“We Have to Understand the Game. We Are All Playing it.”

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Transcribed from the 11 October 2014 episode of This is Hell! Radio and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the full interview:

“The level of brainwashing in America doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world.”

Chuck Mertz: Arundhati Roy is the author of Capitalism: A Ghost Story. The way Arundhati tells it, “capitalism has been a tale of horror for millions of people in India and tens of millions of people around the world. For many, capitalism is not a theory or an idea, but a frightening reality that tears apart their lives every day, and it’s getting worse.”

Good morning, Arundhati.

Arundhati Roy: Good morning.

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Photo Essay: Sochi, the $50 Billion ‘Ghost Town’

AntiNote: Freelance photographer Alexander Belenkiy posted these photographs* on his livejournal this month, after a trip to Sochi. This is the ghost town he encountered there, only six months after the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Alexander points out in his own commentary that the Olympic Village is not completely abandoned; indeed he took care to include photographs of people there. Ultimately this deepens the images’ chill by providing a sense of scale. Hearing that the Sochi Olympics were a $50 billion waste is somewhat stultifying; seeing the vastness of this crime in (literally) concrete terms really leaves an impression.

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Know Your Enemy: Debunking Neoliberal Mythology

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

In printing it, we are once again responding to explicit requests to do so. We find it noteworthy that This is Hell! interviews about which there is the most vocal enthusiasm are typically the ones that examine the nature of neoliberalism, its often unperceived effects on our daily lives and ways of seeing, and our tendency to misunderstand its origins and aims even as we rail against it. As Henry A. Giroux pointed out in just such an interview this past spring, this points to a very real thirst for more thorough analyses and a deeper understanding of the smilingly savage world order in which we find ourselves—a thirst which commercial media, generally speaking, refuses to quench on the grounds that it does not exist. Classic neoliberal denialism…

This interview, which host Chuck Mertz conducted with author and historian of economic philosophy Philip Mirowski on 31 May 2014, stirred up a good deal of discussion within our writers collective as well, touching as it does on so many topics of great concern to us. To name just a few: current deficiencies and disputes on the “Left;” the structure of philosophical revolutions (of which the rise of neoliberalism is one); the difficulties with using timeworn political descriptors in new contexts where they no longer apply; and the annihilation of the concept of a core moral self, which neoliberalism and fascism have in common…

Resisting the temptation to lengthily interpret Mirowski’s rejoinders (there will be plenty of time for that), we simply leave you with a link to further reading on the Mont Pelerin Society and the contentious origins of the “neoliberal thought collective” Mirowski describes:

Neoliberalism: the Revolution in Reverse by Chris Lehmann for The Baffler

Now, without further ado.

Chuck Mertz: On the line with us right now is author Philip Mirowski. Good morning, Philip.

Philip Mirowski: Good morning.

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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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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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New World Water

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

On 5 April 2014 Chuck Mertz of This is Hell! Radio (Chicago) interviewed author and activist Maude Barlow about developments and challenges in the ongoing struggles around the accelerating but widely ignored water crisis.

Her observations about the ‘extreme energy’ frenzy in North America, mobilizations against it, and the need for a focus on water rights within this issue immediately caught our attention when the interview first aired; printing them has been on our back burner for a while. But the news out of Detroit this week heightened our sense of urgency.

Let the record reflect that Barlow’s remarks about Detroit’s coming water cutoffs came almost three months ago. We can only hope that the predictions she shared regarding the complete depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer within our lifetimes prove less accurate. Well, hope is one thing. We could also fight.

“These struggles are coming to communities near you, and the more fracking and extreme energy threaten our water sources, the more we need to band together.”

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Fraudulent Banks and Fatigued Movements

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Transcribed from This is Hell! Radio’s 22 February 2014 episode and printed with permission. Listen to the full interview here.

“I thought maybe the banks are just as confused as we are. This is so sudden, so many houses underwater at once. But then Bloomberg did an article revealing that Bank of America was deliberately doing this stuff.”

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