Betrayal & Ambivalence: Syrian Activists Wrestle with ISIS, Intervention & the Fate of Their Country
September 22, 2014 § Leave a comment
When Dissent magazine recently invited me to write an article on ISIS and intervention, I thought to pick the brains of various Syrian activists, writers and intellectuals. The correspondence that ensued became the article, which appeared on the Dissent blog yesterday. Here’s my introduction:
Conspicuously absent from the debate about ISIS and U.S. intervention—both in the mainstream and in the leftosphere—are Syrian voices. ISIS and U.S. officialdom occupy center stage, leaving the perspectives of Syrian civil society activists and writers out of the equation. While hardly surprising, this omission is troubling.
In an attempt to remedy this imbalance, I asked several Syrians—longtime activists and intellectuals from a range of backgrounds, including Kurdish, Palestinian, and Assyrian Christian—what they think about the ISIS crisis and Western intervention.
September 10, 2014 § Leave a comment
David Harvey and Gar Alperovitz dig into the failure of capitalism, the hope presented by worker co-ops, and what activists fighting for a just economy must do to get there.
September 10, 2014 § Leave a comment
The following is a sample of the best videos featuring Tony Judt on Youtube, and a small selection of noteworthy articles.
Disturbing the Peace: Intellectuals and Universities in an Illiberal Age
September 6, 2014 § Leave a comment
Janine R. Wedel writes about power, influence, and governing through the unique lens of a social anthropologist. A professor in the School of Public Policy at George Mason University and senior research fellow at the New America Foundation, Wedel is the first anthropologist to win the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order.
Her book Shadow Elite: How the World’s New Power Brokers Undermine Democracy, Government, and the Free Market (Basic Books 2009) was named Book of the Month by The Huffington Post in January 2010.
September 3, 2014 § Leave a comment
The following films are the best of Eric Hobsbawm on Youtube. Hobsbawn is one of the greatest British historians of te 20th Century, his Age of Revolution, from the ‘Age of’ series, is listed as one of the 100 Best History Books of All Time.
Hobsbawm on 9-11, Marxism, Brazil, and Neoliberalism
August 30, 2014 § Leave a comment
VICE News reporter Medyan Dairieh spent three weeks embedded with the Islamic State, gaining unprecedented access to the group in Iraq and Syria as the first and only journalist to document its inner workings. Once you watch the film you’ll understand why my friend Faisal al Yafai calls them “a cancer of the Middle East politics and society“.
The Islamic State, a hardline Sunni jihadist group that formerly had ties to al Qaeda, has conquered large swathes of Iraq and Syria. Previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the group has announced its intention to reestablish the caliphate and has declared its leader, the shadowy Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as the caliph.
The lightning advances the Islamic State made across Syria and Iraq in June shocked the world. But it’s not just the group’s military victories that have garnered attention — it’s also the pace with which its members have begun to carve out a viable state.
Flush with cash and US weapons seized during its advances in Iraq, the Islamic State’s expansion shows no sign of slowing down. In the first week of August alone, Islamic State fighters have taken over new areas in northern Iraq, encroaching on Kurdish territory and sending Christians and other minorities fleeing as reports of massacres emerged.