Intersecting Neoliberal Goals at the World Cup

AntiNote: the following is an extended excerpt of a radio interview, edited for readability.

On 19 April 2014, Chuck Mertz of This is Hell! Radio (Chicago) interviewed Brian Mier, an expatriate in Brazil who writes and podcasts about Brazilian society and politics from a critical, radical perspective.

Especially refreshing in Mier’s analysis—which preceded last month’s major flare-ups in the anti-World Cup protests in cities across Brazil—is his discussion of U.S. interests being subtly expressed (and served) in Western commercial media’s coverage of the current tumults. In this way, the separate aims of two massively influential neoliberal actors—FIFA and USAID—intersect, and Mier’s observations can be related directly to conversations we have been having on Antidote about other places, especially Ukraine.

Image: Gustavo Froner/Reuters via SCISSION blog

Image: Gustavo Froner/Reuters via SCISSION blog

“One of the reasons why media outlets like the New York Times are smearing Brazil right now is they’re trying to create a sense of instability that will favor the opposition, who they hope will privatize the state petroleum company in the future.”

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Challenging the Prostitute Imaginary

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Transcribed from This is Hell! Radio‘s 17 May 2014 episode and printed with permission.

This is only an extended excerpt, edited for readability, and does not include the entire range of issues covered in author Melissa Gira Grant‘s interview with host Chuck Mertz; listen to the whole thing here.

“Most people are doing work they don’t feel really great about, and if they had other options would prefer to do something else—but we wouldn’t describe their boss as a pimp. We wouldn’t describe capitalism as their pimp.”

Chuck Mertz: Writer and journalist Melissa Gira Grant is the author of Playing the Whore: the Work of Sex Work. Good morning, Melissa.

Melissa Gira Grant: Hey there, thanks for having me.

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Under Occupation in America

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Transcribed from This is Hell! Radio’s 24 May 2014 episode and printed with permission. Listen to the full interview:

 “When you’re a target of the police, you want to be an unpredictable person. You don’t want to show up routinely anywhere. You don’t want to go to the hospital when you’ve been injured or when your baby is born. You don’t want to go to your mother’s house on Christmas. Who knows who will be there to take you into custody?”

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The Battle of the Story of the Battle of Chicago

AntiNote: This week marks two years since the NATO summit in Chicago and the large protests against it that filled an entire weekend with creative direct actions and marches (some better reported than others) and filled an entire city with militarized cops.

The NATO protests and the hyperbolic response to them fit all-too-neatly into the well-rehearsed protester/police/publicity choreography we have seen developing slowly and ominously worldwide since the late nineties, which author Kristian Williams summed up last year in an interview on the Ex-Worker podcast:

“[Since the Battle in Seattle] we’ve seen a new period of innovation in crowd control and a new period of experimentation. Sociologists Patrick Gillham and John Noakes describe the new system as Strategic Incapacitation.

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How Healthcare Kills

AntiNote: this article appeared this month as part of an ongoing collaboration between LeftEast and the Balkan web portal Bilten.org, where it can be read in Serbo-Croatian. Reprinted with permission.

“Over the last year and a half, ten Bulgarians committed violent suicide via self-immolation because of the increase of electricity prices; with these ‘well-intended’ healthcare reforms we can now anticipate the next, wider, and more bloody wave of ‘unintended’ mass murder—a murder which Bulgarian protesters and civil society could prevent if they shifted focus from ‘moral indignation against corrupt and dysfunctional capitalism’ to a moral indignation against capitalism as such.”

by Mariya Ivancheva

In the last days of March 2014, a Bulgarian woman, Dobrinka Krumova, age 26, died because neither private nor public hospitals in Dupnitsa in southern Bulgaria admitted her for treatment.

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Bosnia: Protests Continue Despite Contradictions

AntiNote: This article first appeared in German on the website of the Antikapitalistische Linke, a constellation of currents within the far-left German political party DIE LINKE which explicitly includes unaffiliated activists and agitators and views itself as a bridge between DIE LINKE and non-partisan anti-capitalist movements within Germany and elsewhere.

A pair of AKL activists recently visited Tuzla and spoke with people involved in the citizens’ assemblies and protests there which generated a good deal of excitement in Left circles in Europe in February and March of this year…but which regrettably seem to have fallen off the radar screen in recent weeks.

As we have seen a number of commentators, even on the Left, reading the movement in Bosnia its last rites and/or pointing out all the places where it “went wrong,” we at the Antidote Writers Collective wish to insist, along with our friends of the AKL, that there is still fog on the mirror. As long as the struggle continues, the struggle continues. The activists in Tuzla are still speaking; is it not the height of rudeness to turn away?

A dispatch from Tuzla by Inge Höger and Carsten Albrecht

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Palestine’s Future is Our Future

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AntiNote: The following is an extended excerpt of a radio interview, edited for readability. We strongly encourage you to listen to the full interview (here); we regretfully removed large sections, containing important information, due to space concerns.

On 3 May 2014 Chuck Mertz of This is Hell! Radio (Chicago) talked to author, scholar and activist Ali Abunimah about a way forward in Palestine. This week, Abunimah and Max Blumenthal brought their joint speaking event, The Future of Palestine, to the Chicago Cultural Center. Like many of our readers, no Antidote writers were able to attend due to a large ocean in the way—but we hope this conversation provides a tantalizing taste of the issues and perspectives that were discussed there. If you went, we’d love to hear what you took away from it.

Abunimah brings rare optimism and fresh thinking to the debate around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But at the same time he hints strongly at a much darker future for Palestinians—as well as everyone else. He reveals new, hidden facets of the emerging global, militarized, security-obsessed neoliberal regime that Naomi Klein described more broadly in The Shock Doctrine. This system’s literal conduits are already being established, and it is these international connections Abunimah makes that we find the most chilling, the most sensitizing, and the most potentially solidarity-inspiring. The Palestinians’ plight, in increasingly direct ways, is all of ours. Read on.

“The same companies profiting from mass incarceration of people of color in the United States are profiting from Israeli occupation.”

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