How the World Works, For Now

Transcribed from the 18 April 2015 episode of This is Hell! Radio and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the whole interview:

“It’s not a cabal, and there’s not some all-powerful, Machiavellian figure directing everything. It is rather a lot of institutional structures that promote an economic system which facilitates the transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich world. It’s obscured and legitimated through massive amounts of ideology.”

Chuck Mertz: We are all scammed, duped, ripped off. The whole world. We’re all victims of the Racket. Here to reveal the Racket, how it works, and who’s running it, investigative journalist Matt Kennard returns to This is Hell! Good evening, Matt.

Matt Kennard: Good evening, how are you?

CM: Good! It’s great to have you back on the show. So this book, The Racket: A Rogue Reporter Versus the Masters of the Universe—this is going to be the question that everybody’s going to ask me: “Is this another one of those conspiracy theory books?” What makes this “racket” different from a conspiracy?

MK: Well, first of all this isn’t something that I’ve come across from a distance. I was part of the racket; I was a journalist with the Financial Times for two and a half years. I mean, I went to the Financial Times as a reporter with a critical mind; I wasn’t a neoliberal warmonger. But what I saw there confirmed many of the fears I had about who really runs our world.Continue Reading

Concerning Violence

The following is an excerpt from Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, reprinted yesterday on the great blog Middle East Revised. Its relevance is plainly not only to the Middle East.

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National liberation, national renaissance, the restoration of nationhood to the people, commonwealth: whatever may be the headings used or the new formulas introduced, decolonization is always a violent phenomenon. At whatever level we study it — relationships between individuals, new names for sports clubs, the human admixture at cocktail parties, in the police, on the directing boards of national or private banks — decolonization is quite simply the replacing of a certain ‘species’ of men by another ‘species’ of men.

Without any period of transition, there is a total, complete, and absolute substitution. It is true that we could equally well stress the rise of a new nation, the setting up of a new state, its diplomatic relations, and its economic and political trends. But we have precisely chosen to speak of that kind of tabula rasa which characterizes at the outset all decolonization. Its unusual importance is that it constitutes, from the very first day, the minimum demands of the colonized.

To tell the truth, the proof of success lies in a whole social structure being changed from the bottom up. The extraordinary importance of this change is that it is willed, called for, demanded. The need for this change exists in its crude state, impetuous and compelling, in the consciousness and in the lives of the men and women who are colonized. But the possibility of this change is equally experienced in the form of a terrifying future in the consciousness of another ‘species’ of men and women: the colonizers.Continue Reading

Against Colonialism and Fundamentalism

By Mazen Kamalmaz, first published in 2008

It is a big question for us, Muslims who consider freedom as our main aim or our main principle of life, where we stand in the conflict between what can be defined as neo-colonialist policies of the capitalist west and Islamic fundamentalism. In brief, my answer is that I think we must stick to our main principle: that is freedom, away from both.Continue Reading

Decolonising Anarchism

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By Budour Hassan

The appearance of the Egyptian Black Bloc in Cairo’s streets in January 2013 triggered gullible excitement in Western anarchist circles. Little thought was given to the Egyptian Black Bloc’s political vision – or lack thereof – tactics, or social and economic positions. For most Western anarchists, it was enough that they looked and dressed like anarchists to warrant uncritical admiration. Facebook pages of Israeli anarchists were swamped with pictures of Egyptian Black Bloc activists; skimming through the US anarchist blogosphere during that period would have given one the impression that the Black Bloc was Egypt’s first-ever encounter with anarchism and anti-authoritarianism. But as American writer Joshua Stephens notes, the jubilant reaction many Western anarchists have towards the Black Bloc raises unflattering questions concerning their obsession with form and representation, rather than content and actions.Continue Reading