Struggles Against Commodification of the Mind

The free play of the mind has been managerialised. Holding our way of life to account has yielded to accountancy. The logic of the commodity has now penetrated into the sphere of human needs and nurture, breeding pathological symptoms there. In universities, as in transnational corporations, a largely disaffected labour force confronts a finance-obsessed managerial elite (Terry Eagleton, 2009).

Student occupation at the University of Vienna

November 17th marked the twentieth anniversary of the popular uprising in former Czechoslovakia, when thousands of students marched through the streets of Prague on International Students’ Day. Though officially sanctioned by the government, the occasion was used by the student movement to protest against the stale orthodoxy of the Czechoslovak regime, one of the last remaining Communist outposts in Central Europe. Hours later, when news spread of the violent suppression of the demonstration by security forces, the fate of the increasingly hollow regime was effectively sealed, as the event ushered in a remarkable period of popular mobilisation and mass civil disobedience which ultimately led to the regime’s downfall. Twenty years later, with the Czech student body thoroughly depoliticised, one had to look elsewhere however to find traces of the legacy of the International Students’ Day.

Continue reading “Struggles Against Commodification of the Mind”

Israeli Ministers to be Dispatched on Propaganda Missions Abroad

The National Information Directorate is a new Israeli spin body set up less than a year ago following the recommendations of the  Winograd inquiry into Israel’s failures in Lebanon.  According to Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office website the directorate is coordinating a new campaign of lobbying and spin across Europe, directed at politicians and the media, focussing on Israeli “security” issues.


The National Information Directorate and the Cabinet Secretariat, in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry, have decided to dispatch Government ministers on information missions abroad, starting in the coming days.  In the framework of the information efforts, it was decided to send ministers on diplomatic and media activity in various European countries.  Each minister will go on a short mission to one or two countries, including Belgium, Austria and Ireland.  The possibility of sending abroad residents of the south in order to give firsthand accounts of the security reality in which they have lived for years.  Israeli embassies will formulate agendas for the ministerial visits, including meetings with political officials and media interviews.

%d bloggers like this: