy to accept the label “utopian” for our scheme, but ours is a more pragmatic idea, a “realistic utopianism” to use a term developed by the philosopher John Rawls.”


 General Media & ‘Intellectual Property’ Issues 

Facebook’s Customers as Product

An IRB post that everyone with a facebook account should read: “Wu argues that capturing and reselling attention has been the basic model for a large number of modern businesses, from posters in late 19th-century Paris, through the invention of mass-market newspapers that made their money not through circulation but through ad sales, to the modern industries of advertising and ad-funded TV. Facebook is in a long line of such enterprises, though it might be the purest ever example of a company whose business is the capture and sale of attention. Very little new thinking was involved in its creation. As Wu observes, Facebook is ‘a business with an exceedingly low ratio of invention to success’. What Zuckerberg had instead of originality was the ability to get things done and to see the big issues clearly. The crucial thing with internet start-ups is the ability to execute plans and to adapt to changing circumstances. “

 Recent Events 

British Bolshevik Exhibit Review

A World Socialist Web Site article that looks at the skewed view that a recent British museum show takes on Bolshevik artifacts: “The British Library’s centenary exhibition, “Russian Revolution: Hope, Tragedy, Myths,” on display until August 29, includes notable documents and exhibits.

The most poignant items include letters of Lenin and Trotsky, an original tattered Budenovka cavalry cap and a handmade Soviet banner bleached white with time and ceramics.

These artifacts are intrinsically valuable and interesting, but their presentation is fundamentally undermined by an ahistorical—and in some cases directly hostile—presentation of events.”

 General Past & Present Issues 

Memory and the Universe

A Brain Pickings post that introduces the thought of a Lebanese poet who discourses on time, memory, and all the big questions: “The universe is itself the glue that keeps it going, therefore it is memory in action and in essence, in becoming and in being. Because it remembers itself, it exists. Because it exists, it remembers.””